Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bravo to Upscale Boutique Firms Who Create Their Own Opportunity

Clearly, this is not a good economy for small, luxury, boutique firms. Or, wait. Is it? Well, it all depends on your frame of mind, I say. If you think creatively and find solutions, these economic times can be spun from gloomy to bright. Opportunity, afterall, can come in strange disguises.

Last night, one of Miamore Communications' clients, Tomgirl Tours, proved this truth. A little background: Tomgirl Tours is an upscale, boutique travel firm specializing in culinary and adventure travel for women. Tomgirl founder (and dynamo) Lori Carr loves to travel; but she also loves her hometown (and my new one): Providence, RI. As such, Tomgirl is offering three culinary tours of this gorgeous, quintessential New England town this summer. Click here for details on the tours (al fresco cooking course on the rooftop of a boutique hotel, anyone? How about a progressive dinner in Federal Hill, an Italian neighborhood with restaurants that can whup the best any larger city may claim to boast?). 

Despite the obvious appeal of these tours, as we all know: this is a rough year for the tourism (and most other) industries. But Lori is not deterred. Instead, she is inspired... so she joined forces with the Hotel Providence (you MUST check out this hotel. I had a tour and, forget visiting... I'd like to live there) to host a special event last night. The guests: travel
agents. From afar? Notsomuch. About 20 agents from the local region attended. The payoff, aside from learning about Tomgirl Tours and the gorgeous Hotel Providence? A colorful narrative and conversation with Providence icon and former mayor Buddy Cianci (right, with Carr). Now this, my friends (if you've been under a rock for the past 20 years) is a man who can sell the region. 

The result? Well, for starters, busy travel agents who agreed to come from 6-7:30 p.m. happily lingered til 9. Notes were scribbled, press kits devoured, and, I'm confident, some New England "staycations" will be sold. 

The moral: Lori and Tomgirl Tours, along with the Hotel Providence's incredibly gracious Mark Feinberg, are two spectacular and inspirational examples of upscale boutique firms taking the economy's lemons and making sweet, sweet lemonade...

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