Caribbean cruise on board Celebrity Summit: How a sceptic was won over by cruising

As I backpacked and flashpacked across 90-odd countries, I paid little attention to cruise ships. I figured they were mainly for retired folk and perhaps young families and honeymooners. Cruising surely wasn't for (fairly) adventurous, youthful(ish) travellers? It looked too easy, too regimented. I didn't fancy being cooped up on a giant vessel, deposited ashore in a port for a few hours, then picked up and ferried to the next place (and so on). Then earlier this year, while hiking in the Spanish countryside, my partner and I got caught in a biblical storm. Sheltering in a golf club bar, we started chatting to two die-hard cruisers from Scotland, and as we compared recent holiday experiences – ours an enriching, but enervating independent Thai island hopping trip; theirs a blissfully relaxing, yet adventure-peppered cruise around the rum-fuelled Caribbean – we suddenly wondered whether cruising wouldn't be so bad after all. Fast forward several months, and, desperate for a chilled-out, hassle-free break, a floating hotel that would dock at a clutch of exotic, sun-kissed Caribbean islands began to sound like one of the best things in the world.

Spotlight

MBM Travel Executives Recruitment

As an independently owned recruitment company with big contacts, we are able to offer a truly bespoke service designed to meet specific needs and budgets at all levels. Sourcing outstanding travel talent, from middle management through to board level, for both permanent and interim appointments within the UK and EMEA, is one of the hallmarks of our business. Along with honesty, integrity and tenacity. We provide contingency and discreet executive search for the online, cruise, tour operating, retail, airline, hotel, rail, car rental, GDS/ travel technology, travel media and corporate worlds. Our expertise stretches across a comprehensive range of disciplines, including CEO, board level and general management, sales and marketing, PR, product, purchasing and contracting, business analysis, project management, IT, accountancy & finance, operations, revenue and yield, business travel and general administration.

OTHER ARTICLES
Hospitality Management

Crypto Tourism: A Quick Guide

Article | July 19, 2023

Cryptocurrencies have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. They have progressed from a speculative asset class to one gaining widespread mainstream acceptance. And it's not just retail investors who are interested; cryptocurrencies are finding applications in various industries, including tourism. Yes, the travel industry, like many others, has warmed up to these virtual digital assets. It has even spawned a new type of operation, namely crypto tourism. Introduction to Crypto Tourism Crypto tourism is categorized into two broad groups: the first has tours and travel packages purchased with cryptocurrency. Emirates Airlines, the biggest airline in the UAE, has said it will soon accept bitcoin as a form of payment. Air Baltic, a Latvian airline, has also been accepting bitcoin for a long time. The second type of crypto tourism is trips and travel packages where crypto conferences, classes, or lectures are a big part of the schedule. You might not understand why someone would take a vacation to go to a lecture or learn about blockchain. Well, most people don't go on vacations like these. Instead, they focus on entrepreneurs and crypto fans who want to network, meet people with similar interests, and discuss business ideas. In addition to the usual sightseeing and relaxing, these crypto trips include talks by well-known speakers and industry veterans. Limitation and Scope Crypto tourism is a small market with few options, and only a small number of travel partners accept crypto payments. Also, the people who put on some crypto trips often use these events to sell ICOs and do other marketing. However, crypto tours are great for people who want to learn about cryptocurrencies, meet others interested in the same things, and relax. They are also great if you want digital money to pay for your trip. Then, you don't have to worry about currency exchange rates or losing cash. A Different Reality Crypto tourism might be niche, but it is a new reality in the travel industry. It allows safe transactions and innovative tours, which many businesses are keen about.

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Travel Technology

T&E Management: Understanding Travel Spend & Cutting Costs

Article | May 5, 2023

Corporate travel and entertainment are almost every company's second-largest controllable expense after payroll and other benefits offered to employees. When it comes to such expenses, manually recording them on paper, saving crumpled receipts, or even creating Excel spreadsheets doesn’t ensure efficiency. Businesses are implementing software that automates travel and expense management to streamline operations, cut costs and reduce the frustration that repetitive tasks bring. They are leveraging expense data to categorize their travel spends based on projects, departments, and cost centers to stay on top of all their travel-related expenses and financial operations. Control & Transparency Matter Global accounting teams put two things above all else: control and transparency. Without these two, they leave room for risk and mishaps and cannot function efficiently. Travel and expense automation allows financial and accounting teams to see where every dollar is spent. Bills and reimbursements are paid diligently and without much scope for error or expense fraud. Accurate, transparent data can then become the foundation of business decisions on spend and expense forecasting. Employees Dislike Mundane Tasks Your employees have important job functions that they need to carry out on a daily basis. A cloud-based tool that they can access at anytime and from anywhere helps them look at travel expense reporting in a different way. They can spend their time doing productive tasks that do not involve mundane paperwork or tallying expenses manually. Managers Expect Budgeting Compliance No manager is a fan of going over a long paper trail of expenses and verifying if every expense complies with company policy. A travel and expense management software highlights employee travel expense that does not comply with business policy. As approvers, managers can access this data from any place, discuss the matter with the employee in question, and get a quick resolution. Controlled Spending Makes C-level Execs Happy Implementing travel and expense management software helps keep the company’s spend under control. Low spends and high profits make every C-level executive happy. To top it off, it also makes them happy to make their employees happy while maintaining travel spend transparency. Features of T&E Management Software That Make a Difference Extracting important expense data from receipts by scanning Option to submit expense reports via commonly used apps and text messages in a single click A comprehensive view of a trip spend in a single, error-free report Option to set up automated expense approval workflows Quicker employee reimbursement turnaround time Instant expense report submission notifications for prompt review Bottom-line Streamline your T&E process, tackle expense reporting challenges for traveling employees, and simplify expense tracking, approvals, and reimbursements using T&E management software. Empower your finance teams with complete visibility of travel spend to create a seamless automated expense management experience.

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Hospitality Management

Bleisure: A Game Changer for Travel Businesses & Employers

Article | June 19, 2023

Bleisure travel has taken over the travel industry. It brings together two worlds—business and leisure—to make a work trip enjoyable for employees. The concept of bleisure is simple. While on a business trip, employees choose to stay back at their own expense to explore the city or region they are visiting, if their company agrees. According to Stratosjets, 243 million business trips (60%) of 405 million long-distance business trips in the United States are converted into leisure trips every year. “As businesses are becoming increasingly global, the necessity to travel for business is on the rise. It is estimated that by 2022, companies will be spending a total of $1.7 trillion to send their employees travelling around the world. As business travel grows, so does the ‘bleisure’ trend with more employees taking advantage of business travel and improved travel policies.” -Spokesman for Amadeus, the travel technology company. Businesses that support this type of travel are seeing a steady increase in employee satisfaction, and increased productivity in professionals. Bleisure also brings higher revenue for bleisure-ready hoteliers. How Does Bleisure Benefit Travel Businesses and Employers? Driving Brand Loyalty Travel companies and accommodation services can gain the attention of the next generation of travelers who indulge in bleisure. They can employ modern travel technologies to attract millenials and youngsters. Sharing economy services like Airbnb are shaking up the traditional hotel model. Adopting bleisure can make hospitality brands relatable, drive brand loyalty and higher revenue through the high acquisition costs of corporate travelers. Boosting Employee Productivity Employees worldwide want to achieve a better work-life balance. 78% of travelers said bleisure travel increased their well-being when they returned to work. (Source: TalentIntelligence). Happy employees translate to a lower attrition rate, fewer medical claims, higher productivity, and less absenteeism, making it a win-win situation for employers. Combating Talent Shortages Companies that address the needs of their staff through a flexible bleisure policy are more likely to attract the best and the most talented people. It could be the only offering that could make an employee choose a company over its competitors. Preparing for Bleisure To capitalize on the demand for bleisure travel, hoteliers should offer amenities and services such as: A suitable workplace where business travelers can fulfill their work commitments Child-care and kid-friendly amenities for travelers who bring their families along A dedicated concierge service and ready local sightseeing recommendations Employers offering bleisure to their employees need to do their due diligence. They must offer a comprehensive policy that ensures employee travel safety and is compliant with duty of care legal requirements. Cutting to the Chase The bleisure tourism market is estimated to reach a valuation of $497.5 billion in 2022 with sales skyrocketing at an impressive 19.5% CAGR over the assessment period (Source: Future Market Insights). The tourism market is looking at bleisure as an opportunity for growth while recovering from the pandemic. They are investing in direct marketing, sales, discounts, giveaways, events, and other promotional activities to attract bleisure travelers and endorsing bleisure as a way to attain their revenue targets.

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Travel Technology

Online Travel Fraud: Mitigating Risks & Preventing Slashing Revenues

Article | June 16, 2022

In 2020, the number of suspected online travel fraud attempts in the U.S. jumped by 136.6%. Two years later, the online travel fraud “industry” is still going strong, making online travel agencies and tourism businesses lose their money and reputation. "Traveling has always been when people are more vulnerable. A few hundred years ago, the perpetrators were pirates or highwaymen. Now those criminals are still out there, but they've changed their methods to focus on digital attacks instead." -Caleb Barlow, ex-Vice President of X-Force Threat Intelligence at IBM Security. Mitigating fraud risk is important in any industry, but it is especially important in industries like travel where competition is fierce and margins are shrinking. The high resale value of its digital goods makes the travel industry vulnerable to fraud. Fortunately, advanced solutions that prevent fraud have shown great results in the airline and travel industries. Machine learning and artificial intelligence tools are improving in efficiency. With their help and a variety of other methods, a good travel fraud prevention team can curb fraud in the travel industry, increase profit margins, and cut down on the costs and time taken for manual reviews of transactions to prevent financial losses. How are Online Travel Agencies Mitigating Fraud Risks and Safeguarding Revenue? Online travel agencies need to be on their toes to preserve their revenue and reputation, and the integrity of their operations to grow and sustain their businesses. Modern online fraud prevention methods can protect you from fraud without jeopardizing the customer experience. Let us look at these methods: Implementing Machine Learning-based Solutions Machine learning-based models can be the backbone of your fraud protection strategy. These models can recognize patterns and predict outcomes. They help you identify anomalies in customer behavior in real time, flag an account-takeover attempt, analyze transaction riskiness, and block them before they result in a chargeback. ML-based fraud detection software like Signifyd and Riskified detects illegitimate activities related to payments, account creation, purchases, and chargebacks. They monitor websites, networks, and applications for fraud and prevent digital payment fraud. It is important to remember that you need to strike a good balance between these preventive measures and your customer experience, so you do not lose business by focusing on only one aspect. Transaction Monitoring This method focuses on the credit card used for booking. Using an intelligence tool, check if there is a mismatch between the user’s IP address and their billing information and if the same user is making too many bookings from the same account or same card. Combine these insights with user verification and fraud scoring tools so you can reject suspicious transactions automatically. Also, keep an eye on changes to bookings to avoid problems, and follow the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DS S) to make sure card payments are as safe as possible. User Profiling Gather important customer data like email addresses, credit card information, loyalty points, and social networking handles. Behavioral data on what the customer does on your website or your mobile app, the devices through which the customer connects to the website, and their email address or location can help prevent fraud. Additionally, online travel agencies can verify users in the following ways: Use an address verification service (AVS) and a card security code (CVV or CVC). Verify scanned ID documents using SaaS products to add another layer of security to every transaction. Create a blacklist to block specific users if you notice any suspicious attempts. Use device fingerprinting to block devices previously associated with fraudulent activities. Anti-ATO Methods To prevent account takeover attempts, deploy two-factor authentication for travel agents, and 3D secure PIN codes for end customers. Biometric technology and mobile payment wallet apps like Google Pay, and Apple Pay can curb swindlers from getting into a customer’s account without secure pins or fingerprints. Verify Suppliers Set up a process for verifying every supplier before making any payments. Check their business license, business reviews on Google, and check their Google Street View to confirm if a hotel actually exists at the mentioned address. Ensure that there is no correlation between a steep increase in hotel prices and booking activity because it could be a hotel price spike scam. Block Bot Attacks Any kind of abnormal spike in web or app traffic can be an indication of a bot attack. Real-time protection against bots can be a great way to handle illegitimate traffic. Compare every website request against the in-memory pattern database using ML and AI to check and block bots swiftly. Implement networking that can safeguard your domains within milliseconds upon detecting a bad bot. Control Friendly Fraud Chargeback abuses are hard to prevent. The only way to fight back is to document compelling evidence to prove that the said transaction was legitimate. Document order forms, tracking numbers, online travel agency customer communication logs, any kind of travel product redemption evidence, and confirmation for items delivered to an address that matches with the address verification service (AVS). Air France Sped Up Manual Reviews By 70% Air France wanted an easy way to access reliable information on potentially risky transactions. So they chose SEON’s Intelligence Tool. “The time spent by Air France analysts on manual reviews is down by an impressive 70%.” - Eric Facquet, Deputy Manager of Fraud Prevention at Air France Summing It Up Tackle online travel fraud head-on while keeping in mind your end customer. You must protect your customers from fraud in a way that is strong, practical, and well-balanced. This way should cover the customer's entire journey with you, both literally and figuratively. FAQ Which software tools can help with fraud detection? Fraud detection software tools such as SEON, ClickGUARD, Riskified and Oracle Adaptive Access Manager can help detect fraud. How can you improve fraud detection? Use machine learning models to automate processes for fraud investigation, and regularly update rules for detection and how to handle alerts. What does fraud detection software do? Fraud detection software regulates accounts, payments, purchases, and events in real-time to detect any fraudulent activities. It also protects sensitive company and customer data.

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Spotlight

MBM Travel Executives Recruitment

As an independently owned recruitment company with big contacts, we are able to offer a truly bespoke service designed to meet specific needs and budgets at all levels. Sourcing outstanding travel talent, from middle management through to board level, for both permanent and interim appointments within the UK and EMEA, is one of the hallmarks of our business. Along with honesty, integrity and tenacity. We provide contingency and discreet executive search for the online, cruise, tour operating, retail, airline, hotel, rail, car rental, GDS/ travel technology, travel media and corporate worlds. Our expertise stretches across a comprehensive range of disciplines, including CEO, board level and general management, sales and marketing, PR, product, purchasing and contracting, business analysis, project management, IT, accountancy & finance, operations, revenue and yield, business travel and general administration.

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.

Read More

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."

Read More

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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