All posts by Martin Kelly

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 

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.

Virgin Australia Under Pressure Yet Again

Virgin Australia's business is struggling due to "subdued trading conditions", particularly in the domestic market, with the carrier reporting an underlying loss before tax of A$3.6 million ($2.76 million) for the quarter ended Sept. 30. Once again it looks like Virgin's expenses are running ahead of revenue as both passenger numbers and load were both up for the period, no doubt driven by unprofitable discounting.

Caravan Media Business Sold By Bauer

Caravan by Streaky Bay foreshore 200 wideCaravan and camping website Turu.com.au along with consumer titles Caravan World, Campertrailer Australia, Motorhome and Caravan Trader, Travelin have been sold by Bauer Trader Media to Adventures Group Holdings and its CEO Robert Gallagher, who knows the business intimately, leading the division at Bauer since 2012. More