Airtrade strengthens its position in Belgium with the acquisition of Skyways

Airtrade Holdings BV, Dutch market leader in innovative travel technology and air broker services, announces the successful acquisition of the Belgian airbroker Skyways as of December 1st, 2018.

Airtrade already expanded its business activities to Belgium early 2018 but will accelerate its growth ambitions and international expansion with this acquisition. Skyways continues to operate under its own name. Sales Manager, Javier Equisoain Blanco, will become commercially responsible for Skyways.

Skyways customers will continue to work with the same dedicated service team and will now also benefit from the latest travel technology solutions, such as the travel agent booking tool FareFinder. FareFinder is the flight ticket reservation system for travel agents introduced by Airtrade in the Netherlands in September 2018, after extensive testing and is now also available to Skyways customers.

“The Skyways – Airtrade collaboration gives us the opportunity to attract new customers and strengthen our position. Skyways customers receive the service and customer orientation they are used to and at the same have access to the Airtrade technology solutions. In addition to FareFinder, Skyways will also introduce early 2019 the Airtrade whitelable solutions under which the Dynamic Packaging and Flight IBE to the Belgium market. The Flight API is already available in the market. Our unique innovative technology gives our customers access to the largest flight offer database in the Benelux. Skyways customers gain access to new content such as the Lufthansa Group and Brussels Airlines via NDC, low cost and international flight rates. I am looking forward to see how we can continue to develop in this combination ” says Jeroen Martron, CEO of Airtrade.

Hotelbeds to acquire HolidayTaxis Group

Hotelbeds, the world’s leading bedbank, has today announced the acquisition of HolidayTaxis Group, a leading provider of high quality, cost-effective transfer and wider mobility solutions.

The acquisition will further complement the existing portfolio of content offered by Hotelbeds and reinforces the company’s commitment to growth in the rapidly expanding ancillary distribution space.

HolidayTaxis Group, which operates as ‘HolidayTaxis’, is headquartered in the United Kingdom and was founded in 2002. It operates 21,000 transfer routes, spanning 150 countries.

Today’s news follows Hotelbeds recent decision to rename its ancillary product line as ‘Beyond the Bed’. The business unit already has a successful track record in the sourcing and distribution of transfers, activities, tickets, theme parks, car hire, travel insurance and specialist tours, making HolidayTaxis a strategic fit.

The HolidayTaxis brand will remain separate and independent from Hotelbeds, but will form part of the Beyond the Bed business unit and the CEO of HolidayTaxis, Ian Coyle, will report to Javier Arévalo, Director of Beyond the Bed.

Joan Vilà, Executive Chairman of Hotelbeds comments: “We look forward to working with Ian and all his colleagues in helping our travel partners everywhere to drive incremental sales and boost profit margins.

“In recent years our ancillaries business has grown substantially as the strength of our technology platform and global distribution network has positioned us effectively to take full advantage of the increasing demand for in-destination activities worldwide.

“We already offer a wide range of revenue enhancing products to our partners, including transfers, tours, activities, car hire, theme park tickets, and more – but the addition of HolidayTaxis significantly strengthens our portfolio, underlining our commitment to provide greater choice to our travel trade partners.”

Ian Coyle, CEO of HolidayTaxis responds: “We are enormously excited to be joining Hotelbeds as it continues to push the boundaries of travel distribution.

“This is a unique opportunity that was unmissable, allowing us to share additional ancillary revenue generating solutions with the 60,000 travel selling partners that Hotelbeds works with globally – many of whom are very hard to reach otherwise. I’m convinced that our supplier and distribution partners, across our respective businesses, will benefit from the strengths of something very special that is about to happen.”

KLM conquers heart of Chinese millennial

Today, KLM is launching its “Never Done” campaign in China. It aims to increase KLM’s brand awareness in China, especially among younger – millennial – target groups. The younger target group approaches travel in a completely different way to previous generations. Research shows that young people want to explore as many new experiences as possible during their travels. The underlying principle of the “Never Done” campaign is to show these young travellers, through real experience, that KLM understands them and is the right partner for them – of course, within the reliable, warm and service-oriented environment for which KLM is renowned.

KLM has produced two video clips that tell the stories of Chinese millennials who have struck “Never Done” experiences from their bucket lists all over Europe – from their first KLM flight to eating herring in Amsterdam, and visiting a Barcelona barbershop. In the first video, KLM presents itself as a reliable, warm and service-oriented partner. In the second video, shot in documentary style, it comes to life through the eyes of well-known Chinese millennials.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises announce the captain of the new expedition ship HANSEATIC inspiration

Cruise operator Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has announced two new appointments on its ships’ bridges. Ulf Wolter, current captain of the EUROPA 2 will take the helm of the new, international expedition ship HANSEATIC inspiration, taking to the water in October 2019. Jörn Gottschalk – who has, until now, been captain of MS BREMEN – is moving over to the 5-stars-plus* luxury ship MS EUROPA 2.

From October 2019 onwards, Captain Ulf Wolter will again be navigating cold and warm water expedition routes – this time on board the new HANSEATIC inspiration. He has been steering the EUROPA 2 successfully since its launch in 2013. Wolter also previously held a captain’s post for several years on board the HANSEATIC expedition ship and is thus a real expert when it comes to this cruise sector. Referring to his move: “I have been passionate about being captain ever since. I am looking forward to discovering the world’s most remote places once again and am also keen to explore brand-new routes”, says Wolter.

Jörn Gottschalk will take over as captain of the EUROPA 2 in the coming year, thus finalising its team of two alternating captains, the other being Christian van Zwamen. Gottschalk was previously captain of the BREMEN and has also gained experience in the premium expedition segment on the COLUMBUS and COLUMBUS 2. “It is an honour to take over as captain on a ship that has been named “the best in the world”* since its very beginning. I’m looking forward to meeting and working with the crew on board and to the exciting adventures that lie ahead”, says Gottschalk.

“Our fleet boasts outstanding, experienced captains, whose passion for our ships and for serving our guests and crew is of great value to us. Our goal, therefore, is to ensure that there are new job opportunities on board our fleet. The three new expedition ships provide the perfect conditions for this”, says Karl J. Pojer, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has also announced recently that Thilo Natke and Axel Engeldrum will be taking over as captains of the HANSEATIC nature, and that Ulf Sodemann will take the helm as new captain of the BREMEN – both ships operated for the German marketplace.