25 Million Overnight Stays in Berlin

Visit Berlin TourismThe VisitBerlin team have ended 2013 with a bang as they have announced a new visitor record and the first time in history that the city has had over 25,000,000 overnight stays in the city.  It’s a great success for the Berlin tourism team and they expect to pass more than 26 million overnight by 11,000,000 individual guests visits to Germany’s capital by the end of 2013.

The figures also include a large number of domestic visitors who account for around 571.% of the cities guests. The big growth in visitors has come from Eastern Europe, Arab Gulf States and the APAC region along with traditional markets of USA, UK and western Europe.

The success of Visit Berlin efforts have resulted in annual growth of 8.4% to the German capital placing the city as the fastest growing destination in Europe.  Berlin is regarded as the third most popular destination after London and Paris.

Each overnight guest will spend an average of €204.70 each day while in Berlin making tourism and the convention industry the most important economic industries in the capital. If you are travelling to Berlin we recommend you book ahead of time to get the best deal on accommodation.

You can find out more facts & figures from their official press area.

Rail Europe Cuts Commission further

Rail EuropeI’m not sure if there are any major implications of posting this letter sent to me as part of Rail Europe affiliate program but there are several aspects about this email really annoy me as an affiliate.  The big issue is how Rail Europe is communicating the change and how potential affiliates are having to deal with decreasing margins in a increasingly difficult travel market.

I understand that businesses have to take hard decisions but with the average price of many tickets increasing it seems to be a double bonus for Rail Europe, where I would expect they would be able to keep their businesses sustainable based on the higher commissions they would earn overall.

It’s the second year in a row that they have lowered the commission and for some affiliates the failing rates might raise some alarm bells if their own businesses are also under performing because of industry changes and Google algorithm impacts. The big item that stood out was the expectation that Rail Europe would see a 22% growth in their turnover during 2014? Would that be so high if they didn’t cut affiliate commissions during 2013 and 2014.

——————————————– affiliate letter below —————————————

Dear Partner,

Years are becoming more and more challenging and as we told you last year, carriers keep on lowering their commission. We lowered our commission by 0.5 points on January 1st, 2013 and this year, we have no other choice than to lower it again by 0.5 pt, effective on January 1st, 2014. We know this is hard news for you, but unfortunately this is the only way to keep the business sustainable. Please rest assured we at RE4A are keeping ourselves aware of the market standards and making sure our commission is still among the highest commissions in the train travel market.

Despite the 0.5% decrease last year, we have all together been able to achieve great results this year. We thank you sincerely for all you hard work. On our side, we have developed new tools (a travel book offering useful information to our clients, a coupon book offering great deals), created a mobile app so that one has all required travel information in one?s pocket, launched the Trenitalia direct connection offering great prices and e-ticketing. As well we have done a rehab of our website increasing the conversion rate and offering a better user experience to our clients. We have also animated our website with numerous promotions offering always the best prices.

We expect a 22% growth of our turnover for 2014. In order to achieve these ambitious results we plan on launching the DB direct connection as well as a mobile website and the second version of the Mobile App. Another key project for us will be to redevelop the sales dialog!
We hope 2014 to be all the more successful thanks to these developments and to your hard work as always!

We value our partnership and we look forward to making 2014 even more prosperous!

Yours sincerely,
The Rail Europe Team

Hawaiian & China Airlines Frequent Flyer Partnership

logo Beginning the 15th December 2013 members of HawaiianMiles & Dynasty Flyer frequent flyer programs are able to earn or redeem miles earned on either Hawaiian Airlines or China Airlines.

The airlines are offering codesharing flights which allow for travellers to have seamless check-in on a single ticket when travelling between Hawaii, North America and major destinations in Asia.


“Through our partnership with China Airlines, we are extending our network and increasing the value of HawaiianMiles to allow members to earn miles and access award travel to more than 15 new cities around the world that Hawaiian doesn’t currently serve,” said Vicki Nakata, Hawaiian’s managing director of partnerships and travel products. “We look forward to welcoming a new stream of Dynasty Flyer members onboard to experience our signature onboard hospitality.”

In addition to the codeshare agreement, the airlines also completed an interline agreement that allows for seamless travel to additional destinations in Asia such as Okinawa, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, and Jakarta.

Through the arrangement, travelers can book single-ticket travel combining flights on both carriers and also enjoy one-stop check-in with bags checked through customers’ final destinations.

Source: Hawaiian PR

TomorrowWorld coming to Atlanta, USA

TomorrowWorld Atlanta The organisers of the popular Belgium dance festival Tomorrowland announced last month that they were expanding their festival with TomorrowWorld starting in September. The creators of the festival Manu & Michiel Beers have grown the festival over the past 9 years into one of the world’s most anticipated music festivals proved by their ability to sell out 180,000 tickets in just ONE second.

Holland-based ID&T Entertainment is one of the world’s largest dance music promoters which along with Tomorrowland also run Sensation White. The move to the USA makes sense with media mogul Robert Sillerman who runs a majority of the glitzy Miami Beach nightclubs having purchased the North American division of ID&T Entertainment.

The expansion of TomorrowWorld into the US market makes sense with the Ultra Music Festival in Miami attracting more than 230,000 attendees in 2012. So there is certainly a growing demand in the US scene for large well planned music festivals so it will be interesting to see how the first TomorrowWorld festival at Bouckaert Farm, Atlanta, Georgia. The news that Atlanta was the location of the first US festival was announced by Albert Berdellans an employee of Ultra Music.

Based on the statement from the two Beers brothers it’s likely the TomorrowWorld festival will eventually tour every continent, they were quoted saying “It’s our ambition to organize a Tomorrowland on every continent. We have received requests for versions of Tomorrowland from all over the world… From rich Russians and Indians, to promoters in Australia, the US and South America. We will do it, but on our conditions, and only in places where we feel comfortable,”

Harry Potter 9 3/4 Shop Opens at London Kings Cross Station

Harry Potter Platform 9 3/4The infamous platform number 9 3/4 at King Cross Station in the Harry Potter series, is where witches and wizards board the Hogwarts Express to begin their new term at Hogwarts. Until now, muggles have never seen or been on this platform, but as of Saturday the 15th of December the Harry Potter 9 3/4 shop opened it’s doors to the non-magical public.

Covered by the national newspapers, including The Guardian and The Independent, if you would like to visit the magical 9 3/4 Harry Potter store, its doors are open from 7:30am until 10pm every day of the week. The new shop sits between platform nine and platform ten at Kings Cross Station and is located at Unit 1, King’s Cross Station, London N1 9AP.

Created by Jonathan Sands, who is the Founder and Chief Executive of the London Film Museum, and partners under license from Warner Brothers. Ahead of the Grande opening, Sands released a statement to the press, confirming that speculation of a Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 3/4 in Kings Cross Station was true:

“We are proud to be opening the official Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 ¾ in association with Warner Bros. Consumer Products as this is precisely where Harry’s journey to Hogwarts began. King’s Cross Station has recently undergone the most amazing re-development and we are delighted to be a part of it thanks to Network Rail.”

Designed to recreate the look of JK Rowling’s Ollivander’s wand shop, the Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 3/4 sells replica wands used by characters including Professor Dumbledore, Hermione, Ron and the prodigal Harry Potter himself. The cheapest wand is priced at £22.99 with prices varying depending on which model you buy. All merchandise is approved by Warner Brothers and is therefore standard price.

With every collectible imaginable for the Harry Potter fan, products available to buy in-store include Hogwarts uniform in house colours, for which the price of a cardigan is £59.99, although they are made of cashmere. Other collectibles to buy include Quidditch kits, Hogwarts robes, collectible train tickets, the Triwizard Quidditch Cup and Horcruxes. A large range of Harry Potter merchandise is also available, including board games, posters, key rings, soft toys and action figures.

Bring the books to life by visiting this quaint shop for a free magical Harry Potter experience that can be enjoyed by both children and the inner child in adult fans of the Harry Potter series. With easy access being located at Kings Cross Station, a visit to the magical Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 3/4 is only a train ride away for a ‘not to be missed’ experience.