STS Travel and Tourism Talk

Perhaps money really can buy happiness


A rafting trip in West Virginia, a hot-air balloon ride in Alabama and a stroll on a Carolina beach may be more valuable than you imagine.

Purchasing an experience brings more long-term happiness than buying a new object, according to research reported in the AARP magazine.

The San Francisco State University study showed that buying an experience creates "memory capital" you can pull out time and again, and remembering that experience is much more satisfying than a new iPad.

The research also shows there is no correlation between the amount spent and the happiness produced – which is great news for the travel industry.

A short trip can be as emotionally rewarding as a very long vacation – although a weekend in Paris, Tenn., still might not stack up to a week in that other Paris.

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Your job title is what?!

Business Card prints business cards, and its head of marketing says he's seeing some unusual job titles these days.

"Titles like 'web designer' or 'digital advisor' are no longer enough to grab attention, so 'web kahuna' or 'digital dynamo' may work better. We're also seeing a dramatic rise in gurus, geeks, and captains," Paul Lewis said in FORTUNE.

Might that catch on in travel and tourism?

Could a hotel rooms director be the "sleep monitor"? Could an attraction GM be the "director of fun"? Could a media rep be a "message multiplier"?

Send your tourism-specific ideas to We'll publish some of them in a future issue.

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U.S. muddles along after 'lost decade' in international travel


The U.S. Travel Association continues to beat the drum loudly supporting the Travel Promotion Act that is designed to boost international visitation.

U.S. Travel chief Roger Dow labeled the last 10 years a "lost decade," saying the U.S. is "lost in the desert" when it comes to promoting itself abroad.

Dow cites these Oxford Economics predictions if we had a well-executed, fee-funded promotional program of $200 million:

  • 1.6 million new visitors
  • $4 billion new dollars in the economy
  • $320 million in new tax revenue
  • 40,000 new U.S. jobs

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The life cycle of volunteers

Board of Directors

Do you work with a volunteer board of directors? Have you noticed certain behaviors based on how long directors serve?

Timothy Schneider, publisher of Association News breaks the life cycle of a volunteer into three stages. Read his analysis, and start examining your board members. You might have a revelation.

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December 2011

Americans believe in travel . . . and Santa Claus

" . . . Travel continues to be an important investment for Americans, even in unsettled economic times."

That optimistic comment reflects data from a "vacation confidence index" generated by a major travel insurer. The Access America research predicted a 10 percent bump in holiday travel.

With half of December already gone, do you sense that bump at your destination, and are you expecting more relatives than normal to visit you this Christmas?

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Mind your tweets

Here's another lesson about thinking before you press the "send" button. A PR firm lost a client because an employee's tweet wasn't quite as cute as he thought.

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Grant Program

Looking to improve your scenic views on roads coming into your destination? The National Scenic Byways Grants program provides funding for byway-related projects each year. They are currently seeking applications for these funds.

Contact STS


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