Booking.com has agreed to loosen its stance on rate parity, allowing hotels to offer better deals through other OTAs in Europe – but not on their own sites, which for most hoteliers wanting to drive direct traffic is the core issue. See announcement.
Booking.com has become the first OTA to launch an Apple Watch app.
"Booking Now is the first and only travel app to enable users to book a stay directly from their watch," the company claimed today.
Massive hype surrounds the the Apple Watch, which will be available in Australia from this Friday, April 24.
Accor has bought its second tech company as the global hotelier strives to accelerate its digital-first strategy. The latest acquisition is Fastbooking, described as a digital services provider for the hotel industry. More
Global hotelier Starwood has launched a new brand – Tribute Portfolio – aimed at independent hotels that want access to Starwood's loyalty program, distribution systems and customer database. Fees are reportedly 10%-12% of revenue.
Sabre Pacific is staging five agency-led travel technology seminars in Australasia during May and June. They're being held in Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne Perth and Brisbane. Click for details.
No such thing as a free meal? Well, with an airline you'll take what you get and today Virgin Australia announced it will match full service rival Qantas by no longer charging for in-flight meals. It's the latest move upmarket from the former Low Cost Carrier, which now also includes checked baggage and entertainment in its fares.
Andrew Burnes, founder of Australia's largest inbound travel travel company, AOT Group, has increased his stake in listed retailer Helloworld to 10.2%. Mr Burnes bought 15.5m HLO shares at 36 cents each in an off-market transaction from UBS and Europe Voyager. More
Germany's anti-trust regulator, the Bundeskartellamtt, plans to stop the country largest online travel agent, Booking.com, from using its market power to prevent hoteliers from offering lower rates on their own sites. More
The travel industry's biggest loyalty play has moved beyond the ragged peaks of North America to the Snowy Mountains of Australia where Vail Resorts has just bought Perisher, Australia's biggest ski resort, for AUD176.6m from holdings associated with billionaire James Packer. More
FONK. Heard of it? It's the new FOMO apparently. Fear of not knowing rather than fear of missing out. Well here's your chance to know something you might not already – following is an information download from No Vacancy last week – all the key points. Read on… More
Allegro Funds has bought Great Southern Rail, the loss-making owner and operator of The Ghan, Indian Pacific and Overland trains and products, for just £2.5m from Serco, a troubled UK company selling non-core assets. More
The tech revolution at Wotif is now complete. New owner Expedia last Wednesday replaced the infamous pricing and availability matrix with a standard display. More
Reality has intruded on Myamar's tourism dream with hotel occupancy in February falling 17% year on year.
The main reason was a 12% increase in supply said STR Global. More
In a bizarre interview, Malaysia Airlines' marketing boss Dean Dacko has compared the carrier's high levels of brand recognition with Coke and Pepsi despite the fact it is entirely due to the disappearance of MH370 and the shooting down of MH17 – twin disasters in which 522 MAS passengers lost their lives. More
Accor Hotels says it is aiming to employ 1000 Indigenous Australians – or 10% of its workforce on present numbers – by 2018. The hotel operator has just helped launch the Federal Government's Employment Parity Initiative, the goal of which is to increase Indigenous employment. It wants 'corporate Australia' to set goals on Indigenous employment with a 3% target by 2020.
Mantra Group today announced it has agreed to buy Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Australia for $29.5m and will raise $50m to fund the acquisition and other opportunities. More
With a cap on capacity, Australia's domestic airfares are starting to rise with the fastest growth coming from unrestricted economy fares on business routes, which have increased at twice the rate of leisure fares. More
The Chinese hotel war may be coming to an end. Chinese OTA Qunar just reported a strong Q4 result and flagged its intention to cut back on hotel "couponing" – a strategy that has devastated yields for hoteliers and competitors such as Ctrip and eLong, which have both responded in kind. More
Amadeus Pacific is set to roll out its new booking platform across the region after successfully trialling it with TravelManagers Australia. More
British company Serco has reaffirmed its intention to sell Great Southern Rail, which operates the iconic Indian Pacific and The Ghan train services across the Australian Outback. Serco is in a world of pain, announcing a £632 trading loss and the sale of all non-core assets. See Daily Telegraph story.
There's been heaps of commentary about the impact a weakening Aussie dollar will have on outbound travel. Yet the comparisons are always done with the USD.
What about the Euro, against which the AUD has been strongly rising over the past few weeks? That is surely a good news story for Aussies heading to Europe this northern summer…
The sudden exit of Greg Shaw from the top job at Ardent Leisure and news of his surprise replacement, Deborah Thomas, sent the company's shares tumbling almost 30% yesterday before finishing 20% lower. More