Distribution

Asian OTA pioneer Zuji shuts down

Jan 15, 2019 / Zuji
Zuji
Zuji

Zuji is no longer in business, having failed to pay money owed to airlines, and to renew its travel agency licenses in Singapore and Hong Kong.

IATA confirmed with Skift that it had terminated Zuji from in its billing and settlement plan, the clearing house for payments between travel agencies and airlines.

Zuji’s websites in both markets also return an error message instead of the earlier “New site coming soon” that was shown in December.

Zuji was launched in 2002 by 16 leading airlines operating in Asia-Pacific and Travelocity, at the time owned by Sabre Corporation.

Market Data

Cooling economy predicted to slow growth of air travel in 2019

Jan 15, 2019 / Airlines
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Shutterstock

Forecasters expect air travel growth to slow this year in parallel with a slowdown in global economic growth.

Globally, the number of commercial airline passengers grew by 5.9% in 2018, according to a report released last week by the flight analysis firm ForwardKeys.

The ForwardKeys analysis of 2018 growth in worldwide airline passengers differs a bit from IATA's December estimate that the industry would see a 6.5% increase last year.

But IATA, too, sees the growth rate dropping this year. In December, the trade group cited a slower global economy, trade disputes and uncertainties caused by Brexit in predicting slightly less robust passenger traffic growth of 6% this year.

Technology

Choice Hotels moves IT infrastructure to Amazon Web Services

Jan 15, 2019 / Choice Hotels
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Shutterstock

The company will migrate over 1,000 applications to AWS, moving off legacy systems to help improve performance, scalability, and reliability.

AWS is already home to some of Choice Hotels’ primary business applications, including its global reservation system (GRS) and distribution platform, property-management system, and data analytics platform.

Choice Hotels has teamed with the Amazon ML Solutions Lab to identify uses for machine learning across its businesses, and guide its teams in the development of new machine learning-enabled features, products, and processes.

By leveraging AWS machine learning and analytics services, Choice Hotels will be able to provide more personalized experiences for its customers, use trend analysis paired with data analytics to identify systems issues, and interpret and resolve those issues without human intervention.

Digital Marketing

A first look at Twitter’s new beta app

Jan 15, 2019 / Twitter
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Shutterstock

The company is going to launch a new beta program, where a select group of users will get access to features to use and talk about new features with others.

Twitter, in turn, will use data that it picks up from that usage and chatter to decide how and if to turn those tests into full-blown product features for the rest of its user base.

Unlike traditional betas, where users test nearly completed features before a public launch, the feedback from the beta could radically change the direction of what’s being built. Or, in some cases, what’s not.

Digital Marketing

What do CMOs predict for 2019?

Jan 15, 2019 / Trends
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Shutterstock

Marketing will focus less on promotion and more on customer experience, culture, and contribution to the business.

The shelf life on most traditional marketing programs has expired. The customer is in control of the customer journey. In fact, the customer is now the marketing department. People no longer trust your company and its ads. They only trust each other.

Influencer marketing and content marketing will continue to dominate marketer budgets and priorities as brand storytelling reaches new levels of importance.

Digital Marketing

Is Amazon the future of hotel distribution?

Jan 15, 2019 / Duetto (sponsored)
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Shutterstock

The recent partnership with Melia is just one in a long string of moves to enter the hospitality market.

Amazon reportedly attempted to enter the hotel distribution arena in 2014 with a trial with independent hotels. While the trial may have proved unsuccessful, four years is a long time in Amazon’s evolution, and it is possible the online retailer may well re-enter this field. For hotels, this could provide a distribution alternative to the OTAs, and at a much reduced commission.

Amazon currently boasts more than 100 million Amazon Prime members, with an incredible conversion rate of more than 70%. Non-Prime customers still have a market-leading conversion rate of more than 13%, that’s four times the average conversion rate of 3% for online retailers. The average hotel website conversion rate is 2.2%. It’s easy to see why Melia has taken the decision to start listing its gift cards on the site.

Personalization

10 travel trends to watch out for in 2019

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Shutterstock

From the latest applications in digital payments and virtual reality, to the way guest privacy and personalization are changing relationships between guests and hotels, here are 10 major travel trends to look out for in the year ahead.

Smart rooms will be driven by the growing adoption of voice assistants, such as Amazon Alexa. With a simple voice command, guests will be able to adjust the in-room lighting, schedule wake-up calls, and request room service.

But arguably the real benefit is the rich data that hotels will be able to collect from these interactions. Knowing past preferences, the room could be setup in just the right way for returning guests so that it feels like their home away from home.

The personalization trend will also see more hotels invest in streaming services so that guests can watch their own content on the in-room TV. Hotel apps will also give guests more control over their rooms, such as setting their preferred temperature prior to arrival.