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.

  • El Al launches Taxi Pool offer for passengers to share transfers between the airport and their hotels
  • Qatar Airways extends its ‘Beyond Business by Qatar Airways’ Corporate Rewards Programme to its global network
  • Moscow Domodedovo opens online booking channel for VIP and business lounges
  • gategroup to use the power of Big Data in new partnership with Airbus
  • Brunei LGBTQ ‘stoning to death’ law has led to worldwide hotel boycotting
  • UAE demand may be softening, but OTA Teletext Holidays reports rise in UK sales
  • World Travel & Tourism Council launches global taskforce on human trafficking

El Al launches Taxi Pool offer for passengers to share transfers between the airport and their hotels

El Al Israel Airlines has launched a new service which will enable its customers to find other passengers with whom to share a ride between the airport and their hotels and back to the airport, helping to lower their travel expenses. It says the service is a response to frequent complaints voiced by tourists about the high cost of travel between airport and hotels. Passengers on a flight can register for the service on a designated mobile site. The service helps to find additional passengers arriving at the same airport at the same time with whom they can share a taxi as they continue to destinations in same area in the city, such as hotels or private addresses. The service is provided by El Al to customers of all airlines, so that passengers flying with other airlines, all over the world, can also make use of the service to find passengers landing at the same time and continue with them to the same hotel or to a nearby address. The platform identifies matches from entered details and then facilitates a secure and anonymous chat room for travellers to connect and discuss arrangements.


Qatar Airways extends its ‘Beyond Business by Qatar Airways’ Corporate Rewards Programme to its global network

Qatar Airways has expanded its ‘Beyond Business by Qatar Airways’ corporate rewards programme to its entire network. The programme, which launched in Europe and the Americas in Jan-2019 and in Qatar last month, introduces a new currency, Qrewards, enabling business travellers to take advantage of a wide range of exclusive benefits. Unlike other programmes where redemptions are permitted only on select flights at select times, ‘Beyond Business by Qatar Airways’ enables businesses to redeem Qrewards on any flight with available seats. By progressing through three new reward tiers, Elevate, Accelerate and Ascent, customers can unlock faster earning and unique benefits, including fast track Qatar Airways Privilege Club Gold status, lounge access, and upgrades. READ MORE: Elevate, Accelerate and Ascent – new ‘Beyond Business by Qatar Airways’ tiers will deliver loyalty rewards to SMEs


Moscow Domodedovo opens online booking channel for VIP and business lounges

Moscow Domodedovo has launched an online service allowing travellers to book and pay for VIP and business lounges at the airport as well as in 80 other domestic and 64 international airports. The solution has been developed in partnership with a business travel agency Travelmart and also allows passengers to order fast track services. There are ten business lounges at Moscow Domodedovo of which the airport directly manages half of them. Last year, around 600,000 people visited its lounges, which are located in both domestic and international departures zones, a 12% year-to-year rise.


gategroup to use the power of Big Data in new partnership with Airbus

gategroup and aircraft manufacturer Airbus have signed a cooperation agreement which will enable Big Data and analytics to be used across all areas of an airline’s business and represents a major step towards a connected experience in-cabin. Three keys areas make up the cooperation: a fully digital galley, the dynamic galley and optimised layout of passenger accommodation (LOPA) through innovative service redesigns which will result in space optimisation. The digital galley supports trolleys and galley inserts which provide an end-to-end digital catering process – from airline to caterer, caterer to aircraft and aircraft to caterer and airline, as well as supporting post flight data analytics which will enable accurate future demand predictions. According to gategroup the enhancement of the catering service “will enable airlines to further optimise the galley configuration, save space in the cabin and implement new service concepts”.


Brunei LGBTQ ‘stoning to death’ law has led to worldwide hotel boycotting

Brunei-owned luxury hotels are facing an international boycott after laws in the country were enacted by Brunei making gay sex punishable by “stoning to death” under LGBTQ laws. This isn’t a new or isolated issue and homosexuality has been consistently illegal in a third of the world and in eight countries it is also punishable by death. Around the world, gay or trans travellers are often rejected or forced to hide their identities, book separate rooms or separate beds. misterb&b – a short term home sharing marketplace dedicated to the gay community- has just launched a new feature in the fight against homophobic and transphobic hotels. The feature includes 30,000 curated gay-friendly, non-discriminatory hotels that have been hand-selected by its editorial team, with quality, exclusive, and verified reviews from LGBTQ travellers. The UN Human Rights Commission has condemned the new measures, and celebs like Elton John, George Clooney and Ellen DeGeneres are calling for boycotts of the Brunei Sultan’s Dorchester Collection hotel group. The Brunei-owned hotels include ‘The Sultan’s 10s’ properties of Beverly Hills hotel and Hotel Bel-Air (Los Angeles); The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane (London); Coworth Park (Ascot, UK); Le Meurice and Hotel Plaza Athenee (Paris), Le Richemond (Geneva), Hotel Principe di Savoia (Milan) and Hotel Eden (Rome).


UAE demand may be softening, but OTA Teletext Holidays reports rise in UK sales

Online travel agency Teletext Holidays has benefitted from soaring bookings for the United Arab Emirates, reporting an uplift in excess of 40% Year on Year (YoY). The firm has seen the significant increase in bookings to the UAE versus 2018, with Dubai City/Jumeirah and the Palm Islands driving the majority of sales. The company also reports March to date trading up an impressive 57% as opposed to March last year, including all UAE destinations such as Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah. Teletext Holidays notes that short-lead time bookings are illustrating the largest growth, with those inside 50 days up 40% YoY and bookings between 51 and 100 days up 30% YoY. While bed & breakfast, half board and room only meal plans remain the most popular for Arabian destinations, the travel brand has seen a large advance in the all-inclusive segment, with an uplift of 80% YoY, demonstrating a strong customer preference for guaranteeing their expenditure.


World Travel & Tourism Council launches global taskforce on human trafficking

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has announced the formation of a global taskforce to help prevent and combat human trafficking – an illicit activity that affects 30 million victims worldwide, and relies on travel networks to operate. The taskforce comprises WTTC Members and sector associations to become the first global industry-wide initiative to assert zero tolerance and share best practice. As an ‘industry’, human trafficking is worth USD150 billion annually, and contributes heavily to modern slavery, in which 40 million people worldwide are entrapped. One-quarter of trafficking victims worldwide are children (or 5.5 million). Meanwhile, 19% of victims are trafficked for sexual purposes, which makes up 66% of the illicit income generated. The founding members of the taskforce are Airbnb, Amex GBT, The Bicester Village Shopping Collection, Ctrip.com International, CWT, Emirates, Expedia Group, Hilton, JTB Corp, Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority, Marriott International, Silversea, Thomas Cook and TUI.