Planet Business: Anyone for a holiday?
about 18 hours ago
A man tries out TUI’s “Destination U” prototype, a facial coding pod, developed by Realeyes, which uses emotional measurement technology to guide holidaymakers when selecting a travel destination. Photograph: Matt Crossick/PA
Image of the week: See this face
The advertising world loves a spot of neuromarketing, so the only surprising thing about this “Destination U” prototype from travel operator TUI is that it claims to be the first of its kind. Developed by a company called Realeyes, the “facial coding pod” uses emotional measurement technology to guide holidaymakers when selecting a travel destination.
Apparently, not everyone reacts to images of every possible holiday option with expressions of pure ecstatic joy at the very thought of having any kind of holiday at all. Some people are more choosy than that, getting unusually agitated, for example, at the sight of a swimming pool that is clearly too small for the number of apartments in the complex. It is not known if the pod also registers users’ expressions when they see the price.
In numbers: Style file
145 Percentage increase in profits at British online fashion retailer Asos thanks to a weak pound – it exports more than it imports.
47 Asos’s percentage surge in international sales in the 12 months to the end of August – plenty to be keeping postal delivery services in Ireland busy with then.
135 million Web hits that the millennials’ favourite now gets every month. Really, there’s a lot to be said for retailers that manage to correctly translate sterling into euro.
The lexicon: Trump slump
US tourism figures have been really rubbish of late and analysts are blaming the worst advertisement for America since its terrible chocolate: Donald Trump. The “Trump Slump” is the name assigned to the haemorrhaging of billions in a sector that is the country’s seventh biggest employer.
International visitors to the US fell 4 per cent year on year in the first quarter of 2017 after the White House’s announcement of the first travel ban on visitors from certain countries hurt the overall brand image of the US across the world.
Subsequent messing around with laptop restrictions and flights, discomfort with the idea that immigration officials might go through visitors’ phones and computers and then the partial reinstatement of the travel ban in June have led to further declines in inbound visitors. Essentially, every time Trump opens his mouth it costs money.
Getting to know: Jerome Powell
Jerome “Jay” Powell (64) is the front-runner by a slim margin to succeed Janet Yellen as chair of the Federal Reserve. The lawyer and former investment banker has overtaken last week’s favourite Kevin Warsh, while Stanford University economist John Taylor is also said to be in the running and there is still a chance that Yellen’s term may be renewed.
Powell, a former US treasury official under George HW Bush, edged it as the most likely incumbent from February 2018 in a Reuters poll of economists, and as he’s served on the Fed’s board of governors since 2012, he’s the continuity candidate.
Unlike “hawks” Warsh and Taylor, Powell is a Yellen-esque “dove”, meaning his instinct will be to keep interest rates as low as possible. But what will dictate the final choice? Scott Brown from investment company Raymond James shared this insight with Reuters: “Probably depends on what Trump has for breakfast that day.”
The list: The week in Brexit
Another week, another batch of depressing Brexit headlines, as the UK inches blindly in the direction of its chosen misery and threatens to take Ireland with it.
1. Brussels catch-up: UK prime minister Theresa May went in search of what one EU diplomat called “magic solutions” over a dinner with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker. They weren’t on the menu.
2. Cunning plan: UK Brexit minister David Davis told the House of Commons that keeping the “no deal” option alive was being done “for negotiating reasons”. Lucky no one from the other side could hear or read this, right?
3. Border training: Home secretary Amber Rudd, not quite on the same page as Davis, said it was “unthinkable” that there would be no deal, but said 300 Border guards were being trained up for this eventuality anyway.
4. Taking-back-control patrols: Home Office permanent secretary Philip Rutnam said it would be “unwise” to rule out calling in the army to police the UK’s borders.
5. Thinktank sense: The OECD said the best way for the UK to avoid long-term economic decline would be to stop this Brexit madness as soon as possible.