The Latest: Jing’s Top Four Trends in the Chinese Travel Market
Chinese travelers abroad will be spending less on shopping: But that does not mean that they won’t be spending less overall. This is the key takeaway that one received after hearing Yiling Pan, senior editor of the authoritative Jing Daily, tell delegates to Connect Travel’s recent RTO Summit East in New York City, identify four trends that “destination marketers and travel groups have to understand” if they want to bring more Chinese travelers to the U.S.
Almost all of what follows in INBOUND’s distillation of Pan’s remarks is in her own words.
The Four Trends
- Customization: There is an increasing need for customized travel tours, especially important to the high-end traveler from Chinas … those people who are rich and wealthy who want to get a luxury experience from their trip abroad. Data from HURUN (a Shanghai-based research and media company) indicate that high net worth respondents from their survey told them that they are truly looking into spending their money on customized and experiential travel abroad. And, according to another recent report published by a Chinese research firm, they said that the customized travel industry in China is still in its early development stages, and the online sales for such tours remain very low. So, it means there is significant room for growth. The market system has been around in China since 2000, but only 7.9 percent of customized tour revenue came from online booking in 2017. It means that there is room for a company to think about growing the business there.
- The Rise of Cultural Tourism: We think this trend starts from China’s millennium and Gen B generation who are young, who want to understand culture and the arts. But this trend has quickly spread over to older people as well. So, we see visiting cultural institutions—no matter if it’s a museum, art gallery or exhibition—is a must for Chinese visitors nowadays when they plan their trip. They especially to visit places that allow them to take great pictures—“Instagramable” pictures—so that they can share them on social media platforms in China.
Another thing related to this is that more and more young Chinse people are becoming micro- influencers on the social media. One of the things that they really like to share with people on their social media channel is their travel, including visiting the trendiest and the chic-est museums and art places abroad. So, we think this micro-influencer thing is actually reinforces people’s interest in cultural tourism here (in the USA).
- A Growing Need for Educational Tours: In Chinese families, the parents believe that to invest in their kid’s education is probably one of the most important things in their lives. When it comes to travel, they hope to take their kids abroad to be on a tour that can benefit them culturally and educationally. So many universities are super popular, hot destinations among Chinese families, Chinese parents, Chinese travelers.
For example, at Columbia University in the United States—I graduated from the school—I have noticed that each summer and winter, during vacation time, a lot of Chinese parents bring their kids there. They go there either individually or in a very small tour, in order to look into the University … so that their kids can see how it looks like to study in a school like this. The hope coming out of this tour is that they hope that their kids can someday study at Columbia—given the experience that they have had at the school. In the UK, a school like Oxford or Cambridge is constantly accepting requests for tours from Chinese families so that the families can check what the university is offering.
- Chinese Travelers are Spending Much Less on Shopping … especially on luxury goods. Normally, the United States is mostly more expensive than the luxury markets in Europe. One reason is that many luxury brands are originally from Europe, so it’s less expensive there. Recent data from the global management consultancy Oliver Wyman shows that shopping accounted for only 32 percent of the travel budget of Chinese travelers in 2018—a significant decrease from 41 percent in 2017. This trend is definitely going as we expected (and will be) more in the future.
People will spend much, much less in the future. However, we don’t think it’s bad news for the travel industry here. While it’s true that shopping is no longer the priority for them to be here (in the U.S.), but it doesn’t mean that they’re not spending on travel or spending anything less while abroad. It means that they’re looking for something new spend their money on.
Like for example, when looking for luxury services, they might want to stay at the top-notch luxury hotels here to get different experiences. They might want to enjoy fine dining at some great restaurant that they can never get in China—things like that. It’s no longer just material goods. They’re more looking into services and experiences.
For Hotelbeds, It’s Finally Showtime
For the first time since TUI sold off its Hotelbeds unit three years ago to the London-based private equity firm Cinven and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board followed by Hotelbeds’ subsequent acquisition of Tourico and GTA the following year, one got the sense last week at the company’s annual MarketHub Americas conference (this year in Cancún) that something really big is finally, really happening with a company that is, by far, the largest bedbank in the world and that its other components (including the tours, attractions and entertainment sector) are ready to grow. This was, in effect, the first MarketHub since the nearly complete integration of Tourico and GTA into the company.
One detected, as did INBOUND’s editor, that the pain felt by the reorganization, realignment and head-rolling that took place across and within the Palma de Mallorca-headquartered company throughout much of 2018 has ended—one delegate told us during a golf-car shuttle to our rooms, “The first nine months were really hard; then it got better.”— and that a new, more muscular organization was and is poised to maximize yield through its market dominance.
The MarketHub event also showed that the realigned company has a lot of companions facing forward: there were some 80 partners and sponsors in Cancún for the event, including a number of major hotel brands and some key destinations and attractions (Disney and Universal), as well as some other marquee names, such as Amazon and Google (Sorry, every slide from the Google presentation was marked “proprietary” and “confidential,” so we don’t have much to report on what its representative said), with about 300 or so official delegates on hand at the small convention center of the new Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres Resort & Spa. Its boutique ballroom feel helped foster an intimate rock-concert-type vibe which had people hooting and whooping whenever a favorite supplier or destination was mentioned.
“The last 12 months have been a bit of a challenge” declared Sam Turner, wholesale sales and sourcing director, his voice shifting to reflect relief, adding, “Thank you for your patience.” He then announced that, “after market acquisitions, we have become the clear market leader in the bedbank arena.” Cheers.
An oft-quoted veteran of the tour and travel industry whose career goes back more than 20 years, beginning with a tenure at Brittania Airways before it became a part of TUI AG, Turner then went on to discuss the near-term future for both Hotelbeds and the tour and travel industry in the context of the global economy and current industry trends, posting and commenting on information slides and key numbers as he did.
INBOUND also had the opportunity to speak with Turner one-on-one. That’s where he told us that the realignment is 95 percent complete. It has taken a while, he said, because the structure of Hotelbeds after its acquisitions of Tourico and GTA left it with unnecessary duplication. “There was no need to making three of everything—tour operators, loyalty players and so on,” he said.
Asked what’s left to do, he explained that, among other things, there are some contracts outstanding in several areas. Also, the company has to bring order to those who are engaged in the re-selling of Hotelbeds’ product.
Trends in a Nutshell:
—The macro trend suggests that (1) travel and tourism growth is likely to continue beyond that of the economy as a whole; (2) an overall economic slowdown is likely; and (3) a strong U.S. dollar is weakening demand.
— Travel distribution trends highlight: (1) there will be increased dominance on the part of leading OTAs; (2) there will be an increased focus on parity; and (3) maturity.
The first of the following three tables shows one basis for the company’s projection for its projected hotel industry trend:
And now, there is an increased focus by hotels on protecting rate parity, as 52 percent of people review hotel websites as a part of the search process, and 72 percent always, or mostly always, consider price comparison in booking. In the meantime, well prior to the MarketHub, Hotelbeds was creating a balanced mix of markets that it serves.
Some Key Talking Points Numbers for Hotelbeds:
—It now has 180,000 hotels and plans to add 10,000 a year—4,000 annually in the Americas.
—110,000 hotels own contracts.
—There are 3,500 hotels in its Guarantee program.
—It now has 18,000 activities (attractions, tours, entertainment, etc.).
—It has more than 1,000 contractors, over 600 engineers, 400-plus account managers, more than 800 call center staff, and more than 100 data and analytics specialists.
— Hotelbeds is now 7 times bigger than all of its competitors.
What’s Hot and Going to Get Hotter?
—Turner said that China will be the largest driver of change in the next 10 years. Already, right now, the China-to-USA corridor accounts for 3 percent of total volume.
—Hotelbeds now has 400 people in China.
—China has moved up to number 4 source market (the cluster of the UK, Germany and the USA comprising the Top 3) up from the number 5 spot a year ago. It was number 20 five years ago
Instant Poll Results: One feature of the morning presentations on the first day of the event was a pair of instant polls. Attendees were shown a flash poll on the big screen behind the conference room stage and asked to make their choice at that moment. Following are the poll result numbers as INBOUND was able to tally them. There were approximately 250 votes cast in a matter of seconds.
NAJ’s Founder on Why the Static FIT Rate has an Image Problem…and how to Fix it
Jake Steinman is founder and CEO of the NAJ Group, which created INBOUND as well as the series of Receptive Tour Operator Summits (in Los Angeles, New York and Orlando) which, each year, bring together receptives with travel suppliers and DMOs for educational sessions, networking and business meetings. These events give him both a reason and an opportunity to find out what is on the minds of receptives, who are responsible for providing travel product for millions of international visitors to the United States. We decided to talk to him recently about the state of the “Static FIT Rate.” Following are excerpts from our conversation.
INBOUND: Why do you feel the phrase Static FIT Rate is a problem.
JS: When you mention the phrase ‘Static FIT Rate’ to a hotel revenue manager or GM who has built their bookings through one series of sophisticated technology iterating after another, their mind conjures up something out of the buggy whip era. So, at the risk of sounding overly simplistic I believe it would be more productive to refer to it as the “International FIT Rate,” which not only sounds more contemporary, but also more accurately describes what it is. We’re going to be implementing this change in our “Educating the Independent Hotel Revenue Manager” presentation which we will share with all TourOperatorLand.com partners.
INBOUND: Recently, you’ve been speaking a lot about International FIT Rates and how they’re having an impact on the tour and travel industry right now. I would be interested in hearing more on the subject, but first, could you tell us just what you mean by International FIT Rates?
JS: Basically, “International FIT Rate” is where a hotel offers an allotment to a receptive tour operator of “X” number of rooms a day, or “X” number of rooms a week with variable net rates based on seasonal demand. The tour operators have what is called a “cutoff date” so that they can cancel those rooms before an agreed upon date so hotels have time to resell them. Usually, the hotels include blackout dates during extremely high demand dates.
Why the major chain hotels such as Marriot, Hyatt, Wyndham and others are moving to “dynamic’ rates is because the technology that’s available today enables them to vary the pricing to the operators on an automated basis so they can optimize yield in real time, which saves them the need to manage their inventory manually.
“It’s all about comparison shopping.”
INBOUND: I believe I’ve heard you say that among major chains, Hilton is still doing it that way.
JS: Yes, one of the receptives at RTO West told us that Hilton has suddenly opened up inventory to them on International FIT Rates he attributed to the fact that they had lost substantial business with last year’s “Stop Clicking Around,’ but consumers didn’t respond to that because they’ve been conditioned to go to Expedia or Booking.com, where they can easily evaluate the best available rates for a four-star hotel instead of just going to one brand after they see an ad. The OTAs have rendered the hotels a commodity by forcing rate parity agreements which basically require the rates to vary no more than a dollar from the hotels best available rate.
INBOUND: So, how are the receptives dealing with this?
JS: Most of the receptive operators are small businesses that have under 15 to 20 employees who don’t have the volume or financial resources to do enable them to directly connect to dynamic. They’ve either moved away from the FIT business which American Ring Travel, a mid-size RTO, has done so they can strictly focus on providing elevated service to groups. Those that have remained in the FIT business are either working with independent hotels who are open to International FIT Rates, or they are buying from their competitors like Hotelbeds, which has 180,000 hotels that they can access, in which case they are sacrificing margin. Additionally, I found out the hard way, they’re also buying from Expedia’s wholesale platform.
I recently traveled to Australia and New Zealand and booked the entire trip through a travel agent—Flight Centre—in New Zealand. At check-in there was a problem with the room and we requested to be moved but they wouldn’t comply because our room was booked through Expedia. The Flight Centre, perhaps the largest mass-market travel agency in Australia and New Zealand, sent us our itinerary and confirmations and I found the name of a wholesaler who I’d never heard as the source of our rooms. They told me our bookings were made through a wholesaler who offered better rates than theirs. At the hotel the front desk the wholesaler was booking through Expedia, which meant that three different entities were receiving commissions from that booking.
The smaller operators are really focusing now on group business, which is kind of increasing. Their value proposition is in their ability to tailor-make tours for operators with a client base who are willing to pay a premium to have everything done for them. Fortunately, Baby Boomers, who are entering retirement with time and money to travel, are the primary drivers of the trend towards tailor made vacations, and the desire for experiential travel that reflects the authenticity of the destination. Overseas operators and agents need to count on somebody who’s on the ground and they’re working through receptives who are transforming themselves into creative advisors to the advisors.
What will the Future Hold for Receptives?
INBOUND: How do you see all of this playing out? That is, with this situation changing so much, what it is going to look like in, say, three years?
JS: I see it moving into three different directions:
- Become DMCs for International MICE business. DMCs (destination management services) are group oriented and less price sensitive than leisure groups. The traditional US-based DMC’s work on lead times that can go from six months to a year while overseas corporations provide travel as the prize for reaching goals often set on quarterly or six-month basis. The receptive operators, who are more flexible and have in-destination relationships, are logical partners.
- Advances in Technology: Five years ago a receptive would need to invest at least $50,000 in up-front costs for a group booking system that would automate their processes. Today there are cloud-based systems that are affordable for companies with as few as five staff priced on a subscription model pay $150 to $200 or $300 a month for their own booking system per user.
- Continue to focus on Independent hotel properties:
—If a hotel wants fly-drive guests from many European countries where bookings are placed six-nine months in advance from printed brochures, dynamic rates will not work because regulations provide that quoted rates cannot be changed.
—While the independent hotels gladly accept group business, savvy receptives leverage their group as carrots for FIT contracts.
—Help independent hotels understand that the average booking lead time for RTOs is 6-9 months, while it’s 3.6 weeks for OTAs, which provides them with an early base from which to increase their average rate earlier to the next tier. Also, the cancellation rates for OTAs in now 40 percent with for RTOs in 3-6 percent.
Just in Time for IPW: How Do You Make the Most out of Those 20-Minute Appointments?
The tour and travel industry professionals who turned out for Connect Travel’s recent RTO Summit in New York City became part of the program in a type of crowdsourcing exercise, thanks to Sally Davis Berry, tourism consultant and author who made a presentation on how to make the best use of the time one has in the business appointments where success sometimes turns on what happens in a few seconds.
She turned the exercise over, in part, to the Summit delegates who were there to hear her discuss “Getting the Most out of 7-10-15 or 20-Minute Appointments.” Everyone seemed familiar with such meetings, with the 7-minute appointments being a well-known staple of NTA’s Travel Exchange; the 10-minute appointment period a standard for Connect Travel’s RTO Summit Series; and 20-minutes serving as a staple for IPW, which takes place in a few weeks (June 1-5) in Anaheim, California.
In order to get input from the delegates who attended, Davis-Berry asked each delegate to fill out the comment cards that had been placed at the tables in the RTO Summit conference room, and share with her their advice—in as few words as possible—on how to make the most of the 7-, 10- or 20-minute appointment.
She tallied and transcribed the scores of advice bytes written down by delegates and has shared them with INBOUND. We reviewed the scores of advice bytes and, from them, prepared the following sampler—just in time for those readers who will be going to IPW in Anaheim in several weeks for all those 20-minute business appointments with international tour operators and wholesale buyers from throughout the world.
Advice for 20-Minute Sessions
“Build some rapport outside of actual business. Showcase not only the individual destination, but regional offerings as well. Use a map to start the conversation.”—Hannah Oliver, tour and travel sales manager, Visit Loudon
“I always start by asking about their company’s needs and information about them so it frames the conversation.”—Sarah Winters, leisure sales director, North Lake Tahoe Chamber/CVB/Resort Association
“Always give an introduction/overview of organization and roles and what services we offer. Always ask for their needs and how we can help them. Most people know Las Vegas but not the full scope of services we can offer them.”—Katja Spitz, international market manager, Las Vegas CVA
“Be prepared to suggest how my region can be added to an itinerary with other regions in the state. Tours from farther away go to multiple regions and states.”—Tillie Youngs, sales manager,1000 Islands International Tourism Council
“Always prepare a ‘what’s new’ presentation. Keep personal information that I collect on my clients in Simpleview [software] so I can make notes before the appointment to have and discuss during our meeting.”—Leslie Straughan, senior account executive, New Orleans and Company
“You have time to ‘ease’ into the appointment a bit. Let the person sit comfortably, greet them warmly and start with a bit of small talk.”—Melissa Rose, group sales manager, Corning Museum of Glass
Advice for 10-Minute Appointments
“Ask about what they do and what they love about it. Lead them to talk about their passion.”—François Deslandres, go-to-market-manager, Bus.com Montreal
“Ask them what they currently offer in my destination and determine the need. Then respond with how my business can fulfill that need.”—Kieron Weidne0r, owner and adventure travel expert at First Nature Treks & Tours
“Try and think of every possible question a tour operator will ask ahead of time. That way, you don’t get caught off-guard AND you may even impress them!”—Bethany Lunden, social media & public relations strategist, BB&G Advertising, representing Rockland County Tourism
“I make sure my handouts always have a map of the US/State/Region – never assume people know.”—Josh Sanders, vice president of sales & tourism development, Oregon’s Tualatin Valley
“Ask them an interested question: ‘What are you looking to expand/offer?’ “—Bob Navarro, president and CEO of the I & M Canal Heritage Corridor CVB
“Research previous notes to have a start-up conversation that is relevant, and create a connection. Have a map to show your location.”—Vickie Evans, global tourism & partner sales at The Henry Ford
Tips for 7-Minute Appointments
“Do your homework-research the businesses you are meeting with and know what tours they are currently operating in your area.”—Laurel Bennett, vice president of tourism sales, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.
“Do research prior to appointments so I know what to talk about before sitting down, so we don’t waste any time (7 minutes goes really fast!”—Kalynne Defever, tourism specialist, Detroit Metro CVB
“For a seven-minute appointment I typically will show a video that highlights our top attractions and experiences. Better than images.”—Greg Edevane, director of global development, Countryside of Philadelphia
“Most want to know what’s “new.” I give bullet points on my fact sheet along with quick highlights of the new attractions. Then FOLLOW UP!”—Heather Colache, tourism account director, Meet AC, Atlantic City Convention & Group Sales
“Show routes that connect my state’s cities with those in other states in a sample brochure. Southern USA Road trips.”—Grey Brennan, deputy director, Alabama Tourism Department.
“Since our destination is so close to NYC and many operators are bused there, I immediately leverage Rockland’s proximity to the city. If they don’t know the area, they’re surprised and excited to visit.”—Chris Goodman, account executive, BB&G Advertising, representing Rockland County Tourism
To access the complete list of tips and advice from tour and travel industry pros, and for other helpful information, contact Sally Davis Berry via www.SallyDavisBerry.com.
How Channel Managers are Changing Attraction Distribution
By Bob Gilbert
(At Connect Travel’s recent RTO Summit New York, Bob Gilbert, CEO of Captivation Marketing, moderated a panel discussion on the ways in which channel managers are changing distribution for tour and activity companies. We asked him to synthesize the panel forum’s work and its topical discussion into a single piece so that we could share it with our readers. The multilingual Gilbert is well suited to the task, having served some four decades in a wide swath of the tour and travel industry, including key roles in the hotel, food service, tours and entertainment, destination marketing and travel trade publication sectors.)
Overlooked? No more: The $190 billion global tours and activity business is coming of age as more focus is given to this industry segment.
The most fun part of planning any leisure trip is deciding where to go. Sounds uncomplicated enough. The travelers will discuss the all the things they want to see or do in the destinations they are considering. They will compare the options. The decision is made and the transport and lodging is booked. Price is a secondary factor where most people’s thought process is made on the emotional side of the equation. In fact, according to an Expedia Media Group survey, price follows activities, bucket lists and cultural experiences in the decision path. Validating this is the fact that at least 97 percent of leisure travelers booked a tour, visited an attraction or did an activity on a trip in the past year, according to a recent Arival survey.
What’s upside down (or back to front) about the process is that the most significant part of trip (the experiences) are mostly not booked at the same time as the transportation and lodging. However, it’s the experiences that are remembered most, not the middle row of your flight or the hotel room next door to the elevator. The fastest growing experiences, according to TripAdvisor, are family friendly trips, then trips with a thirst to learn and engage with the community – one way and another. This includes classes or workshops, wellness, outdoor activities especially water sports and food and wine experiences – even marijuana facility tours in some states! Today’s travelers want to bring home memories not just a tan.
Today, booking software dominates: Trip Advisor (Viator’s parent) purchased Bókun; Booking Holdings purchased FareHarbor and rumors of consolidation and other mergers and acquisition abound.
When one studies the core differences between the booking software providers, these days there is little to meaningfully separate their competitive functionality. These differences are narrowing. So what are the key differences?
The most important piece of the puzzle is distribution: If we accept that fact that there are mainstream booking software businesses like Rezdy, Fareharbor, Peak Pro, TrekkSoft et als, in one camp, then we see more activity-specific providers who focus on museums, zoos, aquariums etc. Yet another group specializes in booking software for events and catering, the specialist list is getting longer day by day.
Now it gets more complicated. Is your booking software provider owned by an OTA? Does your booking software provider compete with you with a B2C and B2B facing strategy? Does your service provider have a variety of pricing options including monthly subscriptions and commission based?
The point is that you may have a product that you work hard at being unique and provide exemplary service with rave reviews. You work hard at building or licensing the best booking software for the best price point. (Unless you decide to pass the booking fee to the customer, which can be dicey, with a current 81 percent cart abandonment in online travel bookings.) Also check how many countries they operate in. You want reach vis distribution. To me, the most important piece of the puzzle is distribution. Built into distribution is channel management. Channel Management should provide you with a single point of contact for all of your booking agents, large or small.
If you want to play in the Big Boys OTA poker game, the cost of entry, (as well as the stakes), are high.
True channel management should allow you to pick and choose which OTA you wish to work with. Yes, it comes at a cost, 20 percent, 25 percent and perhaps 30 percent. But if you want to play in the Big Boys OTA poker game, the cost of entry, (as well as the stakes), are high. How much inventory do you want to offer to OTAs? 20 percent? More? How will you drive more direct or more profitable business?
Better to find a booking software provider that has the biggest list of agents in its marketplace and allows you to open and close inventory agent by agent (or collectively), and allows you to change commission and net rates “on the fly”. This then helps you develop a long tail distribution strategy.
There are thousands and thousands of smaller agents and tour operators out there who are happy to get 10 percent, 12 percent. 15 percent. And you are happy being more profitable conducting business with them as well.
These “long tail’ agents are tough to reach on your own. You also want a channel management platform where you can easily add your own agents. Remember to compare both booking software costs as well channel management costs.
The next part of the journey is revenue management (AKA dynamic pricing): This, as it was back in my hospitality days, will become increasingly relevant as suppliers “Channel Manage” with a well thought out pricing and distribution strategy. But remember, you can’t have a pricing strategy and dynamic pricing without a channel manager and its distribution. Today’s challenge is not about the lack of great tours and attractions, not the lack of booking software, it’s identifying which provider has the largest most comprehensive channel management platform. Today, huge distribution channels are easily accessible—you just have to do a little digging.
Centralized Channel Management is the future, existing methods are outdated, time consuming to manage & prone to errors. Channel managers offer two-way connections to the best booking sites & channels globally and locally. They can easily manage all your products online to increase revenue. Eliminate guesswork and use data to drive your decisions. Here is a guide to come key players (note that these companies often change options and pricing:
TrekkSoft (Established in 2010, Independent) https://www.trekksoft.com/
Highlights: A suite of tools to connect your front and back of house.
Channel Manager: Connects with leading OTA’s including Viator, Expedia, Get Your Guide, and more.
Pricing: Plans start from under $60 per month for their entry package and $225 a month for enterprise accounts. Offline booking fees start from $0.60, and online 2 percent.
Rezdy (Established in 2011, Independent) https://www.rezdy.com/
Highlights: Good solution for tour & activity companies of all sizes. Tailored to the type of business. Solid suite of customized reporting. Zapier and TOMIS integrated. Winner: Capterra Best Ease of Use Award 2018
Channel Manager: Most comprehensive Channel Manager with over 14,000 booking agents including OTA’s such as Expedia, Get Your Guide, Ctrip, Trip Advisor Experiences, Klook, Musement, Reserve with Google and more. $3.5 million in booking revenue daily.
Pricing: Rezdy pricing start at $49 a month for their entry plan up to $249 for Expansion (Enterprise accounts) and includes Developer API. Custom plans available. Offline booking from 0.70 cents. Online bookings from 1.75 percent.
FareHarbor (Established in 2013. Acquired by Booking Holdings in 2018) https://fareharbor.com/
Highlights: Pay as you go models. Scale could be a challenging. No Zapier integration and unable to bundle multiple products on one package. Suitable for smaller businesses.
Channel Manager: You can connect with Booking.com and other larger OTAs.
Pricing: Suppliers are charged a credit card processing fee and supplier passes fees to customers as a suggested 6% “convenience fee.”
Peek Pro (Established in 2012. Independent) https://www.peek.com/pro/
Highlights: Peek has both a B2B as well as B2B offerings. Acquired many Zozi assets in 2017. Good shopping cart. Limited Reseller program.
Channel Manager: You can connect with Expedia and Viator with this solution. This could limit or restrict your audience, or increase admin time and costs to manage.
Pricing: $199 supplier set up fee, then 2.3 percent per transaction plus $0.30. Manual booking fees are also 2.3 percent per transaction plus $0.30. There is a commission charged for business booked via Peek B2C website (similar to OTA commissions)
(Full disclosure: Mr. Gilbert’s company, Captivation Marketing, handles business development for Rezdy.)
Nine out of 10 Say Destination Services are Important Part of Overall Travel Experience
Around 25 percent of travelers book destination services the day before travel, en route, or once they’ve arrived at their destination: Yet another study has been released that tells the tour and travel industry that tours, entertainment and experiences have become an integral part of what many travelers expect when they book their holidays
According to the just released results of a global survey conducted by Amadeus—the report is called “Get Ready for Destination X: Win traveler trust in the post-booking ancillary game”—a third of travelers say that destination services make or break a trip.
With the market for travel activities set to reach $183 billion by next year, the Amadeus survey results take on new meaning. In its list of results, Amadeus also reported the following:
—Around 50 percent of vacationers feel frustrated about traveling to/around their destination of choice.
—Ninety-three percent of travelers now consider ancillary destination services to be an important part of their overall travel experience.
—Two out of five travelers (40 percent) specifically believe ancillary destination services make their trips more productive and enjoyable.
—Forty-five percent of travelers say their mobile browser is the first place they go to discover what’s out there and 41 percent also use it to book their destination service.
—Around 25 percent of respondents book destination services the day before travel, en route, or once they’ve arrived at their destination.
—Twenty-seven percent of respondents identify having to use multiple apps as the number one frustration when searching for ancillary destination services.
—Almost a quarter of travelers lack time to properly evaluate what is available or plan when and how to do things during their trip, with 17 percent being unable to easily access destination services upon arrival.
—10 percent feel that they are not receiving sufficient guidance from their employer, travel agency or air/hotel supplier to keep them fully informed.
—For those typically booking three or more ancillary destination services, 34 percent say they do so primarily for leisure trips, while around 10% book the same amount for a business trip.
—Complementary services are the new name of the ancillary travel game, says the report, indicating that 72 percent of travelers are very receptive to receiving proactive suggestions about related destination services.
—A third say complementary services “truly enhance their trip experience”.
—Over half of travelers want travel brands to tailor destination content and shopping to their preferences and previous behavior.
—During the “discovering” stage of their holiday planning, only 5 percent of travelers want push notifications.
—After booking the trip, the demand for push notifications increases, peaking at 93 percent of survey respondents saying they would welcome receiving information about other complementary services or offers when they book an ancillary destination service.
—More than a quarter of respondents dislike visiting multiple apps and/or websites to access their desired ancillary destination services.
—When asked what single the biggest improvement they would like to see, over a third-ranked “having a single mobile point of access to relevant destination information” as number one.
—Travel has to be accessible to all. Among adults with disabilities who travelled by air, 72 percent have encountered major obstacles with airlines and 65 percent with airports. There are three specific areas travel providers must consider improving for travelers with health conditions or impairments.
—18 percent of travelers desire better-coordinated access to destination services across apps, chat, web and voice.
—Travelers are just beginning to open up to the possibilities of voice search with less than 5 percent saying that they search for destination services using voice recognition technology such as Alexa, Siri or Google.
Market from Argentina about to go Kerplop!
Travel Agent Sales down 29 percent for First 4 Months of Year: While it may come as a surprise to U.S. travel suppliers and those who occasionally follow the Argentinian inbound market, the developments in recent weeks show that a consistent diet of bad economic news threatens to upend leisure traffic from what has been a regular part of the Top 15 overseas source markets for the U.S.
One need not be a serious economist to know that these data show that the state of the Argentine economy is in seriously bad shape. Some numbers:
—GDP in for the first quarter of 2019 fell 6.2 percent vs. the same period a year ago. It was the worst quarterly performance since 2009, in the midst of the Great Economic Recession of 2008-09.
—According to Bloomberg News, the nation’s economy shrank 2.5 percent last year, the worst since 2014 when the nation defaulted on its debt under the previous government.
—Unemployment is above 9 percent.
—Argentina is in the midst of a two-year recession coupled with stubbornly high inflation, which has forced its central bank to take drastic measures to stabilize the peso, which lost 50 percent of its value against the dollar last year.
—A CNBC article last month said: “It (the Argentinian peso) is — by some distance — the world’s worst-performing currency so far this year.
—The Argentine peso was $0.06447 on May 12, 2017 and on May 12, 2019, it was $0.02255—a decline of 65 percent.
What Kind of Impact Will this Have on the Tour and Travel Industry? There should be little impact on travel to the U.S. over the next one or two quarters, as almost all long-distance travel has already been purchased and booked.
However, it will pose a serious problem for the country’s international tour operators, as many Argentines pay for their travel over time—mostly for 12 months. In such cases, the customer and travel agent are paying operators Argentine pesos. Yet, the operators usually pay for U.S. product in U.S. dollars. Since operators exist on small margins, a continued, declining economy could put some operators out business.
Such was the case in Brazil during its 2014-2016 economic crisis, which claimed one of the largest operators in the country—Nascimento Tourism—in the spring of 2015, when it went bankrupt. It was selling its Visit USA product in Brazilian reais, and trying to pay for it in U.S. dollars. It didn’t work.
Much of the U.S. inbound tourism industry will receive some in-person reports several weeks from now when Argentine operators show up for IPW June 1-5 in Anaheim. It appears likely that the positive forecast by the National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) is unlikely to be fulfilled. And it also looks like we at INBOUND were wrong when we wrote early this year that “NTTO is right to forecast a 3 percent increase in visits to the U.S. from Argentina in 2019.”
HODGE PODGE: Shifts, Shakeups and Occasional Shaftings in the Tour and Travel Industry
Phillip Jones is out as president and CEO of VisitDallas in a move that the organization called a “mutual decision.” Jones came under fire earlier this year after the Dallas City Auditor’s Office released a report about VisitDallas’ questionable spending and lack of transparency. The audit found, for instance, that Jones, who makes $700,000 a year, also expensed a $543 Tumi backpack and spent more than $17,000 on 18 hotel stays, despite VisitDallas rules limiting hotel reimbursement to $180 a night in all cities except New York, where the reimbursement can be $250 per night. Mark Woelffer, VisitDallas’ board chair, thanked Jones for his “great career” at the agency. Said Jones: “It has been a privilege to lead VisitDallas during an important period of growth for the organization and now it’s time for my next challenge.” Jones came to the agency in November 2003. Previously, he had been secretary of the Louisiana Department of Culture Recreation and Tourism for nearly 8 years.
Kyle Edmiston has been promoted to the post of president and CEO of Visit Lake Charles. He succeeds the retired Shelley Galloway Johnson who had served the agency for more than 30 years. Edmiston joined Visit Lake Charles in January 2018 as chief operating officer. Previously, he had been assistant secretary of the Louisiana Office of Tourism for nearly six years. Prior to that, Edmiston had been president and CEO of the Ruston-Lincoln CVB.
After 18 years with the company, Theodora Dimopoulou has left DER Touristik. In her position as vice president of air transportation, she had been responsible for all air matters, such as tour operators and consolidators within the company. Previously she had been country manager for Germany & Austria for World Span, and was a sales rep at American Airlines.
Patrice Geske, director of marketing (Canada) for the Globus family of brands and a 10-year employee, has chosen to retire at the end of June this year. “Patrice will definitely be missed, not only by our team here in Canada and around the world, but by the many travel retailers and suppliers she has dealt with over the years,” said Stéphanie Bishop, managing director for the Globus family of brands in Canada. Geske joined the company in 2009 as marketing manager. “This has been a wonderful part of my 38-year career,” she said, “And I will miss my friends and colleagues in the Globus family around the world.”
Colleen Buchanan has been appointed as destination sales manager at Visit San Antonio. Buchanan joined the bureau in Jan. 2017, as destination experience manager. She will work with partners at the Henry B. González Convention Center, hotels, meeting venues and attractions to coordinate in-market site visits.
Destinations International has hired Paula Beck as its new director of marketing in an effort to develop and implement analytics-driven marketing and branding strategies. Beck served as director of sales & marketing for eight years within Aramark’s Parks & Destinations division. From 2006 – 2010, Beck worked as marketing manager at onPeak in Chicago, a provider of hotel accommodations for events. She had been doing consulting work since moving to Alexandria, Virginia, in 2018
Eatwith (formerly VizEat), which specializes in immersive culinary activities, has appointed Ken Frohling as director of global development. A leading tourism specialist for more than 25 years, was recently vice president of global partnerships for the attractions division of TripAdvisor. Prior to that, he was part of the Viator.com management team, worked as a strategic advisor at Tiqets.com, served as Americas Region Manager at Cendant Corporation (HotelClub.com and RatesToGo.com), and was a sales manager at Atinera and at Renaissance Cruises.
Edward D. Sevilla has been appointed to the new position of senior vice president and chief development officer for the USS Constitution Museum in Boston. Sevilla joins the organization from national philanthropy consulting firm Grenzebach Glier + Associates (GG+A), where he served as senior vice president and a member of the leadership team. Earlier in his career, he served as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer in Hong Kong. The USS Constitution visited Macao, across the harbor from Hong Kong, during its world tour in 1844-6. The USS Constitution, launched in 1797 and named by President George Washington after the nation’s founding document, is the world’s oldest commissioned naval vessel still afloat.
Greg Takehara has been named CEO at Tourism Cares, the official philanthropy wing of NTA, which is based in Norwood, Massachusetts, and is widely known for its charitable work. Takehara, who has been with the organization for six-and-a-half years as a board member, was previously president of Kansas City-based Trip Mate Inc.
United Airlines has announced the hiring of Mariana Trevizan as sales manager for São Paulo, its main market in the country. She replaces Guilherme Dal Secco, who left the company in December. Mariana has more than 15 years of aviation experience. In the last two she worked at Copa Airlines, but previously served with Etihad, British and South African Airways.
David Filipiak has move up to the post of general manager at the National Geographic Encounter in New York City. Filipiak was previously director of sales for the attraction, which he joined in late 2016. Prior to that, he was director of groups at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum and, before that, manager of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Solenn Le Brazidec has been named general manager of Paris-based FCM Travel Solutions, which is part of the Flight Centre Group. She was promoted from the position of operations director for France & Switzerland. Le Brazidec has been with the company for 11 years.
After twenty years as a commercial manager, Sérgio Vianna is no longer part of the tour operator Abreutur. “After two decades working in the same company, I just have to thank Abreu. It was a school for me, a carrier that puts the customer first,” Vianna told a Brazilian travel trade journal.
Kim Butler has a new position as director of marketing for Dania Pointe, Florida—a 102-acre premier mixed-use development with almost 1 million square feet of retail and restaurants in addition to Class A offices, hotels, luxury apartments and public event space which it bills as “in the heart of South Florida’s tourist mecca” Butler was vice president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB for nearly four years before she left the bureau Clarks also served as director of marketing communications for the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority in Atlantic City before moving to Florida.
James Villas has appointed Expedia’s Andreas Nau as its new managing director. Nau was managing director EMEA at Expedia where he served from 2011.He has also worked at Tui where he led the hotel contracting strategy and managed its car hire division. Nau began his new job on May 15.
Monya Mandich has been named global vice president, marketing, at Expedia Group. Previously, she served as senior director, global marketing and public relations, for the company. Mandich joined Expedia in 2009 as manager, marketing and communications.
Long-time tour and travel industry leader Matt Stiker has been named president of Garrand Moehlenkamp, a Portland, Maine communications and marketing agency. He had been serving as chief marketing (and Nourishing) Officer. Siker is a former chief marketing officer for City PASS, and has also served as executive vice president and chief marketing officer for the San Francisco Travel Association.
Happy Work Anniversaries
Brandon Barnes for 19 years at Atlanta CVB
Steve Markuson for 9 years at Twin Cities Gateway CVB
Steve Silver for 4 years at Voyage Privé
Daniel Oppenheim for 4 years at Hearts on Vacation
Lisa Milne for 3 years at JUCY Group
Megan Singleton for 2 years at Travel Store
Roselle Masse for 1 year at W2M WORLD2MEET
Posted Industry Jobs
In Pennsylvania, Discover Lancaster is looking for a new president and CEO. For more details, read here.
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is looking for a new president. For more details, visit here.
The Greater Miami CVB has an opening for a vice president of people strategies. For more details, visit here.
Team San Jose has an opening for a vice president of sales & destination services. For more details, visit here.
The Rochester, Minnesota Convention & Visitors Association is looking for an executive director. For more details, visit here.
The Arlington (Texas) CVB has an opening for a vice president of sales. For more details, visit here.
Galveston Island Park Board of Trustees is looking for a chief tourism officer. For more details, visit here.
Visit Seattle has an opening for a director of sales. For more details, visit here.
Source: SearchWide Global