I cam across this advertisement by Taiwan Tourism while catching a train in Sydney. They can also be found in buses all over the city.
Tim Hughes puts the boot into the highs and lows of the online travel business (with an Australasian/Asian bias) with some blogging about consuming and loving travel thrown in.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Taiwan Tourism trying to sell snow to eskimos
I cam across this advertisement by Taiwan Tourism while catching a train in Sydney. They can also be found in buses all over the city.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
The BOOT (and Lounge) at WebInTravel and ITB Oct 16-21
At the WIT Boot Camp I am on at the following times (Monday 17 Oct)
11.00-11.50 Innovation Across Asia, Part 2
Facilitating a series of presentations on innovation and what's news across Asia. Presenting will be:
- Australia: Ian Cumming, Founder, GetFlight
- Singapore/Malaysia/Thailand: Brett Henry, Vice President Marketing, Abacus International
- Vietnam: Tran Trong Kien, CEO, Buffalo Tours, Vietnam
- Facilitator: Timothy Hughes, CEO, Getaway Lounge, Australia
12.30-12.40 The WIT Bootcamp Debate: Old People Suck At Start-Ups
Standing in between two entreprenuers and they battle it out over whether or not old people belong in start ups.
- For: Wong Bi Ying, Content Strategist, Savant Degrees, Singapore
- Against: Timothy O'Neil-Dunne, Managing Partner, T2Impact
At the Main WIT show
Tuesday 18 Oct
12.40-13.00 The first two presentations of the inaugural WITovation Awards 2011
15.00-15.45 The WIT Groove Debate 2 + Panel
Debate: A debate on the value of deals. I will be head to head against a Sabre representative on the value of the deal sector
- For: Patrick Andres, Vice President, Sabre Hospitality Solutions, Asia Pacific
- Against: Timothy Hughes, CEO, Getaway Lounge, Australia
Will then join a panel to discuss further with
- Bryan Lewis, Chief Commercial Officer, Agoda
- Tai Parata, Managing Director, Travel,
- Ensogo Patrick Linden, Co-founder and CEO, Dealguru Holdings, Singapore
- Remy Merckx, VP e-Commerce Sales & Distribution, Accor
- Tom Gallagher, Executive Vice President, Revenue Generation, Pegasus Solutions
- Mohamed Yusof, Director of Business Strategies, Royal Plaza on Scotts, Singapore
On the 19th
Oct 19, 16.10-16.40 Get Into The Groove – The Future of Social
- Jakob Riegger, Co-Founder & Managing Director, TrustYou, Germany
- Danny Oei Wirianto, CEO, Mindtalk, Indonesia
- Margery Lynn, Dachis Group South-east Asia
- Abrar Ahmad, Partner, Travel Capitalist Ventures
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Mobile Search Still has a long way to go...about 17,000kms
"Did you mean A B & C Shoe Repairs, Croft Rd, Crowborough, Sussex TN6 1DL United Kingdom"
Monday, August 15, 2011
BOOT at TRAVELtech 2011: Sydney August 29
I will be at TRAVELtech 2011 presenting in my role as CEO of travel deal site Getaway Lounge. The session is titled
Daily Deal Websites – A New Distribution Channel or A Flash In The Pan?
Wow, two years ago this sector hardly existed now it is white hot. Travel was slow to get on board – leaving the playing field to restaurants, spas and hairdressers - but not it is full steam ahead with several purpose built companies emerging and big incumbents getting also getting involved. Overview from industry analyst followed by panel discussion.
I am on the panel with a who's of deal site execs in Australia
- Tim Hughes, Getaway Lounge
- James Gilbert, Living Social
- Sam Friend, TravelCandy
- Sam Yip, Senior Research Manager, Telsyte
- Dean McEvoy, Founder, Spreets
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Thursday - tweeting about Stayz, Fairfax, Occupancy and Vacation rentals in OZ
- Fairfax buys Occupancy.com - owns online vacation rental market in Australia
- Australian Online Market for Short-Lets and Holiday Rentals: Interview with Occupancy.com joint-CEO Justin Butterworth Part 1
- Australian Online Market for Short-Lets and Holiday Rentals: Interview with Occupancy.com joint-CEO Justin Butterworth Part 2
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
BOOT speaking at Pricing For Growth conference Sheraton on the Park Sydney 25 July
Case study Competing effectively in an online world
- Keeping up with the changing business models that are being borne out of the growing online world
- Tailoring and strengthening your online pricing strategy to withstand both local and global competition
- Having an agile pricing strategy in place that can quickly respond to market changes when time is of the essence
- Transparency, opacity, flash sales, closed loops, geo targeting and the complexities of selling in a world where everything can be discovered
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
WebInTravel 2011: WITovation Awards and Nominations
Monday, July 11, 2011
Seat Review - Pacific Blue International Economy Class (Virgin Australia)
Virgin Australia (nee Blue) may have rebranded and retargeted itself in a flurry of fancy press events and well crafted media releases, but when it comes to the product there is nothing fancy or well crafted about Virgin Australia’s Pacific Blue international economy class. It is a flight that gets you where you are going with a smile but the bare minimum of extras. It is low cost seat, nothing more. The BOOT rating for Virgin Australia / Blue International Economy is 1.5 stars out of 6 or "Bad Seat". Here is the detailed (other reviews and scoring system for airline seat reviews here)
Getting on board
I am Velocity Gold (Virgin’s frequent flyer program), Qantas Gold, United Gold and Singapore Airlines Gold. But none of that matters or means anything when flying Pac Blue. There is no lounge access for anyone in any status or any class no matter what. I put a post on Australian frequent flyer hoping that someone knew a trick or twist…but had nothing but crickets in response. On the Virgin website under the lounge section they mention how for every other international flight they do on V Australia, Virgin Atlantic, Etihad etc. Velocity Gold is enough to get lounge access. If flying from NZ there was mention of some lounge with names I'd never heard of. But in ex-Sydney on Pac Blue nothing. This is a significant weakness in this product. Lounge access is a critical value to a top tier flyer. The absence of it is felt and sets the tone for this product. I did get access to a priority check in queue which saved about half an hour on the land side (but then without lounge access what am I actually going to do with that extra time airside).
It is a economy seat on a low cost carrier so you expect it to be small and narrow. It meets that expectation. To be fair, the seat is a reasonable size for a economy class seat. The tray table is a fair size and adjustable. The arm rests lift, allowing children to easily sleep on the laps of parents. The seats are leather and pleasant on the eye. All acceptable stuff. What is not acceptable is how dirty the area is in and around the seats. Carpets stained with what I hope is food. Seats covered in what I hope is dust and seat back pouches filled with tissues, dirt, wrappings and what I hope is not human waste. Filthy and unacceptable. If is fine for low cost seat to mean small but it is unacceptable for it to mean unhygienic. What is also not acceptable is the slant. For some reason the head rest slants forward not back. It is understandable that the LCC economy class seat does not recline much but it is unacceptable that the headrest pushes forward - not lean backward. By pushing forward it makes sleeping impossible. If it could lean back just a few inches it would go from impossible to bearable.
Virgin’s live2air service combines a live feed from Australian cable television companies Foxtel and Austar. Means 24 cable channels covering sport, comedy, drama and kids programs. There is also a movie channel with 3 movies running on a loop (set start times). Cost is $9.90. That is fair and reasonable for a low cost carrier but I am not sure why they chose live TV vs on demand TV. For live TV to be attractive there has to be something on at the time you are on. Taking a day-time flight means the TV channels are full of...well…day time television. Hardly appealing stuff. The decision to use live TV goes from strange to ridiculous on the return trip starting in international waters. Clearly Virgin or Foxtel have not secured rights to broadcasts starting in non-Australian waters. As a result return trips to Australia involve a number of hours of "service not available" until Australian territorial waters appear. Virgin should replace this as soon as possible with an on demand service
There is lots of food on board provided you are happy to pay. Again -completely acceptable on a low cost carrier. But it is completely unacceptable that there is no free water option. The only water available is $3 for 330ml. It is well accepted that you should drink a lot of water on planes. The official recommendation is to drink two litres per day. For a flight you should increase this 50%. Means for each hour of flying time you need to drink between 125-200ml of water. To do this on DJ long haul adds a minimum $12-13 to the price of the price of each ticket. It should be a regulatory requirement that airlines provide water. Regulations aside Virgin must immediately change this position and make water available for free.
The staff were fantastic. They out-shined all other elements of the product. The staff were pleasant and lively despite a flight at horror hours and children running everywhere. A tribute to air crew. The plane was full of children running everywhere yet the staff dealt with all with a smile, a sense of encouragement and filled with great humour
The flight is factor-less. There is not a bell or a whistle or a twist.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
BOOT and Getaway Lounge profile piece on WebInTravel
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Tnooz: why the Baidu / Qunar deal is a moment in Chinese economic history
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Google brand bidding war extends to tourism orgs
I am an only child so sibling rivalry is a bit of a mystery to me. That said I remember some very vigorous games of football and role playing games against cousins. Nothing beat the satisfaction of crash tackling a cousin during a family event. I imagine that is part of the motivation for this screenshot from a Google search page. On it you can see Tourism NSW bidding for the search term "tourism vic". I would love to be in the room when the head of marketing from Tourism Vic calls their cousin in NSW and demands a please explain....
Monday, June 20, 2011
Tuesday 21 June at WIT in Sydney - talking startups
Upate - Tweets will be on hastag #witoz not #webintravel
Thursday, June 09, 2011
Getaway Lounge profile on Tnooz TLabs
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
How is the Qantas frequent flyer program like an angry Russian Model - Extended Version
After ten years I lost platinum status with Qantas. I fell about 8% short of the status credit target so find myself in the unexpected position of carrying a gold rather than platinum frequent flyer card on my many travels. Time away from the black card has allowed me to reflect on what I am missing and the value of platinum membership. I have decided that losing platinum status is like breaking up with a gorgeous but temperamental eastern European super model. They looked beautiful, your friends were impressed and the promise for excitement was high. But in reality you were treated really badly, the private times never matched the public promise and all that sticks in your mind long after the relationship is over is how often you fought over the stupid things they did but refused to apologize for. So how is losing Qantas FF platinum like breaking up with Ivanka - let me tell you.
I try to remember the fond times but there are too many painful memories. Like Ivanka refusing to take me to the coolest nightclubs in case we are spotted by friends, QANTAS revoked my anytime lounge access via an email promising enhancements to the program. Somehow for QANTAS the word enhancement does not mean improvement.
Like Ivanka refusing to do anything around the house "not with these hands" she would cry - there was the look that a long-haul QANTAS staff member would give you if you pressed the call button and asked for a glass of water during what they had clearly designated as "nap time". That is anytime between two hours after take off and two hours before landing.
Like Ivanka looked good around technology and always had the latest high-end gadgets and gizmos but never knew how to use them - there was the two year stint where QF was claiming to have the best in the air video on demand system despite the fact that SQ, CX and many more clearly had better system. Critically I had two years of flights where the Qantas entertainment system crashed every single time.
Like the time Ivanka told me "it was simply impossible (darling)" for her to be able to change her plans to meet my sick mother but then miraculously found a way when she discovered that my mother was drafting her will - there was the time QF told me that there was nothing they could do to get me on a flight. "The system simply won't let me". Only to change their mind and miraculously find a way 1 minute later when told by a colleague you'd better get them out a storm is coming (story here).
But there is an Ivanka moment I will never forget and always be grateful for. Like when she drove through the rain for two hours to pick me up at the side of the road with a flat tire - there was the time I had to get out of Bangkok but there were simply no seats on the QANTAS flight. I went to the airport 2 hours early and sat and waited. With 30 minutes to go before departure there were 40 people queued up trying to get on this flight. From the far right hand corner of the airport the chief check-in agent waved to his colleague staffing the front of the queue and held up two fingers indicating how many seats there were. Without blinking or pausing the agent then pointed to me and one other passenger - granting us the magic tickets home. Sure I had to downgrade to a middle seat economy. But 38 other people went back to there hotel rooms and cried.
So farewell Qantas Platinum/Ivanka. In my dark moments I miss you and wish I was still part of the in-crowd that gravitated around you. But without you my life has less missed expectations and fights on the side of the curb....my friends say I am better off.
Monday, June 06, 2011
WebInTravel Australia: Call for startups to be part of the BOOT and more June 21 in Sydney
"Find Your Online Groove – Timothy Hughes, BOOT + Ian Cumming, Director, Insight4 Pty Ltd
Timothy Hughes, the scribe behind the BOOT (Business of Online Travel) blog, and Ian Cumming, who’s started several of his own businesses and sold one or two, will scan their eye over the digital travel landscape and share with us what are some of the cool ideas they’ve seen in search, social media, rich media and deals – what’s hot and what’s not and what you ought to be doing."
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Launching a site
Would welcome your thoughts and feedback on the site. Check out Getaway Lounge. Enter "boot" (no quotes) when prompted for a Getaway Lounge Password. Please send feedback by email.
Unfortunately we can only (at present) charge Australian credit cards. Will let you know when international cards are ready.
Monday, May 23, 2011
New Job - CEO Getaway Lounge
Today marked my first day in a new job as CEO of travel start up Getaway Lounge. We are days away from launching a travel deal site focused on the Australian market
Getaway Lounge is a travel only private sale site offering great discount travel deals launched as an independent company funded by Nine Entertainment Co (NEC).
Two reasons (other than me) that Getaway Lounge is different to a regular travel deal a day launch. First NEC gives us access unrivaled online and offline marketing in Australia. Second, the brand Getaway Lounge will be associated with the Getaway TV show – Australia’s number one travel TV show. Ninesmsn (one of Australia’s largest websites and a company part owned by NEC) will help with online marketing
As you know PhoCusWright in their recent APAC report put the online travel market in Australia at $11.3 billion in 2010 (35% of the total market). You may not have heard that IBISworld say that group buying in Australia has gone from near zero to a $377mm dollar a year business with travel and accommodation accounting for $110.4mm or 1% of the online travel market.
Wish me luck and more on the launch soon
If you feel like helping me out, please like Getaway Lounge on Facebook and follow Getaway Lounge on twitter.
I will still be blogging regularly here at the BOOT and on Tnooz
Monday, May 16, 2011
Revinate Sessions - talking social media monitoring with Revinates Michelle Wohl
I have published a series of posts around this theme. I published 5 tips for suppliers looking for an online social media strategy (via Tnooz), the role that social and other factors will play in the future of the Google search algorithm (also via Tnooz) and a PhoCusWright Innovation Summit piece on competition between start-ups Revinate and Trustyou to help companies search and monitor social media.
That post led me to virtual meeting with Michele Wohl (photo top left), Revinate’s VP of marketing. Michelle gave me a demonstration of the Revinate social media monitoring tool for hotels and we discussed social media, semantic reasoning, klout and more. Here is what we discussed
The Revinate Product
At first Wohl and I discussed the product. I like it. It needs a few more elements to be the complete package (see below) but I saw a very useful product for a hotel to understand what is going on in social media and user generated content around the hotel brand.
The product allows a hotel to track, monitor and respond to user generated content on site and social media platforms. Wohl spent 30 minutes taking me through what a typical hotel client (pty level or chain) can do with the tool. Basic tasks in the tool include:
- Monitoring and responding to reviews;
- Tracking commentary/updates through twitter; and
- Track consumer sentiment about a property and competing properties.
It was some of the higher end features that impressed me including:
- “Add a ticket” and respond feature: A workflow management process that allows hotel to operationalise the information/review by assigning it to someone within the hotel and track the response. For example if the review or comment is about the restaurant it can be “ticketed” to the F&B manager to address. Very useful at bringing all elements of the property into the social media environment without over burdening staff;
- Filter and compare: The ability to filter commentary/reviews by various categories and themes. For example to see how often the “pool” at a particular property is mentioned compared to the pool at a competitor property. Allows the hotel to be able to see how they rate against a competitor at a feature and facility level, not just overall;
- Scorecard systems: Allowing data and trends to be compiled overtime and compared to competitors. Different time periods can be mapped against different competitors and different social media point. Creating the ability to set targets for staff members against measurable goals;
- Chains can roll up and deep dive: Chains can see whole of chain level and then rankings between individual properties helping to drive internal competition and improvements; and
- Pricing: The price of the product is based around the number of rooms and hotel ADR. It ranges from 1-3 times ADR per month. I like how Revinate have targeted the price of the product to be clearly measurable against a potential gain.
Wohl and I also discussed some general tips and concepts around social media. Here were her tips:
- Monitor before you create: much like the recommendations from my 5 tips for a hotel building a social media strategy Wohl says “First thing to do is the monitoring – find out what people are saying about you. Only then do let people know you are listening. Don’t sign up for Facebook or Twitter if there is no one there at the property to look after it”;
- Respond to all reviews as long as the responses can be unique: On the question of responding to reviews, Wohl said it was critical that hotels reply to all reviews with unique responses. Even those from clearly contradictory (read mad but incoherent) consumers. She said “you are not responding to the person writing the review but the people reading it. Future bookers are making decisions to book based on management’s response to reviews and including that in their own post booking reviews.”; and
- It is not all about TripAdvisor…but: Wohl was able to show me a series of real time client examples. In none of them was TripAdvisor responsible for more than 45% of the reviews out there on that property. Some as low as 23%. Put another way more than half of the reviews about those properties were on a site other than TripAdvisor.
As I say I like the product and it is useable right now against the volumes of UGC being created. However there is more that needs to be built to match the future quantity and iterations of content.
- Authority/Klout measurement: There is nothing in the tool at present that prioritises one review/comment above another based on the authority/popularity/reach/klout of the creator. Wohl is aware of this and says this is one the product roadmap (update - Wohl has since told me that "Klout integration should be released in the next couple of weeks");
- Sentiment analysis: Expanding the search, tagging and monitoring to determine whether or not the use of a word is in a positive or negative. For example is someone wrote “this hotel is the least romantic place” then being able to tell that this mention of the word “romantic” is a negative not a positive. Wohl says that volumes are manageable at present without semantic analysis ““Clients are not yet asking us for sentiment analysis as so far the review volume is manageable that they are focused on reading and responding to every review”. Clearly this volume management will not last for ever; and
- Foreign languages: At the time we spoke the tool was tracking only English language reviews. Since we spoke - hotels can now request to have language reviews in their native (non-English) language fed into the system. The next step is the ability to combine information from foreign language and native language reviews. For example taking a foreign review that mentions the swimming pool and combining it with native language reviews in the aggregation tool. Wohl says this is "on the roadmap".
With social media there has to be a balance. Each dollar spent on social media is a dollar not spent on paid search. Each person hour spent on replying to a TripAdvisor review is an hour not spent on CRM analysis, on property client management, on managing an existing sales channel and other critical sale and customer retention activities. Now is the time for social media focus and work. But it is not the time for sacrificing online marketing and client management in favour of chasing every tweet down the endless social media rabbit hole. I like what I have seen in Revinate as a means for helping find that balance.
Any hoteliers out there with experience using Revinate or a competing product with any comments?
Sunday, May 08, 2011
Business traveller tip - arriving at and leaving from new airports
But the routines can get shattered by change. Especially when a new destination is added to the mix. For example I have been doing 200,000 miles a year for the last 10 years yet guaranteed that once a year I go to a place I've never been to before. This year it was Manila. Last year Taipei. Year before Seoul. The road warrior routine is shattered by the ins and outs of arriving and departing from and unknown airport. Hence this next in my series of BOOT business traveller tips - rules for arriving to and departing from a strange (read new) airport.
- Hotel name in local language: Bring with you the name, address and phone number of the hotel (in local language). Immigration forms often want to know where you are staying. For taxi drivers it helps to have the full name and address (see tip below for more). If you use a travel itinerary aggregation service (I recommend TripIt) make sure you have the details stored locally (ie in an app that does not need a network connection to work) or have a hard copy;
- Choose your driver: if you are getting a taxi to your hotel take a moment to confirm with the driver that he knows where he is going. This can be a challenge if you do not have a common language but it is worthwhile making an assessment of the likelihood of the taxi driver getting you to your hotel. If you are not convinced then get your hotel on the phone before the trips starts and get them talking to the driver. Or - pick another taxi. Much better to do the work before you leave the airport rather than on the side of free-way in a country with no speed limits or seat belts (I speak from experience). Bonus points - if a hot country check the air con works in the taxi before getting in;
- Don’t go with spruikers: In lots of airports around the world "helpful" guides with come up to you with promises of limousine rides and cheap taxis. Ignore them all. Not worth it
- Steer clear of shared shuttles: As I mentioned in a previous traveller tip on surviving economy class flying "Last thing you need after 14 + hours in a plane is the impromptu 2 hour tour of whatever town it is that you are staying in that will result from using a Super Shuttle or equivalent. A share bus/van arrangement like a Super Shuttle is a definite money saver but you pay for it with a long and winding trip to the hotel";
- Tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but: Don’t mess around with immigration and customs forms. If you are on business don’t tick the "holiday/leisure box". If they ask for a hotel then put in the place you are staying. The consequences of half truths and lies on a custom/immigration form are not worth the risk; and
- Know the airport to hotel commute time and plan for it: airport to downtown trips vary in length across the world. Seoul Incheon and Narita are examples of trips that can take longer than an hour. Do the quick bit of research needed to get an estimate of how long your post flight trip will take. If it is a long trip then I have two tips for preparing for it. Firstly go to the bathroom on the plane before they hit the fasten seatbelt sign and begin to the descent. That way you will be "all clear" to get through customs/immigration, get bags and commute to the hotel. Second, take a bottle of water with you off the plane so you have something to drink during the commute.
- Find out if you need cash: There are still places (Manilla for example) where all travellers need to pay a departure tax/airport fee in cash before departing. In the case of Manilla, the only cash machine is outside the airport and the min amount to withdraw is more than you need to pay the tax. If you do not know this in advance it means a second trip through airport security to get to the ATM and a pocket for of pesos that need to be spent on chocolate once you have paid the tax. Before you go, research if you need to pay a tax and whether or not it needs to be paid in cash. Then prepare accordingly;
- Know your terminal: Simple but critical tip with some twists. The basic tip is to know which terminal your flight is leaving from. Travel between terminals can be tricky and cumbersome. There are two twists on this tip. Do not let the taxi driver leave until you have taken a second to confirm that you are at the right terminal. I do this by getting out of the cab first without my bag and taking (literally) 1 second to look around and see that I am at that right terminal. I am not saving leaving the bag in the car and walking off. Rather stand there with the door open pausing to check the surrounds before letting the taxi driver go. Then I grab my bag(s) and move on. By leaving the bag(s) in the taxi, the driver cannot drive off and leave me stranded if I'm in the wrong place. The second part of the tip is know (research if you have to) whether or not you are on a code share flight. Sometimes with code shares the terminal for the operating carrier is different to the terminal of marketing carrier. If you are on a code share flight make sure you know who the actual carrier is and confirm which terminal they go from;
- Scope out your lounge options: If you are in biz class or above and are a top tier frequent flyer you may have more than one option as to which lounge to go to. For example at Tokyo's Narita a top tier Qantas customer flying Qantas can go to the Qantas Business Class lounge or the JAL first class lounge. The JAL first class lounge is clearly the better choice but I have come across many QF customers that assumed they had to go to the Qantas lounge. Same too in Hong Kong between the Qantas and Cathay Lounges. Take a moment when looking for a lounge to see what options you may have; and
- Check out the train: When planning your trip back to the airport check out if there are options to go by train. Especially if you have a flight leaving with a peak hour departure time. A taxi/car service is easy to hail/catch from a hotel but in some cities you can be committing to a longer ride - especially at peak hour - than the express train. Take a moment to discuss fast train options with the concierge.
For more business traveller tips check out this post.
Thanks to Myrrien on Flickr for the photo of a cart from Edinburgh airport found some 60 miles away from the airport
Saturday, April 30, 2011
How is the Qantas frequent flyer program like an angry Russian Model
So farewell Qantas Platinum/Ivanka. In my dark moments I miss you and wish I was still part of in crowd that gravitated around you. But without you my life has less missed expectations and fights on the side of the curb....my friends say I am better off.
Thanks to teelwan via flickr for the photo
Monday, April 25, 2011
5 of the Best from the Shearwater Blog
- "Using a Bow Tie to Make Optimal Marketing and Technology Investments": great piece fro 2009 on ancillary revenues and the inspiration funnel;
- His five part series on Tnooz on travel inspiration including the Inspiration Footprint Matrix;
- "Google Travel delivers best piece of market research I've seen in the past year": distilling some great insight into the Euro/UK online travel market;
- His irreverent take on innovation and travel in "Awards from PhoCusWright that you may not want to win" ; and
- Great piece on Hipmunk on Tnooz where he manages to get a reference to Fortitude Valley Brisbane into the same sentence as Silicon Valley
Thanks to Bill on Capitol Hill for this fantastic photo of the old mastercard and visa branding
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Indian online travel players hit accelerator....again!
In their recent India report, PhoCusWright now puts the 2010 online travel market (leisure and un-managed business) at more than double 2008. $4.3bb is their size estimate, as much as 25% of the total travel market. They predict a rise to $7bb in 2012 (you can buy the report here). That would put the India of 2012 at the same size as the online market of Australia in 2010. An almost unrivaled acceleration in online travel. Like many markets online, the buying of low cost carrier tickets is a huge driver. But, unlike many markets, rail is a significant part of the grow story in India. Online rail in India is already more than a $1bb a year and is more than a quarter of the online travel industry's total turnover. In India (according to PhoCusWright), the percentage of rail online is twice the percentage of hotel online.
Corporate activity is accelerating alongside the market acceleration.
Number one player MakeMyTrip (MMYT) has been public for less than a year (IPO in August 2010). They went to the market at $14 and are still trading above $30 (Apr 21 at $32.23) with a valuation in excess of $1.1bb.
Cleartrip is chasing hard. They have just raised $40 mm from travel travel expense and management solution provider Concur (you remember them, they bought TripIt in Feb for up to $120mm).
Not to be left out, a day later Yatra announced they were raising $45mm from raised from Valiant Capital Management, Norwest Venture Partners, Intel Capital and others (WSJ story here). According to the WSJ this eclipes the $33.8mm they raised in the last round. The article quotes sources saying that a float in the next 12-18 months is very likely.
Expedia is also refusing to be left out. They have added India to their list of markets covered by their JV announced with Asian low cost carrier giant Air Asia.
Via is trying to argue there is room for more players. With $15mm raised so fare from NEA Indo-US Ventures, Sequoia Capital India and others, Via (also known as Flightraja) has mega bucks in their sites announcing last month they intend (emphasis on intend) to raise another $100mm.
Travelocity are trying to peek their head above the noise through a marketing relationship with Mastercard.
A very busy 30 days in a fast growing market. Did I miss anything? For the Tnooz latest list of top travel sites in India care of Hitwise click here.
Thanks to FriskoDude for the great photo via flickr