Hollywood is betting large on TikTok expertise in bid to woo Gen Z

In this photo illustration a TikTok logo seen displayed on a smartphone with stock market percentages in the background.

SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

When TikTok creator Boman Martinez-Reid first got an email from Creative Artists Agency he ignored it. As an Ontario native, he saw the acronym CAA and assumed it was CAA Insurance, a major car insurance company in Canada.

It was only after a TikTok representative contacted him that he realized he was being courted by one of Hollywood’s top talent agencies.

“I get a [direct message] from a guy at TikTok and he says let’s talk on the phone,” Martinez-Reid recalled. “So, we had a phone call and he asked me ‘I know that CAA has been reaching out to you. Do you know who they are? They represent Beyonce, Meryl Streep, you have to get on the phone with them.'”

Martinez-Reid, known online as “Bomanizer,” has more than 1.5 million followers and a budding career that includes a guest appearance on “Canada’s Drag Race” and a line of branded merchandise. While he rose to TikTok fame making reality show spoof videos, the 24-year-old has aspirations beyond the social media platform. He signed with CAA in July 2020.

Martinez-Reid is part of a growing list of content creators that have signed with traditional talent agencies, including dancer Charli D’Amelio, actress Addison Rae and the creators of the viral TikTok series “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical,” Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear.

These artists have been tapped because of their talent, but also because of their engagement with online communities. These entrepreneurs have built large and loyal followings on the short-form video app, something talent managers and agents from traditional Hollywood firms see as a potential gold mine.

Not only can these agencies help build mini-media empires around these creators, they also can benefit from the strategies these digital influencers use, and apply it to bolster the careers of the agencies’ already established clients.

Actor Will Smith, who is repped by CAA, is just one example of an A-list celebrity who has embraced social media, including TikTok and YouTube, in recent years as a way to promote his content and to promote himself.

“Will recognized four or five years ago that young audiences are consuming media in a much different way,” said David Freeman, co-head of the CAA’s digital media division. “Will understood that he had to shift and change the way that he was interacting with his audience.”

This pivotal audience, which ranges in age from six to around 25, is known as Gen Z and is one of the most sought after consumer bases for companies. Not only is this young generation coming of age as consumers, but they are also driving major trends for older generations, said Jason Dorsey, president of the Center for Generational Kinetics, a research and strategic advisory firm.

“This makes this younger set of trendsetters overly valuable,” he said.

This generation is not just impacting entertainment, but apparel, food, technology and bigger social conversations, he said. 

“As Gen Z comes up, they really are the best predictor of the future,” Dorsey said. “Smart brands are trying to figure out how you connect with them in a sincere way. … If you win Gen Z, you can win everyone else.”

Embracing Gen Z

Dorsey noted that many brands missed out on connecting with the millennial generation because they dismissed this demographic’s adoption of mobile devices and social media and believed that this group of young consumers would return to the traditions of previous generations.

“That didn’t happen,” he said.

While the millennial generation adopted the internet and a mobile-first mentality, Gen Z has never known a time that they could not do almost everything they needed to do on a mobile device, said Connor Blakley, a marketing consultant and Gen Z expert.

“Everyone always says that Gen Z has a six- to eight-second attention span,” he said. “What that is is just a really good ‘BS meter’ for different kinds of information so that we can pick the thing that we really want to spend time on.”

Blakley, who is a member of Gen Z himself, has advised companies like Pepsi, Johnson & Johnson and the National Hockey League on social media marketing strategies. He noted that Gen Z is a generation that can easily discern when people and companies are being disingenuous.

“That’s why you are seeing talent agencies, marketing agencies, influencer agencies, all kinds of branding agencies going to TikTok because that is the place where Gen Z already is,” Dorsey added. “If you want to reach them, you have to go to where they are because you have virtually zero chance of getting them to where you are.”

TikTok, in particular, has been a place for talent agencies to cull new talent because of its rapid rise to popularity and the viral nature of its content. In fact, TikTok was the most popular website in 2021, surpassing even Google, according to data from Cloudflare, a web security and performance company.

The social media app, which launched internationally in 2017, rose to prominence in 2018, but really gained traction with consumers in late 2019 and during the coronavirus pandemic.

Movie theaters were shuttered, productions of popular TV shows were halted and the rate at which content was being released to the public slowed considerably. With so many people stuck at home, many turned to alternatives like TikTok for entertainment.

“Suddenly there was a pandemic,” Martinez-Reid said. “Everyone was stuck inside. I had nothing to do but to make content and everyone else had nothing to do but to watch content.”

Boman Martinez-Reid, known on TikTok as “Bomanizer,” is a content creator who was signed by talent agency CAA in July 2020.

Boman Martinez-Reid

For Martinez-Reid, TikTok was a creative outlet. He was one semester away from graduating from Ryerson University’s RTA Media Production program when the social media platform began to gain popularity. So, he decided to try his hand at content production.

“What do I have to lose? If I post something and it does well, great. If it does poorly, then no one will know,” he said.

His first TikTok was posted in December 2019 and centered around Martinez-Reid having a conversation with his last two brain cells about joining the social media platform.

“I was just basically shooting for this like overproduced, super scripted, try hard kind of edge, which at the time was not a thing on TikTok,” he said. “And I think that’s why my content started to do so well, because I started to get this comment that was like ‘I can’t believe that this is a TikTok’ and from then on it sort of just snowballed into more and more opportunities.”

Martinez-Reid has become known for his reality show spoof videos in which, alongside family and friends, he pokes fun at how cast members often get into feuds over the small things. He said that during the pandemic, while people were stuck inside, they could relate to tiny little frustrations bubbling over into big arguments.

While Martinez-Reid has yet to break into Hollywood, he’s used his relationship with CAA to meet with casting directors and story producers at various networks over the last 18 months. His goal is to gain more knowledge about the industry so he can make more strategic decisions about what projects he wants to sign on for in the future.

But there is a path for Martinez-Reid, one that was first forged more than a decade ago by content creators on YouTube and the now defunct video platform Vine.

‘Talent is talent’

Over the last decade, CAA has helped content creators from nontraditional platforms make the transition to Hollywood. The group reps Tyler Blevins, aka Ninja, who rose to fame streaming himself playing video games. While Blevins continues to play video games professionally, he has also participated in Fox’s “The Masked Singer” and had a cameo appearance in Disney’s “Free Guy.”

The talent agency also represents Arif Zahir, who gained notoriety for his impressions posted on YouTube, and now voices Cleveland Brown on Fox’s “Family Guy.”

Other notable celebrities that have risen from this space include CAA-signed Justin Bieber, who was discovered by Usher and Scooter Braun and became a Grammy Award-winning artist; Liza Koshy, who also signed with CAA and now voices Zipp Storm on the “My Little Pony: A New Generation” TV show; and Bo Burnham, who is represented by United Talent Agency, went from making comedy YouTube videos, to writing, directing and starring in top Hollywood films.

“Talent is talent,” said Frank Jung, who launched CAA’s digital media division almost a decade ago alongside Freeman. “If they are an amazing talent, that’s just number one.”

TikTok is still a relatively new platform and has yet to produce the same number of Hollywood success stories as YouTube has in the last decade, but experts predict it won’t be long until its making a mark on the film and television industry.

Already we’ve seen the rise of Addison Rae, 21, who secured a multimillion dollar deal with Netflix in September after starring in the streamer’s film “He’s All That,” a sequel to 1999’s “She’s All That.” She is represented by William Morris Endeavor Entertainment and currently has more than 86 million followers on TikTok.

And, of course, Charli D’Amelio, 17, who touts a following more than 133 million strong on the social media platform, has partnered with brands like hummus maker Sabra, Procter & Gamble and Dunkin and now has her own docuseries on Hulu. D’Amelio is repped by UTA.

Then there is Maggie Thurmon, who rose to fame on the social media app dancing and performing circus tricks with her father Dan. The 19-year-old was signed by UTA in February 2020 before she hit 1 million followers on the platform.

Now, she has more than 5 million followers, a popular podcast called “Mags and Dad’s Wholesome Chaos” and just wrapped her first feature film “The Other Zoey,” which features Andie MacDowell and Heather Graham.

“I’m auditioning at the moment,” Thurmon told CNBC just hours after finishing up on set. “I’m so excited for the possibilities of acting in the future. If I can do this for the rest of my life, I would just be the happiest person on the planet.”

Thurmon said she was “greatly surprised” when she announced to her TikTok following earlier this month that she would be pursuing acting alongside her burgeoning social media career.

“I prepared for the backlash,” she said. “But I did not find one negative comment on the TikTok announcement or Instagram post.”

Thurmon’s experience is not unique. “What we see is that Gen Z influencers on TikTok have built meaningful followings and have a built-in audience of fans that feel a personal connection to the creator and want to be more supportive,” Dorsey said. “They feel like that are going along with them on the project.”

That’s one reason these content creators have clout among Hollywood agencies looking to sign fresh talent.

‘Data is the new oil’

“The unique thing is not only being able to identify talent, but this talent already comes with a built-in audience,” CAA’s Freeman said. “Through social media and these platforms, there is a direct conversation that is happening between talent and audience.”

For Jung and Freeman, these audiences provide much needed data about what people want to consume for content and who they want to see make that content.

“Data is the new oil,” Jung said. “What we are trying to do is make sure we are amplifying these voices and eventually creating media businesses for the clients, which will leave lasting legacies.”

“And also everyone can make some money,” he added with a laugh.

Not only can these agencies help build mini-media empires around these creators, they also can benefit from the strategies these digital influencers use, and apply it to bolster the careers of the agencies’ already established clients.

Smith, who has been campaigning for a best actor nomination at this year’s Academy Awards for his role in Warner Bros.’ “King Richard,” is a prime example of a traditional CAA client who has used social media to jumpstart the next phase of his career.

Freeman said that much of the actor’s learnings and best practices came from Koshy, who taught him that his social media videos didn’t need to be perfect, well-produced videos, they just needed to be authentic and give audiences a peek behind the curtain into his life.

Smith started his own YouTube channel in 2017, posting vlog-style videos about his life alongside curated series. 2018’s “The Jump” focused on Smith’s preparation to bungee jump out of a helicopter over the Grand Canyon for his 50th birthday, while 2021’s “Best Shape of My Life” centered on the actor’s journey to improve his personal fitness.

More recently, he has posted videos of himself training alongside Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, quizzing his young costars from “King Richard” about his career and explaining how he went about recording his audiobook.

Actor Will Smith takes a selfie at the UK Premiere of “King Richard” at The Curzon Mayfair on November 17, 2021 in London, England.

Samir Hussein | WireImage | Getty Images

“His career was colder than it had been,” Dan Weinstein, of Underscore Talent, said. “I wouldn’t say it was nonexistent, but he was not the ‘Independence Day’ blockbuster draw he was. He found new audiences. He reinvented his persona around his celebrity. There’s no denying the fact that he is an insanely creative, talented, charismatic individual and he’s leveraging that to breathe new life into all of his endeavors.”

In the last five years, Smith has starred in major blockbusters like Warner Bros.’ “Suicide Squad” and Disney’s “Aladdin,” reestablishing himself as a force at the box office.

And Smith isn’t the only celebrity following this path. Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez and more have embraced social media as a way to connect with fans and promote their work.

Jung and Freeman’s digital media division of CAA has been devised as a place to meld the best practices of the traditional Hollywood model with the strategies of grassroots entrepreneurial content creators. In doing so, their team can take already established talent and reinvigorate their careers. They can also take up-and-coming talent, like Martinez-Reid, and build from an already sturdy foundation.

Martinez-Reid is still forging his path and CAA isn’t rushing him.

“That’s why I love CAA,” Martinez-Reid said. “Because they see me as a talented creator who will have a career. It’s not just about quick jobs. It’s about shaping what my next 10 years are going to look like.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s books get huge bids in public sale

Justice Ruth Ginsburg

Joanne Rathe | The Boston Globe | Getty Images

More than 1,000 books from late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s personal library are up for auction—and things are getting expensive.

Bidders are spending thousands of dollars on individual items, including dense law-school textbooks marked up with Ginsburg’s own annotations, a wide range of literary classics, photographs and other memorabilia from the private collection of the trailblazing justice.

The collection went up online last week by auction house Bonhams. The auction won’t close until midday Thursday, but as of Tuesday afternoon, bidding on nearly all of the 166 lots had sailed past high estimates, with some items receiving five-figure bids.

The highest bid so far: $18,000, for a signed copy of “My Life on the Road,” the memoir of leading feminist activist Gloria Steinem.

“To dearest Ruth — who paved the road for us all — with a lifetime of gratitude — Gloria,” Steinem handwritten in Ginsburg’s copy.

Other pricey items include Ginsburg’s copy of the 1957-58 Harvard Law Review, the pages of which are scrawled with her notes. The legal tome currently boasts a high bid of $11,000, well above the top-end estimate of $3,500.

The bids are likely to be even higher as the clock ticks down.

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“With online sales, we usually see a huge rush of activity in the last hours,” said Catherine Williamson, director of fine books and manuscripts and entertainment memorabilia at Bonhams, in a phone interview.

“Not even the last 24 hours, but the last two to four hours, we see this tremendous rush of people running to put their bids in at the last minute,” she said.

Bonhams acknowledges its initial estimates were conservative, since there was very little material related to Ginsburg that had previously come up for auction.

“In some sense we were winging it,” Williamson said. “We wanted to put prices on it that looked really reasonable. We wanted [the] maximum number of people to participate in this auction.”

Many of the items feature warm inscriptions to Ginsburg, who at the time of her death in late 2020 had achieved pop-icon status among her fans.

“Dear Ruth, Thank you for the inspiration and thank you for all you do,” songwriter Diane Warren wrote on the cover of a book of sheet music for “I’ll Fight,” the song she composed for a 2018 documentary on Ginsburg. Both the song and the film were nominated for Academy Awards in 2019.

“Love & songs, Diane,” Warren wrote.

So in the collection was a copy of “The RBG Workout,” featuring a fawning inscription by author Bryant Johnson, Ginsburg’s longtime personal trainer.

“You have made a difference with me, and I hope to pass that on to everyone I can,” Johnson wrote. “You will always be a ‘Super Diva.'”

Some notes shed light on the relationships Ginsburg had fostered with her colleagues atop the American judicial system.

“Ruth- I thought you might like to have one of these little books. Hot off the press,” read a note on an international law book gifted by Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female Supreme Court justice, to Ginsburg, the second.

“To Justice Ginsburg—With respect and warm regards,” read an inscription from the late Justice Antonin Scalia in a copy of his book “Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts,” which laid out his philosophy of constitutional originalism.

Ginsburg’s unlikely celebrity has brought increased attention and bidding interest to Bonhams from younger potential buyers, “which is exciting,” Williamson said. She compared the Ginsburg auction to Bonhams’ sale last year of the library of legendary actor Marlon Brando.

The new crowd “aren’t really book collectors, per se,” but instead are “thinking of building a collection that’s built around people and events that are very important to them,” Williamson said.

“So there might be Ruth Bader Ginsburg. There might be a fancy pair of sneakers next to that, right?” she said. “It’s a different collecting community.”

Peloton insiders bought almost $500 million in inventory earlier than its massive drop

peloton Executives and insiders sold nearly $500 million worth of their stock ahead of the big drop, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Peloton stock is down more than 80% from its highs over the last year, hitting a 52-week low of $29.11 on Tuesday. But the company’s CEO and other executives sold millions of shares at prices in excess of $100 a share in the months leading up to the big falls.

Company executives and insiders sold their stock valued at $496 million in 2021, according to SmartInsider, citing SEC filings. Virtually all sales were part of 10b5-1 plans or pre-planned sales programs. It’s unclear how many of the sales also involved option exercises or tax sales related to options.

The big sell-off started when the stock started to climb above $80 per share in the fall of 2020 and gained momentum in 2021 when the stock held above $100, filings show.

The company did not respond to requests for comment.

Peloton shares soared as sales and subscribers increased throughout the year first year of the corona pandemic. Consumers flocked to the product when they were looking for ways to work up a sweat without a gym membership. To meet the strong demand, Peloton invested in his business, to scurry ramp up productiong and Accelerate order fulfillment. But when the Covid vaccines rolled out, the company saw weaker demand and its shares started falling.

John Foley, the company’s CEO and co-founder, sold $119 million worth of shares as of November 2020, according to SmartInsider. Most of his sales were $110 a share or more. The sales were part of a pre-agreed 10b5-1 plan to “sell a limited number of the company’s stock for personal finance management purposes,” according to an SEC filing.

Although the plan called for the sale of up to 2.4 million shares by October 2022, Foley informed the board that he had ended the sale plan on August 30, 2021 after selling a total of 1 million shares. No reason was given for the termination, but on November 4, 2021, The company lowered its sales forecast and stocks plummeted.

The stock sales accounted for about 16% of Foley’s total stake in the company, excluding options. Including options, the sale represented about 5% of its holdings, according to SmartInsider.

Many top executives have also cashed out some of their holdings through timely sales. William Lynch, the company’s president, sold more than $105 million in stock last year, with $72 million sold in February at an average price of $144.95.

John Foley, co-founder and chief executive officer of Peloton Interactive Inc., center, speaks as Hisao Kushi, co-founder and chief legal officer of Peloton Interactive Inc., from left, Tom Cortese, co-founder and chief operating officer of Peloton Interactive Inc., Yony Feng, co-founder and chief technology officer of Peloton Interactive Inc., and Graham Stanton, co-founder of Peloton Interactive Inc., listen during the company’s initial public offering (IPO) at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York, U.S., Thursday, May 26. Sept 2019

Michael Nagel | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Hisao Kushi, co-founder and chief legal and culture officer, sold more than $90 million of its shares — most at prices in excess of $110 per share. Other top sellers included the company’s chief product officer, Tom Cortese, who sold more than $60 million of its stock, and chief operating officer Mariana Garavaglia, who posted more than $25 million in sales.

Members of the board of directors have also cashed out their holdings, including Karen Boone, who sold more than $20 million worth of shares at prices in excess of $140 per share last February, according to documents.

Of course, Peloton insiders weren’t the only ones selling the stock during last year’s runup. With large stock sales by prominent executives such as jeff bezos and Elon Musk, total insider sale achieved a record $170 billion last year, up from $94 billion in 2020, according to SmartInsider. Historically, executives and insiders sell during or near the highs of their stock prices.

“One of the best accepted facts from decades of insider trading research is that corporate insiders buy near bottoms and sell near tops,” said Daniel Taylor, associate professor at the Wharton School.

At the moment, Peloton is flirting with new lows. The stock came very close to falling below it $29 per share IPO price, after CNBC reported that the company had hired McKinsey to review its cost structure, an effort that could result in job cuts and store closures. Peloton is also effectively increasing product prices later this month when that happens begins charging for shipping and installation.

Latto and Massive Indo accusing one another for stealing tune and magnificence

Robyn Brown says that Kody’s problems “affect” other women. She says, “It’s hard at home right now”

Robyn Brown talks about her husband Kody Brown’s previous marriages.

They met at Meri Brown’s house to discuss how the family can gather together safely on Sunday’s TLC show during the COVID-19 outbreak. Robyn, 43, has called for her family to stop holding them responsible for the stringent COVID-19 restrictions that Kody is forcing everyone to comply with.

Robyn then mourned in a confessional, calling her family’s suspicions “so ridiculous”.

“I know Kody is like this. He won’t have a woman to come in and tell him what to do. It’s just not him, “she said, delving into the matter after Kody yelled into the cameras that he didn’t have a” main wife in this family “even though he had” a lot of women who tried to be ” .

Janelle Brown agreed to see some of Kody’s restrictions before Christmas. Although Janelle, 52, won’t be around for Thanksgiving, Christine Brown was still debating her participation. (Christine, 49, announced her separation from Kody for 25 years before season 16 began.)

Robyn said she feared “the foundation on which our family was built is crumbling.” due to new family problems.

After the group discussion, Robyn and Meri, 50, had a tearful conversation about their inability to spend time together due to COVID requirements.

Robyn acknowledged Kody’s “strict” instructions, claiming she “knows what to do”. She pointed out that they had both got his hanging around permission back as they had both followed Kody’s guidelines.

Robyn said she wanted to see Meri happy, especially in her relationship with Kody.

“I love Meri and I hate that she is alone. I want her to be happy, ”said Robyn. “If I could wave a wand to say about what was going on, I would do it so that Meri is happy – that she and Kody could figure out their stuff. But I can not.”

“I cannot express enough how difficult it is to live in a pluralistic family where my husband and his other wife have a problem and which completely affects my life, but I really should stay out of it and I have nothing to say, “She said.” The lines between our different marriages are tough because they are, okay, you have to respect that she has her own relationship with Kody. But at the same time, her relationship affects yours. “

Since Kody has issues with some of his previous relationships, Robyn relives it. “And it makes our relationship really, really difficult.”

Throughout the episode, Kody’s other relationships have challenges. Kody mentioned that he hadn’t included Meri on his home visit cycle with his wife before the epidemic.

“Meri and I don’t have that kind of relationship,” he said. “We are in a state of friendship.”

Christine slammed Kody’s COVID-19 family guidelines and called them “ridiculous.” “Values” are different in this case, noted Kody, and she is “so full of cops -“.

“It’s hard at home right now. It’s hard to be at home, ”Christine said later in a confessional. “Kody and I are in a difficult situation. I really don’t want to be around that often. It just hurts to be at home and it’s easier to go. “

“Do you know what COVID has brought about in our family? That’s how much we want to be family, ”she added. “Were not.”

It airs on TLC on Sundays at 10 p.m.

The massive image: girls’s style finds an unlikely fashion hero | Pictures

In 1967, Caroline Baker who contributed as secretary Shirley Conran on the Observer, took a job with the fashion editor Molly Parkin at Nova, the iconoclastic women’s magazine. Parkin left soon after Baker’s arrival and Baker took over as she had never done a fashion shoot in her life. In the following years she developed a distinctive look that rebelled against the stereotypes of the industry. “I didn’t want to be this pretty girl, this toy for men,” she writes in the introduction to a new book that celebrates her career. Rebel Stylist: Caroline Baker – The woman who invented street fashion.

Instead of using clothing from design houses, Baker looked elsewhere for the material for their fashion sites, using oversized men’s clothing from thrift stores, fitted with belts and suspenders, army surplus, gauntlets and tights from ballet companies, chef’s clothes, school blazers, hospital gowns and pajamas. Her street style set the tone for punk fashion – Baker later worked with Vivienne Westwood – and the liberated androgyny of the 1980s and beyond.

An inspiration for this look was Charlie Chaplin, “his messy way of dressing”. This image, which is included in the book, was taken from a Nova shoot by photographer Sarah Moon, styled by Baker, not long before Nova’s death in 1975.

Moon was one of the few female fashion photographers at the time, and she and Baker made a series of films together that reinterpreted film nostalgia through a female lens. They went to Brighton to take the Chaplin pictures. “Sarah wanted two young children and an old car … you planned your fashion shoot like a mini movie, ”recalls Baker. Chaplin’s spacious silhouette had both a practical and an aesthetic appeal. “I was always so jealous that men were so lucky to have bags.” She decided women should have them too.

Rebel stylist is published by ACC Art Books (£ 35)

Is it time to plan these massive journeys overseas?

Reynisfjara is a world famous black sand beach on the south coast of Iceland.

Luis Cagiao Photography | Moment | Getty Images

Iceland has been a focal point of my wanderlust for more than two years.

The country is a dream landscape of natural beauty: the black sands of Reynisfjara, the towering icebergs of the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and the steep, rugged peaks of Vestrahorn.

I had to postpone a meticulously planned trip there in 2020, like so many other globetrotters who put excursions aside during the Covid pandemic. Since then I have asked myself: When is an adventure abroad feasible again?

Maybe soon.

The outlook for international travel in 2022 is brighter than ever, according to travel experts, especially for Americans who book trips in the summer or later. But they should expect more planning ahead and be flexible.

“Since March 2020 there has not been such a promising time as now”, Sebastian Modak, editor-in-chief of Lonely planet and the New York Times 52 places traveler in 2019, said of trips abroad.

“It really comes down to the traveler’s own risk and comfort level when things go a little wrong,” he added.

The year to grow up

Mouhoub Madina / EyeEm | EyeEm | Getty Images

According to an upcoming Expedia travel trends report for 2022, a large fraction – about 37% – of US travelers plan both international and domestic travel in the next year.

After almost two years of pent-up wanderlust, more than two thirds of American travelers plan to “grow up” on their next trip – be it a one-off trip abroad or an upgrade to a luxury hotel, according to the report.

Although only domestic travel plans remain most popular, which appeals to 59% of US travelers, interest in overseas travel destinations is increasing.

G Adventures, which offers guided group tours around the world, saw international bookings increase nearly 35% in November over the same period in 2019. The company sees “great demand” for travel to Peru, Costa Rica and Morocco from Benjamin Perlo, the company’s US managing director.

The search for flights to major European cities has also increased significantly in a short period of time – according to Expedia data, for example, between September and October by 65% ​​from Los Angeles to London and 110% from New York to Paris.

Warm-weather hotspots near the United States, such as the Riviera Maya, Cancun, Isla Mujeres, and Punta Cana, were the most popular with American tourists in early 2022, according to Expedia.

“I think 2022 will be the year to make it big and have some of those bucket list moments,” said Christie Hudson, Expedia travel expert.

“Big tailwind”

Machu Picchu ruins in the Andes, Peru.

Go Ga | 500px Prime | Getty Images

There are many reasons for consumer optimism. For one, Covid vaccination rates are rising, which means Americans can travel relatively safely.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that recommends Vaccination before traveling abroad, authorized shots for children ages 5-11 in early November, which makes family outings easier.

In addition, travel restrictions will be relaxed. Many countries have reopened their borders to Americans, dropping guidelines like mandatory quarantine times. New Zealand, which had one of the longest tourism bans of the Covid era, called On Wednesday, starting April 30, it would open its borders to vaccinated non-citizens.

(Test requirements are still widespread for vaccinated tourists. Travelers can find country-specific requirements at the US State Department website.)

There has not been a promising time since March 2020 as it is now.

Sebastian Modak |

Editor-in-chief of Lonely Planet

The USA canceled the travel ban for most non-citizens on November 8th. That probably inspired more Americans to venture abroad as well – the proportion who said they avoided international travel hit a pandemic-era low of 55% in mid-November. according to to destination analysts.

“I’ve been in tourism research for almost two decades and [the desire to travel] seems incredibly strong right now – the strongest I’ve ever seen, “said Erin Francis-Cummings, President and CEO of Destination Analysts.

“I think that’s a huge tailwind for all types of travel through 2022,” she added. “People seem more open to new experiences or to returning to international travel.”

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And there could be deals for those who book a trip, experts said. For example, according to a joint annual statement, the average price of an international return flight is 35% lower than the cost for 2019 report published by Expedia and the Airlines Reporting Corporation in October.

Of course, the health situation can change quickly and thwart plans. A new variant of Covid discovered in South Africa multiple mutations that could do it transmissible or able to bypass vaccination protectionalthough scientists have indicated that more data is needed to make an assessment.

A New wave of Covid infections in Europe, Austria urged to be banned on Monday; Germany maybe soon do the same.

Auckland, New Zealand.

Scott E. Barbour | The image database | Getty Images

Some countries are still closed to American tourists or have yet to abandon strict health guidelines.

This is especially true for Asian countries, said travel experts. China, for example requires Americans must be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days in a government-selected facility. Japan does not allow any tourist trip.

Some travel companies are still wrong on the US travel side. Fodor’s Travel, for example, limited its annual Go list Relocated to domestic locations in 2022 due to the uncertainties surrounding international travel, although this has given a degree of optimism.

“Like many of you, we are still looking for international travel,” wrote Fodor. “And trips abroad can still be an option for the intrepid.

“If you can travel there safely and responsibly, go – go anywhere in the world,” he added.

Security and flexibility

Anton Petrus | Moment | Getty Images

Travelers should take certain precautions, especially in the interests of insuring against financial losses.

Experts recommend travel insurance that will reimburse travel expenses in the event of travel cancellation or other unforeseen circumstances.

However, there are different types of guidelines. A “cancel for any reason” policy is generally the only one that allows travelers to get funds back if they cancel a trip for a Covid-related reason, experts said. (Most basic guidelines don’t cover this case.)

Even the “cancel for any reason” option may not provide a full refund, and insurers may require travelers to cancel a day or two before the trip. It is important to understand the specific terms of a policy before making a purchase.

Travelers should also weigh flight and hotel options that allow for refunds, travel credits, or changes, even if those options cost a little more, experts said.

“I think you can feel comfortable booking this trip to Egypt in October when you’ve got insurance and maybe booked a flexible flight with airlines,” Modak said. “Make sure you have the option to book the flight for May 2023 at no cost if Egypt gets tough.”

Many companies have kept additional flexibility in terms of their policies prior to the pandemic.

I’ve been in tourism research for almost two decades and [the desire to travel] Seems to be incredibly strong right now – the strongest feeling I’ve ever seen.

Erin Francis-Cummings

President and CEO of Destination Analysts

With G Adventures, for example, customers can rebook a trip or receive full travel credit if they cancel up to 14 days before departure. (Previously there was a 60-day threshold.) This policy will remain in place for 2022 trips booked through March 31st.

“Those options weren’t really there for every pre-Covid company,” Perlo said.

It’s also important to have a budget just in case, Modak said. For example, if a traveler overseas has Covid and needs to be quarantined before returning to the US, how much money might they need to cover an extra week or two in expenses?

It is important that travelers approach a trip abroad with personal flexibility and empathy. Note that certain activities may be restricted or unavailable. A city with legendary nightlife can be tamer than expected if, for example, bars and restaurants close earlier than expected during the Covid era. Travelers may need to turn around and should do a thorough research of a travel destination in advance.

Additionally, not all countries or their citizens have equal access to vaccines, so mask compliance and other local regulations are paramount.

“It’s still a strange time to travel,” said Modak. “Bring a degree of patience and grace into the travel experience.”

(Correction: an earlier version of this story listed the wrong country for Punta Cana.)

5 large points from regulation and EVs to semiconductors

A technologist inspects a computer chip.

Sefa Ozel | E + | Getty Images

GUANGZHOU, China – China’s tech sector has been on a wild ride over the past year, with regulations tightened, billions of dollars devastating corporate market value, and ongoing pressures on Beijing to become self-sufficient in technology.

These are some of the important topics to consider. be treated CNBC’s annual East Tech West event in the Nansha district of Guangzhou in southern China.

Here’s a look at the top concerns and priorities of the Chinese tech sector right now.

China’s technical crackdown

That put a heavy strain on China’s internet name. For example, Alibaba’s shares are down 41% since the start of the year.

There are several questions:

  • Will China introduce more new regulations and in what areas?
  • Which companies could be targeted next?
  • What does this mean for the growth of the technology sector in China?

CNBC addressed some of this in a recent episode of the Beyond the Valley podcast below. These talks will continue at East Tech West.

semiconductor

The ongoing tech rivalry between the US and China has made Beijing’s efforts to become more self-sufficient in a variety of sectors even more urgent. One of them are semiconductors, which are vital for everything from automobiles to cell phones.

But China is struggling to catch up with the US and other countries, and that’s because of the complexity of the semiconductor supply chain, which is dominated by foreign companies.

A good example is the chip manufacturing sector. SMIC, China’s largest contract chip maker, is several years back Taiwan’s TSMC and South Korea’s Samsung. SMIC is unable to manufacture the latest chips needed for leading smartphones.

Foreign companies master the most advanced tools and equipment required for the production of high-end chips. US sanctions have denied China access to some of these tools. Chinese companies can’t keep up.

How China will boost its domestic chip industry in the face of these hurdles is a big and ongoing debate.

Read more about semiconductors

‘Frontier’ technology

The semiconductor industry is just one of many industries in which China is trying to improve its credentials.

In his Five-year development plan, the 14th of its kindBeijing, which was released earlier this year, said it would “make science and technology self-reliance and self-improvement a strategic pillar for national development.”

The plan identifies areas that Beijing sees as “frontier technology” – artificial intelligence (AI) and space travel.

China did remarkable progress in space, including launching its own space station. It has ambitions sends its first manned mission to Mars in 2033.

When it comes to artificial intelligence, Chinese tech giants from Baidu to Tencent are investing heavily.

Electric vehicles

According to market research company Canalys, around 1.1 million electric vehicles were sold in the first half of the year, almost as many as in all of 2020. China is the world’s largest market for electric vehicles.

This growth has attracted many new tech players. Xiaomi, which is known for smartphones, is expecting it Series production of our own electric vehicles in the first half of 2024while the search giant has Baidu Set up your own electric car business with the Chinese automaker Geely.

Read more about electric vehicles

China’s economic slowdown

Shaq expands Massive Hen, has location in Islanders $1.5 billion area

Shaquille O’Neal

Rich anger | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Shaquille O’Neal once signed the richest contract in sports history and then won four NBA titles. These days Shaq has a new business he’s trying to break into: Chicken Sandwiches.

O’Neal, who was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2016, is a co-owner of a restaurant business called Big chicken, which opened its first location in Las Vegas three years ago. Last year a second opened in Glendale, California.

Now O’Neal is focused on sports arenas, the kind of venue he knows best.

Big Chicken recently opened a location in Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena, home to the National Hockey League’s newest team, the Kraken. And on Thursday, O’Neal made a quick stop through New York to catch a glimpse of UBS arena, the new $ 1.5 billion home for the NHL’s New York Islanders.

Big Chicken will sell its fried chicken sandwiches during NHL games and other events in the complex in the UBS Arena. Located behind the track for the Belmont Stakes, the arena is set to host its first regular season game on November 20, when the Islanders play against the Calgary Flames.

“Section 206,” said O’Neal, smiling into one of the many local television cameras that were in attendance to capture the promotional event. He was referring to the section where Big Chicken is in the arena.

“This is my ritual,” he told CNBC shortly after the television cameras disappeared. “Fried chicken with cheese, cucumber and hot sauce.”

O’Neal founded Big Chicken with friend Matt Silverman and Agent Perry Rogers. It’s not his first foray into the food industry. O’Neal owns various Papa John locations and even appears in a commercial for the pizza chain. In 2019 he joined the company’s board of directors.

But this is a very different job for O’Neal, because he’s starting the brand from scratch.

The UBS Arena will be the home of the New York Islanders.

Source: New York Islanders / UBS Arena

In the UBS Arena on Thursday O’Neal was accompanied by Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky. In honor of Veterans Day, they took photos with members of the military and then stood in an unfurnished suite to watch a chef prepare dishes that will appear on Big Chicken’s menu. O’Neal joked about not knowing all of the hockey rules but said he watched NHL games.

One of the sandwiches on the big chicken menu is called Uncle Jerome, named after O’Neal’s uncle. Another is Charles Barkley, a reference to the former NBA star and O’Neal’s “Inside the NBA” broadcast partner. Barkley’s eponymous sandwich comes with mac and cheese on top of the chicken, along with crispy onions and “Shaq sauce”.

Big Chicken also includes the MDE, which stands for the most dominant of all time and is designed to center around O’Neal’s career, mostly for the Los Angeles Lakers. He was eight times the first team in the entire NBA and three times the most valuable player in the final.

In 1996, shortly after arriving in LA from Orlando, the Lakers recognized O’Neal’s dominance. The team signed him to a seven year old, $ 120 million hand out. It was the richest in sports at the time and set the stage for the Lakers’ resurgence.

O’Neal led the Lakers to three straight championships from 2000 to 2002 and won his fourth title at the Miami Heat in 2004. He ended his career with 15 all-star game appearances and an MVP trophy. Last month, O’Neal became one of the 75 best players of all timeas the NBA celebrates its 75th season.

Shaquille O’Neal # 34 and Kobe Bryant # 8 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2004 NBA Playoffs

David Sherman | National Basketball Federation | Getty Images

Extensive business portfolio

O’Neal outdated $ 280 million during his playing career and Forbes It is estimated that he made over $ 700 million in total, including his extrajudicial efforts.

O’Neal bet early Google and Apple, and has branded sneakers at Walmart, a clothing line JCPenney and a men’s jewelry line. He also participated in one alkaline water Company this year.

He was a “strategic advisor” for Wynn Resorts” Sports Gambling Unit WynnBET. Due to NBA rules, he had to give up his minority stake in the Sacramento Kings for this deal.

Restaurants were one of the greatest O’Neal plays of his post-NBA life. He told CNBC that opening quick service restaurants (QSRs) has been a passion since his time at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. O’Neal said of the book that got him up and running, “The Dummies’ Guide to Starting Your Own Business.”

In May, O’Neal and his Big Chicken team hired Josh Halpern, a former executive at Anheuser-Busch InBev, as managing director.

“We do some things differently,” said Halpern in an interview. “We used a high quality chicken that is antibiotic, cage and hormone free. We want to get better value for money.”

Shaquille O’Neal, NBA star and chief fun officer of Carnival Cruise Line, gives guests a taste of his highly anticipated dishes at sea as part of Big Chicken in the Mardi Gras summer landing zone during Carnival’s NYC cruise Cruise Line will be offered a summer event to celebrate the 2020 arrival of Mardi Gras at Pier 59 on June 18, 2019 in New York City.

Mike Coppola | Getty Images

For expanded distribution, Halpern said, Big Chicken would use what are known as ghost kitchens, which allow it to put items on a menu alongside items from other restaurants so consumers can mix and match in a single order.

Big Chicken in collaboration with Ghost Kitchen brands and will present items on digital menus in front of large retail chains. There’s already one in there a Walmart in Rochester, New York.

The strategy “takes us to some neighborhoods and cities in the US that may not have been early adopter cities,” Halpern said for Big Chicken. He said a location in Rockport, New York will be opening soon.

Big Chicken started accepting franchise applications earlier this year, Halpern said. The cost ranges from $ 450,000 to $ 1.4 million. There’s a $ 40,000 franchise fee and the company pays 5% of sales and 2% combined for national and local marketing.

O’Neal understands the franchise model from his experience with Papa John’s.

“He told me, ‘You better never hurt a franchisee because I’m a franchisee and you would hurt me,'” Halpern said. “He means that 100 percent.”

Another place that consumers can try big chicken sandwiches is on a carnival Cruise. Carnival chairman Micky Arison owns the Miami Heat, which won its first NBA title in 2006 with O’Neal at its center.

Shaquille O’Neal

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Restaurant franchising has been an attractive investment for many ex-NBA players. Magic Johnson previously owned over 100 Starbucks Locations and has several TGI Fridays restaurants and more than 20 burger kings in his portfolio.

Former NBA player Junior Bridgeman bought numerous Chili and Wendy franchises before selling them for $ 400 million in 2016 want to invest $ 100,000 in QSRs.

“It’s like investing in stocks,” Ratliff told CNBC. “Let it grow, and if you decide to sell it, you sell it or keep it going and take the rest of the growth. But I think it’s a great opportunity. “

Halpern said that QSRs “give you an opportunity to create wealth for a broad mass of people”.

While Big Chicken is O’Neal’s biggest leap into the restaurant business, he’s had others. He owned Shaquille’s, a restaurant in LA Live, an entertainment district around the Staples Center where the Lakers play. After Covid-19 hit and the traffic dried up, O’Neal closed the shutters Shaquilles. He said paying the $ 90,000 monthly rent wasn’t worth it.

“And I didn’t get a PPP loan,” added O’Neal, referring to the Small Business Administration’s paycheck protection program. “So I closed it and we’ll try to reopen one day.”

In February, officials in Atlanta did Suspected arson caused the fire to become a historic Krispy Kreme Franchise that O’Neal bought in 2016. O’Neal told CNBC that he recently approved a new design for the donut shop and plans to reopen in 2022.

“As an athlete, you have to learn to adapt on the fly,” said O’Neal. “You ever see a guy practice a move and then when he takes that move away, [players] don’t know what to do. You have to be able to adapt. “

But O’Neal’s work with Papa Johns could be his best-known role in the industry. He was appointed to the board of directors of Papa John in 2019 to repair the company’s image after former CEO John Schnatter surrendered the previous year racially disparaging comments which he made public.

“Another difficult decision”

One of O’Neal’s former teams, the Phoenix Suns, is now facing a similar controversy.

Earlier this month, a ESPN article Alleged Suns owner Robert Sarver abused employees and made racist and misogynistic comments during his 17-year tenure with the franchise company. Sarver has dismissed the charges and the NBA has opened an investigation into the matter.

“I’m not a draft horse – I’ve had interactions with the man 10 times and I haven’t seen any of them,” said O’Neal. “But if there are allegations of this magnitude from employees, there has to be an investigation.”

The issue rocked the NBA seven years after former LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling sold his team when audio recordings of Sterling surfaced with racist comments.

“If the allegations are true, Adam Silver will have to make another tough decision,” said O’Neal of the Sarver situation. Silver has been an NBA commissioner since 2014.

Shaquille O’Neal will DJ Diesel at the SHAQ Bowl for Super Bowl LV on February 7, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.

Gerardo Mora | Getty Images

As a businessman, one of O’Neal’s most important qualities is making people laugh. During his interviews in the UBS arena, he made a cameraman laugh and caused laughter in the surrounding audience by making fun of the chef who prepared the sample rolls.

O’Neal credits his mother, Lucille, with the motivation behind his approach.

“I just keep making people happy,” he said. “That’s my mission. I’m just trying to grant her wishes and do whatever she says. I have to make people feel good.”

The chicken restaurant market is overcrowded, with Chick-fil-A and Popeyes fighting for the best fried chicken sandwich and MC Donalds and other fast food chains that advertise their own offerings.

When asked if he intended to compete with brands like Popeyes, O’Neal said “absolutely”. Then he added, “And we never run out of chicken – never,” a blow to Popeyes that expired in 2019 amid a social media crush.

Before O’Neal left the event to catch a flight, he was asked to pick the best restaurant in his portfolio.

“I never think about it,” he said. “What I’m proud of is getting my mother what she wanted.”

SEE: Two-time NBA champion Shane Battier is taking his next step as a Yext board member

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect victory in the Miami Heat Finals.

Wyndham CEO says enterprise is ‘off the charts’ as leisure and enterprise journey returns in massive cities

The CEO of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts CNBC told CNBC on Thursday that strong travel demand in the US has helped the company shake off its pandemic-induced slowdown.

While some industries have struggled to recover after the disruption of the Covid pandemic, business at Wyndham is “absolutely stronger than it was before the pandemic,” said CEO Geoff Ballotti in an interview about “The exchange. “

“The intent to travel, get in your car and go somewhere and get out of your attic, get out of your basement with your family and friends, is spectacular,” Ballotti said. “It’s off the charts, it’s unprecedented, and I think we’ll see that well into the fall.”

Wyndham hotel brands include Days Inn, La Quinta, and Baymont. The hotel franchisor’s business is not only picking up in its US hotels, but also internationally, as the number of outbound flights is slowly recovering. “We’re seeing the international airlift to destinations like Mexico continue to grow, where we have a new Wyndham Alltra Cancun and a new Wynhdam Alltra Playa Del Carmen,” Ballotti said.

“People want to get away and have a safe, very flexible and uncomplicated vacation, and we can see that,” said Ballotti.

According to the CEO, business travel is coming back more slowly than leisure travel. “Big cities like San Francisco are just beginning to recover, it’s the group meetings with urban goals that have lagged behind.”

Despite the delay in business travel, Ballotti and other hotel CEOs expect to receive a top-up starting next month as the Biden government lifts international travel restrictions on November 8, imposed in the early days of the Covid pandemic last year.

“We believe that demand in the United States is sure to increase. … One thing we need to pick up are visa applications.

In the US, cities like Boston, New York and San Francisco will continue to see influx and growth in business and leisure travel for the remainder of the year, “this is great news for the travel industry,” Ballotti said.

Wyndham exceeded Wall Street’s expectations in his Quarterly results Thursday and increased guidelines for the rest of the year. The stock closed 4.33% on Thursday afternoon, trading at $ 85.84 per share.

Famend investor Kevin Ryan thinks the massive cash is in healthcare – TechCrunch

Kevin Ryan has become very wealthy by being in the right place at the right time – including the online advertising network DoubleClick, which he joined as the twelfth employee and eventually headed as CEO (it was later acquired twice) – as well as co-founding numerous companies , including software company MongoDB, which is currently valued at around $ 30 billion as a publicly traded company. (Ryan still owns “at least half of my shares” in the company, he says.)

The other day we spoke to Ryan about his biggest and newest bet on health technology. As we reported earlier, his investment firm AlleyCorp is stalling $ 100 million mostly of Ryan’s own capital into creating and funding outfits in space – on top of the roughly 20 related bets the outfit has already made. We wondered how he got so involved when his previous projects had almost nothing to do with each other. You can hear this conversation here or view excerpts below.

TC: To someone who is not careful, your extreme focus on health technology comes as a surprise. What sparked your initial interest?

KR: One of the things I always do from the AlleyCorp perspective is to think about what 5 to 10 year trends we want to bet on. Some areas can be overcrowded and you think there is no chance, everything is already taken care of. And sometimes you think there is a great opportunity. And so, two or three years ago, I felt like there were huge opportunities in both New York and healthcare in general because there are so many aspects of the healthcare system that are just not working well. It’s incredibly expensive, the electronic records aren’t great, it’s super inefficient. Most of us are very frustrated with this whole health system, which means opportunity.

TC: You mostly oversee your own capital here. Why not borrow billions of dollars to invest, which you, as a proven entrepreneur and investor, could probably do in this current market?

KR: Partly because the area of ​​the ecosystem in which I like to play and in which I feel most comfortable and know best is still in its early stages. So, do I want to invest in a $ 3 billion company and hope it hits $ 10 billion? I don’t really play there. I want to be in the early stages where it’s riskiest and that just requires less capital. By the way, we are not tied up with capital, otherwise we would not bring all these other things to the market [including incubating a number companies inside AlleyCorp like Nomad Health, which raised a $63 million round earlier this year, and Pearl Health, which closed an $18 million round in September].

When we start a new business, we have to bring in $ 1.5 million to $ 2 million to get a business off the ground and then we raise money [from] outside and when we have to raise a lot of money, we collect a lot of money and keep investing, we try to limit our investment in a single company to around $ 10 million. But no, there are many options. And here I want to play.

TC: And this model works even in a world where we are now seeing $ 100 million seed rounds?

KR: The changed environment only helps us. Take pearl health. We have invested $ 1.5 million in this company and are starting with a large equity position. It depends on the company, but we’ll probably have 30-60% somewhere between our partners because the management team has a lot and sometimes there are co-founders on it, so it’s a great position.

Then a company like Andreessen Horowitz comes with a high valuation, a big step up – and we put another $ 3 million or $ 4 million into that round – but we decide who comes in. And by the way, if there is a round at, I don’t know, $ 400 million, then we’re probably going to stop investing. That’s what happens to seed capital. Other big buys will come, we will be watered down, and that’s not a problem. Our money is most effective when we think we can make 10 times our money.

TC: So you are not interested in participating in the later stages.

KR: No. I’ve invested every now and then. We just put a ton of money into Nomad, and Nomad is valued at around $ 250 million. But I think it’s a $ 2 billion company that can be started, so I still feel good about it [our bigger investment], but it’s probably the last round we’ll invest in. There are other people out there who play the role of investing money who think they will get 2 or 3 times the return on it, which is fantastic for their fund. You are much later; they’ll just be inside [a company] for five years. We want to put our money in, be in it for nine years and earn 100 times our money,

TC: Many of your contemporaries are beginning to step out of the venture capital industry, or at least out of their companies. I was wondering how you feel about it. Do you have a right hand at AlleyCorp? What if you decide to step down at some point?

KR: First of all, I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon. But you know it’s Brenton [Fargnoli], Conduct health efforts; it’s wendy [Tsu] who works in the non-medical field. And then I guess that in a year we will have two or three more partners and that I would be practically the managing partner of the company. But I’m fine for another 10 years.