Odigeo, Oktogo, Travelata, Hudson Crossing, GraysEscape, iV Platform, CarTrawler, Expedia, Lufthansa Systems, LateRooms and SITA all make the cut for our roundup of the stories making news and driving opinion on December 4.
Growth in online travel in Russia continues apace with accommodation specialist Oktogo attracting a further round of at least $6 million and package holidays aggregator Travelata also attracting investment. Oktogo's new round includes existing investors Mangrove Capital Partners and VTB Capital who ploughed $10m into the business in March. Travelata's undisclosed round is via MCI of Poland.
The majority of passengers at Brazil's Sao Paulo airport want to be able to scan their boarding pass themselves prior to boarding according to the annual SITA/ATW Passenger Self-Service Survey. The research shows 88%, an increase of 66% on last year's figure, would welcome the service, as opposed to having an airline official do it. In general users of Sao Paulo Guarulhos International Airport are more interested in technology around baggage than other passengers - 79% would print their own bag tags, 92% would file a report at a kiosk if their bag was lost and 83% would do it via mobile phone.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS
Strategy firm Hudson Crossing has added Henry Harteveldt to its team as travel industry analyst. Harteveldt brings a wealth of industry experience to the role as a former consultant at Forrester and as co-founder of Atmosphere Research Group. Meanwhile Hudson Crossing advisory board member Tom Botts is taking on a senior marketing role within Denihan Hospitality Group.
CarTrawler has boosted its executive team with the appointment of Brian Ingarfield as chief procurement officer. Ingarfield, previously general manager at Tour America, will be responsible for developing the global supply base for the car rental distribution platform. The company's current CPO and a co-founder of the business Niall Turley will take up a non-executive role on the board.
Also on the move is Christopher Michau who joins Expedia as vice president of the global partner group. Michau will look after relationships with some of the leading hotel brands and head up a team of account managers. The team is also responsible for implementing initiatives such as Expedia Traveller Preference. Michau has been with the online travel agency for 10 years but most recently held the role of senior director of global strategic accounts.
ONLINE TRENDSMauricio Prieto, marketing boss for Odigeo and a co-founder of eDreams, has wrapped up his 2013 predictions into this video clip created by Travelthink.
Mobile growth and how the rules are changing is in there, the challenges of creating brand loyalty and the value of trying different marketing channels and ways of engaging with consumers.
GraysEscape predicts Sydney's hotels are losing out on AUS$250m in revenue annually through unsold rooms. The haggling website, launched in September, says if hotels sold 3% more rooms it would mean an additional AUS$50m, mostly to the bottom line, but that properties are reluctant to offer discounts because of brand reputation and rate parity issues.
LateRooms has partnered with Gulliver Ireland to further its presence in the destination by adding hundreds of hotels and guesthouses to its platform. Tui Travel-owned LateRooms says booking to Ireland have increased more than a fifth in the past two years.
iV Platform, a digital voucher specialist, has developed a mobile solution for publishing and redeeming vouchers via mobile devices. The service comes with a back-office system for companies to control voucher creation and track results. The technology can also work with existing apps and integrate with Google Wallet and Apple Passbook.
Lufthansa German Airlines is testing the BoardConnect inflight entertainment technology from Lufthansa Systems on an Airbus 320 based in Munich. The 'my mediaworld' system enables passengers on short and medium-haul destinations to watch films, read digital newspapers and research destination information via their laptops, smartphone and tablet devices. Lufthansa Systems says the technology is less complex than other services because it works using WLAN and does not need fixed wiring for each seat.