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.

  • Hotel loyalty can boost guest spend by more than a fifth versus sporadic customers and also stay for almost a third longer
  • Improved security helps Egyptian travel and tourism recovery in 2018
  • Emirates’ new ATPCO deal includes integration of Routehappy content
  • Travel tech start-up QUICKET.io relaunches its PassWallet mobile app
  • Norwegian Cruise’s app now extends fleetwide
  • Rental United takes PriceLabs data onto its cloud-based platform
  • Lufthansa Group renews and expands Amadeus technology partnership
  • 777 Partners acquires airline technology company Air Black Box
  • North America and Middle East fuelled the increase of long-haul arrivals into Europe in Q4 2018

Hotel loyalty can boost guest spend by more than a fifth versus sporadic customers and also stay for almost a third longer

Many people question the strength of loyalty. However, new research from Mallorcan technology company Roiback shows that when it comes to hotels that are “indispensable for a good direct sales strategy”. The Palma-based  sales specialist says loyal customers spend on average 22.4% more than sporadic customers and have longer stays (almost 30%). In addition, the customer’s expenditure level grows progressively year after year and their frequency of purchase increases: a loyal customer will buy ten times more during their life cycle than a new customer. Thus, a repetition rate of 5% can triple the annual growth of a company and its profits up to 25% per year, it says. “To get a new client is increasingly expensive and, for this reason, a regular and loyal customer is much more profitable,” explains Rebeca Gonzalez, managing director of Roiback. “The key issue is to offer direct benefits to loyalty program’s customers that favor direct sales, in comparison with other channels, and then build communication strategies focused on strengthen loyalty and to make the client repeat.” According to Roiback, any loyalty programme “has to be simple, it must add value, satisfy and surprise the consumer and, above all, it has to be personalised for each client”.


Improved security helps Egyptian travel and tourism recovery in 2018

Last year saw strong growth for Egyptian Travel & Tourism as it became the fastest-growing country in North Africa, growing by 16.5% – second only to Ethiopia when reviewing the whole continent, according to new research by the World Travel & Tourism Council. This growth has been linked to the improved security infrastructure, which has helped to attract international visitors back to Egypt’s shores, and has allowed major travel companies to restart operations in popular destinations such as Sharm el Sheikh. Egypt’s Travel & Tourism sector now contributes EGP 528.7bn and supports 2.5 million jobs and the sector has not yet fully recovered to pre-crisis levels, the size of the Egyptian travel economy in 2018 is the healthiest it has been since 2010. In total, international tourists spent over EGP 218.1 billion in Egypt last year, accounting for over 27.3% of total exports. The largest inbound international markets were Germany (13%); Russia (12%); the UK (7%); Saudi Arabia (6%); and Italy (3%). Combined with domestic spending, Travel & Tourism supported 11.9% of the nation’s GDP in 2018.


Emirates’ new ATPCO deal includes integration of Routehappy content

ATPCO has confirmed that Emirates Airline’s new three-year enterprise licensing deal includes agreement to integrate Routehappy rich content via Emirates’ NDC API. The agreement for its newly unveiled Retailing Solutions product offering will see ATPCO create, manage, and distribute Emirates rich content – including Routehappy Amenities, Universal Ticket Attributes (UTAs), and Universal Product Attributes (UPAs) – across sales channels. Emirates will also integrate UPAs into its NDC API, powered by Farelogix, giving both travel agents and online flight shoppers more compelling offers. The new Enterprise subscription gives Emirates access to all three of the Routehappy-created Airline Rich Content Hubs – Amenities Hub, UTA Hub, and UPA Hub – enabling the airline to customise its Amenities and UTAs on indirect channels and create custom UTA categories.


Travel tech start-up QUICKET.io relaunches its PassWallet mobile app

Software-as-a-service company QUICKET.io has relaunched the mobile wallet app PassWallet. Today, virtual wallets are mostly used to statically store tickets and itinerary information, but building on the widely accepted industry protocol for virtual wallet items developed by Apple, it has enhanced the app with its capabilities regarding ancillary services sales in air travel. The Munich-based start-up is taking an important step towards opening up a new channel of distribution for ancillary air travel services with dynamic wallet items. Airlines, for example, will not only be able to update tickets and boarding passes, but also to offer upgrades, meals and other services to their passengers directly from within the app.


Norwegian Cruise’s app now extends fleetwide

After initially launching in Oct-2017, Norwegian Cruise Line has now completed the expansion of its Cruise Norwegian app across its 16-ship fleet. Developed in-house and designed to enhance the guest experience, the app features a “pre-cruise” mode offering guests a comprehensive planning experience from pre-booking onboard activities, dining reservations, shore excursions and entertainment to accessing their vacation itinerary and leveraging mobile check-in and e-documents for paperless boarding. When used on board and connected to a ship’s Wi-Fi network, the app offers a connected experience, allowing them to continue making reservations, book last-minute excursions, view ship activities, send messages and make unlimited onboard calls. Guests can also make outbound calls to nearly every country in the world. Before disembarkation, guests using the app can track and review their onboard purchases as well as view helpful disembarkation information. The app is currently available in English with additional language roll-outs to follow.


Rental United takes PriceLabs data onto its cloud-based platform

Rentals United, a cloud-based channel manager and technology solution for the short-term rental industry, has announced a partnership with PriceLabs, a pricing and yield management software provider focused on the private accommodation space. This partnership will enable Rentals United’s customers to take advantage of real-time market data to in an automated way. The platform currently handles over 250,000 listings that are connected to 60+ leading and niche listing sites globally.


Lufthansa Group renews and expands Amadeus technology partnership

The Lufthansa Group and Amadeus have reached an agreement to renew their longstanding technology partnership. Through the deal, Amadeus’ Altéa Passenger Service System (PSS) will continue to provide Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Swiss International Air Lines with their IT systems for reservation, inventory and departure control. In addition, the Lufthansa Group and Amadeus are also expanding their partnership to add further areas of collaboration in areas ranging from operations, merchandising and shopping to disruptions management.


777 Partners acquires airline technology company Air Black Box

Investment firm 777 Partners has acquired global travel technology company Air Black Box. The acquisition adds to the firm’s portfolio of specialist businesses in the aviation sector with proprietary back-end operational technology as it works to develop synergies to support the commercial success and scaling of each business. A team of industry experts founded Air Black Box to address a key airline pain: how to efficiently connect inventory and systems to drive passenger volume, business expansion, and increased ancillary revenue. The developed platform provides capability for airlines to network and cross-sell with each other, regardless of carrier type or PSS platform and is built upon a new “managed” interlining technology, which sits at the core of travel supplier distribution channels and helps airlines increase conversions and revenues by creating product and service combinations that meet passenger needs for flexibility and frictionless travel.


North America and Middle East fuelled the increase of long-haul arrivals into Europe in Q4 2018

New insight from European Cities Marketing and ForwardKeys shows that long-haul arrivals in Europe went up +7.5% during the last quarter of 2018, fuelled by visitors from North America (+10.6%), the biggest contributor of overseas arrivals into Europe with a 36% share of total long-haul arrivals; and the Middle East (+10.2%), with a 10% share. However, their latest Air Travellers’ Traffic Barometer showed that while Europe welcomed an increase in the number of visitors from all long-haul subcontinents in Q4 2018 compared to the same period last year, the growth rate decelerated for all of them, except for North America which remained at a similar level as the growth registered in Q4 2017. The report also highlights that intra-European air capacity grew by +9.1% in Q4 2018.