Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Blockchain: the end of the sociopath CEO and the rise of consensus?

In today’s homepage story we publish the first in atwo-part Q&A with Winding Tree founder andCEO Max Izmaylov. In conversation with him this week, he recommended a fascinating new video from technologist, serial entrepreneur and bitcoin expert Andreas Antonopolous. 

If you watch one video this week, we recommend thisone!



Aside from explaining why today’s hierarchical organisations, which are increasingly corrupted by power and often led by ‘sociopath CEOs’, no longer work for the information age, he also clarifies something that is often stated as fact: That blockchain is the technology that underpins bitcoin.

“Blockchain isn’t the tech behind bitcoin, it is one of the technologies - it is actually the database, the artefact, the ledger that is produced. But here is the really interesting thing: how is it produced. And the way it is produced in bitcoin and thousands of other cryptocurrencies and blockchains, that use a similar recipe, is on a completely flat, peer-to-peer non-hierarchical network where nobody knows or trusts anybody else. 

"Where we are able to engineer an emergence of an artefact, a ledger that records transactions that everybody can trust, that no one has the power to change, to modify after the fact, that removes the trust from the person to a mathematical construct that is neutral. That process is called consensus. It is the fundamental invention behind bitcoin and all the other digital currencies as a way to achieve trust at massive scale on a completely flat network. It allows us to achieve such a level of trust that we can conduct transactions worth billions of dollars…”

Phew! Something to think about!

It’s not too late to join us in Amsterdam next week for some fascinating blockchain insights



Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Senior Executives from Hilton, IBM and Mozio discuss Personalization in Travel

On Nov 15 (11AM EST), senior executives from Hilton, IBM and Mozio will be coming together on an EyeforTravel webinar titled ‘Personalization in Travel – Moving Beyond the Buzzword’.

While the concept of personalization has been around forever, the advances in mobile, data science and technology now allows a far greater ability to be able to recognise where the customer is in the travel cycle, provide the right content at the right time while simplifying the process.

In this webinar, EyeforTravel will go beyond the buzzword to see how big brands approach personalization

Speakers sharing their expert insights include:
  • Phillipe Garnier, VP Distribution and Partnerships, ‎Hilton
  • Steven Punchuk, ‎WW Lead Customer intelligence & Revenue Management at IBM
  • Emre Mangir, COO and Co-Founder, Mozio
The top themes being covered at the webinar will include:
  • What are the elements of the ecosystem that ensure success for personalization initiatives?
  • Leverage your data to compile a truly customer-centric database - utilise effective and relevant messaging to your customers, and successfully bridge that personalization gap
  • Create a technology landscape to enable effective personalization
  • Connect the data dots to build and create personalized interactions - how can you personalize at scale and what information can you gather to deliver a seamless customer experience?
You can register for the webinar here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/277278527115533315

Note: The webinar recording will be sent to all those who register. If you cannot make it to the live webinar but would like to be emailed the recording, please sign up.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with Nikhil (nikhil@eyefortravel.com).

Nikhil Vijayan
Head of Digital & Content
EyeforTravel
nikhil@eyefortravel.com

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

China’s travel apps on a growth path

Already more than 60% of Chinese consumers primarily use their smartphone to research their vacation and the only way is up for smartphone and app usage says EyeforTravel’s new Chinese Travel Consumer Report 2017-2018

Chinese consumers are far more smartphone and app-focused as they research and book their travel than their Western counterparts, with 60.3% using their smartphone as their main research device, versus 30.4% who mainly use a desktop or laptop finds the research.

As Chinese travellers move on to the booking phase, smartphones become less dominant than in the research phase but still leads desktop. When making a flight booking, 41.3% choose to use their smartphone, compared to 35.2% who prefer to use a desktop/laptop. Only 8.3% book using a tablet and 6.2% buy their flight face-to-face with a travel agent. Similarly, with accommodation 41.8% of respondents prefer a smartphone, 34.2% a desktop/laptop, and 8.7% of consumers use a tablet.

Within this, apps are comprehensively beating browsers for Chinese users’ time and spending. Across all flight bookings in EyeforTravel’s survey 34.4% used a smartphone app versus 6.9% who made their booking using a web browser. Once again, there is a similar pattern for accommodation bookings, underlining the unique dynamic of the market.

Furthermore, smartphone usage for travel planning is set to grow as younger generations are more smartphone-focused. Among 18-35 year olds 65.5% primarily use their smartphone to research travel but just 22.9% use desktops or laptops. For those aged above 56 47.7% prefer a smartphone and a substantially higher 43.7% go through a desktop/laptop.

Not only this but younger generations put more emphasis on travel, spending proportionally more of their annual income on tourism. They are also benefiting from improving education standards and economic conditions in China, further increasing their discretionary spending power. These conditions will make the smartphone the dominant device of the future when trying to reach the Chinese travel consumer. 

Become a member of EyeforTravel On Demand now and access the full report, which includes:
  • A survey of more than 2,000 Chinese travel consumers.
  • Economic analysis and projections for the Chinese economy.
  • Summaries and outlooks for Chinese domestic and outbound travel.
  • Consumer booking, research, and trip spending behaviours.
  • Lead times for flight, accommodation and tours and activities.
  • Geographic and demographic breakdowns.
  • More than 50 figures, tables and charts profiling the Chinese travel consumer. 


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

OTAs dominate the Chinese travel market

Book direct looks to be on life support in the Chinese market as more than 70% of Chinese digital bookings are made through OTAs according to EyeforTravel’s new Chinese Travel Consumer Report 2017-2018.

Although the Chinese government has put pressure on China’s big airlines to drive more direct bookings, pushing back against the tide will be a mammoth task as EyeforTravel’s research finds that the sector has an Online Travel Agency (OTA) penetration of 77.5% for website bookings and 81.2% for bookings made through an app. In contrast, 17.6% of website users reported to EyeforTravel that they booked direct and a slightly lower 12.9% also went direct through an airline app.

This is a marked contrast between Chinese and Western markets, where airlines have been able to hold their market share or in some cases grow it and illustrates the unique dynamics of this market, where smartphones and apps play a much larger role in the travel booking process than in the West.

The report found a similar pattern for accommodation bookings, with seven out of 10 Chinese travel consumers booking through OTAs, compared to around one in 10 using a hotel’s website or apps.

The struggle to take back market share will be made more complex by the concentration of the OTA market in China, with only a handful of players, and price sensitivity key for Chinese travellers says the report. Among China’s OTAs, Ctrip, Qunar and Meituan-Dianping are the dominant forces, with the first two particularly strong in app usage, which will continue grow as China’s younger travel consumers, who favour smartphone and app booking, become a larger segment of the market. With more than nine in ten Chinese consumers visiting price comparison sites during research, they have also been able to strengthen their market proposition by becoming integral players in metasearch, further entrenching their competitive advantage.

The report also notes that Tujia is primed for growth as the biggest player in the Chinese home rental market, with around 450,000 properties nationwide. It has been strengthened by its acquisition of the home sharing businesses of both Qunar and Ctrip and agreements with HomeAway and Japan’s homeshare portal Rakuten Lifull Stay to offer more overseas listings.

Become a member of EyeforTravel On Demand now and access the full report, which includes:
  • A survey of more than 2,000 Chinese travel consumers.
  • Economic analysis and projections for the Chinese economy.
  • Summaries and outlooks for Chinese domestic and outbound travel.
  • Consumer booking, research, and trip spending behaviours.
  • Lead times for flight, accommodation and tours and activities.
  • Geographic and demographic breakdowns.
  • More than 50 figures, tables and charts profiling the Chinese travel consumer. 

Thursday, 5 October 2017

EyeforTravel's Chinese Travel Consumer Report 2017-2018

The following is the introduction EyeforTravel's Chinese Travel Consumer Report 2017-2018, which is available for EyeforTravel On Demand users now ...

https://www.eyefortravel.com/distribution-strategies/chinese-travel-consumer-report-2017-2018
In 2016, the Chinese international travel consumer finally looked vulnerable. In line with expectations from the start of that year outbound growth fell, with the rate of growth plunging from 13.8% Year-on-Year (YoY) from 2014 to 2015, down to an estimated 2.7%. A jumpy stock market, diminishing growth, a falling yuan, and a government focus on corruption all helped to dampen the market. However, 2017 is seeing the travel consumer return with a roar. Destinations from Europe to Japan to Vietnam to the polar regions are reporting big jumps in the number of arrivals and the desire to spend has returned as consumer confidence bounces back from falls in 2015 and the first half of 2016.

The story of prolific spending is changing, however. No longer is the Chinese outbound traveler primarily a shopping machine. Traditional shopping destination South Korea plunged in 2017 and across 2016 and 2017 the emphasis has shifted towards the experience. Tours and activities, accommodation and new, more adventurous destinations are benefitting from this trend.

The story isn’t just outside China as well, domestically the travel market continues to thrive and be just as mind-blowingly vast as the rest of China’s statistical repertoire. Our survey found that more than two thirds of respondents reported their last trip was made in China and the China National Tourism Administration that 4.44 billion domestic tourism trips were taken in China during 2016 (China Travel News, 2017a). Spending estimates for 2017 Chinese domestic travel run from around RMB4 trillion up to RMB 6 trillion. In just the Spring Festival holiday alone, 344 million domestic trips occurred.

Capturing this consumer’s booking can be challenging, however, particularly from the perspective of travel suppliers and Western companies.

We found the Chinese consumer is smartphone driven and app-happy, as opposed to the still desktop-driven West. The smartphone comfortably beats out desktop and laptops for research, with 60.3% using it as their primary research device, rising to 65.5% of 18-35s. Although smartphones are slightly less important for booking, they still beat out desktops and laptops, with apps the number one channel. At its most extreme, for the vacation rentals market we found that a 100% of our sample used an app. Part of this is down to the WeChat phenomenon, with the Tencent’s juggernaut beating even Facebook for time spent and monetization.

Whatever the device though, Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) are winning out. Both on the web and in apps and for accommodation and flights, they take more than 70% of digital bookings. At the forefront with popular apps are Qunar and Ctrip. This trend has even pushed the Chinese government to pressure the big airlines to try and capture more direct bookings.

For travel brands looking to attract the international Chinse consumer they need to move with this digital ecosystem, creating localized apps, tapping into Chinese social media, and building payment methods that can work with Alipay and WeChat Pay.

It is a unique market, reversing many of the norms and changing our entire industry. So, please read on and I hope that this report helps you to navigate this already formidable and rapidly expanding market.

Alex Hadwick

Head of Research, EyeforTravel Ltd

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Luxury tours and activities set to boom

When it comes to luxury travel, real capital is being converted into cultural capital as luxury travellers buy into the experience economy through unique tours and activities finds EyeforTravel’s The Global Luxury Travel Consumer report.



The tours and activities sector will be one of key beneficiaries from a booming luxury travel market as big-spending consumers put more of their disposable income into finding unique experiences according to the research.

At the very top of the market this is developing into ever more outlandish experiences, with Chinese luxury consumers developing an interest in polar exploration and space tourism becoming a real possibility.

The report notes that the demand for luxury experiences is driving luxury brands to create new products that fit into their clientele’s desire for unique experiences. Ritz-Carlton announced that it is building a series of three luxury cruise liners that are due to launch from 2019 and several hotels, such as the Wellesley London, the Four Seasons in the Maldives, and the Borgo Santo Pietro Tuscany, operate superyachts for their clientele and charge in the tens of thousands of dollars. Tour operator Abercrombie & Kent and hotel group Four Seasons have fitted out Boeing 757s for chartered flights and hotels have branched out into cruise travel.

The desire to create lasting experiences is pushing luxury consumers to more complex itineraries and so pushing them towards booking their tours and activities further out from the date of departure than the average traveller. Just 14% of luxury travellers surveyed in the report booking their vacation activities while on vacation compared to 35.8% among the rest of the survey. Instead, 54.8% of high-end consumers prefer to make bookings between one and four weeks before they depart versus 31.5% of non-luxury travellers. The kind of experience that is becoming the hallmark of the luxury traveller stands above the average traveller’s mass cultural activity and is therefore far more likely to be something that needs to be booked in advance.

However, the report notes that there is significant geographic variation in terms of the types of experiences luxury travellers are looking for. Whilst Chinese luxury consumers are looking towards more exoticism and adventure, in the case of Japan wealth and leisure time are overwhelmingly in the hands of older consumers. In this market adventure is less important and comfort and service are more emphasized, with domestic trips and cruises experiencing big growth in the country’s luxury travel market.

This detailed report looks at the state of the overall market currently and breaks down individual country markets, luxury consumer behaviors and spending patterns, and gives you the major trends to look out for.

Become a member of EyeforTravel On Demand now and access the full report, which includes: 
  • Country analysis of the major luxury travel markets in Europe, North America, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East, covering both developed and emerging economies. 
  • Unique proprietary data based on more than 2,000 luxury travel consumers.
  • Behavioral analysis of luxury travellers, including lead times, device usage, booking patterns, and spending habits.  
  • Major trends and developments in the luxury travel market. 
  • Data taken and analysed from nearly 100 different sources. 

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Luxury travel market returns to high growth trend in 2017

Following a poor 2016 where global luxury travel spending growth slumped below recent trends, the sector is back on course in 2017 as wealth generation benefits from strong growth in key economies finds EyeforTravel’s The Global Luxury Travel Consumerreport.



The global luxury travel sector is back to strong growth in 2017, helped by stronger performances in key economies and soaring equities, following a disappointing 2016. Previously underperforming markets in Brazil, Canada and Russia have seen their luxury travel markets turn a corner in the last 12 months finds the report, whilst other major source markets of wealthy individuals have continued to expand.

The growth is global, with strong performances from key markets in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Within this, the US and Japan, the two countries with the largest populations of dollar millionaires, are experiencing strong GDP, wealth and luxury travel spending growth, befitting both domestic and international travel. For the latter country, this has seen a long-term trend of declining outbound travel turn around in 2016 and 2017, with outbound trip growth accelerating out to +6.3% in the first half of 2017.

For luxury US travellers Western Europe is proving to be a big destination in 2017, with the UK experiencing a 25% growth in arrivals from the US. A similar theme can be found amongst luxury Chinese consumers, who still want to experience the cultural highlights of countries such as Frnace, Italy, Germany, Spain and the UK. The report notes that the Western European market is a star performer overall, as high arrivals growth from outside the region meets rapidly strengthening internal demand. The economies of France and Germany are growing at their strongest rates since 2011, Italy since 2010, and the Netherlands since 2007, and GDP growth is coinciding with soaring consumer confidence.

“We have seen several positive trends over 2017 for luxury travel, with broad-based economic growth globally, a weakening in the dollar, and the core luxury travel markets improving in outlook,” says Alex Hadwick, Head of Research at EyeforTravel. “For example, China underperformed in 2016, with capital outflows, government scrutiny of spending and instability in equities but 2017 has seen much better performance, with European and some Asian destinations seeing fantastic arrivals growth from the country. Another positive trend we are seeing is a diminishing concern from travellers in general and also luxury travellers about terrorism, with only very short term falls in arrivals following attacks in European destinations. Indeed the London luxury market barely seems to have taken a hit at all from these adverse events.”

Other underperforming markets in 2016 that are now in better shape in 2017 include Brazil, Canada and Russia. For both Brazil and Russia, difficult conditions helped domestic travel as their economies contracted but in late 2016 and out into 2017 outbound travel in both appears to have returned. Destinations recording growth in Russian premium bookings include the Caucasus, China, Thailand and Western Europe. For Brazil both ForwardKeys and the Brazilian Central Bank recorded returns to outbound growth in H1 2017.

The report notes that although equities have performed extremely well and boosted luxury consumer wealth and consequently travel demand in 2017, there are medium term risks from over-valuation. For example, US stocks are at valuations that have only been exceeded twice in 1929 and 1999. 

This detailed report looks at the state of the overall market currently and breaks down individual country markets, luxury consumer behaviors and spending patterns, and gives you the major trends to look out for.


  • Country analysis of the major luxury travel markets in Europe, North America, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East, covering both developed and emerging economies.
  • Unique proprietary data based on more than 2,000 luxury travel consumers.
  • Behavioral analysis of luxury travellers, including lead times, device usage, booking patterns, and spending habits. 
  • Major trends and developments in the luxury travel market.
  • Data taken and analysed from nearly 100 different sources.