BTN Europe presents an overview of business travel and MICE predictions for this year
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News in brief from Hilton, HBAA, Travelex, Ferrovial, Ryanair, Hotel.info and BAA
Hoteliers must know local market - Garnier
Hoteliers must understand local market if they are to grow their business, Philip Garnier, senior director of distribution sales for Hilton Hotels, said.
Mr Garnier said it was important to know that in the rising Asia Pacific market, 70% of travel is internal.
He was peaking at the spring conference of the Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association (HEDNA) in Budapest.
In China, Mr Garnier said domestic travel was growing but long haul international travel was falling.
In India, he said there was still a shortage hotels with "fewer branded hotels in the whole of India than in the city of New York."
In both India and China, consumers prefer to use mobile phones rather than accessing information through the Internet.
Therefore mobile phone applications are important for hotel distribution strategies in those countries, Mr Garnier said. Understanding the idiosyncrasies of individual markets can't be emphasized enough. Distribution has to the fit the culture.
Webinars increasingly important - HBAA
The use of webinars and webcasting is growing by larger organisations which are seeking to minimise their costs, Des Mclaughlin, managing of UK events company Grassroots HBI, said.
He said the industry was seeing a shift in how companies and their procurement departments are purchasing meetings and events.
Mr Mclaughlin was speaking in the light of a poll conducted by the UK Hotel Booking Agents' Association (HBAA) which found that 93.8% of the respondents see the new technology positively.
HBAA said the survey showed its members were "embracing the demands of the corporate and the changing face of the meetings and events market."
Peter Ducker, HBAA's executive director said: "As an association, we have seen how the understanding and use of cyber communication is more crucial than ever.
"These trends bring opportunities and challenges and we believe they are transforming our industry in a very positive way."
Travelex signs new MasterCard deal
The Travelex Group has signed a new deal with MasterCard Worldwide.
Under the agreement, MasterCard will provide the currency company with the capability to provide global pre-paid transaction processing for its clients.
Travelex said the deal marked an extension of its relationship with the car company.
The currency company already issues and distributes MasterCard Cash Passport cards.
Under the new deal it will also launch a new MasterCard branded Cash Passport cards for both individuals and corporates.
Travelex will also convert all its existing programmes to MasterCard.
Ferrovial names new ceo
Ferrovial, owner of BAA owner which owns seven UK airports, has appointed Iñigo Meirás as ceo to succeed Joaquín Ayuso.
The move represents one of many recent high-level changes made within the Spanish company and its UK subsidiary to cope with the difficulties the company is currently facing.
Most recently, the UK's Competition Commission ordered BAA to sell three of its airports, including Gatwick, Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh.
Mr Meirás, currently head of airports and vp of BAA, has long been seen as the likely successor for the post, however the promotion's timing has surprised analysts.
Ferrovial said Mr Meirás is to assume his new role "in the near future."
German Ryanair base receives new licence
Ryanair is once again accepting bookings on all flights to and from Dusseldorf-Weeze after the airport was issued a new licence on Friday (May 1).
The new licence will allow the low cost carrier to continue to operate its full flight schedule in Weeze, which is 70km from Dusseldorf.
The airline has six aircraft based at Weeze and carries 2.5m passengers.
Ryanair said 2,500 employees would have lost their jobs if the license was not renewed and the airport was forced to close.
Hotel.info enters Shanghai
Hotel.info has opened a new office in Shanghai marking its entrance into the Asian marketplace.
The online hotel reservation service said it planned to expand its Asian inventory by adding properties in China and throughout the region.
Warini Munshi, Hotel.info's head of international business development, said a second phase would see the website target Chinese companies keen to reduce travel costs.
"The global economic crisis is helping us in this respect. After all, even Chinese firms need to access more efficient hotel bookings and reduce accommodation costs," Mr Munshi said.
Hotel.info already has offices in four European cities plus two in Germany.
BAA reports £229m loss
UK airport operator BAA has reported a net pre-tax loss of £316.2m (€357.2m) in the first quarter, compared to a £55.6m (€62.8m) year-on-year.
BAA blamed one-off costs from building Heathrow's Terminal 5 and from losses on derivatives contracts.
Passenger numbers also fell 10% to 24.8m in the three months to March as global demand for travel declined further.
Two of BAA's London airports, Gatwick and Stansted, saw the greatest declines in traffic at 14.6% each.
Despite substantial increases in revenue and pre-tax earnings of 15.5% and 27.9% respectively, BAA suffered a post-tax loss of £228.8m (€258.5m).