AFTA price war warn­ing

Travel Daily - - Front Page -

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.

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