Cruise Trends to Watch in 2018 and Beyond

The folks at CruiseCompete predicted some noteworthy trends in cruising for 2018 and the ones I'm really excited about are launched from hoteliers getting ready to enter the cruise scene and innovative wellness offerings.

The “New Chic” in Cruise Ships: Ultra-Luxury Hoteliers Have Entered the High Seas Arena, Offering Intimate Yacht Experiences. Virgin Voyages is new to the seas and already pre-booking for its 2020 sailings. From dining and entertainment to wellness and rejuvenation, nearly every single element of the Virgin Voyages journey will bring a unique Virgin style to the high seas. And - no kids allowed! You must be 18 years of age or older to sail Virgin Voyages.

The Ritz-Carlton is taking its legendary service and unmatched luxury to ocean venues. Beginning in 2019, the company will offer voyages on three lavishly-built, intimate yachts with space for only 298 guests. Accommodations include 149 suites, each with its own balcony, and several luxurious duplex penthouses. Reservations open May 2018.

Personalized Well-Being Experiences To meet growing demand from travelers, MSC Cruises has launched a personal wellness program with TechnoGym. Each enrolled guest has an entirely personalised cruise experience, which is customized with shore excursions, gym classes and healthy food options. “The global wellness travel segment is projected to grow by nearly 10% annually over the next five years, as consumers are increasingly seeking out ways to combine being active and healthy with their vacation,” says Gianni Onorato, chief executive officer of MSC Cruises.

MSC Divina will also be launching the first Weight Watchers cruise in the Caribbean. (Let me note that I think this is brilliant! So glad to see a cruise line finally partnering with Weight Watchers - who is always innovating and finding new ways to help people stay healthy).

Seabourn has introduced a fleet-wide mindful living program with American celebrity Dr. Andrew Weil, which encompasses physical, social and spiritual well-being. The new program focuses on the daily practice of meditation and yoga through a selection of complimentary session and is the first of its kind at sea.

For many information on these offerings visit

Canada…Like Marketing to US Consumers…Only Different

It may be cold up there in Canada but they have cities with European charm, free healthcare, a family-friendly maternity leave policy and a propensity to travel.

In fact, Canadians make twice the number of international leisure trips than US consumers. And while Canadians are open to emerging destinations the United States remains a steady favorite – with 72% of Canadian vacations taking place to the US (Florida tops this list). And since sun and beach vacations also rank high on their list of travel plans the Caribbean, Cuba and Dominican Republic have seen growing numbers of Canuck visitors.

When Canadians travel to Europe, France and the United Kingdom are the most popular destinations. And, if you go on a cruise I can pretty much guarantee you will meet at least a handful of Canadians.

Travel marketers should be focussing on getting a piece of this potentially lucrative audience with a separate and distinct strategy. Canadians are active on social media, comfortable with technology and will respond to digital media and traditional media campaigns. Canada’s strict (and strictly-enforced) Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) is different than the US laws and makes marketing via email and retargeting more challenging. On the flip side, having these laws in place ensures that marketers are paying to reach consumers who want to engage with brands in this manner.

Like their US counterparts, Canadian millennials travel more than other age groups and while they are very dependent on their digital devices, Neilsen research shows that “more than 90% of millennials make purchases based on direct mail.”*

Cruise lines, destinations, airlines, tour companies and all-inclusive resorts can all benefit from marketing specifically to Canadians – armed with an understanding of where they are most likely to travel and what they like to do once there.

Ready to get started? Check out our list of marketing partners and options for reaching Canadians with direct mail or fully CASL certified email and direct mail campaigns.

*Canada Post – Marketing to Canadian millenial travelers – 2015.

Products that will Change the Way you Fly this Thanksgiving

Heading home for holidays?  Don’t let crowded or delayed flights damper your holiday spirit – be prepared and pack these new products that will help you keep your sanity and feel free when you land.

Do you struggle to get comfy in your airplane seat? Now you can stay sane on even the most grueling of journeys this holiday season with the trendy tech gear from Grand Trunk. Whether you are on your flight or holed up at the airport, stay comfortable with Grand Trunk’s snuggle-ready designs! Their Tech Throw Travel Blanket is a lightweight tech throw that uses 150 grams of micro-thermal insulation to keep you warm from your head to the sewn in foot-pocket. This is the ONLY blanket on the market that was designed with a carry strap that fits over your rolling bag, so you don’t even have to pack it, just attach it!

Bring even more comfort on board with Aria Kit! The perfectly curated airplane travel kit for grueling, long flights and layovers, you’ll get goodies like handmade skincare and the highest quality accessories. Designed to make any adventure a better experience so you can fully enjoy the destination, Aria Kit was crafted for travelers, by travelers. No matter where you’re going this holiday season, keep comfortable in the air or in the airport with the compact, durable Aria Kit!


I’ve been obsessing over Turkish Towels and the Byron Towel by Case + Drift is made out of 100% cotton and can be used as a baby blanket, scarf for mom, bath and beach towel, picnic blanket…the options are endless! Specializing in all-purpose travel commodities designed for the jet-setter lifestyle of both vagabonds and professionals alike, Case + Drift Turkish towels and bags are custom crafted with style and versatility, making them perfect for travel, adventures or everyday use – no matter the season!

When you finally land carry all of your necessities in the AmeriBag! The Healthy Back Bag from AmeriBag is perfect for the beach, in the car, on a hike, or lunch with the family. This backpack gives you those extra pockets and space, while taking care of your back! Lots of pockets means you never have to leave anything you need behind.
The Trademarked teardrop shape that ergonomically molds to the shape of your spine.Cross body design to distribute weight evenly, alleviating stress on your back, shoulders, and neck.




Small CA Surfer Town with White Sandy Beaches, Waves, Western Saloon and Antiques

I love small towns – and I love undiscovered gems of small towns. And this small CA town pretty proves that you don’t have to fly to Hawaii to experience long stretches of white sandy beaches, killer waves, and charming locals. And you don’t have to travel to Las Vegas to play poker or Texas to drink at an authentic western saloon with big swinging doors and cowboys. And, you don’t have to visit the old towns of Europe or New England to discover a plethora of antiques, the intimacy of small-town charm and great restaurants. You just need to visit the classic beach town of Cayucos along the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route located midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Cayucos is an iconic seaside town located on coastal Highway 1, where the old west meets the Pacific Ocean. The Cayucos Tavern was built in 1906 and is a historic saloon that still offers poker, billiards, live music, authentic cowboys and great drinks to wet your whistle. Cayucos offers a quaint old-fashioned main street called Ocean Avenue filled with restaurants featuring local seafood, wine and craft brews, antique shops filled with memories of the past, and mom and pop shops that have been around for decades. The beach and pier are just a block from Ocean Avenue where surfers and kayakers abound, tide pools are abundant, and fishing off the 950-foot historic pier offers epic views of sea life including whales, dolphins, and otters. Check out this beautiful Cayucos video to get a first-hand view of this quintessential California seaside town.

Ready to plan a trip – here are some of the top things to experience in Cayucos:

Surf, Kayak, and Paddleboard: Water Sports Abound
Dine in Historic Downtown
Wildlife Viewing, Hikes and Stewardship Travel in Cayucos
Cayucos Sea Glass Festival: March 9 – 11, 2018
July 4 Independence Day Festivities: July 4, 2018
Rock to Pier Fun Run: July 15, 2018


Summer is Over…Here’s Where You Can Still Swim in NYC

Summer is long over and those days in the Hamptons or the Jersey Shore are becoming a distant memory. Luckily, you don’t need to leave the comfort of the city if you’re still looking to make a splash! Below are the top pools in NYC to help you get over your summertime sadness.

Relax at the exclusive hydrotherapy spa pools designed with different “stations” of aqua-jet nozzles that target specific areas of the body. Whether you want to look out over the city from the rooftop or stay cool inside, Premier57’s pools are some of the best in NYC. For just $75 for the day pass, you can enjoy these rooftop views from sun-up to sun-down.

Gansevoort Park:
This is the pool to indulge in. Even for the high price, this rooftop pool is hard to beat for an afternoon swim. The hotel offers a $250 package that includes a day pass, $75 in food and drinks, a discount on spa treatments and more.

McCarren Hotel and Pool
This chic Manhattan-style pool is in the heart of Brooklyn. Reservations are a must. Arrive early to scope out the best seat and lounge in cabanas or pool chairs for an extra fee. Reserve your pool day online for only $45 on weekdays and $65 on weekends.

My ongoing quest to opt-out from GOLF Magazine emails

Around 2004 I belonged to a country club and started playing golf. For Christmas that year my mother got me a subscription to GOLF Magazine — I also started receiving emails from them. A few years later we moved back to NYC which meant no more country club and no more golf…and along the way I have tried to unsubscribe from these emails multiple times. 

But I keep receiving them…and by now this has been going on (somewhat sporadically) for probably more than 10 YEARS! My email has also changed along the way and these emails followed me. I got another one last week and I have unsubscribed AGAIN.

Since I work in the email industry I’m probably more aware than most consumers of when I unsubscribe to something and then keep receiving the emails — especially when it is very sporadic.  In the case of GOLF Magazine sometimes I don’t receive anything for a year or two and then POOF I’m back on the list.

Keeping up with a database of opt-outs across various platforms and databases is no small task but I’m fairly certain a large company like Time Inc. has ample resources and vendors to do the job.

I’m hoping my most recent “unsubscribe” finally does the trick.

The un-sexy art of writing intriguing subject lines

I help clients send a lot of email and I get a lot of email. Most of it goes unopened – in many cases because the subject line didn’t do it’s job. Subject lines are tedious to write and the best intentions of testing usually fall to the wayside. So we end up throwing together something like “Exclusive Offer”; “25% Savings” or a travel marketer’s favorite — “BOOK NOW” and hoping for the best. Sometimes when I’m in a bind I look to my own inbox for inspiration and this week i made a note of some subject lines that made me open the email.

#1 – “Earth to Angela” – sent by a lead-generation firm that I’ve signed with but have yet to use their product. They know I expressed interest but have yet to follow through. On the downside — I got another email from them on another topic about 15 minutes later. I appreciate a good trigger campaign more than anyone but know when to cut me some slack and please put me only into one funnel.

#2 “10 bra-friendly dresses under $100” — I wear a bra and I wear dresses and the struggle to hide those straps is real – so this one was relevant to me and further proof that Top 10 lists will never die.

#3 – “Yassssssss!” – A bit extreme but it stood out among all of the savings-based subject lines. There was indeed an ‘exclusive offer’ inside but this worked. Telling me I could save 20% on business cards probably would not have worked.

#3 “Cancel your cooking plans” – Sent at the appropriate time of day this proved to be relevant at that exact moment. Done deal!

#4 “We Heard You Have a Thing For Overwater Bungalows” — I’m sure I do but i have not expressed specific interest in overwater bungalows on this web site…but it’s a pretty safe assumption that most travelers wouldn’t mind taking this trip and the conversational tone helps here. Worth noting — this is the ONLY subject line from a travel company to make this list.

#5 “Are we on for this afternoon?” – This was for a webinar I signed up for and the familiar tone made me think it was from a client or friend.


Here you will find Angela’s musings about travel and cruise, email marketing and the ever-changing world of media and life in New York City (and the occasional picture of Eddie the Beagle too!).