BridgeClimb Brand To Continue Under New Owners

Chris Zumwalt

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 

Travello Raises Another $5 million to Fund Expansion

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.

Near Death Experience Inspires Creation of TravelCard

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 

Trivago Taken to Court by ACCC for Misleading Consumers

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 

Costs Down, Profits Up at Helloworld Travel

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 

It’s time for travel brands to rethink loyalty says Google

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.

Booking’s War Chest Still Exceeds $7 billion after Buying Spree

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.

Aussie Tourism’s Economic Impact Could Reach $150 billion by 2030

Rohan Lund, NRMA

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 

NIB Holdings Buys QBE Travel Insurance

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.

Australian Hotels Set All-Time Occupancy Record for Q2

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.

The Indians Are Coming – Strong Surge in May

Inbound tourism to Australia continued its steady rise during May with Indian market the strongest performer, recording a +20.9% increase over 2017, according to the latest ABS stats.  The biggest flops were Malaysia (-13.0%), the United States of America (-4.5%) and Singapore (-4.4%).

Meanwhile, outbound travel by Australians rebounded after a flat few months. Japan +20.9%, China +16.3% and Indonesia +11.0% recorded the best results. Worst were Thailand (-3.2%), New Zealand (-2.3%) and Fiji (-0.4%).

The Chinese Surge – Good News or Bad?

Graphic imagery of the forecast domination of Chinese tourists in the Australian market and part of an investor presentation by the Star Entertainment Group. Stats from Tourism Research Australia. The phrase never put all your eggs in one basket comes to mind…

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