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…

HotelsCombined Bought by Booking Holdings

Accommodation meta-search company HotelsCombined – based in Sydney, Australia – has been bought by Bookings Holding for an undisclosed sum. HotelsCombined will be absorbed into the Booking Holdings maw with management reporting to its “leading  travel metasearch brand, Kayak.” “We’ve always been inspired by the entrepreneurial culture of Booking Holdings brands,” said Hichame Assi, CEO of  HotelsCombined.  Glenn Fogel, CEO of Booking Holdings, added, “HotelsCombined has built a strong brand with loyal consumers across APAC, and we believe the team will be a great addition as we expand our worldwide meta-search strategy.”

What’s A Ski Resort Without a Snow Cam? Treble Cone

I love Treble Cone. It’s one of my favourite ski resorts anywhere, even though it has only two real chairlifts and is run on the smell of an oily rag. The place has great spirit, views and terrain.

But now the relationship is getting stretched all because of one small thing: they don’t have snow cams. Well, they did and then they pulled them and say they are being replaced but we’re already a few weeks into winter and isn’t this a job for summer anyway?  More 

Aldi Supplants Qantas as Australia’s Most Trusted Brand

Low price supermarket Aldi has supplanted Qantas as Australia’s most trusted brand, showing the travel industry (hello TigerAir) that cheap does not have to mean nasty. Qantas is now 4th on the  Roy Morgan Net Trust Score survey.  “Nowhere is a high level of trust more important than when it comes to the provision of the food we eat,” says Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine. More 

Fake News – Air New Zealand Launches ‘Beef’ Burger

Looks like beef, takes like beef, but is a vegetarian hoax. Meet the new Impossible Burger  Air New Zealand is now serving in business class. The burger, developed by Impossible Foods from Silicon Valley, replicates meat by using an iron-rich molecule called heme derived from soy plant roots.  Heme is also found in animal meat and the result, supposedly, “is a plant-based burger patty that cooks, smells and tastes like beef but contains no animal products whatsoever.”

Village Roadshow sells Wet ‘n’ Wild at a Loss

Village Roadshow has sold its Wet ‘n’ Wild water park in western Sydney to Spanish operator Parques Reunidos for $40m, resulting in a $25 million pre-tax loss.

Parques Reunidos is a leading global leisure park operator with more 60 ‘entertainment assets’ around the world, including 20 water parks.

Village will use the sale proceeds to pay down debt.

Popularity and Rising Costs Emerging Issues for Queenstown

Queenstown is the least-cost effective international destination for Australians to fly to, according to new research from flight meta-search engine Kayak.  It says flights from Sydney to Queenstown cost an average of 16.89 cents per kilometre while Melbourne-Queenstown airfares are priced at an average of 12.2 cents a kilometre, making it the most expensive international flight destination from both cities relative to distance. This is despite an increase in capacity (tran-Tasman traffic up 24% in the year to May says QT airport). Meanwhile, Savills Hotels says hotel room rates in Queenstown increased 15% in the year to March, continuing a long-term trend. Also see: Queenstown is Being Loved to Death.

TourRadar Raises $50m To Turbo Charge Growth & Tech

Travis & Shawn Pittman, Founders of TourRadar

TourRadar, the most successful Australian travel company you’ve never heard of, announced overnight that it has raised a further USD50 million, money that it will use to grow staff and improve technology – with a major focus on mobile and personalisation.

So what is TourRadar? Founded by Australian brothers Travis and Shawn Pittman in 2010, TourRadar is the largest OTA in the multi-day touring market, which it estimates to be worth $55 billion. More 

Shoulda Been There - Back in 2019

You should have been there. The first sold-out edition of Travel IQ was a fantastic day.

Make sure you don't miss out in 2019 - register your interest here to get the latest updates.

Travel IQ is a one-day conference that celebrates the business of travel.

It's designed for entrepreneurs, key executives, business owners, directors, analysts, investors and managers across all verticals.

The aim is to get people thinking – and also inspired - with case studies from some of Australia’s most renowned travel entrepreneurs and innovators.

This unique format resonated with the attendees at the first event, which was staged at the Langham, Sydney, on October 24.

As one high-profile speaker commented: "I met with many great people and the overwhelming comment was how much they got out of Travel IQ.

"Personally, I also enjoyed the event very much.

"It is always great getting the heads of companies in the same room, inspiring. So well done!"

Another said: "Excellent first up business event - great base to build on."

Travel IQ 2018 featured an outstanding program packed with industry leaders including:

Anthea Hammon, Managing Director, Scenic World; Director, Hammons Holdings 

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

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

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

- Brett Mitchell, Regional Director APAC, Intrepid Group

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

David Hammon, CEO & Director Hammons Holdings, (Scenic World/Sydney Harbour Bridge Tourism Experience)

- Dax Eddy, Executive Director, Jamberoo Action Park

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

- Jeff Lewis, Vice President Technology & Strategic Initiatives, TripAdvisor

- Josh Oakes, Director, The Sunshine Tribe

- Kathryn Valk, Director of Marketing, Royal Carribean Cruises Ltd

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

- Nigel Benton, Publisher, Australian Leisure Media

Quirin Schwaighofer, co-Founder and COO, MadeComfy

- Rachel Wiseman, Chief Investment Officer, The NRMA

- 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 will be back in 2019, date and venue to be advised.

Travel IQ is produced by Martin Kelly, publisher of TravelTrends.biz and creator of several respected industry events.

More information on Travel IQ

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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
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For further information please email martin@traveltrends.biz

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