Inside Travel: Understanding the latest Technology and 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.

  • Generator launches GenFriends app with social networking capabilities for millenials to connect with fellow globetrotters and local experts
  • Trivago: Hotel prices are on the slide in its Hotel Price Index
  • Eurostar sees a significant rise in business passengers taking the train
  • New technology will soon transform corporate travel policies, claims BCD Travel’ second Inform paper

Generator launches GenFriends app with social networking capabilities for millenials to connect with fellow globetrotters and local experts
Generator, one of Europe’s fastest growing hostel brands, has unveiled GenFriends, a new mobile app that will provide users access to exclusive deals and discounts, city tours and activities, but will also use location-based social networking to enable like-minded guests to connect while staying at its properties. With properties in eleven European cities – and now also Miami – the company describes itself as a “pioneer of affordable luxury and master of the social experience,” with all of its properties including a range of room types from shared to private bedrooms. The new app is designed for both groups and solo travellers, but mainly the latter, an area that Generator says its has seen a 17% rise in travellers since 2015 – its  Berlin Mitte property has seen a dramatic 35% rise. Similar to other location-based mobile social apps, GenFriends offers a ‘swipe’ feature to “match” with like-minded solo travellers. Guests traveling with friends or partners will also be able to “match” with groups of travellers with similar cultural interests or travel itineraries to explore the best a city has to offer. In addition, those looking to fully immerse themselves with the local culture will also be able to “match” with local residents, who can provide recommendations, offer personal tours, and more.


Trivago: Hotel prices are on the slide in its Hotel Price Index
Hotel prices have fallen since last month – and in many cases since last year – in the majority of the cities listed on the trivago Hotel Price Index  (tHPI), reported monthly by global hotel metasearch trivago.com. Chicago sees the most significant month-on-month hotel price decrease recorded on the tHPI in November, with the average price falling 28% to EUR141 per night for a standard double room. With an average price per night of EUR138, which is 3% higher compared October, London is the only European city on the index registering a month-on-month price increase this month. Average hotel prices for a standard double room in Sao Paolo have risen 24% compared to last month to reach EUR62 per night and in Auckland by 23% to reach EUR123 per night in November. Mumbai shows the greatest year-on-year drop in hotel prices on the tHPI in November, with the average price 37% lower compared to last year at EUR59 per night this month. Average hotel prices recorded for Delhi, Cape Town, and Moscow this month also show year-on-year decreases of over 20%. Hotel prices in San Francisco have fallen 26% on average from last month to reach EUR152 per night, making it the city with the biggest month-on-month drop after Chicago. Rome, where a standard double hotel room costs EUR81 per night on average this month (22% less compared to October), is one of two European cities listed where hotel prices have decreased month-on-month by 20% or more; Barcelona is the other with the average rate falling 20% to EUR96 per night. Las Vegas and Athens share the fifth-place spot in the list of cities with the most significant month-on-month decreases in hotel prices recorded on the tHPI in November with the averages falling 19% in both cities to EUR104 and EUR77 per night respectively.


Eurostar sees a significant rise in business passengers taking the train
Eurostar, the high-speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, reported a positive performance and record sales revenues in Q3 2018. Passenger numbers were up by 12% (3.00m 2018: 2.69m 2017) compared with the previous year, and sales revenues grew by 17% (GBP247m 2018 vs GBP211m 2017). This performance was driven in part by the strength of the business market with the volume of business customers growing by 21% compared to the same period in 2017, as business travellers increasingly travelled by high speed rail over aeroplane for cross Channel travel. The rise in the number of passengers from the USA continued into the third quarter with a 6% increase year-on-year. Leisure traffic has been boosted by the success of Eurostar’s new service between the UK and the Netherlands and to meet demand, it will introduce a third direct daily service from London in June 2019, and has plans to run four trains a day when the governments introduce border controls in the Netherlands at the end of next year, with ambitions for five daily services in the future.


 New technology will soon transform corporate travel policies, claims BCD Travel’ second Inform paper
With many corporate travellers not looking at policy documents, easily booking outside of company guidelines and having no motive for following the rules, corporate travel managers need to implement new technology “to replace today’s static, predefined policies with dynamic, intuitive and personalized behaviour management engines”. That is the finding of a new report, ‘Emerging technology and travel management: Policy’, published by BCD Travel, and the second of a six-part Inform research series. The papers aim to help travel managers take advantage of new and emerging technologies expected to profoundly improve their corporate travel programmes, says BCD Travel. Each report in the series examines how machine learning, blockchain, bots and chatbots, virtual and augmented reality and the Internet of things promises to transform a specific facet of the corporate travel industry. Policy explains how those technologies can be used to effectively implement travel policies to steer travellers toward policy-compliant choices while improving savings and security, quality service, consistency and traveller wellness. It contrasts the current approach to travel policy with the future technology driven approach. It also explores challenges of utilising technologies, such as compliance with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).