It was really interesting to hear JetBlue President and Chief Operating Officer Joanna Geraghty’s perspective of her boutique airline, which has only 5 percent of the U.S. market. She said when she tells people where she works, the reaction is generally “Oh my God, I love JetBlue … That love and sense of feeling toward a brand, I think, is frankly absent when you think about some of the other airlines in the industry,” she said. Although criticized recently for raising fees for checked bags, she said that when forced to make hard choices, they put the customers’ needs first. “… nobody likes fees,” she said. Fees, however, are necessary, Geraghty explained and added, “We’re going to be competitive in fees, and we’re going to win on product and the service that we offer.” The trade-off was getting to keep what differentiates JetBlue from its bigger competitors: better service, free Wi-Fi and entertainment, more legroom, and unlimited snacks and drinks.
A lot of the innovation in the travel industry is coming from small startups that are reimagining what it is to experience something. The currency of travel has shifted away from Instagram-worthy but trite shots of beautiful beaches toward rarity and uniqueness. This is why Geetika Agrawal, CEO of Vacation with an Artist, started her company, which offers personal lessons from master artists and craftspeople from all corners of the world. “We want to learn directly from the masters that have been shaping our cultures for generations,” she said. “We don’t want to feel commoditized, we want to feel like these experiences are created for us.”
Puerto Rico Tourism Company
The current image of Puerto Rico in many people’s minds is that of an island ravaged by Hurricane Maria, struggling to get back on its feet. But Carla Campos, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company wants to change that. Traditionally, tourism was governed by the territory, which elected a new government every four years and lacked focus. Although the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), was founded in 1970 as a public corporation responsible for stimulating tourism, it just became the lead tourism agency in 2016. “We started to rethink competitiveness,” she said. “We have a white canvas, and we get to build stronger than ever before.” Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló also spoke on how tourism can help the island rebuild. “Tourism can be a force for good in Puerto Rico,” he said.
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