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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...

traveling brands

Headed to Amsterdam? Tweet KLM for Your Ticket

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 13, 2014 03:46 PM

It's a bit ironic that the world's oldest airline is also the most innovative.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is known for implementing tech-savvy initiatives to make traveling easier—and more fun—for its global passengers. And now, the airline has introduced a new way to pay and set up flights through social media. 

Passengers on KLM's five weekly nonstop flights between Chicago's O'Hare Airport and Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam can now pay for airplane tickets, rebook a flight, make a seat reservation or arrange for extra baggage on Facebook and Twitter.

It's really no surprise, since the airline industry is one of the most socially-active, and KLM tops that list.Continue reading...

traveling brands

In Prep for IPO, Virgin America Innovates with In-Flight Social Network

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 12, 2014 01:47 PM

Virgin’s tech team and customer-relations crew must be working overtime this week. Over in the UK, Virgin Atlantic announced it is testing a wearable tech program with its airline concierge staff to better serve upper-class customers, and now the airline's US arm has partnered with Here On Biz on an in-flight social network based off of LinkedIn.

The venture, which focuses on business travelers, allows passengers on Virgin America flights to connect with other passengers on the plane and on the ground. 

"This partnership allows flyers to take advantage of those serendipitous travel moments where people with complementary business interests are in the same place at the same time—even if that place is on a plane somewhere 35,000 feet above the US," said Here On Biz CEO Nick Smoot, according to The Verge. "With our iOS app and this partnership with Virgin America, you can find your next big connection in seat 4C—or even just a row away from you."

The service, which passengers need to opt into, will launch next week on one plane based in San Francisco and expand to all Virgin America flights by month’s end, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.Continue reading...

traveling brands

Virgin Outfits Airline Concierges with Wearable Tech for Personalized Service

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 11, 2014 01:53 PM

As the cost of airline travel continues to go up, airline service often leaves much to be desired. But Virgin Atlantic is hoping to restore a bit of the glory days of travel for its upper-class passengers thanks to wearable tech. 

Virgin Atlantic employees at London’s Heathrow airport are now wearing tech devices including Google Glass and Sony's Smartwatch that feed the concierges helpful information about approaching passengers, including first names, so that staff can offer up a more personal level of service.

“At the same time, staff will be able to update passengers on their latest flight information, weather and local events at their destination and translate any foreign language information,” Virgin said in press release about the six-week pilot program. “In future, the technology could also tell Virgin Atlantic staff their passengers’ dietary and refreshment preferences – anything that provides a better and more personalized service.”

Gigaom notes that Virgin is “also testing Apple’s iBeacon technology at Heathrow,” which would allow the airline to “automatically push updates to the phones of nearby passengers with information such as nearby services, discounts, and updated flight boarding schedules.”Continue reading...


The Week in China: Happy Chinese New Year!

Posted by Abe Sauer on January 31, 2014 05:42 PM

China is the second largest economy in the world and every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse)—but who's got the time?! Here's the week's reads that will make you look like a keen China observer in case you find yourself immersed in a cultural conversation.

This week: Transformers 4's new China car... the rise of Chinese smartphone brands... how Bailey's explains the rise of women's purchasing power... breast milk soap... Walmart can't catch a break... Weibo losses... Diageo losses... KFC faces bird flu again... JD.com wants you to shake it... Jissbon condoms just being Jissbon... Virgin's space ban... Toyota... Hyundai... more Year of the Horse marketing... and more.Continue reading...

traveling brands

Delta's New Safety Video is Totally Tubular

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 30, 2014 11:41 AM

The latest airline industry trend isn't fees, fees, fees (well, maybe). Instead, airliners are letting their creative juices flow in what has become a stream of high-energy, entertaining in-flight safety videos.

Following a Glee-inspired dance number from Virgin and appearance by Richard Simmons on Air New Zealand, Delta has released a time traveling follow-up to its holiday-themed jaunt. 

Alf and Teddy Ruxpin make appearances along with a number of other ‘80s references. When electronic items are required to be turned off, a man puts his Atari console under his seat. Rubik’s cube, a Devo hat, lots of big hair, cassette tapes, and a worm-dancing passenger get screen time in this ode to a lost era. The kicker, of course, comes at the end when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is seen in the cockpit, a reference to his stellar acting work in the 1980 comedy Airplane!Continue reading...

brands under fire

Uber Is In a Heap of Trouble as Car Services Get Competitive

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 28, 2014 04:47 PM

Private transportation service Uber is happy to self promote, but there is likely a whole side of its business that it wishes no one knew about: its legal problems.

The international app-driven car and delivery service has attracted a lot of attention for its one-off marketing stunts that have so far included kitten, Christmas tree and ice cream truck deliveries. But lately, the brand has been in headlines for less admirable practices.

Across the US, from New York and Boston to Chicago, Uber is facing claims (and some actual lawsuits) for "illegal practices including misleading marketing and unfair competition," according to the Reuters. Most recently the company apologized to rival car company Gett after some of Uber's New York employees ordered, and then cancelled, more than 100 cars in a scam that debilitated the service. Uber turned the PR disaster into a recruitment fair, trying to convince some of the Gett drivers to swap companies.Continue reading...

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