Serko Lists on Australian Stock Exchange

Darrin Grafton

Serko CEO and co-founder Darrin Grafton today fulfilled a long-held ambition when his company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

The ASX listing supplements the travel technology company’s presence on the New Zealand Stock Exchange, where it has had a presence since 2014.

Grafton hailed the ASX listing as a “significant growth milestone. 

“Nearly 10% of Serko’s shareholder base is in Australia and being dual-listed will give us access to a larger pool of investors.” More 

2018 – Annus Horribilis for Aussie Tourism to New Zealand

New Zealand is on the nose with Aussie tourists, who are shunning their trans-Tasman neighbour and heading elsewhere for their holidays. The downward trajectory in Australian tourism to New Zealand in 2018 accelerated during April with a -3.3% decrease in visitor numbers compared with last year, according to the latest Overseas Arrivals and Departures figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. More 

BridgeClimb Loses Contract to Scenic World Blue Mountains

Tourism pioneer BridgeClimb has sensationally lost its contract to run climbing tours of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge to Hammons Holdings, which operates Scenic World Blue Mountains, it was revealed today.

BridgeClimb, which started operations in 1998,  was founded by Paul Cave after years of lobbying the NSW Government to allow commercial climbing of the Bridge. More 

May Events Help Drive Record Result For Sydney Hotels

Rego desk with beer tap at Paramount House Hotel, Sydney.

Demand continues to outstrip supply in Sydney with the city recording an all-time performance high during May. Hotel analytics company STR reports that Sydney room numbers increased 3.3% over the previous year, customers demand was up 5.6% and occupancy grew 2.3% to 84.3%.

It’s great news for a number of new properties that opened over the past 12 months, including Paramount House Hotel in inner-city Surry Hills (pictured), recently named by Gourmet Traveller magazine as its ‘Hotel of the Year’. More 

Finally, NSW Govt Makes A Decision on Short-term Letting

The NSW government has finally made a decision on its regulation of short-term letting – and as expected it’s met with a mixed reaction: Airbnb is happy,  HomeAway thinks it is a retrograde step while the hotel lobby doesn’t like it at all.  In essence, the new rules place a cap of 180 rental days on renting out entire apartments or houses while there are tighter restrictions on what absent landlords can and can’t do. There is also scope for individual building managers to ban short-term rentals in their apartment block. See coverage on ABC and Domain.

Rising Fuel and Labour Costs Impact Airline Profits

Rising fuel and labour costs are the reasons behind a profit downgrade for global airlines from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which is forecasting a collective net profit of USD33.8 billion  for its members in 2018 . “This is a solid performance despite rising costs, primarily fuel and labor, but also the upturn in the interest rate cycle,” IATA said, lowering the previous forecast of USD38.4 billion. While operating profits for airlines have been trending downwards for the past four years, “the industry’s financial foundations are strong with a nine-year run in the black that began in 2010. At long last, normal profits are becoming normal for airlines.”

Outdoorsy Expands to Australia, Makes Financial Pitch

Jeff Cavins is something of an anomoly – a person who runs a ‘sharing economy’ business, Outdoorsy, and promotes the fact that  some people using his Recreational Vehicle and caravan marketplace are ‘power sellers’ he says can turn over millions of dollars a year through the site.

“Just like Airbnb, we’ve seen the emergence of power sellers on our platform – some members of our community own more than 100 RVs vehicles and are  doing millions and millions of dollars a year in business.” More 

Post-Video Facebook Marketing Tips from Tourism Australia

For years the best advice to increase organic reach on Facebook was to publish video content. But since Facebook altered its Newsfeed algorithm in January to drive more meaningful social interactions, the platform’s love of video appears to be over. For tips on how to adapt your Facebook strategies to the new paradigm, check out this post from Nick Henderson, Tourism Australia’s Global Manager of Social Media, 

Ocean Cruise Boom Loses Steam in Australia

The dramatic growth in Australian ocean cruise passenger numbers slowed dramatically during 2017, growing 4.4%, compared with compared with 21% in 2016, according to figures released today by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia. More than 1.34 million Australians took an ocean cruise in 2017, said CLIA Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz. More 

Thailand Closes Iconic Maya Bay To Assess Tourism Impact

The Thai Government has announced Maya Bay in Koh Phi Phi will be off-limits to tourists from June 1 to September 30 so that a proper assessment of the impact heavy tourism has had on the iconic destination, famous as the setting of ‘The Beach‘, a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, can be carried out.  Boats will not be allowed to enter Maya Bay or drop anchor nearby in a move that follows the sensational closure of Boracay in the Philippines and signals a regional shift in attitude toward over-tourism and the potential damage it is  inflicting on destinations.

False Choices The New Line From Airbnb

Airbnb’s regional boss Sam McDonagh read a well-written speech, packed with broad concepts and catchy phrases  but short on detail, to a gathering of industry leaders at the TTF Outlook conference in Sydney yesterday. 

In his address, McDonagh propagated the argument that industry commentators are promoting a “false choice between the sharing economy and traditional operators, between disruptors and the disrupted, and yes – between Airbnb and hotels.” More 

Lonely Planet is Up For Sale

Iconic travel publisher Lonely Planet is on the market and CEO Daniel Houghton is leaving the company, Skift reports. Lonely Planet is owned by NC2 , which bought it from BBC Worldwide in March 2013 for GBP51.2 million. BBC lost a bundle on Lonely Planet, which it acquired from founders Tony and Maureen Wheeler back in 2007.  See Skift story.

Boracay Closure Won’t Stop Growth Says Bullish Cebu Pacific

A bullish Cebu Pacific Air,  the Philippines’  largest airline, is forecasting passenger growth of 12% for 2018 despite the controversial closure of key destination Boracay for  six months from April 26. Cebu says the dramatic increase – which compares to 3% total growth through 2017 – will be driven by its rapidly expanding international network with markets such as Sydney, Dubai, Hong Kong, Narita, Taipei and Incheon performing strongly and new routes planned.  More 

Flight Centre Departure Hits Travelport Results

Losing Flight Centre as a client will cost the Travelport GDS around $US36 million a year based on its first quarter results, which revealed “Travel Commerce Platform revenue decreased in (i) Asia Pacific by $9 million, or 6%, primarily due to the loss of a large travel agency in the Pacific region.” That would be Flight Centre, which has shifted its airline business to the Sabre, which looks after the retail giant in Australasia and North America, Amadeus has picked up Europe.

Changes to the Macho World of Aviation at Virgin Australia

Just 3% of commercial pilots are women but Virgin Australia is doing its bit to right the imbalance, aiming for an equal male/female intake in its 2018 Pilot Cadetship program. 

“In what’s typically a male dominated area of the industry, we’re encouraging more females to consider aviation as a career and apply for this program,” said Virgin Australia Group Executive People, Lucinda Gemmell.

“Globally, just 3%  per cent of pilots are women. More 

Speakers, Program Revealed

- Sydney, October 24, 2018 -

Where:  The Langham, Sydney
When: Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Program: Latest Agenda, Speakers
Bookings: Early Bird - $495 + gst

The first speakers  have been revealed for the Travel IQ business and investment conference in Sydney on October 24.

Bookings have just opened and confirmed speakers include:

Anthony Hayes, Chief Operating Officer, Sealink Travel Group (SLK)

- Anthony Moulder, Head of Transport & Infratsructure Research, CLSA Australia

Anthea Hammon, David Hammon, Directors Hammons Holdings, (Scenic World/Sydney Harbour Bridge Tourism Experience)

- Bob East, Chairman Tourism Australia/ Chair Experience Co (EXP)

- Brett Mitchell, Regional Director APAC, Intrepid Group

- Darrin Grafton, Co-Founder, Serko (SKO)

- Dax Eddy, Executive Director, Jamberoo Action Park

- Jamie Pherous, Managing Director, Corporate Travel Management (CTD)

- Josh Oakes, Director, The Sunshine Tribe

- Les Szekely, Managing Director, Grand Prix Capital, early investor in SiteMinder and Rezdy

- Nigel Benton, Publisher, Australian Leisure Media

- Robert Halfpenny, Managing Director, Aurora Expeditions

- Rod Cuthbert, Founder Viator, Former Chairman Rome2rio

- Rob Smith, Divisional Director, Australia/New Zealand, Merlin Entertainments (LON: MERL)

- Sue Badyari, Chief Executive Officer, World Expeditions

- Simon Lenoir, Co-Founder, Rezdy

- Tammy Marshall, CEO, The B Hive

- Vasso Zographou/Michael Simpson, Savills Hotels

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
- Key executives

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

- 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