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.

  • Sabre and Visa to expand B2B virtual payments for the travel industry
  • Hotelbeds launches ‘Star Collection Online’ microsite to boost hotel exposure
  • MENA is the world’s hotspot for wellness breaks
  • Holland America Line expands digital guest platform with launch of navigator mobile phone app
  • Saudi Arabia signs deal for SITAONAIR’s state-of-the-art ATC services
  • AND FINALLY… It’s a kind of magic –Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio ranked the world’s most expensive visitor attraction

Sabre and Visa to expand B2B virtual payments for the travel industry

Sabre Corporation, a leading technology provider to the global travel industry, and Visa have agreed a partnership to support the growth of business-to-business (B2B) virtual payments in the travel industry. Under this agreement, travel buyers and suppliers will be able to pay and get paid with virtual Visa commercial cards, through the Sabre Virtual Payments solution. Sabre’s work with Visa combines Sabre Virtual Payments with the world’s leader in digital payments. Through this partnership, Sabre and Visa’s mutual customers can access Visa’s virtual B2B payment solutions, enabling faster, more secure payment options as well as more control and visibility into individual B2B travel-industry payments.


Hotelbeds launches ‘Star Collection Online’ microsite to boost hotel exposure

Hotelbeds has launched ‘Star Collection Online’, a microsite that enhances the visibility of the hotel partners of Hotelbeds. Operating in both the Hotelbeds wholesale channel and the Bedsonline retail platform, hotels featured in ‘Star Collection Online’ microsite will appear at the top of search results on Hotelbeds’ booking platform.


MENA is the world’s hotspot for wellness breaks

In terms of recent growth percentages, no wellness tourism market is growing faster than the Middle East & North Africa (MENA), new research from the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) has revealed. The 13.3% rise between 2015 and 2107, more than double the global average (6.5%) has seen it grow to reach a value of USD10.7 billion. MENA’s spa industry has also seen explosive growth (15.4% per year) during the period and is now valued at USD2.8 billion. Wellness trips across MENA (domestic and inbound combined) grew from 8.5 million in 2015 to 11 million in 2017. Wellness tourism revenues are expected to grow another three quarters to reach USD18.7 billion by 2022. The research shows MENA wellness travellers are also high spenders: spending 44% more on inbound wellness trips (USD1,305) than the average traveller to the region, while domestic wellness trips command a 65% premium at USD599. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the largest wellness market across the MENA region, ahead of Morocco, Israel, Jordan and Bahrain.


Holland America Line expands digital guest platform with launch of navigator mobile phone app

Leveraging technology to further personalise the cruise experience, Holland America Line is expanding the functionality of its popular browser-based Navigator tool into a user-friendly, free app for mobile phones and tablets that can be used on board. iPhone and Android users can download the Navigator app from the iTunes App and Google Play stores, respectively. Using Navigator, guests can plan daily activities, explore and book shore excursions, view restaurant menus and make dining reservations, view spa treatments, check their account statement and more. Expected to be the most popular feature is the chat function that enables guests to communicate with each other for free while on board. In the coming months, Holland America Line will extend the app offerings for both mobile phones and tablets – currently only available to use during a guest’s cruise – to offer pre-voyage access so guests can review available services and check out the interactive fleet map at any time before boarding the ship.


Saudi Arabia signs deal for SITAONAIR’s state-of-the-art ATC services

Saudi Air Navigation Services (SANS), the official body responsible for air navigation services in Saudi Arabia, has formally selected SITAONAIR to elevate the Kingdom’s air traffic management capabilities, through to 2025 as it delivers its VHF and Digital Automatic Terminal Information Service (D-ATIS) solutions across the country. Under the agreement, SITAONAIRill establish additional VHF stations providing coverage in new locations, including the Empty Quarter desert. It will also further optimise datalink coverage and services by upgrading both existing stations and its AIRCOMcats D-ATIS gateway server to better serve airports and airspace users. The project will specifically aim to ensure coverage in the southeast and northwest of Saudi Arabia for en route traffic, increasing the availability of VHF/VDL networks at all main airports in the Kingdom and beyond.


AND FINALLY… It’s a kind of magic –Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio ranked the world’s most expensive visitor attraction

Sightseeing can be a fascinating and rewarding alternative to another day working in a hotel or on the beach during a leisure break. Cities around the world offer plenty to see and experience, whether that is through discovering thousands of years of cultural heritage, visiting world-renowned sights and wonders, taking photos of breath-taking skylines. But, these indulgences don’t come cheap and the online comparison and search portal, TicketLens, has published a list of the 20 most expensive attractions around the world according to admission costs. The list includes a brewery tour in London; the official residence of the Dalai Lama; an interactive exhibition on colours, design, and contemporary art in New York; and the tallest building in the world. But it is Warner Brothers Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter, an exhibition of numerous props from the famous film series and located around 30km northwest of London that heads the list.