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.

  • FCM Travel Solutions creates a new ‘marketplace’ with its virtual travel content gateway
  • Slowing global economic growth is impacting the exhibition industry worldwide, but weaker revenue growth is not enough to dilute positive full year trends
  • Mexico’s hotel industry struggles during tough 2Q 2019 operating period
  • Frankfurt airport opens seven new security control lanes in Extension Hall A
  • Sargassum seen as threat to the Caribbean with clean-up costs exceeding USD120 million last year

FCM Travel Solutions creates a new ‘marketplace’ with its virtual travel content gateway

FCM Travel Solutions has created Marketplace, a virtual gateway to the travel management company’s proprietary and specially-negotiated air fares, hotel rates, car rental and rail booking options. The move underpins FCM’s approach to giving customers access to the widest choice of business travel content via multi-channel online and offline sources from across its global network. In terms of hotels, Marketplace offers 20 million room rates including 5 million negotiated rates at 650,000 properties globally and 2.3 million exclusive promotional room night rates at 60 hotel brands worldwide.


Slowing global economic growth is impacting the exhibition industry worldwide, but weaker revenue growth is not enough to dilute positive full year trends

UFI, the Global Association for the Exhibition Industry, has released the latest edition of its flagship Global Barometer research, with one of the key findings a weaker first half of 2019 in terms of revenue growth compared to 2018. But, there is still an overall positive trend for the year in relation to revenue. With regard to operating profit, 80% of companies maintained a good level of performance in 2018, and more than 40% of companies from all regions declared an increase of more than 10% compared to 2017. However, the prospects for 2019 are currently lower globally, in line with the worldwide slowdown of economic growth. Results also indicate that the top business issue within the industry remains the “State of the national/regional economy” (selected by 24% of all respondents), ahead of “Competition within the industry” and “Global economic developments” (each selected by 19%).


Mexico’s hotel industry struggles during tough 2Q 2019 operating period

Mexico’s hotel industry reported negative performance results during 2Q 2019, according to latest data from benchmarking specialist STR. Its year-on-year data versus 2Q 2018 shows a -3.1% decline in occupancy to 61.8%, a similar -3.1% decline in average daily rate (ADR) to MXN2,182.69 and a notable -6.1% decline in revenue per available room (RevPAR) to MXN1,349.50. The absolute occupancy level was the lowest for any second quarter in the country since 2013, according to STR with its analysts noting that supply growth (+3.0%) and lack of demand acceleration (-0.2%) weighed equally on occupancy and hotelier pricing power. “Seaweed problems on beaches in Cancun and Riviera Maya could have some impact on demand as did the government’s decision to disband the Mexico Tourism Board,” it adds, but suggests the creation of the Consejo de Diplomacia Turistica (Toursim Diplomacy Council) “should help regain demand in the near future”. Among STR’s defined markets for the country, Mexico Central South experienced the only rise in occupancy (+2.2% to 52.5%) and the largest jump in RevPAR (+5.6% to MXN572.59). Mexico Northwest posted the largest lift in ADR (+6.3% to MXN2,817.16) and the only other increase in RevPAR (+1.6% to MXN1,648.01).


Frankfurt airport opens seven new security control lanes in Extension Hall A

The German Federal Police (Bundespolizei) and airport operator Fraport AG have opened a new aviation security checkpoint at Frankfurt airport. Featuring seven control lanes, the additional checkpoint has been installed in a purpose-built extension to Concourse A at Terminal 1 – after only six months of construction. Thanks to the new control lanes, considerably more passengers will now be able to pass through security control in Concourse A, resulting in shorter waiting times. The configuration of the new checkpoint offers more flexibility and faster security screenings. Thanks to the new lane structure, more passengers can present their hand luggage for inspection at the same time. Moreover, individual travellers can pass by other slower passengers within the same lane. The lanes also provide more space for analysing X-rays and for carrying out manual checks, which are conducted by staff members of security service companies on behalf of the Federal Police. From October, the final construction phase of the extension hall will begin. During this phase, the new security lanes will be removed and redeployed at other existing checkpoints in FRA’s two terminals. When construction is completed, extension hall A will go back into operation in time for the 2020 summer season.


Sargassum seen as threat to the Caribbean with clean-up costs exceeding USD120 million last year

The unprecedented levels of sargassum seaweed that washed up on Caribbean beaches in 2018 resulted in estimated clean-up costs of USD120 million, according to Jamaica’s minister of tourism and the co-chair of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCM), the honourable Edmund Bartlett. In addition to costly removal, tourism stakeholders have become increasingly concerned about the seaweed’s unsightly appearance, visitor complaints and the possibility of reputational damage, the Tourism Minister noted. The Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region of the world, where it is the main economic sector in 16 out of 18 Caribbean states and supports close to 3 million jobs. In the open seas, sargassum provides critical habitats for marine and bird life.  However, when it inundates beaches it rots and smells, becoming an environmental and economic nuisance. Tourism on Mexico’s Caribbean Coast dropped an estimated 35% in 2018 due to sargassum washing up on the 480-kilometre-long stretch of otherwise pristine beaches. Since 2011, thick mats of seaweed have increased in density to generate an 8,850-kilometre-long belt (weighing 20 million metric tons) known as the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt that extends from West Africa to the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Scientists believe this algal explosion in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea could signify a new normal. GTRCM says it sees an urgent need to facilitate the coming together of regional tourism and environmental stakeholders to share ideas, best practices and possible solutions to the adverse effects sargassum in having on national and regional economies.