JetBlue’s New York jet celebrates the New York Jets

Okay, there is no shortage of colors and plays on words in this new partnership deal. The New York Jets will actually have a New York jet flying in and out of the city soon. The team, which sports green in its logo and on its uniforms, is even overtaking the color of its partner, JetBlue. One of the carrier’s jets will be painted in the football team’s colors.

JetBlue is also offering DirecTV’s “Sunday Ticket” football package to its passengers, showing a keen eye for the value of gridiron connections in filling seats.

According to Business Insider:

It is unclear if this new green and white jet will be used for flights to Jets away games. As part of the partnership between the airline and the football team, JetBlue offers discounted fares to Jets away games. It seems fitting if the new jet would be used for these flights.

[photo by NYCMarines via Flickr]

Travel and social media: five ways to cut through it all

As I was scanning the headlines this morning, I came across Christopher Elliott’s article, “Are travelers overloaded by social media?” It’s a fair question. Not only are more and more of us plugging in – Twitter, for example, is adding 1.8 million new users a week – but we’re being increasingly being bombarded “communicated to” by hotels and airlines that are eager to get a bigger share of our wallets. So, there’s a whole lot of status updating and tweeting going on, and we need to figure out how to deal with it all.

It’s easy to blame the marketing guys for this. Aren’t they the people responsible, clogging our Facebook news feeds and Twitter timelines with hot deals and other promotional content? Well, yes … but we want some of that. That’s why I follow, for example, people like @Bsimi and @Colonnade, not to mention @JetBlue.

So, we have to balance our desire for promotional content (and let’s be honest – we do desire it) with keeping our social media environments clean and decidedly our own. Here are five ways you can get what you want without giving up too much:1. Make loyalty choices: with all the content floating around, you need to trim down the number of travel businesses you follow in order to truly take advantage of the best deals. Otherwise, you risk not seeing what you really want. Decide which brands mean the most to you, and ditch the others.

2. Make travel brands earn your social media share: for me at least, it takes more than a few hot deals to get me to follow a brand on Twitter or like it on Facebook. I want interesting content and customer service, too. I may test out a social media relationship for a while, but to make it stick, the company is going to have to perform.

3. Watch your friends: if you see a brand retweeted or otherwise interacting with one of your friends, it may be worth following it – or at least asking your friend why. This is why I follow @FSHotelHouston (Four Seasons Hotel Houston), for example, which was based on Twitter action I saw from @welshwonder.

4. “Favorite” and “like” what matters: use these features to bookmark social media content that you may want to use later. It will keep great deals from getting lost in your active social media stream.

5. Use these relationships effectively: By trimming your list down, you are effectively making a statement about customer loyalty – make sure the people managing those accounts know that! Don’t do it just for perks. Instead, develop a real relationship with the person behind the brand.

Holiday Inn opens NYC hotel made entirely of key cards

As part of an effort to build buzz around the relaunch of 1200 Holiday Inn hotels this month, the lodging chain has opened a very special hotel in New York. It’s not your average hotel though. It’s made entirely of hotel key cards.

The “Key Card Hotel” was built by Guinness World Record holder Byran Berg, who first broke the record for “World’s Tallest House of Freestanding Playing Cards” in 1992 at the tender age of 17. Since then, he’s broken the record 10 times. Now he’s created a life-size (though small at 400 square feet) hotel made of key cards. Visitors can’t actually stay in the “hotel” (and would you really want to sleep on a bed of plastic?), but they can come marvel at Berg’s creation, which is made of 200,000 cards and weighs two tons, tour the lobby, guest room, and bathroom, and learn about the Holiday Inn’s “Keys to Change” promotion and the many improvements that will be taking place at the brand’s properties. By the end of 2010, over 3000 hotels in the chain will be updated, at a cost of $1 billion, making it the “largest relaunch in the history of the hospitality industry”.

As part of the promotion, guests can enter to win free nights at one of the relaunched Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express locations around the world. One grand prize winner will also receive a 3-day, 2-night trip to any Holiday Inn hotel in the world, including round-trip air transportation. To enter, just sign up on the promotion’s website.

The Key Card Hotel will be open at New York’s South Street Seaport from now until September 21. During the promotion, Berg will also create a 9-foot tall replica of the Statue of Liberty using playing cards in the lobby. The online contest runs until October 22nd.

Aruba’s Westin Resort offers $300 for your baby

I can understand the idea of a babymoon, a vacation taken right before a new baby is born. Enjoying one last (for a while anyway) trip before your life becomes a crazy blur of diapers and late-night feedings almost seems medically necessary. But taking a vacation with the sole purpose of getting knocked up – a procreation vacation – well, that sounds a little too “desperate marketing ploy” to me. Can’t people just have sex at home? Or just go on a trip and say “We’re gonna go on vacation, have a lot of sex, and see what happens” without making pregnancy the objective? Apparently, the Westin hopes not.

The Westin Resort on Aruba wants couples looking to take their own procreation vacation to book a stay this fall. The Resort is offering a $300 credit, to be used on on a future visit, to any couple that conceives while staying at the resort between September 1 and December 19. During that time, the Resort’s “Classic Package” is $399 per night for two and includes all meals and drinks, including alcohol. Guests who book by September 30 will also receive a $100 Resort Credit.

It’s an attention-getting promotion, but I doubt many couples will be able to collect. Getting pregnant seems like a crap shoot that requires the perfect storm of several factors. No matter how much sex a couple has over the course of their stay, the odds that the woman will happen to be ovulating and get pregnant within that time frame are slim. But if it does happen, the couple just needs to provide a doctor’s note confirming that conception was on or around the dates of their stay, and they’ll receive the $300 credit. For those who do receive a visit from the stork, I suppose it’s a nice incentive to return to the Westin for the first post-baby vacation.

[via USA Today]

Motel 6 goes for younger image, offers free stays to rock bands

When you think of edgy, hip places to stay, I’d venture a guess that Motel 6 isn’t the first place that comes to mind. But the budget lodging chain is hoping to change that with a new promotion – providing free rooms to a few up-and-coming touring rock bands. The marketing gurus at Motel 6 have asked the bands to blog and tweet about their stays, hoping that the buzz will build brand recognition and positive association among younger customers.

The bands, which were chosen by a music promotion company called Primary Wave Music, will receive six weeks of accommodation at Motel 6 locations along the tour routes. The bands aren’t being told what to say about Motel 6, but the company is obviously hoping for positive press. Even the budget motel has been hit hard by declining travel, with occupancy rates down 5-7% over the last year. Jeff Palmer, VP of marketing, is hoping the promotion will help get Motel 6 back on track, and earn the company some new, younger customers. “If they stay with us young, maybe they’ll remain brand loyal,” he said.

Rock on, Motel 6.