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Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts recently conducted a three city road show in Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi, to strengthen the brand’s ties with the Indian travel-trade fraternity. The roadshow was held to further strengthen their relations with the trade and also to introduce the newly opened properties by the brand - Zabeel House by Jumeirah.
Around 18 Jumeirah properties participated in the road show which was attended by over 140 agents in each city. The India market has witnessed a considerable rise in outbound luxury travel in recent years. The group is focusing on expanding and consolidating their ties with the luxury travel segment to reach out to a larger audience and gain a higher market share. The road show serves as a platform to increase brand awareness and gain new consumers.
Jumeirah Group has 12 hotels in the UAE and a presence across Europe, Middle East and Asia. While the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah is synonymous with the brand in Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah and Jumeirah Emirates Towers have also proved particularly attractive to the Indian market. Jumeirah’s most popular hotels outside of Dubai for Indian travellers include Grosvenor House Suites by Jumeirah Living in London, Jumeirah Frankfurt and Jumeirah Vittaveli in the Maldives.
MSC Cruises and Fincantieri have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the construction of four ultra-luxury cruise ships for a total value in excess of €2 billion.
The ships, the first of which will be delivered in Spring 2023, will have gross tonnage of approximately 64,000 GT and will feature 500 cabins. The remaining three ships will come into service one per year over the following three years.
The ships will feature, amongst other, the best and latest environmental technology and other cutting-edge maritime solutions at sea. They will also showcase highly-innovative design as well as introduce ground-breaking options for guest comfort and relaxation.
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises said, “It is off the back of the great success of our ship-within-a-ship luxury concept that our guests asked us to enter into the ultra-luxury segment, as a natural evolution of the MSC Yacht Club. These ships will be able to offer unique itineraries, thanks to their size, and the guest services will be taken to another level, including our personalised MSC Yacht Club butler service, available 24/7.”
Vago added, “I am especially pleased to be able to further extend our partnership with Fincantieri through this new order. The award-winning Seaside and Seaside-Evo class have already been recognised as ground-breaking and innovative designs. We are now introducing another new class, which will establish a new standard of ultra-luxury at sea with ships that will showcase the quality and highest standards that are associated with Made in Italy.”
Giuseppe Bono, CEO, Fincantieri said, “It is with pride that two great brands – an Italian one and one with a strong Italian DNA -, well-known all over the world, today announce an important construction program. We are extremely satisfied that, to launch a new class of ships in the luxury segment, MSC Cruises has recognised that our design will help them create a new generation of ships that will be cutting edge both in terms of safety and technological content, and with particular attention paid to passenger comfort. With this project Fincantieri can count on 53 cruise ships in its order book, confirming its position as absolute market leader.”
Angelo Capurro, Executive Director for India, MSC Cruises said, “Entering into the ultra-luxury segment, is yet another exciting development in our offering. In addition to our MSC Yacht Club experience, Indian guests will enjoy from 2023 onwards an even wider choice of five-star cruise experiences in the highest segment of the market. Our future ultra-luxury ships will come as close as it comes to a private yacht experience.”
KAYAK, one of the world’s leading travel search engines has launched its newly developed Augmented Reality (AR) Baggage Measurement Tool, which will allow travellers to breeze through check-ins. With the dimensions of carry-on luggage differing from airline to airline, KAYAK’s AR bag measurement tool helps travellers recognise whether or not their luggage will fit in the overheads bins no matter the airline and all before arriving at the airport.
Matthias Keller, Chief Scientist & Senior Vice President of Technology- APAC, KAYAK said, “A pain point in the travel experience is that moment you begin to worry if your bag will fit in the overhead bin and now we’ve got a tool that can help. There are a lot of AR applications that are fun - but this one was designed to be truly useful for travellers.”
To measure your carry-on luggage, open a flight search in the KAYAK app and click “new bag measurement tool”. You will then be prompted to scan the floor (this helps calibrate measurements) and then to move your camera around the bag to capture its size. From there, KAYAK does the math for you. The tool will alert you with the bag’s exact measurements (length, width and height), so you know whether you can bring it on a flight as a carry-on, or if it needs to be checked. The tool compares baggage fee policies for all KAYAK tracked airlines in one place. That way, you know your bag will fit no matter which airline you’re flying. The tool is currently available in the KAYAK app for all iOS devices running iOS 11.3 and up.
KAYAK’s tech team created the tool during their annual “SWAT” week - a weeklong engineering competition filled with rapid design and development. KAYAK continuously invests in innovative technologies - including AR, VR, AI and voice technology - to raise the bar on how you plan and manage travel.
Radisson Hotel Group has signed a global partnership agreement with Ctrip, one of the world’s largest and most important online travel companies. Ctrip will play a key role in supporting Radisson Hotel Group’s growth in China – a key focus market for the group and its brand portfolio.
Going further, the partnership will also see Ctrip work with Radisson Hotel Group to develop China as a source market for its properties and destinations around the world – increasing the number of outbound Chinese guests visiting its range of more than 1,100 hotels in operation.
The agreement is a huge step forward for both companies, allowing Chinese travellers greater access to Radisson Hotel Group’s high-quality portfolio of hotels than ever before.
Eric De Neef, Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer, Radisson Hotel Group said, “Ctrip is a powerful partner supporting our reach expansion in China and the entire Asia-Pacific region. At the same time, we will be able to jointly bring more Chinese travelers to our EMEA and U.S. properties and to further strengthen Radisson Hotel Group’s upcoming “Welcome China” value proposition for our guests.”
Ray Chen, CEO, Ctrip Accommodation Business Unit said, “With our influential industry-leading position in China, our huge consumer base of more than 300m travellers and AI-driven insights into Chinese consumer behaviour, we’re perfectly positioned to help Radisson Hotel Group expand its reach both at home and abroad.”
ITB Asia opened its doors today at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. Under the overarching theme, “Travel Reimagined”, top industry leaders is going to deliver insights on the key trends provoking disruption across the travel industry and how brands are innovating to stay competitive. The 2018 edition is expecting over 1,000 exhibitors and 1,000 buyers.
“ITB Asia continues to maintain its position as the leading travel trade show in Asia. It remains one of the top business platforms for connecting exhibitors and partners with key decision makers in the MICE, Corporate and Leisure travel industry. Working in close collaboration with our partners and exhibitors, we are delighted to unveil one of our most engaging and exciting programmes yet. We look forward to welcoming visitors to this year’s show!” said Katrina Leung, Managing Director of Messe Berlin (Singapore), the organiser of ITB Asia.
As part of the keynote line up today, Microsoft and Google has provided insights on what will disrupt and change the way we travel and do business, whilst Ctrip has talked about challenging the international travel market. Tomorrow, leading companies discussing the future of travel distribution, will include Booking.com, Hotelbeds Group, Jacobs Media Group, KAYAK, Skyscanner and Triptease. On Friday, the final day of the show, Thomas Cook, Mileslife, Tujia, Fliggy & Dragon Trail Interactive will discuss how Chinese travellers are changing the world and how brands can win them over.
According to organizer, the number of Corporate and MICE participants at ITB Asia has increased by 49 per cent compared to last year. The show has seen a 20 per cent increase, compared to 2017, in new exhibitors signing up for this year’s show following the growth in demand from Asian and European participants. This year’s new registrations include National Tourism Organizations (NTO) and Regional Tourism Organizations (RTO). ITB Asia is pleased to welcome new NTO exhibitors from Abu Dhabi, Botswana, Croatia, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea as well as RTO exhibitors such as Fukuoka, Kansai, Rovaniemi and more.
Treebo Hotels has announced its partnership with PhonePe, India’s leading digital payments platform. The partnership will allow PhonePe users to directly book from Treebo’s 400+ hotels and homestays in 85+ Indian cities on the PhonePe app.
PhonePe users can now book Treebo hotels at flat prices starting at Rs.999, Rs.1299, Rs.1499 and more. They will also be able to spend and earn Treebo Rewards (Treebo’s loyalty points) on the Treebo hotels booked through the PhonePe app.
The app-in-app integration provides a standard and seamless login and payments experience to over 100 million PhonePe users. It further enriches travel offerings on PhonePe’s platform, which already includes bus ticketing, flight booking and cab-hailing partners.
Commenting on the partnership, Rana Vishal Singh, Head of Performance Marketing, Treebo Hotels said, “We are excited to partner with PhonePe in making Treebo’s hotel bookings simple, fast and reliable. By building the Treebo app within PhonePe, we will be able to extend the reach of Treebo Hotels through PhonePe’s growing tech-savvy user base and facilitate seamless completion of transactions. It makes PhonePe an important platform partner that will significantly contribute to our direct distribution efforts.”
Rituraj Rautela, Head In-App Platform, PhonePe said, “We are delighted to announce our partnership with Treebo hotels which enhances our offering to Indian travelers, who can now book quality and value-for-money stays with Treebo. This is in line with our vision of enabling our users to avail the best of services through their PhonePe app, and enjoy the comfort and sense of security while making payments through PhonePe.”
Praveen Chugh has been re-elected as the President of Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) at the recently held elections for the term 2018-20. The TAFI Office Bearers for the term 2018-20 includes; Pradip Lulla as the Vice President, Aditi Bhende as the National General Secretary, Jayesh Tharani as the Treasurer.
The Managing Committee of TAFI comprise of Basheer Ahmed, Rajat Bagaria, Urvashi Mohan, Bharat Shah, Teddy Thomas.
Ashish Gupta – Founder Strategy Pluto & Consulting CEO, FAITH was appointed as the returning officer to hold free and fair elections.
The cost and complexity of the Schengen zone tourist visa process is losing the European tourism industry an estimated US$ one billion a year from the Indian market, preliminary findings from European Tourism Association Visa Impact Survey have revealed.
ETOA surveyed members who provide travel arrangements for Indian clients travelling worldwide and found that of those who had travelled in the past 12 months nearly 60 per cent had considered the Schengen zone as a destination.
But of those, 55 per cent did not complete a visa application with 30 per cent changing their mind before applying and 25 per cent abandoning the application midway.
The reasons for both were primarily due to cost, perceived practical difficulty and other negative factors associated with application. In 2017, 920,699 Schengen visa applications were received from Indian citizens; 837,109 were granted, giving an average refusal rate of nine per cent.
If the same refusal rate was applied to the 55 per cent who, instead of changing their mind before applying or during the process, went on to complete a visa application, over half a million more visas would have been granted to Indian travellers.
At an average in-destination spend of US$2,000 per person that represents US$ one billion of potential opportunity cost to Europe, not counting the spend on international travel and accommodation.
Two thirds of those who never made or abandoned a Schengen visa application from India, still went on a foreign holiday. Over a fifth went to a European destination outside Schengen and UK/Ireland.
Tom Jenkins, Chief Executive, ETOA said, “Expensive, complicated tourist visa systems put off visitors. The new Schengen Visa Code needs to be fit for purpose for legitimate travel. The price point needs to be re-set and further investment is needed to speed up processing times.”
The Auckland Diwali Festival is one of the city’s most colourful cultural festivals, celebrating traditional and contemporary Indian culture in New Zealand’s largest city. From Rangoli competitions to Indian dance performances, this family-friendly festival is being held for all age-groups to indulge Diwali festivities.
On Friday, 19 October, locals and tourists can experience the ‘Chalk It Up’ rangoli-drawing competition in Freyberg Place and Diwali-themed activities in Ellen Melville Centre. Visitors can have a go at DIY henna (mehendi), learn how to drape a saree, create rangoli patterns to take home and play interactive digital Hindi language games. There will also be different Indian snacks to sample – sweet mithai treats and savoury namkeen nibbles.
The festival will officially kick off on Saturday, 20 October with a mix of performances, from Bollywood to Punjabi, Gujarati to Bharat Natyam, Rajasthani to Hindustani and more, across three areas of the city centre – the Aotea Square Stage, the Queen St Stage and corner of Queen and Wakefield.
Before and during the festival, Vector Lights will bring a light show inspired by the traditional art form of rangoli to Auckland Harbour Bridge from Thursday, 18 October to Sunday, 21 October. This is a part of the smart energy partnership between the New Zealand based energy company, Vector, and the Auckland Council.
Leilana Meredith, Festival Producer said, “It’s exciting to have Vector Lights bringing a new facet to the festival for 2018, with the light show on Auckland Harbour Bridge taking its cue from the beautiful colours and designs of rangoli.”
Auckland Diwali Festival is one of the region’s most popular cultural festivals with 55,000 people attending the event last year. Performers from Kalehri Art & Culture Academy in India will present entertainment in a wide range of styles including bhangra, gidha, jindua, malwai and jhumar. The festival beautifully essays out 45 hours of live entertainment across more than 240 local and international performances.
The Auckland Diwali festival is vastly celebrated with enthusiasm and love amongst family, friends and relatives. Families light lamps, candles and fireworks to symbolise the triumph of light over darkness, wisdom over ignorance and good over evil.
Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, has launched a new brand campaign, ‘Frankly Philadelphia’.
Julie Coker Graham, President and CEO, PHLCVB said, “Our core mission remains the same – the PHLCVB creates positive economic impact across the Philadelphia region, driving job growth, and celebrating the health and vitality of our hospitality industry. This new communications platform promotes Philadelphia as a global tourism destination and embodies the spirit, vibrancy, and relevance of our city and the PHLCVB brand. Frankly Philadelphia makes a connection across a wide range of targeted segments including meeting and event planners and overseas visitors travelling to the city.”
In recent years, Philadelphia has hosted the World Meeting of Families (2015), the Democratic National Convention (2016), and the NFL Draft (2017). This year, the Philadelphia Eagles won Super Bowl LII and brought about a million fans to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for a one-of-a-kind celebration. The success of these major conventions and events has helped position the city as a high-caliber, ‘must see’ destination to the rest of the country and the world.
Frankly Philadelphia is a bold refresh with a story arc celebrating the city’s past, present, and future. Known for being the epicentre of the American Revolution, the city has inherited an outspoken rhetoric and confidence of generations’ past.
The process began in May 2017 when the PHLCVB contracted Philadelphia-based strategic communications firm Karma Agency, a registered women-owned business enterprise (WBE). Karma laid the groundwork by conducting dozens of internal and external interviews with PHLCVB staff, board members, local stakeholders and customers. During the following eight months, an ideology began to take shape.
Creative assets were rolled out in several stages, beginning in early 2018. A sales video was created to highlight the work of PHL Diversity, a business development division of the PHLCVB. Sales materials, print and digital ads were also developed to compel meeting planners to take action.
A global tourism brochure, translated into eight languages, was created as a key sales tool to reach the organization’s top international markets. In addition, the signature destination video was released in the summer of 2018, providing the basis for sales and marketing presentations in support of both our convention and overseas tourism sales efforts. It is also on display at Philadelphia International Airport, greeting visitors as they travel to and from the city, and will be prominently featured during an upcoming Philadelphia Eagles’ broadcast from Wembley Stadium in London, England.
Caroline Kennedy, President, Karma Agency said, “As a Philadelphia-based agency, we recognized the significance of this project immediately. We were feeling the tectonic shift, as the city passed major tests on the global stage. This campaign is about building toward the future, upon a modern spirit of Philadelphia’s centuries-old can-do attitude. Frankly Philadelphia puts the capabilities of the PHLCVB and the Pennsylvania Convention Center in context of the surprise and delight of Philadelphia’s greatest present-day appeal – culinary prowess, rich arts and culture, history, character and authentic personalities.”
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