Hotelbeds Details its Restructured Leadership Team for Bedbank
Announcement Follows Last Year’s Acquisition of Tourico, GTA: The Hotelbeds Group, the largest bedbank in the world, has unveiled its new management team, following last year’s acquisition of U.S.-based Tourico Holidays and GTA, which is headquartered in the UK. The business unit of the company is called Bedbank. Hotelbeds is headquartered in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. All three companies are represented in the new management structure.
The following moves come in the wake of a strategic review of the business after the two acquisitions:
- Asi Ginio, who was CEO of Tourico, becomes director of commercial strategy & strategic partnerships
- Alex Brandle, previously senior vice president of business transformation director at GTA, is now director of global business services.
- Peter Mansour has been appointed director of product management, having previously worked for companies such as Microsoft and eBay.
- Alistair Roger, who was senior vice president of global sales at GTA to become director retail travel agencies.
- Sam Turner, previously director of sales at Hotelbeds, takes on the role of director wholesale and sourcing.
- Gareth Matthews will continue as director marketing and communications for the enlarged group, including Tourico Holidays and GTA brands. He will also become responsible for sponsorship partnerships.
All members of the new management team will report to Carlos Muñoz, managing director of Bedbank.
Munoz said: “In just over three months the integration has progressed significantly. Cross-selling is already underway across the various businesses and already we’re recruiting an additional 200 roles in the contracting and yield teams – who will fulfill our objective of directly contracting 10,000 new hotels over the coming three years.
“To reflect this strong leadership position after careful consideration we have adapted the departmental structure of our Bedbank business, he added. “We have created these new areas and appointed senior management from across our three brands to lead them, even bringing in new talent from outside of the business.”
Hotelbeds Group is owned by the London-based private equity firm Cinven and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, which acquired the company in April 2016. It has an inventory of more than 170,000 hotels in more than 185 countries worldwide.
Behind the Decline in U.S. Share of the Global Travel Market
The increasing growth and strength of China during the past decade as both a destination that attracts tourists and as a source market that sends more of its people traveling internationally than any other country comprises is just one of the challenges to those who want to measure the true worth of a country’s share of the international travel market. After all, the majority of outbound travel from China goes to regional destinations, such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, the Philippines and India—travel that is essentially short-haul.
Why the Measure is still so important: A basic tenet of the tour and travel industry’s campaign in the 00s to establish a national tourism marketing office lay in the point, stressed over and over again, that the U.S. was not competitive enough and was losing its share of the international travel market. The hope was that, with the passage into law of the 2010 Tourism Promotion Act and the creation of Brand USA (officially, the Corporation for Travel Promotion), the U.S. would be better able fight to recoup its share of the world market, which was a high as 9.93 percent in 1992.
A 20-Year Window: So, what happened to the USA’s share in the past 20 years, including the five-plus years that Brand USA has had to mount a marketing program abroad? From 1998 to 2017, the U.S. share has fallen just over 23 percent, or 1.78 percentage points. At first blush, the 1.78 percentage points seem small. But realize that one per cent of the global total for 2017 amounts to 22.8 million.
While partial numbers are available for 2017, the latest full-year data for outbound travel captured by the Top 10 destinations for international arrivals are for 2016. They are as follows.
A Note on the Top Ten: The top 10 countries in the year 1995 accounted for 54.0 percent of arrivals in 1995 but a record low 39.4 percent in 2015. The top ten countries in 1995 had lost a combined 14.6 percentage points over the years. Only China and Germany have gained share during the period, and Germany’s growth is recent following a major decline in share. The USA’s 21 percent loss in share during this period is only sixth worst among the 8 “losers.” That is, five of the original 1995 top ten countries would love to have the USA’s 21 percent loss since their loss was larger.
More on why it is Dicey to Rely on Share as a Key Metric: From our review of the process that comprises the production of the figures in the two tables above, as well as our conversations and e-mail exchanges with some experts in the field—in particular some of the analysts at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO)—INBOUND suggests that those who use market share as a key metric in making a case for or against promoting to, or competing in or against a particular international market, should be aware of some caveats germane to the process:
— Many of the factors influencing travel to the USA are beyond the industry’s control, such as the cost of airline fuel; currency exchange rates; natural disasters; and political upheaval.
—Most of the top destinations are losing share due to the growth of outbound travel from Asia and intra-regional Asia visitation, which is, or used to be as high a share of intra-regional cross-visitation in any global region (That is, is Germany’s slightly better performance recently a result of more French, Spaniards, and Italians going to Germany?)
—Countries do not count inbound volume the same way, using these methodology or definitions: UNWTO recommends countries don’t count students or persons visiting students, but NTTO does; this means more than a million students in school year 2016/17. Assume they go home and come back a few times. Assume parents visit once or twice a year. Some countries count visitation from foreign nationals living abroad. NTTO doesn’t.
—Methodology changes. The United States began to include “one-night only auto arrivals” in 2014, which boosted volume 4-5 percent in that year versus 2013. And one can expect India’s share of global to double when they begin to count visiting foreign nationals, which they say they are poised to do;
—USA really only competes for only a long-haul subset of total outbound travel from any and all markets. Conversely other countries don’t compete with short-haul to the USA from Canada and Mexico; to a great extent they don’t compete with Canada snowbirds—many of whom have semi-permanent RV homes at RV resorts—in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California…who have semi-permanent RVs at RV resorts.
—Again, inbound can and does combine all travel, the equivalent to which we call travel between the USA and Canada/Mexico, including short, cross-border auto travel.
—When one removes what some consider the non-marketable travel segments (business, VFR, medical, foreign students), it’s a subset of a subset. A more useful share analysis would be country specific and require data not currently publicly available to the travel industry.
Under Fire, Ronnie Burt Resigns as Visit KC CEO
Harassment Suit against Him is Settled: Ronnie Burt has resigned from his position as president and CEO of Visit KC. The resignation is effective Jan. 31. Burt, who came to Visit KC in June 2014 from Destination DC, where he was vice president of sales and services, had become the subject of employee complaints and a lawsuit filed by the organization’s former human resources manager Janette Barron.
Barron, a 21-year employee of the Kansas City bureau, claimed she was fired from the organization after she sought an investigation into claims of Burt’s alleged harassing and bullying behavior toward female employees. That lawsuit reached a settlement last week (on Jan. 10), according to court records. Attorneys for Burt and Barron were not available to discuss the settlement.
According to news accounts on the matter, it seems that things were triggered when Burt fired Barron in March 2017. Barron filed a lawsuit against Burt and Visit KC five months later on Aug. 25, 2017, alleging that she had received complaints from multiple employees about “Burt’s harassment, bullying and retaliation of female employees.”
The issue had not received much attention until last month, when the Kansas City Star reported that Burt had written a letter to Visit KC’s board claiming that employees at Visit KC were trying to undermine him and that then-board chairman Kevin Pistilli, owner of the Raphael Hotel Group asked him to resign in November.
Pistilli had told board members in an email that some of Burt’s claims were partly or entirely inaccurate, and confirmed that the organization was investigating complaints about Burt made by Visit KC employees.
In a statement released by Visit KC, Burt said: “It is with mixed emotions that I submit my resignation as your President and CEO. I have made the decision that now is the best time for me to move on and consider other opportunities. I am proud of the achievements made since 2014 with the support and hard work of the Visit KC Team.”
“I would like to thank him for his service and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” said newly appointed Visit KC board chairwoman CiCi Rojas, president and partner in Tico Productions. a multi-media marketing and production company, said in a written statement. “On behalf of the Board, we also want to thank all Visit KC employees for their hard work and dedication in realizing many achievements over the last few years.”
The board was expected to name an interim CEO shortly, then launch as search for a permanent replacement of Burt.
Birth Tourism is Lucrative and … Legal?
Still bedeviling U.S. law enforcement officials is the challenge of what to do to those women who visit the United States long enough to have a baby, thus guaranteeing the newborn’s status as a U.S. citizen. A couple of recent news items that focus on the practice in California and Florida remind us that the problem it entails still lives.
Background: The issue at hand came to be about a decade ago as wealthy Chinese travelers figured out that it was worth the exorbitant fees into the tens of thousands of dollars were worth a two-week-to-a-month leisure that included a visit to a hospital in California in order to deliver a baby, followed by a period of recuperation or recovery for both mother and child, because the child—by virtue of the fact that it was born in the USA—would be a U.S. citizen.
At about the same time, travel planners in China discovered that the process was more convenient if one went to Saipan, where the administrative center for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)—a collection of 15 islands in the sparsely populated southwestern part of the Pacific Ocean—is located.
Because of its status as a U.S. Commonwealth, there are certain legal prerogatives that it has. Among them is waiver of visas it authorizes for more visitors from more than 60 nations, including China.
Also, it is less in inconvenient and a shorter flight (about 4 hours and about 1,890 miles from Shanghai) to Saipan than it is to San Francisco, which is more than 6,000 miles from Shanghai.
NBC News followed a DHS crew as it went into The Carlyle, a luxury property in Irvine, Calif., that has apartment units for the mothers-to-be, who reportedly have paid more than $40,000 n order to have their baby born in the U.S. Apparently, those with enough wealth prefer to have their child in a mainland U.S. city because they are more prestigious places.
On the other side of the USA, Homeland Security agents went after women for the same purpose, as NBC filmed some Russian women displaying their new U.S. cities while at Miami Beach.
In both California and Florida, the DHS is not after the mothers for any criminal activity; they are after the individuals who run the rings that solicit mothers-to-be for Birth Tourism packages. The mothers can get into trouble, however if—when applying for a visa to travel to the U.S., they lie about their reason for visiting the USA.
Go on the Road with TourOperatorLand.com and Explore Marketing
Join NAJ’s TourOperatorland.com and its partner, Explore Marketing, as it goes on the road with a four-day day sales mission to New York City and New Jersey. On this trip, filled with at least 16 sales calls, the group will visit receptive tour operators and wholesalers, covering international markets from across Asia, Europe, Australia, and South America.
“Receptive operators in New York have spread out to Queens, Long Island City, Flushing as well as parts of New Jersey,” said Betsy Cooper, Touroperatorland.com community manager. “We’re one of the sponsors of this sales mission because we like the efficiency of the turnkey—no muss no fuss—program that Stefan has developed.” Up tosix6 suppliers and DMOs can sign up to participate on this sales trip. Time & Location: Mar 19 – 22, 2018. For more information or to sign up, visit:
Q: How Many Chinese Travel to Europe? A: What Figure do you want to Hear?
In the midst of a long article last week that posed the question which asked just how many Chinese are visiting Europe, Jing Travel reported, “the real story is, of course, that no one seems to know how many Chinese tourists visit Europe each year. That’s a problem.”
An accurate answer, however elusive, is necessary for those who want to measure the ROI of any investment of funds to expand the promotion of travel to the member nations of the European Union (EU) which, along with China, has just launched the China-EU Tourism Year. The latter is aimed at promoting tourism and cultural exchanges between China and the 28 members (soon to be 27, when the UK formally withdraws from the EU in 2019) of the European Union.
As it wrestled with information from many sources, Jing Travel told its readers the following:
—12 million Chinese tourist visited Europe in 2015, according to documents released by the China-EU Tourism Year.
—However, 5.5 million Chinese travelers were projected to visit Europe in 2017, according to one state-funded source.
—But tourist visitor numbers were supposed to have grown by 65 percent in the first half of 2017 vs. the same period in 2016, reported yet another source, the State Council of the People’s Republic of China.
The numbers above simply don’t square with the most recent data on visa issuances, because:
—In 2016, there were 2.1 million Schengen visas issues to Chinese nationals (“Schengen” covers the core nations of the EU plus some non-European Union countries*).
—In the same year, the United States issued just under 2 million visas to Chinese nationals, yet attracted 2.97 million Chinese visitors. (It should be noted that U.S. visas issued to Chinese visitors are valid for 10 years; as such, the total number of visitors for a year may not match the number of visas issued.)
If The United States Counted Tourists the Same Way, it would Claim over 10 Million Chinese Arrivals:
As the Jing Travel report put it, the variance in numerical totals is due to the way the visitors are counted: “In most European countries, a Chinese tourist who crosses the border from another European country (and stays for at least one night) is counted as an arrival. The very same tourist is also counted as an arrival at the country where they entered Schengen, as well as in all other European countries where they spend a night or more throughout their visit. For travelers in tour groups who are bused between European countries, this often means that each traveler is counted as arrivals a handful of times if not more. Consequentially, a tour group of, for example, 20 Chinese travelers, may end up recorded as 100 or more ‘arrivals’ to the continent.”
* NOTE: The Schengen Agreement was signed in 1985 by five member nations of the European Economic Community. It subsequently grew to encompass more than two dozen European nations.
The Schengen Area, named after “the Schengen Agreement” signifies a zone where 26 different European nations, acknowledged the abolishment of their internal borders with other member nations and outside, for the free and unrestricted movement of people, goods, services, and capital, in harmony with common rules for controlling external borders and fighting criminality by strengthening common judicial system and police cooperation.
Through Schengen Area, the borders between European countries are only existent on maps, as 400 million nationals of 26 member countries experience free within and outside the area—as within a single country, since every country share the common travel and movement rights.
Schengen Area countries include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
Receptive Tour Operator of the Month
American Ring Travel Inc. is an inbound tour operator specializing in individual fly-drive tours, hotel stays, escorted motorcoach tours, and special groups throughout the United States. Since the company’s inception in 1983, it prides itself in offering excellent service, a multilingual staff, flexible products, accommodations in all major national park lodges, and custom-made fly-drive guidebooks
The TourOperatorLand.com website by the NAJ Group (it also publishes the Inbound Report) has introduced both receptive tour operators, U.S. tour operators and international tour operators to travel product and services of U.S. travel suppliers and DMOs. Visitors to the website can use its exclusive Receptive Finder™ to find the right RTO. It is designed to help both the travel trade and travel suppliers find the right U.S. based receptive tour operator to sell their products on the international travel market place.
The receptive operators, who are vetted and qualified by the NAJ Group also take part in at least one of NAJ’s RTO Summits series. The Summits take place annually in Los Angeles (Feb. 21-22, 2018), New York City (April 17-18) and Orlando (October 24-25, 2018). You can connect with American Ring Travel at this year’s RTO Summit in Los Angeles.
For more information, visit www.TourOperatorLand.com
The Wildfires in Sonoma May Be Out But the Regions Hospitality Industry is HOT!
At a Glance: Houston
For full information CLICK HERE
HODGE PODGE: Shifts, Shakeups and Occasional Shaftings in the Tour and Travel Industry
Mark Crabb has been named vice president of convention sales and destinations services at the Greater Palm Springs CVB. He joins the bureau from Sonoma County Tourism, where he served for nearly 10 years. Prior to that, he was deputy director of the Lee County (Fla.) visitor and convention bureau.
Andrew Botterill, former dnata Travel Europe chief executive, has taken a majority stake in Travcorp Holdings Ltd. He will become chairman of Travcorp – which comprises OTA Holidaygems.co.uk and the B2C Destination2.co.uk – on February 1. Botterill left dnata last year after three years leading the integration of Gold Medal Travel, Travel 2 and The Global Travel Group, among others. Prior to that he was chief executive of Stella Travel Services UK and also Global. Botterill told the British travel trade publication TTG that he hopes the company will become a platform for the acquisition of further travel businesses.
Kristine Puckett is the new deputy tourism director for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. She will be in charge of marketing and the operations budget for the department. Also, she’ll coordinate the annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference for tourism. Puckett has worked with the department since 2002, and was formerly the development manager.
Jennifer Davies has been named by the San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA) as the organization’s first director of cultural tourism, Balboa Park. In her new role, Davies will oversee the SDTA’s Balboa Park-focused cultural tourism initiatives, working to promote Balboa Park as a nationally recognized cultural icon and generate travel to the San Diego region. Prior to joining the SDTA, Davies served as the assistant dean of external affairs for UC San Diego Extension and vice president of external affairs for the Downtown San Diego Partnership.
In France, Top of Travel announced that Jean-Claude Gaudin has taken over responsibility for Top of Travel Group Services. Jean-Claude has over 20 years’ experience in the groups market, notably at Thomas Cook, where he held the position of group operations manager.
Montréal-based Air Transat has appointed Liz Langan as its UK sales manager for southern England. Langan joins from Oman Air. Langan has 15 years of experience in airline sales working with airlines including Air Canada and Etihad Airways before joining the Canadian leisure carrier.