The Hotel and Travel Week

Monday, 31st October 2011

Expedia publishes their latest figures saying that gross bookings were up 11% in the 3rd quarter of 2011, while transactions were up 9.4%. Worldwide hotel revenue rose by 18%, with nights stayed up 16%. Air revenue however again decreased, this time 5%, as 10% fewer tickets were sold but at 6% higher prices on average. The OTA also announces that they sold 15,000 travel deals in the first three days of launching a partnership with Groupon but 3 months later Expedia is questioning the long-term value of those bargain shoppers and questioned whether customers would return to Expedia to book other trips.

Tuesday, 1st November 2011

Users of the Google Maps API will soon have to start paying for usage. The general price will be US$4 per 1,000 map loads but not everyone will be charged immediately. For regular maps, the first 25,000 users will be free. For Styled Maps, the initial limit goes down to 2,500 users. Google promises that they won’t block overused APIs right away, so users have time to think about what they want to do. Simply embedding Google Maps into a website without using the API is still free.

Wednesday, 2nd November 2011

Marriott International launches a section of its website specifically for their restaurants and bars. The new Restaurant & Bar Showcase, tells the stories of some of the company’s most popular venues. It also links to the outlets’ home pages and, where available, to Open Table or other equivalent sites to make a reservation. With this website, the hotel group looks to boost business for restaurant partners.

Thursday, 3rd November 2011

According to TRI Hospitality Consulting’s HotStats MENA market review for September 2011, Dubai and Saudi Arabian hotels are seeing strong growth, while Egypt’s continue to see declines in demand. Margins in Abu Dhabi are hurt by increased supply. Dubai is clearly benefitting from the Arab Spring and getting business from unstable countries such as Egypt and Syria. Occupancy was 78.6% compared to 71.8% in September 2010 which prompted hotels to increase rates by 10.9% in September, resulting in a 21.5% growth in RevPAR for the month.

Etihad Towers in January 2010
Etihad Towers in January 2010

Friday, 4th November 2011

Dubai-based Jumeirah Group opens its first property in Abu Dhabi, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers. The hotel is located on the Arabian Gulf in the Ras Al Akhdar area of the UAE capital and features 382 guestrooms and suites, 199 fully serviced residences, 12 F&B outlets, the Talise Spa and one of the largest conference centers in Abu Dhabi. Etihad Towers is 280m tall and consists of 5 towers, containing residential, office and retail space.

Please, view also Hotel Pic of the Week: Jumeirah at Etihad Towers Abu Dhabi

The Hotel and Travel Week #14

Monday, 22nd February

Orbitz is blurring the line between on-line and off-line by announcing it will pay commission to travel agents for hotel reservations and package bookings. The first 500 travel agents who sign up to by the end of March will earn higher commissions for a year. The ground-breaking initiative is meant to stimulate bookings who insist on using a live agent instead of booking directly on-line.
Tuesday, 23rd February
Expedia unveils that they will bring a more substantial iPhone app to the iTunes store in a couple of weeks. The new application will have the ability to book hotel rooms and flights. The current application only offers information about a booked trip.
Wednesday, 24th February
e-conceptory will be at ITB Berlin from the 10th until the 12th of March:
Please, contact us to make an appointment and talk about your online project!
Thursday, 25th February
UK business travel recovery remains fragile, according to a new study of The Guild of Travel Management Companies. The study reveals that several areas of business travel that had experienced a downturn are seeing slight improvement. The hotel sector also showed a slight improvement in the 4th quarter with transactions only being down 2% year on year compared to having been 13% down in the third quarter of 2009.
Friday, 26th February
London’s hotel operators can celebrate. The city has by far the highest Gross Operating Profit per Available Room (GOPPAR) across a sample of European cities in the latest HotStats survey from TRI Hospitality Consulting. With 20% increase in profitability during January London was with a GOPPAR of €63.67 approx. 35% above the closest comparable city, Paris (GOPPAR €41.35). London’s growth was primarily led by a 9.3% increase in RevPAR (revenue per available room).

The Hotel and Travel Week #11

Monday, 25th January 2010

Hotel investment in Europe, Middle East and Africa fell by more than 50% in 2009, according to a report by Cushman & Wakefield Hospitality. The total investment in 2009 of €3.2 billion also means a 85% shortfall compared to the record year of 2007. The most active market remained to be the UK with 29% of the total volume, although it has suffered the largest fall over the last three years. France and Germany were the next most active markets with 16% and 9% of total volumes invested respectively.

Tuesday, 26th January 2010

Fairmont launches, a site which invites consumers to upload photos, videos and commentary about Fairmont hotels and their holiday experiences. To create initial content, Fairmont linked relevant media from Flickr and YouTube. They also sent video cameras to each hotel and encouraged staff to start filming. Uploads will be monitored for relevancy, redundancy and family-friendliness, although censorship will be minimal, the company says.

Also, on Tuesday Marriott launches a News Center on This is to be the central hub for all Marriott online news, photos, videos, blogs, Twitter feeds etc.
Wednesday, 27th January 2010
Social networking sites are becoming ever more popular, also with travelers. According to a travelhorizons survey, co-authored by Ypartnership and the U.S. Travel Association, 59% of active travelers have visited a social networking site, with Facebook being the most popular. However, at the moment only 1 in 10 are visiting in order to plan travel and only 1 in 20 has joined a community of users who share common travel interest. For now…
Thursday, 28th January 2010
The U.S. hotel industry shows a nearly 17% drop in revenue per available room during 2009, according to data from STR. Occupancy fell 8.7% and the average daily rate dropped by 8.8% to USD 97.51.
At the same time, Armani opens their first hotel in the tallest building of the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The hotel features 160 guest rooms and suites, a spa, private member club, 5 restaurants and a nightclub, according to their website:
Friday, 29th January 2010
Only a couple of days after the introduction of the iPad by Apple, Intelity, an interactive hospitality technology leader, unveils that the ICE – Interactive Customer Experience – will be compatible with iPad. ICE is an integrated, customisable and branded interface which allows hotel guests to arrange in-room services via a touch screen from their guest room, laptop or mobile.
Moreover, ICE Canvas gives the hotel a high level of control and insight into staff performance and guest habits, Intelity say.


The Hotel and Travel Week #6

Monday, 23rd November

The World Tourism Organization UNWTO publishes the latest Tourism Barometer which suggests that the lowest point of the financial crisis may be over. The organization monitors short term tourism trends on a regular basis 3 times a year in January, June and October. They say, tourism has been seriously hit by the recession, although coping better than other industries. International tourist arrivals declined by 7% between January and July 2009. The data in October however show a smaller decline of only 3% compared to last year. This is been seen as an indication that tourism is picking up again. Tourism Barometer
Tuesday, 24th November
IHG starts an online marketing campaign on Twitter inviting consumers to follow their Deals Twitter account. Followers have the chance to win prizes, including a 7-night stay at any IHG hotel in the world. The Tweet Away campaign starts on 1st December and runs until the end of 2009.
Wednesday, 25th November
Another hotel giant announces that they will start an online promotion on the 30th November. Starwood will kick-off their Cyber Monday Sale on that day which will only run for 3 days. Special rates at 50 of the world’s best resorts in premium destinations like the Bahamas, Bora Bora, Puerto Rico and Tahiti are on offer. Get a sneak preview.
Thursday, 26th November

Hotels in the United Arab Emirates see the sharpest decline in occupancy in October compared to the same month last year, according to a new report by STR Global. RevPar (Revenue per available room) plummets by just over 30% to USD194,5. The occupancy rate drops by 10% to 74,4%. The heavy decline is said to be caused by falling demand, but in the case of Dubai also by increasing supply. This comes along news of Dubai World, the Emirate’s state-owned property developer, possibly defaulting on its debt. Maybe some destinations haven’t hit the bottom line, yet?

Friday, 27th November
The number of WTM (World Travel Market) attendees in London earlier this month has dropped by approximately 8% compared to last year. Here are the figures.