NEWS & NOTES - FEBRUARY 2014

LATCB NAMES DARREN K. GREEN SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES

Hospitality sales leader Darren K. Green has been named Senior Vice President of Sales for LATCB. Darren will lead both the citywide convention sales team and the hotel sales team, along with the destination services team. Darren has spent his entire career in hospitality sales for such top brands as Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, Hilton Hotels Corporation, Nikko Hotels International, KSL Resorts and, most recently, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide where he was Director of Sales for the New York Metro Market Team driving the sales efforts for 8 hotels within the Westin, St. Regis, W and Sheraton brands. Darren has a long track record of sales leadership in top destinations such as New York City, Las Vegas, Hawaii and here in Los Angeles, where he was Director of Sales and Marketing for the Westin Century Plaza Hotel and Spa, and the St. Regis Los Angeles from 2002-2006.

LATCB OPENS FIRST BRAZIL TOURISM OFFICE

LATCB has just planted a flag in Brazil, with the opening of our first Brazil tourism office. The office is operated under contract with Imaginadora, a Sao Paolo-based company with on-the-ground local expertise that will promote the destination and represent LATCB with Brazilian travel trade and media. Brazil is an emerging market with rapidly growing future potential for LA visitation. Los Angeles welcomed 121,000 visitors from Brazil in 2013. In mid-December, American Airlines began a new daily non-stop route between Los Angeles and Sao Paolo, Brazil. Los Angeles enjoys strong popularity among Brazilians, and the country's middle class is increasingly able to travel overseas.

2013 YEAR END REPORT YIELDS MORE POSITIVE NEWS FOR TOURISM

  • The recently released Year-End Travel Pulse and Tourism Industry Report shows that all lodging metrics - occupancy, room nights sold, average daily room rate and RevPAR - broke historical records for Los Angeles in 2013.
  • Los Angeles hotel occupancy was 76.8%, up 1.9% over 2012 (75.4%). 
  • 2013 Los Angeles total room nights sold were 27.18 million, up 2.1% over 2012 (26.62 million).
  • 2013 Los Angeles ADR (average daily room rate) was $136.52, up 4.9% over 2012 ($130.12)
  • 2013 Los Angeles RevPAR was $104.84 up 6.8% over 2012 ($98.11).
  • 2013 LAX Airport passenger traffic was 4.7% higher than 2012 and achieved the highest level since 2000.

National Pricing Trends 

  • There were year-over-year increases in national food & beverage pricing (+2.1%) and lodging pricing (+0.6%)  

Consumer Confidence and Traveler Sentiment

  • The current October Traveler Sentiment Index (TSI) of 95.0 fell from the July 2013 reporting of 98.8, but is still 4.6 pts higher over October 2012 (90.4).

2014 ENDLESS ENTERTAINMENT PROMOTION TAKING OFF

LATCB Member Orbic Air was one of the first members to participate in Endless Entertainment, with a special offer for a romantic helicopter tour/picnic dinner.

The LATCB Marketing Team kicks off the 2014 Endless Entertainment promotion, offering special incentives now through March 16, 2014, to encourage travelers to book a trip to Los Angeles. The promotion is supported with digital advertising through a variety of online travel agent websites where consumers receive incentives on attractions, dining, shopping, cultural offers and more, if they book a multi-night stay in Los Angeles. Participating members benefit from potential direct bookings as well as increased marketing visibility. If you are interested in participating or would like more information about the promotion, please contact Monica Nishimoto, LATCB Marketing Manager, at [email protected].

dINELA WINTER RESTAURANT WEEK – BIGGEST IN THE US

dineLA’s Winter Restaurant Week (Jan. 20 – 31) concluded with 362 restaurants offering a selection of specially-priced $15, $20 and $25 lunch menus, making it the largest Restaurant Week in the United States. The Restaurant Week and related activities drove 47% more traffic to the dineLA microsite than the 2013 Winter Restaurant Week, offering partcipiating restaurants significant exposure and promoting LA as one of the nation’s top dining destinations. 

Restaurant Week got major media coverage generating a total of more than $500,000 in equivalent ad value, reaching an audience totaling more than 69.2 million. Articles appeared in more than 50 magazines, newspapers, TV and radio stations, blogs and websites, including Los Angeles Times, NBC4, Angeleno Magazine, the Daily News, KFI 640 AM, Pasadena Star News, Long Beach Press Telegram, Los Angeles Magazine, KTLA TV, San Jose Mercury News, Westways Magazine, Huffington Post and many others. LATCB also held a “Dine Snap Win” Instagram photo contest, generating over 10,000 entries of photos that diners snapped of their dineLA menu dishes. Winners will each enjoy a one-night stay at the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills.

LATCB INTRODUCES NEW AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE TOUR

In honor of February's Black History Month, LATCB created a three-day, self-guided itinerary that explores and celebrates Los Angeles experiences rooted in African American history, entertainment, arts and culture. The African American Heritage Tour explores well-known African American cultural finds like the California African American Museum (CAAM), Watts Towers, Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC), and Leimert Park Village, hidden historical treasures like Biddy Mason Park and the Battleship USS IOWA, and the African American community’s pivotal impact on the fabric of Los Angeles. The rich and varied tour begins in South LA and Downtown Los Angeles, then covers LA’s beach communities and the Westside, and highlights numerous members and partners.  To see the entire tour, click here

SIX CALIFORNIA DESTINATIONS CELEBRATE MARRIAGE EQUALITY WITH HONEYMOON TRIPS CONTEST

Right on time for Valentine’s Day, LATCB partnered with CVBs from San Francisco, Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, Sonoma County, and West Hollywood and LGBT travel website GayCities.com to highlight same-sex wedding opportunities in California. Six of California’s most romantic destinations created the "Match the Couples Contest" where contestants tried to guess which same-sex couple was married in which destination – San Francisco, Los Angeles, Greater Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, Sonoma County or West Hollywood. The grand prize includes three nights and activities in Los Angeles, a trip north on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight train, and three nights and activities in San Francisco. The contest went live on GayCities.com on Feb. 3, 2014 and all details, information and contest rules are posted online at http://gaycities.com/promos/match-the-couples.

 

LATCB’S NEW DISCOVER LOS ANGELES MERCHANDISE ONLINE STORE

LATCB’s new online store is up and running, offering a unique collection of Los Angeles-centric items exclusively available on DiscoverLosAngeles.com. These Los Angeles-branded items are perfect for souvenirs or gifts. Wear your heart on your sleeve and tell the world how much you love Los Angeles! All items are covered by a full-satisfaction guarantee and will be securely shipped within 1-2 business days of order. http://shop.discoverlosangeles.com

PR NEWSFLASH

The LATCB PR Team has been working hard to keep LA and LATCB members and partners in the news and on the minds of travelers. The PR Team has been rolling out coordinated media efforts, pitching and securing stories about LA and our members and partners to top-of-the-line consumer and travel trade publications for business and leisure travel, in the U.S. and abroad. Here is a sampling of recent high-profile media coverage.

NEW YORK TIMES – “52 PLACES TO GO IN 2014”

The New York Times featured 52 hot travel destinations recommended to visit in 2014, including Downtown LA at No. 5. The piece cited the neighborhood’s ongoing revival, and its burgeoning reputation as a hot arts, culture, nightlife and culinary destination. The article delivered an estimated ad value of $2.8 million, with a circulation of 1.2 million. To see the article, click here.

FOOD & WINE MAGAZINE - "LOS ANGELES' NEW RESTAURANT A-LIST"

Media Folder: 

The LATCB PR team worked with Food & Wine Magazine on an article in the March edition about LA's culinary scene, naming Los Angeles “America’s Best New Food City.” The 14-page article wtih color photos features 12 Los Angeles restaurants, calling out LA’s “serious global cuisine,” “downtown players,” “phenomenal bakery-cafes,” and the city’s “coolest new hotel – the Ace Hotel.” Food & Wine has a circulation of 950,000, and the article delivered an ad value of $1.4 million.

LOS ANGELES TIMES – “JONATHAN GOLD'S LUCKY 7 PICKS FOR RESTAURANT WEEK”

The Los Angeles Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning food writer Jonathan Gold wrote an article for the Times recommending his seven top restaurant picks for dineLA’s Winter Restaurant Week (Jan. 20-31). To see the article, click here. 

CAPRICHO MAGAZINE – “VIVENDO UMA SEMANA DE ESTRELA EM LOS ANGELES”

The PR Team worked with Capricho Magazine on an online article and a print article for top Brazilian magazine Capricho, “Vivendo uma semana de estrela em Los Angeles,” (living like a star for a week in Los Angeles). The article explored some of the stars’ favorite places in LA to shop, stay, get beauty treatments, and be seen, including Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and West Hollywood. The online article had a series of 10 photo panels with text, and delivered a $35,000 ad value on the website, which has 3.5 million unique monthly viewers. The print article delivered an ad value of $67,496, with a circulation of 160,000. To see the online article, click here.

ULTRATRAVEL - WINTER 2013

LATCB’s PR Team worked with Ultratravel, the Telegraph's luxury travel magazine on a destination feature on Los Angeles, highlighting fine dining, shopping and luxury hotels in Culver City, West Hollywood, Century City, Hollywood and Venice, as well as arts and culture attractions including MOCA, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, LACMA and The Broad. The three-page article filled with color photos delivered an equivalent ad value of $143,750, with a circulation of 200,000 in the U.K. To see the article, click here.

COSMOPOLITAN, SOUTH AFRICA – “SEEING STARS”

The LATCB PR Team worked with Cosmopolitan, South Africa and British Airways on an Awards Season-themed article on Los Angeles. The two-page article featured color photos and included shopping, dining and hotels in Venice, Hollywood and Beverly Hills, as well as the new Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The article delivered a $15,121 ad value, with a circulation of 63,000. To see the article, click here. 

DAILY BUZZ – “HOW LA GETS RED CARPET READY?”

The LATCB PR Team worked with The Daily Buzz for an Awards Season-themed episode about LA’s dining, entertainment and attractions. The episode featured health, beauty, spa treatments and shopping options in Los Angeles, including several LATCB members. The nationally-syndicated, two-hour daily morning television news and infotainment show is carried on stations in over 200 U.S. markets, reaching 60% of American homes. The Daily Buzz has 1,750,889 viewers and the clip has an ad value of $13,791. To see the clip, click here.

CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER – TWO AWARDS SEASON THEMED ARTICLES

The PR Team worked with Condé Nast Traveler for two online Awards Season-themed articles. CNTraveler.com covers travel experiences, encompassing art, fashion, architecture, culture, cuisine and shopping at destinations throughout the world and has 69,208 unique monthly visitors. The first article, “9 Things You Didn’t Know About The Golden Globes, Oscars And La’s Red Carpet Venues,” highlighted several LATCB member hotels, entertainment venues and shopping destinations in Hollywood, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and Downtown. To see the article click here

The second article, “Vintage Secrets Of The Golden Globes: Celebrity History At The Beverly Hilton,” covered the history of the Golden Globes Awards, highlighting the hotel where the awards show takes place and the history of the entertainment awards in Los Angeles. To see the article click here.

INDUSTRY NEWS

LAX HANDLED RECORD-BREAKING NUMBER OF INTERNATIONAL TRAVELERS IN 2013

LAX handled a record-breaking 17.8 million international travelers in 2013, surpassing the previous peak of 17.5 million international passengers in 2005. Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) attributed the record to an improving worldwide economy, especially in Asia, and international carriers starting or expanding service at LAX as a result of the $4.1 billion modernization project’s improvements, including the new Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT). In addition to the surge in international travel, overall passenger volumes at LAX increased from 63.7 million in 2012 to 66.7 million in 2013, a level approaching the record set in 2000.  For more information, click here.

SAUDIA AIRLINES TO BEGIN AIR SERVICE TO LOS ANGELES IN MARCH

Saudia Airlines announced it would begin operating direct flights to LAX by March 31. Saudia, the Saudia Arabian national carrier, already operates 14 flights a week to the Washington D.C. area and New York City. The flights will run three times a week on Monday, Thursday and Saturday from Jeddah. The airline will use the Boeing 777-300 Extended Range aircraft for the nearly 17-hour long flights.

CNTA: 100 MILLION CHINESE WILL TRAVEL ABROAD IN 2014

The China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) reported during a National Conference on Tourism in Beijing that Chinese tourists made 97.3 million overseas trips in 2013. CNTA estimates that Chinese travelers will make 100 million outbound trips in 2014. China's tourism industry generated an estimated $479.4 billion in revenue in 2013, up 12% from 2012. In 2014, the revenue of Chinese tourism companies is expected to reach $527.3 billion, 11% more than in 2013. CNTA said that after China's first tourism law went into effect in October 2013, setting regulations on transparency and accountability for Chinese tour operators, the quality of organized trips quickly improved. China also plans to allow foreign-funded travel agencies to operate outbound trips for Chinese citizens in 2014.

C-TRIP LAUNCHES ONLINE “OVERSEAS SELF-DRIVING” PLATFORM IN 86 COUNTRIES

In partnership with international car rental companies Hertz, Avis, Alamo, Enterprise, Dollar, Thrifty and National, Ctrip launched its “Overseas Self-driving” online platform offering global car rental services in 2,000 cities in 86 countries. Similar to its hotel reservation model, the China-based, China-focused online travel agency offers car rental prices much lower than most major car rental companies. The online car rental platform is meant to offer convenience to Chinese international travelers who want to have self-driving experiences when visiting other countries. The system supports using China driver’s licenses, and all booking can be done before departure from China. The insurance package and GPS service are offered in Mandarin. According to CNTA, 70% of the 100 million overseas trips that will be made by Chinese travelers in 2014 are FITs (free independent travelers, not on guided, planned tours) who would like to arrange their own travel itineraries and explore destinations in-depth. To see the platform, visit car.ctrip.com.

 

CRUISE LINES RETURN TO MAZATLAN

In November, Holland America Line’s Veendam became the first major cruise vessel to call in Mazatlán, Mexico, in the past two years. Veendam, Statendam and Westerdam, along with Norwegian Star and Azamara Quest, will call at the port during the next year, on cruises from San Diego and Los Angeles ranging from three to 25 days. Mazatlán hosted half a million passengers in 2010 but, from 2010 to 2011, Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Norweigian Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line and Holland America stopped calling at the port, citing safety concerns. The city of Mazatlán has created a new $3 million tourism corridor between the port and Mazatlán’s historic city center, made a $50 million investment in security cameras and established a joint effort between local and state police and the army to enhance security. Govenor Mario Lopez Valdez says Mazatlán has reduced its crime rate 80 percent. For more information, click here

Los Angeles Listed Among Best Large Cities for Public Transit

Los Angeles was listed among the 10 best large cities in America for public transit by Walk Score. The website, which promotes walkable neighborhoods, calculated the Transit Score for 316 cities and almost 7,000 neighborhoods in the U.S. based on the average resident’s access to public transit in a city. The Top 10 list consisted of 33 American cities with more than 500,000 residents. In recent years, Los Angeles has seen a dramatic increase in the subway and light rail network, with more expansions and new lines on the way. To see the article, click here.