The Week in Travel Stats: Learn Where Your Clients Could Be Headed Next | Travel Agent Central

The Week in Travel Stats: Learn Where Your Clients Could Be Headed Next | Travel Agent Central.

From last-minute summer road trips to a look at which destinations are trending right now, the week in travel stats provided a good glimpse into what’s hot in travel for the rest of the year.

U.S., Spain Top Most-Searched Destinations in Q2

This week travel marketing platform Sojern released a look at the most-searched destinations of the second quarter of 2015, an indicator of where travelers are looking to book at the moment.

The United States and Spain were the most-searched destinations, followed by Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Portugal, Turkey, Greece and Russia. The latter re-entered the list after a quarter’s hiatus, replacing Thailand.

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Beyond the top 10, here are the destinations that captured the most traveler interest by region since summer 2014:

In North America, Haiti moved up 34 ranks since summer 2014, after experiencing a dramatic decline in tourism in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, followed by Iceland, up 11 spots.

For travelers from Western Europe, Cuba pushed up 12 places to position 41, thanks to a lot of media attention and the detente with the U.S. Czech Republic, Iceland and Romania each moved seven places up in the ranking.

In Latin America, Aruba’s appeal increased over last year, pushing it up 11 spots, followed, by Hungary, up 10 spots. The latter is one of the more affordable European destinations, as a non-Eurozone country.

In Southeast Asia, Bangladesh moved up eight spots and Qatar seven since summer 2014.

For travelers from the Middle East, Sudan gained the most popularity (up 24 spots), followed closely by Bosnia and Herzegovina (21 spots), a country which the World Tourism Organization estimates will have the third highest tourism growth rate in the world by 2020.

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Top Restaurants for Last-Minute Summer Road Trips

Even as we head into August, clients could still be looking to take one last summer road trip. OpenTable has released its 2015 Summer Road Trip Restaurant Guide highlighting top eateries for your clients to visit.

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Compiled by OpenTable insiders across the nation, the guide highlights culinary destinations along some of the country’s most popular road trip routes.

The OpenTable 2015 Summer Road Trip Restaurant Guide includes more than 100 restaurants, from Grace in Portland, Maine, to Meriwether’s Restaurant & Skyline Farm in Portland, Oregon. OpenTable’s regional teams around the United States curated the guide.

Source: OpenTable

1 in 4 Business Travelers Can’t Use Ride Share Services

This week also saw a flurry of research into the world of business travel from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention 2015.

As part of a panel discussion at the event, the GBTA Foundation released a new report on the future of ground transportation in the sharing economy. Key takeaway: With one in four business travelers barred from using new ride share services, rental cars and taxis remain the most commonly used methods of ground transportation among business travelers.

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“Our research shows one in four (24 percent) travel buyers say their company does not allow their business travelers to use ride-sharing companies, by far the highest percentage for any form of ground transportation,” said GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick. “In addition, a large number of companies still have not adopted policies around ride-sharing companies, revealing a need for education about the benefits and the risks. GBTA hopes this study is the start to closing that knowledge gap and we welcome an open and constructive dialogue on this topic.”

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Business Travel Spending to Hit Record High of $1.25 Trillion in 2015

Another report from the GBTA Convention brought some good news for business travel. Driven by a surge in China, business travel spending is expected to hit a record high of $1.25 trillion in 2015.

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Despite recent economic turbulence, China business travel will increase by 61 percent over the next five years, from $261 billion in 2014 to $420 billion in 2019. That increase is greater than the increases in business travel growth in the next 8 largest countries combined, including the U.S., Germany, India, U.K., Indonesia, France, Turkey and Japan.

“Despite recent economic speedbumps, China will pull away as the global leader in business travel over the next five years,” said McCormick. “On the horizon, we’ve identified five nations that are also seeing extraordinary growth and could very well turn into the business travel markets of the future. Another market to watch is India, which is statistically where China was 15 years ago.”

Amadeus and Southwest Airlines advance partnership with new corporate travel agreement – MarketWatch

amadeus new logo on blueAmadeus and Southwest Airlines advance partnership with new corporate travel agreement

Amadeus, a leading technology partner for the global travel industry and Southwest Airlines announced today a new milestone in their partnership. Under a new multi-year agreement, Amadeus’ corporate travel booking tool users around the world will gain access to Southwest’s fares and inventory.

“Providing seamless functionality and booking ease to our corporate customers worldwide is a focus we share with Amadeus,” said Kevin Krone, Vice President Marketing and Chief Marketing Officer, Southwest Airlines. “This new global agreement marks another milestone in our continued partnership, offering a new dimension in distribution to deliver world-class access to our entire available inventory of seats to more than 90 destinations.”

With the direct implementation of Southwest’s content, users of Amadeus’ e-Travel Management and i:FAO’s cytric corporate booking tools will gain benefits such as:

  • Greater functionalities including live availability and last seat inventory delivered via an integrated display
  • Functionality supporting all pricing rules, fare rules and return of ticket number
  • Fare searches returning the lowest fares available
  • Booking and ticketing capabilities for the carrier’s loyalty program/Rapid Rewards members
  • Additional functionality related to deferred ticketing, retrieving and canceling reservations, and exchange funds toward new itineraries

via Amadeus and Southwest Airlines advance partnership with new corporate travel agreement – MarketWatch.

Ctrip acquires majority stake in Travelfusion

ctrip logoThe China-based travel service provider, Ctrip.com International has announced that it has completed an investment transaction in Travelfusion by purchasing a majority stake in the company.

Travelfusion is a UK-based leading online low cost carrier (LCC) travel content aggregator and innovator of direct connect global distribution solutions. Aggregating 200+ LCCs, full service carriers (FSCs), rail operators and 30+ leading hotel consolidators.

Ctrip chairman and chief executive officer James Liang noted: “Travelfusion has built a great GDS system for LCCs globally. The strategic relationship we built with Travelfusion will further extend our leadership in China’s international travel market, and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of our IT system by leveraging Travelfusion’s advanced technology. We are excited to work with Travelfusion’s team to create greater value for our customers.”

travelfusion logoTravelfusion chief executive officer Moshe Rafiah added: “China is expected to be the largest travel market in the world, and Ctrip is the clear leader in the online and mobile travel industry in China. After 15 years of building Travelfusion to be an industry leader, we are thrilled to take further steps to realize and fulfil our potential in such a great market with such a powerful industry leader.”

via ArabianTravelNews.com | Operators | Ctrip acquires majority stake in Travelfusion.

How Travel Brands Can Excel At Social Customer Care In 2015 12/29/2014

How Travel Brands Can Excel At Social Customer Care In 2015 by Jan Rezab, Media Post December 29

social-media21Social media has transformed the way customers speak with brands. Among its many benefits, social media has created a place for customers and clients to reach brands easily and quickly at any time of the day. With this great power in communication comes great responsibility for travel companies. That mass of people — which can turn into millions during a crisis — expects a response to each individual issue and question. But social isn’t, and shouldn’t be viewed as, a burden. It should be looked at as an almost-limitless end of possibilities.

Good companies continually show their customers they value them, and social media is a great place to do this. As customer care increasingly moves to public venues, it is blurring the lines between marketing, communications, and customer service. Digital marketers can use social to greatly improve the customer experience and build loyalty with fans like never before. Here are a few simple ways travel marketers need to be thinking about social customer care in 2015…

Actively Encourage Feedback

Social media gives you the ability to listen into a wide array of people — from your die-hard fans to your rarely vocal customers. In a way, it’s sort of like a giant focus group that you can access anytime.

Make it easy for your customers to talk to you. Most social customer care happens on Facebook and Twitter. Unfortunately, travel brands are making many mistakes when it comes to optimizing their profiles on these platforms to encourage conversation.

On Facebook, it’s imperative that travel brands open their walls in order for people to post on their timelines. This year, our data suggested that 30% of airlines globally still have closed walls on Facebook. A closed wall automatically makes it difficult for customers to voice their feedback and means a lot of missed opportunities for your brand.

On Twitter, we encourage travel brands to provide customer support from their main Twitter profile, instead of making a separate customer support profile. This allows consumers to easily direct their questions to the right place. Still, this can be difficult for many companies to do for a number of reasons, so if a company must create two handles, it’s important to list out the customer care profile on the main profile page. Turkish Airlines is a good example of a brand that does this by linking to their support handle, @TK_HelpDesk, on their main handle, @TurkishAirlines.

Be Prompt

For travelers, time is of the essence. Think of customers traveling by plane; a good chunk of their questions are going to be about their flight that’s coming up shortly. That means they’ll need quick help and a quick response from their airline should they post or tweet a question.

Unfortunately, not all companies are punctual in providing service on social. In fact, we found that the average brand takes 33 hours to respond to customer inquiries, if they respond at all. That’s a huge amount of time for customers who don’t have the luxury of waiting around for an answer.

Travel brands need to make sure they’re equipped to provide quick service. One easy way to prepare for this is to do an analysis of the type of questions your company is receiving on social media. Many times, companies will find that the bulk of questions are about the same recurring topics. Companies can then set up procedures on how to deal with these main topics, which makes responding to them easier.

For example, when we took a look at a sample of questions directed at U.S. airline brands, we found that one of the most-used keywords was “delayed.” This tells us that many inquiries were about flight delays, which means an airline company would probably benefit from having a quick procedure to deal with questions about delays.

Show Up and Respond

It’s important that your customers know you’re dependable. This means taking the first step to show up and respond. Leaving questions unacknowledged is a big problem for both customers and brands.

Some brands hold themselves accountable to a certain standard in customer care. For example, Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) provides an estimated wait time for responses on their Twitter profile. This gives customers a sense of when they can expect a response, and it holds KLM to their promise to provide that response as soon as they can.

In Q3 2014, we found that 10% of brands received 65% of all questions asked of brands on Facebook and Twitter. Customers start asking brands more questions and interacting with them more when they know that those brands will respond. The more companies respond, they more interaction and dialogue they’ll spark with their fans.

As the holiday rush slows down, the first weeks of 2015 provide a great opportunity for travel brands to look at what worked and what didn’t over the hectic holiday season and start the new year off on the right foot. Coming into the new year, it’s time for travel marketers to really get serious about providing optimal customer care on social media. The more activity marketers encourage with their customers, the more dependable the brand becomes for them. And in the competitive landscape of the travel industry, those that show their customers they care and build brand loyalty will win out.

via How Travel Brands Can Excel At Social Customer Care In 2015 12/29/2014.

Press Release: Over 30 travel marketing experts to provide insights at The Travel Marketing Forum, Dubai 24th Sept

PRESS RELEASE 

Middle East’s Premier Travel Marketing Event to convene in Dubai on 24th September

Insights from over 30 leading travel marketing experts

Dubai Tourism, Expedia, Yahoo, SkyTech and IBEX Global added to the conference content

Travel Marketing leaders to gather in Dubai to discuss a diverse yet interrelated set of topics

 

Press Release: Dubai – 18th September 2014 

In just under a week the Middle East’s premier Travel Marketing event will take place in Dubai.

Some of the world’s leading travel brands and marketing services providers will gather for a day of knowledge sharing and business development.

 

Amadeus, a leading travel technology company, will present a report on Middle East booking trends, internet penetration, smart phone usage, booking and  payment patterns, booking channels and social media trends in the travel sector.

Illusions Online, a Dubai based travel business technology provider for the leisure sector, will talk to their new generation cloud based leisure packaging capability and their strategy to create a global online travel exchange.    

 

Other speakers come from leading brands such as Facebook, Google, TripAdvisor, Jumeirah and Emirates.

The programme also includes interviews with the Head of Strategy for dnata travel and the CEO of The Entertainer.  Technology companies such as SkyTECH Solutions and Comarch will share their views on Big Data and Customer Relationship Management in the travel sector.

In a key panel on destination marketing, Dubai Tourism will highlight the power of local advocacy.

Yahoo will present a case study on how they have assisted travel companies with their online exposure and IBEX Global will highlight their recent regional launch of their Customer Experience Management Technology.

Mohamed Al Rais, Deputy CEO of Al Rais Travel, will be joined by representatives from Expedia, destinia.com and e-Tourism Frontiers on a panel debate on the development of the online travel market.

Porton Group will reveal a revolutionary technology that can be used by the travel sector to screen travellers for potentially contagious diseases without significant disruption to the airline check-in process.

Duncan Alexander, Director at The Travel Marketing Store stated “We have been delighted by the response that we have received from the travel marketing community to the concept of our event. The content is truly exceptional and we look forward to what will be an enlightening day”.

Over 40 companies will be represented at this year’s event which will also hold “The Global Travel Marketing Awards” and “The Market Place for Travel Marketing Services” where buyers and suppliers meet to discuss new services.

via Press Release: Over 30 travel marketing experts to provide insights at The Travel Marketing Forum, Dubai 24th Sept.

flydubai looks to boost trade and tourism links with India | Travel Daily ME

Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai

Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai

India will soon witness increased focus on growing trade and tourism links from UAE. The recent flydubai inaugural flight highlighted this trend with its new connections to Delhi, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.

There has been consistent and positive growth of Foreign Tourist Arrivals FTA from the Middle East to India over the last three years. This has primarily been as investment, tourism and trade ties continue to strengthen between the two regions.

Sudhir Sreedharan, senior vice president – commercial GCC, Subcontinent and Africa for flydubai said: “Tourism, investment and trade between India and UAE are important economic drivers. Since we started flying to India in 2010 there has been strong demand for our flights.”

His Excellency Mohamed Sultan Abdalla Al Owais together with business leaders attended a dinner in Delhi to mark the commencement of flights. Business Class will be available on all three new routes in India too.

via flydubai looks to boost trade and tourism links with India | Travel Daily ME.

GuestLogix Secures 3 Year Deal with Priority Travel Group, The World’s Leading Provider of Airport Lounge Access – MarketWatch

TORONTO, ONTARIO, Apr 07, 2014

(Marketwired via COMTEX) — GuestLogix Inc. CA:GXI -3.10% , the leading global provider of onboard retail and payment technology solutions to airlines and the passenger travel

Image representing Marketwired as depicted in ...

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industry, today announced a 3-year agreement with the world’s largest independent provider of airport lounge access, Priority Travel Group. Following an extensive trial, the Company’s onboard retailing technology, including PCI-compliant handheld POS devices and GuestPass(TM) platform, will be deployed across Priority Travel Group’s lounge network, to authenticate and manage lounge member access for all its membership programs, including the industry leader, Priority Pass. This agreement allows Priority Travel Group to globally upgrade its lounge access verification technology, which will be used to improve the lounge check-in process for all customers globally.

“In 2014, GuestLogix will be extending its reach to off-board touchpoints via various partnerships and agreements, and this signing with Priority Travel Group will assist us in creating an impactful off-board presence in airport lounges,” said Brett Proud, President & CEO, GuestLogix. “Priority Travel Group is a massive win for GuestLogix, involving the deployment of our technology across their global network of airport VIP lounges – on every single continent. Our enhanced PCI-compliant platform technology will modernize the lounge check-in process for this market leader.”

“The GuestLogix solution will help us to improve the lounge check-in process for our members and customers, which is a key business objective for the Company,” said Steve Pinches, Managing Director, Priority Travel Group. “Our goal is to provide a stress-free experience for our members by providing peaceful lounge environments that negate the typical chaos of being at the airport. We are constantly looking for ways to enhance our customer experience, and based on our evaluation of GuestLogix’ solution, our members will soon benefit from a streamlined lounge check-in process.”

Priority Travel Group, a division of the Collinson Group, is a market-leader within the lifestyle benefits and business travel sectors. Having created the concept over twenty years ago with its Priority Pass lounge membership program, it continues to be the largest independent airport lounge access program in the world.

“Our team demonstrated its commitment to earning Priority Travel Group’s business by developing a customised application to meet their unique set of requirements, and we are thrilled that they have decided to proceed with a global network rollout,” said Ilia Kostov, EVP Global Sales and Product Strategy, GuestLogix. “Our technology will deliver consistency and accuracy throughout Priority Travel Group’s worldwide lounge estate, and we look forward to supporting their initiatives in all corners of the globe.”

via GuestLogix Secures 3 Year Deal with Priority Travel Group, The World’s Leading Provider of Airport Lounge Access – MarketWatch.

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Airport Strategy & Marketing selects Sabre | News | Breaking Travel News

Sabre Airline Solutions, a global provider of software and data solutions for airlines, has been selected by Airport Strategy & Marketing (ASM) to provide critical aviation data to the renowned airline route development consultancy.

Sabre’s AirVision Market Intelligence solution captures global passenger traffic, synthesizes the information and provides direct airline booking estimates and a complete global view of scheduling and traffic data.sabre-logo-250x61

ASM has led the way in air service development for the past 20 years, specializing in airline route development strategies, air traffic forecast and air traffic delivery campaigns for airports and tourism boards around the world.

“We are delighted to work side-by-side with a partner that has invested many years in building a robust and exhaustive market-intelligence database,” said Marc Gordien, vice president consulting for ASM: “ASM has the longest list of successes in the industry, and our mission to help route development for airports and regions requires a high level of credibility in the eyes of airlines. And we strongly believe Sabre AirVision Market Intelligence is the right solution to deliver the quality we need in all regions.”

Sabre’s Market Intelligence solution is a strategic component for ASM to continue delivering state-of-the-art market analysis, marketing best practices and competitive strategy formations to clients.

Sabre’s Market Intelligence is the only solution that leverages market information from three of the major global distribution systems (GDS), and includes over 50 proprietary data sources, to deliver reliable and accurate passenger traffic, airline schedule and fare information on a 24×7 basis.

“By selecting Sabre’s Market Intelligence solution, ASM has enhanced its offering and will now be able to develop and deliver the most robust route development strategies and services for airports worldwide,” said Darren Rickey, vice president, Sabre AirVision Marketing and Planning solutions.

via Airport Strategy & Marketing selects Sabre | News | Breaking Travel News.

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Flybe targets rail and road competitors in new strategy | News | Marketing Week

Mon, 31 Mar 2014 | By Branwell Johnson

Regional airline Flybe is implementing a brand and marketing strategy overhaul across all customer touchpoints.

It is unveiling a multimillion pound marketing campaign focusing

Flybe G-FBEM

Flybe G-FBEM (Photo credit: Flicktone)

on “time-saving travel”, including television spots, alongside a website overhaul and the introduction of purple as a colour it can “own”. The colour will be introduced across the airline’s collateral, such as uniforms.

Chief commercial officer Paul Simmons says that the company has revisited its heritage to find the “product truth” that will give Flybe a strong positioning, personality and way to engage with fliers.

“It is necessary because very few people know what we do. Now we have a very focused proposition. We were a brand most people had heard of but nobody knows what we stand for.”

He says that as Flybe has no airline competitors on 80 per cent of its routes the marketing will target road and rail users and champion the airline’s speed to destination.

A new strapline “From A to Flybe” is being rolled out with creative executions that show how speedily Flybe can transport you to a destination. There are three TV spots with calls to action for business and leisure travellers and they will be supported by other channels, including social media. The campaign has been devised by The Corner.

The branding refresh and communications are underpinned with a ‘60:60 Guarantee’ product that will give passengers a £60 credit towards their next flight booked within 60 days if, through the fault of the airline, their flight arrives more than 60 minutes late.

Simmons says: “No-one else can do this – not BA, Ryanair or easyJet – because their on-time performance is not good enough”.

via Flybe targets rail and road competitors in new strategy | News | Marketing Week.

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Vueling partners with Sony to offer first smartwatch boarding pass

English: Vueling Airlines logo Español: Logoti...

Vueling becomes the first airline to offer boarding passes via wearable technology.

Spanish carrier Vueling has embraced wearable technology and has partnered with Sony to offer the industry’s first smartwatch-based boarding pass on Sony’s Smartwatch 2.

Details of the surprise development are few and far between, but the “wearable boarding pass” will be provided via a new app from Vueling and Sony, which will be available for download from the Google Play Store from the end of March. Smartwatch 2 owners will be able to store their boarding pass on their smartwatch and present it at airport checkpoints.

vueling-boarding-pass-wearable-tech

Vueling joins Virgin Atlantic in making use of wearable technology to enhance the passenger experience.

Virgin Atlantic is currently trialling Google Glass and Sony Smartwatch solutions in the Upper Class Wing at Heathrow Airport. The airline, alongside its partner on the project, SITA Lab, provided a live demonstration of the technology at FTE Europe 2014 in London earlier this month.

via Vueling partners with Sony to offer first smartwatch boarding pass.

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