Page 4

Skift Travel News Blog

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

Ideas

IDEAS: Adventure Awaits with Akun, The Latest Offering From Red Sea Global

1 year ago

Red Sea Global (RSG), the developer behind The Red Sea and Amaala in Saudi Arabia, has launched an adventure travel brand for guests aimed at offering unique sporting activities at its destinations.

Akun, which comes from the Arabic meaning of “to be”, will operate and manage various adventure experiences out of its destinations, including electric biking, trail running and hiking, all in line with the responsible ethos of the group. 

Credit: Read Sea Global/Akun

Having already signed two partnership deals with Bungy New Zealand and Air Sports Group, Akun is Red Sea Global’s third subsidiary business to be announced this year following the launch of its water sports and diving brands, WAMA and Galaxea, in February.

Credit: Read Sea Global/Akun

“At Red Sea Global, we believe the experiences available for our guests are just as important as the destination itself, and this new brand will provide them with world-class experiences in land and in connection with the sky above. Akun will offer a diverse range of ‘bucket-list’ adventures set in, over and throughout breath-taking sea and landscapes, and each builds on the exciting sense of exploration we nurture at our destinations,” said John Pagano, group CEO of red sea global. 


At the Skift IDEA Awards, we are looking for the projects defining the future of leisure tourism, destination marketing and the visitor experience, including those defining the future of day tours, activities, and experiences.

If you have an exciting initiative to share, head to the Skift IDEA Awards website and start your submission today.

Tour Operators

TUI’s Musement Doubles Experiences Bookings and Plans Expansion

1 year ago

TUI Musement continues to carve its place in the growth flywheel of parent company TUI Group, with the launch of its digital TUI experiences platforms to take the brand beyond Europe and into the world.

Sebastian Ebel, chairman and CEO of TUI Group, said TUI’s activities segment continues to support the group strategy of bringing new customers into the TUI ecosystem during an earnings call on Wednesday. Musement, which saw +185 percent year-on-year growth for business-to-customer experiences sold in quarter two of 2023, will continue to build its own unique experiences across 100 key cities.

Ebel outlined how its digital platform rollout would also support its TUI Blue asset-light growth, with the ongoing development of its own product.

TUI’s acquisition into Musement saw great investment in Milan, Spain and France, but the company would now be rolling out products for Germany, England, and the Far East, for example.

“We are targeting a hundred key cities at the moment in the world so that you don’t only get the best offers in Majorca but also when you are in Berlin,” said Ebel. “We are building more and more of our own products because we can sell as a merchant, but it’s more attractive if we produce the products on our own or make them unique through special relationships and to build further the Tui Collection.”

TUI’s tours and activities reported a near doubling in the number of excursions and activities booked during the second quarter ending March 31, with 1.3 million experiences sold and an estimated 0.7 million more than in the prior-year quarter.

Musement has reduced its underlying earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) loss to -$13.9 million in the period under review, compared to -$19.92 million in the prior year. TUI Musement also benefited from increased guest transfers, with a total of 3.4 million transfers in destinations. You can read more about TUI’s focus on dynamic packaging and second-quarter earnings here.

Hotels

IDEAS: The Dorchester Recreates 1953 Decorations Ahead of King’s Coronation

1 year ago

As preparations continue for the coronation of HM The King Charles III on May 6, The Dorchester London has transformed its famous façade with a modern reinterpretation of the decorations used for the coronation of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

The original decorations, which were designed by British stage set designer Oliver Messe, featured draping along the hotel’s curved balconies to create the impression of a theatre stage, and the 2023 iteration is no different, with the Union Jack coloured drapery setting the stage for the celebrations to come.

You can see the decorations in the video below:

Instagram: @thedorchester

In addition to the decorations, the hotel will offer an array of themed treats throughout the coronation weekend, including a royal-inspired afternoon tea curated by the hotel’s executive pastry chef Michael Kwan, as well as a serving of the newly created ‘Sovereign Martini’, inspired by The King’s favourite drink.


If you have a physical experience that deserves recognition, visit the Skift IDEA Awards website and submit your entry today.

Ideas

IDEAS: Bentley’s ‘Extraordinary Journeys’ Get Travelers Outside of the Car

1 year ago

For car enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike, Bentley Motors’ latest endeavour into travel experiences is sure to turn heads.

Starting in April 2023, renowned luxury car manufacturer Bentley is set to launch a schedule of worldwide ‘Extraordinary Journeys’, offering up the very best in local cuisines, architecture, wellness and design – all whilst riding in a Bentley, of course.

The exclusive travel series, which already includes the UK, New Mexico, and Scandinavia as part of the itinerary, will offer guests an unforgettable driving experience coupled with the best excursions and indulgences each destination has to offer.

Source: Bentley Motors.
Source: Bentley Motors.

Caren Jochner, global head of brand experience at Bentley Motors, said, “We want to share with our customers and fans an extraordinary journey of discovery offering access to usually private and exclusive experiences that only Bentley can provide. We have worked closely with globally like-minded partners that share our passion for excellence whether it be in the field of cuisine, design, architecture, or wellness – all with sustainability at heart.”


This post is a part of Skift Ideas, which highlights exciting new creative projects, campaigns, designs, and future-making ideas across the travel industry. Skift will also feature a number of leading projects across travel at our 5th annual Skift IDEA Awardswhich has become the travel industry’s most coveted achievement for excellence in innovation, design, experience, and now, automation.

Learn more at: https://live.skift.com/skift-idea-awards-2023/

Online Travel

GetYourGuide Relaunches Originals With Homepage Refresh

1 year ago

Tours and activities online booking platform GetYourGuide has unveiled a fresh look on its homepage this week, and with it, a new series of Originals by GetYourGuide.

The Originals offering, previously put on hold towards the end of 2022, was run in partnership with local operators in popular destinations. Now the operator has shifted the focus to one-of-a-kind experiences, exclusive to the platform and inspired by the exclusive ‘Turning the Lights On at the Vatican Museums‘ in 2022, which saw 15,000 people applying for a coveted seat on one of the seven tours in 2022″.

The homepage refresh is seeded across core themes such as culture, food, nature and adventure, and Originals tours are now prominently labeled. New in the series is an exclusive guided experience through the Museum of Modern Art in New York, without the crowds one hour before the regular opening hours together with a professional art historian; or the chance to experience Barcelona’s La Sagrada Família in a private twist to explore Gaudí’s masterpiece on one’s own, accompanied by the live soundtrack of the famous local organist Juan de la Rubia.

The reveal of the new site was further supported by a new Make Memories campaign launched across the U.S. and Europe, and an Artificial Intelligence study that showed for 42 percent of participants, travel experiences were one of the three most emotionally intense memories. See the artificial intelligence experiment video below.

Hotels

Nigeria’s Transcorp Hotels Returns to Profit and Plans Expansion

1 year ago

Nigeria’s Transcorp Hotels, one of Nigeria’s biggest hotel players, reported that it had returned to profit in 2022 after a rough pandemic.

The company reported a full-year 2022 profit before tax of $9.8 million (4.5 billion Nigerian naira) on $68.2 million (31.4 billion naira) in revenue.

“This impressive achievement is the highest revenue generated since the inception of the company,” said Dupe Olusola, CEO and managing director. “The full-fledged return of the international business travel segment and the bolstering leisure segment contributed immensely to this performance.”   

The company doubled its net profit margin year over year from 7 percent in 2021 to 14 percent in the year 2022. It reported a $5.6 million (2.6 billion naira) profit after tax.  

But the operator and the owner of landmark properties Transcorp Hilton Abuja and Transcorp Hotels Calabar still has potential room to grow for profitability. Its profit after tax in 2022 was the same as it was in 2015, a year when the country endured a six-week closure of its major airport.

Dupe Olusola, CEO and managing director. Source: Transcorp Hotels.

Transcorp Hotels is a hotel operator that’s a three-decade-old subsidiary of the conglomerate Transnational Corporation of Nigeria, with interests in energy and agriculture.

The Transcorp Hilton Abuja will add a state-of-the-art convention center this year, after having just added a premium spa. A luxury hotel in central Lagos is also in development. 

Since 2021, the company has been attempting an expansion into Airbnb-like travel categories by running a listing marketplace for vacation rentals and experiences. Transcorp Hotels, runs Aura, a mobile booking app and website that lets entrepreneurs list short-term rentals, tours, activities, and restaurants, as Skift has profiled before.

For a profile earlier this month on CEO Olussola, read Nigeria’s Independent.

Tour Operators

Tours Software Provider Trekksoft Takes Stake in Berlin Startup Giant Monkey  

1 year ago

TrekkSoft, a Swiss Saas startup for tour and activity providers has added Giant Monkey, a Berlin-based producer of visitor management solutions, to its stable.

Giant Monkey’s portfolio includes equipping museums with modern payment and omnichannel solutions. The acquired stake lets Trekksoft expand its reach to museums and cultural institutions throughout Europe, beginning with Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The Trekksoft group has raised a total $3.4M in four funding rounds, with its last raise in 2015. It is an advanced connectivity partner for online travel agency GetYourGuide and has six portfolio companies that provide software solutions for various tourism service providers such as theme parks, ski schools and experience providers.

Online Travel

FareHarbor Taps Longtime Booking.com Product Vice President as CEO

1 year ago

FareHarbor, the Booking Holdings’ tours and activities reservations tech platform, has a new CEO, Skift has learned.

Wellness travel companies are starting to offer more niche experiences like mountain hiking-meets-spa retreats. Source: Unsplash

Andrea Carini, who served as vice president of product development at fashion retailer Otrium for the past 10 months, began carrying out his CEO role at FareHarbor this week. There has been no public announcement about the hiring.

For nearly 10 years and up until April 2022, Carini was vice president of product development at Booking.com.

Carini replaced Ted Clements, who was acting CEO at FareHarbor for one year, until October 2022. Clements this month became CEO of WeTravel, an Amsterdam-based travel booking and payments platform.

FareHarbor takes offline tours and activities, and brings them online with a variety of booking services and payment tools.

Online Travel

ResortPass Adds $26 Million in Celebrity-Backed Funding

1 year ago

Luxury hotels and resorts, with all their amenities, are usually the playgrounds of the rich and famous and are reserved exclusively for overnight guests who pay top dollar to stay there. 

However, a group of celebrity funders are boosting ResortPass by $26 million to build out its day-pass marketplace for establishments that want to allow guest to come and relax with them for the day.

The demand for local experiences, not too far from home, has surged as post-pandemic travel recovers. The six-year-old startup, now bolstered in its current round of funding by the likes of Jessica Alba and Gwyneth Paltrow (both avid investors in wellness, health and beauty), said the intention is to build its marketplace so guest more easily access amenities such as pools, spas and fitness centers without the hefty overnight price tag.

ResortPass offers some 900 brands such as the Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons and Westin and gives hotels free listings on its marketplace while charging a subscription for its SaaS software to manage access for day trippers.  

While some would argue the model removes the exclusivity for overnight guests, the startup’s business model is to monetize underutilized inventory and work with these hotels to determine price points on par with the caliber of the services and amenities.    

ResortPass has also received backing by Airbnb’s syndicate, AirAngels, with the intention to grow new market access for travelers wanting to tap into a destination’s day experiences.

The Series B funding round was co-led by Declaration Partners and 14W, bringing ResortPass’s total funding to $37 million. Early backer CRV also participated in the financing, along with new investors such as William Morris Endeavor, Adam Grant and Brian Kelly of The Points Guy.

Predominantly focused on U.S. destinations, ResortPass’ recent expansion covers the Caribbean, Mexico and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. With its newly acquired funding, ResortPass expects to expand its partnerships into Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. 

Online Travel

Booking.com Adds Klook To Its Roster of Activities Providers

2 years ago

Booking.com expanded the geographic reach of its tours and activities offerings in Asia by entering a long-term strategic partnership with Klook, Booking.com announced Monday.

Madame Tussauds Singapore source Merlin Entertainments
The set of a Bollywood movie at Madame Tussauds Singapore. Travelers can buy tickets to this attraction and have their reservations instantly confirmed via Klook, an online travel agency that specializes in experiences. Madame Source: Merlin Entertainments

“Klook experiences are now live in over 175 cities, across over 30 markets on Booking.com, and the majority of these are available in Asia and Oceania,” Booking.com stated as it cited Klook as “the category leader for experiences in Asia.”

Booking.com is headquartered in Amsterdam, and Klook is based in Singapore.

Booking.com already had provider agreements with TUI’s Musement, based in Europe, and Tripadvisor’s Viator, which is headquartered in the U.S.

Booking.com sister company Priceline last week announced that it, too, hooked up with Musement to access tours and activities.