07 March 2009

So Is Ryanair Serious About Pay Toilets? Anything Else?

Rumours, denials, counter-rumours....

Latest is the #1 story yesterday (6May2009) at the Irish Times - http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/0306/1224242371838.html?via

says yes.

So thanks for the sleuths Professors Stuart and Hartmut for keeping me abreast of this rather dirty and smelly situation.

Now as I understand it MOL is serious about the pin and swipe issue. A pound to spend a penny.

On some deep research we uncovered a shocking set of facts. Indeed FR has done some research into this. Amongst the ideas mooted for the still top secret FR Transatlantic service (which is according to rumour where the whole thing got started) was a series of items including the use of Safety Equipment.

The Professor was secretly been made aware of the proposed card backs that will appear in coach. There are two panels mounted on each seatback.

The image looks like the one illustrated here and then there is some additional text:

Additional charges will accrue for the use of "flotation devices”
$10 for the life vest
$5 for the seat cushion”

Plus there is additional charges as follows:
$1 for the use of the light on the life vest.
$5 to inflate the life vest – although there is no charge to blow it up yourself,
$1 to activate the light on the life vest.

You can purchase a rental bundle for $20 for a fully working life vest from the website. The token expires on arrival at your destination or 10 hours after first contact with water which ever comes first." END

As we understand it the Devices will only be enabled for Chip swipe and pin as the cost to insert a coin and collect and process the heavy money will result in additional fuel drag. Ryanair is said to have been very pleased at the amount of fuel savings that will accrue as the result of this proposed solution. Also the use of a Ryanair card guarantees the service will work. Amex cards will not be accepted.

So far the Professor has been unable to confirm if any other airline is interested in the idea.

However with fuel back at reasonable levels - there is bound to be a review of business models that had the life vests and seat bottoms removed from certain aircraft.


05 March 2009

The Professor Will Be At ITB Next Week

Greetings good people.

Next week its that time to get good walking shoes, brush up on your German and be prepared for copious amounts of alcohol, bonhomie and drinking from the firehose. Yes its ITB2009 at the ICC in Berlin.

I have been coming regularly since 1988. So that's a long time. Apart from I think 2 years - I have not missed any others.

So I will be at the PhocusWright Bloggers' conference and also helping a client roll out their new product lines. (Yes, I know it may seem strange but I do also have a day job). So you will find me either there or stalking the Halls. Usually Hall 6.1.

I will be joining the other Twits - if you are too - then you can follow me - I will be twittering sporadically. This is a note I received from Phil Caines :

"We look forward to meeting all of you and sharing ideas of what social media's future will look like for the Travel Industry. Please keep in mind that we will be using the "#ITB09" Twitter hash tag through out the event, and please tag all videos/pics/blog posts with "PhoCusWright ITB 2009"

In reverse if you are being a voyeur then you can look on these tags and see what is going on.

So see you around. It will be interesting. I hope to get a notion of the mood. I expect it to be Somber but - I am sure that there are some great pockets of interesting stuff going on. The New World Order is coming good people - brace yourselves!

Cheers and see you there.

03 March 2009

Forrester Shows Continued European Diversity in Online

Forrester has recently looked at the major markets in Europe for online.

The characteristics are predictably different. Here are the summaries taken from their website:

First the UK

"With more than one in two UK consumers shopping online today — that is about 28 million consumers — online shopping and travel booking are mainstream. UK online shoppers outspend their European and even their American counterparts. Despite the current recession, we expect online retail and travel sales in the UK to continue growing strongly over the next six years as consumers move their spending online. By 2014, 37 million UK online buyers will spend £56 billion online."

Now Germany - Europe's biggest market

"German online shopping adoption is growing at double-digit rates each year. The number of online shoppers has almost doubled since 2000, with 36 million Germans regularly buying products online today, or 44% of adults. By 2014, we expect 44 million German online buyers to spend about €44 billion via the Internet."

France is growing very rapidly

French online shoppers — or cyberconsommateurs — are now surging to the Internet. Their number has roughly quintupled since 2002, with 35% of French adults projected to buy products online in 2009. Clothing is the most popular retail category that French people buy online, followed by books, music, and leisure travel like flights and hotels. Despite the current recession, we expect online retail and travel sales in France to grow strongly over the next six years as consumers move their spending online. By 2014, 30 million French online shoppers will spend roughly €28 billion via the Internet.

So percentage wise the Brits will continue to outspend their counterparts online. Despite the UK GDP dropping now to 3rd in Europe (behind Italy!) it still maintains its differences. The French have now decided that its time for their hockey stick event and are rushing headlong to the Web. The Germans restrained as ever are still warming to the web. The adoption rate curves for Europe in general have been slower and flatter than the USA. Which now accounts for such a large lag between the European adoption and that of Uncle Sam's countrymen.


Analysts Eagerly Await Sabre's Results

Sabre is going to hold an earnings call with Analysts on Thursday 1600 CET. (I guess they really don't like the Europeans that much!!!)

The call is scheduled for Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 4:00 p.m. Central Time (CT) / 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET).

Dial In # 1 800 884 5695 International Dial In # 617 786 2960 Participant Passcode: 42626240

I shall be there... it is going to be the first call since 2006 as far as I can tell.
since Sabre has been private since March of 2007 this will be an interesting conversation. Let's see if they get to be as open as Travelport has been.


New GDS Usage Patterns Emerge

From the Professor's position, I see decidedly interesting trends emerging in 2009 of how the GDS model is morphing.

As we saw from the last few weeks - GDS usage is down - WAY down. Now comes some new data that points to a real change in the profile of the GDS contracts in the USA and Europe.

To the other side of the pond first, I was looking at some numbers from Europe today - the traffic from European airports is plummeting at the same level or greater than the USA. Europe has been on a great growth spurt until 2008. Europe's emplanements now comprise over 500 million passengers which is getting closer to the USA's numbers but the days of rapid LCC fueled growth are over. That should point to an end of the significant total GDS based traffic share erosion for Europe... I said should. But it wont. Last week, KLM joined Lufthansa in pushing for a battle with its dominant home market GDS, Travelport's Galileo and Worldspan brands. The Dutch part of the AF/KL group has a slightly different program that will result in a surcharge of Euro 4.50 per segment. (LH's PFP program costs Euro 4.90).

Coming back across the Atlantic we see some new trends which should cause even more misery - particularly in Atlanta and Dallas.
ASTA's annual GDS survey points to some significant trends. Here is some of the recap from the ASTA Website synposis: http://www.asta.org/News/PRDetail.cfm?ItemNumber=5122

GDS penetration among ASTA members has dropped 15% in the last 10 years. In truth the number of Agents has of course halved in that time. 40.4 percent of respondents said they have a "No-minimum" pricing plan. yes most of these are still getting paid a segment override. While these numbers are showing a negative trend, the GDSs are still paying more (percentage wise) in incentive compensation.

It seems clear that the holistic (aka non-fragmented) model is fully on the way out. But this makes travel like any other business. Other markets have seen this fragmented supply for many years - pre-and post the Internet boom. Sadly Travel may lose its "special-ness".

Welcome to the new world order.