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by NYC Editor, 10/17/2008

 
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PR: International Travel Trade

Contacts: Kimberly Spell, NYC & Company, 212-484-1247, press@nycvisit.com
Chris Heywood, NYC & Company, 212-484-5458, cheywood@nycvisit.com

NYC & Company Expands Open/Book Marketing Campaign Worldwide With Focus on
International Travel Trade Industry

Program Attunes Visitors to New York City's Value, Accessibility

Anaheim, California (April 23, 2007)—Building off early success with select international markets, NYC & Company today launched its NYC Open/Book campaign worldwide. The initiative raises awareness of the value periods for travel to New York City, when visitors generally encounter less expensive airfare, wider availability of hotel and restaurant reservations, and more room to explore cultural attractions throughout the five boroughs. These dates—70 in all for 2007—often coincide with major U.S. holidays, traditionally slow travel periods when the number of visitors to the city dips.

Over time, the campaign also aims to shift perceptions about travel to New York City—dispelling the notion that it is expensive and overbooked year-round, and affirming its reputation as an accessible, value-oriented destination.

"The Open/Book campaign has gained considerable momentum since its inception last fall, and early reports show hotel reservations were up over the same time last year," said George Fertitta, CEO NYC & Company, the tourism marketing organization for the City of New York. "We're confident that by taking this program from select consumer markets to the global travel trade, we will continue to build on its success."

The announcement came at the Travel Industry Association's (TIA) 39th International PowWow, the travel industry's premier international marketplace, held this year from April 21 to 25 in Anaheim, California. The trade show typically attracts more than 1,000 U.S. travel organizations and close to 1,500 international and domestic buyers from more than 70 countries.

The Open/Book campaign was first introduced in the United Kingdom last fall, and later rolled out in targeted international markets, including Ireland, Italy and Spain. Each launch was accompanied by a Web site featuring air and hotel deals specific to travelers hailing from each region.

"New York City is a huge and important market for our customers, and the introduction of Open/Book in the UK has allowed us to focus on the more competitive times to visit the city, allowing better value for our clients," said marketing manager Nikki Davies of Trailfinders, the largest independent travel agency in the United Kingdom.

Now NYC & Company hopes to affect patterns of travel to New York City on a broader scale, giving tour operators worldwide an alternative concept around which to build travel promotions.

Open/Book helps by identifying times of the year when the value of a trip to New York City is at its highest. The dates are anchored in major U.S. holiday periods, and for the rest of 2007 include: May 25-28, the Memorial Day weekend; the week around the July Fourth holiday, from July 1 through July 8; Labor Day weekend and the Jewish New Year, September 1 to 4 and 13 to 16; the Thanksgiving holiday, from November 16 to 22, and the Christmas holiday, from December 17 to 25.

Early reports show that the campaign has already enjoyed considerable success. Since the program's inception, New York City's hotel industry has seen an estimated average increase of two percentage points in hotel occupancy during two-thirds of the Open/Book dates, compared to a year ago when the program was not yet in place.

The Open/Book initiative is also one facet of NYC & Company's campaign to boost international travel to the city—achieving Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's goal of attracting 50 million visitors to the city per year by 2015. To that end NYC & Company also has expanded its network globally, opening four new representative offices overseas since January 1; it now has a total of 12 offices serving 20 countries.

Overall travel to New York City has in fact been on the rise for some time, with a record 44 million visitors projected for 2006. A breakdown of the numbers finds the increase reflected in international travel as well, a segment that has shown steady increases since 2003 with a record 7 million visitors projected for 2006. That amounts to more overseas visitors than any other destination in the United States—New York City garners a 27% market share (as compared with a 12% market share for Los Angeles, California.) and has more flights from Europe than any other market. Research shows that a number of overseas markets show significant growth potential.

For more information, go to nycopenbook.com, and click on calendar.


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About NYC & Company:
NYC & Company is the official marketing, tourism and partnership organization for the City of New York, dedicated to maximizing travel and tourism opportunities throughout the five boroughs, building economic prosperity and spreading the positive image of New York City worldwide.