Category: Tourism marketing

Sherlock Holmes movie (or still literary?) tourism

Mancunian wrote about Sherlock Holmes inspired tourism over 3 years ago. With the movie coming out, I guess we’ll see an increase in Sherlock Holmes tourism and England seems to be making sure of that with their marketing efforts. Here’s a press release:

VisitBritain Invites The World To Enjoy An Adventure In Sherlock Holmes’ Britain

Celebrating the release of “Sherlock Holmes,” the new action-adventure mystery starring Robert Downey Jr. as the legendary detective, national tourism agency VisitBritain has joined forces with Warner Bros. Pictures to invite tourists to discover Sherlock Holmes’ Britain – Past and Present – with a new campaign and online movie map, visitbritain.com/sherlockholmes and a free Great British Film Locations iPhone App. The campaign, showcasing locations with links to Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, comes as the new film premieres in London this week. As part of the partnership, VisitBritain will be working with the film’s media and promotional partners globally to award Sherlock Holmes-themed trips to Britain that will include a stay at a luxurious Radisson Edwardian Hotel.

Guy Ritchie, the film’s director, commented, “Sherlock Holmes is an iconic British character and bringing our story to life on the streets of London, Liverpool and Manchester was part of the fun of making this film. Given the 150th anniversary of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s birth this year, I’m excited to unleash our version of Sherlock Holmes to audiences in the UK and around the world.”

Sherlock Holmes opens in cinemas from 25th December. Sherlock Holmes was filmed on location in London, Liverpool and Manchester with scenes shot at St Paul’s Cathedral and the Houses of Parliament, Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, Manchester town hall, Liverpool Docks at Chatham Historic Dockyard in Kent.

Actor Robert Downey Jr added, “Sherlock Holmes has great pride in being English. London is an incredibly fascinating city and the centre of the world at the time our film takes place. Holmes knows every inch of it and feels it’s his city. It was great fun filming throughout Britain.”

The website features footage from the film, locations from the film and from across Britain linked to the great detective – including the Sherlock Holmes Museum at 221B Baker Street in London. Itineraries to London, Liverpool, Manchester and Edinburgh will help tourists enjoy a short break in Britain with a Sherlock Holmes theme.

VisitBritain’s marketing director, Laurence Bresh says: “Today, VisitBritain increasingly uses the UK’s world-renowned film and literary heritage – as well as music, fashion and culture – to raise awareness of the appeals of Britain and its destinations. Sherlock Holmes is known around the world as one of Britain’s most iconic characters. Our partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures is a great way of helping people discover the secrets of our destinations and entice them into having a fantastic adventure here.”

VisitBritain is raising awareness of the new film and Britain’s popularity as a ‘set-jetting’ destination with limited edition Oyster card wallets, VisitBritain is raising awareness of the new film and Britain’s popularity as a ‘set-jetting’ destination as international travel buyers arrive in London for the annual World Travel Market at ExCeL. The film’s branding will also appear on limited edition Oyster card wallets distributed by VisitBritain throughout December and January from the Britain and London Visitor Centre and globally via visitbritaindirect.com. The campaign is supported by Radisson Edwardian Hotels, Visit London, Marketing Manchester and The Mersey Partnership.

What do you think of Malaysia’s image?

I went to Malaysia before I really knew anything about its image so while I’ve written about Malaysia before this is probably the first time I realized that people may think of the country as unsafe or oppessive:

Malaysia’s image abroad has taken a bashing in recent years. The crime rate is often blamed, but it has also been marred by controversies over moral policing and religious disputes.

Andy Davidson, an expatriate who has lived in Malaysia for more than 20 years, told The Straits Times that there is some paranoia in the West concerning Muslim countries.

It does not help that Malaysia keeps making international news for cases like that of Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, who was ordered to be caned for drinking beer.

The quote comes from this Malaysian article that is speculating on reasons for the decline in MM2H applicants.

Where did taxi drivers enhance or ruin your vacation experience?

This article got me thinking about taxi drivers and how they impact your vacations. The article talks about Malaysia’s tourism marketing efforts in Denmark, which are made harder because taxi drivers often refuse to use the meter in Malaysia.

I encountered this problem personally both times I visited Malaysia. In KL, we had to wait a while but generally we found drivers who were willing to use the meter. Sometimes it was the 2nd or 3rd or 4th taxi we tried though. In Penang, no taxi would use the meter. It was really frustrating (though looking back I wonder why I cared so much that they wanted 10 ringgit when the meter would have said 2 – 8 ringgit was a little more than $2 at the time and I shouldn’t have let the money cause so much vacation stress).

Just wondering where else taxis hurt the tourism industry. The bigger stories recently aren’t directly related to travel: the gay couple kicked out of a NYC cab for hugging, Australia requiring an English test for taxis, courts recently ruled that Korean taxi drivers can watch TV while driving (how crazy / scary is that?), and so on.

And just for the record, I think Malaysia should simply increase the meter rate so taxi drivers can live with it. I think NYC’s proposed law to ban taxi drivers from wearing earpieces while the motor is running is silly (no restriction is suggested for people who don’t drive for a living). I guess drivers in Cebu have it bad with low metered fares and few customers. I generally sympathize with cabbies who work hard (who wants to drive in traffic all day?), are subject to abuse, and are not usually compensated well.

I did think that Japan and Singapore had excellent taxis (although expensive).

Laikipia Plateau in Kenya: would you go?

This article says it’s such an off-the-beaten-path tourist spot that travelers sometimes see British military tests.

The region is trying to develop its tourism industry but are the mortar rounds scaring away potential tourists? Personally, if a few knowledgable people told me I’d see more wildlife in Laikipia Plateau than on a safari somewhere else, I don’t think I’d care about guns possibly keeping me awake at night.

This second video indicates you should ride a horse (they also show walking and biking), not something I’m unwilling to do, but something I never have done. It’s also a commercial video.

Would you go?

Marketing travel in a bad economy: travel as necessity

Here’s an article on Arizona and their efforts to get tourists to spend money.

new figures that show consumer savings in May were up 1.4 percent over the same period a year earlier. More to the point, that savings rate reached a 15-year high.

But in an industry dependent on people having disposable income, that’s not a good thing.

“It’s the new ‘normal,'” Johnson said. And that, she said, means having to find new ways to get would-be travelers to spend more and save a little bit less.

“We have to position travel as a necessity,” she said. That means stressing the importance of the physical and psychological benefits of travel.

I can’t say I’m surprised that we have state government agencies encouraging people not to save money. I still don’t like it though. People need to save money.

Sure we also need to travel. I certainly agree that traveling is healthy. But why not try to help travelers spend less? Why do we have to spend our marketing dollars on getting people not to save?

NETC’s interesting marketing tactic

Here’s an interesting marketing idea. When one of your competitors goes out of business and leaves a bunch of would-be travelers out 4 grand each, offer to help out by covering all of their expenses except airfare.

That’s what NETC, National Educational Travel Council is doing for customers of the failed Voyageur Educational Tours.

Spirit Airlines MILF and DD ads: right or wrong?

I just learned that Spirit Airlines‘ flight attendants are or were protesting ads that use the acronyms DD’s [deep discounts] and “MILF” [many islands, low fare]. Many of you will know that DD can also refer to bra or breast size and MILF can be “Mom I’d Like to F*ck.”

I wanted to see the ads for myself before making a judgement. A youtube search turned up this interview with Spirit’s president, Ben Baldanza. Around 1:15 as the interview begins, something very funny happens. Baldanza says that Spirit is very proud to offer “low service” – he probably meant low-cost service…

I think I found the actual ad but I also found other bloggers talking about it as far back as Dec. 2007. I think Spirit used the MILF ads before and are now using them again:

So what do you think? Is Spirit doing something wrong here? Or is the ad OK and should the flight attendants stop complaining?

Flight attendants are also complaining that they have been turned into walking billboards with demeaning advertisements for light beer. Apparently they are now required to wear a bud light patch on their aprons:

What do you think about these aprons? An OK way to make money and save flight attendants’ jobs? Or demeaning flight attendants and making it harder for them to stop serving alcohol to people getting drunk on the flight?

Travel TV

I just heard about “Travel TV” – a system where travel agents pay 200 GBP/month for a subscription in order to show there clients promotional films. Travel TV boasts that this is better than showing clients a brochure and I suppose that’s true.

Carnival Cruise Line just became the first cruise operator to sign up with Travel TV. If I’m Carnival, I make the promotional films available on my website for free because I want everyone to see them, not just the travel agents who pay 200 GBP a month…

Never knew marketing could sound so wrong

Imagine you’re a manager at a resort in the Philippines. One of your jobs is to get people to come to your resort. You’re asked to do an interview with a Filipino newspaper. You say:

“As a Filipino-owned corporation, our vision is to showcase our culture, which we should be proud of because we are one of the few countries with a rich culture and heritage,” said general manager Rhyz O. Buac.

Are you kidding me? I didn’t know general managers were capable of saying anything as stupid as “we are one of the few countries with a rich culture and heritage.”

I don’t know for sure, but that might alienate some potential tourists from foreign countries…

The manager also says that hiring Filipinos is not common among resorts in Cebu. I’ve only been to one – Plantation Bay – but they also hired Filipinos as far as I could tell. I did see one Korean at reception – makes sense since they said that about 50% of their guests were Koreans.

Anyway, the resort sounds interesting since it is designed to showcase Filipino culture and I’m perfectly willing to admit that I didn’t learn a whole lot about Filipino culture when I was in Cebu (although I hear my experience at the transvestite bar is not so unusual). But I’m also fairly certain that I don’t want to visit this resort since the manager seems to have little respect for other cultures and seems to be a liar.

Hurricanes = tourism marketing challenge

A new challenge faces tourism promoters. This article says it well: “After three years, vacationers finally seem to have forgotten about Florida’s hurricane woes. Tourism promoters hope Fay won’t jog their memories.”

This sounds to me like people who sell travel don’t want to talk about hurricanes. You’d better do your own research, possibly starting with the average hurricane tracks I blogged about a few days ago.

Today is my anniversary so I won’t be spending any more time with my computer…