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Elite Traveler – ET Insider – September 17, 2009

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ET Insider – September 17, 2009

Elite Traveler Insider –

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September 17, 2009

Elite Traveler Insider

By Douglas D. Gollan, President and Editor-in-Chief, Elite Traveler Magazine  

Welcome to the latest issue of Elite Traveler Insider, the bi-weekly newsletter designed to update our top partners on trends in the private jet lifestyle. This information is provided to offer a better understanding of how to target these globetrotting elite travelers, their impact on your business and other trends that affect you. Remember, private jet travelers are paying up to $10,000 per hour to fly by private jet, so these super rich consumers could be and should be your best customer. We talk about them and how you can get more of them and more from them.

IN THIS ISSUE:

1. Private Jet Movements Climb Back to 2008 Levels…

2. Mass Affluent Magazines “Get Beat Up At Newsstands”

3. Circulation You Can Count On: “You Can Look It Up”

4. The History of Elite Traveler’s Circulation

5. Breakfast With Ali (and) More Innovations From the Master…

Over 90 percent of today’s Super Rich are Self Made and over 80 percent of the Super Rich have made their fortune in the past 10 years. Now is the best time to make sure they know your brand. 86% believe Elite Traveler is a good showcase for luxury products.

1. Private Jet Movements Climb Back to 2008 Levels…

According to ARG/US TRAQPak which follows aircraft arrival and departure information on all IFR flights in the US (including Alaska and Hawaii), August business aircraft activity tracks very closely with July levels. Compared to August of the previous year activity is off a modest -5.7% with Part 91 (owned) large cabin aircraft (think moguls) actually up 3.5%.

The positive data is a good sign that consumers at the very top end of the market – consumers who own and fly their own very large private jets – are feeling better, and spending more. Looking ahead to the holiday season, the data suggests luxury marketers should focus on extremely wealthy consumers as the general population of Mass Affluent Consumers (Household Income $100,000 to $400,000) continue to re-assess the role of luxury in their lives.

Elite Traveler’s BPA audited circulation aboard private jets and mega-yachts in over 100 countries means your ad is guaranteed to reach the highest spending luxury audience in the world no matter where they are from and where they happen to be today – each issue is read by 407,000 readers with a Household Income of $1 million +, the highest of any magazine or newspaper in the world! Sources: 2007 Prince ET/MMR for others

2. Mass Affluent Magazines “Get Beat Up At Newsstands”

A recent article in media trade website Medialife noted: “Cash-strapped readers once again cut down on their newsstand magazine purchases during the first half of the year, sending single-copy sales plummeting by double-digit percentages for the second straight reporting period.”

The article showed average Newsstand sales “were off 12.36 percent, according to figures released this morning by the Audit Bureau of Circulations,” according to the report, noting: “The dropoff was clearly a result of the ongoing recession, which has put the pinch on consumer spending.”

According to the story, the drop “came after an 11.12 percent decrease in newsstand sales during the second half of 2008. During the first half of 2008, sales slipped 6.34 percent.”

Particularly hard hit were Mass Affluent titles which had previously positioned themselves against the trading-up crowd which is now being squeezed. Travel + Leisure saw newsstand sales for the first six months of 2009 fall by slightly under 30 percent, while Conde Nast titles Details (-25 percent), W (-21 percent), Architectural Digest (-21 percent) and Conde Nast Traveler (-18 percent) saw big drops. Hearst’s Town & Country saw the number of copies bought at the newsstand fall by 20 percent.

While the world’s economy today is unsteady, one thing is for sure: The wealthy consumers flying aboard private jets are your best bet, and only Elite Traveler delivers these elite travelers to our advertisers through our BPA audited circulation aboard private jets in over 100 countries, including Russia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, India, Singapore, Korea and China. All with one ad buy!

3. Circulation You Can Count On: “You Can Look It Up”

Who actually gets the magazines and newspapers you advertise in? Go to virtually every consumer publisher and all they can tell you is how many copies were sold (for example Conde Nast and Hearst titles typically charge $12 for 12 issues – a full year subscription), but to whom they haven’t much of a clue. At the aforementioned rates, virtually anyone can partake, regardless of purchasing power.

So is the person laying out $1 a month a potential customer? Do they travel overseas or just like to look at pretty pictures? Can they afford the fashion they see, or are they only there to create their look for less? Are diamonds their best friend, or more likely costume jewelry?

Consumer publishers participate in syndicated research that samples a small fraction of the potential audience. But again, who is getting these magazines?

For marketers, accountability today is more important than ever. CEO’s and Boards want to know if marketing dollars are being spent wisely, and are in some cases demanding proof that the dollars are being spent against consumers who have true potential.

With that in mind, Elite Traveler is giving you more detailed information about where our publication is going than any other publisher competing for ad dollars in the luxury lifestyle and travel market.

Our just released June 2009 BPA Audit of Elite Traveler lays out for you, category by category, where copies of Elite Traveler are distributed.

For example, over 70.9 percent of Elite Traveler copies are placed on private jets or in private jet terminals; 13.6 percent to First Class lounges – both in over 100 countries. Furthermore, 2 percent are found in luxury hotel suites, 1.8 percent aboard mega-yachts and in yacht marinas and 1.2 percent in luxury car services.

What does this mean in the travel category? Only Elite Traveler can guarantee 89.5 percent of our circulation is to people who are actually traveling, and actually traveling with a luxury provider. In other words, they are not sitting at home looking at pretty pictures and crying about their 401K and credit card debt.

The remainder of Elite Traveler’s circulation is split between Pro Sports team locker facilities, elite golf clubs and high-end luxury residences, again good venues to find wealthy folks in my opinion.

So the next time a media rep says their readers are traveling, ask them to pull out their Circulation Statement and show you how they know. Or when they say their readers are still buying luxury, ask them to pull out their circulation statement and show you how they know that. At Elite Traveler, we can and will. Or as Hall of Fame Baseball Player Yogi Berra used to say, “You can look it up.”

It’s a difference that means you know where your ad dollars are going when you advertise in Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine.

Over 90 percent of today’s Super Rich are Self Made and over 80 percent of the Super Rich have made their fortune in the past 10 years. Now is the best time to make sure they know your brand. 86% believe Elite Traveler is a good showcase for luxury products.

4. The History of Elite Traveler’s Circulation

Recently I had the pleasure to be a guest of Greg Furman, Chairman and Founder of The Luxury Marketing Council on his show NASDAQ Leaders in Luxury. Greg has built the Council into a global powerhouse and a key resource to marketers. One issue he particularly found interesting was Elite Traveler’s circulation to private jet travelers, which he asked me to explain, and below is a partial transcript I thought my be helpful if you have questions about how we do what we do.

GREG FURMAN: You were starting in 2000, 2001?

DOUG GOLLAN: Yes 2000, 2001. It took us about 18 months to figure out, how do you get the magazine distributed onto the private jets and jet terminals?

GREG FURMAN: And how many are there Doug, North America, globally?

DOUG GOLLAN: Globally there are about 28,000 private jets.

GREG FURMAN: And how many terminals?

DOUG GOLLAN: Over 2,000.

GREG FURMAN: Right, so relative to mass marketing, it’s a pretty intimate niche.

DOUG GOLLAN: It’s targeted, but it’s a very fragmented market.

GREG FURMAN: Right.

DOUG GOLLAN: So if you looked at say, either on the private jet terminal side or on the operator side with and said, “The top 10 in both of those categories control less than 10 percent of the market.”

GREG FURMAN: So a lot of negotiation to get into that number of terminals and have a presence.

DOUG GOLLAN: And the benefit for us, what we saw was a silver lining was, while it was a lot of work, it was going be extremely hard for anyone to copy that distribution.

GREG FURMAN: Right, the first mover advantage.

DOUG GOLLAN: And what we also knew is unlike a lot of the big consumer publishers which are very successful doing their $12 for 12 issues consumer subscriptions, we understood the controlled circulation model. So, (we knew) what we had to do to get that circulation audited, how to make it actually work. And, I still say if we knew today what we knew then we probably wouldn’t have done it because it is difficult. If you think the people who fly by private jet, by nature they’re traveling to different places during different times of the year. And we have to send a different amount of magazines to Aspen and Vail in the summertime than in the winter.

GREG FURMAN: Right, so the micromanagement of this business is a bear.

DOUG GOLLAN: Sure, sure, on the circulation side. And, you know, I think we’ve perfected it or as close as we can. But, so we got into that and the other side was the editorial and the product. And as we went out and talked a lot one to one with these type of people (ultra-wealthy consumers), what they were looking for, we also saw an opportunity because we saw the current consumer magazines really didn’t speak to that private jet traveler.

GREG FURMAN: I love when you talk about the investible assets and net worth of this individual.

DOUG GOLLAN: The median household income for our readers is about $2.3 million which is, if you wanted to take a look at any other measured publication we’re over 10 times higher. And then, if you looked at median net worth, you’re talking in the high $20 millions (for Elite Traveler readers). And so, it’s pretty impressive.

GREG FURMAN: I mean, our audience which is the heads of marketing of luxury brands, understand this. They should probably better understand your audience which is one of the reasons that it’s good for us to do this. But, you know, the luxury magazines, however you define them, do the happy dance if they’re a quarter of a million household income just by way of contrast.

DOUG GOLLAN: I think the highest (Departures) is up in just the low $200’s. So, you know, that was interesting.

Elite Traveler’s BPA audited circulation aboard private jets and mega-yachts in over 100 countries means your ad is guaranteed to reach the highest spending luxury audience in the world no matter where they are from and where they happen to be today – each issue is read by 407,000 readers with a Household Income of $1 million +, the highest of any magazine or newspaper in the world! Sources: 2007 Prince ET/MMR for others.

5. Breakfast With Ali (and) More Innovations From the Master…

One of my favorite things about my job is to be able to spend time with very smart and innovative people, so when I make it out to Los Angeles I enjoy catching up with Ali Kasikci, the Managing Director of The Montage, Beverly Hills. Ali’s market may be one of the world’s most competitive when it comes to luxury hotels. There are two Four Seasons nearby, The Beverly Wilshire and The Four Seasons on Doheny. The pink palace, The Beverly Hills Hotel, has its famous bungalows and under ultimate hotelier Alberto Del Hoyo, service is impeccable, and its famous pool is what Hollywood is all about. There is The Peninsula where Kasikci called home for over a decade, the renovated and much improved Beverly Hilton, nearby newcomers such as the SLS, which is part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection and small, intimate favorites such as Raffles L’Ermitage. In the hip luxury column nearby is the W in Westwood or The London in Hollywood. Not far away as well is Nancy Reagan’s lunch spot, the romantic Bel-Air Hotel, sister to The Beverly Hills Hotel, about to close for a year-long renovation. Nearby on Rodeo Drive is the boutique Luxe Hotel, then if you head down to Santa Monica you have the Viceroy, The Fairmont, Shutters and Casa del Mar to choose from. In Marina del Rey there is The Ritz-Carlton.

Over the years, Ali has been known as an innovator in the hotel business, with often small innovations that have proved very important to customers. It reminded me of David Zucker, the chairman of NBC who, when he took over the Today show (at that time in last place), eliminated commercials in the first 25 minutes. The result was two-fold: Today didn’t lose any viewers during that time as there were no commercial breaks, but instead picked up viewers from CBS and ABC. That small change vaulted Today to the top spot it has held for nearly 25 years. Then after moving to the network programming, he staggered shows to run five minutes into the next half hour, and go straight to the next program without commercial break. Again, the result was a leap from last to first.

So while thread count, head count and a line-up of luxury cars outside contribute to the image of a luxury hotel, the glue that gets the guest back might be something more akin to what Zucker did for NBC.

As an example, as General Manager of The Peninsula Beverly Hills, Kasikci launched a check in anytime, check out anytime policy. No longer did guests have to worry about the room being ready if they arrived in the morning or being able to keep the room if they had an evening departure.

At the Montage, Kasikci has found a traditional guest annoyance and removed it. Laundry service is anytime. There are no pick-up deadlines and delivery requirements. “Give us 45 minutes,” he told me over a recent breakfast. Yes, anytime.

At the same time Kasikci recognized that “for the cost of laundering some items five times, you could buy two new pair of an item.” He says for long-term guests (usually 30 days but often as little as two or three weeks), there is simply a small charge for laundry. “Our cost is incremental. We are already doing the laundry. It’s like if you remember at the last minute you forgot to throw something in your laundry at home, there is no extra cost for this, yet hotels charge guests anyway.”

While the results have been below what Kasikci had hoped for as the economic slump hit just in time with the hotel’s opening last October, he says his hotel has already achieved its fair share of business in his competitive set. Particularly strong is his business with suites, but even he notes that guests do check on prices and, if traveling alone, might opt for a more modest suite.

Another change is in how Kasikci and his Marketing Director Leslie Mackillop communicate about the hotel’s features: “We stopped bragging about the wonderful things we do. For example, we have John Lobb-trained shoe polishers who use John Lobb products, and two years ago we would have bragged about it. Now we are more humble.” Mackillop notes that the hotel is using more third- party endorsements as a way to communicate about its ability to satisfy guests.

Kasikci says consumers are the same. “Up to 2007, they bragged about consumption. They still spend the money, they just are no longer telling everybody.”

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