Images of Bhutan 2012

by KathyDragon on February 19, 2012


Best Boomer Travel Comments from ILTM Cannes

by KathyDragon on January 18, 2012

Baby Boomers continue to hold a strong grip on the luxury travel market, spending more than $2 trillion each year, according to research company Mintel.

They are increasingly interested in healthcare and wellbeing with breaks that produce measurable results, as seen at The Ranch in Malibu, a results orientated luxury boot camp that helps guests achieve fitness,nutritional, weight-loss and detox goals.

Boomer Luxurians appreciate ‘slowtopia’ travel: glamorous, languorous journeys, such as the nine-day trip on The Deccan Odyssey, a train in India that features a spa, fine dining, libraries, lounge cars and butlers.

Reaching their twilight years, Baby Boomer Luxurians are less interested in material goods, and prefer to spend on experiential goods. ‘If you’re 50 years old, you’re looking at having 30 years left,’ says Pam Danziger, founder of luxury marketing company Unity Marketing. ‘Boomers are thinking, ‘What do I want to do?’
For them, the answer isn’t buying a diamond ring, it’s buying an experience.

Boomers buying Experiences



Consumer Trends 2012

by KathyDragon on December 31, 2011

Great 2 Min Video on relevant Consumer Trends for 2012.  How might these effect the Travel Industry?
My thoughts…

  • Need to “Escape” from todays pressures= travel without hassel. Well organized immersive small group tours & well planned FIT
  • Global Connection: “We vs Me”, looking to connect, give back, become a global citizen. Experiential International Travel, Community Based Tourism, Travelers Philanthropy & Voluntourism
  • Green Movement & Importance of Food: Growth of Culinary, Organic & Farm Tourism
  • Women having more choices and changing priorities. Women increasingly choosing travel.
  • Reintroducing Randomness and personal discovery: authentic travel, investing in “Experiences”
  • Digital Content and Interaction: travel content (images, stories, videos) will continue to be valuable allowing experiences to take place before and after travel, as well as for those who are not traveling.
  • Positive Aging: Boomers and Beyond will become and acceptable face of experiential travel
  • Desire for real engagement/objects: Going there, meeting people, tasting foods, hiking trails “real vs virtual” travel.


A funny thing happened on my way to Kilimanjaro…

by KathyDragon on April 4, 2011

Kilimanjaro View

Several years ago I was in Africa for work and decided to climb Kilimanjaro before returning home. I have a small walking/hiking tour company and though I don’t offer Killi many of the guests who have trekked with me in Peru and Patagonia asked what I thought about the trek, what route I would recommend and if I thought they could do it.

A friend/tour operator of mine offered to assist and thus I arrive in Moshi having done only minimal research on the route and none on the ground operator. I’ll leave off the specifics, as it isn’t really relevant. Suffice to say they had a word in their name that involved eco/green/responsible/sustainable…the terms that consumers think should mean something but aren’t exactly sure what that is.

Around the second day into the trek I asked the guide “so, your company name is X-green company, what do you actually do to support Green, Eco, Responsible, Sustainable Travel?”  He looked at me as if no one had ever asked the question…clearly they hadn’t asked him….and replied “well, we pick up garbage along the trail”. Humm, Ok, well, I guess that is a commitment….but it wasn’t.  As far as I could see over the next several days neither the guide nor porters picked up any excess trash though they did remove the trash we made.

When I returned to Moshi having successfully summited Kilimanjaro I spent a day with the owner and had an extensive conversation about the trek.  I asked him what the vision for his company was, how he was sharing this vision with both his staff and his guests, and how he might be able to both monitor and execute his vision which did involve the words he choose in his company name.

What I’ve learned over the past few years is that companies and travelers need to understand what eco/green/sustainable/responsible means to them and then explore what piece of this they are personally most passionate about. This might be employing local guides, using regional food and recipes, focusing on green building techniques, protecting endangered species or minority groups, or any of dozens of other initiatives which fall within the umbrella of green travel.  They then need to consistently integrate this into their brand message —online (through their website, social media, confirmation documents etc) and offline (through their guides, office staff, partners and guests and ultimately through the experiences offered).

It is no longer a question of “what do our customers care about in terms of green travel?” (because we will write that in our marketing materials),  the new question is “what do you care about? What are you passionate about in regards to green travel? What inspires you?”. If you are unsure, work with your team, and possibly a coach or advisor, to figure out what vision you can all buy into and support.

Customers like to engage with companies (and people) who are passionate about something…it doesn’t necessarily have to be exactly what they themselves are passionate about.

So….here are a few questions, think about them in relation to Green, Eco, Responsible, Sustainable Travel

  • What’s inspires you? Your staff? The community around you?
  • What commitment do you make that inspiration? Is it measurable?
  • How do you share your commitment?
  • How does it fit into your “brand”
  • How does this contribute to sustainable, responsible development?
  • Is this inspiration integrated throughout the experience? Does it need to be?
  • How do you know share this with guest and partners? Do you need to?
  • How do you know if you have been successful?
  • What would success look like?
  • How to involved your guests, staff , communities and partners  in “live audits”


Madrid for Foodies: Listening to Facebook Friends

Dining in Madrid

by KathyDragon on January 4, 2011

I have two friends heading to Madrid this week (their first trip).  My experiences in this fantastic city are a bit dated so I reached out to my friends on Facebook with this question…

“Madrid recommendations, anyone? anyone? I can’t believe this well traveled group has nothing to say about eating or drinking in Madrid ;-)”

Here’s what I received back….thought it was worth publishing and updating this list

  • El Botin…Hemingway’s favorite,…suckling pig inside the old fireplace 😉  There is a great little place in the Plaza Mayor – one of the oldest restaurants in town. Maria Elena Price
  • Even better than the expensive Botin is “En Busca del Tiempo” which is a little bar/restaurant that has amazing tablas and wine. Look it up on google maps. Very much a locals favorite. Mary Camacho
  • Madrid is great – just do a little detective work, and you can’t go wrong, plenty of great food and cheap vino. Chueca for non-tourist shopping and eats. We went to a great little Peruvian restaurant. Madrid is like NYC – made up of neighborhoods, each with very different personality, so try to explore as many as you can, not just the Plaza Mayor tourist area, which is also fun. Julie Conover
  • La Bola Restaurant, very famous in madrid then Fuencarral and Chueca place is perfect for drinking and shooping. And do you remenber La Vera is very near to Madrid 2 hours for any thing! Luis Yanes
  • Kathy, you have to visit the ‘Museo del Jamon‘, just off Plaza Puerta del Sol. It’s a local’s cafe and everyone takes a paper napkin with their sandwich and then throws it on the floor with great aplomb! Not a designated tourist attraction but one I would recommend for a laugh! Stevie Christie
  • Museum of Ham! (Museo del Jamon, Carrera de San Jeronimo 6) In reality a cool bar where office workers congregate to chill out before going home. Charles Rhind

…and by Direct Message I received these recommendations

Calle. Libertad 4-6 – 28004 Madrid
Telf. 91 532 12 19 / 91 521 53 31

La finca de susana,
Arlaban 4, Madrid 28014
Tel: 91 369 35 57

Public Restaurant
Desengano 11, Madrid 28004
(Pres de Pl del Callao)

Plaza del Angel 12
28012 Madrid
Tel:91 369 10 59
(Near plaza del sol)

La Gloria de Montera
Caballero de Gracia 10
28013 Madrid
Tel: 91 523 44 07


Adventurous Greetings this Holiday Season

December 18, 2010

Digital greeting created with Smilebox

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Retracing the Ancient Tea Horse Caravan Trail with WildChina

December 4, 2010

The most daunting trade route in the world, passing through the mightiest mountain range on Earth, the Ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Road linked the fertile emerald teas of Yunnan and Sichuan to the arid landscapes of the Tibetan Plateau, serving as a vital route for isolated tribes who referred to it as the “Eternal […]

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Boulder Community during Crisis: Social Media at it’s finest

October 29, 2010

View more presentations from Orange Insights.

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Facebook isn’t Apple: please tell your mother

June 12, 2010

Living in Boulder, being somewhat part of the tech community, I sometimes assume the rest of the world has things like facebook’s privacy policies (or lack their of) on their radar and has a strong opinion of Zuckerberg and his escapades. The reality is I bet my mom doesn’t.  Nor do most Boomers who Love […]

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Facebook’s Social Graph: Implications for the Travel Industry

May 2, 2010

Facebook’s new “like” buttons are appearing all over the web. It’s beyond Social, this is game changing. Possibly between the Iceland’s Volcano and the Kentucky Derby you missed the significance. Here’s a quick summary on why this is a really, really big deal. According to Facebook,  “Share ” buttons are being replaced with “Like” buttons […]

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