The Pulse of the Ecosystem: April 2022
Welcome to our latest installment of The Pulse of the Ecosystem, our monthly recap of the biggest events that took place over the last month and how they impact the current and future state of our ecosystem.
Let’s dive right in.
The Limited Impact of the Russia-Ukraine War on Travel
The Russia-Ukraine war—as was expected—is tremendously impacting economies across Europe. However, this diplomatic earthquake and possible energy crisis do not seem to have dramatically affected the spending power of citizens in the EU and their ability to go on holidays abroad.
- The Russia-Ukraine war’s impact on bookings for vacations in Europe is so far limited, with travel app Hopper reporting that searches for European air travel are only down 9% from expected levels. Also, just 15% of Hopper’s customers who purchased the “cancel for any reason” protection actually exercised this option during the Ukraine crisis.
- ¾ of Europeans are planning to travel either regionally or domestically between spring and summer this year, despite the war in Ukraine, the pandemic, and the increased cost of living. However, only ¼ of Europeans have actually fully booked their next trip, which highlights the uncertainty in the tourism sector. This suggests that last minute bookings might increase.
- 84% of business travelers expect to attend conferences, conventions or trade shows in the next six months.
Acquisitions Among Industry Players
Property management companies (PMCs) continue to expand their operations through their acquisition of other companies in the industry.
- Alternative accommodation metasearch business HomeToGo made its second acquisition of the year with the ~$43m purchase of Germany-based E-Domizil, who has 370,000+ homes.
- VTrips has acquired Southern Vacation Rentals, one of the largest independent PMCs in Florida. According to their CEO, VTrips now manages 5,000 vacation rentals across 8 states and 35 markets, and has 600 employees.
- Holiday cottage rental agency Sykes Holiday Cottages has continued to diversify its offerings by acquiring UK-based Forest Holidays and their forest-located accommodations. Thanks to its acquisition strategy, Sykes has become the 2nd largest player in the UK market (after Awaze), boasting 22,000+ properties across the country and 20+ different brands.
- Tech-enabled apartment rental startup and Guesty user Casai broadened its tech offerings with the acquisition of Loopkey, a Brazilian smart-lock provider, or physical access control platform, that enables remote management for any kind of door, gate or barrier. Casai stands to benefit from this acquisition as Loopkey’s technology will enable operators to manage guest access remotely, even if through disrupted internet connection.
- One month after acquiring Transparent, OTA Insight acquired hotel revenue management tech company Kriya Revgen. The two companies will form what they say is the only business intelligence solution on the market that delivers tailored insights for both hotel-level users and multi-property users.
Innovative Education Within the Ecosystem
Two players in the hospitality industry have launched innovative programs; one dedicated to entrepreneurs, the other to people intending to become travel agents.
- Selina partnered with TechnoArt to launch one of the world’s first digital nomad investment funds and business accelerator programs. It includes the Born program, a 12-week innovation program designed to help early-stage startups take their vision from an idea to a business that is positioned for long-term growth. Through this program, Selina is attempting to provide a supportive infrastructure and atmosphere for its digital nomads and guests.
- Hopper launched an online travel agent training course dubbed “Bunny Bootcamp”, which includes 160 hours of material and provides simulation activities using a Sabre global distribution system emulator.