Chicago and Mexico City: How Sister Cities Boost Tourism and the Economy

Dec 16, 14 Chicago and Mexico City: How Sister Cities Boost Tourism and the Economy

Posted by in Travel and Leisure

By Jenny Bergman, Junior Executive at The San Jose Group An old travel tactic is boosting tourism from Mexico City to Chicago: Sister Cities. The idea of “Twin Towns” and “Sister Cities” originated after World War II as an effort to rebuild diplomatic relationships and solidify peace. Today, the concept of sister cities extends past cultural and educational purposes, now creating a solid foundation for greater economic engagement between two cities. In 2013, Chicago and Mexico City signed a historic city-to-city strategic trade agreement, the first pact to be tried under the Global Cities Initiative. A project of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase, the Global Cities Initiatives calls for a joint effort in trade, investment and innovation. While Chicago and Mexico City have been Sister Cities since 1991, this trade agreement builds on existing cultural and economic ties between the two cities. Both cities are a top North America trading partner for each other, involving the trade of more than $1.7 billion worth of locally produced goods. Additionally, about 1.6 million people of Mexican descent live in Illinois, and the Chicago metro area has the fourth-largest concentration of Mexican immigrants in the U.S. An addendum to this partnership pact included an agreement to further cooperation on tourism promotion. The main focus of sister city partnerships today is on shared economic development, and the tourism industry is a huge factor in the economic well-being of a city. Travel from Mexico represents one of the highest sources of international visitors to Chicago, along with the U.K, Japan and Germany. In 2013, visitors from Mexico to the Chicago Metro area increased 42%. At least six flights bring travelers from Mexico City to Chicago each day, and 72% of Mexicans who flew to Illinois in 2012 or 2013 not go on to travel anywhere else, choosing to stay in the Land of Lincoln. Chicago was the most popular area for Mexican visitors during this time, with 96.1% of travelers to Illinois visiting the downtown area. These trips do not solely function...

read more

Traveling with the Millennial Generation: Get it Right Before You Get Left!

Aug 05, 14 Traveling with the Millennial Generation: Get it Right Before You Get Left!

Posted by in Travel and Leisure

By Dalton Lind, Junior Executive at The San Jose Group After a seemingly eternal winter, people have been making sure to get the most out of the summer this year. The warm weather makes it a peak season for tourism and traveling to new vacation destinations. While this has always rang true for the summer months, the way we travel has changed significantly over the years. Consider technological advancements, shifting demographics and evolving notions of ideal travel. As the times progress, the Millennial generation is becoming an increasingly prominent market for the travel industry. So, why does this matter? The travel industry is the top grossing service export in the United States, and more people are traveling now than before. In fact, the U.S. Department of State reports over 100 million more U.S. passports are in circulation today than the 7.2 million in 1989. In total, Americans took over 2.1 billion trips over 50 miles last year. The government estimate that a large portion of those trips are taken by people under age 35, and many businesses would be wise to take note of this age group. In an article about Millennial travel trends, the Boston Consulting Group stated, “Although members of the Millennial generation are not yet the core customers of airlines, hotels, and travel companies, they will be in five to ten years, when they enter their peak earning, spending, and traveling years.” This makes adapting to the world’s ever-changing new consumers of travel and tourism increasingly crucial for marketers and advertisers. When considering the consumer behavior of young generations, modern technology cannot be overlooked. The last thing Millennials will resort to is a physical road map. Smartphones can serve as a GPS, music player, computer, camera and, obviously, as a phone. Similarly, tablets can perform those same functions and more. These devices eliminate the need to purchase a plethora of products that were once associated with travel, such as CD players and disposable cameras. Millennials do not call an airline to set up a...

read more

Hispanic Heritage Month: Brands doing it right

By Cassandra Bremer, Content Manager and Developer at The San Jose Group Each September, a growing number of marketers celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, recognizing the growing Hispanic American community. Introduced by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week and later expanded to cover a 30-day period by President Ronald Regan in 1988, Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) celebrates the history, culture and contributions of Latino Americans. According to the 2010 census, one in six Americans identifies themselves as Latino. While Hispanic Heritage Month gives Hispanics a chance to embrace their roots and connect with their favorite brands on a more intimate level, they know the difference between obligatory campaigns and true public relations efforts, so to succeed, brands must do it right. “Hispanic Heritage Month offers brands a grand opportunity to really capture Hispanic consumers’ attentions,” said George L. San Jose, president and chief creative officer of The San Jose Group. “Often though, marketers forget about Hispanic Heritage Month by October, having filled that marketing quota in September.” This case is especially evident in social media where the hashtags #HispanicHeritageMonth and #HHM have dwindled in usage from brands since the second to last weekend of September. Naturally, one would think that targeted social media posts would be on the rise since Hispanics over index in social media use (Pew Research Center reported that 80% of Hispanics use social networking sites vs. 70% of white, non-Hispanics). While some marketers have missed opportunities to reach these consumers, a number of brands are truly making the most out of Hispanic Heritage Month. This year, for instance, PBS planned a full calendar, celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, including a new six-part series embracing Latino contributions ranging from arts and entertainment to journalism and politics entitled, Latino Americans. According to PBS, this series, narrated by actor Benjamin Bratt, is the “first major television documentary series to chronicle the rich and varied history of Latinos.” Supporting the project as a major corporate funder, Ford featured...

read more

Planning for 2014: Don’t Do it for the Multiculturals, Do it for the Money

Decision makers always want to know how to get the biggest ROI from multicultural markets, and that answer is simple:  if brands truly invest— allocating time, money and assets to the effort—the market will provide them the biggest return. With the summer speeding by and companies finalizing their planning strategies for 2014, considering how to allocate budget dollars towards multicultural efforts is good food for thought. More and more brands are acknowledging the ever-growing multicultural consumer presence in this country. When the 2010 US Census was published, minorities made up 35% of the national population (with Hispanics making up 16.7% of the US population). As many companies have already noticed, this particular population growth translates directly to the consumer market. In 2012, for example, the estimated purchasing power of Hispanics was $1.2 trillion. This number is expected to reach $1.5 trillion in 2015. Those who plan to invest can tap into that enormous spending power. “Don’t treat multicultural efforts like the middle child, paying attention to it after you’ve spent time with the other kids and when it’s only convenient for you,” says George L. San Jose, president and chief creative officer at The San Jose Group. “In order to win the multicultural dollar, brands have to plan to invest in the market as well as follow through with that plan. Otherwise, those consumers will fall through the cracks just like the forgotten middle child.” Hispanics and other minority groups such as African Americans and Asians will not be minorities for long, a fact that renders the decision to allocate a significant portion of a brand’s budget toward multicultural efforts very wise, if not necessary. In recent years, many companies have taken advantage of this opportunity by increasing multicultural spending and creating campaigns geared toward minority consumers. The results, overall, have proved successful. One notable example of a successful multicultural marketing strategy comes from Walmart. In 2012, the world’s largest retail corporation announced plans to double its multicultural ad spending as part of a...

read more

Tapping Travel Success: Multicultural Marketing

As the travel industry booms during the summer months, multicultural marketing reveals itself as their secret recipe. The minority market reality has companies, especially those associated with travel, leveraging the growing minority population with new marketing strategies. In 2010, the American Hotel and Lodging Association published “The Power and Opportunity of the Multicultural Markets,” which argues marketers should recognize the rising minority population and their purchasing power. Travel industry leaders have caught on and have implemented various multicultural marketing strategies in recent years. Hispanics—the fastest growing minority population which may become the United State’s majority population by 2043—lead multicultural travelers; however, they are not the industry’s only minority focus. Travel companies have also directed successful campaigns towards the African American, Asian and LGBT communities. While the successful travel campaigns are unique, their success unveils the minority population’s power. “The proof isn’t just in the pudding, it’s on the planes,” said George L. San Jose, president and chief creative officer at The San Jose Group. “The travel industry recognizes to the multicultural community drives some peaks in the summer months, and they have blazed successful trails for other industries to follow their success by tapping into multicultural markets.” Here are three effective travel campaigns geared towards diverse populations: Orbitz en Español In 2012, Orbitz noted the digitally savvy Hispanic consumer group who prefers to utilize the internet when booking their travel.Almost half of the Hispanic population would rather use apps or the internet to purchase tickets or make reservations, according to a 2012 Redmas poll. However, prior to last year, Spanish speaking Orbitz customers had to book their reservations over the phone, while English speaking customers were able to utilize Orbitz’s website and app. In October of last year, Orbitz launched Orbitz en Español the first full-service, Spanish-language travel website and accompanying app offering online or app reservation bookings. According to Orbitz, “Fifty-six percent of U.S. Hispanics are Spanish-preferring and moving to book on mobile devices at a rate three times faster than the general...

read more

Five Tips for Communicating Effectively with Diverse Audiences

By Ebonne Just, Account Supervisor- Public Relations It’s no secret. The United States is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse reflecting the major influence immigration has had on both the size and age structure of the U.S. population. The Huffington Post recently reported that by 2043, there will no longer be a racial majority in the U.S.  Meaning, no single racial group will dominate the population. As professional communicators, it is important the industry recognizes this shifting demographic to ensure a brand/client’s message remains compelling and influential in today’s complex market. Here are five tips for communicating effectively with diverse audiences: Know your target audience As with any marketing assignment, the first step is to clearly identify the audience your brand is trying to engage. In multicultural communications this step is crucial. Beyond knowing the typical characteristics of your target (race, gender, age, income), it is important to understand this consumer on a deeper level. What drives them to achieve their quantitative and qualitative personal goals (family, wealth, religion/faith)? How do they view themselves as part of the total market (blue-collar, entrepreneur, spiritual leader, social advocate)?  How has race or ethnicity influenced their experience living in the U.S.? Understanding these cultural nuances- the characteristics that exist beyond general appearances which distinguish ethnic and racial groups from the traditional American ideal- builds a platform from which a communicator can deliver a credible message. Assess your knowledge/understanding of your audience Embrace the famous opening words of MTV’s celebrity biopic, “Diary”: You think you know, but you have no idea. While many of us may believe we understand complex cultures outside of our own, truth of the matter is, we probably know less than we think. Before setting out to influence or represent an ethnic audience, assess how much of your understanding is fact versus assumption. A misguided perception of any group can lead to offensive marketing/advertising such as in the case of Tecate’s ill-fated “Finally a Cold Latina” outdoor ad campaign whose critics felt “the ad...

read more