Luxury Travel, Lifestyle and Marketing Trends

Is the Term PR Dead?

The term “public relations” may be on its way out according to an article in O’Dwyer’s, a leading PR industry publication. Of 103 members in the PR Council, one of the leading organizations of prominent firms across the US, only eight use PR In their titles. And at the 2014 conference of the PR Society last October, only 11% of the 1450 registrants used PR as a part of their title. The word “communications”, however, was used by 386 or 26% of the registrants. One of the problems with this name change is, in this age of twitter and other social media, communications takes up too much real estate!

I never really liked the term PR. It might be because I always have to explain it. Most people don’t know what it means, many taking its literal meaning — dealing with the public as in  guest relations, customer relations or giving events. I remember years ago in walking around a tony area of Madrid I saw a sign, courses in public relations and learning to be an airline stewardess. Today, it’s not that bad but it’s still not understood.

“Communications” is certainly a clearer term, but it doesn’t begin to cover the breadth of what PR can be, especially in today’s business world, where the discipline has some overlap with strategic marketing and branding. “Communications” also seems a kind of passive term to me, not reflecting the creativity and proactivity of the job. An expanded role in all aspects of content management is becoming an increasingly part of PR’s role, but it also wouldn’t suit as a title.

So, you’re probably asking me what term do I like? I wish I had an answer. Any ideas on your end?



Transformation of Luxury Language

Using the word “luxury” has been a hot topic among marketers. On its own “luxury” has joined other debased words like “gourmet” and “spa” to the extent that some see fit to add a distinguishing modifier such as Haute, Ultra, or even HNW (high net worth) Luxury.


Nightlife tourism

Move over beaches, Berlin is knocking. Berlin has always been a city rich in night life—its vibrant cabaret clubs in the 1920s and 1930s helped inspire an award-winning Broadway play and movie—and the current club scene can trace its roots back to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, which left East Berlin littered with empty buildings.


Destination to Destination partnerships

New York City and Miami tourism officials announced a new partnership (“Rivals, Not in this Arena”) to boost travel between the two destinations, 1088 miles apart. Launching in 2011, this novel approach involves joint advertising, sales on American Airlines airfares between the two cities, and promoting special events and deals in both destinations to boost tourism during their respective slower seasons.


Rise of the Intelligent Consumer

Impulse buying of extravagant commodities is out. Softer selling is now in. We’re seeing the use of more sophisticated, layered approaches. The best, strategic approaches combine sound reasoning with emotional lures to motivate indulging in “guilty” pleasures.
Looking through you: The intelligent consumer. We are now living in the age of what might be termed the “intelligent consumer.” He or she shops around while trying to learn more about a product’s value. “Both booking and dollar volume indicate that consumers are willing to spend money, just as long as they feel they’re spending it responsibly,” Jeff Anderson, a marketing manager for America’s Vacation Center/Avoya Travel, told Travel Weekly. Consumers – luxury or otherwise – are demanding value and fairness before cracking open their thinner wallets.

Successfully selling luxury in today’s tough environment requires communication. Consumers need answers to such key questions as, “What am I really buying? Why is it so expensive? What is it made of? What are the service specifics?”  Educate your consumer on your product’s material, attributes, its limited quantity, its inherent value. After they buy, they want to believe they’ve made an intelligent choice.

Apple Corp. demonstrates this formula daily in its retail and online storefronts, all designed to seem more about consumer education than hard selling. Simple, almost austere, they feature minimal signage and clear messaging. The atmosphere looks benign: Go on, try this gizmo out. Questions? Ask a nerdy clerk. No one, it seems, is there to sell you anything.

Shoppers, affluent or otherwise, are willing to search relentlessly for price. With corporate travel rebounding a bit, Orbitz for Business data shows business people are booking smarter these days. Some 70% say they feel personally obligated to save their company money on travel bookings. Even though their personal pocketbooks are unaffected, this penny-pinching mindset may be permanent after the past two years of cutbacks.

(….an excerpt from our recent Luxury Travel & Lifestyle Trends newsletter: “Tapping the Senses to Sell Luxury Travel“)

Destination Marketing Tips in a Time of Crisis – Part 2

Effective crisis management can help to limit the damage caused by intense, negative media coverage. To be prepared, an organization must create a detailed crisis communication plan with a crisis communication team assigned to execute the plan that spells out the official spokesperson, key audiences, and internal and external communication chains of command. Practice crisis scenarios and recommended action, and have prepared fact sheets, statements and news release templates on hand. Sometimes, the best course of action might be to “wait and see” rather than risk fanning the fire.