Macau-v-Singapore. Winner declared.

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Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning. 


Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.






April 28 2012






Macau-v-Singapore. Winner declared.






 HEN Macau embarked on its transformation – adding 3/4-times more hotel rooms, casinos, attractions and other facilities (including those to attract MICE arrivals) – it was on its way to become the leisure capital of Asia.




It might even have used that term. After all, much of the inspiration came from Las Vegas, which had achieved that ‘leisure capital’ status in the US. (The reasons for the fall in Las Vegas are complex, and are not part of this report – but I can tell you later if you want.)




The cement poured, and today what I call the New Big Mac is essentially there.




But it is not the leisure capital of Asia.




After Singapore opened its two gambling resorts – and many other attractions – the game plan changed.




With hindsight (with which I am particularly gifted), it was no competition. Consider this:








-Admittedly Singapore has not as many casinos as Macau, but it has much more in terms of other leisure attractions. From the already-existing Singapore Zoo, to the new Universal Studios, with a new Cruise Centre and more thrown in.




-Plus a backyard. It has Indonesia (which has Bali), and Malaysia (which, even it is not a great tourist pull, at least has space).




-It has an efficient airport and a surfeit of airlines (five based there, albeit four of them part of the Singapore Airlines group).




-And more.










-Macau’s backyard is Hong Kong, which has attractions not that dis-similar from Macau, and a sullen visa-demanding like-us-or-else China.




-Having China on its doorstep, and better-still southern China, looked like a great advantage because you can fill the hotels with gamblers from China. But the other visitors did not come, and those big plans for international events faded. Most Chinese visitors want to gamble and gamble and gamble, and not watch some unknown-to-them American rock star or some weird Canadian circus.




-Air links. Macau airport has no inter-continental air links. That did not seem to matter because Hong Kong airport is there – and easily accessible from Macau. But how can you promote ‘Macau’ by flying into a strong destination such as Hong Kong? So the visitor market is doing what it has long done – travel to Hong Kong with an excursion trip to Macau.








Macau will thrive with its big China business, but it will not achieve that leisure-capital status.






The Fox




Singapore Airlines. Strategy-free zone.

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Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.

Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.



April 26 2012



Singapore Airlines. Strategy-free.



HE Singapore Airlines group (SAG) has become a strategy-free and intellect-free zone. Consider this:



-SAG has an Australia-based airline, Tiger. Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines (SIA) is constantly deepening its marketing and operational links with Tiger’s competitor, Virgin Australia.


-Is that because SAG has a 49% share in Virgin Atlantic (which, despite that name, competes with SIA on the UK-Australia routes)? SAG seems to have had zero influence on VA operations despite its decade-old financial link.


-Scoot (sic) is SAG’s longhaul low-fare airline. Since the announcement I have said that this businessplan will not work. Now Scoot plans to start shorthaul flights into Bangkok and Tianjin. Eh?


-That means on the Bangkok route Scoot will compete with SIA which will compete with Tiger which will compete with Scoot.


-SAG will have its four airlines (SIA, Silk, Tiger, Scoot) operating on China routes. In which school of business did SAG learn that strategy? Or did it think that up on its own?




I try not to criticise without proposing solutions. This one is simple – although many trained executives do not get ‘simple’.



SAG needs three airlines – say SIA, Silk, Tiger. Operations will be like this:


-The regular+premium operations stay with SIA.


-Silk takes developmental routes because of its lower costs (lower to SAG, not necessarily to travellers). In the same way that, albeit probably by accident rather than design, Jetstar International (not the other Jetstar operations) is becoming the lower-cost airline of the Qantas group.


-Tiger operates all low-fare operations, whether based in Australia, Japan, Singapore, or anywhere. And if SAG decides there is a profitable market for longhaul low-fare flights, then Tiger leases aircraft to try. However, there is overwhelming evidence that there is no profitable market for longhaul low-fare, despite the fact that passengers love it.


-Scoot shoots off.


-SIA and Silk can be corporate managed. But Tiger should be independently managed.





The Fox



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Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.

Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.

April 21 2012


COMMENTS on two well-known associations.



I’m improving. I could not add up some figures from WTTC. Them being WTTC (World True Travel Council) and me being me, I presumed the fault lines were mine.

But when I enquired, I learned that WTTC’s figures were wrong, not mine. The problem was that WTTC had noted some (actually a lot) figures as billions when they were merely millions.

Earlier, I had been impressed with WTTC’s oft-repeated comment that world leaders are surprised at the size of the travel business when they are shown WTTC’s data on the travel business. Are they surprised because the figures are wrong?

Make sure you have got the right set of data.



You may have heard that PATA (the Peaceful Art Travel Association) has “committed to ‘Next Gen’ Action”. If you are wondering what this means, PATA helpfully explains.

It is a “…four-year phase of ‘Next Generation’ action to underpin [PATA’s] relevance in the digital age.” Its “aligned advocacy, mobile technology, business building events, and crisis management readiness [will] define PATA’s new operational mindset.”

PATA Next Gen is “a state of mind, a commitment to speed, relevance, informality and getting things done on behalf of our members who want to build and defend their business in an increasingly competitive marketplace.”

Oh, ok. I’ll tell my friends.


The Fox