Under Brexit cloud, travel leaders share experiences of Asia – WIT

The timing of the first WIT Europe in London held last week could not have happened at a more poignant time in the city’s history and travel industry leaders, while grappling with uncertainty, agreed there couldn’t be a better time than now to seize the Asia opportunity.

Every speaker expressed their dismay at the UK decision to leave the EU, with the consensus that the implications will be felt globally, including Asia.

Kenny-Jacobs-photo-websiteKenny Jacobs, chief marketing officer of Ryanair, who had to cancel his appearance at the event citing “having to deal with the fallout of Brexit”, sent this message, “Ryanair, as with all airlines, are disappointed with the referendum result. For the next few months it’s business as usual as Europe and Britain will go on their holidays. After the summer we could be facing a long period of uncertainty as UK politics is in turmoil and the new UK government will have to negotiate the exit with the EU, the single biggest issue for the entire travel business will be maintaining the single market. “If the UK stays in the single market then things should continue as normal and the UK will stay part of open skies, if the UK leaves the single market then we have a lot of complications”.

“We are hopeful and we expect both sides will find a way to maintain the free movement of people. But while the is uncertainty and currency fluctuations businesses including ourselves will be slow to make additional investments in the UK. We have 50 new aircraft joining our fleet next year and we now don’t expect to deploy any of these in the UK market at this stage, instead we will focus on markets that are part of the single market like Italy, Spain and Germany.

“This is not the end of the world but it is a period of unprecedented uncertainty. The UK will be in recession and the UK consumer will travel less and spend less, that is a certainty. On the flip side, a weaker pound will mean Europeans travel to the UK more as their euro goes further and they may want to say goodbye to a wonderful country and fantastic people before Boris and Nigel pull up the drawbridge”.

Hugo Burge

Hugo Burge: “Our mission remains to open our world.”

Hugo Burge, CEO of Momondo Group, said there were too many uncertainties currently to predict the future but called on the industry to be positive and work together to ensure travel’s interests were heard by those in power. Short-term, because of the devaluing of the pound, companies like his are gaining but it is clear they are more concerned with long-term impact and what this could mean for the European Tech Alliance of which it is part.

He said that Momondo’s DNA Journey Youtube video, which has gained more than 120 million views and released in June, could also not have happened at a more poignant time. “Our mission remains to open our world,” he said.

He said, as a geographer, he was blown away by the sheer size and scope of Asia’s potential and that the group would be expanding the cheapflights brand in the region. “It’s a name that works,” he said. “While Europe remains our main focus, the group is now ready to expand beyond and grow in Asia.”

Bobby Healy, CTO of Dublin-based the CarTrawler, while saying Brexit meant opportunities for Dublin – which is positioned as a tech hub and already there are talks by companies in London to move there – said it wasn’t good for travel in general.

Speaking about CarTrawler’s experiences in Asia, he said its focus has been on China, where it’s seeing 180% growth and the mainland is now among its top 14 markets. He admits China is tough to penetrate and private equity-run companies are disadvantaged in that it cannot make the necessary investments necessary to make a dent.

Bobby Healy:

Bobby Healy: “We should have got product and market first before we entered Asia.”

“Create a start-up and get the cash to run,” he advised the audience of close to 100 who turned up to learn about the Asia growth story at the Tate Modern.

To enter China, CarTrawler bought Finland-based Cabforce in 2015 to acquire the necessary technology for the market.

On hindsight, he said of CarTrawler’s Asia strategy, “We should have got product and the market right first before we entered Asia. Our other mistake is not investing enough.”

On Skyscanner’s part, Andy Sleigh, who ran the APAC region out of Singapore for two years before returning to Edinburgh, said between 2013 and 2015, Skyscanner saw rapid growth in average APAC Unique Monthly Visitors and is projecting £30m revenues by 2016.

It’s been hair-raising ride and Asia today is a total turf war, with Sleigh likening it to the TV series, Game of Thrones. He advised companies against spending money on marketing when you do not have the right product and user trust.

Andy Sleigh:

Andy Sleigh: “It’s a commitment that pays you back in spades.”

Japan is one market it’s had good success. Said Sleigh, “Japan is the third largest travel market in the world, with 2015 bookings estimated to rise to $71 billion. The establishment of Skyscanner Japan provides both partners in the joint venture (with Yahoo Japan) an opportunity to accelerate their growth in this important market and offers millions of consumers comprehensive travel options for free. Visitors to Skyscanner’s Japanese site grew 40% in 2014,” said Sleigh.

For China, it bought Youbibi and its founder Steven Pang now runs Skyscanner’s China operations. “Getting the right people is key,” he said, with Healy agreeing. Healy said he had been advised to hire only Chinese women and “you cannot run a business in China by hiring people who look like me”.

Sleigh advised against “seagull management” – “where you fly in, s… on everyone and fly out”.

Skyscanner ran “Immersion” programmes where visiting executives from head office would be given truly immersive experiences in Asia markets.

Leading a team in Asia is all in. “It’s a huge commitment that pays you back in spades. It’s personal hypergrowth, long hours, huge amount of travel. But you make great friends and have unbeatable experiences.

“The Asia travel tech community is incredibly friendly, we need more European businesses to take the plunge.” 

Source: Under Brexit cloud, travel leaders share experiences of Asia – WIT

Destination Marketing: Promoted Pins on Google Maps to Help Local Businesses | .TR

Google logo.jpegThe giant search engine, Google, will roll out a new advertising program, which will help to offer more local adverts to consumers using the popular GPS-based Google Maps app.

Under the new program, various adverts of relevant companies that are nearby a user will be provided at the bottom of the apps navigation interface on the users smartphone. Destination marketing businesses are likely to welcome the new feature. The new advertisement program is expected to bring consumers with ads which will include businesses such as hotels, restaurants, cafes, tour companies etc.

The tool is designed to provide local businesses with more exposure to potential customers by providing localized adverts to the consumers based on the location. However, it is also expected to have a huge positive impact on travel and tourism-related businesses, and destination marketing sector, given the fact that a huge portion of location queries using Google Maps are related to travel and tourism.

In addition to providing localized search based on the location of the users smartphone, Google also intends to personalize the adverts based on the users preferences and interests, which will have been acquired from past search requests using the service, as well as online behaviour of the user. This will be of a great benefit to travel related brands, as the personalized advertising will help to target potential customers who have a higher chance of paying for the service being offered.

Google has already started testing the advertising program on some of the Google Maps users. People wishing to advertise their businesses will be able to highlight their locations on Google Maps, which will then be shown to the users through what is being referred to as “promoted pins”. The pins will highlight the exact location of the business, and will also include other details such as company logos to help in easier identification of the brand. As such it is likely that destination marketing companies will make use of the tool extensively.

In addition to the localized ads using Google Maps, the search engine will also extend the reach of the Google Display Network Remarketing campaigns. This will offer businesses advertising on Google with a broader reach to a more valuable target market, which will help to increase the chances of lead conversion, thus increasing the revenues.

Source: Destination Marketing: Promoted Pins on Google Maps to Help Local Businesses | .TR

Customer Driven Innovation Day: by One Connected Community, London 15-16th June

OCC contributorsThe Travel Marketing Store is delighted to be taking part in an important event with a focus on customer innovation.

In four weeks, major travel brands AirFrance, Expedia, BA, CitizenM, Thomas Cook, Club Med, TripAdvisor, Triptease and TimeOut will attend the only event dedicated to personalization strategies to reclaim direct, profitable relationships with customers.

Proceeds from the event also support a fantastic London charity, Oak Lodge School that will help deliver vital work for 165 students with learning disabilities.

If innovative customer engagement is important in your organisation and you are keen to learn from others and network then be quick to register as only 20 seats are left.

  • 2 Action-packed days of insight to boost direct bookings, ancillary revenues and loyalty
  • 22 + Senior Industry Speakers on customer driven innovation
  • Unmissable lessons learned inside and outside of travel
  • Dedicated 1-2-1 Meetings with industry leaders

If interested contact:

Nicola Barber: nicola@oneconnectedcommunity.co.uk

One Connected Community

t: 0208 8193122

5 trends in bus travel: a €70bn global market that is speeding ahead | Travel Industry News & Conferences – EyeforTravel

Liberalisation, falling prices and shifting business models are among the drivers for growing competition in bus distribution writes Pamela Whitby from Eye For Travel.

Sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time. For companies innovating to take bus travel online, now is that time. Here is why. Today millions, if not billions, of people travel by intercity or shuttle bus, a market that is worth €70bn worldwide and continues to experience two-digit growth, says to Johannes Thunert, founder and CMO of Distribusion, and the recent winner of EyeforTravel’s Start-Up & luxury coachesInnovation Awards in Europe.

And yet, 90% of tickets are still booked offline.

Marc Hofmann, CEO and founder of Checkmybus, a metasearch that is working with Distribusion, agrees that this is an interesting time in the world of bus travel. Among the trends worth noting are:

Among the trends worth noting are:

  1. Liberalisation: New markets are springing up. Germany and France are two examples but more are expected to follow
  2. Innovation, competition and transparency: Innovation is resulting in the modernisation of vehicles themselves, as well as better marketing strategies, pricing and availability and improved access to information. Markets which have been dominated by a few large companies today are challenged by aggressive new operators, information services and integrators
  3. The shift from offline to online: The share of online bookings is still small especially in big bus markets like Eastern Europe, Turkey and Latin America, and to some extent in the US
  4. Aggressive pricing and new business models: Fares are falling as new business models are adopted.  The Ryanair and EasyJet model of delivering low prices but maximum capacity is growing in popularity. Business models are changing too. For example, one trend, which is playing out strongly in Germany, is the separation of fleet and operations/marketing. This, says Hoffman, “allows rapid expansion and focus of company expertise on marketing (multichannel) and customer service”.
  5. Changing user behaviour: The growing popularity of alternative modes of transport has been well documented – peer-to-peer models like BlaBlaCar, Uber, Zipcar and so on.  And with growing pressure on the environment, and people’s pockets, the move away from individual car ownership looks set to continue.

One of the challenges in bus travel is that resellers – from OTA’s to affiliate websites and travel agents – have refrained from selling bus travel because they can’t get data from a single source. So the number 1 agency in Germany, for example, which is selling 21,000 tickets a month still has to go to every operator directly to book those, explains Distribusion’s Thunert.

The reason is that unlike in aviation, where GDSs (global distribution systems) bring inventory to online resellers and offline operations alike, and body’s like IATA do clearance, in the bus industry there is nothing like it.

Distribusion aims to fill this gap by targeting the entire value chain.  Not only is it aggregating, standardising and distributing intercity and long-distance bus data to resellers, it’s also helping with execution, payment and settlement between different partners.

So as Tim Hentschel co-founder CEO of Hotelplanner, and one of the brain’s behind EyeforTravel’s yearly Start up & Innovation Awards, puts it: “The innovation curve in our business [of travel] is anything but dead.”

Certainly the market for bus travel is still wide open and there is money to be made. In a world of increasingly connected travellers, innovators in this space have everything to gain from making bus travel as easily bookable as flights.

Source: 5 trends in bus travel: a €70bn global market that is speeding ahead | Travel Industry News & Conferences – EyeforTravel

Digital spurs an overhaul of approaches to travel, and marketing reflects this – Which-50

The travel industry has unmistakably evolved over the last decade due to the development of the web and impact of digital marketing, with many people acting as their own travel agent. The web makes it convenient to research, compare deals, and book your own travel, especially while on the go with a smartphone or tablet.

Digital has spurred a complete overhaul in our approach to travel. Globally, internet travel booking revenue has grown by more than 73 per cent over the past five years to reach a staggering 57 per cent of all travel bookings. A holiday overseas is no longer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, with multiple trips and “gap years” now the norm. The average traveller is now more discerning and travel hungry than ever. Furthermore, research published by leading travel site Expedia, found that Millennials were more likely to blend work trips with leisure, adding on a few days for tourism on to business trips.

This trend creates a whole new type of semi-business tourism, spurred on by connected consumers quickly finding hotels, flights, and tourist information sometimes on the same day. As marketers, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with the spontaneity and movement of the average traveller. These are issues covered in a paper from Kenshoo called “Digital Travel Transformation Improving Your Marketing in Southeast Asia’s Travel and Leisure Landscape”.

Southeast Asia in particular has become a tourism superpower over the last ten years, transforming from what many believed was an alternate destination for budget back-packers, to a major destination for serious international travellers. The region recently dominated MasterCard’s 2015 top 10 Global Destination Cities Index, which tracks airline ticket purchases and other travel spending data, with four Southeast Asian countries making the top ten.

Southeast Asia is extremely well connected, with TechinAsia reporting 42 per cent of the world’s internet users reside in Asia. This high concentration of web users has been instrumental in opening up the region to tourism. Take Singapore for example, where almost 50 per cent of web users regularly access travel services on the web, more than the worldwide average of 35 per cent.

eMarketer research also reveals that digital travel sales in Asia-Pacific rose by almost 20 per cent to $US139 billion in 2015, with the region set to outpace Western Europe and North America by 2018. Indonesia is leading the pack with an estimated 33 per cent growth for 2016.

With the region showing no signs of slowing down, marketers need to embrace the power of digital marketing in order to keep up with today’s gallivanting consumers — remaining nimble and adapting to change to build a loyal brand and profitable business.

Kenshoo global data with Asia Pacific and Southeast Asia breakouts reveal some key insights into the digital marketing trends for search, social, and mobile advertising. The research highlights the key engagement metrics that are driving the growth in the travel industry.

Across the travel industry globally, search is still very strong, with year-on-year (YOY) growth for spend, clicks, and clickthrough rate (CTR), while cost per click (CPC) was down 18 per cent. The decrease in the quarterly metrics reflect the seasonal drop in Q1 after a busy Q4 period.

Global mobile spend has more than doubled YOY from ten per cent to over 20 per cent, but still has room for growth. Clicks from mobile devices reached over 30 per cent share in Q3 and Q4 in 2015, indicating the rate of consumer adoption versus advertising spend growth and the lower cost of mobile clicks.

Social has also seen some solid gains YOY with the global data revealing an increase of 83 per cent in spend and a 56 per cent increase in clicks. The increase in CPC is reflective of the increasing competition on social platforms.

Cost per click in Asia Pacific and Japan reflects closely to what is happening globally, with CPC decreasing ten per cent last quarter in the region, compared to nine per cent globally. YOY CPC data also mirrored what is happening globally with a 26 per cent decrease in APJ, compared to an 18 per cent decrease globally. This indicates that, as a whole, campaigns are becoming more optimised over time.

Global mobile spend has more than doubled YOY from ten per cent to over 20 per cent, but still has room for growth. Clicks from mobile devices reached over 30 per cent share in Q3 and Q4 in 2015, indicating the rate of consumer adoption versus advertising spend growth and the lower cost of mobile clicks.

Social has also seen some solid gains YOY with the global data revealing an increase of 83 per cent in spend and a 56 per cent increase in clicks. The increase in CPC is reflective of the increasing competition on social platforms.

In APJ, travel marketers are increasing mobile investments more with these devices accounting for 29 per cent share of paid search spend in Q4 2015, compared to 23 per cent globally. Clicks from a mobile device steadily increased throughout the year from 32 per cent in Q4 2014 to an impressive 46 per cent in Q3 and Q4 2015.

The standout metric in APJ was click-through rate, with a substantial 85 per cent YOY increase compared to -6 per cent globally, potentially driven by both impression-to-click ratios and an increased focus on engagement by travel marketers in the region.

While the overall spend levels are not stable enough for proper analysis, we can see that mobile search is booming in SEA, with the first two quarters in 2015 revealing over 50 per cent of clicks from a mobile device. This reflects the mobile-first landscape in the region and exceeds the share of clicks from a mobile device in both Asia Pacific and globally.

Cost per click in SEA averaged $US0.25 in 2015, with a seasonal peak in Q2 of $US0.35, reflecting the competitive time for travel bookings. The SEA region has lower average CPCs than Asia Pacific (averaging $US0.41) and globally (averaging $US0.55). Click-through rates are also remarkably high in SEA averaging 8.1 per cent over the five quarters, compared to 3.5 per cent in APJ and 3.2 per cent globally. This is reflective of highly engaged audiences and efficient paid search advertising campaigns in the region.

Source: Digital spurs an overhaul of approaches to travel, and marketing reflects this – Which-50

Interest in European vacations sag in the aftermath of terror attacks – Channel NewsAsia

Interest in European vacations sag in the aftermath of terror attacks.  No cancellations or significant changes to travel plans already made, but travel companies report a decline in visitors searching for trips to Europe. By Linette Lim, a view of Europe from Singapore post the Brussels bombings.

Appetite for travel to Europe has taken a hit in the wake of multiple terror attacks in and around the continent, based on data from travel booking sites Wego and TripZilla.sg.

Since last Tuesday’s attacks in Brussels, Belgium, Wego told Channel NewsAsia it saw a 50 per cent week-on-week decline in the number of Singapore-based travellers searching for trips to Europe, while TripZilla.sg reported a 40 per cent drop.

The triple bombings in Brussels on Mar 22 – which claimed 32 lives – took place just months after 130 died in a series of coordinated gun and bomb attacks in Paris in November. Both attacks have since been claimed by the Islamic State group.

“Following the Paris attacks, the demand for travel to France was significantly impacted during the first two months after the attacks but it was recovering fairly quickly thereafter,” said Winnie Tan, founder and CEO of TripZilla.sg. “We believe that the same will happen for Belgium.”

Wego’s CEO & co-founder, Ross Veitch noted that in the aftermath of the Brussels attacks, destinations like China, Thailand, Australia, and Japan have seen “significant increases in interest from Singaporeans”. But he said that interest in travel to Europe is expected to return to normal in the lead up to the June school holidays.


Travel agency Chan Brothers said that so far, it has not had any cancellations from customers heading to Europe. “We have over 10 groups in Europe currently and are closely monitoring the situation daily to assess its continual development by keeping in touch with our local operators,” said Ms Jane Chang, its head of marketing communications.

Other travel-related companies also said there was no significant change in travel demand from Singapore to Europe. Singapore Airlines, for example, said it has not seen a noticeable change in demand for flights to Europe.

“While travelers remain cautious about travelling to Europe, we haven’t seen significant changes to demands for Belgium, but we have seen a slight decline in enquiries and bookings for Turkey,” said STA Travel’s marketing manager Erika Cortez. She cited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ advice to Singaporeans travelling to Turkey to exercise precaution in the wake of recent bomb blasts in Ankara and Istanbul.

TripZilla.sg’s Ms Tan noted that there has been fewer travel offerings to Turkey in the last months, and “search for ‘Turkey’ as a travel destination has dropped by 57 per cent” compared to a year ago.


Travel services providers Channel NewsAsia spoke to point out that what was experienced in the wake of the Paris attacks could give insights into how travel demand to Europe will trend.

STA Travel, for example, said its experience following the Nov 13, 2015 wave of attacks was that growth in bookings rebounded in a matter of a few months.

A TripAdvisor spokesperson explained: “The popular tourist destinations that suffer an attack always work quickly to do what they can to ensure security measures are strengthened and travellers will, and do, come back.”

This rebound could be helped by a reduction in room rates and flight prices, as travel services providers respond to an initial fall in travel demand, suggested TripZilla.sg.

A quick check on the websites of Europe-based carriers like AirFrance and KLM showed that they are been offering lower-than-usual prices, at around or below S$1,000 for a return trip from Singapore to some European destinations, including Athens, Barcelona, and Stockholm.

“We have been seeing large discounts for rooms and flights to Europe, and Paris in particular, since the November attacks. Prices have just started to hold relatively steady and many in the industry were thinking the downturn was about to level off completely,” said Ms Tan.

“This new attack has definitely dashed hopes of European tourism’s return to normalisation.”

Source: Interest in European vacations sag in the aftermath of terror attacks – Channel NewsAsia

The Cruise Boom and a new venture InCruising

CLIAA recent report by Cruise Lines International Association, called 2016 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook, projects that nearly 24 million passengers will sail in 2016, up from 15 million a decade earlier in 2006. The industry will debut 27 new cruise ships in 2016, including ocean and river vessels.

Among the other 2016 trends outlined by CLIA:

  • River cruising continues to grow, with a double-digit increase of new ships in 2016.
  • Asia is the fastest growing region in the cruise industry, with passenger volume growing at a 34 percent annually between 2012 and 2014.
  • Australia is also a hotbed for cruising, with the number of passengers growing from 158,000 in 2004 to more than 1 million in 2014.
  • Luxury cruising is on the rise, with more lines adding concierge services, exclusive tours, gourmet dining and butler service.
  • More lines are offering overnight stops in ports, allowing passengers to immerse themselves in the destinations.
  • Intergenerational travel has become popular, with grandparents and extended family taking cruises together or having reunions.
  • Voluntourism cruises, where passengers have an opportunity to make a difference in ports they visit, will become more available in 2016.

Having spotted the market entrepreneur Michael Hutchison is in the process of launching an extremely innovative membership network that is a win-win for the bookers and the cruise lines. 

This is how it works….

#1 What makes Incruises unique is that its Members earn Cruise Dollars as part of their Membership.

What are Cruise Dollars?  For every $1 members pay in membership dues, they receive $2 in Cruise Dollars® to use towards purchasing a cruise in full or further reducing the cruise lines published rates.

When a Member applies their Cruise Dollars®, they receive preferred rates not available anywhere else.  Their members will be able to cruise for hundreds, perhaps thousands less than any other passenger on just about every cruise. Membership is therefore a huge saver.

#2 Members access their site to find two types of cruise offers.  What they call Dream Cruises™, hand-selected offers that have been researched and Global Destinations, special deals for their Members with any of the thousands of cruise options that are available at any given time on the internet from hundreds of providers.

If you live in the UK, Canada, Spain, Germany, or anywhere in the world, cruisers can book your cruise travels with a local cruise booking provider, simply book the cruise and send Incruises the booking confirmation and your payment receipt. Once we receive your proof of purchase, they will reimburse you for a part of your booking cost subject to the Cruise Dollars guidelines.

Each year that goes on Members can use an increasing number of Cruise Dollars™ to book their cruises and achieve even greater savings!

And again, if cruisers don’t use your Cruise Dollars™ they continue to rollover as long as you remain an active member, allowing you to use them in the future with Dream Cruises™ or more of our other Global Destinations.

Visit their website for further information www.incruises.com

Adobe boosts its travel marketing business by about 50% in a year – Tnooz

If Adobe’s name still brings to mind design software like Photoshop and InDesign, the company wants you to think again. Thousands of companies, including two-thirds of Fortune 50 companies, are using one of its three main cloud computing businesses, the Adobe Marketing Cloud, to help handle more than 30 trillion transactions a year. Many of those companies are travel brands, from small budget airlines, such as Eurowings, to large hotel chains, like the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.Adobe has been warming to the travel and hospitality sector.

In late 2014, it created a specific group to focus on it and put Mohammad Gaber in charge. In the past year, the company has roughly grown its travel and hospitality by about half, Gaber said in an interview.

Last October’s deal in which Adobe Marketing signed Etihad Airways was emblematic.

The big-spending airline will tap Adobe’s digital marketing capabilities across direct sales, loyalty, social media and other areas of its businesses, such as cargo.

Gaber said that travel marketing departments are failing to capture full value today. There is a lot of talk of personalization, but many businesses aren’t laying the foundations of data, assets, and delivery needed for success. He added:

“The ability to create, manage, and deliver text, images, and video is often overlooked, as is the proper integration and process change management needed.”Gaber said an ideal scenario for implementing a personalization program is to bring together a coordinated team that has people from various siloed parts of the marketing business, such as a data analyst, an IT expert, a creative professional, sales rep, and the marketers.

A coordinated effort is needed to have as much of a 360-degree look at information as possible. He said marketers shouldn’t be afraid of the “geek speak” of the tech guys and the data analysts. Based on his conversations with clients, Gaber’s vision of where travel marketing is headed emphasizes personalized, chat-style interactions with customers. Eventually travel brands may get to a point where, after a customer books a trip, they’ll be following up on customer service and up-sells via a text-messaging-style platform like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.

To anticipate the open-ended direction of marketing, Adobe’s goal is to have an “open” platform. Some industry critics say that that effort remains a work-in-progress. Gaber responded by mentioning several examples of Adobe’s tools “playing nicely” with third-party systems. He said that its behavioural analytics tool integrates well with many content management systems. To provide localization, Adobe also synchs up with major digital translation vendors via an open API, with server-to-server integration.

Source: Adobe boosts its travel marketing business by about 50% in a year – Tnooz