Express Travel Buys Creative Cruising

Express Travel Group has bought cruise wholesaler Creative Cruising from Travel Corporation for an undisclosed amount. According to a report in Travel Daily, it will continue operating as a standalone business offering packages from more than 40 cruise lines incorporating air and land. The message from Peter Forsyth, GM of Creative Cruising, is that “it’s business as usual”. Express Travel CEO Tom Manwaring said the cruise industry offered strong sales growth opportunities.

Perisher Invests in New Quad Chair, Additional Snow-making

Perisher, Australia’s biggest ski resort, is replacing the Leichhardt T-Bar and Home Rope Tow with a new quad chairlift and also upgrading snow-making. Peter Brulisauer, chief operating officer of Perisher, said the development will boost lifting capacity by 75% in the area. Mountain manager Andrew Kennedy said the new lift will access “some of the best tree skiing in the resort off Powder Ridge.” The work will cost $4.2m and be completed in time for  the 2018 ski season.

Growth Story – Experience Co Buys Two More FNQ Operators

Experience Co yesterday announced its eight and ninth acquisitions since 2015, buying north Queensland tourism operators Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises (Cairns) and Tropical Journeys (Port Douglas) for $56m in cash and shares. Anthony Boucaut, Experience Co’s MD and founder, said this was further evidence of the company’s desire to become “the largest and most respected adventure tourism company in the world.”

Luxury Escapes Buys Scoopon Travel & BonVoyage from Catch

Adam Schwab, Managing Director, Lux Group & Gabby Leibovich, Co-founder, Catch Group

The Lux Group, which owns online travel business Luxury Escapes, has bought Scoopon Travel and BonVoyage as part of a complicated, multi-faceted transaction with the Catch Group that will create a pure-play online travel business with $300m turnover and enormous buying power while clearing the way for further growth. More 

Start Small, Think Big – Ambitious Travlr Raises $5m

Travlr CEO Simon te Hennepe

A business that started as a PDF list of things to do in Bali shared among friends has raised $5 million to fund further expansion.

Now The Bali Bible – a website which attracts 2m visits a month – is the cornerstone of Travlr, providing a profitable template that will be replicated in numerous other destinations via an aggressive rollout strategy starting with Seychelles, Indonesia,  Cook Islands and New Zealand. More 

Serko’s Spectacular Rebound – Now Profitable and Worth $134m

Serko CEO Darrin Grafton, foreground.

In April, the shares of corporate travel management and booking platform Serko – which listed at $1.10* on the New Zealand Stock Exchange in 2014 – hit an all-time low of 25 cents. Now those same shares are worth $1.80 – an increase of more than 700%.

So what’s changed? The short answer is that Serko has stopped bleeding cash and is finally profitable. Revenue is also up, though still modest at an annualised rate of $17.8m, growth remains strong at 30%, while operating costs have been cut. More 

Airbnb Ambushed by Radio Host as Talk Turns to Tax

As all actors know, it’s one thing working with a script but having to ad lib when things go wrong is the true test of any performer – or PR flack.  So that was the test for Airbnb mouthpiece Brent Thomas when ABC talk host Jon Faine went off script in an interview on his top-rating Victorian show last Friday. It was ostensibly about potential legislative changes on the Mornington Peninsula to curtail Airbnb party houses but Faine was more interested in the amount of tax the multi-national pays. Thomas found that adopting the party line and avoiding the question can have unintended consequence. Well worth a listen: Faine v Airbnb.

Hotel Metasearch – One Trick Pony? Shallow Business Model Under Pressure as OTAs Pull Back, Switch Tack and Focus on Brand

Candour at last! In a remarkably transparent appraisal of its business model and operating environment, hotel meta-search engine Trivago has revealed 79% of its mostly click-based revenue comes from just two customers, online travel agents owned by either Priceline Group (45% share) or Expedia (34%).

Now Trivago, and TripAdvisor (see story), are paying the price for putting all their eggs in a single basket with Priceline and Expedia cutting back on their their meta-search spend. This is having an immediate impact on the meta-search bottom line, forcing Trivago in particular to reassess its business model. More 

Intrepid Group Aims for $1 Billion in Revenue By 2025

Intrepid Group  CEO James Thornton has declared the company is aiming to triple its revenue to $1 billion by 2025, becoming the world’s first adventure travel business to breach that lofty benchmark.

Thornton, pictured, said Intrepid Group revenue has grown 20% per annum in the two years since it returned to private ownership and recently confirmed annual revenue in excess of $300 million, meaning that to reach the $1 billion goal, Intrepid will have to double present growth rates to more than 40% a year. More 

Huge Airbus, Boeing Orders Jet Propelled by Budget Carriers

Airbus has landed one of the biggest aircraft orders in history – 430 jets from from a group of low cost carriers, all connected to private equity group Indigo Partners. The airlines combined to get a better deal on the A320neo aircraft. Normally the jets would be worth almost US$50 billion but the group buy could cut 50% from the listed price. Meanwhile Boeing announced that Flydubai has agreed to buy up to 225 of its 737 Max aircraft, potentially worth US$27 billion.

TripAdvisor Tanking, More Visitors, Less Bookings

TripAdvisor CEO Steve Kaufer still optimistic.

How the mighty have fallen. TripAdvisor is now in deep trouble with its transition to a hotel search and booking site going backwards.

Of major concern is that the steps taken by TripAdvisor’s leadership to turn its hotel business around – “a fresh new look”,  “streamlined hotel shopping experience” and  increased brand advertising – have actually accelerated the decline. More 

Money On Tap For Tours & Activities – GetYourGuide Gets $75m

GetYourGuide has raised $US75 million just days after Asian tours  & activities rival Klook picked up $US60 million in a frenzy of fund-raising for the sector, which is clearly the hottest in travel from an investor perspective right now.  

“We are experiencing explosive growth this year and have stepped up to become the largest online booking platform for travel activities,” claimed Johannes Reck, CEO of GetYourGuide.

Reck says GetYourGuide, based in Berlin and strongest in Europe, recently breached the 10 million bookings mark, with almost 5 million bookings in 2017 alone. More 

Airbnb Takes The Donald Trump Approach Down Under

Brent Thomas, Airbnb

Airbnb is doing a Donald Trump Down Under – insulting, alienating and potentially making enemies of the people it should be working closely with simply because it can’t get what it wants.

The highlight so far has been the attack on NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian by Brent Thomas, the Head of Public Policy at Airbnb in Australia, who should be smoothing the way in the halls of power. More 

Tours and Activities App Klook Raises US$60 Million to Globalise

Klook founders Eric Gnock Fah (left) and Ethan Lin.

The phenomenal growth of Asian tours and activities booking platform Klook has hit warp speed with the Hong Kong company raising a further US$60 million to fund global expansion and product innovation.

Currently generating more than one million bookings a month, the vast majority through its mobile app, Klook has raised almost US$100 million – including US$30 million from Sequoia Capital China just eight months ago – since it was founded in 2014 by Ethan Lin and Eric Gnock Fah. More 

No Vacancy Returns in 2018

A new era kicks off with No Vacancy - The Accommodation Business Expo at Sydney’s International Convention Centre on July 17-18, 2018.

“We’ll be taking No Vacancy to another level, combining high quality content with a large trade show featuring up to 150 exhibitors across all verticals, transforming it into the business hub of Australia’s accommodation industry,” says new owner Mark Harvey of National Media.

He says the accommodation industry is worth more than $18 billion to the Australian economy. “Yet surprisingly, given the size of the industry there is no dedicated exhibition designed to meet all its needs.”

“No Vacancy - The Accommodation Business Expo will fill this void and offer hoteliers and other accommodation industry professionals a platform to discover products and ideas to optimize their properties, create amazing guest experiences and ultimately boost their profits.”

Historically No Vacancy has been very much an accommodation marketing conference, but the new look exhibition will embrace all aspects of the accommodation business.

Content is still central to the event and will be expanded upon with more topics, more sessions and more speakers.

The exhibition will showcase the best quality suppliers across design and decor, property management, operations and finance, housekeeping, spa and leisure, in-room and guest-facing technology, and marketing, distribution and reservation solutions.

“We are really excited about where we can take No Vacancy and look forward to working closely with the community that's been supporting the event since 2007,” said Harvey.

For more information, contact:

Brad Langton
Portfolio Director - Travel, Tourism & Hospitality
National Media
+61 7 5510 5110
+61 403 650 352


- It's All About The Information - 

TravelTrends founder Martin Kelly has diversified and now also runs Bluewater Press, a communications and thought leadership consultancy with a particular expertise in travel. Services include:

- Strategic Communications
- Media Releases & Distribution
- Crisis Management
- Thought Leadership
- Industry Advocacy
- Positioning, Messaging
- Marketing Plans & Execution
- Engaging Content

Martin is a communications, public relations and media professional with extensive high-level experience across the travel, internet, property and banking industries, both in-house and as a consultant.

For further information please email


TRAVELtech Australia 2018

Returning in 2018

Change is the only constant in travel and so it is with TRAVELtech, which will be returning early in the second quarter of 2018.

The event has been bought by National Media - one of Australia's most respected event management companies - from founder Martin Kelly, who also publishes

Kelly says he’s happy TRAVELtech is in good hands and will remain connected in a programming and moderation role.

“I’ve really enjoyed creating and running TRAVELtech but it was time to step aside and let someone else with the capacity to accelerate their evolution take it on,” says Kelly.

He will now focus on further developing, while also consulting to travel companies on communications, innovation, industry trends and strategy.

Mark Harvey from National Media says TRAVELtech, founded in 1999, will evolve into a much larger event.

"We have plans for become the main exhibition and conference in Asia Pacific for travel technology buyers, travel agencies, tour operators and transport professionals to source, learn and network," he says.

"It will bring together a large selection of specialist suppliers showcasing the latest innovations across distribution, reservation, business operation and sales and marketing."

For more information, contact:

Mark Harvey, MD, National Media
Phone: +61 7 5510 5101  //  0419 775 488