These ASX travel stocks are taking the hard work out of what the French call ‘travail’
Travelling can be an incredible adventure, but let’s face it, it’s not always smooth sailing. From long flights to navigating the bewildering world of taxis, lost luggage or accomodation that looked different online, sometimes travel can test the patience in us all.
If surviving travel on your own or with another adult companion isn’t challenging enough add some energetic kids, an overtired and grumpy baby or toddler into the mix and sometimes travel can be downright stressful.
Little explorers have a tendency to run off or get lost. Babies have a knack for needing a feed or nappy change at the most inconvenient time – like when you’re looking for the lost kid while battling the taxi queue and helping your husband balance all your luggage on a dodgy airport trolley.
But after a couple of years of Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, where we couldn’t travel interstate, let alone overseas, many people were keen once more to embark on a travel adventure.
Travel post-pandemic was widely referred to as “revenge travel” where travellers were making up for lost time with a noticeable trend of spending more on flights and accommodation than in the past.
But as airports and airlines faced staffing pressure and travel started to surge again, outgoing Qantas (ASX:QAN) CEO Alan Joyce in April 2022 called for travellers to be patient and remember procedures.
“Passengers are rusty in travelling,” Joyce said.
Maybe travellers are rusty, or maybe as Jayride (ASX:JAY) chairman Rod Cuthbert told Stockhead, they long for a better travel experience.
Cuthbert is highly experienced in the travel sector. He was the founder, former CEO and chairman of leading global marketplace for tours and activities Viator, which was acquired by TripAdvisor in 2014 and is now a multi-billion dollar business.
He is also the former CEO and chairman of Rome2rio, the door-to-door travel search engine which was acquired by Omio in December 2019, and a non-executive director of Tokyo Stock Exchange listed Veltra Corporation, Japan’s leading online seller of tours and activities.
“One of the really interesting things that has happened over the last 12 to 18 months is globally people have begun to notice and complain of the stressors of travel,” he said.
Cuthbert said it is worth noting that the world travel comes from the French word “travail” which means “hard work”.
“It is hard work and has become harder work,” he said.
“You have to turn up early at the airport, the queues are long, security is tight and we’ve seen what can happen when there is a weather or technology disruption.”
He said key parts of the travel sector like airlines and hotels are operating on less staff, including fewer experienced staff pre-pandemic levels.
“Where an organisation, whether a hotel or airline had X people on staff before, now they have X minus 20% less and they don’t have the same amount of experience on their team anymore,” he said.
“Both carriers and accommodation providers were able to really test the boundaries of that economic theory of elasticity of price and discovered they could increase fares and overnight rates and still hit their targets.
“Disruptions and customer dissatisfaction tends to be at a higher level now in the industry broadly as we readjust to doing more with less.”
And rising interest rates and cost of living pressures are only now starting to make an impact, (but not substantial – yet).
“The industry can see the curve isn’t quite as dramatic as it was over the last 18 months but things are still good and nobody is distraught or dismayed and knew it couldn’t last at those prices or volumes forever,” he said.
“There are enough of the population who aren’t dramatically affected by higher interest rates that they can still plan, take and enjoy their overseas holidays.”
So which ASX travel companies are helping to take the stress out of travel so you won’t need a holiday from the holiday?
Founded in 2012 and listing on the ASX in 2015, airport transfers marketplace JAY enables travellers to compare and book airport rides worldwide.
With a vast network of over 3,700 ride service companies, JAY caters to 1,600 airports in more than 110 countries, covering 95% of the world’s airlines. This extensive coverage ensures that you can use JAY regardless of your destination on the globe.
Notably, JAY recently acquired AirportShuttles.com, a move that has bolstered its customer base predominantly in Europe and the US, which together account for two-thirds of the company’s customer base.
The acquisition comes at an opportune moment, as this summer peak travel season in the Northern Hemisphere is expected to be exceptionally busy.
He said JAY is essentially based on the same commercial model of Viator.
“What we did at Viator was aggregated together in a single marketplace tours and sightseeing all over the world,” he said.
“Jayride is essentially the same commercial model and another part of the travel experience is ‘how do I get from the airport to my hotel and how do I get back again?'”
He said after a long flight when you are tired, you may not know the language, but it is reassuring to see someone waiting holding a sign with your name.
“There is a real rising demand for a pre-booked, pre-paid limo, town car or shuttle bus if you have kids or a group to be waiting there for you with your name,” he said.
“There’s no one global brand that supplies that service and it is a highly disaggregated market place and with any disaggregated market place there is value in putting it all together into a single place.
“That’s what attracted me to Jayride – doing what we had done at Viator all over again but this time with ground transportation.”
Here are a few other ASX travel stocks working to make the journey easier.
The campervan lending platform’s recent bookings demonstrate the sustained demand and popularity of affordable road trips as travellers ditch often unreliable plane travel for an open highway.
In Q3 FY23, CHL experienced gross transactional value (GTV) growth of 276.51% compared to the same period last year, with Australia’s GTV representing an impressive 84.90% growth.
CHL now has 26,411 vans to choose from across its platforms in Australia, the UK, New Zealand and Spain. Late last year the company completed the acquisition of German market leader in the space PaulCamper, expanding its platform to Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.
Founder and CEO Justin Hales told Stockhead being the captain of your own adventure allows you to have complete control over your itinerary, enabling you to explore various destinations and hidden gems at your own pace.
“Unlike the recent chaos often associated with air travel, RV travel offers a sense of freedom and flexibility, providing a stress-free and personalised journey for travellers,” Hales said.
“Unlike the recent chaos often associated with air travel, RV travel offers a sense of freedom and flexibility, providing a stress-free and personalised journey for travellers.”
Travelling for work can be also stressful. Are you going to make that crucial meeting in time? CTD is one of the five largest corporate travel management companies globally.
According to its website CTD has diversified into several travel segments spanning managing travel for corporate clients, event management, leisure travel, loyalty programs and wholesale travel.
When travel came to a standstill during the Covid-19 pandemic, CTD made several key strategic acquisitions banking on a recovery including a $175 million acquisition of the Helloworld Travel (ASX:HLO) Australia and New Zealand corporate and entertainment arm.
“The acquisition positions CTM as the travel management provider for more than a quarter of ASX 200 listed companies and further expands its service and technology offering in the government and education sectors,” CTM said in an announcement at the time.
Furthermore, CTM has focus on traveller well-being.
“We have developed an intuitive and easy-to-use Traveller Well-being dashboard within the CTM Data Hub reporting tool, enabling Travel Managers to identify travel behaviours and trends which could impact the well-being of your travelling workforce,” CTM said on its website.
Want a bit of adventure on your trip? EXP operates skydiving, Great Barrier Reef cruises and zip-lining parks in Australia and New Zealand.
The company was originally founded in 1999 as a tandem skydiving operation in Wollongong.
“We are all about helping you escape the ordinary, with safety and adventure at the core of what we do,” EXP said on its website.
While EXP took a hit during the Covid-19 pandemic, CEO John O’Sullivan told The Australian earlier this year the company forecasts to be back to pre-pandemic earnings of $40m by the 2025 financial year.
The former Tourism Australia chief said adventure-hungry Chinese and Indian tourists are expected to propel the company’s bottom line.
At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. While Jayride is a Stockhead advertiser it did not sponsor this article.