Where soccer players vacation; why being 'ill' is hip
Where soccer players vacation; why being 'ill' is hip
31 JULY 2017 7:35 AM

Continuing my summer-season roundup of the news that perhaps some of you have missed, this week we see where the world’s greatest soccer players head off to and why hinting that guests might get ill close to your hotel is not a recipe for disaster.

There are many ways to market a hotel or destination. Maybe advertising—if confidentiality allows—where soccer players go on holiday might draw the crowds, but now, it seems, advertising that not everything is squeaky clean might also help.

Soccer players adding to RevPAR
Fascinating news from TravelBird this week, the kind that make the long days of summer flash by as we all wonder what to on earth to do during the close season.

We now have found out where soccer players travel to during the summer.

The problem of accurately ascertaining revenue per available room at resorts stems from the fact that guests staying in them often come in a bundled package-tourism sort of way and/or also spend above average in food and beverage, spa and other in-house attractions.

Soccer players are paid far too much, and therefore chances are they spend more, too.

TravelBird tells us that the most-traveled player is Gerard Piqué, who traveled this summer almost 30,000 miles to such places as Beirut, Tokyo and Singapore. Second on the list was Neymar da Silva Santos, who also plays for well-heeled Barcelona, and two of his holiday destinations were Las Vegas and Sun City, Johannesburg, so you can sort of see how he likes to relax.

I am happy, though, that some soccer players chose destinations that I would not put in the cliché pile. Manchester United’s Paul Pogba went to Cartagena, Colombia, where he perhaps danced the night away, while rival Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne perhaps stared into the abyss at the Grand Canyon.

Most likely the players who perform for the team I support, West Ham United, were probably instead grounded and sent to bed with no supper, as not one of them got into double digits in terms of goals during the 2016-2017 Premiership season. Anyone of them who did travel probably were only allowed to in order to look for new clubs?

Some studying the list might be surprised by the number of soccer players making an urgent beeline to Rosario, Argentina, as soon as the final whistle is blasted, until such time as it is explained—by me, not by TravelBird—that this was where Lionel Messi, another Barcelona player, generally regarded as the best player in the world, was born and recently got married.

I have been to Rosario. It is nice, but perhaps unless this background color is given, thousands of fans might be thinking it is the destination for them, only to find its biggest tourism attraction is the National Flag Memorial and it was where Che Guevara was born. Of course, that might be enough.

I would be interested to see Rosario’s June 2017 year-to-date RevPAR numbers, though.

Sick of it all
Just a thought on a not overly-delightful subject, but two references to, dare I say it, throwing up might suggest it is a new powerful tool to fill hotel rooms and destinations.

Bear with me.

Last year, speaking with Marloes Knippenberg, CEO of hotel-management firm Cloud7 Hotels, which has a property in Istanbul and a pipeline of another five in Europe and the Middle East, said, “today’s travelers do not want to stay in hotel chains where eggs will be prepared the same way regardless of where they are in the world. Now guests are asking ‘Where can I get food poisoning?”

Now, of course guests do not want to literally be green around the gills for a fortnight. What Knippenberg meant was that they want to go far beyond the breakfast buffet and truly understand a destination.

That notion and conversation was brought back to me as I watched the Tour de France. During a commercial break, up popped a Booking.com advertisement that resulted from that company challenging its employees to video-document their 2016 travel.

One showed a chap, his back to the screen, being sick. Only a second, maybe less, but TV advertising time is very expensive, so to keep that in the 45-second ad was obviously a seasoned marketing executive’s decision based on his/her experience as what attracted young people to travel.

Just a thought. Maybe not for Luxury hotels, though.

Email Terence Baker or find him on Twitter.

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