11 Must-Visit Beautiful Beaches in Catanduanes

Imagine living in a country made up of beaches internationally recognized by both regular tourists and award-giving bodies. How awesome can the Philippines get, right? Ever heard of the stunning beaches in Catanduanes? Learn why this island is currently one of our favorites in PH.

Spotlight

Viking Cruises

As the World’s Leading River Cruise Line® and the #1 Ocean Cruise Line, we are constantly innovating our business and growing our fleet. With more than 60 river ships and 3 ocean vessels cruising across 6 continents, we are the largest, most award-winning company in the industry. There is tremendous opportunity to join our dynamically growing company—whether on board our ships or in our corporate offices.

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Hospitality Management

Streamlining Business Operations with Travel Management Agencies

Article | August 28, 2023

Contents 1. Introduction 2. Enhancing Operations of Travel Businesses 2.1 Constant Assistance 2.2 Increased Efficiency 2.3 Travel Spend Reduction 2.4 Advice and Insights 2.5 Travel Policy Compliance 2.6 Greater Knowledge and Visibility 3. Leveraging Business Functions with Services of Agencies 3.1 Travel Management 3.2 Passenger Assistance 3.3 Consulting 3.4 Marketing and Internal Communication 3.5 Technology 3.6 Leisure Services 4. Conclusion 1. Introduction Travel management agencies empower business travel with in-depth analysis, reporting and constant assistance. They improve efficiency in business operations and reduce travel spending through a subscription or one-off payment for their services. With their profound knowledge and vast network of service providers, they offer more discounts and offerings to the travel company’s clients. This feature enhances the visibility and customer reach of the company. They also ensure travel policy compliance, consulting, and other services for better results. 2. Enhancing Operations of Travel Businesses 2.1 Constant Assistance It becomes challenging to manage multiple providers simultaneously, so travel management agencies fill the communication gaps and prevent confusion during travel planning. They reach out various customer support teams and keep track of all communications as an all-in-one solution for global business travel. Some TMCs also assist in day and night shifts to assist with last-minute travel booking and urgent changes in the travel plan. 2.2 Increased Efficiency Travel management agencies help to streamline the booking process. The travel agents would design a comprehensive travel program with travel arrangements as per the requirement of the clients. In addition, they would handle the logistics of making travel arrangements for multiple clients simultaneously. 2.3 Travel Spend Reduction Travel management agencies may charge for a subscription or one-off payment via business travel credit cards for their services. But it leads to significant investment savings, cutting costs over an extended period. They have a vast network of travel service providers offering unique discounts for multiple services. The TMC officials have sound knowledge of reservation availability during particular periods and the destinations at the cheapest fares; that takes care of complex, repetitive and time-consuming travel processes of businesses. Such services make it easy to plan trips, make changes to reservations, and get reimbursed for travel costs. 2.4 Advice and Insights TMC professionals understand the working of the travel industry at its core. As a result, they provide valuable advice on spending the company’s money for greater productivity. In addition, they are experts with in-depth knowledge of new destinations, the best routes for intra-city travel, and general compliance with policies of national and international trips. Moreover, travel management agencies can help to ensure that travelers are fully prepared and equipped for their journey by providing expert guidance and advice on travel requirements, health and safety protocols, and other important considerations. 2.5 Travel Policy Compliance Compliance with travel rules, regulations and policies is vital for travel expense management. It ensures transparency and safeguards the privacy of travel companies or individuals. The travel management agencies adopt a travel policy to ensure efficiency in executing travel business processes. 2.6 Greater Knowledge and Visibility Unclear travel processes cause malpractices and conflicts between travel companies and their clients. Travel management agencies minimize these risks through transparent travel processes. They provide real-time reports of reservations and bookings. They help manage travel within strict budgets, offering travel trend analyses for better decisions. In addition, they manage travel itineraries and assist businesses in every process. 3. Leveraging Business Functions with Services of Agencies 3.1 Travel Management Travel management is the base of organizing and handling travel business, reservation of transport tickets, searches for accommodations, car rental, etc. Still, new technologies have transformed the traditional methods of travel operations. In addition, it undertakes price comparisons or strategies for more deals and discounts. 3.2 Passenger Assistance As global travel continues to increase in frequency and complexity, travelers are often faced with a myriad of unforeseen problems and issues that can potentially derail their plans. Such issues may include repatriation due to illness, accident, or emergency, lost luggage or documents, flight cancellations, and many others. In order to effectively manage and resolve these issues, it is essential to rely on the expertise and resources of travel management agencies. These agencies specialize in providing comprehensive travel solutions and support services to individuals and organizations alike. 3.3 Consulting Consulting services require taking care of different aspects based on the information of interest for the traveler, like traditions of the destination country, recommendations, cultural references, mannerisms, etc. Furthermore, their efforts are geared towards minimizing costs, maintaining control, and offering up-to-date guidance on travel policy. 3.4 Marketing and Internal Communication As a travel management agency gains expertise, it becomes proficient in furnishing robust assistance in the formulation of travel policies for businesses, along with facilitating efficient communication among employees. The process of policy preparation entails regulations pertaining to business travel expenses and management, which the agency is adept at handling. 3.5 Technology Utilizing the most up-to-date and advanced technology is crucial for any travel company in today's world. This allows travel companies to request and compare travel services such as booking tickets, finding suitable accommodations, managing billing, and providing emergency services in a more efficient and effective manner. With the latest business travel software, the companies can leverage automation and artificial intelligence to streamline their operations and offer personalized services to their customers. For instance, chatbots can assist customers with their travel plans, provide recommendations, and handle queries in real-time. 3.6 Leisure Services Travel management companies also offer direct discounts or revised policies for travel and leisure activities in exceptional cases for the company’s employees and relatives. They provide value-adding services meeting the current expectations and needs of the companies through a comprehensive management of corporate travel. 4. Conclusion Travel management agencies help travel companies in every aspect of their business, from travel management, passenger assistance, consulting, marketing and internal communication, and technology to leisure services. They provide constant help, increased efficiency, valuable insights and business advice. In addition, with profound years of experience, knowledge and a solid network, they give enhanced visibility to travel businesses. They reduce travel spend and ensure travel policy compliance between travel companies and their clients, encouraging customer loyalty and trust.

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Business Travel

Flight Chaos: Call Centers Turn to AI for Help

Article | May 17, 2023

In recent weeks, call centers have struggled to keep up with consumer complaints about a large number of delayed and canceled flights. As a result, some are turning to automation, specifically an artificial intelligence program based on advanced natural language processing (NLP). In April 2022 alone, the US Department of Transportation received 5,079 complaints about airline service, a more than 320 percent increase from the same month three years prior. Travel Industry Chasing Task Automation and Personalized Customer Service Customers cannot reach customer service representatives without struggling, waiting as long as eight hours because of cancelled or delayed flights. This situation makes call centers seek the help of conversational AI solutions that offer task automation and personalized customer service powered by NLP. NLP improves linguistic interpretation skills and response rate. In contrast to a traditional interactive voice response structure, which walks callers through a series of menus, modern conversational AI solutions immediately ask callers how they can help and quickly get them the right answer. With the help of an AI-powered solution, call center employees aren’t overwhelmed by lower-level, less complicated queries and can rely on AI to do mundane tasks that consume their time. In addition, customers can help themselves through the automation. Any complex, emotionally-driven conversations are directed to human contact centers automatically. An Airline Uses Mosaicx to Enhance the Customer Experience Intrado, a company that provides an artificial program called Mosaicx, helped an airline client decrease its call abandonment rates by 60%. The solution supports 20 languages, so global clients can be handled seamlessly. AI-powered Call Centers will be Common in the Travel Industry Businesses are swiftly adopting AI-powered conversational solutions to address the spike in flight cancellations and delays due to pilot shortage, the Great Resignation, and the permanent shift to remote working.

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Hospitality Management

How Incorporating Corporate Travel and Expense Management Can Help CMOs to Succeed?

Article | July 19, 2023

Corporate travel and expense management is one of the cumbersome challenges for CMOs. Travel expenses are the second-highest expense and one of the toughest to control. Getting the best price for a business out of bookings is not enough for a CMO to manage travel expenses. Instead, there are other challenging factors that challenge a company. What are these challenges? Brief information on it can help you identify what your company needs to fix upon to understand this. Lack of data collection No proper visibility into corporate travel spend Lack of an organized corporate travel and expense management process Proper policies Lack of inventory-rich management system No accountability to services under corporate travel and expense policy Lack of technology usage Lack of flexibility Lack of a stable plan for create travel management strategy Advanced corporate travel and expense management is one of the best solutions today to curb these challenges. So, how can corporate travel and expense management help CMOs succeed in business? Before finding it, a glimpse at the management’s ability and efficiency can help you understand more about it. Corporate Travel and Expense Management: What Do You Need to Know? Corporate travel and expense management today has become advanced after the pandemic hit. Today, it is integrated with cutting-edge features through software and is used for mobile and desktop applications. The applications such as spend control & reporting, quick and easy booking, automated expense & reimbursement solutions with receipt capture, back up analytics capabilities, live credit card feeds, and customizable real-time reports are included. All these are powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence. While many CMOs agree that strategizing corporate travel and expense management is helpful to save costs. They emphasize this because their companies have already practiced advanced corporate travel and expense management. Other corporate expense management companies also implemented corporate travel and expense management. And they recommend incorporating advanced management to curb expenses. If you face challenges in organizing corporate expense systems, this is the right article to learn how to cope with challenges. Corporate Travel and Expense Management: How should you go about it? Corporate travel and expense management are set to soar up to $1.7 trillion by 2022 globally, right after the travel companies started investing. This indicates the right time for you to start strategizing corporate travel management and its expenses by following practical steps. Consider Technology-based Solutions Cloud-based corporate travel expense software can simplify your corporate travel management and travel-related expense policies. It leads the entire expense management process to a higher degree of competence. The automation of the corporate travel management process also makes employees easy to file expenses on time. For example, TripActions is a leading corporate expense management company. It provides top software solutions for corporate travel and expense management. The company promotes technology and offer solutions that come with ease of use. No Paper Checks Modern corporate travel and expense management saves ample time by eliminating paper checks. Paper checks make the process tiresome, and there are high chances of error. It also leaves space for employee fraud, which results in tracing difficulty. Thus, paperless work reduces the chances of data tampering and save over-pricing possibilities. Your business can be profitable if you inculcate corporate travel expense software. You can find a list of top software online. Incorporating modern corporate travel and expense management solutions can curb expenses. Practicing the best practices for travel expense management can generate higher revenue for your company. Set an Accountable Plan on Reimbursement The reimbursement processes can turn easy with modern corporate travel expense management. The management can help to set an accountable plan and give access to a list of reimbursements. In this way, employees can claim the existing reimbursements in one go. Following this practice for travel expense management can organize all travel and expense management services in one place. And you will never encounter any corporate travel management challenges in the future. Offer Flexibility Employees are the happiest when they have freedom in their work and workflow. And because of this, you need to include a broad travel inventory. Modern corporate travel and expense management offers an inventory-rich system that allows various options to check employees' booking flights, accommodation, or car rentals. For example, Expensify provides a clear insight into the entire trip's actual cost to corporate travelers. Other corporate business travel management companies also implemented advanced corporate travel and expense management systems. And they are shaping the travel industry like other industries. Choose the Right Software In this, you need to choose the right corporate travel expense software for your business expense management. A corporate travel and expense management software includes features to manage corporate travel and expense policy, organize travel and expense management services, create a proper travel management strategy, manage corporate travel programs, and sets corporate travel management trips. Often, it appears impossible to organize trips that change. Corporate business travel management can help ease your employees’ load. Similarly, corporate travel and expense management software offers other features, such as: It allows corporate travel managers to keep a proper view of employees traveling on a particular day Budget tracking and travel policy tools through apps help simplify the process of business expense claims for employees as well as the finance team Automated receipt submission reminders help employees to submit the reports on time Ratings of travel and expense management services include car rentals, airfare, lodgings, and accommodation Instant price comparisons 24/7 on the go support for managing a corporate travel program and expense management Self-booking of business trips with the help of the travel booking management software Seamless corporate travel expense reporting Search about Software Compatibility When including automation, you need to research corporate travel expense software's compatibility. When you consult a vendor online or in-person and understand software flexibility for travel bookings and transportation services, you can easily select according to your business requirements. By doing so, you tend to save a lot of time and deploy corporate expense systems faster. Consider Setting up a Budget for Corporate Travel and Expense Management For a company, the budget plays a pivotal role before setting up a new system. Questions like what kind of corporate travel and expense management solution you wish to invest in should also be considered if you want your company to succeed. Incorporating a corporate travel and expense management system involves a series of processes such as setup, installation, support, and customization. Thus, choosing the right software or tool is a crucial matter that compliments all budgetary solutions. Set up a budget, research which software can be beneficial to you, and incorporate it to exercise fast processes of your travel and expense management services. Tips to Create a Successful Corporate Travel and Expense Management While there are several solutions to corporate travel and expense management and you understood how to implement it, some tips can also lead you to be successful in business by introducing advanced travel and expense management services, corporate travel and expense policy, corporate expense systems, travel and expense management resources and more. Therefore, for this, you need to: Educate employees and help them understand the technological aspects of advanced best practices for travel expense management Set cost-saving strategies with the help of research on what other corporate expense management companies are implementing Be resilient and open to suggestions from your employees Consider integrating travel management strategies with an automated travel & expense management system. In this way, your company’s corporate travel and expense management will continue to function efficiently. As travel industry leaders are changing their strategies to stand out in 2021, it is time to end fretting over manual corporate travel expenses difficulties. With the help of a dedicated corporate travel management strategy, you can succeed in achieving the goals you set for the New Year in your company. Frequently Asked Questions What is Travel and Expense (T&E) Management? To understand corporate travel and expense management, a few features are explained below: Tracking of reports Reporting Costs management Submission of receipts Reimbursement Clearing expenses Management of corporate travel Pricing List of services How to manage travel expenses in corporate? To manage travel expense under a corporate travel and expense management system requires the following things: Keep track of details Submit expense report on time Plan ahead Organize data with details Choose a suitable tool or software Create a fast workflow How to manage corporate travel and expense budget? Some careful planning and thorough research on selecting the right tools or software can easily manage corporate travel and expense budget. With this, a business can get a closer insight into the planning of the budget, which results in building of a dignified corporate travel and expense management. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is Travel and Expense (T&E) Management?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "To understand corporate travel and expense management, a few features are explained below: Tracking of reports Reporting Costs management Submission of receipts Reimbursement Clearing expenses Management of corporate travel Pricing List of services" } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How to manage travel expenses in corporate?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "To manage travel expense under a corporate travel and expense management system requires the following things: Keep track of details Submit expense report on time Plan ahead Organize data with details Choose a suitable tool or software Create a fast workflow" } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How to manage corporate travel and expense budget?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Some careful planning and thorough research on selecting the right tools or software can easily manage corporate travel and expense budget. With this, a business can get a closer insight into the planning of the budget, which results in building of a dignified corporate travel and expense management." } }] }

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Hospitality Trends

Age of Digital Concierge: Hotel Chatbots Are Redefining CX

Article | June 2, 2022

The travel industry is reviving. Tourist spots across the globe are packed with excited explorers. Though it feels like everything is going back to normal, the way people travel has changed. The hospitality tech revolution is making mundane tasks easier and the customer experience richer. Most travelers prefer self-service over waiting to be served. Online planning and bookings have picked up pace, so have contact-less check-in and 24/7 digital concierge. Hotels must swiftly meet these evolving demands or risk losing in the race. They must incorporate technology into their day-to-day operations to eliminate human error, increase their service efficiency, and, above all, offer an outstanding customer experience. One of the technology trends reshaping the travel and hospitality industry is digital concierge—hotel chatbots that bring the concierge desk into the palm of a guest’s hand. Convenient, right? A Sneak Peak into Hotel Chatbots Hotel chatbots are software applications that communicate with your hotel’s website page visitors and resolve their queries. They are either programmed to behave a certain way or can be AI-powered. Programmed chatbots are configured to answer a limited set of questions. However, they can collect visitor information so your customer executives can get in touch with prospects to resolve their queries or provide them with booking assistance. On the other hand, AI-powered chatbots use NLP (Natural Language Processing) and ML (Machine Learning) to analye human behaviour and accordingly answer questions. Digital Concierge Brings in Conversions Personalized communication forms the crux of customer experience. A desired, non-intrusive interaction between a guest and a chat bot can create strong engagement and help the guest to make a booking at your hotel. In such cases, the bot will forward the booking inquiries directly into the IBE (Internet Booking Engine) and strengthen your direct sales. 30-50% of the chatbot-prospect interactions result in IBE forwarding of booking inquiries. This statistic shows how accepting the guests are of the chatbot’s services. (Source: DialogShift, Olga Heuser) Chatbots can also be integrated into social media platforms and instant messenger platforms so that guests can directly make bookings from a platform of their choice. How are Hotel Chatbots Redefining CX? Apart from bringing in revenue through direct sales, hotel chatbots also create a solid customer experience for the guests, so they don’t go home unsatisfied and give you a good review online. Here are the ways in which they enhance the customer experience: 24/7 Availability- Chatbots promptly respond to guest queries round the clock Multi-Lingual Support- Languages are not a barrier for them Efficiency- They lighten your hotel staff’s load of answering guest queries Customer Retention- They collect guest information, which helps in retention and follow-up Brand Awareness- They are brand representatives and increase brand awareness through responsiveness Additionally, AI- powered chatbots can also: Highlight the hotel’s special features upon check-in Recommend places and activities to do around the hotel with pictures and links Request feedback from guests about services Assist with table reservations or pool-side orders The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas Used Rose to Impress Guests The introduction of Rose, a smart chatbot that converses with guests on The Cosmopolitan’s website, changed the game for the hotel. The bot’s playful personality wooed hotel guests. Those who made a booking directly from the website ended up spending 37% more than those who did not engage with her. Let’s Wrap It Up A hotel chatbot refines the concierge experience for guests through rapid response times and enhances your hotel’s AI marketing efforts. It can be an invaluable asset for hotel business owners looking to stay ahead in the race.

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Spotlight

Viking Cruises

As the World’s Leading River Cruise Line® and the #1 Ocean Cruise Line, we are constantly innovating our business and growing our fleet. With more than 60 river ships and 3 ocean vessels cruising across 6 continents, we are the largest, most award-winning company in the industry. There is tremendous opportunity to join our dynamically growing company—whether on board our ships or in our corporate offices.

Related News

Hospitality Trends, Hospitality Management

Sonesta Announces First Sonesta Es Suites Ground Up Development

PR Newswire | January 24, 2024

Sonesta International Hotels Corporation (Sonesta) today announced plans for the construction of a new Sonesta ES Suites in Port Charlotte, Florida. This new property, expected to open in Spring 2025, marks the first Sonesta ES Suites brand project developed from the ground up. "We are excited that Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte will be our first purpose-built location for the brand," said Brian Quinn, Sonesta's Chief Development Officer. "The Sonesta ES Suites brand stands out as an attractive choice for franchisees looking for an upscale option to capitalize on the continued dependable performance of extended stay hotels." "Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte will benefit business travelers and tourists who are looking for accommodations near the beaches, golf courses, parks and other attractions that Port Charlotte has to offer," said Alan Lane, one of Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte's owners. "The addition of Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte to our diverse portfolio reflects Commonwealth Hotels' unwavering commitment to providing an unparalleled guest experience through visionary development, ethical practices and a steadfast dedication to superior service," said Jennifer Porter, President of Commonwealth Hotels, the hotel's management company. To be located at 1321 Claburn Circle in Port Charlotte, Florida, the Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte will be an upscale extended-stay hotel spanning four floors and offering 117 rooms with amenities including breakfast and dining services, an outdoor pool, fitness room, market pantry, guest laundry, onsite parking and more. The location of the new hotel is close to over 20 colleges and universities, two hospitals, more than 70 parks and recreational spaces, more than 12 miles of beaches, 14 golf courses and numerous other attractions. Guests of this location will be able to earn or redeem points in the award winning Sonesta Travel Pass loyalty program.

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Travel Technology, Airlines and Airports

Trip.com Group and LATAM Airlines Group Partner to Enhance Travel Experience Through NDC Technology

PR Newswire | January 22, 2024

Trip.com Group, a leading travel service provider, announced today the signing of a new NDC agreement with LATAM Airlines Group. This agreement between the two companies aims to provide a contemporary and streamlined ticketing experience for global travellers. It also offers unparalleled connectivity to over 144 destinations covered by LATAM Airlines across 22 countries and regions, including Latin America, the Caribbean, North America, Europe, Africa, and Oceania. The key benefit of this agreement is the adoption of NDC standard technology. This technology gives customers access to a complete and more comprehensive selection of airline offerings and the option to buy additional products, services, and add-ons such as baggage allowance and seats. Moreover, customers can access a broader range of ancillary services and more detailed information by browsing the change and cancellation policy section during checkout, leading to improved Trip.com Group and LATAM Airlines Group's after-sales services. Juan Villanova, Sales Manager of Trip.com for Spain and Latin America, comments: "Trip.com is a cutting-edge online travel company that leads the way in technology. Our commitment is to improve our product offerings to guarantee the highest customer satisfaction. With this tech solution, our passengers will have access to an improved and more competitive selection of flights and products." The agreement will include integrating a shopping engine for ticket sales via some of Trip.com Group's leading brands, offering a cost advantage to both suppliers and customers. Henk Van der Velde, Regional Director for Southern Europe and Latin America for Trip.com Group's flight Department, adds: "We are delighted to collaborate with LATAM Airlines Group in the implementation of an NDC standard, and offer solutions for everyone via a shopping engine, which has yielded excellent results. I look forward to continuing this collaboration and bringing new features that positively impact our customer's travel experience." Andreas Schek, Vice President of Sales and Branding of LATAM Airlines Group, adds: "We are proud of this collaboration with Trip.com Group on the implementation of the NDC standard, as it allows us to explore ways to enhance its efficiency further. This is a significant milestone in the future of distribution that will benefit our global customers."

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Travel Technology, Destination and Tourism

Exodus Adventure Travels Announces New Trips in Partnership with Royal Canadian Geographic Society

PR Newswire | January 23, 2024

Exodus Adventure Travels, the international award-winning leader in adventure travel, today announced its new 2024 RCGS Quests trips, a series of expert-led tours developed in partnership with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. These limited edition, small group trips are what travel legends are made of – adventures that are designed to offer travelers unparalleled opportunities to explore some of the planet's most awe-inspiring destinations and led by noted hosts in their respective fields. This year's line-up features such noted hosts as World Elephant Day co-founder, Patricia Sims; bestselling author, Robin Esrock; Indigenous education advocate, Charlene Bearhead, and others. "We are honored to partner with The Royal Canadian Geographical Society on these highly anticipated adventures," said Sam Seward, President at Exodus Adventure Travels. "This is our third year operating our RCGS Quests program, with continued demand to explore further and experience more, pushing these trips to new heights and featuring another stellar line-up of hosts to add even more depth to each itinerary." Exodus' 2024 RCGS Quests Series features the following six adventures: RCGS: Highlights of the Amalfi Coast with Scott Forsyth Discover the land of la dolce vita for a wondrous week on the Amalfi Coast led by an expert local guide and hosted by professional photographer and fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Scott Forsyth. Explore one of Europe's most dramatic stretches of coastline and be spellbound by this land's natural beauty and cultural treasures. The Host: Scott Forsyth is an award-winning photographer who specializes in Canadian landscapes. Devoted to exploring Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific and Arctic Ocean coastlines, Scott is a Fellow of both the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the Explorer's Club and is Canadian Geographic's Photographer-In-Residence. Eight-day itinerary priced from $2,240 USD. Departing April 6, 2024 RCGS: Classic Kenya 4WD Safari with Patricia Sims No country, perhaps, is more synonymous with a classic African safari than Kenya. Step into scenes from 'Out of Africa' as you explore Kenya's best safari sites led by an expert local safari guide and hosted by award-winning Canadian filmmaker, Royal Canadian Geographical Society fellow and World Elephant Day co-founder, Patricia Sims. The Host: Patricia Sims is the co-founder of the annual World Elephant Day (Aug. 12), a global awareness campaign that brings attention to the critical threats facing elephants. From swimming with wild dolphins and whales in oceans around the world to getting up close and personal with monkeys in the jungles of Borneo and elephants of Thailand, Patricia is also an award-winning filmmaker who always has a passionate eye on conservation. Patricia is a Fellow International of The Explorers Club and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Seven-day itinerary priced from US$4,649 Departing August 10, 2024 RCGS: A Week in Jordan with Sarah Legault Explore the wondrous historical and archaeological highlights of Jordan on this week-long adventure. From the incredible history of the Wadi Rum Desert to strolling through ancient Roman cities and floating in the Dead Sea, this Jordanian adventure contains all the highlights of this fascinating country. It is led by an expert local guide and hosted by Vice President of Philanthropy for the RCGS, Sarah Legault. The Host: Sarah Legault has been the head of advancement at the Royal Canadian Geographical Society since 2018 and has worked at charitable organizations throughout her career. Her vast understanding of the Society, Canadian Geographic and all associated programs is extraordinary. As the current Vice President of Philanthropy and Fellow of the RCGS, Sarah's mission-aligned values of environment, people, culture, and geographical literacy support engaging and forward-thinking initiatives which she always is keen to share and discuss. Seven-day itinerary priced from US$2,550 Departing October 19, 2024 RCGS: Rome, Assisi & Magical Umbria – Premium Adventure with Robin Esrock Explore Rome and Assisi's historic landmarks and classical ruins. Walk through Italy's unspoiled countryside staying in a picturesque four-star resort in the hills of Umbria, led by an expert local guide and hosted by bestselling author, TV host, public speaker and Royal Canadian Geographical Society Fellow Robin Esrock. The Host: Dubbed "King of the Bucket List" by Travel + Leisure, Robin Esrock's success as a global adventurer, travel writer, bestselling author and international TV personality started with a one-year solo round-the-world backpacking adventure to 24 countries. During this year, Robin uploaded weekly reports, photography, videos, reviews, and interviews with every person he met. In doing so, he ushered in a new era of multi-platform, switched-on wired-in travel journalism, leading to adventures beyond his wildest dreams. Robin's stories have been published in noted publications worldwide, including National Geographic Traveler, The Guardian, Chicago Tribune, Toronto Star, Reader's Digest, and more. Eight-day itinerary priced from US$4,050 Departing October 19, 2024 RCGS: Egypt Nile Cruise with Charlene Bearhead Follow in the footsteps of the ancient pharaohs and ride the sands of time back thousands of years on this classic Egypt Nile cruise led by an expert local guide and hosted by Indigenous education advocate, author, Vice President of Learning and Reconciliation at Canadian Geographic, and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Charlene Bearhead. With ancient tombs and mysteries around every bend, unrivaled legacy and mind-blowing history await. The Host: Charlene Bearhead is an Indigenous education advocate and author with over 30 years of regional, national and international experience. Previously Charlene served as education days coordinator for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, education coordinator for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, education advisor for the Canadian Geographic Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada, a member of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Indigenous Education working group, and the first education lead for both the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba and the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at UBC. She is also the co-author of the children's book series Siha Tooskin Knows. Eight-day itinerary priced from US$2,380 Departing November 16, 2024 RCGS: Highlights of Vietnam with Lynn Moorman Discover the complex culture and history of Vietnam on this intoxicating exploration of Vietnamese life highlighted by superb landscapes and amazing cuisine. Led by an expert local guide and hosted by Lynn Moorman, a lifelong geographer with a love for exploring remote landscapes and environments. The Host: Lynn Moorman is a prominent geographer and a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Mount Royal University, in Calgary, Canada. Lynn's teaching and research interests lie at the intersection of geography, learning sciences and applied visualization technologies, including virtual and augmented reality. Her work has taken her to the highlands of northern Vietnam, to map agricultural productivity, to the frozen Arctic Ocean where she works with Inuit in Canadian Arctic communities to use near-real time satellite imagery to keep ice travel safe. Lynn is a Fellow, former Board member and current Chair of the Research Committee of the RCGS. 10-day itinerary priced from US$2,170 Departing November 17, 2024

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Hospitality Trends, Hospitality Management

Sonesta Announces First Sonesta Es Suites Ground Up Development

PR Newswire | January 24, 2024

Sonesta International Hotels Corporation (Sonesta) today announced plans for the construction of a new Sonesta ES Suites in Port Charlotte, Florida. This new property, expected to open in Spring 2025, marks the first Sonesta ES Suites brand project developed from the ground up. "We are excited that Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte will be our first purpose-built location for the brand," said Brian Quinn, Sonesta's Chief Development Officer. "The Sonesta ES Suites brand stands out as an attractive choice for franchisees looking for an upscale option to capitalize on the continued dependable performance of extended stay hotels." "Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte will benefit business travelers and tourists who are looking for accommodations near the beaches, golf courses, parks and other attractions that Port Charlotte has to offer," said Alan Lane, one of Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte's owners. "The addition of Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte to our diverse portfolio reflects Commonwealth Hotels' unwavering commitment to providing an unparalleled guest experience through visionary development, ethical practices and a steadfast dedication to superior service," said Jennifer Porter, President of Commonwealth Hotels, the hotel's management company. To be located at 1321 Claburn Circle in Port Charlotte, Florida, the Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte will be an upscale extended-stay hotel spanning four floors and offering 117 rooms with amenities including breakfast and dining services, an outdoor pool, fitness room, market pantry, guest laundry, onsite parking and more. The location of the new hotel is close to over 20 colleges and universities, two hospitals, more than 70 parks and recreational spaces, more than 12 miles of beaches, 14 golf courses and numerous other attractions. Guests of this location will be able to earn or redeem points in the award winning Sonesta Travel Pass loyalty program.

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Travel Technology, Airlines and Airports

Trip.com Group and LATAM Airlines Group Partner to Enhance Travel Experience Through NDC Technology

PR Newswire | January 22, 2024

Trip.com Group, a leading travel service provider, announced today the signing of a new NDC agreement with LATAM Airlines Group. This agreement between the two companies aims to provide a contemporary and streamlined ticketing experience for global travellers. It also offers unparalleled connectivity to over 144 destinations covered by LATAM Airlines across 22 countries and regions, including Latin America, the Caribbean, North America, Europe, Africa, and Oceania. The key benefit of this agreement is the adoption of NDC standard technology. This technology gives customers access to a complete and more comprehensive selection of airline offerings and the option to buy additional products, services, and add-ons such as baggage allowance and seats. Moreover, customers can access a broader range of ancillary services and more detailed information by browsing the change and cancellation policy section during checkout, leading to improved Trip.com Group and LATAM Airlines Group's after-sales services. Juan Villanova, Sales Manager of Trip.com for Spain and Latin America, comments: "Trip.com is a cutting-edge online travel company that leads the way in technology. Our commitment is to improve our product offerings to guarantee the highest customer satisfaction. With this tech solution, our passengers will have access to an improved and more competitive selection of flights and products." The agreement will include integrating a shopping engine for ticket sales via some of Trip.com Group's leading brands, offering a cost advantage to both suppliers and customers. Henk Van der Velde, Regional Director for Southern Europe and Latin America for Trip.com Group's flight Department, adds: "We are delighted to collaborate with LATAM Airlines Group in the implementation of an NDC standard, and offer solutions for everyone via a shopping engine, which has yielded excellent results. I look forward to continuing this collaboration and bringing new features that positively impact our customer's travel experience." Andreas Schek, Vice President of Sales and Branding of LATAM Airlines Group, adds: "We are proud of this collaboration with Trip.com Group on the implementation of the NDC standard, as it allows us to explore ways to enhance its efficiency further. This is a significant milestone in the future of distribution that will benefit our global customers."

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Travel Technology, Destination and Tourism

Exodus Adventure Travels Announces New Trips in Partnership with Royal Canadian Geographic Society

PR Newswire | January 23, 2024

Exodus Adventure Travels, the international award-winning leader in adventure travel, today announced its new 2024 RCGS Quests trips, a series of expert-led tours developed in partnership with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. These limited edition, small group trips are what travel legends are made of – adventures that are designed to offer travelers unparalleled opportunities to explore some of the planet's most awe-inspiring destinations and led by noted hosts in their respective fields. This year's line-up features such noted hosts as World Elephant Day co-founder, Patricia Sims; bestselling author, Robin Esrock; Indigenous education advocate, Charlene Bearhead, and others. "We are honored to partner with The Royal Canadian Geographical Society on these highly anticipated adventures," said Sam Seward, President at Exodus Adventure Travels. "This is our third year operating our RCGS Quests program, with continued demand to explore further and experience more, pushing these trips to new heights and featuring another stellar line-up of hosts to add even more depth to each itinerary." Exodus' 2024 RCGS Quests Series features the following six adventures: RCGS: Highlights of the Amalfi Coast with Scott Forsyth Discover the land of la dolce vita for a wondrous week on the Amalfi Coast led by an expert local guide and hosted by professional photographer and fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Scott Forsyth. Explore one of Europe's most dramatic stretches of coastline and be spellbound by this land's natural beauty and cultural treasures. The Host: Scott Forsyth is an award-winning photographer who specializes in Canadian landscapes. Devoted to exploring Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific and Arctic Ocean coastlines, Scott is a Fellow of both the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the Explorer's Club and is Canadian Geographic's Photographer-In-Residence. Eight-day itinerary priced from $2,240 USD. Departing April 6, 2024 RCGS: Classic Kenya 4WD Safari with Patricia Sims No country, perhaps, is more synonymous with a classic African safari than Kenya. Step into scenes from 'Out of Africa' as you explore Kenya's best safari sites led by an expert local safari guide and hosted by award-winning Canadian filmmaker, Royal Canadian Geographical Society fellow and World Elephant Day co-founder, Patricia Sims. The Host: Patricia Sims is the co-founder of the annual World Elephant Day (Aug. 12), a global awareness campaign that brings attention to the critical threats facing elephants. From swimming with wild dolphins and whales in oceans around the world to getting up close and personal with monkeys in the jungles of Borneo and elephants of Thailand, Patricia is also an award-winning filmmaker who always has a passionate eye on conservation. Patricia is a Fellow International of The Explorers Club and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Seven-day itinerary priced from US$4,649 Departing August 10, 2024 RCGS: A Week in Jordan with Sarah Legault Explore the wondrous historical and archaeological highlights of Jordan on this week-long adventure. From the incredible history of the Wadi Rum Desert to strolling through ancient Roman cities and floating in the Dead Sea, this Jordanian adventure contains all the highlights of this fascinating country. It is led by an expert local guide and hosted by Vice President of Philanthropy for the RCGS, Sarah Legault. The Host: Sarah Legault has been the head of advancement at the Royal Canadian Geographical Society since 2018 and has worked at charitable organizations throughout her career. Her vast understanding of the Society, Canadian Geographic and all associated programs is extraordinary. As the current Vice President of Philanthropy and Fellow of the RCGS, Sarah's mission-aligned values of environment, people, culture, and geographical literacy support engaging and forward-thinking initiatives which she always is keen to share and discuss. Seven-day itinerary priced from US$2,550 Departing October 19, 2024 RCGS: Rome, Assisi & Magical Umbria – Premium Adventure with Robin Esrock Explore Rome and Assisi's historic landmarks and classical ruins. Walk through Italy's unspoiled countryside staying in a picturesque four-star resort in the hills of Umbria, led by an expert local guide and hosted by bestselling author, TV host, public speaker and Royal Canadian Geographical Society Fellow Robin Esrock. The Host: Dubbed "King of the Bucket List" by Travel + Leisure, Robin Esrock's success as a global adventurer, travel writer, bestselling author and international TV personality started with a one-year solo round-the-world backpacking adventure to 24 countries. During this year, Robin uploaded weekly reports, photography, videos, reviews, and interviews with every person he met. In doing so, he ushered in a new era of multi-platform, switched-on wired-in travel journalism, leading to adventures beyond his wildest dreams. Robin's stories have been published in noted publications worldwide, including National Geographic Traveler, The Guardian, Chicago Tribune, Toronto Star, Reader's Digest, and more. Eight-day itinerary priced from US$4,050 Departing October 19, 2024 RCGS: Egypt Nile Cruise with Charlene Bearhead Follow in the footsteps of the ancient pharaohs and ride the sands of time back thousands of years on this classic Egypt Nile cruise led by an expert local guide and hosted by Indigenous education advocate, author, Vice President of Learning and Reconciliation at Canadian Geographic, and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Charlene Bearhead. With ancient tombs and mysteries around every bend, unrivaled legacy and mind-blowing history await. The Host: Charlene Bearhead is an Indigenous education advocate and author with over 30 years of regional, national and international experience. Previously Charlene served as education days coordinator for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, education coordinator for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, education advisor for the Canadian Geographic Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada, a member of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Indigenous Education working group, and the first education lead for both the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba and the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at UBC. She is also the co-author of the children's book series Siha Tooskin Knows. Eight-day itinerary priced from US$2,380 Departing November 16, 2024 RCGS: Highlights of Vietnam with Lynn Moorman Discover the complex culture and history of Vietnam on this intoxicating exploration of Vietnamese life highlighted by superb landscapes and amazing cuisine. Led by an expert local guide and hosted by Lynn Moorman, a lifelong geographer with a love for exploring remote landscapes and environments. The Host: Lynn Moorman is a prominent geographer and a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Mount Royal University, in Calgary, Canada. Lynn's teaching and research interests lie at the intersection of geography, learning sciences and applied visualization technologies, including virtual and augmented reality. Her work has taken her to the highlands of northern Vietnam, to map agricultural productivity, to the frozen Arctic Ocean where she works with Inuit in Canadian Arctic communities to use near-real time satellite imagery to keep ice travel safe. Lynn is a Fellow, former Board member and current Chair of the Research Committee of the RCGS. 10-day itinerary priced from US$2,170 Departing November 17, 2024

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