Australia’s most significant private hotel investor, Dr Jerry Schwartz, will soon assume control of his 13th property, the Four Points Sheraton at Central Park in Sydney, and has pledged to donate first night profits to Australian farmers battling drought. More
Leading serviced apartment owner and operator, The Ascott Limited, has bought 70% of Tauzia Hotel Management, one of Indonesia’s top five hotel operators.
Tauzia has a portfolio of 122 hotels across Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, half of which are under development. Most of Tauzia’s hotels target business travellers with about 30% leisure focused.
Its brands include Harris Hotels, Yello and Pop!
The number of US visitors to Australia has slumped for the third straight month according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics travel overview for July. The number of Americans visiting Australia during July was -6.8 down on 2017. This follows year on year falls of -6.1% in June and -4.5% during May.
The BridgeClimb brand will live on under new owners Hammons Holdings who won recently won commercial climbing and tourism rights for the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
BridgeClimb is the incumbent company and its contract expires at the end of September.
In mid-August Hammons Holding bought BridgeClimb’s assets and today confirmed the iconic brand would continue, appointing Scenic World’s Chief Operating Officer Chris Zumwalt CEO from 1 October. More
Two of the world’s biggest tourism cities, London and Barcelona, experienced dramatically different fortunes during August. Hotel demand in London grew 7.5% but Barcelona hoteliers said negativity about the city caused by political unrest and residents rebelling against over-tourism caused hotel revenue to drop 20%, mainly due to discounting. More
Four of the world’s top five airlines may be from the United States but it’s Asia-Pacific that rules the global skies with a 36% share of the 4.1 billion passengers flown during 2017 – a record, of course. More
Tasmanian Walking Company (TWC) today officially opened the eagerly anticipated Three Capes Lodge Walk, claiming to offer “Australia’s most innovative and environmentally sustainable lodges”. More
The global cruise industry is in a transitional phase. Some markets are growing fast while others such as Australia – where growth has regressed from a long-term average of 18% to 5% last year, are slowing down. More
Most tours, activities and attractions are still sold the old-fashioned way through traditional travel agents using phone and emails – however the balance is set to dramatically tip over the next few years as the fast-growing sector becomes increasingly automated, according to a new Phocuswright report – Escaping the Sidelines, Tours & Activities Get Going. More
Travel networking app Travello has raised a further $5 million from a consortium of investors to help fund international expansion. “To continue our rapid growth, we need a presence in our key markets, namely: the UK, Europe, South East Asia and the US, and this investment will kick-start that process,” said co-founder, Ryan Hanly.
Travello is currently used in 180 countries by 350,000 travellers and enables users to browse and book more than 50,000 in-destination activities from a range of sources including Livn, Asia-Pacific’s super-aggregator of Tours and Activities. Travello has so far raised more than $6 million.
Here’s a great founder’s story as told by Michael Tauber, the Australian CEO of TravelCard. Tauber recalls that the Israeli company founder Alon Ketzef was the in the US 30 years and “tragically found out he had a brain tumour.”
His travel insurer “effectively told him we are not doing anything, go away and die.” Ketzeff spent a year in Massachusetts General Hospital before returning to Israel healthy but with a debt of USD450,0000. More
The credibility of Trivago – possibly the Australian travel industry’s largest broadcast advertiser – and its supposed mission to offer consumers the lowest possible hotel rates, has taken a heavy hit with the Australian competition watchdog taking the global meta-search site to the Federal Court for deceptive conduct that breaches Australian Consumer Law. More
Cost cutting continued to yield strong results at Helloworld Travel with net profit increasing 48% to $32 million in the year to June 30. Revenue was basically the same as 16/17 at $326.9 million however operating costs “lowered significantly”, hence the dramatically improved profit.
The announcement also revealed that the price of international airfares fell 6.6% through the year, driving volume but not margin. More
Loyalty ain’t what it used to be, says Google, and it’s time that travel marketers woke up to the new reality which, being Google, is all about businesses using technology to personalise messages and advertising. Loyalty was also a hot topic at the Australian Revenue Management Association conference in Melbourne last week, where the view was that loyalty can’t be bought but must be earned. See Google post.
Australian visitor numbers to New Zealand have now fallen for six consecutive months with the June overseas arrival and departure stats showing a -1.5% slump over last year, presenting a major challenge for Andrew Waddel, who has just been appointed GM Australia for Tourism New Zealand. More
It’s been reported in Skift that the price Booking Holdings agreed to pay for HotelCombined was USD140m while the global giant also outlaid USD250 million for tours and actvities tech company FareHarbor. Small change really. Neither was mentioned in the acquisition announcements by Booking Holdings because they are “immaterial” – and it’s hard to argue. Booking Holdings is still sitting on USD7.3 billion in cash and marketable securities.
RMS – The Hospitality Cloud has become the first accommodation technology company to achieve FedRAMP security certification for its Property Management System enabling it to win a game-changing contract with the US Marine Corps. More
Hospitality tech company TravelClick has proved to be an amazing investment for its past two owners – will incoming owner Amadeus, which has just agreed to pay private equity firm Thoma Bravo USD$1.52 billion for the business, be able to say the same? More
Klook is now officially valued at more USD1 billion, making the ‘in-destination services booking platform’, the Asian travel industry’s first ‘unicorn’* following a USD200 million raising this week. More
Australia’s tourism industry has the potential to grow visitor nights in Australia to one billion by 2029-30 and contribute $150 billion to the national economy, according to a new report from the NRMA called Are We There Yet?
The NRMA, the largest motoring organisation in Australia, is a major tourism investor owning a $800+ million portfolio across Thrifty Car Rentals, Manly Fast Ferries, Travelodge, Hotel Kurrajong and Holiday Parks in six states. More
Consolidation in the travel insurance sector has continued with NIB Holdings Limited (ASX: NIF) buying QBE Travel, Australia’s fourth-largest travel insurer, for up to $25m, the final price dependent on performance. The acquisition is expected to close in early 2019. QBE Travel will be rolled in the World Nomads Group, which NIB bought for $95m in July 2015. The sector’s biggest travel insurer, Cover-More, was bought by Zurich Insurance for $741m in April, 2017.
Meriton has been fined $3 million by the Federal Court of Australia for “engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct” and breaching the Australian Consumer Law by not soliciting TripAdvisor reviews from guests the serviced apartment operator believed would be negative. More
Travel IQ Program – Celebrating The Business of Travel
9am to 5pm Wednesday, October 24
9.00am – 9.45am Travel – A Growth Story: Travel remains a growth story despite global uncertainty and is forecast to grow at more than 5% a year for the next decade. Our opening speakers crunch the data on key industry sectors. We also look at where the smart money has been heading with analysis of key industry investments over the past two years, both in Australia and overseas.
- Follow the Money: Martin Kelly, TravelTrends.biz
- Hotels: Vasso Zographo/Michael Simpson, Savills Hotels
- Aviation: Anthony Moulder, Head of Transport & Infrastructure Research, CLSA Australia
9.45am – 10.00am Founder’s Story: Jamie Pherous founded Corporate Travel Management (CTD) 24 years ago with a couple of staff in Brisbane and big dreams. Now the business he created is a publicly-listed global enterprise with offices in 70 countries, thousands of staff and a market capitalisation of more than $3 billion. Learn about Jamie’s journey in this presentation.
10.00am – 10.30am Trends, Issues, Challenges & Opportunities. Travel may be growing however progression is anything but linear. That’s because travel is a complex, occasionally volatile industry that’s ultimately all about people, who are anything but predictable. Strategies change, opportunities emerge, and growth is an ever-present challenge. Meanwhile globalisation looms large. Tightly moderated panel discussion involving travel business leaders.
- Bob East, Chairman Tourism Australia, Chairman Experience Co (EXP)
- Anthony Hayes, Chief Operating Officer, Sealink Travel Group (SLK)
- Rachel Wiseman, Chief Investment Officer, NRMA Group
10.30am 11.00am – Morning Tea
11.00am – 11.40am Investor Insight. Les Szekely has picked a few winners in his time: HotelClub, SiteMinder and Rezdy to name a few, so what he says is worth listening to. What is his philosophy on investing, what does he look for in a company and what does he think the future holds? Find out here. Followed by panel.
- Les Szekely, MD, Grand Prix Capital
- 2x panelists tba
11.40am – 12.00pm Going Public: Serko is a story of dogged perseverance and bloody mindedness. After a rocky start on the NZSX, Serko staged a huge turnaround and became its top performing share last year while achieving a long-time goal of co-listing on the ASX in June.
12.00pm – 12.40pm Attractive Proposition: Attractions are the invisible infrastructure underpinning Australian tourism. Session opens with focus on the rapid evolution of third-generation company Hammons Holdings, owner since 1945 of Scenic World Blue Mountains and now operator of commercial climbing on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Followed by industry leader discussion covering everything from ski resorts and aquariums to water parks. Moderator Nigel Benton, Publisher, Australian Leisure Media.
- Anthea Hammon, Managing Director, Scenic World; Director Hammons Holdings
- David Hammon, CEO and Director, Hammons Holdings (Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb Experience)
- Rob Smith, Divisional Director, Australia & NZ, Merlin Entertainments
- Dax Eddy, GM, Jamberoo Action Park
12.40pm – 2.00pm Lunch. Sensational lunch in Bistro Remy, a great space and brilliant food. Delegates will get the chance to relax and catch up with fellow delegates in a beautiful environment.
2.00pm – 2.30pm Engineering an Exit. Building a travel business is one thing, selling it or stepping back another thing altogether. Here’s how two quite different travel entrepreneurs managed their transition. One sold, the other stepped aside from day to day management. Presentation followed by discussion.
- Josh Oakes, The Sunshine Tribe
- Simon Lenoir, co-Founder, Rezdy
2.30pm – 2.40pm Owning the Moment: Why lease when you can build and own? Australian travel companies APT and Scenic have been at the forefront of investing in and building their own ships. Now Aurora Expeditions has joined the party, commissioning the ‘Greg Mortimer’ expedition ship. Case study on rewards and risks of building your own ship.
2.40pm – 2.50pm Focus on: Intrepid Travel Group: It’s been a remarkable journey for the Intrepid Travel Group, which is pushing ahead with an ambitious strategy to be the biggest player in the global adventure travel industry through a combination of acquisitions and organic growth
2.50pm – 3.10pm Adventure and Expedition Travel: Discussion… Adventure travel is hot right now with consumers increasingly looking for culture, meaning and interaction when they take a break. Experiential travel is the buzz word. Find out what’s driving this sector, where the opportunities lie and what the future holds
- Brett Mitchell, Regional Director APAC, Intrepid Group
- Robert Halfpenny, Managing Director, Aurora Expeditions
- Sue Badyari, CEO, World Expeditions
3.10pm – 3.30pm Working Locally, Growing Globally. The common wisdom is that you can’t build a global business from Australia. However, it can be done. Rod Cuthbert has used Australia as a launching pad for two global businesses, Viator, now owned by TripAdvisor, and Rome2rio, headquartered in Melbourne. What did he learn along the way? Interview format.
3.30pm – 4.00pm Afternoon Tea
4.00pm – 4.30pm The Next Big Thing… If only if it were that simple. Here is your chance to get ahead of the curve in our closing session featuring a panel of well-connected industry insiders with their take on how travel will evolve in the coming years and who will be best placed to take advantage of the ever-shifting tourism landscape.
- Speakers tba
It’s been a massive week for AccorHotels, which is moving faster than a rabbit down a hole, chasing new opportunities and deals from Sub-Saharan Africa to the Australian coast, all the while continually reinventing itself as more than an accommodation business. More
It’s official, InterContinental Hotels Group has won the management rights for Hayman Island, which will re-open in 2019 after a revamp by its owners Mulpha Australia due to the devastation wrought by Cyclone Debbie last year. More
Australia’s hotels were busier than they ever have been in the period from April to June with an average occupancy rate of 73.2% – “the highest for any Q2 on record”, according to STR. The record run came despite an overall increase in room supply of more than 2%. The Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast during April were a significant factor with strong demand driving a revenue per available room increase of 24% for the quarter.