Taking A Break, See You in February

It's been a long year or two and – like you – I need a break from the day to day. I've got a couple of other projects on the go and will be back at the writing desk in mid-February. Meanwhile enjoy the 3000+ stories on the site. Thanks for visiting.  Martin Kelly, Publisher, TravelTrends.biz.

Safety Triple Checked, Dreamworld Reopens

Dreamworld safety checks.
Dreamworld safety checks.

All Dreamworld rides have been triple-checked for safety as the Gold Coast theme park prepares to reopen tomorrow. Dreamworld was shut on October 25 after four people were killed on the Thunder River Rapids ride. Management initially wanted to reopen just three days after the tragedy but wiser counsel prevailed.

Hotel, Car and Cruise Focus for Mercer at Sabre

Traci Mercer SVP hotel car cruise rail Sabre Travel NetworkFormer Expedia exec Traci Mercer will lead Sabre Corporation's non-air business as senior vice president of hotel, car, cruise and rail. Mercer was with Expedia for many years, most recently managing its hotel relationships in Asia-Pacific, and also spent time at Hootsuite. One of Mercer's major tasks will be to define a strategic direction and ensure Sabre's tech development "meets distribution and e-commerce needs of this customer segment".

MarriottWood To Keep all 30 Brands – For Now

Tina Edmundsen, MarriottIt's only a number after all. The takeover by Marriott International of Starwood Hotels & Resorts created an accommodation behemoth with 30 brands. The question has been – will they all stay? And the answer is that they will, for now at least. Marriott's Global Brand Officer Tina Edmundsen, pictured, says each brand is different enough to retain. Or maybe the the reality is that doing anything else is just too difficult right now. See her Bloomberg interview.

Ford Goes Off Road, Makes A Splash In Travel

Slashing through the Sacobia River smaller
That's one way to get across – Sacobia River, Philippines

It's a common refrain these days. Corporate leaders will say they are not in the business of whatever it is they produce. Uber says it is a digital rather than a transport company, for example. Now the Ford Motor Company is starting to seriously push the travel experiences their cars deliver rather than just focus on vehicle specs and price. More 

Booking Fees – Webjet Proves Everyone Wrong, People Will Repeatedly Pay More For Airfares

The rapid evolution of Webjet over the past year has been something to behold: acquisitions, expansion, creation of new businesses, the profitable sale of Zuji, strong hotel B2B growth and more.

Webjet has won a lot of investor kudos for these moves, profit is growing a rapid clip, and a high share price is the reward.

The shift in strategy was timely – and had to come, although it took a long while. Until quite recently the company, founded in 1998, was essentially a one trick pony. An airline booking engine charging and reliant on industry-high booking fees of up to $54.90 on airfares. More 

Rome2rio Accelerates Booking Strategy

Rod Cuthbert, Rome2Rio
Rod Cuthbert, Rome2Rio

In a bid to increase revenue, travel search engine Rome2rio has accelerated its transition to an e-commerce site, signing multiple affiliate booking agreements with rail, bus and air operators.

This strategic shift from the site – which advises travellers on how best to get from A to B – will enable Rome2rio to better capitalise on its surging popularity. More 

Outrigger Sold To Private Equity Firm

Outrigger Hotels and Resorts has been sold to private equity company KSL Capital Partners, which is buying Outrigger's entire portfolio of 37 hotels, condominiums and resorts. Outrigger has been owned and operated by the Kelley family for 69 years. No price was disclosed and present management will be retained.

Webjet Sells Zuji Asia for $56m To HK Tech Group

Webjet says it has sold Zuji Asia (operations in Hong Kong and Singapore) for $56m.  Webjet bought Zuji, which was then bleeding money, from Sabre in 2013 for $30m. After early losses, Webjet turned the business around. The buyer is HK travel technology group Urielmon Aviation Holding Limited. There was no mention of Zuji Australia in today's ASX announcement.

Golden Handcuffs Come Out At Helloworld

Golden HandcuffsHelloworld has brought out the golden handcuffs, dangling a total of 768,000 'free' shares in front of its franchisees.

The catch is  they can't be sold or transferred for two years – and only by franchisees who are still part of the HLO network when the shares come out of escrow on Oct 31, 2018.

HLO is now taking share applications.

Upcoming Events

TravelTrends Live 2017

TravelTrends Live is Coming

What happens when you combine two of Australia's most established and respected travel industry conferences?

The answer is TravelTrends Live, a brand new event incorporating No Vacancy and TRAVELtech.

We feel that combining both events - each of which attracts 220+ delegates each year - will be a real step forward.

The really exciting thing is that it will bring the whole industry together in a single event.

There's no question of throwing the baby out with the bathwater and each brand's core values and integrity will shine through at TravelTrends Live.

The plan is to keep things simple and run it in Sydney with No Vacancy on day one, followed by TRAVELtech on day two with a common theme.

Timing is mid-September and there'll be lots of of social/networking events and cross-pollination.

Delegates will be able to buy tickets for either or both days at the usual reasonable rates.

The same rationale applies to sponsorships, details of which will be available soon.

We're working through the details now and will post further information in late February.

It will be the next step in what has been quite a journey - No Vacancy started in 2007, TRAVELtech in 1999.

If you have any questions, please get in touch

No Vacancy Australia

No Vacancy Changes It Up

- Now Part of TravelTrends Live - 

Big news. This year No Vacancy will become part of TravelTrends Live, a brand new conference also featuring TRAVELtech.

TravelTrends Live will be held mid-September in Sydney and we are scouting venues now.

It's an exciting change and one that will bring the entire industry together in a single event.

The plan is to run No Vacancy on day one followed by TRAVELtech the day after.

Programming will be complimentary but distinct with a common theme running across the two days.

They can be consumed independently or as a whole.

Pricing will be reasonable and flexible with one and two-day tickets available.

We're working through the details now and will post further information in late February.

It will be the next step in a journey that started with the creation of TRAVELtech in 1999.

No Vacancy was founded as a spin-off event in 2007, finding immediate success.

Both events have been extraordinarily strong, attracting 220+ delegates, speakers and sponsors each year.

We're really looking forward to bringing them together changing things up and hope to see you there.

Enjoy yourself and hope to see you through the year.


Martin Kelly
Event Producer

PS: To be kept abreast of the latest developments, please register here.