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Comm cuts slam Webjet

WEBJET Limited has confirmed that the loss of overrides and commissions on international flights will cost it between $10 million and $12 million, with the company’s annual results (TD yesterday) providing the first public indication of how severely the reductions in base commissions paid by airlines are likely to impact the industry.

The figure was revealed in an investor presentation, which Ord Minnett Senior Research Analyst John O’Shea described as “setting the benchmark for disclosure” in contrast to other listed travel companies such as Helloworld Travel Limited, Corporate Travel Management and Flight Centre Travel Group, all of which have so far downplayed the impact of the commission cuts led by Qantas.

Webjet plans to mitigate much of the hit to its revenue by reducing local marketing spend, but “it raises questions over the quantum of the impact on other competitors within the segment,” O’Shea said yesterday.

With the OTA being a relatively small player in the overall Australian outbound market, “if this is the impact of lower commissions on Webjet, imagine the impact on Flight Centre, Helloworld, etc,” he added.

The respected analyst said he expected Webjet’s mainstream flights business to emerge as a longer term structural winner from the pandemic.

“In our view, domestic travel agents have little choice but to increase focus on the fee for service component of their offering,” O’Shea said in a research note to clients.

“The Webjet online B2C offering is already a fee for service model, and we expect the division to continue to build on the market share gains (offline to online) delivered during the pandemic,” he predicted.

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Source: traveldaily

Fly now and pay later

QANTAS has added more incentives for travellers to book with the carrier directly, revealing a new fly now, pay later option when customers elect to book via qantas.com.

In a first for the airline, Qantas’ new payment option allows travellers to book domestic and international flights on its website and pay at a later date using deferred payment provider Zip.

The agreement also offers Frequent Flyers the ability to earn more Qantas Points when they sign up and use the service.

Loyalty members will earn 3,000 points when they sign up and link their Zip account and complete a transaction, while 500 points or a $20 cashback bonus will be awarded each time a member reaches their Zip Rewards goal, and one point will be given for every $3 spent on eligible flights on qantas.com with Zip.

“The option to buy now, pay later through Zip gives our customers more choice in how they pay for their flights,” Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth said.

“With Zip they can spread the cost over time choosing flexible repayments, and also earn Qantas Points on the payment as well as the flight itself.”

Reflecting on the new agreement, Zip ANZ Managing Director, Cynthia Scott, said the option would give Aussie travellers added flexibility in being able to plan future trips.

“By giving customers access to Zip’s fair, flexible and transparent payment solutions, travellers can sit back and enjoy their trip knowing they’re in control of their finances when they get home,” she said.

“We are also giving freedom and choice back to customers by giving them the option to pay for their trip before they go, or when they get back,” Scott added.

According to Zip research, the option of deferred payment is more likely to make Aussies travel in the next 12 months in contrast with those who pay upfront.

Three quarters of Zip’s own customers revealed they intend on travelling in the next year.

Learn more about Zip HERE.

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Source: traveldaily

Fintech investment boom

TRAVEL companies are planning a “fintech investment boom” to capture rebound as COVID-19 restrictions lift around the world, according to data from Amadeus.

To improve the traveller experience, the industry has an opportunity to harness advances in fintech, Amadeus believes, and as stated by new research from the company, four in five businesses will surpass or match their 2019 fintech investment levels this year.

According to Amadeus’ Travel fintech investment trends report, fintech and payments were viewed as a “high priority” by nine out of 10 respondents.

When asked what is driving fintech investment, the top objective was “improve the traveller experience”, closely followed by “increase revenue through payments”.

Respondents were also asked to rank their fintech investment priorities for this year, revealing a main priority of businesses were existing capabilities, such as alternative payment methods (61%); strong customer authentication (46%); and fraud (44%).

Meanwhile, a second group of “emerging” priorities also scored highly, with payments in NDC (47%); buy now pay later (36%); multi-currency pricing (34%); and chargeback management (31%).

Accepting cryptocurrency payments was a priority for the fewest number of firms, with just 14% planning to invest in the capability this year.

“Fintech stands out as an area of the travel business where you can provide new value-added services that bring revenue, whilst also improving the traveller experience,” said Executive Vice President of Payments David Doctor.

“That’s why businesses are channeling scarce resources in this direction and Amadeus is investing heavily too.

“We expect to double the people in our payments team by the end of next year compared to 2021.”

Doctor said travel brands are embracing innovations like “buy now pay later” and “multi-currency pricing” to deliver a more flexible digital experience.

Download the Travel fintech investment trends report HERE.

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New Chair for ATMC

THE Association of Travel Management Companies (ATMC) has rolled out the welcoming mat for its newly elected chairperson, Tass Messinis, Managing Director for BCD Travel Australia.

Messinis, pictured, is a Member of the Australian Institute Company Directors (MAIDC), and served as a board member of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA), Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) and CT Partners Australia.

“I’m honoured to represent the ATMC and its members who collectively represent a significant share of corporate travel expenditure in Australia,” Messinis enthused.

“Disruption intensified during the pandemic and continues to confront our members during the recovery phase.

“While we tackle these challenges within our individual organisations, many issues require us to function as a united, cohesive front with one voice to drive positive outcomes in the pursuit of sustainable growth”.

Messinis will take over from outgoing Chairperson, Rob Dell, whose leadership and guidance was acknowledged by ATMC.

ATMC Executive Director, Oliver Tams, said, “we are really looking forward to working with Tass and benefiting from his broad experience and knowledge”.

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Changi braces for change

SINGAPORE’S transport department has confirmed plans to reboot the development strategy of Changi Airport’s Terminal 5 (T5) after being halted by the disruption of COVID-19.

The proposed new terminal at one of Asia’s busiest airports is designed to future-proof the hub by ensuring Changi has the capacity and facilities to handle an anticipated rise in demand for air travel to the country.

Boasting a passenger capacity of 50 million people, the massive terminal expansion is now expected to kick off construction in the next two to three years and be ready by the 2030s.

The country’s transport department said it had used the last two years to further enhance the design and make it even more sustainable, as well as make it more flexible in the face of changing travel environments.

Pictured: A render of what the giant T5 facility will look like.

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Sail NZ and save!

THE modernised Norwegian Spirit is gearing up to cruise the waters of New Zealand.

To celebrate the return, Norwegian Cruise Line is offering travellers up to 35% off sailings, in addition to a range of free bonuses.

Itineraries available include 12-day voyages of Australia and New Zealand leaving Sydney from 22 Dec, with multiple departures on offer.

For more information on the NZ sailings, see the front page.

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Simplified bookings

AZAMARA has announced that it will partner with software company Versonix Seaware to launch a new booking platform by early next year.

The new Seaware platform is expected to simplify the overall booking process, using updated technology platforms to make it “as seamless as possible” for Azamara’s travel advisors and guests to book its experiences.

Azamara said it will provide comprehensive training and new personal log-in details to its travel advisors before the new system goes live next year.

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Outback extends Earlybird sale

JOURNEY Beyond’s 4WD tour operator Outback Spirit is still giving travellers the chance to save on 2023 trips, extending its earlybird sale up to 10 Jun.

Couples can save up to $1,500 across 25 itineraries exploring the Australian wilderness, like the 13-day Arnhem Land Wilderness Adventure, the 13-day Cape York Wilderness Adventure, and the six-day Red Centre & Field of Light tour – click here for more info.

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Selina makes debut

UP-AND-COMING hospitality and experiential brand Selina has made its debut in Australia, with two new Melbourne properties designed to appeal to Millennial and Gen Z travellers.

Both properties cater to the “digital nomad lifestyle”, with shared and private room options starting from $30 a night, and co-working and recreational spaces.

Selina Central Melbourne is positioned opposite Flinders Street Railway Station and features HOWM Basement Bar, an underground speakeasy and listening lounge.

Selina St Kilda is only a stone’s throw from St Kilda Beach and offers a cafe, rooftop bar and “summer wellness deck”.

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