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32 REGION ADVERTORIAL AMERICAS Strengthening the Brand Brand USA President & CEO Chris Thompson sets the course …ADDITIONAL VISITORS SPENT ABOUT .4 BILLION IN THE USA, INCLUDING TRAVEL AND FARE RECEIPTS… Chris Thompson President & CEO, Brand USA In December, the lower and upper houses of parliament in the USA passed a new bill to continue funding of Brand USA for a second term of five years. It’s estimated that the promotional efforts of the organisation will bring over US$ 53 bn extra business into the USA. We asked Brand USA President and CEO, Christopher Thompson what the organisation’s highlights have been over the past year… Our partnership network has grown 40 percent over the past year, from 339 partners in fiscal year 2013 to 475 through fiscal year 2014. Partner program offerings increased from 30 in fiscal year 2013 to more than 100 programs with 200 opportunities in fiscal year 2014 — which helped drive a 94 percent partner program retention rate as measured by the number of partners participating in Brand USA co-op programs during both fiscal years 2013 and 2014. I n t e r n a t i o n a l representation increased with offices expanding their representation of Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom to now include additional offices representing Australia, Brazil, Central America, China, Hong Kong, Mexico, New Zealand, and Taiwan. The number of markets where Brand USA is fully deployed (with its consumer brand campaign, co-op marketing initiatives, and trade outreach) increased from 8 markets (Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, and the United Kingdom to 10 markets (with the addition of China and Taiwan). The results of Brand USA’s efforts in driving international visitation, spend, and share of the global travel market, as well as economic impact will be announced in April as part of your annual return on investment (ROI) study conducted by Oxford Economics… What were the results of the previous survey? The 2013 ROI study conducted by Oxford Economics reported that Brand USA’s marketing programs generated 1.1 million incremental international visitors to the USA in 2013 — a 2.3 percent increase over growth that would have occurred without Brand USA’s marketing efforts in partnership with tour operators, travel agents, travel brands, destinations, and many other organization outside of the travel industry. These additional visitors spent about .4 billion in the USA, including travel and fare receipts. In total, the incremental spending by international visitors as a result of Brand USA’s marketing efforts fuelled the U.S. economy in 2013 by generating .4 billion in business sales, .8 billion in GDP, and .2 billion in personal income. Total economic impact of the marketing effort resulted in the creation and support of more than 53,000 American jobs. Prospective international travellers considering a visit to the United States can now access an exciting and new interactive map that features content from Instagram and Google Maps. (Eds: to view the map, visit DiscoverAmerica. com/roadtrips) Could you please tell us a little more? The enhanced map – created via API access to Instagram, Google Maps and Brand USA - and located on Brand USA’s DiscoverAmerica. com – allows travellers to access real-time content, such as points of interest, relevant photos and travel articles that are positioned at corresponding geolocations on the map. Thumbnails of public Instagram images taken by both travellers and Brand USA partners populate the map, enlarge when selected and are geotagged to provide accurate locations. For the first time ever, industry partners of Brand USA, the destination marketing organization for the U.S., also can add information about their attractions, destinations and accommodations to the ITB BERLIN NEWS • Thursday 5 th March 2015

Hall 2.1 Stand 200 AMERICAS REGION 33 ADVERTORIAL for the five years to come map through Brand USA’s content-management system. What was the idea behind the maps in the first place? As the nation’s destinationmarketing organization, our goal is to inspire and increase travel to the United States. International travellers don’t always grasp the size and scale of the U.S. This new map feature integrates inspirational content shared by other travellers with logistical travel information and helps visitors not just in planning their trip, but in actually discovering all this country has to offer. The social-media aspects of the map provide travellers with ways to share their planned itineraries and trip experiences with friends and other travellers. Users also can access a playlist of songs – through Brand USA’s Spotify profile – that correspond with the themes of suggested American road trips. Instagram and Spotify offer free mobile applications that allow their users to share photos and music. can make the experience so much more intense and memorable. In 2015, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities, are both celebrating their 50th anniversary, and the work of these organizations is today reflected in the richness of our projects exhibiting artistic excellence as well as in the wealth of our cultural institutions across the nation. How are you leveraging social media to increase the impact of your campaigns? Social media is an integral part of our consumer messaging strategy. In some cases we use social media to amplify a message that starts out in a business-to-business or an offline promotion. Last year we partnered with STA on a global campaign that included a social media contest where travellers would win trips to discover the United States of America. The campaign not only included the creation of new products, but also included increased marketing about USA destinations. The contest was launched on social media, and each winner’s journey was shared with their home country. American music is part of our lives. But with music of all kinds being such an integral part of US culture, how can TAs and TOs bring this into the “recipe” when planning travel? Destinations in the U.S. that are known for music can be the centerpiece or theme of a travel package. Three Southern cities, for instance, come to mind: Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans. Nashville is the hub of the country-music industry and home to the Grand Ole Opry. Farther south along the Mississippi River is Memphis, traditional outpost of the blues. Elvis Presley’s home, Graceland, TOTAL ECONOMIC IMPACT OF THE MARKETING EFFORT RESULTED IN THE CREATION AND SUPPORT OF MORE THAN 53,000 AMERICAN JOBS. is here, too. And, where the Mississippi flows into the Gulf of Mexico, is New Orleans, birthplace of jazz. New Orleans is also a bastion of zydeco – a blend of Cajun music with blues, and rhythm and blues. Other regions of the country offer their own signature musical venues and attractions. How has your global network of representatives been expanding over the past year and what are the plans for the coming months? Brand USA currently maintains 12 international offices, where we run consumer, co-op and trade activities in the following markets: Australia and New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong and Taiwan, India, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, and the United Kingdom and Ireland. These markets account for more than 75 percent of inbound travellers to the U.S. Altogether, Brand USA conducts outreach through U.S. pavilions and international representation in the top- 20 global markets for travel. We’re now looking to expand our representation in the Benelux region (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg), France, Russia, Scandinavia, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Latin America. The United States is often referred to as a “melting pot” in which different cultures have contributed their own distinct “flavours”. How important is it to promote cultural attractions and museums as part of the overall package? Cultural attractions, including museums, reflect the uniqueness and authenticity of specific destinations. These items and characteristics infuse an overall travel experience with local or regional flavor. Discovering a region or city once one has had the chance to learn about its history, people and culture Brand USA Pavilion at ITB Berlin ITB BERLIN NEWS • Thursday 5 th March 2015

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