Recent research conducted by Incite Marketing Planning in conjunction with the St Ives Group has shown that holidaymakers who do book face to face through a travel agent do so because they find the experience ‘enjoyable’ and ‘exciting’ rather than being quicker or easier. Also for those who book a holiday valued at £1,000 or more are more likely to use a high street agent then someone who has booked a holiday valued up to £500. In addition, agents are more popular for activity and adventure holidays (ski, cruise, multi- centre) than other types. Also, just under half of the 1,000 customers surveyed said they used a printed brochure in consulting their holiday choices.
The UK European elections have been the hot topic for May, with the new party UKIP making great gains. The trade press has advised that the travel industry shouldn’t be concerned about the party’s policies which are considered to be anti-Heathrow expansion and anti-HS2. While they are making great strides, they are still a minority and won’t affect policies within parliament.
June was a very busy month for the Black Diamond team as 30 Californians made their way to the UK for the biennial Visit California European Sales Mission. It was fantastic to host industry clients and suppliers alike, and it was great to see the industry abuzz with enthusiasm, passion and appreciation for the Golden State.
The World Cup has also been a hot topic to kick off the summer and with England losing early on, disappointed fans are expected to book their sun holidays by the droves so to have something to look forward to.
UK & Ireland Activities
Funway Holidays Masterchef FAM: Andrea took a group of 12 agents out to California as part of the overall California campaign that we have been running with them this year. The groups visited San Francisco, Sacramento and Sonoma and participated in a group challenge in Sacramento organised by the CVB there.
IPW Chicago: Beth and James attended IPW on behalf of Black Diamond. Between them they had a full meeting schedule and contracted leads, met new people and strengthened existing relationships. It was a very productive show!
Air New Zealand wine event: For the past four years, we have been partnering with Air NZ on a CA/NZ wine taste off event for the trade. This past event was held at the Hotel Du Vin in Bristol and attracted a crowd of approximately 60 key trade from the area. It was a great opportunity to thank the trade in that area for their partnership and bookings and it gave us a great platform to position the culinary message as well. California wines just narrowly lost to NZ wines (51% to 49%). Santa Monica provided the main prize.
Visit California European Sales Mission: The week was extremely successful with over 270 trade contacts made over the course of 2 1⁄2 days. A video wrap up can be found here: http://vimeo.com/98960612
All contact details for the trade participants were sent to the delegates and we also followed up with all of the trade contacts ourselves to remind them to visit the TTP and all follow up items on http://euromission.visitcalifornia.com/en/
Winners of prizes
Catherine Blackburn, Wexas travel
Runner up prize:
Lisa Hilliard, Travel counsellors
Caroline Frame, Virgin holidays
Sharon Cliff, Lonely travel
Joanne Graham, Travel Counsellors
Runner up prize:
Michael Churnside, CBT International
Mary Philobbos, Mina World TravelUniversal minion: Sonya Kaur, TUI Travel
Newmarket Holidays: Mandy McGlade has joined the team as a contractor for USA. Mandy is very well
known in the US Industry and is a great addition to Newmarket.
Great Rail Journeys: Rob Carroll (product manager) has left, they are currently recruiting a product manager. Current key contacts include Jack Mey (contractor) and Louise Heatley (head of product and contracting).
Travelbag: Paul Hopkinson (head of marketing) is leaving Travelbag and will start at Best At Travel in mid- June.
Thomas Cook Group: David Green has left the company.
US Airways: Aspi Irani (sales manager) has left the company after the merger of American Airlines/US
Airways into American.
STA Travel: Tim Fryer, previously general manager of product, will now be Director of Product & Marketing at STA Travel.
Funway Holidays/My American Holiday: Chris Bradford has started as product and commercial manager of the My American Holiday brand.
There have been no fam trips out to Mammoth this quarter, however Mammoth will be included on the 2014 Visit California SuperFAM more specifically the Outdoor Adventure itinerary which is being run by Intrepid Travel.
Sales Calls, Trainings, Leads & Opportunities
Scott Dunn: Trained their sales staff, approx. 5 people on Mammoth, specifically the area’s summer offerings.
Abercrombie & Kent: Travelled to their stand-alone store in Cheapside, in the City of London. 6 staff members were trained on Mammoth, specifically focusing on seasonality and experiences that can be enjoyed at different points of the year.
Exsus: Met with the product manager of Exsus, Patrick Smith, we discussed expanding their product range in California more specifically starting to look at Mammoth.
Tourdust: Met with Anna Colclough, the director of a soft adventure operator Tourdust who are very keen on expanding and selling California holidays. Mammoth was high on their list of places to discuss and Anna and her husband will be visiting Mammoth briefly as part of a wider reccy visit this August where they are keen to meet with potential operators of both accommodations and soft adventure activity outfits with the hopes of being able to establish partnerships which will enable them to sell full California itineraries from next year.
Canadian Affair: Kathy Farahat, product manager, has been in touch as Canadian Affair will soon start to
feature US product. Provided Mammoth assets.
America as you Like it: Met with Cath and Maggi to discuss sales and product. They advised that areas like the Deep South and Oregon are gaining in popularity because of being featured in recent movies. Their customers are quite keen on areas ‘off the beaten track’ at the moment. Mammoth definitely is in-keeping with that mantra so looking to work closely providing as much info as possible.
Abercrombie & Kent: Met with Peter Stanley-Jones, commercial manager at A&K. Peter told us that since we’ve participated in their first ever US campaign in January, they’ve seen a 3 fold increase in CA bookings during that same period, as well as an increase in revenue of 200%, passengers up 38% and average selling price up 100%. Peter was keen on working with us on future campaigns as part of our luxury strategy.
Abercrombie & Kent: Travelled to their store located inside of Harrods in Knightsbridge. Trained 6 members of their sales team on Mammoth and its offerings.
USAirtours, ‘train the trainer’: Travelled out to Essex to visit USAirtours. Conducted in-depth training for their USAirtours and Travelplanners trainers on Mammoth. USAirtours doesn’t allow external training anymore but encourages training of those who conduct it for the wider team.
Ocean Holidays: Met with the senior team and owners of Ocean Holidays to discuss the roll-out of Ocean California next year. They were presented with all of the profile information and research for the UK to provide a strong business case to expand on their already successful Florida programme. We’ll continue to work closely with the team there. Mammoth resources and also goodies for their staff were sent.
Flight Centre: Met with the product director and marketing manager at Flight Centre to discuss how we can more closely align with them on an annual strategy and plan. They provided an update on their plans moving forward including the creation of their ‘hyper-stores’ in areas such as Victoria, London. They now have over 85 high street shops across the UK, and 650 travel consultants.
TUI/Hayes & Jarvis: Met with the product and marketing team to discuss opportunities for this coming fiscal year.
Travel 2: Met with the marketing manager to discuss opportunities for this coming fiscal year.
Insight Vacations: Met with the sales and marketing directors respectively to discuss what opportunities might exist to engage with Insight this year. Insight is a premium escorted coach product that operates a number of tours in California.
Kuoni: Met with the product and marketing teams, and also trained 20 of their key specialists on California including Mammoth. The agents were very engaged with the training as many weren’t at all familiar with California as they recently merged their sales teams so there are no longer US specialists specifically. The product meeting was also very productive as we made a number of suggestions to Jenna including new hotels to offer, brochure layout advice and inspirational copy advice.