FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES OF RIVER CRUISING

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According to latest reports in the industry, river cruising is booming! In 2014, the UK river cruise market increased by 6% to 139,400 passengers1. Growth in European river cruise passengers increased by 10%, supported by an increase in capacity and awareness of river cruising.

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British Hospitality Association

In 2018 the British Hospitality Association (BHA) and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) merged to form UKHospitality to provide a powerful unified voice for the UK’s £130bn hospitality sector.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,AIRLINES AND AIRPORTS

Age of Digital Concierge: Hotel Chatbots Are Redefining CX

Article | August 2, 2022

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

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AIRLINES AND AIRPORTS

AI CRM and Online Booking Tipped To Boost Travel Recovery

Article | July 12, 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,AIRLINES AND AIRPORTS

Augmented Reality Transforming the Travel and Hospitality Industry

Article | July 19, 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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BUSINESS TRAVEL

Excellent Customer Experience in Travel Industry Generate Customer Loyalty

Article | May 10, 2022

As the impact of COVID-19 subsides, the devasted travel industry appears to be resuming normalcy with increased travel volumes. In addition, emerging tourism trends and technology in the travel industry have offered new possibilities for business travel to redefine itself. The present opportunities available in the travel sector may benefit your firm. However, customer experience in the travel industry has a significant impact on growing long-term loyalty. Providing a positive client experience is a significant problem for many in the travel and tourism industry. Customer Experience Is a Challenge to Recover Customer experience is a critical component of the travel and tourism industry. As travel volumes have increased in the post-covid era, so have negative travel experiences. Business travelers who commute frequently have higher expectations. For a very long time, they have voiced their dissatisfaction, even before the leisure travelers complained. This imbalance has been exacerbated by COVID-19. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, 38% of business passengers complained about the airline, double the percentage compared to leisure travelers. The actual question, though, is how to overcome this obstacle. Some companies may go above and beyond to reassure travelers with honesty, openness, and unmatched customer service. You may improve the customer experience by implementing the following ideas. Concentrate on the corporate culture Give specific examples of consumer advocacy Equip employees with the necessary tools According to a survey conducted by Think with Google, superior customer service is the most compelling aspect for high-value travelers. Additionally, 60% of them agree that customer service is the most crucial factor when it comes to picking a brand to travel with. CX Plays a Vital Role in Revenue Generation Managing customer experience in travel can enhance the brand-customer relationship, ultimately leading to revenue growth. The adoption of technology for travel booking, ticketing, and expenditure management has improved the customer experience. Satisfied customers increase income and assist firms in calculating the return on their travel and cost expenditures. Customer experience is a key differentiator that boosts customer happiness and loyalty, and both sells and establishes a competitive edge. “CX is the difference between success or slump.” — Chris Pescott, CEO of Perceptive. Annual business travel expenditures will reach $1.7 trillion globally by 2022. According to Statista, nearly 500 million business travels will take place withing the United States each year by 2022. Ways to Improve Customer Experience (CX) Use Tech to Create Breakthrough Customer Experiences Technology in the travel industry is regularly evolving. By putting technology at the center of each touchpoint, the industry is laying the groundwork for a successful customer experience in travel. Chatbots powered by AI and machine learning deliver client care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Chatbots have been intelligently developed using cutting-edge technology and may be used in place of humans. AI is constantly evolving, making it more trustworthy and effective as a commercial solution. Embrace an Omnichannel Mindset With mobile devices accounting for more than 50% of online traffic, multi-device digital experiences have become the norm. In addition, today's customers interact with companies across various offline and online channels, frequently switching several times, and each stage of the journey must be seamlessly connected and consistent. As a result, adopting omnichannel is one of the most significant changes you will undertake. Use Customer Journey Mapping To create a customer journey, you must first understand your consumer. By comparing journey maps to core KPIs, you may gain a deeper insight into your customer experience and identify areas of concern and opportunity. You may use trip maps to enhance the customer experience and visualize the customer experience in the future. Alternatively, you may influence organizational transformation from the stage of inspiration to the planning and execution phases. Utilize all touchpoints and seek new possibilities for interaction. Case studies: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines KLM's social care staff are well-known for their responsiveness and efficiency – the airline even shows a live countdown on its Twitter header picture to inform consumers when they may anticipate a response. However, what sets the organization apart is its ability to generate unique customer experiences. Qatar Airways Qatar Airways is elevating the business class travel experience. At a recent travel industry conference in Berlin, the airline unveiled its Business Class QSuite. This is the first time a business class cabin has been offered and sold with a real double bed. However, the organization goes a step further by providing value to consumers traveling for business. Additionally, the QSuite may be an open work and meeting room. Multiple configuration choices appeal to clients seeking privacy or personalization. A score of 9.2 for audience insights indicates that the brand is in tune with its social audience well enough to cultivate an impressive number of committed followers. Conclusion The travel and tourism industry significantly benefits from nurturing an outstanding customer experience. Supremacy in customer experience can be offered with the help of sophisticated digital technology that can quantify effects and forecast behavior. In addition, as 'bleisure' travel continues to grow in popularity to blend business and leisure time, the customer experience in travel is increasing in relevance. FAQ: What are the benefits of a good customer experience? A good customer experience increases sales and creates customer loyalty. Moreover, it reduces complaints. How would you define excellent customer service? Great customer service means responding promptly to a client's wants, being responsive to their concerns, and offering an enthusiastic level of care. Do you value customer service or customer experience more? Consumer service results in a positive customer experience. Both are critical to the business's success.

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Spotlight

British Hospitality Association

In 2018 the British Hospitality Association (BHA) and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) merged to form UKHospitality to provide a powerful unified voice for the UK’s £130bn hospitality sector.

Related News

CRUISE

Alaska Cruising: Holland America Line Demand Surges

Holland America Line | July 04, 2022

With pent-up demand and the U.S. Independence Day travel rush approaching, premium cruise line Holland America Line reported a surge in interest for Alaska cruising to the bucket list travel destination during June for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic. "People are excited to travel again while reconnecting with family and friends in a meaningful way,We're seeing the pent-up demand leading to increased booking as guests realize cruising is a hassle-free way to enjoy unique destinations such as Alaska." -Beth Bodensteiner, senior vice president and chief commercial officer for Holland America Line Our summer travel inquiries and bookings show people are feeling safe to explore again, Alaska is one of my favorite places to visit in the summer. A preferred partner, like Holland America Line, helps us provide clients with convenient departures to and from our own back yard to this amazing place, without the added cost of airfare.Michelle Glass, vice president of travel for AAA Washington "With the cost and recent challenges with air travel, we are seeing excitement and traction from guests within driving distance of our cruise homeports such as Seattle and Vancouver, We recently invested in local marketing near our homeports and we're already seeing that pay off." -Kacy Cole, vice president of marketing and e-commerce for Holland America Line Overall, Holland America Line continues to see a high level of interest in cruises that are only a short flight or drive away from guests' homes. On round-trip sailings from the United States, the cruise line visits 225 different ports in 91 different countries, serving more international destinations on cruises sailing round trip from a U.S. homeport than any other brand. The line's homeports in the United States include Seattle, San Diego, Boston, and Fort Lauderdale. In addition, Holland America Line operates more Alaska cruises from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, than any other cruise line.

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CRUISE

Consumers Optimistic About Cruise Travel in 2022

arrivia | March 01, 2022

Consumers are optimistic about their 2022 cruise travel plans. That's the overall sentiment from a recent survey conducted by arrivia, a leading travel loyalty and cruise booking technology platform that works with consumer-facing companies worldwide. The company surveyed 1,453 Americans between November 3, 2021, and January 10, 2022, all of whom are members of a travel club or travel benefits program, about their attitudes and preferences around cruise travel. Initial responses were collected just a few weeks before the emergence of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, with responses also being recorded into January 2022 as it became the dominant strain worldwide. The Ready to Board consumer cruise survey revealed that more than 80% of respondents have booked a cruise in the next two years or are planning or considering a cruise vacation. Of those consumers who have already booked a cruise, 37% aimed to travel in the spring, 22% in the summer and 31% in the fall. While there was a slight shift in the data based on when the survey responses were recorded relative to the spread of Omicron, the number of respondents who had already booked or were actively planning a cruise consistent outweighed those who "might" book one or aren't considering booking by nearly 2 to 1. Consumers, however, were very clear that they support cruise lines' efforts to make travel as safe as possible. Over 50% of respondents said they would want to see universal masking and vaccination on board and social distancing on cruise activities to feel comfortable cruising again. Value is still a major factor in decision-making Despite the pent-up travel demand accumulated over the past two years, 46% of consumers consider value for money the most important factor when booking a cruise — more than the double itineraries/destinations and COVID/safety protocols combined. Better pricing and deals were also the second top reason (tied with travel restrictions) that travelers haven't booked a cruise in the past twelve months. The focus on value is illustrated by the sizeable percentage (18%) of respondents using loyalty or travel rewards points to defray some or all of the cost of a cruise. "Points play an important role as travelers plan their journeys,Companies with loyalty or rewards programs should consider expanding their capabilities to include more of the travel booking and benefits options that consumers increasingly want, such as cruise travel." -Jeff Zotara, arrivia Chief Marketing Officer. Other findings from the survey: Sixty-six percent of consumers are choosing luxury cruise travel over mega cruises or niche river cruises. Travelers are choosing historically popular destinations with the desire for luxury cruise experiences. Almost half of the respondents who had booked or were planning to book a cruise had their eye on the Caribbean, with 17% zeroing in on the Bahamas as their next stop. And they're not just testing the waters with three-day excursions; 54% said they were considering a six-to-nine-day cruise, while 11% said that ten days or more is the perfect trip length. "It's no doubt that Omicron impacted some of the booking activity in the short-term," Zotara added. "But with the investment cruise lines have made in ensuring travelers' safety and in the new ships that promise to deliver even better experiences, more consumers will be setting sail over the next two years. We're excited to see the demand increasing and consumers' enthusiasm for cruise travel." The consumer cruise survey, Ready to Board, is available for download here. For more information about the survey or to speak with Jeff Zotara, Chief Marketing Officer of arrivia, please contact Vanessa Horwell at vhorwell@thinkinkpr.com. About arrivia Arrivia is a travel technology company that provides travel loyalty, booking and marketing solutions to consumer-facing companies that want to deliver exceptional value to their customers, uncover new revenue streams and drive growth through exciting travel rewards and member benefits. The company's Travel Privileges platform opens up the world of travel for companies like American Express, USAA and Marriott Vacations Worldwide by offering their customers more value through exclusive pricing and encouraging discovery with relevant and personalized options that inspire travel and consumer loyalty. To learn more about how arrivia helps companies drive growth, incentivize sales, boost affinity and reward high-value customers, visit www.arrivia.com.

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CRUISE

GM Brings Powerful New Compute Architecture to Ultra Cruise to Help Enable Door-to-Door Hands-Free Driving

Ultra Cruise | January 10, 2022

GM announced this week that its next-generation hands-free driver assist system, Ultra Cruise, will be powered by a scalable compute architecture featuring system-on-chips developed by American semiconductor company Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. GM will be the first company to use the Qualcomm Technologies' Snapdragon Ride™ Platform for advanced driver assistance technology, which features an industry leading 5-nanometer Snapdragon™ SA8540P SoC and SA9000P artificial intelligence accelerator. Ultra Cruise’s compute, which is about the size of two laptops stacked together, will be available in 2023 on vehicles including the ultra-luxury, fully-electric Cadillac CELESTIQ. With high performance sensor interfaces and memory bandwidth, it will, in combination with GM's homegrown Ultra Cruise software stack, be key to helping Ultra Cruise achieve an unmatched combination of capability, reliability, predictability and robust door-to-door hands-free driving in 95 percent of all driving scenarios. "Despite its relatively small size, Ultra Cruise's compute will have the processing capability of several hundred personal computers,It will take qualities that have distinguished GM's advanced driver assist systems since 2017 to the next level with door-to-door hands-free driving." -Ken Morris, GM vice president of Electric, Autonomous and Fuel Cell Vehicle Programs. The Ultra Cruise compute will help power GM-developed ADAS software and features, including perception, planning, localization and mapping. These Ultra Cruise capabilities were developed in-house at GM engineering facilities in Israel, the United States, Ireland and Canada. To ensure a robust and predictable system with minimal latency, GM integrated Ultra Cruise's software on an optimal hardware design, overlaying cameras, radar and lidar. This low-level, sensor fusion, which provides excellent detection and classification of data, and Ultra Cruise's software stack are proprietary to GM, not available on the automotive aftermarket. The Ultra Cruise compute is comprised of two Snapdragon SA8540P SoCs and one SA9000P AI accelerator to deliver key low-latency control functions on 16-core CPUs and high-performance AI compute of more than 300 Tera Operations Per Second for camera, radar and lidar processing. The Snapdragon SoCs are designed with 5 nm process technology, enabling superior performance and power efficiency. The Snapdragon SA8540P SoCs will provide the necessary bandwidth for Ultra Cruise's sensing, perception, planning, localization, mapping and driver monitoring. "We are very proud of our collaboration with General Motors on one of the industry's first uses of our Snapdragon SoCs in an automated driving system,Ultra Cruise powered by Snapdragon Ride on Cadillac vehicles will be an experiential and technological leap forward for the industry." -Nakul Duggal, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. senior vice president and GM, Automotive. Along with Snapdragon Ride SoCs, which are designed to meet automotive system safety standards with multiple redundancies built in, the compute includes an Infineon Aurix TC397 processor for system safety integrity. The Aurix TC397 is categorized ASIL-D – the highest Automotive Safety Integrity Level. GM minimized complexity within the compute, opting for an air-cooled instead of liquid-cooled system that avoids heavy and inefficient thermal cooling lines throughout the vehicle, made possible by Snapdragon Ride's high-performance, high-efficiency design. Ultra Cruise's compute will also have the capability to evolve over time by leveraging Snapdragon Ride's SoCs performance and high-speed interfaces for future expansion, as well as over-the-air software updates enabled through the Ultifi software platform and GM's Vehicle Intelligence Platform electrical architecture. About General Motors (NYSE:GM) It is a global company focused on advancing an all-electric future that is inclusive and accessible to all. At the heart of this strategy is the Ultium battery platform, which will power everything from mass-market to high-performance vehicles. General Motors, its subsidiaries and its joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Baojun and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety and security services, can be found at https://www.gm.com.

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CRUISE

Alaska Cruising: Holland America Line Demand Surges

Holland America Line | July 04, 2022

With pent-up demand and the U.S. Independence Day travel rush approaching, premium cruise line Holland America Line reported a surge in interest for Alaska cruising to the bucket list travel destination during June for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic. "People are excited to travel again while reconnecting with family and friends in a meaningful way,We're seeing the pent-up demand leading to increased booking as guests realize cruising is a hassle-free way to enjoy unique destinations such as Alaska." -Beth Bodensteiner, senior vice president and chief commercial officer for Holland America Line Our summer travel inquiries and bookings show people are feeling safe to explore again, Alaska is one of my favorite places to visit in the summer. A preferred partner, like Holland America Line, helps us provide clients with convenient departures to and from our own back yard to this amazing place, without the added cost of airfare.Michelle Glass, vice president of travel for AAA Washington "With the cost and recent challenges with air travel, we are seeing excitement and traction from guests within driving distance of our cruise homeports such as Seattle and Vancouver, We recently invested in local marketing near our homeports and we're already seeing that pay off." -Kacy Cole, vice president of marketing and e-commerce for Holland America Line Overall, Holland America Line continues to see a high level of interest in cruises that are only a short flight or drive away from guests' homes. On round-trip sailings from the United States, the cruise line visits 225 different ports in 91 different countries, serving more international destinations on cruises sailing round trip from a U.S. homeport than any other brand. The line's homeports in the United States include Seattle, San Diego, Boston, and Fort Lauderdale. In addition, Holland America Line operates more Alaska cruises from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, than any other cruise line.

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CRUISE

Consumers Optimistic About Cruise Travel in 2022

arrivia | March 01, 2022

Consumers are optimistic about their 2022 cruise travel plans. That's the overall sentiment from a recent survey conducted by arrivia, a leading travel loyalty and cruise booking technology platform that works with consumer-facing companies worldwide. The company surveyed 1,453 Americans between November 3, 2021, and January 10, 2022, all of whom are members of a travel club or travel benefits program, about their attitudes and preferences around cruise travel. Initial responses were collected just a few weeks before the emergence of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, with responses also being recorded into January 2022 as it became the dominant strain worldwide. The Ready to Board consumer cruise survey revealed that more than 80% of respondents have booked a cruise in the next two years or are planning or considering a cruise vacation. Of those consumers who have already booked a cruise, 37% aimed to travel in the spring, 22% in the summer and 31% in the fall. While there was a slight shift in the data based on when the survey responses were recorded relative to the spread of Omicron, the number of respondents who had already booked or were actively planning a cruise consistent outweighed those who "might" book one or aren't considering booking by nearly 2 to 1. Consumers, however, were very clear that they support cruise lines' efforts to make travel as safe as possible. Over 50% of respondents said they would want to see universal masking and vaccination on board and social distancing on cruise activities to feel comfortable cruising again. Value is still a major factor in decision-making Despite the pent-up travel demand accumulated over the past two years, 46% of consumers consider value for money the most important factor when booking a cruise — more than the double itineraries/destinations and COVID/safety protocols combined. Better pricing and deals were also the second top reason (tied with travel restrictions) that travelers haven't booked a cruise in the past twelve months. The focus on value is illustrated by the sizeable percentage (18%) of respondents using loyalty or travel rewards points to defray some or all of the cost of a cruise. "Points play an important role as travelers plan their journeys,Companies with loyalty or rewards programs should consider expanding their capabilities to include more of the travel booking and benefits options that consumers increasingly want, such as cruise travel." -Jeff Zotara, arrivia Chief Marketing Officer. Other findings from the survey: Sixty-six percent of consumers are choosing luxury cruise travel over mega cruises or niche river cruises. Travelers are choosing historically popular destinations with the desire for luxury cruise experiences. Almost half of the respondents who had booked or were planning to book a cruise had their eye on the Caribbean, with 17% zeroing in on the Bahamas as their next stop. And they're not just testing the waters with three-day excursions; 54% said they were considering a six-to-nine-day cruise, while 11% said that ten days or more is the perfect trip length. "It's no doubt that Omicron impacted some of the booking activity in the short-term," Zotara added. "But with the investment cruise lines have made in ensuring travelers' safety and in the new ships that promise to deliver even better experiences, more consumers will be setting sail over the next two years. We're excited to see the demand increasing and consumers' enthusiasm for cruise travel." The consumer cruise survey, Ready to Board, is available for download here. For more information about the survey or to speak with Jeff Zotara, Chief Marketing Officer of arrivia, please contact Vanessa Horwell at vhorwell@thinkinkpr.com. About arrivia Arrivia is a travel technology company that provides travel loyalty, booking and marketing solutions to consumer-facing companies that want to deliver exceptional value to their customers, uncover new revenue streams and drive growth through exciting travel rewards and member benefits. The company's Travel Privileges platform opens up the world of travel for companies like American Express, USAA and Marriott Vacations Worldwide by offering their customers more value through exclusive pricing and encouraging discovery with relevant and personalized options that inspire travel and consumer loyalty. To learn more about how arrivia helps companies drive growth, incentivize sales, boost affinity and reward high-value customers, visit www.arrivia.com.

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CRUISE

GM Brings Powerful New Compute Architecture to Ultra Cruise to Help Enable Door-to-Door Hands-Free Driving

Ultra Cruise | January 10, 2022

GM announced this week that its next-generation hands-free driver assist system, Ultra Cruise, will be powered by a scalable compute architecture featuring system-on-chips developed by American semiconductor company Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. GM will be the first company to use the Qualcomm Technologies' Snapdragon Ride™ Platform for advanced driver assistance technology, which features an industry leading 5-nanometer Snapdragon™ SA8540P SoC and SA9000P artificial intelligence accelerator. Ultra Cruise’s compute, which is about the size of two laptops stacked together, will be available in 2023 on vehicles including the ultra-luxury, fully-electric Cadillac CELESTIQ. With high performance sensor interfaces and memory bandwidth, it will, in combination with GM's homegrown Ultra Cruise software stack, be key to helping Ultra Cruise achieve an unmatched combination of capability, reliability, predictability and robust door-to-door hands-free driving in 95 percent of all driving scenarios. "Despite its relatively small size, Ultra Cruise's compute will have the processing capability of several hundred personal computers,It will take qualities that have distinguished GM's advanced driver assist systems since 2017 to the next level with door-to-door hands-free driving." -Ken Morris, GM vice president of Electric, Autonomous and Fuel Cell Vehicle Programs. The Ultra Cruise compute will help power GM-developed ADAS software and features, including perception, planning, localization and mapping. These Ultra Cruise capabilities were developed in-house at GM engineering facilities in Israel, the United States, Ireland and Canada. To ensure a robust and predictable system with minimal latency, GM integrated Ultra Cruise's software on an optimal hardware design, overlaying cameras, radar and lidar. This low-level, sensor fusion, which provides excellent detection and classification of data, and Ultra Cruise's software stack are proprietary to GM, not available on the automotive aftermarket. The Ultra Cruise compute is comprised of two Snapdragon SA8540P SoCs and one SA9000P AI accelerator to deliver key low-latency control functions on 16-core CPUs and high-performance AI compute of more than 300 Tera Operations Per Second for camera, radar and lidar processing. The Snapdragon SoCs are designed with 5 nm process technology, enabling superior performance and power efficiency. The Snapdragon SA8540P SoCs will provide the necessary bandwidth for Ultra Cruise's sensing, perception, planning, localization, mapping and driver monitoring. "We are very proud of our collaboration with General Motors on one of the industry's first uses of our Snapdragon SoCs in an automated driving system,Ultra Cruise powered by Snapdragon Ride on Cadillac vehicles will be an experiential and technological leap forward for the industry." -Nakul Duggal, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. senior vice president and GM, Automotive. Along with Snapdragon Ride SoCs, which are designed to meet automotive system safety standards with multiple redundancies built in, the compute includes an Infineon Aurix TC397 processor for system safety integrity. The Aurix TC397 is categorized ASIL-D – the highest Automotive Safety Integrity Level. GM minimized complexity within the compute, opting for an air-cooled instead of liquid-cooled system that avoids heavy and inefficient thermal cooling lines throughout the vehicle, made possible by Snapdragon Ride's high-performance, high-efficiency design. Ultra Cruise's compute will also have the capability to evolve over time by leveraging Snapdragon Ride's SoCs performance and high-speed interfaces for future expansion, as well as over-the-air software updates enabled through the Ultifi software platform and GM's Vehicle Intelligence Platform electrical architecture. About General Motors (NYSE:GM) It is a global company focused on advancing an all-electric future that is inclusive and accessible to all. At the heart of this strategy is the Ultium battery platform, which will power everything from mass-market to high-performance vehicles. General Motors, its subsidiaries and its joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Baojun and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety and security services, can be found at https://www.gm.com.

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