Splitty, PacketZoom in San Francisco’s startup spotlight

Splitty, PacketZoom in San Francisco’s startup spotlight

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A bargain travel hunter claims that it can find dramatic savings on hotel reservations, in some cases up to 25% compared to other booking services, was the winner of last week’s EyeforTravel San Francisco startup contest. A big claim, from the small firm which beat runner up PacketZoom in final vote from conference attendees.

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May 2, 2017 at 02:15AM

News: InterContinental Residences Saigon leads Vietnam serviced apartment sector

News: InterContinental Residences Saigon leads Vietnam serviced apartment sector

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InterContinental Residences Saigon has continued to lead the serviced apartment sector in Vietnam. The prospects within the sector continue to look promising this year, as the government committed to make Vietnam an investment destination.

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May 2, 2017 at 02:09AM

News: Leeu Collection signs for first property in London

News: Leeu Collection signs for first property in London

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Leeu Collection has acquired its first London property, following an extensive search to find the perfect opportunity in the city. It is now the proud owner of 55 Newman Street, a former office building with detailed planning consent to create a 100-bedroom luxury hotel, in the heart of fashionable Fitzrovia in the West End.

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May 2, 2017 at 01:38AM

News: Air Malta to re-launch flights to Tunis Carthage Airport in June

News: Air Malta to re-launch flights to Tunis Carthage Airport in June

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Air Malta is reconnecting Malta to North Africa following the re-start of scheduled services between the islands and Tunis Carthage Airport as from Monday, June 26th. “We are very excited to announce that we will be returning to North Africa this summer with up to three direct flights a week,” said Paul Sies, Air Malta chief commercial officer.

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May 2, 2017 at 01:29AM

Video: IHG CEO Says ‘We’re Big Enough’

Video: IHG CEO Says ‘We’re Big Enough’

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Skift

IHG CEO Richard Solomons was interviewed at the first annual Skift Forum Europe. Skift

Skift Take: IHG CEO Richard Solomons isn’t interested in scale for scale’s sake.

— Deanna Ting

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) CEO Richard Solomons may have started the current wave of consolidation we’re seeing in the hospitality sector when IHG announced its $430 million purchase of boutique hotel pioneer Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants in 2014, but he isn’t one to follow the crowd.

“We’re big enough,” Solomons told Skift CEO and Founder Rafat Ali while being interviewed on stage that first annual Skift Forum Europe held in London in April.

While Solomons isn’t interested in buying up any other brands at the moment, his company is more focused on growing and evolving the brands it already has to engage with consumers, investing in mobile, and building up brand loyalty.

Solomons also doesn’t think the “direct booking wars” between hotels and online travel agencies (OTAs) are a battle in any regard.

“We want to target those people who can be brand loyal and are interested in being brand loyal and get them to book direct,” Solomons said.

And when it comes to the future of hospitality, Solomons isn’t shying away from looking at the capabilities of machine learning, chat bots, artificial intelligence, and voice search.

You can watch the full discussion below.

Note: Initial planning is in full-swing for our flagship event Skift Global Forum, which will be held September 26-27 in New York City. We wanted to make sure our most loyal Skift readers were able to purchase their tickets early and were rewarded for doing so. That’s why we’ve re-opened up our previously sold out early bird discount for an additional 35 tickets. Attendees can now save $800 per ticket on the largest creative business conference in travel.

Read more coverage of Skift Forum Europe 2017.

At this year’s inaugural Skift Forum Europe in London, travel leaders from around the world gathered for a days of inspiration, information, and conversation on the future of travel.

Visit our Skift Global Forum site for more details about 2017 events, including our New York City event September 26-27.

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May 1, 2017 at 11:37PM

Nearly Half of Tourism Boards Think Working With Influencers Is a Good Idea

Nearly Half of Tourism Boards Think Working With Influencers Is a Good Idea

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Destination Cleveland Cavaliers

Skift Take: Influencers are increasingly important for DMOs looking to reach and engage with its audience over social media. Overall they are also considered as a good ROI.

— Dave Montali

Last week we launched the latest report in our Skift Research service, The State of Destination Marketing 2017 accompanied by our comprehensive Data Sheet: Digital Destinations Global DMO Survey Results 2017.

Below is an excerpt from our Skift Research Report. Get the full report here to stay ahead of this trend.

One way that destination marketing organizations (DMOs) promote their brands is through teaming up with influencers, and around 44 percent report a very high or good return on investment (ROI) from working with influencers, such as bloggers, Instagram stars, and others with a large presence on social media.

“Influencers are like an extension of our sponsored-content efforts, allowing us to reach audiences where they are consuming media in a voice that is natural, native and non-DMO,”  says Greg Newland, executive vice president, marketing and communications at Travel Portland in Oregon.

Preview and Buy the Full Report

However, as with all aspects of digital marketing, DMOs need to be strategic when it comes to running programs with influencers. Traditionally, DMOs and influencers have often worked together on an ad-hoc basis, in which bloggers or others with large followings request free stays or press trips in return for coverage on their blogs and social media channels, and many of the respondents we surveyed expressed trouble in finding appropriate influencers; there were even complaints that influencers were too “high maintenance.” Others have had more success with influencers; for example, the Tempe Tourism Office recently hosted a group of four influencers, which resulted in over two million total impressions.

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This is the latest in a series of research reports, analyst calls, and data sheets aimed at analyzing the fault lines of disruption in travel. These reports are intended for the busy travel industry decision maker. Tap into the opinions and insights of our seasoned network of staffers and contributors. Over 200 hours of desk research, data collection, and/or analysis goes into each report.

After you subscribe, you will gain access to our entire vault of reports, analyst calls, and data sheets conducted on topics ranging from technology to marketing strategy to deep-dives on key travel brands. Reports are available online in a responsive design format, or you can also buy each report a la carte at a higher price.

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May 1, 2017 at 10:34PM

Fornova brings in $17 million to expand hotel intel and marketing tech

Fornova brings in $17 million to expand hotel intel and marketing tech

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Hotel technology provider Fornova has secured a $17 million financing round led by Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners.

The Israel-based company also attracted participation in the Series B round from Waypoint Capital and a previous backer, JAL Ventures.

It had previously received an undisclosed amount as part of a Series A investment in October 2015.

Fornova has two main strands to its product: a market intelligence platform for hotels fo collect and analyse information about the market and their pricing strategy; and a distibution and channel management service.

The investment will be used to support the expansion of the sales and marketing behind the company, as well as on product development.

CEO Dori Stein says:

“The hotel industry is at an inflection point in its struggle to optimize online revenue and drive sales.

“In spite of the proliferation of new technologies and revenue solutions, hoteliers continue to overlook the fundamentally dynamic nature of the online marketplace.”

The company is growing quickly, having 70 staff this time last year to a total of 115 spread over four other locations elsewhere around the world (London, New York, Amsterdam and in the Uktraine).

It claims to have 13,000 hotels using the product, including those from Marriott, Hilton, Premier Inn and NH Hotels.

Fornova didn’t start out with a focus on travel. At first, it used its platform for big consumer brands such as Nike, Gucci, Nordstrom, and IKEA.

But over the course of the last 18 months it has pivoted to concentre solely on the hospitality sector.

Deutsche has previously invested in home-sharing service 9Flats.

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May 1, 2017 at 10:02PM

And the Worst Airline on the Planet Is…

And the Worst Airline on the Planet Is…

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The worst airline in the world has just been announced, and the airline in question isn’t taking the results lying down.

At the end of last week, Watchdog Choice and “10 other consumer groups” announced the results of the results of a survey that polled roughly 11,000 international travelers to ask them who they thought the best and the worst airlines in the world were.

The results, said Watchdog Choice, are irrefutable: budget Australian airline Jetstar was the worst of the worst. Of those surveyed, one in three said they’d experienced flight delays (a four-hour wait on average) and their overall satisfaction rating was just one out of five. Customers also complained about hidden fees, or as Watchdog Choice’s head of media called it, “sneaky pre-ticked extras.”

Once the results went public, Jetstar responded by saying that it simply didn’t accept the ranking. Firstly because Watchdog Choice “seem[s] to enjoy criticizing airlines without understanding the safety standards we operate to or recognizing the role of low cost carriers in making travel more affordable for millions of Australians.”

Secondly because the survey didn’t include Jetstar’s direct competitor Tigerair Australia in the survey, so it’s impossible to know which budget airline is really the worst. Choice says it left the airline out because Tigerair only received 100 or so responses, a sample size too small to count.

And they maintain that their results are still accurate, saying that the survey “is yet more evidence that Jetstar needs to clean up its act. It’s one thing to be low cost but quite another to be low rent.”

While Choice and Jetstar may have to agree to disagree, the top airlines on the list seem to have no qualms about their ratings. Emirates was rated the best airline in the world, closely followed by Avianca, Qatar Airlines, Luxair and Singapore Airlines.

 

You can read more about the best and the worst airlines here.

 

Have you ever flown with Jetstar? Do you agree with any of these results?

 

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May 1, 2017 at 06:48PM

Airbnb Settles Lawsuit With Its Hometown, San Francisco

Airbnb Settles Lawsuit With Its Hometown, San Francisco

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Airbnb and another short-term rental company, HomeAway, brought the lawsuit against San Francisco in June over a decision by the city’s Board of Supervisors to fine the companies $1,000 a day for every unregistered host on its service.

The board imposed the fines after it realized that hosts had not been complying with a cumbersome process passed in 2014 that asked them to register in person at a city office overseeing short-term rentals. Airbnb was so influential in the creation of the original rule that it was often referred to as the Airbnb law. Airbnb responded to the fines by suing the city.

David Campos, a former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, said at a news conference announcing the settlement, “Three years ago, we said the law being passed, which was written by Airbnb, won’t work because there was no skin in the game in terms of enforcement.”

Under the settlement between the city and the companies, Airbnb and other services like HomeAway will collect data from people who rent their homes out for less than a month on their sites. San Francisco will use that information to vet and register hosts.

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A group funded by Airbnb put up billboards around San Francisco in 2015 opposing a measure restricting short-term rentals.

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Jason Henry for The New York Times

Companies like Airbnb will have to regularly provide the city with the data it needs to enforce local laws. The companies will also cancel reservations and deactivate listings if the city notifies them of an invalid registration.

The city also preserved its ability to hold companies like Airbnb accountable by fining them $1,000 per violation if they do not take down illegal listings.

“There are 2,100 registered hosts and about 8,000 listed. We don’t have exact numbers, but it’s not a secret that there are a lot of folks gaming the system and violating the law,” Dennis J. Herrera, the San Francisco city attorney, said.

Airbnb said the deal with San Francisco was the latest step in its plan to work with local governments on short-term rental legislation and tax collection. The company has come to similar agreements in New Orleans and Chicago.

“We want to work with cities as partners,” said Chris Lehane, the head of public policy at Airbnb. “We are appreciative of the work with the San Francisco city attorney’s office.” Mr. Lehane said the new system would likely be put into effect by 2018.

Mr. Lehane declined to say how settling outstanding legislation would affect the company’s ability to go public. He said complying with laws and working with local governments would allow Airbnb to “build the foundation” and make sure it was “getting the basics right.”

The settlement is contingent on the approval of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, some of whom spoke favorably of the deal at a news conference hosted by Mr. Herrera.

Airbnb also said last week that it would allow the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing to conduct fair-housing tests on hosts in California. Under the agreement, state agents can pose as potential travelers to see whether a host complies with antidiscrimination and fair-housing laws.

“This is all part of a broader shift towards Airbnb taking on more regulatory responsibility,” Mr. Sundararajan said. “It’s also first steps, over time, toward governments trusting Airbnb to assume more responsibility for regulating their hosts.”

Continue reading the main story

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May 1, 2017 at 06:39PM

You Can Get Married in a 767 at This Transportation-Themed Park

You Can Get Married in a 767 at This Transportation-Themed Park

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If you’ve ever dreamed of getting married in the cockpit of a 767, now’s the time to start planning your trip to Ireland’s east coast. Opening in Summer 2018, the Quirky Nights Glamping Village, which will be home to a plethora of transportation memorabilia, will feature a retired Boeing 767 that’s being transformed into a hotel with events space.

The Boeing 767, purchased by Irish businessmen and Quirky Glamping owner David McGowan, is one of the highlights of the transport-themed park. The plane, which will feature eight hotel rooms, will also be open for weddings that will take place in the cockpit — though it’s not the weirdest place we’ve seen a wedding take place.

Other ‘villages’ within the park include The Bus Stop, the Taxi Rank, the Train Yard and The Marina. Each village has turned classic modes of transportation into quirky accommodations, perfect for those looking for a vacation a bit more off the beaten path.

Featured image courtesy of Quirky Glamping’s Facebook page.

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May 1, 2017 at 06:13PM