More stories

  • in

    Uswitch warns holidaymakers over important mobile data rule that could be costly

    Brits travelling to Europe this summer risk racking up extra mobile charges – even if their network provider offers free EU roaming.
    This is due to many networks imposing a Fair Usage Policy (FUP), which puts a cap on the amount of mobile data consumers can use while on holiday before incurring a fee, regardless of their plan at home.
    On Tuesday, giffgaff is set to reduce its FUP restriction from 20GB to 5GB. Customers who go over the limit while abroad will be charged 10p per MB to continue roaming. This means that using an extra 1GB without buying a new plan will cost at least £100.
    On 26 September, Asda Mobile, which runs off the Vodafone network, will cut the amount of data its roaming customers can use from 25GB to 5GB, with a 10p/MB out-of-plan charge. This is part of a number of changes that will also affect the provider’s pay-as-you-go customers.
    The data cap in a FUP can vary wildly across providers. Vodafone has set its bar at 25GB, while Three’s is under half that at 12GB. EE and Sky Mobile have not imposed a cap, although under the government’s rules, customers that roam abroad will not be able to spend more than £45 a month on data.ADVERTISEMENTO2 and Virgin Media, who claim their customers can roam like at home, both have FUPs in place. While O2’s fair usage limit is 25GB for all customers, Virgin Media’s limit is linked to the cost of a customer’s overall monthly plan. This means for every £1 of your usual monthly bill, you can access 543MB of data. For example, a Virgin customer roaming abroad on a £50-per-month tariff with unlimited data at home can use a maximum of 26.71GB while roaming. 
    Catherine Hiley, mobiles expert at Uswitch.com, comments: “For those heading abroad this summer, the mobile roaming rules are tricky enough to understand, yet Fair Usage Policies add another layer of complexity.
    “The lack of consistency from providers on data limits is hard to understand – and in the case of Virgin Media – hard to calculate. With such a range of restrictions, it could mean that families travelling on holiday may find some members run out of data far more quickly than others.
    “While 5GB may seem like a fair amount of mobile data, giffgaff and Asda Mobile customers will soon face hefty fees if they break their limit without putting a new plan in place.
    “Consumers on unlimited plans could find downsizing tough on their travels. If they’re used to regular data-heavy activities like downloading or streaming films,  they may well hit the data wall much sooner than anticipated.
    “Anyone planning to use their phone abroad should check their provider’s Fair Use Policy and, if they think they’re likely to reach the cap, consider buying a data add-on.
    “While on holiday, use Wi-Fi where possible on a safe and secure connection to preserve your allowance. Alternatively, consider a plan from a SIM-only provider without a Fair Use Policy, like ID Mobile. They offer a 50GB deal for £10 a month or an unlimited plan for £16 a month.”

    Older
    Hilton expands global headquarters creating 350 jobs More

  • in

    Travel app downloads in US increase by 18% YoY

    Now that the world is open following the pandemic, the world is making up for the lost time. The travel industry, in particular, has been reaping the benefits of the post-pandemic. According to the numbers presented by AugustaFreePress.com, downloads of travel/navigation apps increased by an impressive 18% y-o-y growth during the second quarter of 2022. Overall, the downloads of top travel/navigation apps reached 137 million during this period.
    137 million downloads on both app stores in Q2According to numbers provided by SensorTower, a total of 137 million downloads of top travel apps on the App Store and Play Store combined took place in the last quarter. This was the third consecutive quarter to see improvement in number of downloads.
    The graph shows that downloads hit an all-time low during 2020 as COVID-19 rampaged the world. However, the US travel industry started to recover in 2021. The total number of app downloads progressively increased during the year’s first three quarters. From Q4 2020 to Q3 2021, the number of downloads consistently grew from 70 million to 123 million – a growth of 76%. However, the escalating curve changed its direction in Q4 as downloads dropped to 106m. This drop was not surprising as numbers in Q4 generally drop.
    The downloads picked up during the first quarter of 2022 and reached 115 million. Year-on-year, this figure represents a 33.7% growth from 2021. Around the same time, the Omicron variant became a cause for concern, but it appears that it didn’t have much impact on numbers.
    The growth in downloads has continued into the second quarter of 2022. The number of downloads increased to 137 million in Q2. Historically, this was the best quarter for travel/navigation apps as the number even eclipsed Pre-covid downloads. As compared to Q1, downloads increased by 19%. In terms of Y-O-Y growth, the rate dropped from 33.7% in Q1 to 18% in Q2.ADVERTISEMENTThe US tourism industry is at its peak during Q3, which is also reflected in travel app downloads. Historically, travel app downloads hit their peak during the third quarter of a year. Hence, one can expect the upward trend in download numbers to continue in the third quarter.

    Older
    Booking.com announces Manchester Pride sponsorship

    Newer
    Dusit brings ‘hybrid hospitality’ to Nairobi’s affluent Westlands More

  • in

    SITA unveils eVisa and ETA to transform borders and boost growth

    SITA has announced the launch of SITA eVisa and SITA Electronic Travel Authorization to meet the rapidly growing demand from governments for digital visa systems to stimulate national economies after COVID-19, strengthen security and improve the travel experience.
    Governments globally are shifting to modern travel authorisation solutions, like electronic visas and Electronic Travel Authorizations (ETAs). According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), traditional visas – applications made via a consulate or embassy – decreased from 77% in 2008 to 53% in 2018. There is a growing demand for digital travel solutions.
    The advantages of digital authorisation solutions include improved security, reduced administrative burden, easier travel, and increased visitor flows, promoting spending that benefits local economies and creates employment. For example, one government’s introduction of an eVisa scheme covering 40 plus countries in 2014-2015 led to a 21% increase in international visitor arrivals and the creation of 800,000 jobs accounted for around 20% of the growth seen in the country’s travel and tourism over the period.
    SITA has deployed border management solutions for over 25 years to support cross-border mobility while safeguarding borders, helping over 70 countries today. In 1996, SITA pioneered the first ETA system for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The aim was to give authorities advance visibility into the huge influx of tourists crossing the border, helping to reduce immigration bottlenecks.
    For one major government customer in Asia Pacific today, SITA’s ETA system enables over three million ETAs to be issued each year, 96% of applications result in the automatic issuance of an authorisation, and 99% of all applications are successfully processed in less than 12 hours.ADVERTISEMENTThe mobile capability of SITA’s new eVisa and ETA capability allows travelers to make applications and provide their biometric information using their personal devices before they travel. For travelers, this is simpler, more convenient, and less time-consuming than applying for more complex traditional or on-arrival visas. For governments, they can biometrically verify the applicant’s identity. The mobile app also creates ICAO-compliant Digital Travel Credentials (DTCs) – a development in digital identity for travel that may replace physical passports in the future.
    SITA’s eVisa and ETA solutions provide visas containing ICAO’s Visible Digital Seal (VDS), an encrypted bar code that enables visas and ETAs, paper or electronic, to be digitally verified for authenticity, offering enhanced security and fraud prevention.
    Jeremy Springall, Head of SITA AT BORDERS, said: “Adopting eVisa and ETA supports national prosperity. We’ve productised our proven and robust travel authorisation systems to benefit more nations around the world as they shift to digitalise and future-proof their borders. The solutions help countries to cope with growing passenger volumes, improve security and efficiency, and deliver a more seamless travel experience that travelers demand, removing the complexities of applying for traditional visas”.
    Springall added: “The adaptability of these two solutions means that they are fully interoperable with existing border control and airline systems. And, they comply with international standards and best practices.”

    Older
    Accor reports strong growth in Q2

    Newer
    IHG to debut Crowne Plaza as the flagship hotel for Straits City, Butterworth Penang More

  • in

    Trip.com announces long-term green tourism goals

    Trip.com Group, a leading global travel service provider, has announced its long-term goal to build green tourism, covering three key areas, including: working with partners to launch over 10,000 low-carbon travel products; promoting sustainable travel concepts and engaging 100 million travellers in low-carbon practices; and, aiming to further reduce carbon emissions across its own operations.
    Launching 10,000 low-carbon travel products
    Trip.com Group aims to launch over 10,000 eco-friendly travel products, with several initiatives already underway in the Group’s long-term plan. Trip.com and Skyscanner, sub-brands of Trip.com Group, have partnered with CHOOOSE, a company dedicated to offsetting the CO2 emissions for flights by supporting impactful climate solutions worldwide and enabling customers to seamlessly address their CO2 emissions as part of the customer experience. Users from over 35 different Trip.com sites are now able to purchase this carbon offsetting option across almost all flight inventory.
    In mainland China, Trip.com Group’s sub-brand Ctrip, has been working with suppliers to offer a wide variety of eco-friendly travel products, such as zero waste camping and eco hiking. Trip.Biz, a corporate travel brand of the Group, has recently conducted a campaign to promote “Green Hotels” and “Green Flights” in mainland China. The corporate travel brand was also awarded a Silver rating by EcoVadis, an internationally recognised corporate social responsibility (CSR) rating platform in 2022. In its car rental business, Ctrip advocates travel with alternative fuel vehicles and through this promotion has seen related orders grow at an annual rate of approximately 140%. According to the current order assessment, compared with traditional vehicles, renting alternative fuel vehicles will reduce carbon emissions by about 10,000 tons in 2022.
    Promoting sustainability awareness and inspiring 100 million travellersADVERTISEMENTAs part of the Group’s long-term commitment to improving sustainability awareness, consumer brand Trip.com surveyed its customers to learn more about user sentiment towards sustainable travel and how the pandemic has impacted consumer opinion. Crucially, the survey revealed that travelling sustainably is essential to most respondents.
    Trip.com Group continues to build upon its content marketing strategy to provide awareness of more sustainable options. Trip Moments, the home of user-generated traveller content on Trip.com, encourages users to review, recommend and share their travel content with over two million travellers worldwide. Building up to World Environment Day 2022, Trip.com South Korea held various events and activities to encourage users to think more sustainably and share content on Trip Moments with the hashtag ‘sustainable travel’ – driving awareness among users.
    In promoting sustainable tourism, Ctrip is using its self-produced variety show to advertise eco-friendly travel. The green travel variety show is a collaboration between Ctrip and National Geographic featuring environmental experts and travel professionals who accompany special guests to explore sustainable lifestyles whilst discovering the beauty of China’s cities and countryside. It is China’s first travel variety show focusing on ecological awareness.
    Reducing carbon emissions across operations
    As a one-stop travel service provider with more than 30,000 employees and businesses across the world, Trip.com Group continues to value operational practices that look after the environment. The Group pledges to further reduce carbon emissions across its own operations in the near future.
    The Group has adopted several environmental initiatives, including building intelligent energy management system, solar hot water system, and renewable heating system to reduce energy consumption. Its headquarters in Shanghai has been awarded LEED Gold certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. From 2019 to 2021, a new round of energy saving investment was made in the Trip.com Group Shanghai headquarter offices, this upgrade resulted in a 45-50% reduction in energy used for lighting the buildings.
    In 2021, Trip.com Group announced to establish its ESG Committee and joined the UN Global Compact, committing to create a more sustainable future for tourism and society.
    Jane Sun, Trip.com Group CEO commented, “We have always adhered to the vision of ‘pursuing the perfect trip for a better world ’ and will work with our users and partners to further reduce carbon emissions in a more holistic and systematic manner. We still have a long way to go and much more to do.”

    Older
    ABTA launches 2022/23 events programme

    Newer
    TAP, Galp and ANA team up to develop SAF More

  • in

    Trip.com features in the top 10 most downloaded OTA apps global rankings

    Trip.com, the global travel service provider, has been named the 10th most downloaded OTA app globally in the first half of 2022 by leading app analysis firm Apptopia. The announcement comes as Trip.com continues to expand worldwide with its all-in-one app-first offering.
    The success seen in download numbers is guided by Trip.com’s app-first strategy. By applying a balanced mix of approaches learned through experimentation and best practices, Trip.com app installs from marketing channels grew steadily to a total of 6.2 million downloads. In H1 2022, Trip.com app downloads saw double-digit growth compared to H2 2021, reflecting the success of this strategy and increased consumer desire for travel.
    Through full utilisation of the trustworthy products and attractive deals presented on Trip.com, new downloads were gained across a variety of app marketing channels. In tandem, a web-to-app strategy also showed great potential in constantly attracting new app users.
    Feng Han, Marketing Director at Trip.com, said: “This year, we have experienced an energised, organic recovery of the travel industry. Leveraging this trend, our teams have adopted a targeted and data-oriented approach in each market to encourage users to download the Trip.com app. We are delighted to see our young brand reach the top 10 most downloaded OTA apps globally for the first time ever. We will continue to work to share the convenience and top-class services available on Trip.com with an ever-growing audience.”
    On top of the platform’s extensive range of products, the Trip.com app gives users a more unique and comprehensive browsing and booking experience. Currently available in 24 languages in 39 countries and regions worldwide, the app gives users easier booking management capabilities, direct access to reliable customer support and exclusive app-only deals.ADVERTISEMENTTrip.com’s breakthrough in Apptopia’s global app download rankings correlates to increased traveller demand as the industry continues to recover following the outbreak of covid. This year, Trip.com’s European sites saw an average monthly growth in traffic of around 10% between April and July. In Asia, countries and regions that have relaxed their travel restrictions have seen an impressive market performance, particularly those in Southeast Asia. Overall in the APAC region, bookings on Trip.com increased by 21% in May and by a further 7.8% in June.
    As demand increases, users turn to platforms with a comprehensive offering that goes beyond a solely product offering. In turn, Trip.com has looked to grow the engaging travel content hosted on the platform. In the first quarter of this year, daily average content traffic on Trip.com increased by 80% YoY, whilst the content engagement rate on Trip.com grew by 115% YoY.
    A key benefit to using the Trip.com app is the ease in which users can access Trip.com’s best-in-class customer support. Trip.com global customer support is available in 19 languages delivered by a dedicated international customer support team. In the first half of 2022, over 95% of calls made to Trip.com Group customer service were picked up within 20 seconds, 99% of chats were responded to within 20 seconds and 92% of incidents were dealt with in a timely manner. In addition to this, of all incoming enquires, 88% of incidents were resolved on the first attempt. App users can book and travel reassured in the knowledge that Trip.com customer support is only a click on their phone away.

    Older
    ABTA shares ‘super six’ tips for families as summer getaway begins

    Newer
    Azerbaijan Airlines to start flights to New Delhi More

  • in

    CWT to launch car rental and train booking capabilities on myCWT mobile and web channels

    CWT, the business-to-business-for-employees (B2B4E) travel management platform, has begun adding car rental and train booking capabilities to the mobile and web channels on its myCWT platform. The new features and functionality will progressively be rolled out in markets around the world this year, giving travelers more options to make and manage these reservations independently. To date, travelers have already been able to book car rental and train content by contacting a CWT travel counselor via phone, email, or messaging, or by using third-party online booking tools.
    These enhancements are one of the key outcomes of CWT’s $100 million investment in its myCWT travel management platform.
    “Delivering a truly omni-channel experience is an integral part of CWT’s commitment to simplifying business travel,” said John Pelant, Executive Vice President & Chief Technology Officer. “This means ensuring that travelers get the same content and experience no matter how they engage with CWT – whether it’s by contacting one of our expert travel counselors, or using a self-booking channel such as our app, web portal or a third-party online booking tool. These latest upgrades to our platform are a significant milestone in that direction. At the same time, the expansion of our train and rental car content will play an important role in supporting our customers’ sustainability objectives, which is now a top priority for most corporate travel programs.”
    Pedal to the metal: global roll-out of car rental bookings on myCWT mobile and web
    CWT has begun adding car rental content to myCWT mobile and web in key markets worldwide.ADVERTISEMENTTravelers will be able to book their rental car via the myCWT mobile app (on iOS and Android) and web portal. They will have access to their company’s corporate negotiated rates and preferred suppliers, and can easily search for pick-up and drop-off locations. Loyalty program details from car rental companies are being integrated as well. To help travelers make more sustainable choices at the time of booking, the mobile app and web portal will have indicators highlighting electric and hybrid car options. Carbon emission estimates will be added at a later date.
    On the fast-track: API connection with Trainline Partner Solutions will bring train content to myCWT mobile and web in key markets in Europe
    For over a decade, CWT has worked with Trainline Partner Solutions, the B2B arm of Europe’s leading independent rail and coach platform, to source UK train content. The two companies are broadening their partnership with an API integration into Trainline’s Platform One technology that will enable CWT to offer train booking and ticketing functionalities—including corporate negotiated fares and discounts, seat reservations and seat preferences—via its digital channels, starting with the myCWT mobile app.
    Liz Emmott, Global Distribution Director for Trainline Partner Solutions, commented, “We are delighted to extend our partnership with CWT and to provide a simple and seamless experience for rail travelers across CWT’s full platform. By cutting through the complexity in this way, more business travelers will get access to the rail content they want and will be able to choose a more sustainable way to travel.”
    This functionality will initially become available for travelers in the UK in July, and be expanded to other markets in Europe in the following months. CWT will also introduce point-of-booking carbon emission estimates for train travel later in the year.
    CWT is a Business-to-Business-for-Employees (B2B4E) travel management platform. Companies and governments rely on us to keep their people connected – anywhere, anytime, anyhow. Across six continents, we provide their employees with innovative technology and an efficient, safe and secure travel experience backed by our three core promises: to simplify corporate travel, to connect to unlock possibilities, and to move forward, together.

    Older
    American Airlines publishes 2021 environmental, social and governance report

    Newer
    Tourism industry recovery in Europe slows as airlines fail to adequately prepare for travel rebound More