U.S. Business Travel Spending, Trips to Increase This Year Despite Slowdown in Economic Growth
U.S.-originated business travel spending is expected to grow 3.8 percent this year compared to 2009, despite expectations that economic and business travel growth will slow through the second half of 2010. That’s according to a first-ever quarterly business travel forecast. Business Travel Quarterly Outlook – United States, from the NBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the National Business Travel Association (NBTA), and sponsored by VISA, found that business travel will continue to advance by 6.7 percent and 6.9 percent for 2011 and 2012, respectively. The new report contains the first Business Travel Index (BTI), a headline measure of the current and projected level of business travel in the United States. At the last industry peak in late 2007, the NBTA BTI reached 120. Two years of recession left the BTI at 96, a decline of nearly 20 percent. The BTI has recovered to 106 currently and is projected to reach the level of the previous peak in late 2012. The total number of U.S. business trips saw a sharp decline of 15.6 percent during the recession, from 511 million trips in 2007 to 431 million in 2010. The decline was driven in large part by the drop in transient business travel, comprising 60 percent of the total, as a result of tighter travel management, shortening trips, and some use of technological travel alternatives. However, through 2012, transient travel is expected to advance 31 percent as the economy continues to recover and travel restrictions are lifted. International outbound corporate travel will continue to be a significant contributor to the overall increase in U.S. business travel spending. Through the second half of 2009 and into 2010, better corporate earnings and booming export markets saw the return of premium business travel in international outbound travel, and increases in trip volumes and higher costs drove international outbound business travel spending up 21.7 percent between 2009 Q4 and 2010 Q1.
Discover What’s Best at Central Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks
Central Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks recently was named the Best Family Summer Getaway in AAA’s Midwest Traveler Magazine’s “Best of the Midwest 2010” readers’ survey. More than 2,500 readers of the publication, which covers Missouri, Southern Illinois and Indiana, voted in the survey; results were released in the May/June issue. The Lake of the Ozarks won first, second or third place in 10 out of the survey’s 20 categories. According to Midwest Traveler, “It was a close race between the Lake of the Ozarks and St. Louis, but in the end 1,150 miles of shoreline won” for Best Summer Family Destination. The Lake also won second place in the Best Small City for a Weekend Getaway. In addition, The Lodge of Four Seasons won top honors for Best Large Hotel and Best Golf Course, The Cove. The Cove was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1971. The Club at Porto Cima, a private course at The Lodge of Four Seasons, earned second Best Golf Course honors. Another Lake of the Ozarks favorite, Tan-Tar-A Resort, Golf Club, Marina & Indoor Waterpark, was named third Best Large Hotel. What’s the best place to find quirky souvenirs according to Midwest Traveler readers? None other than that Lake of the Ozarks original, classic stretch of highway, the Bagnell Dam Strip. Beyond the Strip, lake-area visitors have a lot of shopping options – including Missouri’s largest outlet center, the 110-store Osage Beach Premium Outlets, which came in second as Best Shopping District according to Midwest Traveler readers. The scenic natural beauty of the Lake of the Ozarks area also captivated Midwest Traveler readers, who named Lake of the Ozarks State Park second Best State Park and Ha Ha Tonka State Park third best. Then there’s Dale Blue, “the Barefoot Entertainer,” who came in second in the Best Local Musician category. With his unique style of humor blended with blues and classic rock, he never fails to get the crowd up and dancing at Dog Days Bar & Grill in Osage Beach, where he performs most Saturday nights. For more information, visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau’s Web site at www.funlake.com.
Switch – Liberate Your Brand® Combining Offices, Adding 30,000+ Square Feet to Manchester Location
Switch – Liberate Your Brand® has announced plans to combine all of its creative, production and storage resources into a single location at 6600 Manchester Ave. in St. Louis City. The Manchester office will increase by more than 30,000 square feet to accommodate all of Switch’s 100+ employees, plus fulfill all of its production and storage needs. Switch worked with George Convy and Ben Haas of CB Richard Ellis brokerage services, who helped Switch find its existing offices three years ago, to help it finalize the Manchester office expansion. Construction on the expansion began in July and is expected to be completed by December 2010. Switch will have a total of 96,488 square feet of creative, office, production and storage space. UIC + CDO of St. Louis, MO is the architect and general contractor on the project. Headquartered in St. Louis, with offices in Atlanta, Dallas and Phoenix, Switch creates and produces experiential marketing programs for clients nationwide, specializing in live events, exhibits and displays, mobile tours, digital media and graphic design. For more information, visit www.theswitch.us.
Holiday Inn Express, KC-Village West Signs on for Worldwide Brand Relaunch H
The new Holiday Inn sign introduced in 2007 is making its way around the world. The Holiday Inn Express, KC-Village West has announced that this green and blue beacon of hospitality will light the way for visitors to Kansas City, KS. The new sign is the seal of approval that this hotel exemplifies the standards of the $1 billion Holiday Inn brand family relaunch program established to create a more contemporary brand image and increase quality and consistency within the brand. Holiday Inn Express, KC-Village West is one of 10 Holiday Inn Express Hotels owned and operated by the Konover Hotel Corporation. Elements of the relaunch for Holiday Inn Express include:
Redesigned Brand Signage
An evolution of the iconic script logo, energizing the signature color green and eliminating the “shield” shape for a more refreshed and contemporary look.
A new signature arrival – including new lighting, landscaping and design features – creates an energized and branded sense of welcome that is universally recognizable. Customized music and scent selections also engage guests in a complete sensory experience, and there is a decluttered front desk to promote a more efficient and interactive check-in process.
New Service Promise
A best-in-class service culture – “Stay Real” – further ensures the team develops the behaviors and skills to best serve guests so they feel like individuals and not numbers. Leading the charge will be a newly created position at each hotel – the Guest Experience Champion. The 96-room hotel is within walking distance of The Legends of Village West, and offers business conveniences such as a lobby business center, three meeting rooms with more than 1,500 square feet, audio-visual services, professional catering and professional meeting planner services. Other amenities include a complimentary Express Start hot breakfast bar, wireless Internet, heated indoor pool, spa and fitness center and Priority Club reward program.
For more information about Holiday Inn Express hotels or to book reservations, call 1-800-HOLIDAY or visit www.hiexpress.com.
New Botanical Center in Springfield, MO
A new attraction featuring flora and fauna is now open at the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center in Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park. The center is a 12,700 square-foot building set into a hillside in the 55-acre Close Memorial Park, which adjoins the 59-acre Nathanael Greene Park. The parks, referred to jointly as Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park, share a common entrance at 2400 S. Scenic Ave. The center contains classroom, meeting, rental and exhibit space; an elevated plaza entrance and roof garden; a combination gift shop and library; and offices for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, University of Missouri Extension’s Greene County office, MU Extension’s chapter of Master Gardeners of Greene County and Friends of the Garden. MU Extension will offer a Plant Doctor Diagnostics lab as well as a help hotline for lawn and garden questions. In conjunction with the center opening, the site will include a Nature-Grounds® demonstration site, a unique play environment made with PlayCore™. This venue will offer a “School Park Curriculum” developed by PlayCore™ that incorporates nature and play. For an enhanced visitor experience, users are encouraged to find out more about the plants and gardens by dialing (417) 216-3016 followed by a garden corresponding number and # key.
The service, provided by Guide By Cell®, offers roundtheclock garden interpretation. Look for signage at each garden area. Photos of the botanical gardens and more information can be found at www. friendsofthegarden.org.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Missouri Launches healthychat.com to Engage Consumers in Dialogue about Health Care Reform
Health care reform will impact every American in some way. The question is how and when? The healthychat.com Web site was created to address the many questions consumers have about health insurance. Since its launch on May 1, thousands have viewed healthychat.com, creating a community forum addressing myriad health care questions. “Our goal is to create a straightforward, honest dialogue between individuals and us,” said Kate Quinn, vice president of corporate marketing for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s parent company. “By offering a forum on healthychat.com, we are providing an interactive place where consumers can participate in an open discussion about health benefits and the impact of health care reform.” The discussions on healthychat.com are driven by the users of the site. In addition to posing questions, the healthychat.com site also provides access to social media components such as Facebook and Twitter, www.facebook.com/healthychat and [email protected]_chat, respectively. These features expand on the current use of social media by Anthem, most notably in a campaign to engage consumers in interactive programs to help improve their health and the health of those around them. A key component of the ongoing campaign is the utilization of social media to reach members and consumers beyond traditional broadcast and print media. It introduced people to the Health Footprint, a measure of health influence. Consumers are invited to a microsite where they can calculate their own Health Footprints. A Facebook page, Twitter feed and YouTube channel support the effort, and Bob Harper from “The Biggest Loser” also has joined the cause, regularly adding his own inspiring perspective on living a healthier life.
CBS Radio, Siteman Cancer Center “Light The Town Pink” at first-ever Trivia Night event at the Kemp Auto Museum
More than 540 people enjoyed the sights and sounds of the Kemp Auto Museum at the inaugural “Light The Town Pink” Trivia Night, to benefit the Young Women’s Breast Cancer Program at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University. More than $6,000 was raised at the pink-themed Trivia Night event, which took place September 25, 2010. The event included a silent auction and live music, along with 10 challenging rounds of trivia. Y98 radio’s Guy Phillips of the the Phillips & Company Morning Show was the event host. Other CBS personalities who lent their expertise by hosting trivia rounds included Mark Reardon and Doug McElvin from KMOX, Dana Daniels and Eric Kane from KEZK, and Kelly Corday & Kevin “The Intern” from Y98. For more information about the recent “Light The Town Pink” Trivia Night event at the Kemp Auto Museum, please contact director of events Lisa Roberts at (636) 537-1718 or via email at [email protected]
AAA TranslationR and International Institute of St. Louis to Collaborate
Two well known and widely respected businesses with headquarters in St. Louis have announced they will join forces to broaden access to high caliber interpretation and translation services in the St. Louis metro region and throughout the U.S. and the world. Susanne Evens, founder and owner of AAA TranslationR, and Anna Crosslin, president of the International Institute of St. Louis, jointly announced the collaboration. This new partnership will combine the forces of two local St. Louis language powerhouses to broaden access by businesses locally and around the world to a wider set of spoken and written languages. Both operations also offer a variety of business-related cross-cultural training services. They help global and local businesses build their customer bases when issues of language and culture may be barriers.
For more information regarding this collaboration, contact either AAA Translation or the International Institute of St. Louis. Additional information is also available at each organization’s Web site – www.AAATranslation.com and www.iistl.org.
Vino Nadoz is Coming to The Boulevard – Saint Louis!
Nad.z Euro Bakery+Cafe is expanding, announcing plans to open a wine bar called Vino Nad.z in 1,400 square feet of adjoining space at The Boulevard . Saint Louis this December. The new bar, designed by Space Architects, features focal finishes of bamboo and recycled butcher block and will seat up to 48 patrons. It also can be reserved for large, private gatherings. “Our wine list will present more than 30 rotating selections from around the world and complement small plates of crostini, bruschetta, savory crepes and Nad.z desserts ” said Steven Becker, president of Steven Becker Fine Dining, the owner of Nad.z. Nad.z Cafe, which opened in 2007, features a menu of European style desserts, hand crafted artisan breads and pastries, crepes, panini, salads and hot breakfast served all day. Located at the intersection of I-64/40 and I-170, The Boulevard – St. Louis blends upscale retail and personal service providers with fine dining establishments and luxury apartments.
Springfield CVB Receives Award for Mobile Application
The Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau received a Silver 2010 W3 Award for its mobile application from the International Academy of the Visual Arts. The W3 Awards honor outstanding Web sites, Web marketing, Web video and mobile applications. The organization received more than 3,000 entries. The CVB’s mobile application is designed to guide visitors through the city and enhance their travel experience with listings of hotels, attractions, dining and events. The free application is available for any Internet-enabled phone at www.VisitSpringfield.mobi, or search for “Springfield, Missouri” in your mobile applications store. The application was launched in May. For more information about the CVB’s mobile application, call (417) 881-5300 or (800) 678-8767.
Lodging Hospitality Management Announces Multi-Million Dollar Renovations at Two St. Louis Properties
Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM) announced that the Sheraton Westport Hotel has begun a $10 renovation. Expected to be complete by spring 2011, the renovation will include all common areas at both the Chalet and the Plaza, full guestroom renovation at the Plaza, and a newly designed fitness center and club lounge. In addition, The Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark will be renovating its Gateway Ballroom, adding a 2,500-sq.-ft. contemporary executive lounge as well as a new 26th floor outdoor/indoor ROOFTOP Bar. It will offer a bird’s eye view of the Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium.
BRANSON AIRPORT RECEIVES PRESTIGIOUS AWA RD FOR GROWTH
The Airline and Airport News & Analysis Web site anna.aero has awarded Branson Airport (BKG) the anna.aero U$ ANNIE Prize 2010 for “Fastest Growing US Airport, 100,000-500,000 passenger category.” Opening 15 months ago, the Branson Airport has more than doubled seating capacity in only one year of service as a result of expanded AirTran flights, the addition of Frontier service and the development of Branson AirExpress. The Branson Airport now has 12 nonstop destinations including Atlanta, Denver, Milwaukee, Orlando, Houston, Austin, Chicago, Des Moines, Indianapolis, Gulfport/Biloxi, Nashville and Shreveport. From the AirTran and Frontier hubs, travelers can connect to more than 100 other cities conveniently.
For anna.aero and U$ Annie Award information, contact Paul J. Hogan, publisher, by e-mail at [email protected] anna.aero or by phone at +011 44 1293 783851 (London/Gatwick office).
To view the full list of awards, visit www.anna.aero.
For more information on Branson Airport LLC and any of its subsidiaries, visit FlyBranson.com