Wrap-Up: WebBeds Launches Destination Index to Support Hong Kong Tourism

Wrap-Up: WebBeds Launches Destination Index to Support Hong Kong Tourism

Wrap-Up: WebBeds Launches Destination Index to Support Hong Kong Tourism

News Roundup: WebBeds launches new destination performance tool, SITA’s latest report on airlines and airports reaping benefits from IT investment, mobile app to book tours and activities in Malaysia, ANA to reduce use by one from 2020 sex plastic

Distribution: WebBeds launches destination index to support Hong Kong tourism

Sun Guosheng: “Adversity is a great driving force for innovation, and we are delighted to launch WBDI in Hong Kong.”
(Image source: WebBeds)

B2B accommodation provider WebBeds chose Hong Kong last week to launch its new WebBeds Destination Index (WBDI), a tool that tracks hotel booking trends on a weekly basis, in a show of support for the city’s struggling tourism and hospitality industry.

Retailers are expecting a sharp drop in sales as tourists cancel hotel reservations amid nearly six months of anti-government protests in the city that show no signs of abating.

Preliminary data from STR for August showed that hotel occupancy in Hong Kong plunged 29.8% that month to a rare low of 63.9%. Hong Kong’s financial secretary, Paul Chan, said tourist arrivals to the city fell nearly 40% in August, a sharp drop after a 5% drop in July.

“Adversity is a huge driver of innovation and we are delighted to launch WBDI in Hong Kong,” said WebBeds CCO Sun Kok Shen. “This insightful and intuitive new tool will allow the city’s hoteliers and tour operators to cut through the confusion and gain clarity.”

The WBDI does this by measuring a range of key performance indicators, including number of bookings, total transaction value, room nights and average daily room rate; and comparing them to a 52-week average. It divides Hong Kong into four distinct regions — Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, Lantau and others — and classifies hotels by their star rating, so each hotel can get an accurate picture of how its industry is performing.

By aggregating this data, WBDI creates an overall market index that will benefit the travel industry as a whole. WebBeds’ in-house data and analytics team has also developed a series of future forecasts based on these trends and developed various execution strategies.

WebBeds chief executive Daryl Lee confirmed the support, saying the company stood “shoulder to shoulder” with the Hong Kong tourism industry.

“It is vital that we all continue to work with each other. Hong Kong is one of the most dynamic and exciting international cities in the world and I am sure it will bounce back. In the meantime, WebBeds will support all of our friends and colleagues and Support them to maximize their performance.”

After Hong Kong, WBDI will be gradually released in selected destinations in the Asia-Pacific region.

WebBeds hopes to cooperate with the Hong Kong Tourism Board to assist Hong Kong’s recovery.

On Aug. 15, the Hong Kong government announced an economic stimulus package worth HK$19.1 billion (US$2.4 billion) to boost an economy battered by escalating anti-government protests and the protracted US-China trade war. Combined, these events also sent Hong Kong into recession.

Aviation: SITA says airlines and airports benefit from technology investment

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Investments in IT by airlines and airports provide passengers with a more pleasant airport experience.
(Image credit: ake1150sb – Getty Images)

Airlines and airports spent a record $50 billion last year on technologies and investments to automate the passenger journey IDelivering rewards for airlines and airports.

SITA’s 2019 Air Transport IT Insights, released on Tuesday (November 5), shows that growing investment has significantly improved passenger satisfaction and average handling times, as well as reducing queue times.

According to the survey, 60 percent of airline chief information officers (CIOs) reported a 20 percent increase in passenger satisfaction year-over-year. During the same period, 45% of them experienced a 20% increase in passenger handling.

Airports also benefit. 63% of CIOs say passenger satisfaction has increased by 20% year-over-year, while 44% say passenger handling times have decreased.

Business performance of airlines and airports also improved.

“This is a real success story in the automation of the passenger journey, especially at a time when we expect passenger numbers to double in the next 20 years and physical airport infrastructure struggles to keep pace. Technology is easing industry capacity Key to austerity and avoiding a negative impact on passengers,” commented Matthys Serfontein, President, Air Travel Solutions, SITA.

The multi-billion dollar investment is due in part to a sharp increase in airline IT spending after several years of nearly flat growth, the report shows. Forecasts for 2019 show that investment will continue to grow.

Serfontein attributed the past year’s growth to the fact that large airlines “continue to invest to accelerate the pace of digital transformation. Investments in business intelligence and cloud services have become a priority.”

SITA notes that airlines and airports are also investing in streamlining operations, allowing them to manage everything from baggage and passenger flow to aircraft turnover and the allocation of key assets such as stands and gates.

“Overall, we can see the industry focus on improving its operations to increase its efficiency and foster better collaboration with partners and other stakeholders in a highly integrated industry. The service provided to passengers has had a profoundly positive impact,” Serfontein added.

• Download the full report here.

Mobile tech: Wonderfly launches mobile app just in time for Tourism Malaysia 2020

Sam Zhi Hao COO on the left with Triston Puah CEO of Wonderfly ont the right
Wonderfly CEO Triston Puah (right) and COO Samzhihao with their new mobile app (Image credit: Wonderfly)

Kuala Lumpur-based Wonderfly Holdings Sdn Bhd (Wonderfly) has released its mobile app that allows users to discover and book attractions such as museums and theme parks in Malaysia.

Its co-founder and CEO Triston Puah said the launch of the app coincides with Visit Malaysia 2020, so both local and overseas tourists can visit attractions across the country.

The latest in the Visit Malaysia 2020 series has set a target of 30 million international tourist arrivals and RM100 billion (US$24.1 billion) in tourism receipts for the country next year.

Puah said another reason for launching the app was that the company has had a website for tourists to book attractions since 2017 and found that 82 percent of bookers are mobile users.

He added that the app will make the booking process easier and more convenient for users. For example, the e-Ticket feature allows users to download attraction tickets into a tab and access them even when their phone is offline, allowing entry without paper tickets. Also, payments can be made on the app.

Boost (Malaysia’s homegrown e-wallet) and GrabPay customers get extra rewards when they book on Wondefly.

Puah said the company aims to “digitize the supply chain” in travel and events.

“There are many things to do in Malaysia and many places to visit, but many attractions still operate offline and are not well-known in the market. At Wonderfly, we not only operate an online booking platform, but also provide services to help offline operators embrace Marketing online,” he added.

Available in English, Malay and Chinese, the app is available for iOS and Android devices and is available as a free download on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Environment: Japan’s All Nippon Airways to reduce single-use plastic in cabins and lounges

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From 2020, ANA will use paper straws instead of plastic ones.
(Image credit: SherSor/Getty Images)

All Nippon Airways (ANA) has joined a growing list of airlines banning single-use plastics on board. From February 1, 2020, Japan Airlines will reduce the amount of single-use plastic in the cabin and lounges and replace plastic straws, stir sticks and cutlery used in these areas.

Eco-friendly bioplastic or paper straws will replace plastic straws, while new stir sticks and cutlery will be made from wood.

The airline currently uses approximately 4 million polypropylene straws, 10.5 million polypropylene stirrers and 1.8 million sets of polystyrene cutlery each year.

The ANA Group adopted emission reduction measures on January 1, 2019 as part of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSAIR), as part of its efforts to improve sustainability,

“ANA is committed to strengthening its environmental leadership by adopting policies that help us prepare for the challenges of the next generation,” said Toyoto Ito, executive vice president of ANA Holdings.

“We have already made significant progress in our efforts to make ANA a more sustainable company, and reducing our use of plastic is another key step as we continue to move forward.”

In addition to reducing the use of plastic, ANA is also implementing the use of sustainable aircraft fuel. The airline is working with LanzaTech to develop more efficient biofuels. Currently, 75.9% of the ANA Group fleet consists of fuel-efficient aircraft.

Featured Image Credit (Hong Kong Harbour): TerrySze/Getty Images

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