All posts by Martin Kelly

Rodger Powell, Managing Director, Tourism and Hospitality Services Australia

Rodger PowellRodger Powell is Managing Director of Tourism and Hospitality Services Australia (THSA) a trusted management-consulting and asset-management firm servicing the accommodation, hospitality and tourism sectors in Australia and internationally since 2005.

THSA collaborates with owners, investors, operators and governments to deliver creative solutions for the sector. Rodger brings a compelling mix of industry savvy to every THSA project and customer.

He has deep industry insights, experience and extensive networks that allow him to produce pragmatic solutions and measurable results.

Rodger’s career includes senior management and executive roles with a number of the industry’s largest multi-nationals such as Hilton, Bally, Southern Pacific Hotels (now InterContinental Hotels Group) Best Western and Lion Nathan.

He has served in a variety of sectors including Tourism and Hospitality, Gaming, Leisure, Destination Marketing and Brand Management, Information Technology and On-line, Franchising, Aerospace and Agriculture, working on four continents.

Cross-cultural experience gained in Asia, the USA and Europe, combined with entrepreneurial ventures of his own result in a uniquely balanced portfolio of experiences.

Powell is Chairman of Inland NSW Regional Tourism and former Chairman of Adventure Aerospace, BIG4 Holiday Parks and Otway Pork.

He is a Director of Baseball NSW, the Sydney Blue Sox, Sunshine Coast Destination, St Andrews Cathedral School and Gawura Foundations.

He has held board directorships with Business Events Sydney, TTF Australia, Australian Association of Convention Bureaux, and spent three years as Chairman of the Queensland Regional Tourism Associations.

Rodger is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors with an advanced diploma and of the Australian Institute of Management.

Expedia Buys Travelocity From Sabre Corp

Expedia has, as the market expected, bought the North American operations of Travelocity from Sabre Corp. The former arch-enemies have been business partners for the past couple of years with Expedia handling Travelocity's marketing and IT. Expedia paid USD280m. Meanwhile, Skift reports that Bravofly has an agreement with Sabre to buy Lastminute.com for USD120m.

Chinese Company Wins Approval for Club Med Buy

logo - club med tridentFrench travel icon, Club Med, will be likely Chinese-owned by Feb 9 after regulators approved the takeover bid by Fosun International, which has offered €24.60 per share for the resort operator, valuing it at around €939 million. Fosun has been in a bidding war with Italian businessman Andrea Bonomi for Club Med since May, 2013, the longest takeover fight in the history of the Paris Bourse.

Neil Ackland, Founder, Sound Alliance

Neil Ackland, Sound AllianceNeil Ackland is a recognised expert in youth marketing and digital media having founded Sound Alliance, Australia's leading youth communications publisher, named the Publisher of The Year at the 2014 Festival of Branded Entertainment.

In 2014 Sound Alliance launched a new travel title for youth, AWOL.com.au in partnership with Qantas.  In addition Sound Alliance owns and operates some of the most popular youth titles on the web, including Junkee (Mumbrella Media Brand of the Year 2014), FasterLouder, inthemix, SameSame and Mess+Noise.  Together, these titles have a rapidly growing monthly audience of more than two million Australians aged 18-35.

Specialists in the creation and amplification of original content. Sound Alliance are pioneers of Native Advertising in Australia offering a unique digital custom publishing model for brands.  Sound Alliance authors proprietary research into the trends, attitudes and behaviours of youth which it uses to assist major brands to develop strategies to engage with young Australians.

Ray Stone, Executive General Manager – Sales, Marketing and Distribution for Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia

Ray Stone, Voyages Indigenous TourismRay Stone commenced his career in hospitality in London. Ray's career in hospitality, sales and marketing spans more than 35 years with Hilton, Westin, Shangri-La and Accor, where he held Director of Sales and Marketing and Vice President Corporate Marketing roles with Westin Hotels in the United States.

Ray worked for Accor, for six years as Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing for Accor Asia-Pacific before taking on the role of Executive General Manager – Sales, Marketing and Distribution for Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia.

Ray is driven by a challenge and his passion and belief in Ayers Rock Resort becoming the leading Indigenous tourism operator in Australia is very much behind his energy, drive and determination.

The Russians Are NOT Coming…

Vladimir Putin The Russian TouristInteresting story out of Thailand, where the Russian tourism bubble has burst due to the impact international sanctions are having on Russia's economy: ie a weak rouble = less money to spend on travel. There have already been sharp falls in visitor numbers during late 2014 and the consensus is that 2015 will be much worse, particularly for the mass market destinations of Pattaya and Phuket. See TTG Asia story.

Cheap Airfares, Marketing To Stimulate Flat Domestic Demand – Flight Centre

Flight Centre is hoping that cheap airfares and increased marketing will combine to stimulate flat demand from Australian consumers, a trend which led to the company's first profit downgrade in four years yesterday.

Australia's largest travel retailer is boosting its sales and marketing spend by 10% – from 1.0% of total turnover value to 1.1% of TTV – to stimulate demand, which it believes is still suffering from the Federal Budget way back in May. More 

Airbnb Goes Corporate with Concur Integration

Leisure travel phenomenon Airbnb has completed its integration with Concur’s TripLink product – giving  the site corporate credibility. It means business travellers can book through Airbnb and and have expense reports and itineraries automatically pre-populated in Concur. More than sixty companies have so far signed up.