AFTA price war warning
INTENSIFYING competition between online travel agents (OTAs) and traditional travel retailers and suppliers risks a discounting war, AFTA Chief Executive Jayson Westbury warned this morning.
Speaking at the inaugural Travel Tech Summit in Sydney, Westbury welcomed competition but urged that “competing on price alone has no future,” with a number of OTAs anticipated to arrive in Australia over the coming year.
Westbury said that tech would be a key differentiator among competing brands & would largely determine the success of new OTAs entering the local market.
“Their technology platform will be a decisive factor in their success,” he said.
In other topics, Westbury affirmed that Australia had the highest number of travel agents per capita, and that the number of home based travel agents would rise 15% in the year ahead.
Currently there are 1,200 home based agents.
“Retail is not going anywhere,” Westbury said, adding that 72% of outbound bookings were channelled via travel agents.
He said the outbound market alone was valued at $37 billion and anticipated to grow between 4-5% in the year ahead.
Several emerging travel trends were highlighted within Westbury’s presentation including curiosity surrounding “dark tourism” such as travel experiences involving prisons and graveyards.
Seniors backpacking and “flashpacking” were two other trends observed, with the latter targeting the “upwardly mobile, late 20s traveller on $200,000 a year and wanting to stay at a five star hotel… with a backpack,” Westbury said.
Travel Tech Summit continues today in Sydney.