Are luxury specialists missing out on the Mena family market? | News | Travel Trade Gazette

Wealthy families in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region could be a lucrative market for the travel trade to tap into.

10 YouGov with Brand Line (Vertical)Research carried out by polling firm YouGov for Arabian Travel Market found that more than one-third of the region’s residents stayed in five-star hotels when going on holiday.

But currently more than half of these residents book all elements of luxury family trips themselves, although 72% said they would be willing to book an all-inclusive package if they were available.

Bahrain had the highest number of residents, 34%, who usually stay in luxury hotels.

This compares with an overall average of 27% for those living across the Gulf states, while only 17% of North Africa residents stayed at the most upmarket properties.

The most popular destinations for the Mena region’s residents are the United Arab Emirates (14%), Italy (10%) and Turkey (5%).

Nadege Noblet, exhibition manager for ATM, said: “This trend for luxury family travel offers opportunities for tour operators to create tailor-made packages that take into account not only family needs, but also the cultural considerations unique to the Mena region, and this opens up tremendous marketing opportunities.”

Luxury family travel will be discussed at two ILTM@ATM in two seminars: Biting into Gourmet Travel and Luxury Family Travel.

via Are luxury specialists missing out on the Mena family market? | News | Travel Trade Gazette.

MMGY Global grows travel business landing three new international accounts

MMGY Global grows travel business landing three new international accounts: by Theodore Koumelis 

The Leading Hotels of the World, Occidental Hotels & Resorts and NH Hotel Group has appointed MMGY as its marketing and public relations agency.

mmgy logoLeading integrated travel marketing firm, MMGY Global, has added three new global hospitality clients to its esteemed portfolio of tourism accounts, including Leading Hotels of the World, Occidental Hotels & Resorts and NH Hotel Group.

The Leading Hotels of the World has appointed MMGY as its integrated marketing and public relations agency for the prestigious brand. MMGY PR has been selected to collaborate on strategic planning and media relations efforts as the brand’s agency of record. Comprised of more than 400 hotels in 80 countries, the collection represents some of the world’s most exceptional hotels.

MMGY has also been selected as the U.S. public relations agency of record for NH Hotel Group, Europe’s third-ranked business hotel chain. MMGY will help raise awareness of the brand in the U.S. market with specific focus on its NH Collection portfolio. The hotel group boasts nearly 400 hotels and 60,000 rooms in 29 markets across Europe, the Americas and Africa, including top city destinations such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Bogota, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Mexico City, Milan, Munich, New York, Rome and Vienna.

Spain-based Occidental Hotels & Resorts has chosen MMGY for brand strategy for the company’s portfolio of resorts throughout Mexico and the Caribbean. MMGY will consult on brand strategy, structure and positioning for all of the company’s brands including Royal Hideaway, Occidental Grand, and Allegro Resorts. Occidental Hotels & Resorts manages 14 properties in six countries: Aruba, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Mexico. In addition to welcoming over 400,000 guests annually, the company’s timeshare concept, Occidental Vacation Club, includes more than 23,000 loyal travelers who have expanded their all-inclusive experiences through vacation ownership.

“It is exciting to be working with these great international brands,” said Clayton Reid, CEO of MMGY Global. “As we have grown our capabilities outside of the United States, it has permitted us to develop new client relationships that would have not otherwise been possible.”

via MMGY Global grows travel business landing three new international accounts.

China DIY travel site Directons smashes crowdinvesting goal

Premium DIY travel site for Chinese going overseas smashes equity crowdfunding goal,  Paul Bischoff

Up until a few years ago, most travellers from China were relegated to group tours – packed onto planes and buses with at least a dozen other tourists, led around on a strict schedule by a guide with a flag and loudspeaker.

But China’s younger generations, with their growing incomes and fewer travel restrictions, are quickly shifting to DIY travel, which offers more flexibility and freedom than group tours. As a result, a huge wave of startups have cropped up to serve their needs. Now the highly-fragmented market is nearing its saturation point.

“It is true that China’s DIY market is already very hot and is trending towards over-saturation,” says Robin Shao, CEO and founder of Directions Travel. “But we believe that this is more of a ‘quantity’ over-saturation, rather than a ‘quality’ saturation. There are a lot of companies out there doing this, but they are not necessarily meeting the needs of consumers.”

Directions has two core competitive strengths, Shao says. The first is that the start-up reaches out to people who have unique experiences and hobbyists in certain fields to introduce unique attractions, restaurants, and accommodation. “We source our trip ideas from individuals who have on the ground experience,” he explains. “On our site, users can learn about these people and their background to pick out the one that best matches their interests.”

Secondly, Directions uses these human resources to cater to customers who want unique experiences. “Though the independent travel market is hot, there are very few companies that are willing to put in the effort to create products that meet specific needs,” Shao says.

But what constitutes a “unique” experience is rather subjective, and Directions doesn’t seem to tackle the most empirical deciding factor for most travellers: cost. Whether the promise of quality can outweigh customers’ budget concerns in this highly competitive market will be critical to the startup’s success.

The company focuses on mid- to high-end customers travelling overseas. Some of Directions’ destinations include the US, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Latin America. Competing travel sites include Lvmama, LY.com, ByeCity, Ctrip, Qunar, Aoliday, Woqu, Tuniu, and many, many more.

An invested crowd

Directions was chosen as one of the 11 inaugural startups to raise funding through ecommerce site JD’s new equity crowdfunding platform. In equity crowdfunding, backers actually take a slice of equity in the company they support in contrast to the rewards-based Kickstarter model. The crowdinvesting site just launched earlier this week, and Directions has already doubled its RMB 2.5 million (US$403,000) goal, surpassing it within the first 24 hours.

“We believed that it would be a fast, efficient way to raise money,” Shao says. “For an early startup, the first fund is the most important one, but you cannot spend too much time raising it or you might run out of money before you make it.”

Venture capital is no longer the exclusive right of big organizations, Shao says. The equity crowdfunding model also helps attract early supporters. ” If they are willing to invest some funds into us, then they will certainly be willing to help us promote and improve our products.”

On top of that, it also just announced an RMB 1.5 million (US$242,000) seed investment from Gobi VC. Gobi’s Shanghai-based venture partner Michael Zhu says the firm is enthusiastic about the equity crowdfunding model. “As an early stage VC, Gobi believes that the industry should embrace this type of innovative crowdfunding model. It empowers society, it helps startups grow and improves transparency within the VC industry.”

Gobi also invested in another startup that successfully raised funds on JD, spicy seafood delivery company Jacky’s Shrimp. Zhu says the exposure a startup gets through this sort of platform is a huge bonus.

“Usually, a seed stage investment may experience difficulty in getting the word out, especially with how active China’s early stage investment scene is these days. It really builds momentum,” he says. “We are also able to raise more money for the company than we would normally be able to at this stage of growth.”

Zhu says the the results exceeded his expectations as both companies surpassed their investment goals by over 150 percent in under 24 hours, each with a couple months remaining.

Directions will put the fresh funds toward new products, optimizing existing products, and conducting on-the-ground inspections of its trip packages. It will also spend some cash on improving its IT system and on marketing.

Editing by Malavika Velayanikal

via China DIY travel site Directons smashes crowdinvesting goal.

Why the Chinese are choosing Dubai over London, Paris – Emirates 24|7

Why the Chinese are choosing Dubai over London, Paris.  Tourist arrivals to Dubai set to double to 540,000 By Waheed Abbas

An average stay of Chinese tourists in Dubai will be approximately 3.2 nights during the 2013-23 period (File)

Dubai will be a hot destination for Chinese tourists in the coming decade, preferring the emirate over London, Paris and Sydney, according to a new study by a global hotel chain.

Favourable economic and demographic trends shaping the Chinese travel market are set to fuel huge increases in the number of Chinese travellers visiting the UAE over the next decade, said ‘The Future of Chinese Travel’ report published by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) in partnership with Oxford Economics.

The emirate will remain the most popular choice for Chinese travellers in the Middle East and Africa region (Mena) as tourist arrivals are set to almost double (up by 97 per cent) to more than 540,000 travellers by 2023 as compared to 276,000 in 2013, it said.

The travel, retail and entertainment centres of Dubai and Abu Dhabi have led the region, attracting an increasing number of Chinese tourists on leisure trips and cruises.

“Over the next decade, growth in arrivals to and nights spent in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is expected to top that of other major city destinations throughout the world, such as London and Paris in Europe and Sydney in the Asia Pacific region,” the report noted.

Total spending by Chinese tourists is estimated to jump by 60 per cent in 10 years, from $488 million (Dh1.8 billion) in 2013 to $781 million (Dh2.86 billion) in 2023. An average stay will be approximately 3.2 nights during the 2013-23 period.

“Dubai is among the top destinations in [the number of nights spent per visit], despite the average number of Chinese arrivals to Middle Eastern cities falling behind that of destinations in the other regions,” said the report.

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) earlier this month said Dubai’s hotel establishments received 11.63 million guests in 2014, registering a 5.6 per cent increase over guest arrivals in 2013.

According to DTCM, China moved from tenth position to seventh, experiencing 24.9 per cent growth in the last 12 months with 344,329 hotel guests compared to 275,675 in 2013.

Pascal Gauvin, Chief Operating Office, India, Middle East and Africa, IHG, said the UAE is a key growth market in the Middle East.

“As the volume of Chinese travellers grow in key cities such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the country, we must also ensure we are ready to cater to their and we are pleased to share that today nearly 40 per cent of our hotels in the UAE are now China Ready accredited. In the years ahead we will work towards growing this number alongside the growth that we can expect from Chinese guests.”

Globally, 90 million Chinese households will be travelling overseas by 2023.

Abu Dhabi is expected to receive more than 177,000 Chinese travellers by 2023, a huge increase of more than 300 per cent from just over 44,000 in 2013.

The report also reveals the opportunities this forecast growth will present, as Chinese traveller preferences evolve towards long-haul, leisure-driven travel. The study reports that increases in leisure and retail spend will contribute to significant increases in the value of Chinese travellers to local economies.

via Why the Chinese are choosing Dubai over London, Paris – Emirates 24|7.

One in five apps ‘get forgotten’ | Netimperative – latest digital marketing news

One in five apps ‘get forgotten’

Speed and simplicity top reasons for using apps, but one in five are installed and forgotten, according to new UK research.

The study, suggests that Brits are a nation of ‘app-nesiacs’ according to new research Google has conducted with Ipsos.

The survey of 1,200 UK app users, spanning three categories – shopping, restaurants and takeaways and travel and holidays – found that one in five installed apps are then forgotten.

Despite this ‘app-nesia’, apps still play an important part in our digital existence. Nearly a half of people surveyed (47%) said they use an app when they want information quickly, compared to 17% who prefer a mobile site. Apps are seen as simpler, quicker, more personalised and useful for fast transactional tasks, for example:

• For simplicity of navigation, 50% prefer an app, but 31% prefer a mobile website

• In terms of speed of loading, 46% believe an app is quicker, while 29% say a mobile site would win

• When it comes to ease of use, 51% prefer installed apps because logins are pre-entered

People tend to turn to mobile websites when they want more in-depth information, with 49% of those surveyed admitting they prefer a mobile site for this reason.

Cross-sector app behaviour

When it comes to app user behaviour across different sectors, travel and holiday apps are the most likely to be installed and then forgotten (33%), followed by shopping apps (18%) and restaurants and takeaway apps (17%).

Motivations for downloading apps also differ across categories. Restaurant and takeaway apps are chiefly downloaded to get access to discounts and rewards. The leading reason people download travel apps is because they’ve been recommended by others. And shopping apps are mostly downloaded when people have regular interaction with the company or brand.

Max Macintosh, Agency Head, Google UK, comments: “A great app encourages brand interaction, is easy to navigate and is quick to load. But as our research shows, this won’t necessarily guarantee that customers will keep coming back. For successful ongoing app engagement, businesses can use push notifications, ensure apps appear in organic search results and link search ads and results to relevant pages in apps.

Of course an app is a complement to, and not a substitute for, an optimised mobile site. When users want to compare options, gather information or go into greater depth, a mobile website comes into its own and should remain a top priority.”

Key charts:

via One in five apps ‘get forgotten’ | Netimperative – latest digital marketing news.

You’ll Never Guess Which Travel Site Americans Are Most Loyal To (Hint: It’s Not Priceline) | The Motley Fool

You’ll Never Guess Which Travel Site Americans Are Most Loyal To (Hint: It’s Not Priceline)  Steve Symington

With the advent of online travel sites, it’s never been easier to book a quick vacation, business trip, or even a spontaneous jaunt for almost anywhere in the world. Though the online travel industry is relatively young, it’s still growing quickly, with dozens of viable sites ready to make your trip happen.

The sites with the most loyal customers stand to grab the biggest share of this market as Internet usage increases around the world. But maintaining customer loyalty is even more challenging in markets like the United States, where online travel is becoming second nature as nearly 90% of the population is already online.

Thanks to online travel sites, resorts like this are just a click away.

This of course begs the question, which travel site are Americans the most loyal to?

Thanks to prominent advertising campaigns, several incorrect names might immediately come to mind. Take the various sites operated by Priceline Group (NASDAQ: PCLN), for example, which notably include priceline.com, KAYAK, booking.com, rentalcars.com, and — thanks to a $2.6 billion acquisition last year — even restaurant reservations specialist OpenTable. Since it was founded in 1997, Priceline has enjoyed the charisma of spokesman William Shatner talking up its negotiating skills, while KAYAK earns business by comparing the prices of “hundreds” of travel sites at once.

Collectively, these businesses helped Priceline Group achieve $50.3 billion in total gross bookings last year alone. And with a market capitalization higher than $61 billion as of this writing, it’s no surprise Priceline regularly calls itself the “world leader in online accommodation reservations.” But “world leader” or not, none of Priceline’s sites are tops in customer loyalty.

Or how about Hotwire? Specific financial details are scarce for the privately held site, but Hotwire earns customers by selling off unsold travel inventory at a huge discount, saving people planeloads of cash on all their travel needs from airfare to hotels, rental cars, and comprehensive travel packages.

Unfortunately, though, even Hotwire’s approach doesn’t translate to the most loyal users. It’s not Expedia (NASDAQ: EXPE), either — though we’re getting closer.

Travelocity’s roaming gnome, Credit: Travelocity

Love for the Roaming Gnome

According to the 19th annual Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, American consumers are most loyal to a travel site acquired by Expedia less than two months ago: Travelocity.com. On January 23, 2015, Expedia paid $280 million in cash to buy Travelocity from travel-technology specialist Sabre (NASDAQ: SABR), which itself was a subsidiary of American Airlines until being spun off in 2000.

According to Brand Keys president Robert Passikoff, 2015 was Travelocity’s first year atop its category in loyalty. And this year’s results were driven by the brands’ abilities to “identify customers’ expectations and address them via authentic emotional values.”  So why do Americans specifically love Travelocity so much?

A little focus goes a long way

First, keep in mind that Travelocity signed a strategic marketing agreement with Expedia in mid-2013. Per the terms of that deal, Expedia agreed to take the reins of the technology platform powering Travelocity’s U.S. and Canadian websites. In exchange, Expedia received performance-based marketing fees that varied based on the amount of travel booked through those Travelocity-branded sites.

Travelocity’s #IWannaGo campaign was wildly successful, Credit: Travelocity.

While this meant less revenue for Travelocity at the time, it also greatly improved the site’s profitability by drastically lowering operating costs. In its most recently reported quarter as part of Sabre, for instance, Travelocity’s adjusted revenue fell nearly 45% year over year, to $89 million, while adjusted EBITDA skyrocketed 116% to $16 million. Without the need to focus on maintaining its technology platform, Travelocity was free to redirect those resources toward promoting its brand — something it arguably did more effectively than any of its deep-pocketed rivals, anyway.

Take Travelocity’s “Roaming Gnome” mascot, for example, whose offbeat TV spots have been at the heart of its viral advertising efforts for more than a decade. But starting in 2013, Travelocity also began using the gnome to engage consumers on a personal level with a wildly successful social media campaign centered around the hashtag #IWannaGo.

By following the @roaminggnome handle on Twitter or Instagram, then using the hashtag to tell Travelocity where you wanted to go, you were automatically entered to win a chance to make your travel dreams come true. Then. last year, Travelocity built on that momentum by combining the hashtag with its new “Go & Smell the Roses” tag line.

According to Travelocity chief marketing officer Bradley Wilson: “‘Go & Smell the Roses’ is more than a tag line in an advertising campaign, it’s a rally cry. […] We are using our most powerful asset, the iconic Roaming Gnome, to inspire and instigate people to get off the couch, to go and smell the roses.”

If Brand Keys’ latest Loyalty Index is any indication, Travelocity’s efforts to connect to customers on an emotional level are obviously proving effective in its core American market. If it can translate that good work under Expedia’s wing to inspire people around the world, something tells me Expedia’s $280 million purchase price will look brilliant in the end.

via You’ll Never Guess Which Travel Site Americans Are Most Loyal To (Hint: It’s Not Priceline) | The Motley Fool.

The role of price transparency in converting hotel guests online | By Fig Cakar

The role of price transparency in converting hotel guests online

By Fig Cakar, Managing Director – the Americas, SiteMinder

Hotel brands, online travel intermediaries and technology solution providers are all too aware that online conversion is a huge issue. Depending on who you talk to, online conversion rates for most travel websites sit in the low single digits and all stakeholders are challenged with what to do about it.

So, which way is the industry moving and how does price transparency fit in?

While more hotels are today educated about the ‘billboard effect’ and its role in increasing direct sales, research released by SalesCycle earlier this year will have been welcomed by anyone involved in selling travel online for the insight it provided into the reasons travellers abandon a booking.

As a refresher, most travellers (39 percent) say they are just looking and want to do further research, while high prices/desire to compare and the need to involve others in the process were cited as the next two biggest reasons.

Finally, stumbling blocks – such as an over-complex booking process, technical issues and payment problems – were also reasons cited for abandoning a booking.

Empowering travellers to make the choice

A deeper dive into the SalesCycle research also reveals where in the booking path travellers drop off and more than half admit to abandoning a booking when they are shown the total price.

It’s no wonder, then, that brands and intermediaries employ various techniques to keep people on their sites and ensure they have everything they need to complete the booking.

One good example, recently reported by Tnooz, was a move by UK-based chain Shire Inns which recently introduced a price comparison feature on its website.

It seems like a risky move because the hotel group could lose the booking altogether by enabling potential guests to compare its rates against those of four large online travel agencies (OTAs). It could also risk the ire of those same OTAs but Shire argues that it recognises travellers want to shop around.

Getting the distribution mix right

Early results are positive for Shire, with the chain experiencing significantly-improved, double-digit conversion rates. Not a bad result when considering the industry average is around four percent.

What the story highlights is the need for hoteliers to track where their guests are coming from and ensure they are getting their distribution mix right, both direct and indirect.

On the one hand, hoteliers should not be paying twice for guests they believe they would have attracted anyway. However, most hoteliers recognise the value they get from the OTAs, in terms of the extended reach they offer via the sales marketing clout that sits behind the online giants and helps smooth out the peaks and troughs in the hotel business.

So, moves from hoteliers to push the direct channel are only a part of the equation.

SiteMinder recently produced its own findings on the power of direct bookings, showing that while Booking.com continues to hold the top spot when it comes to revenue generation, TheBookingButton Internet booking engine came third in terms of business to hotels.

So where does hotel distribution go from here?

2014 was certainly a year of upheaval with further consolidation in the online travel market and new entrants to consider in the mix. 2015 has not been that different so far with Expedia’s planned acquisition of Orbitz and rumours around Priceline acquiring RocketMiles.

No one can say where it will all end up.

Hoteliers will continue to consider initiatives like Shire Inns’ price comparison tool because, ultimately, it’s about attracting, reaching and converting all travellers, and giving them the choice to book what they want in the way they want.

But as part of the increasingly-complex distribution strategy that today’s Internet economy demands, hoteliers will – and should – also continue to sell rooms via a mix of channels, direct and indirect, to ensure their businesses reap the benefit of reaching both global and local travel markets to generate the most value and in the most effective way.

via The role of price transparency in converting hotel guests online | By Fig Cakar.

Travel Companies Ranked on Best Social Media Practices | TravelPulse

Engagement Labs, the technology and data company, has recently released the social media rankings of the top performing hotel chains, airlines, online travel agencies (OTAs) and metasearch sites.

The rankings are based on Engagement Labs’ eValue scores, which take into account three factors: Engagement, Impact and Responsiveness.

Travel Companies Ranked on Best Social Media Practices

The top three hospitality companies on Twitter are (in order) Hyatt Hotels, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and Trump Hotel Collection. Hyatt was highlighted for using highly visual vacation-related content and the use of creative hashtags.

The top three Facebook marketers in the hotel industry are The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and Country Inns & Suites by Carlson. Ritz-Carlton stood out based on its regular engagement with travelers and its posting of images and facts of its resorts.

“As social media is increasingly becoming an all-purpose communication tool, the hotel industry excels by providing real-time information to their customers on their social media channels,” said Bryan Segal, chief executive officer of Engagement Labs, via a release. “Companies like The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and Hyatt Hotels utilize their social media channels to provide up-to-date resort news and industry information as a one stop shop for their audiences.”

American Airlines, United Airlines and Alaska Airlines led carriers in Twitter marketing. American Airlines also was No. 1 in Facebook marketing, followed by Island Air and Delta Air Lines.

On Twitter, American Airlines was adept at responding to consumer postings and weaving in topical news and events to drive interest, according to Engagement Labs.

On Facebook, American Airlines received a high eValue score for updating travelers on company information and relating major news and events back to the airline industry (to celebrate Women’s History Month, the major carrier asked Facebook followers to share stories about female American Airlines members who exemplified premier customer service).

In terms of the travel aggregators (OTAs and metasearch sites), Hotels.com, OneTravel and CheapOair were the top Twitter marketers (parent company Fareportal owns both OneTravel and CheapOair). Hotels.com was highlighted for using Twitter to dish out the latest deals and promotions, as well as posting travel tips and trivia to boost engagement.

BookIt.com, Orbitz Worldwide and Travelocity were the top three Facebook marketers. BookIt.com scored highly in large part because the site posted articles that included travel ideas, tips for things to do in particular destinations, and contests for their followers to win trips to different destinations.

Travelers on social media “want convenience, trusted brands and good deals,” Segal said. “Social media is a key resource to help consumers navigate the complexity of travel today. We see marketers optimizing social channels to enhance user experience, customer satisfaction and develop trust and loyalty with their audiences.”

Engagement Labs’ eValue Analytics leverages more than 300 conventional social media metrics to produce a single benchmarked score, analyzing more than 75,000 handpicked, verified brands that include marketers, advertisers, publishers and broadcasters around the world.

via Travel Companies Ranked on Best Social Media Practices | TravelPulse.

Why Asia’s cruise boom is ready to explode: Travel Weekly Asia

New studies on Asia’s cruise market released by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) reveal a potential 83 million cruise passengers in Greater China and highlight how Hong Kong and regional ports are gearing up to tap into this market by upgrading cruise infrastructure and tourism offerings.

Coasta Alantica (1)

In April 2014, the Hong Kong Tourism Board together with the Taiwan Tourism Bureau launched the first-ever Asia Cruise Fund, an initiative aimed at offering better support to cruise lines and promoting regional co-operation for attracting cruise tourism.

The studies – the Asia Cruise Potential and Passenger Behaviour Study and the Asia Cruise Port Development Study – are the first of their kind and were released this week at Cruise Shipping Miami.

The two studies were carried out by the School of Hotel and Tourism Management of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University with the aim of providing insight and useful information to help cruise companies unlock the region’s cruise potential.

The Asia Cruise Potential and Passenger Behaviour Study specifically examined the potential market in Greater China, which is currently the largest source of cruise travellers in Asia and the eighth largest in the world, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

The study reveals a potential 83 million cruise passengers in just seven source markets within Greater China. This figure is four times the current number of cruise passengers world-wide. Hong Kong, with its connectivity to the Pearl River Delta, Central China and Taiwan by air, high speed rail and land transportation via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, is looking at a cruise potential of 54 million passengers.

The study also reveals that the make-up of these passengers is younger and more family-oriented than cruise passengers in traditional source markets such as North America and Europe, where they tend to be older, retired achievers.

The second study, Asia’s Cruise Port Development Study, focused on the development of ports in Hong Kong and neighbouring areas. Its results highlight the commitment throughout the region to facilitate the growth in cruise business by improving port facilities and tourism offerings in the next five to 20 years.

Positioning Hong Kong as the home ship destination, the study identifies 21 ports within 6-7 cruise days which already have concrete plans to upgrade berths, cruise infrastructure and supporting infrastructure, as well as expand tourism offerings and improve destination management in areas such as the issuing of visas.

These ports include: Sanya, Xiamen, Zhoushan, Qingdao and Yantai in China, Keelung, Hualien, Kaohsiung, Anping, Taichung, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu in Taiwan, Miyakojima and Takamatsu in Japan, Mokpo and Yeosu in South Korea, Hon La in Vietnam, plus Manila, Boracay and Puerto Princesa in the Philippines.

According to the study, within five years, half of these ports will be able to receive cruise ships of 100,000 gross tonnage. This will give cruise companies more flexibility in deploying their fleet and planning interesting itineraries with cultural, scenic or adventure activities to cater for all market segments.

Anthony Lau, executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, said, “With the results of the two surveys showing the great potential and committed development, combined with the Asia Cruise Fund, Asia’s cruise tourism is ready to take off.”

In April 2014, the Hong Kong Tourism Board together with the Taiwan Tourism Bureau launched the first-ever Asia Cruise Fund, an initiative aimed at offering better support to cruise lines and promoting regional co-operation for attracting cruise tourism.

The fund now has four members since the addition of Hainan in China and the Philippines. More new members are expected to join soon.

via Why Asia’s cruise boom is ready to explode: Travel Weekly Asia.

Vayant and ArrivalGuides team up to inspire travel shoppers

vayantVayant brings its FastSearch, the inspirational sub-second airfare shopping product that precomputes large datasets of customer-defined flight search results and keeps them fresh and easily available for marketing purposes via API.

Vayant Travel Technologies, a leading company in airfare search innovation, and ArrivalGuides, the destination content supplier, announced a partnership agreement for a joint marketing solution that allows travel companies to target flight offers alongside inspiring destination images and content.

By combining their respective strengths the partners aim to make it easier for airlines and travel agencies to provide rich content-driven experiences on their ecommerce websites. As the world’s leading network of high quality and up-to-date destination information and city guides, ArrivalGuides brings compelling destination content to inspire travellers to choose, book and plan their trip. Currently, this covers over 500 destinations and includes 35,000+ points of interest.Vayant brings its FastSearch, the inspirational sub-second airfare shopping product that precomputes large datasets of customer-defined flight search results and keeps them fresh and easily available for marketing purposes via API.

Offered as a one-stop-shop web solution, the combined destination and flight content API can be used by travel companies to power map displays, calendar displays, banner ads, email campaigns. Iskra Rasheva, Marketing Manager, Vayant Travel Technologies, said: “Today’s travellers expect to find inspiration when they shop online, with exciting travel choices accurately priced, attractively presented and available to book.

With ArrivalGuides we’re making it easy for all kinds of travel sellers to deploy this kind of quality content on their websites.”Ola Zetterlof, Director of Content Solutions, ArrivalGuides, said: “High quality destination content is key for inspiration and to trigger a booking – with Vayant, we add a new dimension with airfare pricing that’s fast and accurate.” –

See more at:

http://www.traveldailynews.com/news/article/64859/vayant-and-arrivalguides-team-up#sthash.U9GDR367.dpuf

via Vayant and ArrivalGuides team up to inspire travel shoppers.