Skift Travel News Blog

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

Tour Operators

UK’s Revolut Adds Viator Experiences

9 months ago

The UK-based fintech app Revolut, which claims 30 million users, has added a in-app experiences marketplace, in partnership with Tripadvisor’s Viator.

The app now features some 300,000 tours, activities, and attractions, offering users options like “traversing the rocky Agafay Desert on camelback or taking a relaxing dip in Budapest’s Széchenyi Thermal Baths.”

The Revolut experiences marketplace, available to its UK and Europe customers, offers split bills for group trips, no booking fee, and discounts on experiences up to 10% depending on the user’s Revolut plan. 

The addition of tours and activities follows the app’s initial launch of selling accommodation in 2021 in a move described as wanting to become a Super App by offering all travel-related products. The app’s other travel products include holiday home rentals, hotels, travel insurance, and currency exchange. Revolut said it also wants to add flights and car rental bookings eventually. 

Revolut stated its customers make 400 million transactions a month, with its year-on-year data for May 2023 showing UK spending on tourist attractions was up by 9%. 

Airlines

Capital A Wants to Merge AirAsia and AirAsia X

1 year ago

Malaysia’s Capital A has submitted plans for a corporate restructuring, which will involve the merger of its low-cost airline AirAsia with long-haul carrier AirAsia X.

The company will set up a new division, called AirAsia Aviation, which will be run by Bo Lingam, who is currently president, airlines and group CEO of AirAsia Aviation Group Limited.

Capital A will then also include two other portfolios: the digital businesses and the logistics plus aviation services. They will be managed by Captial A CEO Tony Fernandes, who stepped down as acting group CEO of AirAsia X earlier this month.

The group also wants to carry out a separate “spin-off listing” in the future for the aviation services businesses of Capital A.

The corporate restructuring is designed to help it exit its “PN17” status, given to it by Bursa Malaysia, Malaysia’s stock exchange, which classifies it as a financially-distressed firm.

“We were at the sharp end of Covid, as were many airlines around the world, but we are coming out of it stronger than before — our airlines and network are fast returning to pre-pandemic levels, and our digital businesses are performing better than many had expected,” Fernandes said in a statement.

“While our PN17 status remains an accounting issue and does not accurately reflect the business viability and prospects of Capital A, we have nevertheless worked very hard to develop a plan to address the PN17 status as a key part of our post-pandemic recovery journey.”

Capital A aims to submit its proposal to Bursa Malaysia for approval in February 2023.

Formerly known as AirAsia Group, Capital A has become an investment holding company with a  portfolio of business that includes its airasia superapp, which saw monthly active users reach more than 10.6 million in the second quarter of this year. It also operates fintech firm BigPay.

AirAsia X recently resumed flights between Kuala Lumpur and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

Online Travel

Expedia Partners With Buy Now Pay Later App Afterpay

1 year ago

Travelers booking flights and hotels from Expedia in a co-branded feature in the Afterpay app can now choose to pay in four interest-free payments over six weeks, Expedia announced.

crowded airliner cabin
Passengers inside a plane. Source: Getty Images.

“Expedia Group is proud to become Afterpay’s first major U.S. travel partner,” said Senior Vice President Media and Brand Partnerships Christian Gerron, Expedia Group. “This highlights our ongoing growth in developing cutting-edge traveler technologies that provide our partners with new ways to deliver great experiences to their customers which, in turn, drive customer loyalty.”

Nerdwallet said Afterpay charges late fees, and puts customer accounts on hiatus after a missed payment, but doesn’t transfer customers to collection agencies.

“Expedia Group also plans to expand this initiative with additional brands in the future,” Expedia said.

Travel Technology

Amadeus Creates New Payment Business Called Outpayce

1 year ago

Travel technology company Amadeus said it was making a “significant investment” by setting up a wholly-owned business called Outpayce, which will focus on “delivering a smooth and connected travel payment experience across the traveler journey and accelerating the pace of fintech innovation in travel.”

It has also applied to the Bank of Spain for an eMoney licence, so Outpayce can eventually provide regulated services in the European Economic Area, with the intention to offer card issuing and Open Banking capabilities in travel.

The new division will build on the work of Amadeus’ existing payments business with the launch of an open API-based platform that helps third-party payments and fintech companies connect quickly and easily to travel companies.

It predicts 80 percent of companies plan to either match or go beyond 2019 levels of investment in fintech innovation in the next 12 months.

Hopper recently secured an extra $96 Million investment from Capital One to expand its partnership.

Online Travel

Hopper Attracts a $96 Million Investment From Capital One in Partnership Expansion

1 year ago

Capital One, which led a $170 million investment round in travel app Hopper in 2021, has added $96 million to the kitty, and the companies announced a long-term partnership between Hopper and Capital One Travel.

Hopper CEO and co-founder Frederic Lalonde
Hopper CEO and co-founder Frederic Lalonde in discussion with Executive Editor Dennis Schaal. Source: Skift

“Following the success of Capital One Travel, Hopper and Capital One are announcing an extension to their partnership as a way to continue creating best-in-class, intuitive solutions that make all parts of the travel journey seamless for customers,” Hopper’s announcement stated.

Hopper powers Capital One Travel, and Hopper also offers an array of fintech products, such as price freezes on flights and hotels, for an array of other partners.

Hopper claims to the the third largest online travel agency in North America, and to command 11.2 percent of third party flight bookings in the U.S., citing Marketing Information Data Tapes figures.

“The funds will be used to accelerate the company’s growth across several fronts including fueling its new social commerce initiatives,” Hopper stated.

Hopper has raised around $730 million in total funding.

A Hopper spokesperson declined to elaborate on Capital One’s equity stake in Hopper.

Travel Booking

India’s EaseMyTrip Advances Fintech Model by Paying Interest on Vacation Deposits

2 years ago

Evolving the ever-popular Buy Now Pay Later model, one travel company is now offering up to 20 percent interest to customers willing to bank their deposit with it.

India’s EaseMyTrip is calling the concept “Save Now Buy Later” and the investment solution offers a bank-like interest rate on the customer’s cash. It claims its new “Systematic Investment Plan” is a travel industry first.

However, customers must invest on a recurring basis. The minimum period is 90 days, after which the collected amount can be redeemed to book a vacation package or a hotel stay. The maximum duration of the investment is two years or $600,000, whichever is achieved first for both domestic and international travel.

EaseMyTrip also provides Buy Now Pay later for its customers.

“Our constant endeavour is to ease our customers’ travel experience in whichever way possible and we are certain that this new investment scheme will enable them to take their holiday and stay from their return on investment,” said chief operating officer Lokendra Saini

Online Travel

Hopper Fintech Products Now Being Bought by 70 Percent of Its Ticket Bookers

2 years ago

A fascinating interview with Hopper founder and CEO Frederic Lalonde on A16Z’s Future, with a deep dive on his thinking about superapps in travel and Hopper’s potential path into becoming one. In it, a nugget that now 70 percent Hopper’s revenues are coming from their add-on fintech produces, AND 70 percent of ticket bookers through Hopper’s app and site are now adding one or more these products to their shopping cart as part of the buying process, the average being 1.7, according to Frederic.

From the interview:

“With technology, if you’re able to predict things, if you’re able to create a digital experience, in principle, you should be able to cancel out every possible risk that you face when you travel. It turns out that A) you can, and B) that almost everybody has one thing that they worry about when they travel — some people care about prices, others care about arriving on time, some people just are worried the hotel is going to suck. But nobody worries about everything going wrong. Today, at least one of these add-ons are attached to 70% of the travel transactions we sell. When customers buy them, they average 1.7 per booking.”

On his superapp-in-travel ambitions: “I believe it’s a Western anomaly that Amazon isn’t into travel, that Facebook doesn’t sell anything, and that Snapchat does no e-commerce. I think it’s because we’re used to a Western construction for older people that is slowly getting eroded. And just like QR codes, just like text, as people adopt the technologies, we’re going to become more and more Easternized.

It stands to reason that either one of the travel companies will add high-frequency purchases to what they’re doing. We’re one contender for that. Or a high-frequency app that does delivery, like Uber, will get into travel. Or one of the e-comm companies is going to get into travel. It has to end with a couple of companies that offer a lot of things, and travel is just one thing.”

Online Travel

Consumer Adoption of Buy-Now-Pay-Later In Travel Increasing Rapidly: Affirm’s Earnings

2 years ago

Affirm, the public buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) fintech company just reported its latest quarterly earnings, and some hint that BNPL is being rapidly adopted by the suppliers in travel AND increasing usage by the travelers. From the earnings call transcript: “The Travel and Ticketing segment has been outperforming expectations, and volume more than doubled year over year. Our long-term partners, Expedia, Vrbo and Priceline were all in the top 10 by volume in Q3. The quarter also marked the general availability of Affirm on American Airlines and the launch of our very first Canadian travel merchant…Travel and Ticketing increased to $390 million, up 122% from last year, topping last quarter’s high mark. With the recent easing of mask mandates and travel restrictions, we see extraordinary demand to book travel now and pay over time with Affirm. We also remain enthusiastic about consumer demand for live events.”