“We’re all in this together”. We’ve all heard these type of expressions hundreds of times in the past, but I think that many of us are only now understanding its true meaning. We all know how the travel industry is being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. We don’t need this newsletter to share the horror stories. In the next few issues of this newsletter, I’d like to share inspirational stories coming directly from you, the community of Travel Tech Essentialist subscribers. Feel free to reply to this newsletter to send me stories, anecdotes, advice, best practices, trends and content that you think could be of interest, help and inspiration to our community. Maybe your story could bring hope and encouragement to our community. Thank you :-)
1. Ctrip and Qunar expect a surge in domestic tourism as life in China is slowly returning to normal
Qunar and Ctrip, two of China’s biggest online travel service providers, have resumed bookings for travel packages and attraction tickets after a two-month hiatus. Major cities like Shanghai are lifting restrictions on residents’ movements and 40% of China’s top national tourist spots have reopened. The proportion of domestic tourism is expected to increase from 47% in 2019 to 60%, according to the South China Morning Post. Ctrip Chairman James Liang is optimistic: “unless there is another outbreak or something unexpected, given the general trends today, we expect strong and quick recovery of the domestic travel market".
2. Elderly care home residents experience the joys of train travel without leaving their building
The “Gateway Express” comes complete with an eight-seater carriage, beautiful rolling countryside views and ticket booth, and travellers can enjoy first class service meals on their journey. This is a story from last year, but very relevant today, and not only applicable for the elderly population. The video is heartwarming.
3. A travel app maps how different city residents are responding to lockdown
Route-planning app Citymapper is using aggregated data to generate an index of how much people have stopped moving around in different cities. There are 13 cities that have an index below 10% (100% = normal day), with San Francisco being the only non-European city. Vienna and Milan are at 3% of normal mobility. In the other extreme is Moscow (53%), St. Petersburg (65%) and Singapore (72%). Find your city in the Citymapper Mobility Index and please tell your family and friends to stay at home so that we can beat this thing and get back out travelling again.
4. Travel Bans and Domestic Travel Opportunity
These are the top 10 countries with the highest proportion of domestic travellers. China (94% domestic travelers), the US (90%) and Brazil (84%) are in a relatively favorable position to regain booking traction through international travel bans, or once domestic lockdown eases. Source - Transparent.
5. The Coronavirus Crisis checklist for startup CEOs
Startups’ top priority has shifted in a matter of weeks to one: cash. But there are other initiatives to consider in managing a crisis of this magnitude. Startup founder & angel investor Feliks Eyser provides a list of 16 concrete recommendations on what startups should be doing now. It’s an insightful guideline that points startups in the right direction.
6. What travel startups are doing to survive
The Voyager HQ team collected some ideas and contributions from travel entrepreneurs in the Voyager HQ network who were willing to share how the coronavirus is affecting their businesses, and what their plan is to overcome it. Their write up provides some useful tips and tricks for staying afloat. Read more - Voyager HQ.
7. TravelPerk founder and CEO Avi Meir explains how they are approaching these exceptional times
TravelPerk is investing in product (they have the luxury of having raised €92.5m in 2019) and managing the impact that remote working and lockdown conditions are having on employee morale and company culture. He also suggests drastic changes to startups with less than 12 months of cash runway: “I would look at cutting back heavily on every expense that you don’t need to survive in the next 6 months.” Read more - Sifted.
8. US vs Europe vacation rental booking activity
Vacation rental booking activity started dropping in Europe around February 2nd and by March 16, it was down by 81% year on year. In the United States, the drop started a month later, around March 1, and in only two weeks it dropped to 70%. Key Data Dashboard
9. Funding 💰
Hospitality tech Cloudbeds raised $82M in a Series C round, bringing the total raised to date to around $100 million.
AI hospitality startup Pruvo closed a $1.1M seed round led by Spanish VC 4Founders. The Israeli startup increases profitability for travel companies by automatically rebooking hotel reservations when prices drop.
10. Bucket list
Soon we will again talk about experiences and destinations. Here’s one :-)
Recently opened Arctic Bath, on the frozen River Lule in snowy Swedish Lapland
❗️P.S. As noted in my introduction, in the next few issues of this newsletter, I’d like to share inspirational stories coming directly from you, the community of Travel Tech Essentialist subscribers. Feel free to reply to this newsletter to send me stories, anecdotes, advice, best practices, trends and content that you think could be of interest, help and inspiration to our community. Maybe your story could bring hope and encouragement to our community. Thank you :-)
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