All posts by Martin Kelly

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.