October 2005

The Travel Bug - Issue 5

World’s Largest Hotel Chain Adding Virtual Tours

Best Western International launched its 360-degree “virtual tour” program for each of its 2,400 North American properties. The world’s largest hotel chain says all properties by next summer will be able to offer five distinct virtual tours of every property in the US, Canada and the Caribbean. Each property will have a 360-degree display of the hotel’s exterior, a standard guest room and other areas such as pools, meeting rooms and restaurants. Best Western says this initiative was launched because of the growing importance of visuals. Said David Kong, president and CEO for Best Western: “With nearly half of our bookings originating online, it’s critical that we provide consumers with the information and images they need and want to make decisions.”

In the past year, bookings on the company’s Web site have risen nearly 48%, he added. On average, the site has been booking $1 million in revenues per day since last January. “We expect the virtual tour feature to provide us with a distinct advantage in the mid-scale market and to propel the growth of our online revenue even further,” said Mr Kong. (Source: Travelmole News 01/09/2005)

Sydney Goes After Indian Tourists

The city’s tourism business leaders have established two new forums aimed at rapidly increasing visitation from India. Sydney is hopeful of attracting some of the 200 million Indians who now have the means to travel internationally. “Last year we welcomed 42,500 Indian visitors to NSW [New South Wales] and they provided a A$68.5 million boost to the NSW economy,” Tourism NSW executive director and general manager John O’Neill said in a release. “Current tourism forecasts are for 200,000 Indian visitors to Australia each year within 10 years but with a strong, early focus on two-way trade in tourism and business we believe Sydney and Australia can do much better from this massive market.”

The NSW India Travel Industry Forum and the NSW Tourism, Travel, & Hospitality Chapter of the Australia-India Business Council (AIBC) have been established to capitalize on the market’s potential. “Tourism is a massive bilateral opportunity for NSW and India, and the successful launches have demonstrated how we can all work together for mutual benefit,” Neville Roach, chairman of the AIBC, said. O’Neill said the challenge was not only growing tourism but developing new products and having the right customer service. (Source: eTurbo News 21/09/2005)

« September 2005   Archive   November 2005 »