In further confirmation that the tours and activities sector is hot, hot, hot, industry giant Booking Holdings is buying the sector’s largest online booking and reservation management platform, FareHarbor, which has more than 5000 clients and 200 employees. “We see an immense opportunity to leverage this technology to bring more local experiences online,” said Gillian Tans, CEO of Booking.com, adding that FareHarbor will operate as an “independent business”.
Tourists continue to steer clear of the Gold Coast theme parks with Village Roadshow reporting a slump in business, saying it may lose up to $10 million for the financial year.
Just a couple of months ago Village had forecast an underlying profit of between $12 million to $17 million.
How could things go so wrong, so quickly?
Village says tourists have stayed away due to bad weather and competition from the Commonwealth Games. More
Australia’s outbound tourism boom looks like it’s come to a grinding halt, as this graph so dramatically demonstrates. More
Marriott International, the world’s largest hotelier, is merging its three loyalty schemes, introducing “one set of unified benefits” across Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) programs. More
Hoteliers, stand aside. New stats from Tourism Research Australia show it’s not a question of if but when your mantle as the top provider of accommodation to international tourists will be passed to the thousands of Aussie individuals and businesses who are marketing their short-term rental play through the likes of Airbnb and HomeAway. More
New research claims that 42.5% of Australian adults still book international holidays through their local travel agents, vastly in excess of the reputed 15.5% who head to the web to do the deed with an online travel agent. But what of the other 42%? Regrettably, the Roy Morgan Travel Agent Report media release does not say. You have to assume these are the people who are booking direct, no doubt using the web.
SeaLink Travel Group, which recently diversified from shipping into accommodation, has further spread its wings by investing $3.2 million in UWAI, a new Chinese travel marketing app part-owned by Chairman Andrew McEvoy while also becoming its largest customer.
UWAI markets local travel businesses to Chinese tourists. Its name translates as “travel overseas” in Mandarin and has been successfully trialled in South Australia, where 1500 businesses have signed up.
“We believe it will appeal to the fast-growing Chinese free independent traveller segment which is an increasingly important More
Marriott International says it will employ 19,000 new staff in Asia Pacific by the end of this year.
That’s around 500 a week – demonstrating the value (in terms of employment at least) hotels bring their local communities.
The new staff will be employed in 80 new hotels due to open by late December More
The supply of new rooms in Sydney during March increased 5% – the biggest growth spurt since the 2000 Olympics – however local hotels were still able to increase room rates despite a marginal fall in occupancy due to continuing strong demand. STR reports Sydney’s average March room rate exceeded $250, occupancy was 89% while RevPAR rose 0.8% to $226.
It’s an unfortunate fact that Manus Island north of Papua New Guinea has a horrible reputation defined by an exceptionally controversial offshore detention centre for refugees.
Commissioned and paid for by the Australian Government, four asylum seekers have died while there’s been endless negative news stories based around alleged abuse of human rights.
Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia have agreed to end their trans-Tasman alliance in October and start over as competitors. Air New Zealand once owned 26% of Virgin Australia but sold its holdings down over the past two years. Both carriers said they were looking forward to going it alone on the fiercely competitive routes between Australia and New Zealand.
Qantas is accepting applications for its second AVRO Accelerator program, run in partnership with Slingshot. It’s looking for “the world’s most innovative startups, scaleups and digital disruptors” to join the program, which “gives entrepreneurs the chance to work with Qantas Group to develop, incubate and scale their businesses. More
Founder Simon Lenoir has made the big decision to step away from his day to day management responsibilities at Rezdy, handing the CEO reins to Chris Atkin, previously Chief Operating Officer. More
Roshan Mendis has been appointed chief commercial officer of Sabre Travel Network, responsible for leading global sales, sales operations and business development initiatives. Mendis has worked with Sabre companies for the past 20 years, and was most recently served as senior vice president of Travel Network for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific (APAC) regions. He will continue to be based in London.
Apollo Tourism & Leisure has continued its aggressive global growth, acquiring Camperco, one of UK and Ireland’s largest independent motorhome operators, saying it will provide a “beachhead” for further European expansion.
Apollo paid £4.5m in cash and shares for the business, the major asset of which is the Bunk Campers brand, with a fleet of approximately 200 recreational vehicles, and offices throughout the UK/Ireland. More
Sabre and Amadeus have locked in new multi-year agency technology and distribution agreements with Flight Centre Group, one of the world’s leading retailers. The Amadeus partnership includes 17 countries through Asia, Europe and the Middle East, while Sabre’s covers Flight Centre’s home market of Australia and also New Zealand.
Merren McArthur has been appointed the new CEO of low cost carrier Tigerair Australia, which is owned and operated by the Virgin Australia Group. More
Well-known Sydney online travel entrepreneur Mirza Juddani has sold his company Flight Systems, which operates skiddoo.com.au, to listed retailer Helloworld. Technology was a major reason for the acquisition, providing a low risk and low cost entry to some sophisticated distribution technologies, said Helloworld CEO Andrew Burnes. Flight Systems is expected to have turnover of $80m this financial year and the purchase amount was not disclosed. Juddani will be staying on and joining the HLO team.
Travelling through Vietnam, skiing in Japan, venturing to India and relaxing in Thailand – these were the hot destinations for Australians in the peak travel month of January.
Vietnam travel by Australians was up 28%, Japan holidays increased 16%, Indian tourism grew 14% while Thailand – which had been losing market share – rose 9.6%. More
“We’ve been hit right in the balls!” exclaimed Stephen Howard, the new Marketing Director of Ovolo Hotels. “A mysterious individual decided to take one of our beloved Ovolo Balls from our hotel late last week, they didn’t even buy us dinner first! ???? We’ve got $1000, a nights accommodation and a dining voucher for Alibi Woolloomooloo up for grabs for whoever reunites us with our steely beloved sculpture.” Get on it!
Get set for Travel IQ, an industry-first initiative dedicated to providing definitive data on the ANZ travel industry’s leading companies and people.
It fills a yawning gap in the local travel industry – so much going on, so little meaningful information on the people and companies who make it tick. More
The surge in Chinese visitors helped drive international tourism spending in Australia to a new high of $41.3 billion in 2017, an increase of 6% over the previous year, according to the latest International Visitor Survey. More
In an era of consolidation and monster billion-dollar online travel companies, WIT is throwing the focus on the little guy with a new one-day event. The first edition of WIT Indie will be held in Penang, Malaysia, on April 13. “WIT Indie aims to gather independents and creatives around the idea that not only can they compete in the digital age, but can thrive,” says WIT founder Yeoh Siew Hoon. “The idea is to offer a platform on which they can learn, network, collaborate and share best practices – when you are small, scale can come from thinking outside your business and collaborating with other like-minded people in a creative environment.” See website for details.
Sydney company Rezdy has raised a further $3m to fuel growth in North America, opening a second US office in Raleigh, North Carolina. The company said: “This was an interim round to fund acceleration in the international growth of Rezdy ahead of a larger equity round later next year.” More
Australia’s competition regulator, the ACCC, has cleared the way for AccorHotels’ $1.3 billion take-over of the Mantra Group, announcing today it will not oppose the acquisition because it believes the merger of the country’s top two hotel groups will not restrict competition within the sector. More
No pain no gain. That could be the mantra at tours and activities business Viator, which has staged an incredible turnaround over the past 12 months due primarily to the hard-headed vision of Dermot Halpin, who has shaken the company up and made it profitable – literally tens of million of dollars in the black – after years of spending money in the name of growth.
No-one saw this coming when Halpin, who had been running TripAdvisor’s vacation rentals business, was given additional responsibilities by TripAdvisor founder Steve Kaufer, replacing long-term CEO Barrie Seidenberg, who resigned in late 2016. More