Skift Breaking News Blog

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

Travel Booking

Hapi Travel Launches Subscription Service for the U.S. Market

4 weeks ago

Subscription travel platform Hapi Travel Destinations has launched in the U.S.

More brands are building paid travel subscriptions, powered by shifts in traveler priorities and work-life flexibility, but Hapi Travel also wants to expand by offering “additional income in the new gig economy.”

A subsidiary of direct-sell specialist Sharing Services Global Corporation, it plans to add more “promoters” and says it lets users earn points when they book a vacation for their next trip, but also earn them when they refer other people.

It also claims to offer travel savings, which come at a cost: its Explorer subscription involves a basic monthly membership fee of $50 a month, while its Elite+ package costs $2,500 to join, and then $244 a year.

It offers discounts on hotels, resorts, cruises and condos, as well as car rentals, activities, flights and shopping, leveraging its direct-sell business.

“This new and unique membership-based travel club is designed for everyone to enjoy maximum savings and travel perks on the most luxurious vacation getaways throughout the world or save money on ordinary daily personal or corporate travel,” said John Thatch, CEO of Sharing Services Global Corporation.

In July, membership-focused travel tech firm Mondee went public. It mainly offers cloud-based tools to so-called “gig travel agents,” a category of independent workers it claims is growing. But the 1,000-employee company also offers direct-to-consumer subscription travel sales, rewards-based business travel programs, wholesaling services, and other offerings.

Startups

Inspirato’s Luxury Travel Subscription Revenue Doubled in Q2

2 months ago

Inspirato, a Denver-based travel startup, said that it generated $36 million in subscription travel revenue in the second quarter — up by half year-over-year. The company’s full quarterly revenue was $84 million. 

The company’s Netflix-like subscription service, Inspirato Pass, had 3,600 subscribers in the quarter. For about $2,500 a month, Inspirato’s Pass lets travelers stay at about luxury vacation homes and hotels it partners with for specified lengths of stay.

In a concerning sign, growth in the company’s longstanding club-based program — Inspirato Club, where people pay a fee for access to discounted travel — grew only 4 percent to 12,100, year-over-year.

In another eyebrow-raising statistic, losses increased instead of shrunk. The net loss for the second quarter of 2022 was $7.2 million compared to a net loss of $0.6 million in the second quarter of 2021. Management attributed the rising losses to “increased corporate operating expenses.”

The company said it forecast that its loss for the full year will be between $15 million and $25 million on an adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization basis. The company anticipates generating positive adjusted earnings for the full year 2023.

See Inspirato's earnings

Travel Technology

Travel Startup Caravelo Raises About $3 Million in Funding for Travel Subscriptions Tech

3 months ago

Caravelo, a startup specializing in travel subscription services, said on Monday that it had received approximately $3 million (€3 million) in funding from Banco Sabadell via Sabadell Venture Capital and Inveready Venture Finance.

Caravelo, based in Barcelona, said it had seen revenue from its travel subscription solutions double in the first half of the year.

In the past year, it began helping Alaska Airlines on the back-end with that carrier’s recently launched subscription program.

Since 2018 the startup has run a subscription offering on behalf of Volaris, the Mexican low-cost carrier. The Volaris VPass lets more than 30,000 consumers fly within Mexico once a month, paying only taxes when you book in return. Plans vary, but the monthly subscription for round-trip tickets is about $35 (699 Mexican pesos) a month. Volaris’ VPass recently reported a 95 percent increase in users, year-over-year, as well as revenue that is already 105 percent above pre-pandemic levels.

“In the past year, the industry has finally woken up to the power of subscriptions,” said CEO Iñaki Uriz. “We have seen a marked increase in the number of airlines that are working with us to build subscription programs. We are expecting to make new announcements before the end of the year, including the launch of a new type of subscription product by a large carrier in Latin America.”

Airlines

JAL Is Testing Flight Subscriptions Again With the Help of a Japanese Startup

3 months ago

Between August and November 2021, Japan Airlines (JAL) began a three-month promotion, making non-refundable flight tickets available in a discounted wholesale deal to travelers booking trips. 

On June 22, the promotion returned, with some small changes. Up to 1,000 customers will be able to buy flight subscriptions, giving them access to tickets on up to 143 domestic routes.

The promotion is run by a Nagasaki-based startup, KabuK Style, which has a consumer-facing brand called HafH (Home Away From Home). Pricing is at ¥28,800, ¥39,800, or ¥82,000 monthly, or approximately $213, $295, or $606. This time one-way and multi-city reservations are possible, unlike last time, which only allowed round trips on 10 routes.

The project is the latest example of travel companies testing the subscription model. For more on KabuK Style’s earlier promotion with JAL, see Skift’s earlier article.

Hotels

Inspirato Adds a Third Travel Subscription Product

4 months ago

Inspirato, a subscription business primarily for stays at luxury vacation homes and hotels, debuted on Thursday a third subscription product.

The new Inspirato Select product lets subscribers pick 3 trips from a list of more than 500,000 for an annual fee of $24,000, plus a $2,000 enrollment fee. The cost includes nightly rates, taxes, and fees but not transportation, meals, or other aspects of a trip.

Tapping into the corporate incentives market, Inspirato’s new Select product can be used as a perk for employees or business partners.

Ahead of going public in February, the Denver-based company said it had boosted its paying subscribers by 12 percent, to 13,191, in the nine months to September 30. The new product may further increase subscriptions.

Business Travel

Mondee Adds 6 Million Subscribers Ahead of SPAC Deal

4 months ago

Travel technology company Mondee has seen “enhanced marketing costs” as it builds up the number of subscribers for its travel platforms.

The company now has 10 million users signed up to its subscription products including TripPlanet and Unpub, compared to four million in December last year. The boost may be a result of its new alliance with Arthur J. Gallagher, which gave it access to 287,000 business and organizations.

However, gaining new subscribers comes at a cost. Mondee posted a net loss of $7 million for the first quarter ended March 31, 2022, “after enhanced marketing costs to acquire lifetime customers and increase market share at this opportune inflection point of post-pandemic recovery.”

Mondee made a net loss of $12 million in the 2021 first quarter.

Gross revenue was $469 million, up 205 percent year-over-year, compared to $154 million in the first quarter of 2021. Net revenue was $38 million, up 179 percent year-over-year.

The results were posted on Friday, ahead of its planned business combination with Ithax Acquisition Corp. Mondee wants to list on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the ticker symbol “MOND”.

Its adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) was $2 million, an improvement of $6 million compared to a loss of $4 million in the first quarter last year.

Last month Ithax, a special purpose acquisition company, raised an additional $20 million for its private investment in public equity, or PIPE, from Elliott Management and Siris Capital — the institutional investors who happen to be owners of Travelport.

Founder and CEO Prasad Gundumogula has said the company was ready to get back to a vigorous tempo of growth it saw before coronavirus. “The Mondee Marketplace made significant progress, buoyed not only by the post-pandemic travel recovery, but also by our unique traveltech ecosystem, causing us to regain the vigorous tempo of our pre-pandemic organic growth,” he said.

“Our customers and travelers have been early adopters of our recent fintech, martech, insurtech, and other ancillary offerings, driving the almost three-fold organic increase in our year-over-year net revenue.”

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