Inside Travel: Understanding the latest technology and industry trend insights

Find it hard to keep track with all the latest insights into business trends, new products and technology advancements in the travel sector? The Blue Swan Daily provides you with an update on some of the key stories from the past week.

  • US consumers want to pay for travel expenses in interest-free monthly installments and, if given the option to do so, would make travel purchases farther in advance
  • SiteMinder partners with Charme & Caractère Hôtels to elevate guest experiences
  • New OTA Insight parity insight solution enhancement brings end-to-end solution
  • Sabre incorporates Cheetah Loyalty solution into its commercial platform
  • AIG Travel launches educational initiative to boost student travel safety
  • Advantage Hotels offers ‘a new vision for today’s hotelier’
  • Finnair launches a new digital travel service to attract international travellers to Finland and the Nordics
  • Dubai remains a warming hot spot for getaways, but it is still outside the top ten country’s for UK summer getaways

US consumers want to pay for travel expenses in interest-free monthly installments and, if given the option to do so, would make travel purchases farther in advance

A new report by leading global payment solution Splitit Payments Ltd has revealed that US consumers want to pay for travel expenses in interest-free monthly instalments and, if given the option to do so, would make travel purchases farther in advance and spend more on upgrades, food and entertainment. The report also reveals that younger consumers are highly debt-conscious and prefer paying for travel expenses in cash more so than any other age group. Splitit’s report found that while 54% of respondents plan to travel and a third of individuals expect to spend more than USD500 on flights and lodging, financial anxieties pose a major obstacle to consumers’ dream vacations. This, it says, is driven by the fact that the average American is USD38,000 in debt. “Travel merchants vying for consumers’ hard-earned dollars will struggle” unless their offerings “reflect travellers’ personal finance priorities”. Its findings reveal that the ability to pay for travel expenses in interest-free monthly instalments is a huge incentive for travellers, enabling them to buy tickets sooner, upgrade their travel arrangements, and spend more while on vacation. If given the option to pay in interest-free monthly instalment payments, the study shows 56% of respondents would buy flight tickets and 42% would purchase lodging this way. When asked what factor would be most helpful when paying for expensive flight tickets, over 40% of respondents chose interest-free monthly instalments, compared to 28% who chose complementary travel insurance. Nearly 70% of respondents said they would book flights and/or hotels up to one year in advance if they could pay for them at a lower price in interest-free monthly instalments.


SiteMinder partners with Charme & Caractère Hôtels to elevate guest experiences

SiteMinder has partnered with Charme & Caractère Hôtels (C&C), a network of hotel owners, to elevate the guest experience created by luxury and boutique hotels and lodges across France and more than 80 countries. Under the partnership, member hotels of C&C can connect SiteMinder’s distribution technology with their property management system to increase both their visibility among travellers online and understanding of their guests’ booking journey.


New OTA Insight parity insight solution enhancement brings end-to-end solution

Cloud-based data intelligence platform for the hospitality industry, OTA Insight, has revealed new enhancements to its Parity Insight solution that allows teams to fully close the loop and take control of key rate parity issues impacting hotels’ bottom line from one single dashboard. The end-to-end solution forms the latest addition to OTA Insight’s suite of cloud-based business intelligence solutions for hoteliers. The new enhancement offer a “solution that visualises revenue leaks and empowers hoteliers worldwide to take immediate action to close the loop and have the most direct impact on their brand promise and profitability,” says Gino Engels, co-founder and chief commercial officer, OTA Insight.


Sabre incorporates Cheetah Loyalty solution into its commercial platform

Sabre Corporation has announced an alliance with Cheetah Digital, an independent, enterprise cross-channel marketing technology company. Through the collaboration, Sabre has incorporated the cloud-based Cheetah Loyalty solution into the Sabre Commercial Platform, adding loyalty management capabilities to the platform. The joint effort enables Sabre customers that use Cheetah Loyalty as part of the Sabre Commercial Platform to not only manage loyalty programmes, but also market to consumers in the digital age, potentially strengthening carriers’ abilities to retain and attract customers while spurring new revenue. With Cheetah Loyalty, brands are able to create marketing programmes to engage customers from acquisition to loyalty. Unlike traditional loyalty management solutions that only recognise and reward  transactional behaviour, Cheetah Loyalty synthesises millions of digital signals, providing real-time behavioural, transactional and contextual data of loyalty members, providing insights that marketers can use to personally recognise and reward loyal behaviours across mobile, web, social, email, mobile app, and point-of-sale touchpoints.


AIG Travel launches educational initiative to boost student travel safety

Travel insurance and travel assistance services specialist AIG Travel has launched an educational initiative designed to boost awareness of US student travel safety considerations and help students journey safely and confidently, anywhere in the world. The initiative, encompassing a dedicated Student Travel Safety microsite, a related webcast, social media outreach and more, focuses on sharing practical advice, actionable tips and helpful resources for students, their parents, study abroad organisations, universities and other key stakeholders. AIG claims that more than 332,000 American students studied abroad for academic credit in 2016-17, a +2.3% increase over the prior academic year and a +37.6% rise in 10 years, with 10% of US students who studied abroad filing an insurance claim, according to the Forum on Education Abroad.


Advantage Hotels offers ‘a new vision for today’s hotelier’

Long-time industry executive Patrick Mullinix has confirmed the formation of Advantage Hotels, a hotel company that claims to offer “a new vision for today’s hotelier”. The company has acquired Advantis Hospitality Alliance’s brands, Vista (a midscale offer with properties in Florida and Tennessee) and Select Inn (an upper economy brand that has locations in Minnesota, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas). Advantage Hotels plans to offer a new approach to franchising that places an emphasis on “a strong franchisor/franchise owner relationship”. Mr Mullinix, who has held executive positions with major hotel companies for 25 years, including serving as Group President of the Americas Best Value Inn brand, says the company will be “more of a franchise family that looks at business a bit differently” that will deliver “customisable solutions for every owner”.


Finnair launches a new digital travel service to attract international travellers to Finland and the Nordics

Finnair has launched a new online service, branded Now/here, that makes Finnish – and later also Nordic – travel experiences more easily accessible to international travelers. The service combines “inspirational content with real-time inventory” for experiences, hotels and flights from a large number of sources. Now/here, which utilises the Bokun experience platform, addresses the growing strong interest towards the Nordics as a destination. The concept was tested in Singapore, Hong Kong, UK, US and Australia. “Now/here is a solution for digital savvy individuals who long for authentic experiences”, says Kristiina Kukkohovi, who heads the programme at Finnair. “The experiences included are authentic, sustainable and of high quality.” The Finnair Now/here team have met with approximately 1,500 travel partners and hand-picked products like Reindeer Safari, Arctic Mindfulness with Huskies, Aurora Borealis Adventure, Forest Yoga & Hike and Private Island Experience to the pilot of the service.


Dubai remains a warming hot spot for getaways, but it is still outside the top ten country’s for UK summer getaways

Research conducted by UK beach holiday specialist, On the Beach, has revealed Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the fastest growing summer sun destination for 2019. Booking data at the online travel agent reveals that whilst the UAE remains outside of the top 10 most popular summer sun destinations this year, Dubai is the fastest growing destination, along with the Caribbean island of Barbados and the once favourite North African hot spot of Tunisia. Unsurprisingly, Spain reigns once again this year, with British favourites such as the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands and the Costas on the Mainland, proving as popular as ever, making it the most popular summer destination for 2019. Greece retains the second most popular hot spot position, followed by Turkey, which maintains its position in third place. Portugal is the fourth most popular destination this summer season, with Cyprus replacing Malta in fifth place. Research conducted by On the Beach also reveals that whilst bookings to Europe continue to rise, 2019 is a big year for non-Euro destinations, perhaps suggesting that with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, many people are looking further afield to destinations which may offer cheaper in-resort costs.