- Seniors Planning Holidays around Caring for Their Grandchildren: More grandparents seem to be scheduling their holidays around childcare responsibilities—this is one of the key findings of a new study conducted by Mintel, the market research and intelligence company, for Warner Leisure Hotels, which specializes in holidays for over-55 travelers.
The study report, “Great Expectations: Balancing the Benefits and Burdens of Modern Retirement,” had other key findings that included the following:
— Travel is still the number one priority for people in retirement.
— Many grandparents are central to making their family work, so they are often depended on for childcare.
–A trend has developed in which those in retirement take breaks when the school term resumes. This is referred to as “The Grey Escape.”
—Over 55s are showing an increased interest in active holidays, as their priorities are changing and they want to stay fit and healthy during their holidays.
- STA Travel Launches “Bleisure Travel” Brand: The 18-to-35 specialist, STA Travel is expanding the product it provides its core student-and-youth market group by offering business travelers an online booking tool, account management and other benefits, along with the standard packages it has available. STA has had a B2B business travel component for more than 15 years, but the new offering marks the first time it has targeted business travelers directly. STA said it plans to benefit from what it calls a “bleisure” travel blend; it referred to recent research showing that 69 percent of business travelers in the 18-to-35 age group add a leisure component to a business trip.
Harriet Kerr, STA’s business development director said: “We’ve worked in this sphere behind the scenes for some time, and in recent years we’ve noticed not only a surge in younger people making business trips, but also a shift in the sorts of travel they’re booking.” An example of the type of product offered is a Multiflex Pass, which enables customers to change a ticket without fees. For more information, visit: http://www.statravel.com/corporate-travel.htmhttp://www.statravel.com/corporate-travel.htm
- Thomson Opening a Holiday Design Store in London: Driven by the apparent desire of many Brits for an in-store experience, as well as the success of a half-dozen “design” travel stores elsewhere in the UK, Thomson Holidays is opening a new Holiday Design Store in London this summer at Westfield Stratford City. Similar stores have opened in the past year-and-a-half in Gateshead’s Metrocentre, Bluewater Shopping Centre and Sheffield Meadowhall as well as Liverpool, Bristol and Glasgow in the last 18 months.
The stores feature HD screens and projections featuring destination and hotel content. An 84-inch touch screen interactive map, a Top Ten 10 holiday list and live weather information will be available at the new store together with reviews and destination videos. As well, social media feeds will be streamed onto screens, with customers encouraged tweet their name and holiday destination. The store will be zoned with specially designed areas for customers to browse for holidays on their own devices or by using interactive screens.
“Our existing Holiday Design Stores have been a huge success with excellent feedback from both customers and staff,” said Jill Carter, UK & Ireland director for TUI (Thomson is a TUI brand), “and we have already started to introduce elements from these new stores to our existing ones and have implemented changes to 24 so far.”
Nasty War of Words between Airlines and U.S. Travel over Gulf Air Carriers Making Headway into USA: Blunt, harsh and contentious language from lobbyists in official Washington is not unusual, but it is unusual to see or hear it as opposed to the polite prose usually employed by the representatives of the U.S. travel industry and its components who, by the nature of their business, serve a bipartisan constituency.
But the third-person courtesy has been abandoned during the past month as major airlines in the USA contend that airlines in the Persian Gulf—specifically, Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways—are being subsidized by the United Arab Emirates and Qatar and therefore have an unfair advantage in operating lucrative flights from the Persian Gulf area into the U.S. (It should be noted that Etihad and Emirates, which operate out of Abu Dhabi City and Dubai, respectively, have greatly expanded the number of connecting flights to and through these cities from points in Asia—especially India—to destinations in the U.S.). Emirates is a subsidiary of The Emirates Group, which is wholly owned by the government of Dubai’s Investment Corporation of Dubai, while Etihad was established by royal decree in 2003. Its CEO is Australian James Hogan, former CEO of Gulf Air, who took over at Etihad in 2006.
The open skies policies supported by both U.S. political parties in the past have come under attack from United Continental Holdings, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines groups, as well as by a coalition that includes the Air Line Pilots Association, the Allied Pilots Association; the Airline Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; the Association of Flight Attendants; the Association of Professional Flight Attendants and the Communications Workers of America.
The crux of the position of the latter is included in a statement they directed at U.S. Travel which said, “The Gulf carriers claim that their subsidized expansion into the U.S. market is delivering economic benefits to the U.S. but the truth is that every roundtrip international flight that is lost to the Gulf airlines results in a net loss of more than 800 U.S. jobs. Furthermore, if U.S. carriers are pushed off of international routes, they’ll be forced to cut back on domestic routes to small and mid-sized communities too, cutting off millions of businesses and leisure travelers from the networks that connect them to destinations across the world. The Gulf nations’ subsidies are threatening a legacy and a service that our members are proud to provide the American public.”
But U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow would have none of it, replying, “Unfortunately, having carefully scrutinized the Big Three airlines’ and their unions’ recent position on Open Skies, we arrive at a diametrically opposite conclusion: contravening these open and transparent agreements that were negotiated in good faith holds dire consequences for sustaining the U.S. economic recovery and recent encouraging job growth. I say this on behalf of the industry that has restored jobs 33 percent faster than the rest of the economy since the ’07-’08 downturn, and is now responsible for 10 percent of all U.S. exports—partially thanks to Open Skies.”
Outlook: US Travel should prevail on this issue—despite all-channel campaign by open skies opens that has even placed ads in the Washington Metro system. As important as it may be to the travel industry, this is not a front burner issue, which means that Dow and the US Travel government affairs team has an advantage: They do their best work out of the public eye, through back channels and make certain to take no credit, encouraging their legislative partners to do so. Also, as some news accounts indicate, even some legislators who would normally be supportive of union positions are not sympathetic because they believe that the airlines have not reduced ticket prices or passed along to consumers the benefits of reduced fuel oil prices they’ve experienced since last year.