Impact Publications : MiceBTN_64
Page 50 • MICEBTN - augusT-oCToBEr - 2016 innovative lounge opens at darwin international Airport A ‘FIRST of its kind’ premium international airport lounge has opened at Darwin International Airport. It has been named Catalina in honour of the iconic RAAF aircraft with which Darwin was closely associated in wartime years. Catalina was developed by the airport company which is also managing it on a day to day basis – the facility is not aligned with one specific airline, aviation alliance or multi-airport operator. It is available to all comers for what is described as “a competitive fee”. Access can be purchased in advance for conference delegates or incentive groups. The airport is also working with Darwin hotels to offer passes integrated in accommodation packages. The company’s rationale for investing in the facility is multi-faceted: A desire to support existing airline partners, to attract new carriers by offering Catalina as a bonus, to support business and leisure travellers, to strengthen the Top End’s buoyant MICE business and to promote tourism generally. This strategy drew enthusiastic input from the Northern Territory Gov- ernment and Tourism NT. During off-peak periods Catalina can be hired for functions, including small meetings. Local businesses have already shown interest in this. The lounge can host up to 70, is fully catered and has the inbuilt tech- nology expected by business travellers. Intricate motifs from Arnhem Land adorn the walls while the interior design takes a gentle nod to the golden age of flying boats: Understated elegance, luxury travel and adventure. Drawing on the unique Territorian theme, featured artwork in the lounge is by Malaluba Gumana, a multi award-winning artist representing Buku Lanngyay Mulka Art Centre in Yirrkala, Arnhem Land. The visceral Waterlilies blends seamlessly with the elegant interior. Design agency Balarinji oversaw the commissioning and installation of this artwork. On the web: www.darwinairport.com.au Catalina lounge opening, Darwin Airport Continued from page 4. Hotels offering membership points and benefits through an OTA will seem strange to most hotel- iers, who have until now used loyalty programs to track customers and improve brand loyalty. But Red Lion feels Expedia’s market reach com- pensates for the downside and enables the group to take more bookings and make more money. From Expedia’s perspective, it is able to keep a hotel’s best loyalty rates on its on-line platform, knowing that loyalty rate buyers will see no benefit in buying on line direct with the hotel (although customers still might be offered a lower rate on the phone or as a property walk in). However, the hotels will be offering their best rates (and special benefits) for bookings they don’t control and crucially, for which they will pay a commission. Major hotel initiatives Expedia’s new scheme also helps counter ‘book direct’ moves by major hoteliers. Many large groups recently have been spending significant amounts of their marketing budgets to push bookings to their own branded sites, thereby boosting customer loyalty opportunities and saving on commissions charged by OTAs. The practice recently saw Booking.com threaten legal action against a price comparison tool that let hotels show a comparison of their direct rates versus rates on OTAs. Another tactic employed by OTAs faced by ‘book with us direct’ hotel marketing is to rank those hotels lower on OTA screens. In extreme cases, the hotels’ properties can be removed altogether. Will the Expedia move prove popular and takeup spread to other chains? Time will tell. ACCC agreement doesn’t solve hotels rates problems with OTS, says TAA Eventbrite signs new ticketing partnership Event technology platform Eventbrite has inked a ticketing partnership in Australia with Melbourne venues the Corner Hotel, Northcote Social Club and Sydney venue Newtown Social Club. From the beginning of October, Eventbrite will be the primary ticketing partner for all upcoming live events at the three venues.