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Skift Travel News Blog

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

Travel Technology

Amadeus Creates New Payment Business Called Outpayce

2 years 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.

Business Travel

TripActions Buys Spanish Travel Agency and Meetings Planner Atlanta

2 years ago

If you’d thought Silicon Valley’s TripActions was running out of steam as we head towards the year’s end, after its acquisitions and extensive fundraising, think again.

On Tuesday the corp travel startup announced its fourth acquisition in 18 months, buying Spain’s Atlanta Events & Corporate Travel Consultants.

The rationale, according to the company, is because of an increase in demand for conferences, on-sites and offsites.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

The purchase was made by TripActions’ premium-travel brand, Reed & Mackay, which it itself bought back in 2021. Atlanta was also a long-standing partner of Reed & Mackay.

Reed & Mackay’s meetings and events division’s employee base has grown fivefold, year-over-year, the company added.

This acquisition fills a gap in Europe, after it previously bought Comtravo in Germany and Resia in Sweden.

Atlanta has offices in Andalucia, Barcelona and Madrid, and all 70 employees will transfer over.

Online Travel

Edreams Odigeo Gets Fined in Spain for Allegedly Misleading Consumers on Subscriptions

2 years ago

A regional consumer affairs agency in Spain fined eDreams Odigeo $23,300 (24,000 euros) for allegedly duping some consumers into buying the company’s much-publicized Prime subscription service.

the Odiego offices in Barcelona new as of 2017
In 2017, eDreams Odiego moved into new offices in Barcelona designed by Vimworks. Source: Vimworks.

The General Directorate of Consumer Affairs of the Balearic Islands, which include Mallorca and Ibiza among the better-known islands in the archipelago, levied the fine against eDreams Odigeo based on consumer complaints, finding that the Spain-based online travel company enticed travelers to book discounted flights, for example, but didn’t show prominently enough online that they would also be charged a roughly 55 euro ($53) annual fee for activation of the company’s subscription service, according to multiple published reports.

Edreams Odigeo announced in August that Prime attracted 3.5 million subscribers, after notching its largest ever quarterly growth in April, May and June, namely 560,000 paying members.  

The amount of the fine, $23,000-plus is a tiny for eDreams Odigeo from a financial perspective — the company claims to be the #2 flight online travel agency in the world behind Trip.com Group in China — is inconsequential. But the hit to eDreams Odigeo’s brand reputation, which had some trying times several years ago, could be more significant.

The company’a brands include eDreams, Opodo, and GoVoyages, among others.

An eDreams Odigeo spokesperson commented on the regulatory action.

“The resolution proposal by the Balearic consumer authority is not final and we respectfully disagree with it,” the eDreams Odigeo spokesperson said. “Our subscription programme, Prime, is exclusively offered to consumers as an optional service. Users must expressly opt-in to enroll on the programme after confirming they have read the terms and conditions. All the details of the subscription are displayed clearly and upfront, ensuring that no customer joins the programme unknowingly. 

“For further transparency, we offer a free trial period to allow consumers to enjoy the benefits of the service at no cost for 30 days. Furthermore, all customers who decide to join the free trial receive an email confirmation that clearly informs them of their subscription and how to easily cancel it online at any time before any charge is made, should they wish to.”

Janis Dzenis, a spokesperson for WayAway, a recently launched travel price comparison service that operates a subscription plan in the U.S., reacted to the news, arguing that such services need to be up-front with travelers.

“One hundred percent transparency about what the consumer is signing up for is a must for us,” Dzenis said. “Subscriptions are a long-term business play and unsatisfied customers could jeopardise your brand. By all means show people a ‘if you were a subscriber you’d get xx percent off this flight’ option, but it has to be completely clear. No surprises.”

The consumer affairs unit of the Balearic Islands, which is an autonomous province of Spain, likewise proposed a euro 24,000 fine against Spanish low-cost-carrier Volotea on similar lack of transparency grounds in inducing sign-ups for its own subscription plan.

“In the case of Volotea, the Consumer Affairs Directorate of Baleares points out that, when simulating buying a ticket for the Menorca-Asturias route, a discount of just over five euros was offered, but at the same time a subscription to the Megavolotea Plan was activated, with a cost of almost 50 euros per year. In the case of eDreams, different discounts entailed the activation of the Prime service, with a cost of 55 euros,” Facua reported.

The consumer affairs agency considers the case against the airline as being in its preliminary stages, and the proceeding against eDreams Odigeo resolved.

Tourism

Weak Euro Means Dollar Will Go Further for Americans Vacationing in Europe

2 years ago

The value of the euro is plummeting and that means Americans vacationing in Europe will see their dollars going further, CNN reported.

Three tourists with a selfie stick at Rome’s Trevi Fountain
Three tourists with a selfie stick at Rome’s Trevi Fountain

The euro’s falling means the dollar and euro are almost at parity, and “the UK pound is also weak: It’s exchanging at $1.20,” the report said.

That means more expensive vacations for Europeans and British.

Even if the dollar is strong, though, compared with the euro and pound, hotel prices across Europe in May were soaring in some countries compared to May 2019 before the pandemic.

Average daily rates in May 2022 were up in Italy (23 percent), Ireland (21 percent), and Spain (17 percent) compared with the same period in 2019, according to STR Global.

Uncategorized

Spain’s Renfe to Open New High-Speed Rail Line in July

2 years ago

Spanish railroad operator Renfe will open its newest high-speed line between Madrid and Burgos on July 22.

The new line will save travelers roughly 45 minutes with AVE trains taking just an hour and 33 minutes for trips between Madrid and Burgos, which is 134 miles north of the Spanish capital. In addition, it will reduce travel times between Madrid and the coastal cities of Bilbao and San Sebastián by up to 38 minutes. Renfe will offer up to 32 trains a day between Madrid and Burgos.

Renfe is offering 100,000 one-way tickets starting at €18 ($18.85) for travel on the new line.

(Nelso Silva/Flickr)

The opening comes as European countries are increasingly pushing rail travel as a key way to reduce carbon emissions. Germany is offering a so-called “9 Euro ticket,” or less than $10, regional rail monthly passes this summer in an effort to boost ridership, and the UK opened the long-planned Elizabeth Line across London in June. Even airlines, which have long competed with trains, are expanding their partnerships with rail operators and offering more joint air-rail itineraries to travelers. Renfe unveiled a new partnership with Iberia in March.

Tourism

Spain to Ease Visa Rules to Find Workers to Clean Hotel Rooms

2 years ago

Spain’s economy was among the worst hit in Europe during the pandemic, and now the government plans to make it easier for foreigners to obtain work visas so they can fill tourism-related jobs, including cleaning hotel rooms and waiting on tables in restaurants.

canary islands source reuters
Waiter Yamilca from Cuba attends tourists in a terrace of an almost empty restaurant Celso at La Caleta beach in Adeje, in the Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife, Spain March 5, 2020. Reuters/Sergio Perez

“We are evaluating different aspects of the migration law and where there is room to improve it … in order to address bottlenecks in Spain’s labor market,” Social Security and Migration Minister Jose Luis Escriva said Friday, Reuters reported.

The government doesn’t intend to merely target tourism with the work visa easing, but it was among the sectors the minister cited, along with tech, agriculture, and construction.

Among the plans is to permit some 50,000 students in the country from outside the European Union to combine their studies with working.

Spain projected earlier that its international arrivals would reach around 80 percent of pre-Covid numbers by June 2022.