Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Airport Results Show Price Does Matter

It's looking more and more like Delta Airline's decision to reduce local air fares as much as 60 percent was a pretty prudent idea. The airline announced airport usage up 30 percent in the first month after the move. Today, officials at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport released results from a survey taken a few months ago about people's thoughts related to local airfares and how it affected flying and DRIVING patterns.
Survey Points to CVG OpportunitiesNearly 17,000 Weigh In On Fares
March 31, 2009 - The results of the Air Service Survey are in, and they point to significant opportunities at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport for carriers that can offer low prices.Of the nearly 17,000 business and leisure travelers in the Tri-State who took the survey, fully 97 percent said they were more likely to use surrounding airports because of price. The informal survey was developed by the Regional Air Service Development Committee, a group of airport, business and economic-development leaders formed to address airline and airport issues within the community. The goal of the survey was to help paint a clearer picture of the region's air travel habits in order to identify service gaps and opportunities for growth. Data collected through the survey will help direct the continuing efforts of the airport to improve fares and expand air service.Committee Chairman Arlyn Easton said, "The survey makes a pretty strong statement. Business people are thinking of costs more than ever. They are being told to use the cheapest flights."Easton said he was amazed at the number of people who participated. "The fact that almost 17,000 people took time to take the survey makes the results even more impressive, and it shows how important air travel is to our community," he said."The survey, without question, reflects that the community will respond positively to lower fares in and out of CVG," said Doug Moormann, vice president of economic development at the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. "In essence, it affirms Delta's new and far more competitive pricing structure. We, as a community, must continue to protect and nurture our air service, as its value is virtually incalculable." Since the survey was launched, Delta Air Lines announced reductions of 5% to 60% on most fares at its CVG hub. The airport estimates that annual savings to local passengers could total in the tens of millions of dollars.CVG Board Chairman H. Lawson Walker II says that the survey data confirms the wisdom of Delta's fare restructuring. "We are thrilled that Delta - and all the airlines at CVG - are acting on the concerns of local passengers, the business community and the airport."Survey results are available at http://www.cvgsurvey.com/.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Criticisms of Excess Help Polish Image of Midde America

With all the furor over lavish trips and bonuses to AIG executives, there seems to be a growing sense that middle America destinations are getting a second look by travel planners. One executive in the travel incentive industry with whom I spoke recently said many U.S. cities could benefit from a reluctance by corporations to jet their executives and other top producers to international locales and might look at more value-laden U.S. destinations . And some cities, like Pittsburgh are embracing fiscal soundness over flash in their marketing efforts.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Annual Numbers for NKY CVB Take Slight Dip


Pat Frew, Director of Communications
859-655-4163 (w)
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E-Mail: Pressroom@nkycvb.com


Covington, KY/March 18, 2009—Officials with the Northern Kentucky Convention & Visitors Bureau have laid out a strategy to overcome the effects of a dismal economy, while issuing the Bureau’s Annual Report showing a rare drop in the organizations’ economic impact to the community.

At today’s 2008 Annual Meeting at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center, the Bureau reported an economic impact of visitor’s spending of $306 million in Kenton, Campbell and Boone Counties, down six percent from 2007’s record figure of $325 million. The $306 million impact figure of 2008 compares favorably to 2006’s results of $263 million.

Bureau President and CEO Tom Caradonio says higher fuel costs, cutbacks of corporate travel combined with Delta’s 23 percent cut in flights were the major factors that lead to the decrease. These conditions coupled with a difficult economy, he adds, are not harbingers for a quick rebound in 2009.

“With our Back To The Basics theme for 2009, we are focusing on selling to group markets that offer better meeting potential, such as the sports market, with the Bank of Kentucky Center at N.K.U. fully operational, and religious groups. In addition we have implemented innovations that make the work of our target market—meeting planners—simpler, thereby making us a more attractive destination.”

Caradonio outlined such innovations as mobile marketing technology available through the Bureau that allows planners to communicate information about a conference to attendees cell phones. Single contracts for groups using multiple hotels is another new amenity being provided as well as audio on-line proposals from the Bureau’s sales force.

“All of these changes ensure faster and more meaningful information being given to our clients, helping them to save time and money, two of their most valued commodities,” added Caradonio.

Other statistics released by the Bureau at the meeting included:
The total economic impact to the community as a result of 2006 Bureau initiatives dipped barely at $44.1 million versus $44.2 million in 2007;
The return on investment in Bureau 2007 marketing programs was down slightly, $10.49 compared to $10.90 the prior year. This figures represents how much money is returned to the community in the form of visitor spending per every dollar spent on Bureau marketing efforts;
Corporate travelers remain the largest market segment in Northern Kentucky comprising 41 percent, trailed by Leisure, 35 percent, Meetings/Conventions, 22 percent and Government, 2 ½ percent.

The Bureau also bestowed three awards to the following individuals:
Marie Fuehner, former Bureau Director of Convention Services, who retired at the end of the year, received the Bureau’s Star Award for her work in making Northern Kentucky a vibrant convention destination. Last year, four national meeting planner trade publications recognized Fuehner’s department for its outstanding work.
Greg Buckler was named to the Bureau’s Champions program for helping to lure the Kentucky Jailers Association conference here this coming June creating an economic impact of $316,000.
Darren Wallace of the Hampton Riverfront hotel in Covington was named the Bureau Hero of the Year. The five-year old program has honored more than 40 front-line hospitality workers for their efforts in going above and beyond the call of service to guests.

The mission of the Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau is that of an aggressive sales, marketing, service and informational organization whose primary responsibility is to positively impact the Northern Kentucky economy through conventions, meetings and visitor expenditures. The direct economic impact of visitors’ spending in Campbell, Kenton and Boone Counties in 2008 was $306 million.
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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Riverfront Bikepath on Front Burner

A stalled project along the Northern Kentucky riverfront had new life breathed into it tonight after a spirited standing room only meeting at the Covington Convention Center. Riverfront Commons is a hiking/biking trail along the Ohio River going through Dayton, Bellevue, Newport, Covington and Ludlow. The meeting was organized by redevelopment organization Southbank Partners which is spearheading the effort, which had been stalled by the bad economy and by competing projects around the Commonwealth and nationwide. Southbank wanted to see what kind of public support existed for the effort before deciding to seek $300,000 to hire a lobbying firm to help secure federal dollars for the $50 million project. The project is expected to be an attractive target for economic stimulus money approved by Congress. It would create jobs and spur economic growth in the form of new businesses and added tourists and convention visitors to the riverfront. Southbank now plans to go to leading corporations, community and government groups and the public to gain additional input and hopefully more funding. Additional details coming in the March 6 Cincinnati Enquirer (www.cincinnati.com).

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Another Effect of AIG fallout

It's not just corporate meetings that are being curtailed. This time it's getting personal. A friend of mine from another American Marketing Association chapter in the east told me last week he lost his job in research at a family-owned business with a national reputation for setting up exotic vacations for C-level executives (things like safaris and fly fishing expeditions). He told me this is the first time in the company's 40-year history that furloughs have happened. Part of it is credited to the economic slowdown but the other part is related to public perception and how investors are now being critical of how and where high priced CEOs are spending their salaries on far flung destinations.