April 11-12 conference in Andorra to look at mountain tourism in emerging countries
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Mountain tourism has a long and storied tradition in places like the Alps of Europe and Colorado, but countries with emerging econonmies are also trying to get into the game.
The UN’s World Tourism Organization will hold a two-day conference (April 11-12) in Andorra to spotlight mountain and snow tourism, with presentations on emerging resorts in Bulgaria and Serbia, as well as a case study involving Pyeongchang, the South Korean city hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics. The full agenda is online at the conference website.
The 7th World Congress on Snow and Mountain Tourism will also focus on providing a clear understanding of the challenges and opportunities of the snow and mountain destinations and to acquire an overview of successful business models, innovation, the impact of climate change and tourism marketing during.
“The Snow and Mountain Tourism World Congress is a great opportunity for tourist experts and professionals, and especially those related to this important market, to meet, to analyse the evolution and to discuss the challenges and opportunities of the future,” said Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the World Tourism Organisation. “The Congress is a platform for the representatives of traditional and emerging mountain resorts of the whole world to exchange best practices in product development, promotion and human resources.”
“The 2012 edition of the Snow and Mountain Tourism World Congress … will particularly stress how the new technologies are changing the sector and providing a long range tool in promoting and developing destinations. The subjects, including how tourists book and consider their stays, and the importance of on-line promotion, will undoubtedly be important in an ever more competitive market.”
A few bullet points from the agenda:
“All-season” Chinese resorts: what are their key success factors?
The example of Sun Mountain Yabuli and Adventure Mountain Chanchun, in China The company Mountain China Resorts is developing mountain resorts in China, proposing tourist activities throughout the year. It has managed to put two top-quality resorts on the market, which are competitive on an international scale.
The Serb initiative to develop the mountain tourism.
The Serb Government wants to make better use of its tourism potential. It has managed to find investors and operators for one of its mountain tourism treasures in the region of “Stara Planina”. The State is involved in the project by providing the infrastructure.
Bansko as a destination: what makes it unique and how to spread the word?
Bansko lies in the South-west of Bulgaria, a commune rich in cultural heritage and close to a large national park. It has become an international ski resort in recent years and a focus of autonomous growth in a country that is still undergoing a transition. It combines a traditional summer resort with plans to build a ski resort from scratch.
Five Mountain Tourism 2.0 strategies:
Unique experiences in new habits of consumption
Consumption habits have changed. Tourists have come into the game of the offer and demand on the Internet, and the great competitiveness between tourist companies forces operators to offer attractive destinations at reasonable prices to catch the visitors’ attention. The snow and mountain resorts must be positioned in this technological game, but with unique experiences that create alliances with visitors and by reinventing the mountain tourist offer throughout the year.
Loyalty-building through the social networks
The social networks have become an instrument to gain loyalty and also an element of personalisation to know visitors’ concerns. There is a need to create virtual communities to accompany visitors before, during and after their trip and thus to enhance the snow and mountain destinations. Empathy and connection must be achieved with the visitors using the social networks to identify their tastes, to reinvent the offer and to maintain two-way communication aimed at gaining their loyalty. The new mobile devices come into play.
The number of different messages and the excessive amount of information on the Internet are a danger to tourist operators. A destination’s Internet positioning is more important than ever to avoid it going unnoticed. An attractive product in a dreamy destination to which different emotions can be bound, all managed with good marketing strategies including video marketing amongst other things, is essential for good positioning on the net and for gaining visitors’ loyalty.
Reinventing oneself all year round
One of the aspects that will be discussed in the Congress is the reinvention of snow and mountain tourism to offer an attractive programme of activities over the four seasons. Although in winter skiing and its derivatives take the priority, in the summer an attractive product can also be offered to turn it into a unique destination 365 days a year.
Applying success strategies on the Internet
The Internet is a communicational alternative. However, excessive information can prevent the message from reaching the receiver. Mountain tourism must obviously be in these surroundings, but it is also necessary to know the success strategies in order to not to fall into ostracism and the dangers of the virtual world. Knowing in advance how to present oneself and what to offer on the net to form part of the 2.0 environment is one of the keys to success.
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All year long, those who choreograph Las Vegas nightlife meticulously plot and plan. Data are analyzed, customer counts are calculated and potential earnings are compared side-by-side with marketing and operations budgets.
Refinements are made from one weekend to the next in the quest to fine-tune a major local industry designed to deliver a good time.
Now, just two short weeks from New Year’s Eve, the stakes have never been higher.
Last year, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 309,000 people flocked to Las Vegas to celebrate the start of 2011, creating a nongaming economic impact of
Out to rake in their fair share, and maybe a little more, every club owner in town is looking for a competitive edge.
“For us, it’s the biggest night of the whole year,” said Jesse Waits, co-owner and managing partner of XS and Tryst.
On a typical weekend, admission at most Las Vegas clubs runs $10 for women; $20 for men. But on New Year’s Eve, they roll up those rate cards and blow them sky high with the fireworks over the Strip. The average cover this year will be $150, though in most venues that includes at least a two-hour open bar and a midnight champagne toast.
With that kind of money at stake, club operators leave little to chance. Waits said he’s already planning for New Year’s Eve — 2013.
The newest nightclubs in prime locations draw huge crowds with ease on New Year’s, Waits said.
But clubs that have seen a few seasons need help packing the party.
That’s when they call in the biggest celebrity their money can buy.
Choosing a celebrity host or musical act to headline your New Year’s Eve party can be like falling in love at first sight, though sometimes you might have to sift through the frogs before finding a prince.
For The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, it was mostly the former.
Two months ago, a group of six to 12 Cosmopolitan employees started debating which musician would be best to headline New Year’s Eve in the strip hotel’s 3,200-seat venue, The Chelsea.
“It’s such a big night, you want a huge headliner,” said Lisa Marchese, The Cosmopolitan’s chief marketing officer.
It was a tough decision, and Marchese said they even waited a little longer than was comfortable to choose.
But then she saw him one night at Austin City Limits. She knew she had to have him.
“It was profound,” she remembered.
Thus Stevie Wonder was chosen — the right amount of star power for the biggest night of the year.
“It’s a relatively high bar to achieve, and Stevie gets us there,” Marchese said.
Tickets for the concert run $250.
The preparation and calculation is no less intense on the nightclub scene, where artistry and talent take a backseat to raw, unadulterated fame. How else can anyone explain Kim Kardashian’s reported $100,000 payday for spending just one night at Tao?
“A lot of tourists want their brush with celebrity. They want their 15 minutes of fame,” said Sean Evans, contributing editor for Nightclub Bar Magazine.
At Tao those 15 minutes on Dec. 31 will cost you $200. Each.
KNOWING YOUR AUDIENCE
“We know our customer pretty well,” said Anthony Olheiser, MGM Grand’s director of nightlife. “It is key to focus on your core demographic.”
At MGM Grand’s Studio 54, selecting a New Year’s Eve host starts with the understanding that the club’s target demographic is 21- to 35-year-olds.
When the planning begins, Olheiser said, teams of nightlife operators, public relations specialists and talent management experts draft lists of available celebrities. Next, they debate whether the celebrity’s price fits the budget, and whether the celebrity fits the club.
“A lot of people are hirable, but at the end of the day, do people want to see them?” Olheiser asked.
Studio 54′s key demographic is too young to ever have visited the famous namesake New York City disco, except perhaps at the point of conception. But MGM Grand bills the club as “a wilder version of the legendary ‘ 70s club,” so who better to host a crowd looking for that vibe than actress Pamela Anderson, who might be described as a wilder version of most women.
“New Year’s Eve is a sexy weekend, and Pam is a sexy lady,” Olheiser said.
He wouldn’t say how much Anderson will be paid, but tickets for the night run $150, nearly four times the cover on the previous night.
Richard Wilk, a 17-year veteran of the Las Vegas nightlife industry, said it can be hard to choose and book a celebrity host, and that personal relationships often play a part in landing one.
“It’s all who you know,” said Wilk, the vice president of nightlife marketing and operations at Tropicana Las Vegas.
That was the case when Waits booked his friend, a lesser Kardashian named Rob, to host at Tryst.
For the all-new RPM nightclub at Tropicana Las Vegas, Wilk and company wanted a bigger name.
“This club needs to make a statement,” Wilk said. “That’s not something to mess with.”
That’s why the renovated venue formerly known as Club Nikki booked RB superstar Mary J. Blige for its New Year’s Eve grand opening, with tickets going for as much as $125.
“Mary J. Blige doesn’t do club appearances in town,” Wilk said. “This is probably one of the only times you’re going to be up close and personal with Mary J. Blige. That’s a big deal.”
THE PRICE OF FAME
Because New Years Eve is such a competitive night and so much work is put into planning these events, the glitterati know they can charge a premium for appearances. Olheiser said celebrities generally double or triple their price on New Year’s, and suggested that a name disc jockey or a B- or C-list celebrity may charge $10,000 on up, while an A-list celeb can expect six figures, “for sure.”
Tyler Feldman, president of eMerge Sports Entertainment, which represents celebrities and books appearances, said celebrity fees range from $5,000 to $150,000.
Word on the street is that Kim, the alpha Kardashian, will pull down $100,000 for her night at Tao, Feldman said. He speculated that the collapse of her 72-day marriage to Kris Humphries factors into her six-figure payday because clubs think people are intrigued by her and her recent personal drama is a draw.
BIG MONEY FOR BIG NAMES
The closest thing to a Blue Book for celebrities is the annual Forbes magazine list of the 100 most-influential celebrities, also known as the A-list.
This year, Lady Gaga is No. 1, Katy Perry is at No. 12 and the Black Eyed Peas land at No. 16.
By Olheiser’s estimate, each commands $100,000 or more for one night’s appearance. There are 365 nights in a year. Feel free to do the math.
Forbes rankings are based on entertainment-related earnings and media visibility. Presence on Facebook and Twitter is taken into account, as is annual, pretax income.
Making the A-list isn’t a lifetime appointment. Britney Spears ranked
No. 6 in 2010 but didn’t make it at all in 2011 because she didn’t tour or appear much in public. The celebrity business is fickle, and her asking price isn’t what it used to be.
Evans, who writes extensively about the nightclub industry, agreed with Olheiser’s summation of sticker prices for A-listers. But he estimates that lesser lights, generally found on the B- and C-lists, probably earn $30,000 to $50,000 — not bad for a night’s clubbing, though substantially less than scale a few years ago.
The laws of supply and demand are just as real in this line of work as they are in any other, and Evans argues that an abundance of famous people who build paid appearances into their business model has flooded the market, driving down the price for most.
“We’re no longer in the Paris Hilton era,” Evans noted.
When the hotel heiress/model/actress began her reality show/club girl parade/minor crime spree through America’s television sets, paid celebrity appearances weren’t the norm for nightclubs. Because of the buzz around Hilton and the places she went, clubs started paying a premium — $250,000 — to get her and her fans in the door.
Thus was born a marketing technique that has matured into a multimillion-dollar industry built on a never-ending supply of reality-TV celebutante hosts.
A host famed only for being famous has to strike while the iron is hot, because history tells us that fame is fleeting.
Anyone know where Hilton is hosting this New Year’s Eve? Anyone? (Cricket sounds.)
GET THAT IN WRITING
As in any business deal, contract terms are crucial in establishing a mutually beneficial relationship for nightclubs and celebs alike.
When courting an A-lister, Olheiser said, it’s important to make an attractive offer. Stars at the top still can pick and choose from multiple offers. His crew tries to gain an edge by structuring the deal and offering multiple appearances, usually three per contract. That way the celebrity is guaranteed more work if they sign with the MGM Grand for a big night like New Year’s Eve.
And just as in real estate, location, location and location are selling points.
Feldman said that big-name celebrities, who may get as many as 20 offers for New Year’s Eve, will choose a gig in Las Vegas both because they like it here and especially because Sin City gets a lot of press exposure, which helps keep them from spending future holidays with Britney and Paris.
“They’ll usually go with the one that will bring the most press,” Feldman said. “Even if the money’s good in Wichita, Kansas, they’re going to go to Vegas.”
Most contracts also include a clause saying that a celebrity can’t appear at a competing club for a specific number of days. For MGM, the cooling-off period is 30 days before and after a Las Vegas gig.
“We don’t want to devalue the press appeal,” Olheiser said.
All things considered, celebrity appearances aren’t exactly backbreaking labor.
Celebs are obligated to pose for pictures, usually near a backdrop bearing the venue’s name. They have to be visible to guests most of the evening, and to speak to the crowd at least once. For a nightclub gig, it’s a two-hour shift, Feldman said.
Higher-paid celebs have additional chores, Feldman said. They are required to help promote the appearance, usually using social media such as Twitter or Facebook, or by name-dropping in broadcast interviews.
“Especially if it’s a big event,” Feldman stressed.
Contracts, of course, reflect the needs of both parties.
Evans said most deals include top-of-the-line amenities for the celeb, which haven’t seen the same kind of deflation that appearance fees have suffered. Think first-class airfare, limousine rides, luxury penthouse suites, free spa treatments and complimentary dining.
“A lot of them demand security. Some demand it full-time, 24 hours a day,” Feldman noted.
IT’S ALL IN A NAME
This New Year’s Eve, you won’t be able to swing a saxophone on the Strip without hitting a celebrity musician. LMFAO is hosting Haze, The Bank has Bruno Mars, 1 Oak booked Fergie, LAX secured rapper B.o.B.
Olheiser said clubs like to book musicians as hosts because they may also choose to perform, giving a little extra value even when not contractually obligated to do so.
But it’s up to the celebs to decide how far they’ll go for the fans. Marilyn Manson, for instance, didn’t perform during a Halloween weekend appearance at The Bank, though he did pose for a few pictures outside the club and then periodically waved at the crowd from his second-level VIP booth.
Talent on stage isn’t necessarily enough to land a high-paid hosting gig, however.
“We try to value decisions based on who’s pressworthy,” Olheiser said. “I put myself in a customer’s shoes.”
A mainstream American’s shoes, to be exact. Shoes of someone with stars in his eyes and disposable income in his pocket.
Olheiser noted that MGM tends to avoid booking a celeb dogged by too much negative press.
“Overall perception of the artist is huge,” Olheiser said.
Which makes Pure’s choice of singer Chris Brown for New Year’s interesting in Evans’ mind. Brown’s 2009 beating of former girlfriend, the singer Rhianna, didn’t exactly enhance his reputation out in mainstream America.
“I think there are a lot of other people they could have picked,” Evans said. “Maybe it came down to budgeting. I think it will be interesting to see what their attendance will be.”
Waits said if someone he booked at XS or Tryst suddenly became unfavorable in the public’s mind, he’d cancel.
“People pick a place by who’s there,” Waits said.
Contact reporter Laura Carroll at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4588.
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Trips like that can be as inexpensive as $399 per passenger for a week. Sometimes you’ll be starting out in cold weather, but a day later, it’s usually warm, he said.
If you’re more ambitious, you can fly to Florida and take off for a 68-day cruise through the Panama Canal and around Cape Horn. Those typically start as low as $10,000 per person, he said.
Or if you’re really ambitious, you can set out for a 115-day journey that will cost you $18,000 and up.
Having the time flexibility that comes with retirement can give you the chance to wait for good specials to pop up, usually close to the date of departure, Pruitt said.
Cruise lines don’t like to leave without being full, so they tend to release discounts late in the game, she said.
That said, it’s good to book early to get the best price, she said.
If it drops later and there’s still one available, she will grab it for you, she said.
For those looking for more relaxation than adventure, there’s always all-inclusive resorts, Pruitt said.
And for those who prefer plane nor boat, or those who have less money to spend, there are always drive trips like Myrtle Beach, New York or Washington.
Not that you’ll need one for Myrtle Beach, but remember to leave plenty of time to apply for a passport, typically four to six weeks, she said.
Should you wish for a more permanent arrangement, it’s a great time to buy a vacation home, said Chris Kavanagh, associate broker with Caldwell Banker residential brokerage in Bethany Beach.
Homes in communities in his area and elsewhere are selling for well below what they were a few years back, he said.
You can put less down and get a better financing rate on a single-family home rather than a condominium or town home, he said.
Luxury homes have been selling quite briskly, even as the middle end of the housing market has remained sluggish, he said.
“The people who have the money are definitely jumping in,” he said.
But for those who simply want to get away on a vacation, Sands recommends working with a travel agent, for more reasons than just a helping hand in the planning.
The agent has ideas and experience, she said. AAA provides a point of contact once the trip begins in case anything goes awry, she said.
That, Gravett said, is a good reason to take out travel insurance. Gravett said it usually covers you if you get sick and need treatment abroad, if you need to be evacuated, even if you simply miss your connection. Under some conditions, it will cover the cost of your trip if you have to cancel at the last minute, he said.
It doesn’t cost much more, he said.
Rottblatt, who works out of Lima, Peru, agreed travel insurance is a great idea.
“People dream for many years about finally getting to visit Machu Picchu or someplace else. You don’t want anything else to interfere with that,” he said.
Along with the joy of the holidays, crime can also accompany the seasonal activities of shopping, traveling and donation solicitation.
The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office offers several crime prevention tips for this time of year.
- Avoid placing holiday gifts in plain sight from a home’s window, or in a car.
- Make sure to lock your doors and windows when you leave your home.
- When you’re not at home, keep a radio/tv and lights on, so the residency looks occupied.
- Ask a friend or relative to watch your house while you’re away on travel.
- Arrange for snow to be removed from your driveway and sidewalks when you’re away.
- Have mail and newspaper delivery stopped during your travels.
- Avoid leaving boxes from recent purchases outside on the curb for trash pickup, as those boxes give potential burglars an idea of what’s inside the premises.
- If you give to charitable organizations, choose them carefully and make sure they are legitimate.
- Beware of people who arrive at your home and tell you they are city employees or representatives of utility companies. If you didn’t ask them to check on your home, check with authorities to determine their credentials and purpose.
- Test your smoke detectors and don’t leave Christmas lights on while you are away from home, or sleeping.
McHenry Country residents are invited to request a Vacation House Watch for the period of time they are away for the holidays.
As New Year’s Day quickly approaches, men and women all across the United States prepare for another year of “work hard, play harder.” Americans love to travel, and one of our best online destinations for the latest and greatest travel deals is definitely Travelzoo. Every week, they release a brand new set of travel steals, and there truly is something for every person and every budget. In the spirit of a new year and new beginnings, the experts at Travelzoo have predicted these five places as the hot spots for 2012.
In 2012, you can cruise through Europe for less than $100 per night! There’s never been a more affordable way to tour top international destinations such as Italy, Spain and Greece. Major cruise lines are set to send a record number of ships to Europe in 2012, so what are you waiting for?! With the ever increasing prices of airfare, choosing an adventure at sea is definitely the way to go!
As Thailand begins to recuperate from the worst floods in more than 50 years, this exotic portion of the world is hungry for tourists! More than ever, hotels and tourist groups are releasing major deals and steals to charm the adventure/travel seeker into the country’s sacred temples, beautiful beaches, and many more tempting attractions. Hot on the list to see in Thailand are spots such as Phuket, Koh Samui and Chaing Mai.
Orlando remains a prime destination for theme-park-lovin’ families. With deals on hotels, timeshares and condos, one could end up saving nearly 65%! In addition to Disneyland, Orlando also boasts the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Walt Disney World’s Fantasyland, scheduled to open in 2012.
Did you know that Costa Rica prides itself on being “The Happiest Country in the World”? Me neither! The airlines and travel agencies sure caught wind of this little tid-bit though, as reasonable airfare isn’t too terribly hard to find! An additional bonus for U.S. travelers is that the U.S. Dollar actually carries some weight in this exotic paradise.
With the devastation from the tsunami and earthquake in her rear view mirror, the proud country of Japan is more than ready for another great year of tourism. Even though the Japanese rarely give discounts, vacations can be found on Travelzoo that could save you up to $600!
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WATERVILLE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Battling a serious illness is an overwhelming burden to take on any time of year. During the holidays, it can be especially difficult, particularly if you have to travel for treatment.
Lafayette Hotels has been trying to lighten that burden for years by offering free rooms. The “Home for the Holidays” program provides free rooms for people who are experiencing hardships during the holidays. Kathy Castonguay lives in Greenville, but she had mastectomy surgery at Inland Hospital in Waterville. When the staff at Fireside Inn and Suites heard her story, they offered her a room near the hospital free of charge.
“It was an incredible relief,” Catonguay said. “Because there’s a lot of post-op pain and even though you keep yourself immobilized, the stitches and the staples have a way of acting up.”
“Where we can’t cure disease or repair someone’s home that’s been burned out by fire, we can do what we do best which is to provide a warm and welcoming home for someone while they’re struggling to get back on their feet or dealing with a relative or friend in the hospital” Fireside Inn General Manager Barry Asalone told NEWS CENTER.
The “Home for the Holidays” program runs from Thanksgiving until the end of December every year at Lafayette Hotels around the state.
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