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.

  • Star Alliance opens new lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
  • Barcelo Hotel group selects Sabre Hospitality Solutions to boost its distribution
  • European cities see domestic bednight growth exceed international figure for first time in over a decade
  • Nuvola adds Evolutix guest room automation and energy management solutions into its software
  • GDS hotel bookings hit record high with over 75 million annual reservations globally
  • New research reveals UK is a nation of dreamers — and it’s impacting the holiday bookings process
  • Canada’s hotel indicators have mixed results in late Feb-2019

Star Alliance opens new lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

Star Alliance premium customers travelling from the Amsterdam can now enjoy a new premium lounge experience at its Schiphol Airport hub, a major stronghold of its rival SkyTeam. The new Star Alliance Lounge is accessible to eligible First and Business Class passengers and Star Alliance Gold Card holders as well as paid lounge members of the Air Canada Maple Leaf Worldwide Club and United Club programmes. The lounge is located airside in the Departures 2, Schengen Area on the Panorama terrace level and supports access to the departure gates for Alliance member carrier flights to European destinations in the Schengen Zone. The space can accommodate up to 150 guests and will open daily from 5.30am to 9.30pm, subject to Star Alliance (Schengen) flight schedules. Data from CAPA – Centre for Aviation shows that Star Alliance has just a 8.0% share of movements and 8.4% of capacity at the Dutch hub. Alliance members serving Amsterdam comprise Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Austrian Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, SAS, Swiss, and TAP Air Portugal with links to 23 destinations in 18 countries.


Barcelo Hotel group selects Sabre Hospitality Solutions to boost its distribution

Barcelo Hotel Group has selected Sabre Hospitality Solutions as distribution provider and business partner for its hotels globally. Under the agreement, the Spanish tourism company will use Sabre’s SynXis platform, including its SynXis Central Reservations (CR), for their new distribution strategy. Barcelo says it will benefit from the platform’s “advanced technology to update its operations and grow its footprint globally, while securing an effective, future-ready channel strategy that will help maximise revenue of both direct and indirect channels”. Barcelo confirms that ahead of signing the distribution agreement, it requested an evaluation of potential providers by everis, a third-party NTT DATA company. After rigorous research regarding functionality, technology, strategic approach and cost, the everis tourism digital distribution team confirmed Sabre as “the best qualified solution to meet current and future hospitality business needs while aligning with Barcelo Hotel Group’s strategic plan and goals”.


European cities see domestic bednight growth exceed international figure for first time in over a decade

New preliminary research from European Cities Marketing (ECM) for its forthcoming European Cities Benchmarking Report reveals that for the first time since the year after the economic crisis of 2008, the European domestic market surpassed international bednight growth in 2018, with the latter staying at the same level as 2017. Despite a challenging year, destinations across Europe saw a 1.9% growth in city tourism in 2018 it says. Compared to a CAGR of 4.8% between 2012 and 2017 there is a clear slowing of growth, albeit the data only covers 58 out of 121 cities, representing a total of 435 million bednights. The data shows the top performing cities and the ranking in terms of total number of bednights did not change in comparison to 2017, with all cities outside of London seeing growth. London had the highest number of bednights in 2018 with a decrease of 8.7%, followed by Paris (+8.9%), Berlin (+5.2%), Madrid (+2.4%) and Barcelona (+2.7%). Munich showed the most substantial growth (+9.3%), alongside Paris, Amsterdam (+6.7%), Vienna (+6.0%) and Hamburg (+5.3%), all with more than 5% growth on last year. The USA (12%), Germany (9%), and UK (8%) make up approximately 30% of the source markets for European cities. Among the set of most important source markets China showed the highest increase with 9.2%, followed by USA (6%) and Japan (5.7%), while France decreased by 2.3%. Italy turned around its decreasing streak since 2015 and had an increase of 1.7%.


Nuvola adds Evolutix guest room automation and energy management solutions into its software

The Nuvola hotel optimisation and guest engagement platform will integrate Evolutix’s guest room automation and energy management solutions into its software as part of a new partnership between the two companies. It allows hoteliers access to an energy savings ROI platform that they together claim “can significantly reduce utility expenses while delivering optimisation solutions to cost-effectively manage, track and optimize each department”. The software allows hotel clients and their guests to benefit from service optimisation and IoT guest room services, all in a single platform via Nuvola’s customisable Angel web app. This already allows guests to control the lighting, temperature, music, TV, draperies, and additional room/service features directly from their smartphone or mobile device. Allowing both guests and staff to manage room settings and requests from one simple platform “helps reduce energy and operating costs in unsold rooms or when guests are not present while also increasing in-room comfort,” says Nuvola and Evolutix in a statement promoting the partnership.


GDS hotel bookings hit record high with over 75 million annual reservations globally

Amadeus business, TravelClick, says global distribution system (GDS) hotel bookings experienced a record year in 2018, generating over 75 million annual reservations globally, up from 70 million in 2017. The company noted that this global GDS growth coupled with sustained increases in average daily rates (ADR), contributed in particular to impressive revenue per available room (RevPAR) for North American hoteliers. According to TravelClick’s North American Distribution Review (based on data for 25 major North American markets, comprising 301 million annual room nights and USD53 billion in annual room revenue), in the fourth quarter of 2018, Rooms sold through both GDS and Brand.com channels were up 6.4% and 2.0% respectively, over the same time last year. However, Online Travel Agency, Hotel Direct and Central Reservation Office (CRO) channels decreased -2.3%, -5.8% and -16.4%, respectively. Additionally, TravelClick has revealed it is extending its Guest Management Solutions (GMS) with the addition of Demand360 to its Campaign Advisor toolkit. The integration enables hoteliers to leverage market data to feel confident that they are choosing the best time to run campaigns and capture demand, essentially taking the guesswork out of marketing by providing recommendations on when to run marketing campaigns based on predictive occupancy in the market.


New research reveals UK is a nation of dreamers — and it’s impacting the holiday bookings process

New research from experience design agency, 383, has discovered that the dreaming and planning stages of the holiday booking process is getting longer with its findings highlighting in particular that the UK is a nation of dreamers, fantasising about their next getaway at all hours of the day. The results provide interesting insights into customer behaviours and motivators that are sure to be welcomed by online travel agents (OTAs). The research identified that 42% of UK adults search for holidays they can’t afford to book; 41% are searching for holidays during their working day, including commute time, with 25% searching while at work (most notably between 25-34 year olds). On average, the UK travel consumer spends six hours total searching for a holiday with women are more emotionally driven holiday dreamers than men – 37% of women dream of escaping on holiday after a bad day, compared to 24% of men. The findings also offer insights into search platforms, generational trends and content providers. Interestingly, it also highlights that consumers favour a short window between booking and travelling with younger generations more impulsive in their booking activity.


Canada’s hotel indicators have mixed results in late Feb-2019

For the week of 17-23-Feb 2019 Canada’s hotel occupancy slipped 1.1%, as average daily rates increased but unit revenues were essentially flat.  Data compiled by Hotelnewsnow show that occupancy levels for the week fell 1.1% year-on-year while average daily rates notched up 0.8% to CAD149.85. Revenue per available room (RevPAR) declined 0.3% to CAD89.81. Breaking the results out by region, Hotelnewsnow indicated that Prince Edward Island experienced the highest rise in occupancy of 4.5% year-on-year to 46%, which resulted in the largest increase in RevPAR of 7.7% to CAD190.64. The market of Newfoundland and Labrador posted the largest declines in occupancy, average daily rates and RevPAR. Occupancy in Newfoundland and Labrador fell 15.6% to 37.8%, respectively while ADR declined 7.8% to CAD120.32. RevPAR slid 22.3% to CAD45.50.