Fliggy, the online travel platform you (probably) haven’t heard of

Fliggy, the online travel platform you (probably) haven’t heard of

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Any airline folk that haven’t heard of Fliggy, formerly Alitrip, might want to take note sooner rather than later.

There are already impressive numbers coming out of the online travel platform, which acts as an online mall for brands and is part of China’s Alibaba ecosystem.

The travel brand began life about two-and-a-half years ago and by the end of last year had about 200 million users, 100 million downloads of its app and annual sales for 100 of its shops of almost $15 million.

Then, there are the really eye-watering numbers showing that on one day, 11 November 2016, more than 100 of the online platform’s suppliers hit revenue of about $736,000.

With figures like that, on top of the burgeoning China outbound market, you’d think most travel and hospitality brands might have an idea what Fliggy is.

But, a show of hands at a recent airline conference revealed most hadn’t heard of Fliggy (or perhaps they were just shy).

Wells Zheng, vice president, international air tickets at Fliggy, was providing the insight at the recent Amadeus Airline Executive Summit in Dublin.

He says the OTP is different to online travel agents and metasearch sites in that it is “a direct connection between the airline and their customer.”

Zheng says airlines can gather data directly from customers as well as expose their brand.

He adds that while Fliggy is trying to “eliminate the information asymmetry”, OTAs “stand between brands and their customers.”

Zheng also says the OTP’s main product – it’s flagship store- enables brands to operate their own shop but provides them with marketing and data analytics support.

Finnair is one of the most recent airlines to join the platform (snapshot of who’s on board below).

At the recent SITA Summit, the carrier’s chief commercial officer Juha Järvinen spoke of how airlines need to “stay awake” and be present on platforms such as Fliggy and WeChat.

Amadeus provides its meta booking technology to the service.

fliggy airline partners

NB: Reporter’s travel to the Airline Executive Summit was supported by Amadeus.

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July 3, 2017 at 02:45PM

Announcing My New Amazon Travel Gear Store

Announcing My New Amazon Travel Gear Store

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I get asked all the time what sort of gear I use when I travel. The questions range from the type of bags I use to my camera equipment. Even though all of my things can be stored in just two bags when I travel, if you include all of the little items like memory cards, adapters, and wires, it can add up to a lot of stuff.

I’ve been working with the folks at Amazon to create a one stop shop for travel gear.

Everything which is listed in the store fits into one of the following categories:

  • Gear which I have personally used and tested. This covers most of the items which are listed. A few of the items like the Drobo and Razer mouse/keyboard are obviously not travel items, but I use them at home for photo editing.
  • Gear which is a close approximation to what I use, but can’t be found in the Amazon store. For example, my tripod was made my Really Right Stuff, and that isn’t listed on Amazon. Gitzo is, however, and they are a very reputable brand as well.
  • Gear which I really want but haven’t purchased yet. There isn’t a lot of this, but there are a few items I’ve been chomping to get. This store will also serve as my personal wishlist.
  • Gear recommended by my readers. I asked the question on my Facebook group asking people what their favorite travel gear was. I had several great suggestions, including some items that I had never heard of before. Several of them have made the list.

My goal is to curate the store to be a “best of” for travel and photography gear which can be found on Amazon.

If you have any suggestions for gear you love, feel free to leave a comment here or in the Facebook group.

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July 3, 2017 at 02:39PM

Royal Wings migrates, closer standards, and more

Royal Wings migrates, closer standards, and more

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This is a roundup of product news and announcements related to travel systems in July 2017.

Monday 3 July

Royal Wings migrates to Hitit

  • The Royal Jordanian subsidiary has successfully migrated its passenger reservation system to Crane from Hitit CS. Royal Wings, is based in  Jordan and operates charter and scheduled flights from Amman and Aqaba to the Middle East and Europe.

Trade bodies to work together on standards

  • Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) and the Open Travel Alliance (OpenTravel) are planning to work even more closely together, “conduct research on the international impact of standards on global travel, as well as other initiatives”. Later this year OpenTravel will colocate its advisory forum  with HFTP’ annual convention, taking place in Florida.

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July 3, 2017 at 02:16PM

Eureka County Courthouse in Eureka, Nevada

Eureka County Courthouse in Eureka, Nevada

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Eureka County Courthouse

At the corner of Bateman Street and North Main Street (Route 50) in Eureka, Nevada, is a beautiful building that has been the seat of justice in Eureka County for nearly 140 years.

The original Eureka County Courthouse, on that same site, was made out of a former ice-skating rink donated by a judge shortly after Eureka County was established in 1873. Like many of the buildings in the town of Eureka, it was made of wood, and when a fire destroyed hundreds of its fellow wooden structures, plans were made to replace it with something that would not be so vulnerable.

Three designs were submitted, and George F. Costerisan’s Italianate version ended up incorporating elements from the other two for the final product. Construction was begun in 1879 and finished in 1880.

The façade features five bays separated by brick pilasters that lead up to a metal-bracketed cornice, with the door in the center on the first floor and a small wooden balcony in the center on the second floor. The front door is flanked by two bells, one from Cincinnati, Ohio, the other from San Francisco, California, which once functioned as the town’s fire alarms.

The courtroom is on the second floor, and is considered one of the best-preserved public spaces in the state, with a 100-seat suspended gallery and pressed-tin ceiling. The judge’s bench and balustrade are Spanish cedar, and the witness box is unique for being semi-circular in shape and located in directly front of the judge’s bench.

In 1995, the building was renovated and brought up to code. The foundation was stabilized and the façade and interior woodwork (which had to be removed during construction for its protection) were refinished. The most notable structural change is the protrusion of the front door, caused by the addition of a vestibule just inside.

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July 3, 2017 at 02:07PM

News: World Travel Awards touches down in the Maldives

News: World Travel Awards touches down in the Maldives

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World Travel Awards has arrived in the Maldives as the finishing touches are put together in preparation of the Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony 2017. The prestigious event will take place this Saturday, July 8th, at the five star Sun Aqua Vilu Reef, with hospitality leaders from across the region expected to attend to discover who among them has been voted the pinnacle of the travel industry.

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July 3, 2017 at 02:05PM

Eureka County Courthouse in Eureka, Nevada

Eureka County Courthouse in Eureka, Nevada

http://ift.tt/2uhmuAR

Eureka County Courthouse

At the corner of Bateman Street and North Main Street (Route 50) in Eureka, Nevada, is a beautiful building that has been the seat of justice in Eureka County for nearly 140 years.

The original Eureka County Courthouse, on that same site, was made out of a former ice-skating rink donated by a judge shortly after Eureka County was established in 1873. Like many of the buildings in the town of Eureka, it was made of wood, and when a fire destroyed hundreds of its fellow wooden structures, plans were made to replace it with something that would not be so vulnerable.

Three designs were submitted, and George F. Costerisan’s Italianate version ended up incorporating elements from the other two for the final product. Construction was begun in 1879 and finished in 1880.

The façade features five bays separated by brick pilasters that lead up to a metal-bracketed cornice, with the door in the center on the first floor and a small wooden balcony in the center on the second floor. The front door is flanked by two bells, one from Cincinnati, Ohio, the other from San Francisco, California, which once functioned as the town’s fire alarms.

The courtroom is on the second floor, and is considered one of the best-preserved public spaces in the state, with a 100-seat suspended gallery and pressed-tin ceiling. The judge’s bench and balustrade are Spanish cedar, and the witness box is unique for being semi-circular in shape and located in directly front of the judge’s bench.

In 1995, the building was renovated and brought up to code. The foundation was stabilized and the façade and interior woodwork (which had to be removed during construction for its protection) were refinished. The most notable structural change is the protrusion of the front door, caused by the addition of a vestibule just inside.

Travel

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July 3, 2017 at 02:05PM

British Airways Breaks Cabin Crew Strike With Qatar Airways Planes

British Airways Breaks Cabin Crew Strike With Qatar Airways Planes

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Luke MacGregor  / Bloomberg

British Airways is beating back a cabin crew strike with the help of spare planes furnished by equity partner Qatar Airways. Luke MacGregor / Bloomberg

Skift Take: Qatar Airways had spare planes to lend to its partner, British Airways, because of laptop restrictions in the U.S. and its squabble with its Middle Eastern neighbors. It’s all helping British Airways beat back a cabin crew strike at London Heathrow.

— Dennis Schaal

IAG SA’s British Airways is riding out a 16-day walkout by London Heathrow-based cabin crews with the help of planes from top shareholder Qatar Airways Ltd.

Aircraft from its Persian Gulf partner have been deployed on British Airways’ short-haul routes, allowing the U.K. carrier to operate almost all flights as normal on Monday, the first working day since the strike began Saturday. Long-haul services from Heathrow airport have been combined to avoid cancellations, the airline said by email. All customers will reach their destinations, with just four flights scrapped over the weekend, it said.

The work stoppage is the culmination of a wage dispute that started in January. The dispute so far has resulted in 26 days of walkouts, according to the Unite union, which said BA has punished participating employees by scrapping certain benefits. The strike is resuming five weeks after a high-profile computer-system failure grounded flights for 75,000 British Airways passengers.

State-owned Qatar Airways, which holds about 20 percent of IAG, is operating flights for British Airways with nine single-aisle Airbus SE A320 and A321 aircraft.

The Qatari carrier said last month that excess jets from canceled Middle Eastern services are being redeployed to other destinations, including Iran, following a ban on its flights by four Arab countries amid a political conflict.

The airline said it was “successfully mitigating” the effect of losing access to 18 regional destinations.

–With assistance from Deena Kamel Yousef

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

This article was written by Benjamin Katz from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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July 3, 2017 at 02:01PM

News: Etihad Airways passengers allowed laptops on US flights

News: Etihad Airways passengers allowed laptops on US flights

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Passengers on Etihad Airways flights out of Abu Dhabi to the United States will be able to use larger gadgets, such as laptops, during their journey. Regulations requiring passengers to put laptops and other gadgets in baggage in the hold were introduced in March.

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July 3, 2017 at 01:52PM

Hotel and OTA mobile sites are works of friction

Hotel and OTA mobile sites are works of friction

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HEDNA‘s mobile working group has identified and quantified “customer friction” in the context of booking hotel rooms on mobile.

The trade body for hotel distribution knows better than most that mobile bookings for hotels, via brand dotcoms or third parties, are now mainstream. The research accepts this as fact, and chooses to focus specifically on “barriers to [mobile] conversion”.

It has used a customer friction measurement tool – NTT DATA’s recently launched CFF Service – to rank 10 different suppliers according to three specific hotel booking scenarios.

The results do not name names in terms of individual results, but, for reference, it evaluated the mobile search and booking process for Wyndham, Choice, IHG, Marriott and Starwood, while the OTAs under the microscope were Hotel Tonight, Hotels.com, Expedia, Priceline and booking.com.

One of the scenarios was for a brand-agnostic, price sensitive user booking a nearby hotel for one night. Brand dotcoms came out the best in this instance – the average CFF score for all ten was 265, with all the brand.com’s better than the average.

OTAs came up short on engagement, where the evaluators felt that they were forced to spend lots of time on the mobile site looking for information, and on the ecosystem, which forced them to enter previously provided information. OTAs were also penalised for including adverts, pop-ups and cross-selling messages into the booking flow.

The results for the other two scenarios  –  booking a nearby hotel for a one-night stay based on established guest profile and utilizing a “click to connect” service post booking – also show that brand dotcoms came out better than OTAs.

But there is still a lot of room for improvement.  The research found that the biggest gripe from the evaluators and therefore the biggest customer friction point was having to provide the same details at different stages.

Addressing customer friction is a short cut to increased conversions. One recommendation the report makes is that hotels and OTAs curate the search results so that there is less choice, which connects with comments from the evaluators that hotels and OTAs need to have a clearer insight into the intent of the trip.

Its suggestion that hotel and OTA mobile sites should focus solely on selling the room and “get guest in and out of application as quickly as possible” certainly makes sense in terms of reducing customer friction, but clashes with other research which suggests that the best time to upsell is when the booking is being made.

Suppliers have to balance streamlining the customer booking experience on mobile with maximising revenues. As the research says, hotels and OTAs need to create specific flows for mobile because many desktop functions will not translate to the smaller screen and mobile users have a different expectation and mindset.

“Mobile-first” was supposed to put an end to this, but from the HEDNA report it looks as if many OTAs and brand dotcoms still need to really look at how their mobile site works from the customer’s perspective.

 

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July 3, 2017 at 01:27PM