Luxury Travel, Lifestyle and Marketing Trends

Media trends 2014: celebs and content

Everything seems to constantly change – except the public’s appetite for celebrities. Sometimes it’s just too much, especially when it comes to Justin Bieber these days. But back to the point at hand…..

Celebs images, even “B” list it seems, are front and center in the media who chronicle their every step and, ideally in their eyes, misstep. But that’s nothing new. And now, it seems we’re getting the benefits of their wisdom as magazine columnists as the printed product in particular struggles to keep front and center in the public eye. As recounted in Adweek in article “It’s Written in the Stars”, this month kicked off A list celebs picking up the pen for magazines from Brides and Vanity Fair to Redbook, InStyle and Glamour. 

The lineup includes Drew Barrymore on beauty for Brides, Pippa Middleton on a guide to watching rugby for Vanity Fair, Alison Sweeney for Redbook, Q &A for InStyle with Diane von Furstenberg, and Girls’ Zosia Mamet for Glamour.  Does it build readership? The jury is still out but results are promising. Actress Olivia Wilde’s “The Dos and Don’ts of Turning 30” was among the top 10 most shared stories of 2013 on Glamour.com.

 

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The Future of Print and Broadcast Media

mc cherry bombeAt an HSMAI presentation I gave to the South Florida chapter early last year I was asked about the future of print and broadcast media. I answered that there will always be a place for print, though it will become a niche medium, much as books published by the likes of Assouline and Taschen. And sure enough, in a recent issue of Departures magazine, a news short entitled “Defying the Digital Age, One Issue at a Time” discussed new niche titles that are charging as much as $72 for four issues. Most charge no less than $25 or $35 for two issues a year, so they can profit on the subscription side versus the special deals I’ve been getting from mass market, upscale magazines charging $1 a copy. These new titles include Lucky Peach, the new baby of Momofuku celebrity chef David Chang; Cherry Bombe, featuring beautiful women making gourmet fare; and Man of the World, Alan Maleh’s “tribute to an all American lifestyle, handmade and rough shaven”.

Similarly in broadcast, consider a franchise like TV sports. What is the business strategy of behemoth ESPN? To dominate the field exclusive of the niche channels like golf (Golf Channel), tennis (Tennis Channel), etc. Likely though, that if and when these niches become really big, they’ll buy them out. Let’s see what happens with the WWF’s new wrestling channel.

Blogpost by Karen Weiner Escalera, President and Chief Strategist

 

 

Rent a Slum Dwelling, the Newest Hospitality Niche

 

 

The favela of Rocinho in Rio de Janeiro

The favela of Rocinho in Rio de Janeiro

We’ve written about tourism microniches from danger and grief to scandal and slum tourism. But all of that was about visiting sites – an in and out kind of thing. Now a new company is offering a chance to get up close and personal with Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, promising “cultural immersion, stunning views, and an alternative to expensive and boring hotels”. Fueled by the scarcity of rooms projected during the upcoming World Cup, a new start up called Favela Experience begun by an American is promising “affordable World Cup accommodations” in Rio’s slums. This can range from bunk beds to a private room or entire apartment. Many of the accommodations have WiFi and large screen TV as well as the promise of a favela tour by the owner, and rooftop terraces. Plus, they talk of an opportunity to do good as in helping to supplement the income of the favela dwellers. Part of the profits go to fund a DJ school for neighborhood youth. It’s very easy to believe that we could see the beginning of the gentrification of the favelas, already being snapped up  by investors who see the potential in the dramatic views commanded from the hilltop locations.

Managing Your Personal Reputation Online

 

Newsle.com Home Page

Newsle.com Home Page

The other day I was reading a sad tale of woe in the New York Times about a college student who was charged with a felony but not convicted, and how his mug shot ended up on numerous for-profit internet sites such as Busted Mugshots, Just Mugshots, and Mugshots. The sites obtain photos from public record and keep them online until people pay anywhere from $30 to $400 to have them removed (or in a few cases, sites will allow people to prove they were judged not guilty and the photo is removed).  As you’ve probably heard often, the internet can be your best friend or your worst enemy if you’re not careful. One of the better articles out there which had a solid list of tips was “Tending your Image in an Age of Online Permanence”. The main point of the article was how to push the “good stuff’ about you to the top of Google search.  Here are the highlights:

  • Get on as many online platforms as possible and links as well. Articles, videos on lectures, anything that says “authority” is the best. All this helps your ranking and if there is something negative, pushes down the negative.
  • Buy your name. That includes not just buy yourfirstnamelastname.com, but also .net and .org, and populate each with different content. On .net include your academic history and extracurricular activities and on .org your writings on business or career related subjects.
  • Sent up two accounts to monitor your name: Google Alerts, and  Newsle.com . They’re both free.
  • And once you’ve done this, take the next step to proactively build your reputation by populating these profile sites with the latest information and activities you’re proud of — i.e. a new job, professional accomplishments, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, etc. This will help you professionally in everything from getting a job offer and engagements as an industry panelist to being called upon to be quoted as an authority or source.

For more tips, on getting known as an industry authority, check out our article .

Blogpost by Karen Weiner Escalera, President & Chief Strategist

Next Step in Farm to Table

Round Hill Hotel & Villas, Jamaica photo: modernfarmer.com

Hotels That Farm: Round Hill Hotel & Villas, Jamaica
photo: modernfarmer.com

Fairmont Hotels has its rooftop beehives, more hotels and restaurants their herb and vegetable gardens and buy local, and spas their herb gardens to use in treatments. It’s all part of the rapidly growing farm-to-table movement you’ve read about. Consumers, too, are doing their thing with urban chicken farming, gardening and beekeeping  proliferating across the country. In fact, this has raised issues for municipalities who are relooking zoning. The consumer phenomenon is called the “hobby farmer”, you could say a logical next step in the farm-to-table movement that has fueled a growth in farmers’ markets, community sponsored agriculture and young people going back to the land. To reach out to the market segment of “foodies”, the passionate about farm to table, and would be young farmers, there’s an intriguing new website and magazine  — Modern Farmer. Out since April, it already has a global following in Europe and Australia. I can see why. There are highly original, fascinating articles not covered by any other publication. Former President Bill Clinton contributed an article about the work his foundation is doing with farmers globally, and his memories of helping on his uncle’s farm in Alabama. Categories include food, travel, plants and animals and culture among others. Other articles have included everything from Hotels that Farm and  Farmers’ Market Etiquette to the Boston Design Center getting a 55K square foot rooftop garden, and probably more than you’d ever want to know about goats (a “hot” menu item now….the new lamb?).

Reprinted from www.miamicurated.com

Young Foodies, your Devoted Customers-to-Be

Mikey Robins, 15, is the youngest champion of the Food Network's "Chopped".

Mikey Robins, 15, is the youngest champion of the Food Network’s “Chopped”.

More on millennials marketing. Remember you read it here first – teenagers and offspring of affluent parents will be a food focused generation. All of the signs are there. Teens favoriting the Food Network and other foodie shows, then trying out what they see in the kitchen. Even toddlers have become adventurous eaters and think nothing of eating sushi, sashimi and “Babe-a-ccinos” (a coffee free cappuccino).  We are, indeed, a food obsessed population. Look not only at the proliferation of cooking schools, growth of culinary tourism, tourist board food and wine festivals, but social networking sites, blogs, and review sites. Youngsters are eager to join their parents in cooking classes at the pricier resorts around the world. I have a 13 year old niece whose best friend gave her a ring that was inscribed with the words “kale” in honor of her obsession with the dark green leafy vegetable. Where does this come from? Their parents’ foodie culture.

Now we’re seeing exhibits honoring the world’s leading chefs: early next year will be an exhibit of the drawings and diagrams of master Spanish chef Ferran Adrià at the Drawing Center in New York.  And then there’s the Food Hotel which we’ve written about before. What does this all mean to marketers? Capturing the imagination and interest of these young foodies can create indelible memories that can translate into a devoted customer-to-be.

 

Blogpost by Karen Weiner Escalera, President and Chief Strategist

The Next Step in Green Tourism

 

Sims Municipal Recycling Facility

Sims Municipal Recycling Facility

 

We’ve come a long way in our growing awareness of green tourism and other sustainable business practices. Next up? Expect to see more consumer education in “behind the scenes” green programs. A recent New York Times article caught my attention, “Architecture in Tune with the Climate”. Most interesting was the description of a new state-of-the-art processing center, Sims Municipal Recycling Facility, due to open in October in Brooklyn, New York. The facility processes all the plastic, metal and glass collected by the New York City Sanitation Department. But what’s novel is the building is by an architect who usually designs museums and art galleries. Her goal for the 11 acre site? To make a place that does its processing job, but that’s also architecturally significant. And more interesting still, there will be an information center where tours will be offered including a chance to see sanitation workers sort through the plastic, glass and metal. At one of our clients, we’re going to launch a behind-the-scenes tour designed for families, which explains and demonstrates our sustainability practices, serving the added benefit of reinforcing our commitment to the environment.


Blogpost by Karen Weiner Escalera, President and Chief Strategist

PR Director: the new Director of Content?

In this time where content is king, where is the responsibility for content best placed?This was the topic of a provocative article in Digiday on “PR Nudges Its Way to the Content Table.” My contention is that we’re not nudging our way, we’re already in the game. Whether identified as such or not, public relations pros who are at the top of their game are evolving into “Directors of Content”, responsible not only for developing ideas, but also, for creatively distributing the information in different iterations through varied distribution channels.  For example, let’s say xyz hotel launches a new restaurant. The first channel is obviously the PR “evergreen” – a news announcement to the media. The same information can go out as a consumer piece – as a recipe, and in an e newsletter to the hotel’s mailing list. Putting the chef’s or food and beverage director’s byline with an opinion piece on how to make your operation environmentally sustainable – “best practices” – makes it a shoe in for any number of blogs – from hotel industry and Slow Food to those dealing with the environment. And then there’s the whole area of social media where the slant is engagement and conversation, certainly a forte of any PR professional. In a article mentioned, they also referred to “native” advertising, in other words, the world of sponsored posts which are more editorially oriented (less flowery copy) than advertorials. To be sure, the space is purchased, so then it might follow that advertising will do the copy. For PR professionals, this native advertising is just another name for articles we call “service” pieces. And then there’s another perspective expressed in the Digiday article from an ad exec:

“Creating content is still a line item on an invoice, whether that’s for PR agencies or ad agencies. What experts say, however, is that owning content-creation will come down to one thing: execution. PR has just as good an opportunity as any other industry to be in a strong position to own this stuff and play a leading role helping brands,” said Rick Liebling, creative culturalist at Y&R. It comes down to: Do you have chops or don’t you?”

To be sure, the challenge is that PR especially in hotels often has responsibilities other than “content”. Sometimes it’s special events, other times crisis communications, counsel, guest relations, and more. It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out. For sure you’ll be reading more about this in future blogposts.

Blogpost by Karen Weiner Escalera, President and Chief Strategist

Digital Strategies for Luxury Brands #7

This is the seventh of nine digital strategies for luxury brands.

Millennials want to be “entertained and informed” and with increasingly sophisticated technology. (Would you ever turn your brand’s Twitter feed over to a stranger? Probably not. But that’s what VisitSweden did. The tourism board gave its @sweden Twitter account to regular citizens for a week at a time, to showcase real local voices and true local flavor. And knowing that savvy Millennials are glued to their phones, A/X brand – the “Accessible Armani” – targets young consumers with in-store pickup to its mobile commerce site).

Digital Strategies for Luxury Brands #6

This is the sixth of nine digital strategies for luxury brands.

Make a concerted effort to reach out to affluent Millennials (ages 23 to 36), they’re your future. The most effective campaigns are those that engage followers in a conversation about the brand. (Mercedes Benz Generation Benz is a private online community that engages Gen Y in conversation and feedback about the brand. They also offer an M-B Advisors program where regular live chats and group feedback help tailor television spots and tweak product performance).