July 30, 2015
By Valarie D'Elia
One man’s agency is behind the names of many popular travel brands. Time Warner Cable News’ Valarie D’Elia filed the following Travel with Val report.
Vegas hotels with names such as Wynn, Aria and the Signature at MGM Grand come from a partnership with the creative mind of Steve Manning. He is the founder of Igor Naming Agency, a 13-year-old business in Marin County, California.
"You've got to do something that taps into people's brains and makes sense, and makes them sort of say, 'Oh yeah, I get it,'" Manning says.
Sure, naming the Wynn hotel after the owner might seem like a no-brainer.
"He really signed the hotel, sort of like an artist would sign a work of art," Manning says.
He got into the name game not long after a stint at the Travel Channel, so he knows the territory.
"Northwest, Southwest, United, American - those are all really the same types of names. They’re just moving a few key words around,” Manning says. “Until somebody comes along and names something Virgin, and suddenly that’s a different game."
Manning usually presents 45 names to a client before one sticks, so he knows how tricky the process can be.
"Somebody’s going to raise their hand and say, 'What if we have an accident? The headline will read JetBlue-up.’ It takes them a while to realize that people won’t associate car theft with Hotwire, nor do people think that the pilots at Virgin are inexperienced,” he says. “But that’s people’s gut reaction when they try to name something and you have to help them get over that fear."
And that in-flight wireless at our fingertips? Yep, Manning named it originally for Richard Branson.
"You know the name GoGo worked with the Virgin brand, like go-go dancers - plus it’s on the go and it’s kind of fun and exciting,” Manning says. “But also, once it starts going on the other aircrafts, you don't think of Virgin."