5 Ways To Get The Most Out Of A Destination

Travelers are always looking for new ways to get the most out of their travels. While the points and miles game can get you to your destination, what do you do when you get there? How do you get the most out of your time there and see beyond the hotel?I Have been traveling the world regularly since 2006, covering more than 100 countries, hundreds of thousands of miles in the air (though not as much as Ben), and meeting countless people along the way.Though I am a budget traveler and stay in more hostels than hotels, once you get to a destination, we travelers all face the same question: what should we do?

Spotlight

Sage Hospitality Group

We look for innovative leaders, with an eye for disruption. Never looking for someone just looking for a job, we're looking for the power players, the people who want to rise to the top. Sage allows for opportunities for growth, task force management and personal fulfillment, paying attention to the parts that keep us human and happy. We want to attract and retain associates that are engaged in our culture, passionate about hospitality and excited to enrich lives, one experience at a time.

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Hospitality Management

Flight Chaos: Call Centers Turn to AI for Help

Article | June 19, 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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Business Travel

Age of Digital Concierge: Hotel Chatbots Are Redefining CX

Article | May 17, 2023

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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Hospitality Management

Top 5 Ways Travel and Expense Management Solutions Can Help Companies

Article | June 20, 2023

A recent study stated that the travel industry faced an estimated $519 billion loss in 2020 due to the pandemic. Some of the challenges that most companies came across are managing travel expenses, maintaining travel and expense process flow, using the right expense management solutions, and more. As the travel industry is getting back in business, it is overcoming challenges sturdily. To simplify travel and expenses process flow, managers need instant and effective travel and expense management solutions to organize travel plans, submit expense reports, and control overspending on their travels. Before you dive into details about solutions that can improve the travel and expenses process flow and logistics of your company, here is a brief about travel and expense management solutions. An Overview: Travel and Expense Management Solutions Travel and expense management solutions are only relevant businesses that need to control the travel-related expenses of their employees. These solutions help you in understating the integrated spend data and deliver a better user experience. Other than this, these solutions can also help with: Making clearer and smarter data-driven decisions Encouraging policy compliance automatically into travel and expense process flow Saving time to collect data from expense reports automatically Simplifying budgeting Forecasting a more accurate data of the spend How Can You Streamline Your Travel and Expense Management Process? Automated travel management software can help your employees and finance team use the travel and expense management solutions for their benefit. But how? Here are the reasons to support: Employees could: Effortlessly manage receipts and submits the details of corporate travel Submit digital travel and expenses report instantly using a centralized travel and expense software Maintain compliance with the existing reimbursement policy for corporate travel and expenses in your company Finance teams could: They can create transparency in corporate spending reports by using travel management software and its automatic function. They can have better control over their travel expenses. 5 Ways Travel and Expense Management Solutions Can Help Companies Travel and expense management solutions give all travel and expense management services easy access to align in one place. By doing this, you will be able to gain more control over services and enforce compliance. Here are five ways your business can effortlessly adopt new travel and expense management solutions and help you win challenges faced during the pandemic. Review the Selected Solutions Before you implement a travel and expense management system, it is vital to review preferred travel and expense management solutions that your business requires. This will help the travel expenses workflow align seamlessly and make employees understand what it takes to manage the entire travel expense scenario accurately. Conduct Surveys If you are going to switch the old travel expenses method and adapting advanced travel and expense management solutions, it is crucial to survey the users who have used the solution and know its performance. This survey will help your employees to know if the chosen travel management software suits your requirements. The next step is to keep an eye on the most frequent and critical users, which will help you to have a clear insight into new trends that are being followed in terms of managing the workflow efficiently. By this, you can also implement it in your company. It also helps identify where your process needs refinement to facilitate efficiency in the expense management system. Prioritize the Must-haves The next step should include the collected input from the survey for setting up the foundation of priority of needs. In this case, creating a checklist is an ideal option. Prioritizing the best travel management software with apt travel and expense management solutions according to your workflow can help you select the right travel expense software for your organization. You can select travel and expense management solutions that consist of: Report building automation Auto fill options Remote access User-friendly interface Helpful support Mobile functionality Quick international payment Introduce Demo Sessions If you use an advanced global travel and expense management system, it is recommended to provide demo sessions of the preferred travel and expense management solutions to your team. The demo sessions could be an opportunity for your team to witness travel and expense management services created from reputable travel management software in action. With this, you can know about a host of details about the implementation of travel expense software, integrations, user training, travel and expense process, and its flow. This contributes towards the successful adoption of a travel expense system and proves the abilities of the travel and expense management solutions selected by you to scale your business as it grows. Choose a Solution Once you have organized multiple demo sessions of various global travel and expense management solutions, it's time to choose the best travel expenses management software that fits your company's culture and requirements. Take a good look at the pros and cons of the final travel expense planner you consider for integrated expense management solutions to combat your existing challenges. Being cautious while choosing the right global travel and expense management solutions will benefit your employees, and they will be able to use it for the company's advantage at a much faster pace. Frequently Asked Questions What you should know about expense management software? Here are some benefits of an expense management software: Ease of access Minimum manual intervention Higher cost savings Faster reimbursements Eco-friendly process (no paperwork) A simple process that simplifies workflow Encourages errorless work and delays Your employees can find the best travel and expense management solutions using various expense travel management software. How to manage travel expenses? There are several travel and expense management solutions to manage travel expenses. Here are some ways in which you can manage your travel expenses: Keep a track of expense details Plan ahead before setting a policy Stay aware of the policies Have an effective approval process of expense Organize spend data Why use an expense management software? An expense management software helps a business ease expense reporting, manage other aspects, and deliver the right travel and expense management solutions. It offers efficient workflow to the finance teams while recording expenses, data, approvals, controlling costs, and more. What are the most crucial features to manage expenses? The most crucial features to manage expenses are: Real-time policy checks The seamless expense reporting process Digital audits Advanced level of data analyses Easy approval process { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What you should know about expense management software?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Here are some benefits of an expense management software: Ease of access Minimum manual intervention Higher cost savings Faster reimbursements Eco-friendly process (no paperwork) A simple process that simplifies workflow Encourages errorless work and delays Your employees can find the best travel and expense management solutions using various expense travel management software." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How to manage travel expenses?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "There are several travel and expense management solutions to manage travel expenses. Here are some ways in which you can manage your travel expenses: Keep a track of expense details Plan ahead before setting a policy Stay aware of the policies Have an effective approval process of expense Organize spend data" } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Why use an expense management software?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "An expense management software helps a business ease expense reporting, manage other aspects, and deliver the right travel and expense management solutions. It offers efficient workflow to the finance teams while recording expenses, data, approvals, controlling costs, and more." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What are the most crucial features to manage expenses?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "The most crucial features to manage expenses are: Real-time policy checks The seamless expense reporting process Digital audits Advanced level of data analyses Easy approval process" } }] }

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Hospitality Management

Gain Competitive Edge with 5 Latest Hospitality Management Trends

Article | August 28, 2023

Discover the top hospitality management trends in 2023 to elevate the travel and tourism businesses. Adapt to hospitality marketing trends that are reshaping the hospitality and travel industry. Contents 1. Introduction 2. Importance of Hospitality Technology for Hospitality Industry 3. Five Hospitality Management Trends Shaping the Industry 3.1 Hotel Work Spaces 3.2 Robots in Hotels & Restaurants 3.3 Hyper-Personalization 3.4 Holistic Hospitality 3.5 Digitalized Guest Experiences 4. Today to Tomorrow: Hospitality Management 2.0 5. Final Thoughts 1. Introduction The hospitality industry has undergone a significant transformation in recent years, leading to a need for businesses to gain a competitive edge. While some businesses couldn't withstand the challenges, others adapted swiftly, and innovative concepts emerged to cater to the new normal. In 2023, technology will continue to advance rapidly, and the trends in the hospitality industry will harness its potential in exciting new ways. Despite uncertain household budgets, consumer trends indicate a strong desire for hospitality and tourism. However, to thrive in this landscape, hospitality businesses must stay informed about the latest industry trends to optimize costs, maximize profitability, and ensure continued success in 2023 and beyond. 2. Importance of Hospitality Technology for Hospitality Industry The hospitality industry, characterized by intense competition, prioritizes staying abreast of the latest hospitality management trends. Embracing technology offers many benefits, including streamlined processes, cost reduction, decreased staff workloads, increased revenue potential, and enhanced customer experiences. By leveraging the latest technology, businesses can achieve work accuracy that surpasses what can be accomplished by human staff alone. Technology solutions make tasks more manageable and enable companies to meet the increasingly high expectations of today's customers. Keeping up with the latest hospitality technology trends is crucial, allowing businesses to stay caught up to their competitors. Failure to do so may grant rival companies, a significant competitive advantage, especially if they adopt technology that resonates with customers while others continue with traditional methods. 3. Five Hospitality Management Trends Shaping the Industry 3.1 Hotel Work Spaces The rise of remote work has become a prominent trend in hospitality management and is projected to have a lasting impact. Fueled by the global public health crisis, numerous notable companies, including tech giants like Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon, have announced their intention to adopt a hybrid or flexible approach to remote work. The industry's future presents a significant opportunity for hospitality venues to position themselves as remote working hotspots for locals and travelers. Hotels and F&B establishments can capitalize on this trend by adapting their offerings to cater to the needs and preferences of this emerging segment. Providing ample plug sockets, offering free high-speed WIFI, creating well-equipped meeting rooms, and serving great coffee are essential starting points to attract remote workers and cater to their requirements effectively. By embracing and accommodating remote work trends, hospitality businesses can gain a competitive edge, enhance hotel operations and successfully meet the demands of this evolving market segment. 3.2 Robots in Hotels & Restaurants An intriguing trend that has captured the attention of the hospitality industry is the growing integration of robotics and their application in tasks traditionally carried out by human personnel. A notable example includes the utilization of robots in the role of concierge within hotels, where they can warmly greet guests and provide them with essential customer information. Moreover, certain hotels have begun implementing robots for cleaning, including vacuuming floors and even employing germ-killing capabilities. This practice holds potential for widespread adoption throughout the broader hospitality industry, including restaurants and other establishments. Integrating robotics in these operational aspects presents an exciting opportunity to enhance efficiency, improve customer experiences, and explore innovative avenues for growth and optimization within the industry. 3.3 Hyper-Personalization In today's hospitality landscape, guests have elevated their expectations to be recognized and treated as individuals, driven by the increasing demand for personalized interactions. Recent research indicates that 71% of tourists now anticipate personalized experiences. However, many businesses are still limited to personalizing at a segment level, while customer expectations have advanced well beyond that, reaching the realm of hyper-personalization in 2023. To achieve hyper-personalization, hospitality businesses can adapt trends in tourism industry and leverage technological platforms such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Customer Experience Management (CEM). These platforms utilize big data to create highly tailored one-to-one interactions between guests and hosts at scale. By drawing on data insights into customers' browsing and buying behaviors, hotels, travel providers and restaurants can customize their offers, promotions, and services to align with individual preferences and needs. 3.4 Holistic Hospitality The current preventive medicine and self-care trend is gaining significant traction in various industries. In particular, the wellness sector is experiencing exponential growth, evolving into a thriving trillion-dollar market. Hospitality venues, especially those equipped with spa facilities, can capitalize on this trend and secure a substantial portion of this lucrative market. While traditional beauty and relaxation spa services remain relevant, there is a rapid surge in demand for health diagnostic technology and customized treatment plans. Expert professionals are now offering personal or group sessions to foster vitality, facilitate healing, manage stress, achieve emotional balance, promote mindfulness, and enhance sleep quality. This evolving landscape presents a unique opportunity with trends in tourism and hospitality industry to expand offerings and meet the increasing customer demand for holistic wellness experiences. 3.5 Digitalized Guest Experiences The increasing significance of apps in managing hotel services is reshaping the hospitality industry and revolutionizing the guest experience. The digital and contactless services trend has gained significant momentum, leading to a comprehensive transformation of customer-facing operations. Technology-assisted options, such as mobile check-in, contactless payments, voice control, and biometrics, redefine how guests interact with hotels. Customers, who have grown accustomed to the convenience of unlocking their smartphones and laptops using facial and fingerprint recognition, will soon expect the same level of ease when accessing their hotel rooms. However, implementing these upgrades may pose financial challenges for establishments that provide these advanced services. To remain ahead of the curve and meet evolving customer expectations, hoteliers should invest substantially in adopting and maintaining the necessary technologies. 4. Today to Tomorrow: Hospitality Management 2.0 The future of the hospitality industry holds several key dimensions that hoteliers need to consider. First, shifting from standardization to personalized experiences is critical as travelers seek tailored services. Second, focusing on niche markets and value creation through customization and specialization lead to increased success. Embracing technology as a business accelerator is the third dimension, as it plays a central role in the hotel experience and enable innovative concepts. Fourth, social responsibility is a moral and economic obligation, with sustainability becoming a key focus. Developing responsive and resilient business models is the fifth dimension, essential for managing the risks and regulations associated with the growing tourist flows. While the consensus among respondents in recent survey emphasizes the need for the businesses to adapt to hospitality industry trends 2023 to evolve and adapt to the current environment, some participants expressed more extreme views, suggesting that traditional hotel rooms may become obsolete. These individuals point to the growing impact of the sharing economy and the inclination of today's customers to seek alternatives to conventional hotels. They believe that the adjustments in offerings mentioned earlier may not be sufficient and that the industry must undergo a true reinvention to remain relevant. This perspective highlights the importance of continuous innovation and staying ahead of evolving customer preferences. While personalized experiences, niche markets, technology integration, social responsibility, and resilient business models are key areas of focus, the industry needs to remain agile and open to further transformations. 5. Final Thoughts As the hospitality industry continues to evolve, businesses must embrace key hospitality management trends to gain a competitive edge and ensure future success. The integration of technology, such as robotics in hotels and restaurants, offer opportunities for enhanced efficiency and improved customer experiences. Hyper-personalization is becoming essential, with guests expecting tailored interactions and customized offerings. The growth of the wellness market presents a chance for hospitality venues to capitalize on preventive medicine and self-care trends. Digitalized guest experiences, including mobile check-ins and contactless payments, are reshaping customer-facing operations. Looking ahead, the industry needs to shift from standardization to personalized experiences, focus on niche markets, embrace technology, prioritize social responsibility, and develop responsive business models. While some experts suggest traditional hotel rooms may become obsolete, it is crucial to continually innovate and adapt to changing customer preferences to remain relevant in the dynamic hospitality landscape.

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Spotlight

Sage Hospitality Group

We look for innovative leaders, with an eye for disruption. Never looking for someone just looking for a job, we're looking for the power players, the people who want to rise to the top. Sage allows for opportunities for growth, task force management and personal fulfillment, paying attention to the parts that keep us human and happy. We want to attract and retain associates that are engaged in our culture, passionate about hospitality and excited to enrich lives, one experience at a time.

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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