All posts by Martin Kelly

Chinese Visits to Australia Surge During August

The surge in Chinese visitors to Australia accelerated during August with a 22.3% increase over the previous year, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures. This follows 18% growth in July, 11% in June, 8.2% in May and 7.5% in April.  Visits by Australians to China also grew strongly during the month by 15.2%. Italy (+16%) and Vietnam (+24.6%) were also popular with Australian travellers.

AccorHotels Buys Mantra Group for $1.3 Billion, Expands to 300+ Properties in ANZ

AccorHotels today announced it has agreed to buy Mantra Group for $1.3 billion. Mantra’s board unanimously accepted the Accor bid, priced at $3.96 a share, a 23% premium to the last closing price of $3.23. Mantra operates 127 hotels, resorts and apartments in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Hawaii across three key brands: Peppers (28 properties), Mantra (75 properties) and BreakFree (24 properties). It has more than 5,500 employees. AccorHotels says it operates 200+ properties pre-acquisition.

Asia Pacific Dominates Global Aviation Passenger Traffic

Global aviation passenger numbers during 2016 grew 7% over the previous year, reaching 3.8 billion. Once again Asia Pacific aviation dominated with 35% global share at 1.3 billion passengers, up 11.3% on 2015, according to the 2017 edition of the IATA World Air Transport Statistics (WATS), the yearbook of the airline industry’s performance. The top five city pairs were all in Asia, though US citizens fly more than any other nationality and three most popular airlines were all based in the United States. Highlights of the 2016 airline industry performance include: More 

Secret Escapes Raises US$111m, Acquisitions on the Agenda

Secret Escapes CEO Alex Saint

Secret Escapes Founder Alex Saint has flagged more acquisitions for the London-based luxury flash deals site after raising a further US$111m in cash and debt.

The Series D raising was led by Temasek, a Singapore Govt sovereign investment fund.

Existing investors Idinvest Partners and Silicon Valley Bank also participated, with cash and a debt facility respectively.   More 

Mobile First? Not In Australia, Where Big Screens Dominate Travel

Australian consumers love their mobile technology as much as any nation – except when it comes to researching and booking travel, according to new research from  Amadeus and YouGov. Here are the key regional findings:

“Australians under-utilise mobile technologies: Just 33% use a mobile for researching and 20% for booking a trip, compared to 54% and 46% respectively for APAC – most Aussies (81%) still do their travel research and booking on a laptop/desktop. Aussies also prefer email for updates/recommendations about their trip, while APAC travellers are more diverse in their preferences; including IM services, travel company apps and social media. More 

Kristy Edwards Now Leading Best Western’s Revenue Team

September 26, 2017: Kristy Edwards has been promoted to Senior Revenue Manager at Best Western Australasia, managing a team of four that works across its properties in Australia and New Zealand.

They’ve been having great success boosting performance at a range of properties leading to increased demand from Best Western members for their services.

“Our hoteliers are generally owner operators and exceptionally busy people who can’t spare the time to work on revenue management and demand generation, which is where we come in,” says Kristy. More 

Best August Ever for Thai Hotels But New Supply a Future Threat

Thai hotels recorded their best-ever August occupancy rate at 81% while revenue per available room rose 6% over last year, according to STR.  The reason is simple – a record 3.13 visitors for the ‘low-season’ month.  But Thai hoteliers need to make hay while the sun shines. STR says Thailand has 100 hotel projects in the pipeline (21,615), equivalent to 11% of the country’s existing hotel supply.  

Forget the Gravy Train, Take Tigerair to Canberra

Low cost carrier Tigerair Australia has expanded its services on the rapidly evolving and historically high-yielding Canberra route,  where planes come stuffed with political fat cats and corporates, launching three return  services between Brisbane and the national capital each week. It’s also boosted its Melbourne-Canberra service by an extra weekly flight. Tigerair’s Canberra expansion is good for competition but not for yields.  Fares start at $49 ex-Melbourne and $69 ex-Brisbane.

China Propels Asian Cruise Growth, Numbers Double in a Year

China has been confirmed as the world’s most dynamic cruise market with annual growth of 76% between 2013 and 2016, according to an Asia Cruise Trends report from industry association CLIA. The report reveals that 3.1 million Asians took cruises in 2016, 55% more than in 2015. “Of these, 68% (2.1 million) were from mainland China, a market which almost doubled as it grew by 99% last year.” More 

Best Western Expands Australian Network – New Properties in Albany and Karratha

September 7, 2017: Best Western Australasia continues to evolve and today welcomed two excellent new properties in Western Australia to its hotels and resorts network.

“It’s fantastic to see properties of this calibre joining Best Western – it’s testament to the exciting brand evolution and repositioning we’ve undergone over recent years,” said Mr Richards.

In both cases Best Western’s global marketing reach and strong loyalty program were factors in the hotels’ decision to join, said Steve Richards, Head of Commercial at Best Western Australasia. The new properties are: More 

Australia Odd One Out – Domestic Demand Drop

Australia was the only major aviation market where domestic demand dropped during July, according to the International Air Transport Association. “Domestic travel demand grew by 7.9% year-on-year in July, in line with 8.0% growth recorded in June. China led all markets (+15.0%).” 

July 2017
(% year-on-year)
World share¹ RPK ASK PLF     
Domestic 36.3%         7.9% 7.1%  0.6%       85.0% 
Australia 1.0%             -0.8% -1.9% 0.9% 80.1%
Brazil  1.2% 3.9% 4.3% -0.3% 84.2%
China P.R              8.7% 15.0% 12.7% 1.8% 84.8%             
India              1.3% 12.5% 14.5% -1.5% 82.6%             
Japan              1.1%  6.6% 1.4%  3.4% 69.6%
Russian Fed.              1.3%  9.1% 9.6% -0.4% 90.3%
US 15.0%  5.1% 5.0% 0.1% 87.2%

Livn’s Global Tours & Activities Now Live on Amadeus

September 6, 2017: Amadeus travel agents can now seamlessly book 19,000 global tours and activities in real-time thanks to a ground-breaking integration with Livn initially covering the Australia and New Zealand markets

The connection between the Livn tours and activities database and Amadeus Selling Platform Connect has just gone live following a successful trial among key agents, offering them a lucrative new income stream in a challenging marketplace.

It enables agents to instantly book an incredible selection of tours and activities around the globe from hundreds of leading suppliers like Intrepid Group, G Adventures, Disney, Gray Line, Pro-Dive and Tourism Holdings. More 

Steady as she goes at Expedia says new CEO

Don’t expect much to change at Expedia following the departure of online travel savant Dara Khosrowshahi, who has taken the top job at Uber.

That’s the message from his replacement, Mark Okerstrom, the former Expedia CFO, pictured, who says the company will focus on building out its accommodation inventory and take advantage of opportunities as they arise. See Skift story.

New Properties Boost Mantra Group Profits

Hotel and resort company Mantra Group boosted its net profit by more than 22% to $45.6m for the year to June 30, 2017. CEO Bob East said: “The majority of this improvement was driven by six new property acquisitions during the year supported by strong revenue growth from the key markets of Sydney, Melbourne, ACT, and Sunshine Coast.” More