Tourism New South Wales, Worldhotels, and Expedia US make our roundup of the stories making news and driving opinion on 26 September.
Hack attack in Australia
This week, a rogue programmer in Iraq hacked two Australian travel industry websites: Tourism Industry Council of NSW and NSW Tourism Awards.
The hacker replaced images of the Sydney skyline and the Australian Outback with strange images of someone wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, an image of The Joker from the Batman series, and a young woman with a gag over her face, says The Australian this morning.
The organization changed its passwords and its "back-up processes" to avoid the problem in the future. In a press statement, an official "thanked" the hackers for providing "a new and unexpected level of news coverage" of its sites.
Worldhotels revamps its digital platforms
The Frankfurt-based affiliate network for nearly 500 independent hotels worldwide has remade worldhotels.com and launched mobile apps for Android and (shortly) iPhone in a major branding effort.
The nearly 50-year old company's aim is to make its site and apps prime booking channels for the hotels, with little extras like the chance for consumers, travel agents, and corporate clients to pre-book taxis.
Agents can access rates and content, and an enhanced search tool enables Meeting, Incentive, Conference and Exhibition (MICE) planners to make direct request for proposals (RFPs).
The consumer apps are booking tools but also also include Frommers content for trip planning.
Expedia sees strong growth in hotel bookings
Travelclick, provider of revenue generating solutions for hoteliers, has released its second quarter performance survey for North American booking activity for leisure and business travelers.
Bookings through hotel websites grew 4% this spring, year over year, while OTAs saw a 3.6% jump in bookings -- led by Expedia, which reported the biggest second quarter year-over-year demand growth (14%) of all the OTAs.
Free subway rides in San Francisco thanks to mobile phone hack
Hackers figured out a fairly simple way to get free MUNI rides using paper (disposable) tickets in San Francisco. Works on PATH too.