KAHINI CHAKRABORTY – Mumbai
Recognizing India as a potential key emerging market for the United States, Brand USA’s goal is to place India among its top ten markets within the next two years. For the same, the prime agenda of the corporation is to hire resources in India so that it can take advantage of the local market intelligence and knowledge. These representatives will be working with the travel trade and develop B2B programmes to help promote the US. This will be followed up with consumer campaigns and will be working closely with the trade so that they can leverage on the consumer campaigns when the corporation enters the market and launches them.
Talking to exclusively to Express TravelWorld on the sidelines of its first-ever sales mission held recently in India (Mumbai-Delhi), Jay Gray, Vice President-Business Development, Brand USA informed, “As there is a lot of education required to be given to the travel trade in this market, in order to increase the tourist arrivals to the US, it is imperative to promote the destination’s offerings beyond the traditional ones. We have been in talks with VisitUSA committee who is developing an educational programme and we are also developing a social media website focused on education. So instead of the typical Q&A and certification format, we are looking at creating an environment wherein the travel trade can exchange information, ideas and itineraries and create something which is more engaging. In addition to this, we will be developing co-op programmes for the travel trade.” Last year the destination received 6,60,000 Indian travellers and has witnessed a year-on-year growth of 12 per cent this year. The Brand USA India Mission saw a delegation of 50 participants representing 35 US companies which included destinations, attractions, hotels and DMC’s.
Brand USA, formed as the corporation for travel promotion, the public-private entity began operations in May 2011 and does business as Brand USA.
When asked about the investment finalised for the aggressive marketing strategies planned ahead, Gray said, “Although we haven’t yet finalised on the investment part for the campaigns, the immediate action plan would be that of gauging how quickly we can generate revenue to enter into new markets and that determines when we enter into new markets. We want to make sure that we have sufficient funds to enter the markets in a big way and create high visibility. Our primary target markets are Mumbai and Delhi and we will shortly hire our resources in the market as well as the VisitUSA committee will do deeper penetration in the secondary and tertiary markets. Although we are going to focus on all segments, the consumer campaigns in particular cater to the leisure segment, and we are aware of the opportunity that the VFR and MICE travel segments hold for us. We see a huge potential to add leisure components for MICE and business travel segments. Furthermore, we have also held several meetings with airlines to discuss opportunities for launching direct air connectivity to offer travellers a seamless travel experience.”
Tracy Vaughan, director of international sales and marketing, VisitFlorida said, “Last year we estimated to have received 50,000 Indian visitors to Florida. We see a huge potential in the India market and our primary aim is to establish the brand in the market and educate the travel trade on the destination’s varied offerings. This road show has been a fact finding trip for us in terms of understanding the India market. As Florida can be a year-round destination we can serve all segments.”