10 April 2006

Healthy hotel revenue from electronic channels

TravelCLICK's eMonitor results for the fourth quarter of 2005 show that worldwide electronic hotel revenue from the Global Distribution Systems (GDS) and key Internet sites combined was up 10.9%.

Electronic room nights year-to-date through the fourth quarter increased by 5.4% from the same time last year, while ADR increased by 5.5% contributing to a revenue growth of 11.2%. The average length of stay for the 2005 year-to-date period was 2.17 nights, slightly higher than last year's 2.11 nights.

"Fourth quarter electronic channel performance continues the positive trend," said Robert Post, President and CEO for TravelCLICK. "Over the past year, there has become a new found awareness in the hotel community of the need to maintain strong presence within the GDS channel. There are several new marketing and yield management strategies that optimize point of sale presence to travel agents. Hotels taking full advantage of these techniques are experiencing significant increases in travel agent bookings."

In 2006, TravelCLICK projects a steady single digit growth of the GDS channel coupled with strong growth of the Internet channel, driven by hotel website bookings. According to leading industry consultant PhoCusWright, 2006 will be the year that supplier or brand sites overtake third party sites in terms of percentage of online hotel bookings(i).
eMonitor results are compiled from TravelCLICK's comprehensive database, which is the exclusive source of hotel industry electronic distribution data from the Amadeus, Galileo, Sabre and Worldspan GDS. TravelCLICK's eMonitor also includes hotel bookings made through third-party travel Internet websites powered by Pegasus Solutions.

More here.

04 April 2006

Travel industry take advantage of E-commerce

The travel industry needs to take better advantage of the Internet and e-commerce principles. This is among the suggestions that a new report on the travel sector issued by Industry Canada. A Guide for the Canadian Retail Travel Services Industry New Strategies and Business Models looks how the sector can navigate its current transition phase and move forward.

"This report could not be more timely as travel agencies are adapting to a totally new environment," said Marc-André Charlebois, President and CEO of the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA). "It provides concrete examples of ways that agencies can improve and enhance their business operations and open up new sources of revenue."

Along with exploring e-commerce the report also recommended that travel agencies look at setting up partnerships with related business to provide one-stop services for customers. Currency exchange, insurance, and cargo/freight forwarding options were listed as a few examples.

The report also called on businesses within the industry to promote Canada as an attractive tourist destination. This promotion is believed to strengthen the country’s overall economy while providing travelers with cheaper vacation options.

03 April 2006

Private rocket flight pioneer

Adnan al-Maimani insists he isn't looking to be a pioneer - he just dreams of looking down on Earth. So the 40-year-old entrepreneur is paying more than $100,000 to go on the first flight traveling to the edge of space from a Mideast nation.

The flight, which will travel about 62 miles toward space and give its passengers up to five minutes of weightlessness, is part of an American company's plan to establish a spaceport in the northern tip of the United Arab Emirates.

Virginia-based Space Adventures - the only company to have successfully sent private citizens into space - won't say when the flight will take place, only that it will be within a few years.

But al-Maimani, 40, already thinks the project will be a boost to his homeland, which has seen a boom in construction and finance the past decade.

"It's a great social and economic opportunity for the United Arab Emirates. It will create jobs and open up the economy even further," he told The Associated Press.

Al-Maimani, who owns a technology development firm, will ride a Russian-designed suborbital craft called the Explorer to the edge of space, experience weightlessness and return. The craft, capable of carrying five people, is carried first on an airplane, from which it launches on rocket power for the remainder of the journey.

"I'm not in it for the adventure. My point of view is exploration. To become richer with experience, look back at Earth and realize the potential," said al-Maimani, who will pay $102,000 for the one-hour flight.

The suborbital mission would be the first to be launched from the Middle East. Space Adventures has not announced who else will be on the Explorer's flight.

More here.