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FlyORH: Chamber of Commerce Works To Promote Worcester Airport

Thursday, January 30, 2014

 

To support ORH and JetBlue, the airport is hosting a trade show for travel agents and agencies.

One of the biggest surprises to me is the complete lack of advertising from businesses in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando in the Central Mass area. As I write this column, we are flying to Fort Lauderdale today; wouldn’t businesses in these areas want me to stay at their hotel, go to their theme park or restaurant?

Considering that we have 54,000 people per month (assume 90% load factor) wouldn’t you think more business would spend some money here advertising their businesses? It makes me wonder, are we are advertising in those markets for people to come to Central Massachusetts?

Another surprise for me has been is that it appears that on a day-to-day basis, Fort Lauderdale is selling better then Orlando. Considering all the family attractions and despite the fact that Fort Lauderdale has connections to points South, I thought Orlando would be more popular.

Have you ever tried to travel with a family to a larger airport? Parking, walking through the airport, long check-in and TSA lines, versus the 10 minutes from car to gate at ORH! There is no reason that Worcester should not be the number 1 choice of all families traveling to Orlando within 40 miles of ORH.

Good news

Destination Worcester and the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce are addressing these concerns. They have teamed-up with Massport, the Fort Lauderdale CVB, and the Orlando CVB to host a trade show that targets travel agents/agencies. The event is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, March 13, 2014 from 4-7:30 pm at the airport.

The purpose of the trade show is to educate local agents/agencies about the new and convenient air service (JetBlue) from Worcester to Orlando, Fort Lauderdale (and connecting flights to Latin American destinations), to showcase the airport and its amenities, and to highlight unique vacation packages for travel (e.g., cruises, hotel accommodations, transportation, large-scale events, etc.)

Exhibitors to date include (from Florida and locally), including Disney, Universal Studios, Sandals, Royal Caribbean Cruises, SeaWorld, Marriott, Sheraton, Worcester Airport Limousine, Knight’s Limousine, and more. The show will feature presentations about the new service, travel packages, opportunities for cross-promotion, etc. Refreshments, a signature drink, hors d’oeuvres, and a beach theme will add some spunk to the event.

Working together

Travel agents are an extremely important market for the airline and the airport to succeed. Over 400 travel agents are being targeting and AAA of Southern New England has been engaged. They have also recruited TripAdvisor and MOTT to assist with presentations and an educational component. All are very enthusiastic to work with us in helping to make this event a success!

Stay tuned; I will have more information on this event going forward as we get closer to the date. Let’s hope they call it something like “Live from T1”, like JetBlue does for their T5 Live events at JFK. Maybe the Chamber could advertise this event of the digital billboard on Route 146 and Route 290.

 

Bill Randell is the President of Advantage Benefits, an insurance brokerage house specializing in employee benefits with an emphasis on health insurance, based in Worcester since 1992. He can be contacted at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter (@FlyORH).

 

Related Slideshow: February Getaways in New England

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Northeast Kingdom

What better way to celebrate the beauty of winter than to head up north for the week? Simple answer: there is none! Head up to the gorgeous mountains of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom to enjoy all that the region has to offer. Try out Smuggler’s Notch Resort in Jeffersonville—one of the most well regarded family ski resorts in the entire country. Kids will enjoy full day programs and ski/board lessons, crafted specifically for them. Special needs programs are also available.

When you’re not hitting the slopes, enjoy a factory tour of Ben & Jerry’s flagship store, and even check out the flavor graveyard! And if beer and barbecue is more your style, be sure to check out Prohibition Pig in Waterbury!

Smuggler’s Notch: 4323 Vermont 108 South, Jeffersonville, Vermont. (802) 644-8851.

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Mystic Aquarium

Make the trip to Connecticut for an adult treat at the Mystic Aquarium! On Saturday, February 15, the Saturday before February vacation, the aquarium will be hosting a South African wine dinner. Attendees will enjoy South African wines, hors d’oeuvres, and a 4-course dinner amongst African penguins and other beautiful marine life exhibits.

Later in the week, take the kids back to the Aquarium for a great day trip. Explore the exhibits and learn all about life under and near the sea!

55 Coogan Blvd., Mystic, CT. (860) 572-5955.

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The White Mountains

The mountains of New England are a magical place to be any time of year—but they have a little something extra to offer when they are blanketed with snow. Head up to New Hampshire’s White Mountains region to see the beauty of winter in the mountains for yourself!

If you are traveling to the area with kids, look no farther than Lincoln’s Loon Mountain. Learners always get special savings with Loon’s Learner’s Passport. Even better, on select nights during February vacation week Loon will be hosting Fluorescent Nights, a special opportunity to ski or board after the sun goes down.

60 Loon Mountain Road, Lincoln, NH. (603) 745-8111.

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Cape Cod

While people flock to the beaches of the Cape during the summer months, there is something special about being there off-season. Couples and families alike will enjoy quiet walks on the beach and memories that are made without the noise of thousands of tourists in the background.

What’s more is that it is much cheaper to stay on Cape Cod during the winter. If you want a resort, check out Cape Codder Resort & Spa in Hyannis. There’s an indoor wave pool, a spa, and more at the resort, and its proximity to beaches and shopping makes it super convenient.

1225 Iyannough Road, Hyannis, MA. (855) 861-4370.

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Coastal Maine

The Coastal Maine region is another gem of New England summers, but the truth is that it is also gorgeous during the winter months. Take advantage of off-season rates in towns like Wells and Ogunquit and explore all that the area has to offer.

Take in world-famous scenery as you climb the Marginal Way in Ogunquit, enjoy a fresh hot lobster in Perkin’s Cove, and walk along Well’s Beach for a quiet retreat from the rest of the world.

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Roger Williams Park Zoo

Believe it or not, Providence’s Roger Williams Park Zoo is open 12 months a year! Plan a trip to the Zoo with the little ones to help get rid of some of that pent up energy—and learn something while doing it!

Roger Williams Park Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the country and is home to a bounty of animals—many of which enjoy the cold. Animals you may see outdoors during the winter include Bald Eagles, Moon Bears, bison, camels, and many others. There is no better time to enjoy the Zoo than February vacation—admission is half priced throughout the month!

1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence, RI. (401) 941-4998.

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Essex Steam Train

The first weekend of February vacation head to Essex, Connecticut for the adventure of a lifetime. February 15 & 16, Essex Steam Train & Riverboat will be having its annual Eagle Flyer event.

Attendees will take a 2 1/2 hour-long eco-excursion aboard the Eagle Flyer out of Essex Station in Essex...pulled by a vintage diesel train. During the ride, naturalists will share information regarding the Bald Eagle’s migration through the region. Make sure to pack your binoculars so you can spot the majestic creatures in the wild!

1 Railroad Avenue, Essex, CT. (860) 767-0103.

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Jiminy Peak

Head to the Berkshires for a snowy getaway during the week of February vacation. Check out Jiminy Peak in the quaint Western Massachusetts town of Hancock—it’s perfect for families!

Enjoy a day on the slopes, but be sure to leave time to explore all that the Berkshires have to offer as well! Local favorites include the Norman Rockwell Museum, Berkshire Museum, Hancock Shaker Village, and more!

37 Corey Road, Hancock, MA. (413) 738-5500.

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Burlington, VT

For a getaway that will offer the best of shopping, winter sports, culture and food, be sure to check out the Northern Vermont city of Burlington. Nestled against Lake Champlain, Burlington is home to world class colleges, delicious eateries, and a pristine natural setting.

While you’re in the area, there is one place that you should absolutely experience: Church Street. Church Street is a cobblestone street not open to traffic in the heart of the city. It is home to gorgeous little boutiques, warm and inviting restaurants, and a great cultural atmosphere. Other highlights of the area include the waterfront, Dobra Tea, and Higher Ground.

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Block Island

Enjoy a retreat from the rest of the world on Rhode Island’s Block Island! Enjoy the sights and sounds of the island—from calm walks on the beach to sightseeing in the interior region. Bring bicycles to get through town, and be ready to enjoy the beautiful natural setting that will surround you.

Block Island is not home to an amusement park, nor is there a fast food joint in sight. Block Island is a place to go to make your own memories—and have fun doing it!

 
 

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