Industry data defies predictions of post-Brexit gloom | Travel Weekly

Image result for union jackUK Holidaymakers appear unfazed by post-referendum gloom, confounding economists’ forecasts with outbound bookings up year on year since the vote on June 23.

Industry analyst GfK reported summer 2016 bookings in July up 1% on last year, and season-to-date bookings up 5%. But it’s not just last-minute bookings that were up, as July saw a 14% year-on-year rise in bookings for this winter.

Summer 2017 bookings were also up 10% on a year ago, although the numbers are small. The rise in bookings came alongside surges in inbound visitor numbers and domestic trips, which have been widely attributed to the fall in the pound. The Tourism Alliance reported an 11% increase in UK domestic trips in July and an 18% rise in international visitors.

Yet outbound travellers seem undeterred up to now, despite reports of exchange rates as low as €1 to £1 at airport foreign exchange bureaux. GfK data shows family bookings up 14% on July 2015 last month, with mainland Spain, the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands, Cyprus and Rhodes enjoying the biggest growth.

Office for National Statistics figures confirmed the pre-vote trend, with holiday departures for the six months to June up 5% on last year and departures over the past 12 months up 7%.

The booking and departure figures were in sharp contrast to a World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) forecast that UK holiday departures could drop 3% by the end of the year as a result of Brexit and a weaker pound.

WTTC president and chief executive David Scowsill said: “These are top-line projections. This summer, people probably made their commitment to travel. We’ll see in the autumn whether the exchange rate has more of an impact.”

Source: Industry data defies predictions of p… | Travel Weekly

Online paid search and display ad marketing spend down in travel

A major analysis of the leading websites in the US has painted an interesting picture of some significant changes taking place in online travel.

Web audience metrics provider SimilarWeb examined five categories in the industry – airlines, cruise, accommodation, intermediaries and review/recommendations – to try and understand what is happening around areas such as digital marketing, traffic flows and device usage.

Before the individual sector results, here are some of the overarching findings from the study:

  • Mobile market share has grown year-on-year overall, although some sectors have seen a slight fall.
  • Decrease in spend on paid search, as well as display ads.
  • General fall in social media traffic to travel websites.

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For each of the sectors under examination, SimilarWeb looked at the top 25 brands in each from an overall traffic perspective.

Accommodation

The top 25 websites account for just over half (54%) of all traffic in the sector, although their combined traffic has decreased by 18% between March 2015 and March 2016.

SW accomm 1

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Airlines

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Intermediaries

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Cruise

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Review/recommendation sites

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Source: Online paid search and display ad marketing spend down in travel

Luxury travel outpaces the rest of the travel industry, according to new Amadeus report

Global consumers are increasingly spending their disposable income on experiences rather than material goods. And consumers’ desire for these life experiences is spurring a growth in luxury travel that is outpacing the rest of the travel industry, according a new report commissioned by global travel technology company, Amadeus.

The report, Shaping the Future of Luxury Travel, reveals the fresh challenges and opportunities that the luxury travel market will face over the next decade. Some key findings from the report include:

  • We have entered a new age of luxury travel, where luxury is curated, real-time and experience-led
  • North America and Western Europe account for 64% of global outbound luxury trips, despite only making up 18% of the world’s population
  • From 2011-2025, Asia Pacific’s luxury travel market will see faster overall growth than Europe’s, but this growth will decelerate from 2015-2025
  • India’s luxury market CAGR of 13% is higher than any of the other BRIC nations, and is the highest of the 25 countries explored in this report
  • A human desire for more rewarding experiences provides an essential catalyst to evolve and improve travel industry quality and service standards
  • A hierarchy of luxury travel needs is identified, ranging from 5-star quality and service standards to exclusive VIP privacy and security

The report was developed with data from Tourism Economics and with dozens of expert interviews with global luxury travel experts across specialist travel concierge agencies, airlines, hoteliers and intermediary suppliers through Connections, a global networking event organizer for luxury travel providers.

In 2015, Amadeus released a report called Future Traveler Tribes 2030, which identified six “traveller tribes” based on consumer behaviour, recognizing that purchasing patterns change depending on the circumstances of each trip. Using similar methodology, Shaping the Future of Luxury Travel, identifies six luxury traveller tribes to help travel companies better target and serve the luxury customer market:

  • Always Luxury: luxury is a minimum requirement rather than a perk
  • Special Occasion: luxury travel is a treat, not a given
  • Bluxury: their trip has a business objective, but they will extend it to enjoy a luxury leisure experience
  • Cash-Rich, Time-Poor: likely to seek and pay for third-party travel planning assistance
  • Strictly Opulent: seek the most glamorous experiences and will likely share on social media
  • Independent Affluent: often solo travellers seeking luxury travel to pamper themselves or try something new

“Luxury means different things to different people and this is especially true today. As emergent middle classes seek the material aspect of luxury travel, more mature markets are craving a new, evolved kind of luxury. This is why offering luxury customers a relevant personal and exclusive experience will become even more crucial than it is today – it will be a differentiating factor between old and new luxury,” said Rob Sinclair-Barnes, Strategic Marketing Director at Amadeus IT Group.

“For travel companies, understanding their role in delivering an end-to-end luxury experience for a traveller is key to improving collaboration, and reinforcing an industry-wide push for consistent luxury service. Exploring the latest technologies and innovations for making the industry work better as a whole is key to achieving a new level of luxury that has never existed before,” said Sinclair-Barnes.

You can download a free copy of the Shaping the Future of Luxury Travel report here.

Source: Luxury travel outpaces the rest of the travel industry, according to new Amadeus report

Free Whitepaper: Cross-Cultural Marketing in a Digital Age, Eye for Travel & SDL

SDLWith the right website, content and SEO strategy any travel brand can have a global presence that generates bookings.

However, this is easier said than done as each diverse marketplace requires attention to detail and consistent quality across the brand. History is littered with examples of embarrassing cultural mistakes and slogans that didn’t translate.

This white paper examines why content is important and how companies can get it right for every single target market.

Provided by localisation business SDL it does raise our awareness for the need to consider a localisation strategy for your travel business.

Despite Fear of Terrorism, Traveler Sentiment Reaches All-Time High

MMGY_200x190It will take more than a little Zika virus or terrorism to stop people from traveling, apparently. A brand new MMGY study shows U.S. traveller’s interest in travel is at an all-time high.

The latest travelhorizons survey of 2,300 active travellers conducted by marketing services firm MMGY Global shows that the overall Traveller Sentiment Index (TSI), which measures U.S. adults’ interest in travel, time for travel, personal finances available for travel, affordability of travel, quality of service, and safety of travel, now stands at 120, the highest level recorded since its inception in 2007.

That’s not to say they are not mindful of the risks that always come with stepping outside your comfort zone. The perceived safety of travel (97) rated the lowest score, down two points from one year ago. The five other factors that determine the TSI increased between two and six points each.

Overall, slightly fewer respondents said they plan to take a trip in the next six months, but those who do expect to spend more; 63% plan to take at least one overnight leisure trip, down slightly from the 68% percent in October 2015, but 30% expect to spend more, while just 14% expect to spend less.

Fear of flying
Four in ten active leisure travelers (42%) agreed that what they see in the news affects their interest in traveling, and 53% said the news affects their choice of destination.

Perhaps not surprisingly, more than half (52%) said they don’t feel safe traveling to international destinations, and 26% said they changed some aspect of their travel plans because of the recent terror attacks in Europe and the Middle East. Ten percent switched to a destination they considered safer, and 9% postponed a planned trip, purchased travel insurance, or canceled a trip entirely.

Source: Despite Fear of Terrorism, Traveler Sentiment Reaches All-Time High

State of Wi-Fi Report Shows Rapid Expansion of In-Flight Internet Service – Skift

An annual report from Routehappy reveals that in-flight Internet is a rapidly growing commodity among global airlines and that across adoption, American carriers are leading the way.

60 carriers around the world now offer in flight Internet, up from 52 last year.  As a result, passengers can expect to find connectivity on about 36% of miles flown around the globe.

Higher quality internet connections are also on the rise according to Jason Rabinowitz, Routehappy’s data manager.

Last year, connections capable of streaming video only accounted for 1% of all miles flown while this year that percentage jumped to 6%. Medium and slow speed connections in this year’s study accounted for 53% and 41% of miles flown respectively where flights had internet. A medium connection defined in this report is capable of full web browsing and some media streaming while a slow connection can only handle basic web-based tasks like email.

That adoption of higher speed internet should further improve though 2016 as a new batch communication technology reaches the market. Gogo’s 2KU service, launched last year, provides transfer speeds of up to 70 Mb/s and is currently being installed across numerous aircraft and carriers. Inmarsat, a largely European solution, is also now coming online.

In terms of general Wi-Fi adoption, the report also found that American carriers seem to be leading the rest of the world, no doubt driven by the ultra-connected user base. Delta, United, and American Airlines (in that order) lead the world in airline seat miles with Wi-Fi capable aircraft, while carriers like Virgin America have their entire fleets outfitted with internet capability.

For passengers flying long haul routes, however, the legacy U.S. carriers aren’t necessarily the best bet. Emirates, which outfits many of its long haul routes on Wi-Fi equipped jumbo jets operates nearly double the number of miles that the next carrier does, while Lufthansa has 100% of its long haul fleet equipped with service. The best legacy carrier for inflight Wi-Fi was measured to be United Airlines.

Routehappy’s full dataset can be found over on its site.

Below is an infographic with the highlights.

Source: State of Wi-Fi Report Shows Rapid Expansion of In-Flight Internet Service – Skift

Prepare for ‘book now’ on Instagram! It’s the social platform taking travel by storm | Travel Industry News & Conferences – EyeforTravel

When Instagram launched back in 2010, it seemed like a great idea. By September 2011 it had 10m users and it wasn’t long before Facebook had spotted this fast-growing visually driven opportunity. By April 2012, Instagram had been drawn into the Facebook-fold and has been pretty unstoppable ever since.

According to EyeforTravel recent research, the fast-growing social platform has 400 million monthly users, up by around 25% on the previous year. Another stand out number of the research is that 60% of travel companies today are including Instagram in their marketing mix, putting it behind only Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and LinkedIn.

60% include Instagram in their marketing mix

95% the number of marketers using Facebook

75% of brands incorporate social content directly onto their brand website

Source: EyeforTravel

Given how much travellers love to take snaps and how shareable Instagram had made this, not to Facebook’s vested interest, this isn’t surprising.  However, there are some interesting developments on the horizon. According to James Quarles, Global Head of Business and Brand Development at Instagram: “Inspiring people to ‘Book Now’ on Instagram is already being adopted by the industry, including major hotel brands and airlines.”

The results, he adds, “are promising”.

Battling it out for marketing dollars

While it comes as no surprise that Facebook is the clear winner in the battle for marketing dollars (95% of marketers today use it), a number of newer networks are making inroads – Pinterest, Vimeo, Foursquare and Tumblr all make the top 10.

“Imagery is a critical part of the travel decision-making process and our research, which shows the rise of a number of sites specialising in photos and video, bears this out,” says Alex Hadwick, head of research at EyeforTravel.

How brands are spending their marketing dollars

Looking ahead, this points to growing opportunities for travel companies to engage in more direct marketing to consumers through social media channels. “They are also now able to close the loop, with several of these sites adding ‘buy buttons’ that can redirect to a brand’s booking pages,” says Hadwick.

The incorporation of travel companies onto social media is also happening in reverse, with brands placing social media directly onto their brand websites. Over three-quarters of those surveyed report that they incorporate social media content onto their websites already, and nearly half host blogs and videos.

Source: Prepare for ‘book now’ on Instagram! It’s the social platform taking travel by storm | Travel Industry News & Conferences – EyeforTravel

What Financial Marketers Can Learn From the Travel Industry

The travel industry has proven how access to individual transaction-level data can enable highly contextual marketing activities, resulting in consumer loyalty, engagement and market growth. Can the banking industry follow the same model?

According to a report from Forbes Insights, organizations that are “leaders” in data-driven marketing report far higher levels of customer engagement and market growth than their “laggard” counterparts. In fact, leaders are three times more likely than laggards to say they have achieved competitive advantage in customer engagement/loyalty (74% vs. 24%) and almost three times more likely to have increased revenues (55% vs. 20%). Leaders in data-driven marketing are also more than six times more likely than laggards to report achieving competitive advantage in increasing profitability (45% vs. 7%) and five times more likely to have succeeded in customer retention (74% vs. 13%).

The report, Data Driven and Digitally Savvy: Data Driven and Digitally Savvy: The Rise of the New Marketing Organization , found widespread agreement that data-driven marketing is crucial to success in a hyper-competitive global economy. “Effective data-driven marketing draws on resources from across the enterprise, not a single department,” says Bruce Rogers, Chief Insights Officer and head of the CMO Practice for Forbes Media. “And without data, marketing is not based on customer intelligence.”

The Forbes study also found that the travel industry was a clear leader in achieving competitive advantage through data-driven marketing. Sixty-seven percent of travel executives said they have achieved a competitive advantage in customer engagement/loyalty, 56% in new customers and 59% in customer satisfaction.

The question is, can financial marketers learn from the travel industry?

Advancements in technology — specifically the mobile device — and in data analytics greatly enhance the ability for all firms to connect with consumers. Similar to the banking industry, the travel and hospitality industry was forced into digital transformation because of disruption that initially took place almost two decades ago.

This transformation continued as new digital only players competed with traditional travel firms. These disruptors that set consumer expectation ranged from Expedia, a full service booking agency that entered the marketplace 20 years ago, to the more recent phenomena in car service, Uber and lodging with Airbnb.

The Digital Revolution Began 20 Years Ago

Expedia entered the marketplace in 1996 offering online travel options to consumers. The transparency and online price comparison tools yielded an overwhelming customer acceptance to this new way of booking travel. Consumers now had the ability to book their travel online with all information a travel agent had at their own fingertips.

In November 1996, a Wall Street Journal ad announcing Expedia hit the streets. There was little notice from the travel industry since travel agents around the world did not think online, self-serve booking would take away any of their direct business. Within 4 months after introduction, Expedia was already booking $1 million a week in travel revenue. Today, the digital transformation continues with mobile usage.

Mobile Enables On-the-Go Booking

Depsite the small screens of smart phones, mobile adoption for booking continues to be on the rise. In a recent analysis by eMarketer, online travel bookings are decreasing while mobile bookings continue to rise. In 2016, 51.8% of all digital bookings will take place on a mobile device, which is up from 43.8% for 2015. In fact, eMarketer has had to continue to adjust mobile usage predictions upwards because the travel industry continues to make self-service booking swift and easy on the mobile device. A study by Expedia similarly found that there were 156 million US consumers that engage with digital travel content and 90% of monthly travellers do so on their smartphone or tablet.

Mirroring the challenges found in the banking industry, the travel industry was faced with the challenge of effectively mining essential data points from multiple silos within their organization and across product lines. The airlines, car companies, lodging firms and cruise lines were tasked to determine a means of consolidating their data across bookings, payments, loyalty programs, operations, complaints, & social media.

Not only were these firms needing this insight internally, they needed to make it available to the consumer as well — on their smartphone. For example, a typical airlines app contains loyalty information (rewards data), reservations — past, present and future (bookings), a view of payments (finance), boarding passes (travel operations) and provides the option of real-time alerts regarding flight status. This data is being effectively pulled from disparate systems, with the mobile device being the critical delivery channel for the traveller.

Keys to Digital Transformation Success

The Selligent Trend Report, Digital Transformation in the Travel Industry, commends the travel industry stating, “Since travel vendors have staked out their digital real estate, networked their owned properties across online channels as well as partner sites, and built a loyal customer base, they are perfectly positioned for the next wave of change — big data combined with intelligent analytics.”

Integrated digital optimization that is heavily reliant on data and analytics is a must to effectively engage the customer. Banks can learn from the digital transformational success of the travel industry as the challenges travel faced are very similar. Let’s take a rearview look at the digital struggles travel organizations were facing 5 years ago, according to Aditi report, What’s Keeping the CEOs of Hospitality Companies Awake at Night.

  • The mobile app not being a priority
  • Old technology and platforms hindering transformation
  • Lack of a single view to the customer

The Aditi report highlighted 3 power moves working together as attributes for digital transformation success:

1. Business Transformation — Embracing new technologies by transitioning from physical to digital services for travellers.

2. Customer Experience — realizing the value of the travelers personal data across all touch points, to help build consistent and personalized experience throughout their journey by using a predictive analytics approach and knowledge from social channels.

3. Digitizing Operations — building digital products that include agility in the platform build to assist with easy rollout of new products and ideas

The Glistening Diamond in the Big Data Rough

When we take a look at what is important to the traveller, it is similar to what is wanted by the banking consumer. The compelling take away is that the consumer is crystal clear in letting us know exactly how to better engage with them. Consumers in both industries want their business partners to know them, to look out for them and to reward them.

The glistening diamond in the big data rough is to connect with customers on an individual, real-time and contextual basis. This requires sifting meticulously through internal and external big data to grab the relevant insights. The missing link is then to use these insights to build the best consumer experience.

Source: What Financial Marketers Can Learn From the Travel Industry

Travel Marketing Budgets 2016: 5 Must-Watch Digital Trends [Infographic]

 Just as travelers plan their trips to make the most of their stays, travel marketing experts need to plan their digital budgets and strategies to make the most of their spend. But with a new year come new choices, channels, and chances for online success.

To make the best digital decisions, travel marketers need to know the top trends, tech, and tactics that will matter to marketing in 2016. Rather than track down all of this data, your ticket to the latest travel insights is a fact-packed infographic created by MDG Advertising called Travel Marketing Budgets 2016: 5 Must-Watch Trends.

It pinpoints the five key strategies for making the most of your travel marketing budget and business over the next 12 months. To arrive at the right budget decisions, check out this informative infographic.

1. Spend on Your Website

Investing in your website is one of the wisest decisions you can make. With more and more people looking and booking on travel brand websites than third-party sites, your website delivers the first impression of your travel brand. And an optimized, user-friendly website can create a lasting impression and drive visitors to book without a second thought. The infographic shows:67% of travellers think it’s simpler to book on a travel brand website than a third-party site.

Almost two-thirds of travellers think it’s less expensive to book on a travel brand website.

Top Takeaway: To make the most of this mind-set, view your website as an important digital hub that gives online users everything they want and need.

2. Optimize MobileMobile has become a must in people’s lives, especially when researching and reserving travel. In 2016, even more travellers will be searching for travel online. According to the infographic, you can expect: 49% increase in mobile search for hotels and cruises. 47% rise in mobile search for car rentals and tours and attractions.

Top Takeaway: To serve this mobile market, make sure that all of your digital offerings, experiences, and communications are optimized for every mobile device.

3. Expect to Welcome More Millennials

Millennials already make up 40% of leisure travellers who book travel online. In 2016, their share of both the business and personal travel market will increase even more. To target these young adults, it’s essential to understand that Millennials have specific travel tendencies, such as:  They frequently book travel and share their experiences on mobile devices and digital platforms.

They tend to extend and blend business trips into personal vacations.

They spend more each day on trips than other age groups.

Top Takeaway: Use these Millennial insights to develop your digital properties and target your online messages.

4. Revisit Reviews

In 2016, online reviews and review sites will matter more than ever to travellers. According to the infographic:64% of travellers visit travel review sites like TripAdvisor for vacation ideas.

Almost half of travellers have been compelled to write a review after a travel experience.

Top Takeaway: Since these reviews are so important, travel brands need to regularly revisit and review all guest reviews to learn what they liked and lacked in their experiences.

5. Keep Your Eye on Video

Digital video is becoming more and more popular with travellers, especially on social networks. The infographic reveals these stunning statistics:

Top Takeaway: In 2016, video is a vital investment that must be incorporated with social media to reach and resonate with travellers.

 

Source: Travel Marketing Budgets 2016: 5 Must-Watch Digital Trends [Infographic]

International tourist arrivals up 4% reach a record 1.2 billion in 2015

International tourist arrivals grew by 4.4% in 2015 to reach a total of 1,184 million in 2015, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Some 50 million more tourists (overnight visitors) travelled to international destinations around the world last year as compared to 2014. 

2015 marks the 6th consecutive year of above-average growth, with international arrivals increasing by 4% or more every year since the post-crisis year of 2010.

“International tourism reached new heights in 2015. The robust performance of the sector is contributing to economic growth and job creation in many parts of the world. It is thus critical for countries to promote policies that foster the continued growth of tourism, including travel facilitation, human resources development and sustainability” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

Demand was strong overall, though with mixed results across individual destinations due to unusually strong exchange rate fluctuations, the drop in oil prices and other commodities which increased disposable income in importing countries but weakened demand in exporters, as well as increased safety and security concerns.

“2015 results were influenced by exchange rates, oil prices and natural and manmade crises in many parts of the world. As the current environment highlights in a particular manner the issues of safety and security, we should recall that tourism development greatly depends upon our collective capacity to promote safe, secure and seamless travel. In this respect, UNWTO urges governments to include tourism administrations in their national security planning, structures and procedures, not only to ensure that the sector’s exposure to threats is minimised but also to maximise the sector’s ability to support security and facilitation, as seamless and safe travel can and should go hand in hand”, added Mr Rifai.

Growth in advanced economy destinations (+5%) exceeded that of emerging economies (+4%), boosted by the solid results of Europe (+5%).

By region, Europe, the Americas and Asia and the Pacific all recorded around 5% growth in 2015. Arrivals to the Middle East increased by 3% while in Africa, limited data available, points to an estimated 3% decrease, mostly due to weak results in North Africa, which accounts for over one third of arrivals in the region.

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Positive prospects for 2016

Results from the UNWTO Confidence Index remain largely positive for 2016, though at a slightly lower level as compared to  the previous two years. Based on the current trend and this outlook, UNWTO projects international tourist arrivals to grow by 4% worldwide in 2016.

By region, growth is expected to be stronger in Asia and the Pacific (+4% to +5%) and the Americas (+4% to +5%), followed by Europe (+3.5% to +4.5%). The projections for Africa (+2% to 5%) and the Middle East (+2% to +5%) are positive, though with a larger degree of uncertainty and volatility.

2015 Regional Results

Europe (+5%) led growth in absolute and relative terms supported by a weaker euro vis-à-vis the US dollar and other main currencies. Arrivals reached 609 million, or 29 million more than in 2014. Central and Eastern Europe (+6%) rebounded from last year’s decrease in arrivals. Northern Europe (+6%), Southern Mediterranean Europe (+5%) and Western Europe (+4%) also recorded sound results, especially considering the many mature destinations they comprise.

Asia and the Pacific (+5%) recorded 13 million more international tourist arrivals last year to reach 277 million, with uneven results across destinations. Oceania (+7%) and South-East Asia (+5%) led growth, while South Asia and in North-East Asia recorded an increase of 4%.

International tourist arrivals in the Americas (+5%) grew 9 million to reach 191 million, consolidating the strong results of 2014. The appreciation of the US dollar stimulated outbound travel from the United States, benefiting the Caribbean and Central America, both recording 7% growth. Results in South America and North America (both at +4%) were close to the average.

International tourist arrivals in the Middle East grew by an estimated 3% to a total of 54 million, consolidating the recovery initiated in 2014.

Limited available data for Africa points to a 3% decrease in international arrivals, reaching a total of 53 million. In North Africa arrivals declined by 8% and in Sub-Saharan Africa by 1%, though the latter returned to positive growth in the second half of the year. (Results for both Africa and Middle East should be read with caution as it is based on limited available data)

China, the USA and the UK lead outbound travel growth in 2015

A few leading source markets have driven tourism expenditure in 2015 supported by a strong currency and economy.

Among the world’s top source markets, China, with double-digit growth in expenditure every year since 2004, continues to lead global outbound travel, benefitting Asian destinations such as Japan and Thailand, as well as the United States and various European destinations.

By contrast, expenditure from the previously very dynamic source markets of the Russian Federation and Brazil declined significantly, reflecting the economic constraints in both countries and the depreciation of the rouble and the real against virtually all other currencies.

As for the traditional advanced economy source markets, expenditure from the United States (+9%), the world’s second largest source market, and the United Kingdom (+6%) was boosted by a strong currency and rebounding economy. Spending from Germany, Italy and Australia grew at a slower rate (all at +2%), while demand from Canada and France was rather weak.

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