Culture Trip's Picks for Travel Blogs to Follow in 2018

NIKKI VARGAS | December 11, 2017 | 109 views

When it comes to the art of travel blogging, it takes a passion for photography, a knack for story-telling and a love of globetrotting to bring an otherwise dull website to life. The following people continue to blaze the trail of what it means to be a travel blogger and make a name for yourself amidst a highly competitive field.

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Travel Retail Solutions

Travel Retail Solutions works on behalf of a number of major suppliers offering a fast and cost effective route into the Travel Retail market covering airlines, airports, ferry and cruise operators around the world.

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COMMERCIAL TRAVEL,INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

Age of Digital Concierge: Hotel Chatbots Are Redefining CX

Article | July 13, 2022

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

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AIRLINES AND AIRPORTS

3 Travel Preparation Tips for Your Holiday Trip

Article | July 12, 2022

A holiday abroad is an exciting experience, a chance to be in a new place where you can enjoy the sights and food, and have that much-needed break you need. Whether you are off to visit family or friends or plan to embark on an adventure as a tourist, holidays are the best way to leave work behind for a while and do something nice for yourself. With all the hard work you have been doing, you deserve a break. Going on a trip also takes careful preparation to ensure that everything goes according to plan. If you start preparing in advance, you can cover all the details and relax while away, knowing everything is in place. It is also best to get travel insurance. With it, you provide yourself with coverage against certain travel risks like cancellations, missing luggage, and medical expenses, should you require them while away from home. Of course, it is always best to be safe than sorry, and details like this reduce stress and keep you prepared for anything on your holiday. Below are some travel preparation tips for a stress-free and enjoyable holiday. Try to travel light Travelers find it challenging to pack for a trip. We tend to take extras along with us, fearing that something could come up and we might need certain items. However, it is always better to pack light, as long as you have the essentials with you. Avoid over-packing and stick to the necessities for a less stressful vacation. If you are flying to your destination, have your travel documents organized and in your possession at all times. Find out what the weather is like where you are going and choose suitable clothing to pack. Be prepared for anything You never know what can happen during a holiday trip. You may encounter a few snags such as delays, a change of weather conditions, closed roads, etc. So, prepare for unexpected situations and know what to do if they happen. Furthermore, arriving hours earlier than your flight at the airport keeps you relaxed, which you should be since it is your holiday. If security lines are long and time is of the essence, being there early helps you take it easy rather than rush to reach your flight on time. Book your flight as early as possible Ensure that you get to leave on your preferred dates by booking your flight as early as possible. There have been a few changes in many airline companies where people can quickly make cancellations and other changes. Additionally, there is now limited seating in planes. This means that they fill up the seats faster. Apart from booking your flight in advance, it would also help to book hotel accommodations and other planned activities early on. A holiday is even more enjoyable when you have planned everything out. Make the necessary preparations so when you get to your destination, all that's left to do is relax and enjoy your vacation.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,AIRLINES AND AIRPORTS

AI CRM and Online Booking Tipped To Boost Travel Recovery

Article | July 19, 2022

Travel technology professionals view tech as the way to help travel come back stronger, according to research. The TravelTech Show (formerly TTE Europe) polled buyers and suppliers who listed artificial intelligence, customer relationship management and online booking tools as the top three technologies to help boost recovery. Rounding out the top five were self-service portals and innovative payment options. The findings will be unsurprising to many in the industry already looking to AI, the cloud and other technologies to boost efficiency and improve the customer experience. Brian Sheerin, managing director of SABS Travel Technologies, says: Allowing travelers to self-book through an OBT [online booking tool] while still providing simple methods to communicate, such as online chat, are key to reducing customer frustration and allowing travel businesses the space to restructure, to resource and to meet customer expectations. OBTs were already playing a massive part in booking travel pre-pandemic and now it is even more important in the role of rebuilding the sector and customer confidence in it.”In recent weeks, American Airlines announced a far-reaching partnership with Microsoft, Expedia Group unveiled its new tech platform Open World and Miami Airport announced its rollout of biometric boarding technology. Payment developments and other advances in travel fintech also have been highlighted recently as an increasing priority to the industry as it looks to find new revenue streams. The TravelTech Show research also quizzed participants on the top challenges facing the travel technology industry currently, with economic uncertainty taking the top slot (52%), followed by COVID-19 restrictions (46%) and climate change (36%). Cyber security took fourth place compared to two years ago when it was in seventh place. Meanwhile, sustainable travel moved to seventh place compared to the second-place spot it held in 2020.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Augmented Reality Transforming the Travel and Hospitality Industry

Article | May 20, 2022

“I believe that augmented reality will be the biggest technological revolution that happens in our lifetimes.” – Tim Sweeney, Founder and CEO of Epic Games Augmented reality (AR) has proved to be a significant concept in tourism and hospitality management in the past few years. It allows us to enhance the physical environment and enhance the experience of exploring the surrounding area. According to Grand View Research, the global market for augmented reality was worth USD 25.33 billion in 2021. From 2022 to 2030, the market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40.9%. As things keep pace with digitalization and this generation seeks quick and efficient yet reliable methods, every sector widely uses the application of augmented reality. According to Hospitality Tech, the market size of augmented reality will reach $198 billion by 2025, and the hotel business will be one of the key contributors to this income target. Effectively, Starwood, Marriott and Holiday Inn are already making a difference in the travel and hospitality industry by leveraging this technology. An investment in AR brings a lot of change in business revenue for both small hoteliers and prominent hotel tycoons. AR Improve Customer Experience for Travel and Hospitality Redefine the customer experience with augmented reality in the tourism industry. AR-based travel apps help businesses enhance their services and offer personalized experiences to their customers. By adding interactive hotel features that make the space more fun, you can get people to visit nearby attractions. Utilizing CX to maintain and expand a client base produces a terrific asset that positively affects ROI. CX effectively boosts customer lifetime value (LTV), which can become self-perpetuating. Companies that excel at CX and customer-centricity are 60% more profitable and generate 5.7% more revenue than those that don't. Ideas for Implementing AR in the Tourism and Hotel Industry AR is utilized chiefly via smartphones and offers many options concerning interactive experiences. AR in Excursions & Travel Attractions AR technology may be a terrific marketing tool for guiding first-time guests through the hotel and a great way to retain customers and provide more engaging experiences. With the application of augmented reality software, a standard tourist map comes to life. Moreover, AR technology enables clients to examine points of interest, restaurants, and other businesses. Your hotel restaurant may even use augmented reality to let customers explore the menu and ingredients in a new way by showing them 3D versions of the meals on their phones. Transportation If you have a travel mobile app with AR, you can point out the transportation objects to get the best possible directions, travel route, next destination, and places to travel to. Pokemon Go shows one such example of how you can use modern digital technologies to make the travel experience even better. It became the first popular augmented reality game. This AR app brought players out into the street and made them move and travel a lot. Scadi is one such AR app in travel for visitors of Alpine ski resorts. It uses advanced algorithms to create the most comfortable, safe and exciting routes for skiers and snowboarders. Integrates with other technology Using augmented reality in conjunction with other technologies such as beacon technology allows your hotel to more efficiently promote to visitors and upsell through push notifications. For example, through push notifications, hotels may give partner companies special offers or discounts, and vice versa, partner businesses can advertise the hotel. Hospitality Industry Must Make Room for AR for Better ROI In a post-pandemic context, the travel and hotel industries embrace technological advancements that enhance visitor experiences, eventually boosting corporate income and reducing operating expenses. Utilizing interactive technologies like AR, VR, and other interactive technologies increases operational efficiency, productivity, and ROI. By using augmented reality with CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) or EAM, you gain more understanding (Enterprise Asset Management). Augmented reality can assist facility managers in boosting the efficiency of their engineers and reducing the expense of ensuring their safety. AR will assist them in increasing their revenue by reducing their maintenance expenses. Using AR-based product models, the hospitality industry is gaining a significant competitive edge, resulting in faster sales cycles. Case Studies Holiday Inn During the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London in 2012, Holiday Inn introduced one of the first uses of Augmented Reality in a hotel setting. The experiences used picture recognition and chroma video. The program identified hotel locations and activated athlete video footage, merging real and virtual components. This Holiday Inn use case shows how hotels may leverage AR to develop unique guest experiences around local events. In addition, the campaign helped promote the hotel and bolster its status as the official hotel for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Premier Inn The Hub Hotel from Premier Inn, the largest hotel chain in the United Kingdom, is one of the few places to have adopted the AR technology back in 2016. The hotel provided a wall map of the local region in each room. Tourists could use their smartphones to read information about local areas of interest by pointing them at a wall. Conclusion The benefits of augmented reality in the travel and hospitality industries are immense. AR is a potent tool for increasing company potential and returns on investment. Utilizing innovative technology boosts your hotel's exposure and brand awareness while propelling it into the digital age. Augmented reality in the tourism industry truly sets you apart from the competition. FAQ How is augmented reality changing the travel & tourism industry? Augmented reality helps hotels enhance the physical locations they are attempting to attract visitors to, such as hotel rooms and local attractions. What is digital transformation in the hospitality industry? Digital transformation refers to how companies restructure themselves to adapt and modify their corporate culture to empower innovations that utilize technology and propel their enterprises to new levels of growth. What are the benefits of augmented reality? Creates unique customer experiences Reduces cognitive overload Increases engagement

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Spotlight

Travel Retail Solutions

Travel Retail Solutions works on behalf of a number of major suppliers offering a fast and cost effective route into the Travel Retail market covering airlines, airports, ferry and cruise operators around the world.

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FEATURES AND ADVICE

My Travel Bloc and Dragonchain Sign Letter of Intent

Dragonchain My travelBLOC | September 03, 2021

My Travel Bloc Inc. and Bellevue based Dragonchain have entered into a Letter of Intent to co-develop and deploy the most secure and efficient blockchain travel solution on earth. TravelDragon will combine My Travel Bloc's global travel services platform with Dragonchain's energy efficient hybrid blockchain and patented smart contracts platform. This benchmark solution is designed to process over twenty two thousand (22,000) transactions per second on an environmentally sustainable platform that consumes just 0.00002 Kilowatt hours per transaction. "This exciting collaboration brings decades of innovative technology, aviation and distribution expertise to the travel industry. Our mission is to disrupt the current status-quo while also solving the many challenges that plagued early adopters of travel-based blockchains. Our hybrid B2B solution offers buyers and suppliers real time engagement in a secure blockchain ecosystem while reducing unnecessary overrides, fees and commissions." - Steve Sedgwick, CEO, My Travel Bloc Smarter Together- The combined collaborative TravelDragon team is committed to deliver: Collaboration across the entire travel industry. We are consolidating travel procurement in a win-win solution for both buyer and supplier. Joint innovation and product development. We are using cutting edge cloud-based blockchain architecture, patented smart contracts, artificial intelligence, and machine learning in a scalable value-added ecosystem. Industry leading sustainable recycle bin technology. We are helping all participants to actively engage in caring for our planet faithfully and efficiently. Real-time distributed ledger. We will streamline expense reconciliation and financial transactions. "We are thrilled to team up with My Travel Bloc to address the real-world problems currently facing the travel industry. Our fundamental capabilities and their passion to build powerful solutions not yet seen in the industry are the perfect match. Dragonchain specializes in behavioral and loyalty incentives to motivate partners and customers towards specific goals. We use patented smart contract technology to completely automate any process including carbon-tracking so that businesses can track and prove their carbon footprint. TravelDragon is set to create the most efficient travel platform the industry has ever seen." - Joe Roets, Founder and CEO, Dragonchain. About My Travel Bloc My Travel Bloc is a SaaS travel platform bringing suppliers and buyers together in a low-cost distribution marketplace that minimizes unnecessary commissions, fees and overrides associated with the current global distribution system. By providing a quantum level secure environment that transacts in real time, suppliers are afforded the ability to directly share their valuable service APIs. Deploying tailored smart contracts to airlines, hotels, and the corporate buyer, My Travel Bloc streamlines and enhances the efficiency of supplier/buyer relationships in a value-added ecosystem. For more information, please visit www.mytravelbloc.com About Dragonchain Dragonchain simplifies the integration of flexible and secure blockchain-powered solutions interoperable with any external blockchain, legacy system, or application. The platform is designed to be independently scalable as well as sustainable for any entity, business, or organization. Dragonchain understands the needs of businesses and has built a platform of core capabilities to solve the issues businesses face. Dragonchain was originally developed at Disney's Seattle office as the Disney Private Blockchain Platform in 2014, and open sourced in 2016. Dragonchain is America's Blockchain. Learn more at Dragonchain.com

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SABRE ANNOUNCES NEW DEALS WITH TWO HOTEL GIANTS

Travel Weekly | January 29, 2020

In collaboration with Accor, Sabre intends to develop a new full-service property management capability and enrich its existing central reservation and limited-service property management systems. These capabilities will combine within a new unified cloud-native, “highly flexible” platform that both company’s said will be built for and available to hoteliers across all property classes and geographic regions.

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Eddy Travels closes pre-seed round led by Techstars to scale its AI travel assistant

TechCrunch | December 23, 2019

Eddy Travels, an AI-powered travel assistant bot which can understand text and voice messages, has closed a pre-seed round of around $500,000 led by Techstars Toronto, Practica Capital and Open Circle Capital VC funds from Lithuania, with angel investors from the U.S., Canada, U.K. Launched in November 2018, Eddy Travels claims to have more than 100,000 users worldwide. Travelers can send voice and text messages to the Eddy Travels bot and get personalized suggestions for the best flights. Because of this ease of use, it now gets 40,000 flight searches per month — tiny compared to the major travels portals, but not bad for a bot that is available on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, Rakuten Viber, Line and Slack chat apps.

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FEATURES AND ADVICE

My Travel Bloc and Dragonchain Sign Letter of Intent

Dragonchain My travelBLOC | September 03, 2021

My Travel Bloc Inc. and Bellevue based Dragonchain have entered into a Letter of Intent to co-develop and deploy the most secure and efficient blockchain travel solution on earth. TravelDragon will combine My Travel Bloc's global travel services platform with Dragonchain's energy efficient hybrid blockchain and patented smart contracts platform. This benchmark solution is designed to process over twenty two thousand (22,000) transactions per second on an environmentally sustainable platform that consumes just 0.00002 Kilowatt hours per transaction. "This exciting collaboration brings decades of innovative technology, aviation and distribution expertise to the travel industry. Our mission is to disrupt the current status-quo while also solving the many challenges that plagued early adopters of travel-based blockchains. Our hybrid B2B solution offers buyers and suppliers real time engagement in a secure blockchain ecosystem while reducing unnecessary overrides, fees and commissions." - Steve Sedgwick, CEO, My Travel Bloc Smarter Together- The combined collaborative TravelDragon team is committed to deliver: Collaboration across the entire travel industry. We are consolidating travel procurement in a win-win solution for both buyer and supplier. Joint innovation and product development. We are using cutting edge cloud-based blockchain architecture, patented smart contracts, artificial intelligence, and machine learning in a scalable value-added ecosystem. Industry leading sustainable recycle bin technology. We are helping all participants to actively engage in caring for our planet faithfully and efficiently. Real-time distributed ledger. We will streamline expense reconciliation and financial transactions. "We are thrilled to team up with My Travel Bloc to address the real-world problems currently facing the travel industry. Our fundamental capabilities and their passion to build powerful solutions not yet seen in the industry are the perfect match. Dragonchain specializes in behavioral and loyalty incentives to motivate partners and customers towards specific goals. We use patented smart contract technology to completely automate any process including carbon-tracking so that businesses can track and prove their carbon footprint. TravelDragon is set to create the most efficient travel platform the industry has ever seen." - Joe Roets, Founder and CEO, Dragonchain. About My Travel Bloc My Travel Bloc is a SaaS travel platform bringing suppliers and buyers together in a low-cost distribution marketplace that minimizes unnecessary commissions, fees and overrides associated with the current global distribution system. By providing a quantum level secure environment that transacts in real time, suppliers are afforded the ability to directly share their valuable service APIs. Deploying tailored smart contracts to airlines, hotels, and the corporate buyer, My Travel Bloc streamlines and enhances the efficiency of supplier/buyer relationships in a value-added ecosystem. For more information, please visit www.mytravelbloc.com About Dragonchain Dragonchain simplifies the integration of flexible and secure blockchain-powered solutions interoperable with any external blockchain, legacy system, or application. The platform is designed to be independently scalable as well as sustainable for any entity, business, or organization. Dragonchain understands the needs of businesses and has built a platform of core capabilities to solve the issues businesses face. Dragonchain was originally developed at Disney's Seattle office as the Disney Private Blockchain Platform in 2014, and open sourced in 2016. Dragonchain is America's Blockchain. Learn more at Dragonchain.com

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SABRE ANNOUNCES NEW DEALS WITH TWO HOTEL GIANTS

Travel Weekly | January 29, 2020

In collaboration with Accor, Sabre intends to develop a new full-service property management capability and enrich its existing central reservation and limited-service property management systems. These capabilities will combine within a new unified cloud-native, “highly flexible” platform that both company’s said will be built for and available to hoteliers across all property classes and geographic regions.

Read More

Eddy Travels closes pre-seed round led by Techstars to scale its AI travel assistant

TechCrunch | December 23, 2019

Eddy Travels, an AI-powered travel assistant bot which can understand text and voice messages, has closed a pre-seed round of around $500,000 led by Techstars Toronto, Practica Capital and Open Circle Capital VC funds from Lithuania, with angel investors from the U.S., Canada, U.K. Launched in November 2018, Eddy Travels claims to have more than 100,000 users worldwide. Travelers can send voice and text messages to the Eddy Travels bot and get personalized suggestions for the best flights. Because of this ease of use, it now gets 40,000 flight searches per month — tiny compared to the major travels portals, but not bad for a bot that is available on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, Rakuten Viber, Line and Slack chat apps.

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