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.

  • Marriott: Starwood data breach dates back to 2014; up to 500 million guests impacted
  • dnata invests in artificial intelligence-driven technology; acquires majority stake in bd4travel
  • Miami is the USA’s hotspot for Millennials, but mid-sized cities often overshadow their larger neighbours
  • Meetingsbooker launches new Preferred Meeting Program tool
  • Flybe: Millennial FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) fuels short break surge

Marriott: Starwood data breach dates back to 2014; up to 500 million guests impacted
Marriott International has revealed that a data breach of the Starwood guest reservation database extends back until 2014 and has impacted up to 500 million guests at its portfolio of hotels. It says it was alerted to an attempt to access the system on 8-Sep-2018 and an investigation concluded On 19-Nov-2018 that there had been unauthorised access to the system. Marriott says the “unauthorised party” copied and encrypted information and took steps toward removing it. For up to 327 million of those 500 million in the compromised database, the information includes some combination of name, mailing address, phone number, email address, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest account information, date of birth, gender, arrival and departure information, reservation date and communication preferences. An unidentified number of records also included payment card numbers and expiration dates, but the hotel operator claims the card numbers were encrypted . Starwood’s brands include W Hotels, St Regis, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Element Hotels, Aloft Hotels, the Luxury Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Le Meridien Hotel & Resorts, Four Points by Sheraton and Design Hotels, as well as Starwood-branded timeshare properties. Marriott’s own branded hotels have not been compromised as they use a separate reservation system on a different network.


dnata invests in artificial intelligence-driven technology; acquires majority stake in bd4travel
dnata, one of the world’s largest air services providers, has announced that it has acquired a majority stake in bd4travel (Big Data for Travel), an award-winning tech company, which provides artificial intelligence(AI)-driven IT solutions to online travel agencies. Running more than 40 separate sites, bd4travel currently serves leading travel organisations in 17 markets with its sophisticated algorithms allowing online travel agencies to engage with anonymous customers and personalise their shopping experience in real-time, recommending the most relevant products, services and content to them. The deal underlines dnata’s commitment to applying state-of-the-art technologies to improve efficiency and customer experience. The acquisition is effective immediately, with no interruption to the services offered by bd4travel, and it will continue under the bd4travel branding.


Miami is the USA’s hotspot for Millennials, but mid-sized cities often overshadow their larger neighbours
Search engine for holiday rentals HomeToGo has produced a guide to the best destinations for millennial travellers in the United States of America (USA). The results show that mid-sized cities, often overshadowed by their larger neighbours, are more on-brand for millennial travellers, versus top destinations like Las Vegas or Orlando. After polling 1,000 millennial travellers to discover what elements influence their decision-making when booking a trip, six main influencing factors emerged: affordable airfares; availability of experiences; instagrammability; affordable food and drink; dynamic nightlife; and affordable accommodation. Florida, Michigan, and Texas each have three cities inside the top 20, with Miami placing first in the ranking. California is the most millennial-friendly state, with eight cities making this year’s top 50. However, only two of these cities made the top 20. California performs strongly in the Instagrammability category (with five cities in the top 10) but poorly in the Accommodation Affordability category (with six cities in the bottom 10).


Meetingsbooker launches new Preferred Meeting Program tool
Meetings management specialist Meetingsbooker.com, launched its new Preferred Meetings Program at GBTA Berlin 2018 last week. The new tool allows companies to develop a preferred program for meetings, via a fully automated system. Hotels and meeting venues are now able to load company specific negotiated rates, delivering unprecedented savings for meetings and events.The system also includes a dynamic tracking tool, which monitors popular meeting venues and automatically request them to load preferred rates. This builds on the Meetingsbooker.com revenue management technology, which enables venues to yield spaces and deliver dynamic pricing with over 35% of bookings including a discounted rate. “This is the first time a technology has addressed collating preferred rates for meetings,” says Ciaran Delaney, founder and CEO of Meetingsbooker.com. Today the meetingsbooker.com platform includes over 125,000 meeting spaces in 138 countries.


Flybe: Millennial FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) fuels short break surge
A new survey from UK  regional carrier Flybe reveals that 28% of people took more short breaks in 2018 than they did five years ago, giving a strong indication that they prefer to snack on culture and experiences as opposed to feasting on them in one sitting. The inaugural Short Break Survey, commissioned by Flybe and conducted by OnePoll during summer 2018, surveyed 2,000 people across the UK, with a short break defined as being one to three nights away from home. It uncovered that the biggest barriers to a ‘traditional’ two-week break include expense (49%), being out of the loop at work/home (14%), having to deal with a full email inbox on return (14%) and missing out on favourite TV programmes (10%). Conversely, 45% of Britons cited affordability as the main reason for choosing a short break; other reasons included valuing experiences over material goods, making the most of their free time, visiting family and friends and travelling with different groups of people. The data shows the growth in short breaks is driven by younger audiences but for different reasons; 18-24 year olds are reliant on short breaks because they are affordable, 82% of this audience took between one and three short breaks in the last 12 months. 15% of 25-34 year olds went on more than four short breaks; the trend of taking short breaks for stag do’s, hen do’s and weddings is a likely contributor to 40% of this audience taking more short breaks in 2018 than in 2013. While the ‘where’ and ‘what’ are often thought as the main considerations to travel, the survey revealed that it is rather the ‘who’ that is the most important factor. Although ‘exploring a new city’ was cited as the number one ideal short break, the top consideration for actually taking a short break in the last 12 months was to visit friends and family.