Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Hotels

IDEAS: One Night Standard App Returns After Pandemic Hiatus

12 months ago

The Standard has announced the return of its last minute booking app, One Night Standard.

Having originally launched in 2015, the return of One Night Standard sees the hotel chain once again offering spontaneous reservations for same-day bookings at the lowest available rates across The Standard portfolio, following a hiatus during the Covid-19 pandemic

Credit: The Standard

Users of the app are given access to the best possible price for a room at Standard Hotels from 3pm daily, with the latest version of the app building in a new partnership with the dating app, Feeld.

“Guests are not only enthusiastically returning to travel, but are dropping inhibitions and allowing themselves to live spontaneously once again,” said Standard International CEO, Amber Asher. 

“It feels great to bring One Night Standard back for all those who missed it during the past few years and lobbied for its return. It is particularly gratifying because we have added some stunning new locations like Ibiza and Bangkok that are just perfect for impromptu late-night fun.”

According to a release from The Standard, the app is the only one of its kind developed by a hotel brand.

One Night Standard is available to download at the App Store or on Google Play via this link.


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Venture Capital

$160 Million European Travel Tech Fund Makes First Investment

1 year ago

Roch Ventures, a €150 million ($160.2 million) fund for travel tech startups in Europe and Israel, has made its first investment. 

The Luxembourg-based fund made an investment in WeSki, a startup booking engine focused on the ski and snowboard industry. Roch Ventures is leading the round with participation from Waze founder Uri Levine, TravelPerk CEO Avi Meir, and the founders of FlixBus. The size of the investment was not disclosed. 

This is the first of what will likely be another five investments from the fund this year, said Bobby Demri, managing partner of Roch Ventures. The firm plans to invest the fund into 20 companies, focusing on seed and Series A rounds. It’s focused on the European and Israeli markets, which Demri said is filling a gap for the travel tech industry there. 

“In Europe, people are very afraid about travel investment. You will find some investing in travel, but you will never find a firm specializing in travel,” Demri said.”

Roch was founded last year by Demri and Ludger Kuebel-Sorger of Boston Consulting Group, along with executives from Six Senses, Ennismore Brand, and Air France.

The firm is focusing on what Demri believes is the next revolution in the travel and tourism sector. 

He sees opportunities around digital nomad services, sustainability, the blending of corporate and leisure travel, and tech that could remove intermediaries like global distribution systems. 

As for WeSki, he believes the opportunity lies in what he sees as a rise of niche travel services. 

“I think that the travel sector is becoming a more specialized industry,” Demri said.

Tel Aviv-based WeSki partners with 60 ski resorts in seven countries in Europe. Next, it plans to enter the U.S. market, including mom-and-pop facilities that may not have had much online presence previously. 

The platform allows users to book all facets of a ski trip, including flights, transportation, accommodations, ski lift passes, ski gear rental, and more, all according to budget, party size, and level of experience. 

WeSki said it had a 300 percent increase in revenue between 2021 and 2022 and revenue growth of 1,000 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Travel Technology

Travelsoft Acquires Travel Compositor to Expand Booking Software Services

1 year ago

Travelsoft, a company that offers software products focused on travel bookings, has added a third brand to its portfolio.

The Paris-based company said Monday that it acquired Spain-based Travel Compositor, a provider of travel booking engines, for an undisclosed price. 

Travel Compositor said its platforms handle €1 billion ($1.1 billion) worth of bookings annually and generate €11.5 million ($12.3 million) in revenue. The company is established in Southern Europe and is growing in Latin America and Asia.

Following the acquisition, Travelsoft said it will now transact bookings worth €5 billion ($5.3 billion) annually and generate revenue of over €35 million ($37.4 million). With 90 people joining Travelsoft via the acquisition, the company now has more than 200 employees globally. The company said it will also be able to invest over €5 million ($5.3 million) per year in research and development.

Travelsoft products are focused on helping the tourism industry sell travel packages by automating production and booking, handling data for marketing, and increasing conversion rates. The company works with 300 tour operators connected to 600 suppliers in more than 40 countries, mainly in Europe and the Americas.

Travelsoft also owns Germany-based Traffics, which it acquired in 2022, and France-based Orchestra. 

Traffics offers consulting, search, and booking systems for more than 6,000 travel agencies, as well as travel portals, airlines, hotels and travel suppliers. Orchestra said it allows travel professionals to produce, administrate, distribute, and manage travel packages on all distribution channel

Each of the three companies will maintain their names and brands.

“The need for booking platforms is growing and we see many opportunities for consolidation, so watch out for more acquisitions as we build the world’s leading travel SaaS,” said Christian Sabbagh, founder and CEO of Travelsoft, in a statement

Sabbagh remains the majority shareholder of Travelsoft, alongside the two founders of Travel Compositor and the two founders of Traffics. 

Shares in startups MOGU and Top Group Express, owned by Travel Compositor, will also join Travelsoft. 

The investors who participated in Travel Compositor’s only fundraising round in 2016 — including Caixa, Capital Risk, Inspirit (Didac Lee), Hotusa Ventures, and Venture Cap II — are fully exiting company ownership and multiplying their investment by 12 to 15 times, the company said. 

Tourism

Asia Pacific Travel Search Volume Rose Over 50 Percent in Fourth Quarter, Expedia Says

1 year ago

Travel search volume in the Asia Pacific region rose over 50 percent year over year in the fourth quarter last year, according to Expedia Group. The region’s strong performance led global travel search volume, which rose by 10 percent year over year.

Asia Pacific’s search volume boost in the fourth quarter was likely driven by China, Japan, South Korea and other countries in the region relaxing restrictions, according to Expedia. China relaxed its Covid-19 restrictions in December. For three years, China was absent from the global tourism economy.

Longer booking windows were also more popular in the Asia-Pacific in the fourth quarter. Booking windows of 61-to 90-day windows grew by 30 percent quarter over quarter. Booking windows of 31-to-60 day windows grew by 25 percent quarter over quarter.

Asia Pacific travelers also stayed at destinations longer. Average length of stay increased by nearly 5 percent year over year. For the month of December alone, Asia Pacific traveler stays rose nearly 30 percent year over year.

Online Travel

India’s EaseMyTrip Acquires Majority Stake in Hotel Booking Marketplace CheQin

1 year ago

Indian online travel agency EaseMyTrip announced this week that it has acquired a 55 percent stake in hotel booking marketplace cheQin, owned by Gleego Innovations, for around $370,000.

The online travel agency said the acquisition would help strengthen its hotel channel.

“With this, EaseMyTrip is in a great position to give its customers a wide range of innovative hotel booking options at the most competitive prices,” the company said.

In a stock exchange filing, EaseMyTrip called cheQin a marketplace which connects travellers and hoteliers in real time and empowers hoteliers to have an access to live booking requests and manage bookings.

Speaking to Skift earlier, Prashant Pitti, the co-founder of EaseMyTrip, had said that the company is now looking to grow its non-air business by acquiring companies that are profitable, tech driven, asset-light and disruptive.

EaseMyTrip will diversify its hotel booking experience through technology support, said Nishant Pitti, CEO and co-Founder of EaseMyTrip. “cheQin provides unparalleled options in all segments and has the potential to scale and strengthen cross-selling.”

In December, the company had acquired a 75 percent stake in Nutana Aviation Capital for around $185,000.

Nutana Aviation Capital leases charter aircraft and provides charter services both within India and outside .

While the company has not yet shared its earnings for the October-December quarter, in the July-September quarter, EaseMyTrip posted gross booking revenue of $243 million, which the company said was its highest-ever in any quarter.

The company posted a profit before tax of $5 million.

This week, EaseMyTrip also announced the launch of its franchise business through which it aims to provide a retail store experience to its customers.

With EaseMyTrip Franchise, the company is tapping a new set of offline customers to expand its reach.

The business model will allow customers to have an in-store retail experience, the company said in a statement.

Travel Technology

Booking.com to Add Emissions Info to Bookings Through New Partnership

2 years ago

Booking.com said last week that it is working to help travelers choose more environmentally sustainable travel options through a new partnership with climate tech company CHOOOSE.

The Amsterdam-based Booking Holdings (NYSE: BKNG) marketplace helps travelers book lodging and a range of transportation options. 

The software made by Oslo-based CHOOOSE, which shares various pieces of emission-related info about specific bookings, can be integrated into other travel software platforms. Other clients of the company include SAP, Amadeus, Skyscanner, Southwest, Air Canada and more, according to its website. 

The goal of the new global partnership is to increase traveler awareness about the carbon implications of their trips, with the ultimate goal of allowing travelers to choose different carbon offsetting options through Booking.com, the companies said. The partnership will focus first on accommodation and later move to other products and services, including flights. 

Booking.com referenced its 2022 study showing that half of travelers say recent news about climate change has influenced them to make more sustainable travel choices. The company last year announced a program that would provide a badge to partners that have implemented a combination of sustainable practices.

“Together with CHOOOSE, we can provide information in a more transparent manner, and through trusted climate projects, can offer another way for travelers to make more mindful travel decisions,” said Danielle D’Silva, head of sustainability for Booking.com, in a statement. 

Hotels

Hotel Bedbank DidaTravel Sees Traveler Confidence in More Advance Bookings

2 years ago

A Shenzhen, China-based hotel bedbank that does a big chunk of its business outside the country is seeing travel agency and tour operator clients increasingly opt for both non-refundable rates and longer booking windows compared with 2021.

DidaTravel, which does about half its business outside Asia-Pacific, reported that 32 percent of its bookings were nonrefundable in the January to May, 2022 period compared with 26 percent for the same period in 2021.

The W Hotel is a landmark of the Barceloneta beach in Barcelona, Spain. http://www.flickr.com/photos/oh-barcelona/6978870631/

Meanwhile, 14 percent of bookings from January to April, 2022 were made 8-30 days in advance compared with 10 percent a year earlier. Bookings made more than 30 days in advance also edged up from just 2 percent January to April 2021 to 7 percent during the same period this year.

Bookings 8 to 30 days in advance reached 20 percent in May 2022, the bedbank stated.

All of these marks were well below pre-pandemic levels. While the increases aren’t huge they may be indicative of a trend, and show that travelers are showing more confidence these days that the pandemic or other global events won’t deter their travels.

“All of this is a strong reflection of the desire to travel from consumers and their confidence that they can fulfill a journey, based on conversations with our B2B buying clients such as travel agents and tour operators,” said Rikin Wu, DidaTravel’s founder and CEO. “But to a smaller extent credit must go to hoteliers for putting together compelling deals and pricing to entice the traveller back again — they are keen to see non-refundable rates return to pre-COVID levels and are we are seeing them pushing hard for this in our conversations with them.”

Nium, a payments processor, said cancellation rates it is seeing from travelers booking through online travel agencies, airlines, and hotels, are falling — just 1.74 percent so far in 2022 compared to some months in 2021 when cancellation rates were more than 40 percent.