brand strategy

No IPO Rush for Airbnb as Lodging Marketplace Capitalizes on Interest

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 8, 2014 02:22 PM

Airbnb, the online accomodations marketplace that has been shaking up the hotel industry, is headed for an IPO, but not before the San Francisco-based company snagged former Coca-Cola executive Jonathan Mildenhall to be its new CMO.

Life at Airbnb will likely be a bit of culture shock for Mildenhall, as Ad Age notes that the company spent only $300,000 on measured media in 2013, according to Kantar Media reports. That's pocket change for Coke, which plans to boost its media spend up to $1 billion by 2016. However, Mildenhall may have made a smart move since Coca-Cola is going through a shakeup of its own. An internal Coca-Cola memo obtained by Ad Age has it that the changes "will accelerate the profitable growth of Coca-Cola through world class marketing—both in North America and markets around the world." 

Meanwhile, Airbnb pulled in $450 million in funding last month in its latest round of financing, increasing its lifetime investment to $776.4 million and its valuation to $10 billion. But all that new cash doesn't have Airbnb rushing its IPO. 

"Going public is a means, not an end goal," CTO and co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk told Yahoo! Finance. "It's a way of raising capital, and our company is currently very well capitalized, so there's no need to think about an IPO right now."Continue reading...

ready for takeoff

Spirit Airlines Has a Novel Marketing Platform for You

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 12, 2014 12:51 PM

If you need to vomit while flying Spirit Airlines, be sure to take a moment before you let loose and check out the bag. It may have the logo of some enterprising brand on there. 

Spirit is going after every dollar it can and has opened the doors for brands to advertise on pretty much everything on its planes. Skift.com reports that for just $30,000, a message can be placed on 150,000 “air-sickness bags” for a three-month run. 

The low-cost Spirit already has one of the highest profit margins in the industry, according to Skift, and was the first to charge passengers for bringing on carry-on bags. It also charges them for snacks, drinks, pillows, and blankets and “Spirit flight attendants even make an on-board pitch to sign passengers up for Spirit co-branded MasterCard credit cards.

Skift reports that the Spirit ad rate card offers brands the opportunity to put their logo on window panels, bulkheads, overhead bins, tray tables, in-flight menus, flight attendants’ aprons, and Styrofoam cups. Brands can even wrap a complete Spirit plane in its messaging for a full year for $400,000.Continue reading...

luxury watch

Tommy Hilfiger Dives In to Hospitality with Miami Beach Hotel Buy

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 11, 2014 11:47 AM

Famed fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger may be turning 63-years-old in a few weeks, but he's not exactly coasting toward retirement. Instead, he's heading off an entirely new business.

Women’s Wear Daily reports that Hilfiger “is negotiating to buy The Raleigh Hotel” in the South Beach area of Miami, which carries a reported $100 million price tag. “I’ve always wanted a hotel property,” Hilfiger said. “We’re going to turn it into a five-star chic hotel with all the amenities.”

The 74-year-old Art Deco hotel won't be Hilfiger's last, either. He has launched Hilfiger Hospitality, a venture centered around "fashion, art, music and entertainment." Hilfiger is reportedly pursuing unique properties in both US and international markets.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Comcast Hones In on Universal Theme Parks as Point of Significant Expansion

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 10, 2014 04:43 PM

Comcast has set the TV world aflame in the last few years with its purchase of NBCUniversal and its yet-to-be-finalized deal to acquire Time Warner Cable. But there’s another industry that Comcast is looking to be a serious player in as well: theme parks.

Comcast, which already had $2.2 billion in revenue last year from its theme parks and resorts unit, isn’t shying away from horning in on the territory long dominated by Disney, either. The company's Universal Studios is “investing hundreds of millions of dollars into theme parks in California and Florida.” While it is investing in new attractions for its Universal Orlando Resorts, it also building “the largest hotel construction project in North America: [an] 1,800-room, 1960s-themed Cabana Bay Beach Resort,” of which Comcast is sharing the bill with Loews Corp., the Philadephia Inquirer reports

Six hundred of the rooms will open this month, with the rest scheduled to open by year's end. With that, Universal will have 4,200 rooms, a 75 percent increase from the 2,400 it previously boasted, but NBCUniversal chief Steve Burke says the complex could have between 10,000 and 15,000 hotel rooms in time.Continue reading...

web watch

Brand Watch: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Ted Striker Reprise Airplane! for Travel Wisconsin

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 5, 2014 10:02 AM

The Zucker brothers that directed the cult classic Airplane! grew up in Wisconsin. So it's no surprise that Travel Wisconsin recruited the pair for a new state tourism ad spoofing the spoof film, complete with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Ted Striker.

Jerry Zucker teamed with Green Bay Packers star Jordy Nelson last year for a spot spoofing the The Wizard of Oz. Check it out after the jump:Continue reading...

social media watch

Amtrak Brings "Residency" Request to Fruition After Some Social Listening

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 25, 2014 02:53 PM

Working to keep its finger on the pulse of social media, Amtrak has fashioned a real-life initiative out of a virtual interaction. 

The travel brand is working to develop an application process for "Amtrak Residencies," a program that was spurred by a comment in an interview with author Alexander Chee, who in December said that trains were his favorite place to write. 

The idea was spun off on Twitter by writer Jessica Gross, who liked Chee's idea and on a whim asked Amtrak what would need to be done to make this actually happen. Amtrak replied, and the Amtrak Residency program took off.  

Gross was the program's first resident, as she rode from New York City to Chicago and back on Amtrak's dime on the promise that she'd write about the experience—an all-new kind of branded content.Continue reading...

china

Coming Off a Record Year, Hong Kong's Disneyland Looks to Expand Offerings

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 18, 2014 12:52 PM

Hong Kong Disneyland wasn’t an immediate hit when it opened back in 2005, but things appear to have taken a turn for the better for the theme park. It doubled its net profits last year while setting a new attendance record, Variety reports, and it now plans to open a third hotel.

The park, a joint venture 52 percent owned by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government and 48 percent owned by a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Co., brought in $31.2 million in the financial year that ended in September 2013. Attendance was up to 7.4 million, a 10 percent jump over the previous year, and more importantly, spending per head increased by 6 percent. 

“Steady growth was registered across the three main sources of guests from the local community, mainland China and international markets, with the latter two accounting for about two-thirds of total guests,” said Andrew Kam, HKDL managing director.

The park's hotel occupancy rates have been consistently over 90 percent over the last three years, giving the park confidence to open up a new, 750-room hotel in 2017 that will have an exotic locations theme. The new accomodations will bring the park's room number up to 1,750.Continue reading...

place branding

Brand USA Explores New Opportunity with Australian Campaign

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 17, 2014 02:12 PM

Australians love to visit the United States, apparently. Travel from the Land Down Under to the States is at an all-time high and it is currently the ninth largest international market for America.

In hoping to keep that relationship going, Brand USA, the four-year-old public/private partnership charged with showcasing America to overseas tourists, has launched its first campaign in Australia, throwing $1.5 million into the effort.

The campaign features Rosanne Cash, the daughter of Johnny Cash, singing an original song with her band under the Brooklyn Bridge intercut with scenes from across America. 

“Brand USA’s goal is continue to sustain and grow this market by showcasing to Australians the limitless possibilities that are on offer in the United States,” said Joe Ponte, strategy director for Brand USA in Australia, according to Mumbrella. “It’s not just a once in a lifetime holiday destination; the US offers a lifetime of holidays and that’s what we’ve tried to portray in this first TV commercial.”Continue reading...

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