onefinestay makes it to Australia and New Zealand

Luxury property rental platform onefinestay has finally launched in Australia, adding 22 Sydney properties to its global portfolio, soon to be followed by 20 in Melbourne and 10 in Noosa. New Zealand is coming online in June, starting with Auckland, Wanaka and Queenstown. The company has employed Vara Glover (Australia) and Daniel Holwerda (NZ) to accelerate regional growth. onefinestay now has more than 10,000 properties.

AccorHotels Buying Spree Continues – Acquires Movenpick

AccorHotels has agreed to buy Swiss accommodation group Movenpick Hotels & Resorts, which operates more than 80 properties in Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa,  for 560 million Swiss Francs.  It’s the latest acquisition among many for AccorHotels, which over the past three years has bought FHRHI Hotels & Resorts (Fairmont, Raffles, Swissotel), luxury home rental business onefinestay, Australia’s Mantra Group and several technology and digital marketing companies. 

The Parochial Politics of Destination Marketing in South Australia

There’s been a bitter backlash from Adelaide’s advertising community over a decision by the South Australian Tourism Commission to go outside state borders and award its coveted creative advertising contract, worth almost $5m, to Melbourne agency TBWA.

The account is the most lucrative in South Australia (think about that) and had been held for the past 20 years by local outfit KWP, who made the final round of the tender process but were ultimately overlooked – a move that’s  been branded an “absolute disgrace” by the Adelaide Advertising and Design Club.  More 

AccorHotels Not In Hotels Anymore – Really?

AccorHotels is one of the world’s largest accommodation companies with more than 4500 properties under management, many of them  hotels. But that’s not how Accor sees itself. In a recent release announcing a deeper relationship with Chinese OTA Ctrip, the company’s brand positioning declared that AccorHotels is a “world-leading lifestyle and travel and digital innovator”. Not a hotelier. Interesting.

TripAdvisor Buys Bokun, Starts Tour Tech Price War

There’s a technology and aggregation arms race on in the tours and activities sector. First to fire a shot was Booking Holdings, which announced the purchase FareHarbor last Thursday. Following day, TripAdvisor said it’s buying Bokun which, like FareHarbor, also provides booking, admin and distribution technology to tours and activities operators. More 

Booking Holdings Moves Into Tours & Activities, Buys FareHarbor

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, adding that FareHarbor will operate as an “independent business”. 

Plunging Returns for Gold Coast Theme Parks As Guest Stay Away

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 

Traditional Retail Still Lead The Pack for Overseas Travel Bookings

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.

Left Field Travel Tech Investment from SeaLink Travel Group

Andrew McEvoy, SLK Chair and UWAI Co-Founder

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 

Sydney Hotels Absorb Olympian Increase In Room Supply

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.

Up For A Challenge? Manus Island Needs Tourism Marketing

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.

But the island itself is, according to reports, a tropical paradise, part of the remote Admiralty Islands group, with fantastic beaches, diving and surfing. More 

Qantas Group Opens Applications for AVRO Accelerator

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 

Mendis to Lead Sales and Operations at Sabre Travel Network

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 Targets Europe Expansion With Camperco Buy

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 Lock in Flight Centre Agreements

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.

Website and Tech Buy for Helloworld, Acquires Flight Systems

Well-known Sydney online travel entrepreneur Mirza Juddani has sold his company Flight Systems, which operates, 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.

The Bicycle Thief – Ovolo Ball Snatched By Bike Share Bandit

“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!

'Celebrating the Business of Travel'
- Sydney, October 24, 2018 -

Travel IQ is a new one-day conference that celebrates the business of travel with the people who live it every day.

- Entrepreneurs
- Owners
- Directors
- Investors
- Managers
- Foot soldiers

Travel is a business, and Travel IQ will treat it like one.

You’ll learn how to improve your business, list a company, source finance, scale-up, connect with the right people, capitalise on fresh opportunities.

The program will be packed with industry innovators, creators, accumulators, doers, legends and pioneers.

See the travel industry through their eyes and leave with a better understanding of where you’d like to take your business.

Travel IQ is being held in the small but perfectly formed ballroom at the delightful Langham Hotel in The Rocks, Sydney, on October 24.

Numbers are strictly limited.

There are just 135 seats, ensuring everyone who comes receives maximum value and can properly engage with fellow attendees.

Catering will be of the highest standard with ample networking opportunities in comfortable surroundings.

Please register your interest here and we’ll be in touch when bookings open.

Travel IQ is being produced by Martin Kelly, who created the TRAVELtech and No Vacancy conferences, now owned by National Media.

More information on Travel IQ

Who’s Who in The ANZ Travel Zoo

People, Companies, Research, Data.

Travel IQ is an industry-first initiative dedicated to providing definitive data on the ANZ travel industry’s leading companies and people.

-Register for Updates

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.

Research is well advanced, and the first iteration is due for release by June 1.

Travel IQ will feature:

- Top 150 travel businesses in Australia and NZ, local focus

- Detailed profiles, expert industry analysis, exclusive insights

- Information on hundreds of ANZ industry leaders

- Major industry investors, deals and transactions listed

- Key sector overviews and analysis

- Financial information where possible

- Interviews with industry entrepreneurs and innovators

- Member access to 3000+ unique stories on

Travel IQ is being researched and written by publisher Martin Kelly.

It will cover the leading companies and people in retail, inbound, cruise, shipping, attractions, operators, aviation, tours & activities, media, technology, shipping, car rental and accommodation.

There’s an initial focus on locally-owned companies and industry dynamics.

Due to nature of travel, private companies dominate the research though every publicly-listed company (there are now more than 30) with exposure to travel will be covered.

Travel IQ will also feature key New Zealand companies and investors, while select international companies with substantial local infrastructure and holdings will come under the microscope.

The aim is for Travel IQ to be the indispensable, insiders guide to the local travel industry.

It will evolve over time and more details will be revealed in the coming weeks.

If you'd like to register your interest in the project, please sign up for updates.

Alternatively you can contact Martin Kelly on 61-414-774-978 if you believe your company should be included.

- 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