TripsIn.com joins in the February 7 #BookDirect movement

Built to be a true lead generation site, TripsIn.com offers a new option for property managers and owners. TripsIn.com abolishes consumer booking fees and gives homeowners back their properties to manage as they see fit. The consumer is in direct contact with the manager of the home, whether it’s the owner, or the property manager. […]

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Tripz.com is supporting #BookDirect day on February 7th, 2018

The first ever Guest Education Day is coming up on February 7th, 2018, and there is a new social media campaign to help reach and educate guests in search of vacation home rentals. This campaign is an incredibly important and simple way to communicate to travelers on how the vacation home rental market has changed […]

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Hospitality is key to success for vacation rental management companies

What is hospitality? The dictionary defines it as “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.” The Bible points to hospitality as a spiritual gift, with instructions such as, “Treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you”; “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling”; and “Do not neglect to show hospitality to […]

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Simon Lehmann: “This game is, by far, not over yet.” 

Simon Lehmann discusses the future of the vacation rental industry, Airbnb, HomeAway, and upcoming challenges and opportunities  When researching the vacation rental sector, it doesn’t take long to encounter the name Simon Lehmann. Over the years, Lehmann has made a name for himself as an expert in the online travel and vacation rental industries. He has worked closely with companies in all sectors of travel and has held several key positions including CEO of Interhome from 2005 until […]

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HomeAway’s Jeff Hurst discusses “off-platform booking” attribution

When HomeAway sent an email to vacation rental managers on December 14 introducing a pricing increase for subscriptions—along with a new fee for off-platform bookings—the vacation rental community sat up straight. The email said, “HomeAway will begin charging a fee for every off-platform booking, which will amount to 10% of the pre-tax total to be […]

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FVRMA President Discusses Owners’ Right to Rent Vacation Properties

I recently traveled to Tallahassee to represent the Florida Vacation Rental Management Association and an industry which has become a vital part of Florida’s tourism economy, at Tourism Day at the Capitol. I had the opportunity to listen to an encouraging speech given by Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) President and CEO Carol Dover. […]

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Uber CEO: We Will Be Profitable Within Three Years

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Uber Technologies Inc., whose losses have piled up in the quest for growth around the world, will be profitable within three years, said CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, pictured here. Bloomberg

Skift Take: Before Uber shifts all its attention to flying and driverless cars, we’d like to see the company make real strides in addressing serious longstanding issues such as sexual harassment and passenger safety.

— Dan Peltier

Uber Technologies Inc., whose losses have piled up in the quest for growth around the world, will be profitable within three years, said Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi.

Bending the company’s financial trajectory out of the red would be a dramatic shift for the global ride-hailing service, which has been losing billions of dollars per year. Speaking to Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Khosrowshahi said that even as the company would continue to be aggressive about expansion, it was finding ways to be more efficient.

Almost six months into his tenure leading Uber, Khosrowshahi is attempting to reverse what has been an unprecedented period of turmoil. The company is facing various government investigations, allegations of sexual harassment and increasing competition from rivals around the world. Khosrowshahi said his goal for 2018 is to “get back to normalcy” after the challenges left by former CEO Travis Kalanick.

“Breakneck growth can hide cultural issues,” he said.

Khosrowshahi said the company was investing heavily in autonomous car technology and that it would begin adding the cars in some cities within 18 months. The vehicles will at first only carry passengers on select routes that will expand over time.

The company is also developing vehicles that will fly people to certain destinations within cities that Khosrowshahi predicted will be available for customers within 10 years.

Uber IPO

Khosrowshahi has said he wants to take Uber public as early as next year, a process that would open the company’s financial performance up to more scrutiny. The company recently finalized a deal that makes the Japanese technology conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp. its largest shareholder.

Rajeev Misra, a SoftBank executive joining Uber’s board, suggested in a recent interview with the Financial Times that Uber focus on core markets such as the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Australia. In the interview at Davos, Khosrowshahi disagreed, saying the company would be “leaning forward” to expand.

Since taking over as CEO last summer, Khosrowshahi has been on a charm offensive to improve the company’s image. He said the company must work more closely with regulators rather than the more combative approach it took with Kalanick.

Khosrowshahi said he’s been working to change Uber’s boorish corporate culture. He commended former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, who wrote a blog post about the company’s sexist culture that led to an investigation at the company and a broader debate about the treatment of women in Silicon Valley and business. He called the fallout “difficult,” but “one of the best things that happened at Uber” because of the changes it brought about.

He said the company still has work to do to make its culture more welcoming for women.

 

This article was written by Adam Satariano from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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Qatar Airways Has a Problem With Some of Its Double Beds in Business Class

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways is not taking its A350s because of problems with its Q Suite, pictured here. The product is already flying on 777s, but the A350 has a different cabin size. Qatar Airways

Skift Take: Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker, one of the world’s most outspoken executives — in any industry, not just airlines — is known for demanding perfection from his suppliers. It’s no surprise Qatar Airways is taking its time with these A350 business class seats.

— Brian Sumers

Qatar Airways delayed taking Airbus SE’s newest wide-body jet because of problems with the carrier’s unique Qsuite seats, Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said, absolving the manufacturer of blame for the snag.

The Persian Gulf company, which had been slated to take the first A350-1000 airliner last month, will do so in February once issues with the setup — which allows seats to be merged into one or face each other for meetings — have been resolved, Al Baker said Monday. Airbus itself met the contract deadline, according to the CEO, who has previously blamed the planemaker and its suppliers for delays affecting the original A350 and A320neo aircraft.

“The installation of the Qsuite is taking longer than what we expected,” Al Baker said in Doha, adding that the complex design of the berth has implications for the certification of the aircraft. The first plane now belongs to the airline but remains at Airbus’s base in Toulouse, France, for fitting out.

The Qsuite seats, developed by Qatar Air and B/E Aerospace Inc., are installed so that sets of four face each other to form a mini meeting area once barriers are dropped. Each berth can also dock with the one next to it to create what the carrier says is the industry’s first double bed in a business-class cabin.

Qatar Air has ownership of key elements of the design, which took two years to develop and has already been installed on some of its Boeing Co. 777 jets.

–With assistance from Benjamin Katz

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

This article was written by Mohammed Aly Sergie from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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Jumeirah Skips Luxury in Favor of ‘Upscale Casual’ for New Brand

Zabeel House by Jumeirah

A promotional image from Zabeel House by Jumeirah. Jumeirah is looking to expand into the markets that don’t fit for its traditional luxury brands. Zabeel House by Jumeirah

Skift Take: High-end luxury isn’t for everyone, and it makes sense for Jumeirah to explore the upper midscale space; the upscale millennial travelers of today are the future luxury globetrotters of tomorrow.

— Andrew Sheivachman

Jumeirah Group is best known for five-star luxury hotel properties around the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. But as the number and types of brands available to consumers have exploded across the hospitality industry, Jumeirah is now looking to appeal to younger and less affluent travelers as well.

Zabeel House by Jumeirah is being billed by the company as neither a lifestyle nor luxury brand; the properties are instead “upscale casual” with more of an informal atmosphere geared to aspirational and experience-focused travelers — often millennials.

The company did hint it would launch a lifestyle brand at an event late last year, but seems to have thought twice about that particular positioning.

“The launch of Zabeel House by Jumeirah is a significant milestone in achieving strategic expansion and provides an opportunity for Jumeirah Group to access new localities and destinations,” said Jumeirah Group chief operating officer Marc Dardenne in a statement. He said the brand “is for the traveler who wants to enjoy our award winning hospitality, but experience it in a more relaxed and casual setting.”

The company has signed management contracts in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the UK; the first property under the new brand is expected to be announced too. Cities that aren’t suitable for the company’s traditional luxury hotels will be prime locations for the new brand.

Despite the attempt to differentiate the new offering, the marketing copy Jumeirah sent out seems like it could come from almost any luxury lifestyle brand. One example: “Zabeel House by Jumeirah draws the modern-day explorers, the experience seekers, the life lovers, and the global nomads.”

It will be interesting to see how Jumeirah differentiates this brand from both its other luxury brands and the glut of global lifestyle brands emerging around the world. Rosewood Hotel Group also plans to launch an upscale lifestyle brand soon, while giants like Marriott International and Hilton Hotels & Resorts are constantly toying with new concepts in the space.

This is just the latest of big moves Jumeirah has made lately. Last week, the company announced the hiring of a new CEO, former Four Seasons executive Jose Silva. His top responsibility, according to a press release: international expansion.

In a statement at the time, Silva said he was “fully committed to leading the business and the brand into its next level of growth.”

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New Skift Research Report: WeChat Strategies for Global Travel Brands 2018

Skift Take: WeChat may be key for travel brands and destinations looking to appeal to Chinese outbound travelers. However, brands need to go beyond simply copying and pasting content from western social media to see the kind of payoff they are hoping for.

— Meghan Carty

Today, Skift Research launched its latest report, WeChat Marketing Strategies for Global Travel Brands 2018.

As Chinese outbound travel continues to rise, this high-spending segment of travelers is increasingly appealing to travel brands and destinations worldwide. China’s number one super app, WeChat, boasts nearly one billion monthly active users, according to a report by its parent company Tencent. With this large user base, the app holds a lot of potential for travel brands looking to unlock this market. However, without a thoughtful WeChat-specific strategy, travel brands are unlikely to see much of a payoff from having a presence on the platform.

In this report, we outline strategic considerations and best practices for travel brands interested in joining the platform based on interviews with more than a dozen WeChat experts in travel, as well as our own analysis of WeChat data for travel brands provided by Beijing-based digital agency Dragon Trail Interactive.

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To get the most from having a presence on WeChat, travel brands must have a clear understanding of the nuances of the platform and of the mindset and preferences of its users. For example, certain types of content posted by brands to WeChat Official Accounts resonate better than others. We found that nature is one theme that tends to generate a lot of audience engagement, especially for WeChat users who live in large Chinese cities.

Destination Canada sees high levels of audience engagement with content that includes photos of nature. The photos below were included in a post about reasons to visit Canada. The post received over 48,000 views, making it Destination Canada’s most-viewed post of 2017.

Source: Destination Canada, WeChat Official Account post.

Using the data provided by Dragon Trail Interactive, we also performed quantitative analyses to identify trends pertaining to audience engagement. This led us to identify a relationship between the number of Official Account posts made by a travel brand per week and engagement in terms of the number of views that content receives. We found that brands that post more than three times per week see their weekly post viewership nearly double on average.

Travel brands that post to their WeChat Official Accounts more than three times per week see nearly double the viewership of posts than those that post fewer than three times per week.

Source: Skift Research + Dragon Trail Interactive

Preview and Purchase

In this report, we dive deeper into these topics, taking our data analysis further by examining different types of travel brands and various forms of audience engagement on the platform. We also provide numerous additional examples from travel brands on WeChat, and first-hand insight from our expert interviews.

What You’ll Learn From This Report

  • Sizing and expenditure data for Chinese outbound tourism
  • An overview of WeChat and its prominence in China
  • How travel brands are using WeChat today
  • Strategic considerations for travel brands interested in joining the platform
  • Insight on best practices from travel industry WeChat experts
  • What content resonates best with WeChat users, with examples
  • WeChat posting metrics based on Skift Research data analysis
  • The top travel brand WeChat Official Accounts among brands based outside of Mainland China based on engagement
  • How external partnerships can help travel brands overcome challenges associated with joining the platform, managing an Official Account, and building an engaged follower base

Subscribe to Skift Research Reports

This is the latest in a series of monthly reports, data sheets, and analyst calls aimed at analyzing the fault lines of disruption in travel. These reports are intended for the busy travel industry decision-maker. Tap into the opinions and insights of our seasoned network of staffers and contributors. Over 200 hours of desk research, data collection, and/or analysis goes into each report.

After you subscribe, you will gain access to our entire vault of reports conducted on topics ranging from technology to marketing strategy to deep dives on key travel brands. Reports are available online in a responsive design format, or you can also buy each report a la carte at a higher price.

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