General Atlantic Buys Startup Kiwi.com in Travel Tech Play by Private Equity

A top-tier private equity firm like General Atlantic should provide a strong tailwind for Kiwi as it branches out from selling plane tickets into other types of travel. But it’s a bit surprising that Ctrip.com or another travel conglomerate didn’t bite instead. U.S. private-equity firm General Atlantic has agreed to invest an undisclosed sum in Kiwi.com, a travel tech startup whose flagship product is selling cheap airplane tickets. The deal, announced Monday, is the latest sign investors see opportunity in the online travel sector. The investment buys out past equity investors and makes General Atlantic the majority owner of Kiwi.com, a startup that launched in 2012.

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Top 5 Ways Travel and Expense Management Solutions Can Help Companies

Article | May 17, 2023

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

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Travel Technology

Overcoming Obstacles of Hospitality Management in Travel Industry

Article | May 5, 2023

Discover insights to overcome hospitality management challenges of the dynamic travel industry. Elevate customer experiences, optimize operations, and thrive in the hospitality and travel industry. Contents 1. Importance of Hospitality in Tourism Industry 2. Key Management Challenges in the Hospitality Industry 2.1. Personalizing Guest Experience 2.2. Seasonality of Hospitality 2.3. Rapid Shift in Market Trends 2.4. Retaining, Hiring & Managing Staff 2.5. Protecting Online Reputation 3. Significance of Implementing the Right Solutions 4. Conclusion 1. Importance of Hospitality in Tourism Industry Today, the culture of hospitality holds paramount importance, focusing on outshining businesses by delivering exceptional service quality. To achieve this, hospitality industries must prioritize providing superior and satisfying products to their customers. Hiring managers should seek individuals with an excellent service-oriented mindset, while the training process should center around cultivating a strong service culture within the organization. Graduates of tourism and hospitality management programs are increasingly occupying key positions within the industry. These professionals view themselves as dedicated individuals entering the realm of hospitality management. Their roles demand specialized knowledge and skills, ongoing professional development, and a commitment to benefiting the community and society. Hospitality and travel industry revolves around extending friendly treatment to guests and tourists, making it an indispensable sector within tourism. Understanding consumer behavior becomes crucial in making informed marketing decisions for tourism products and activities. To fully leverage the potential of the tourism industry, it becomes imperative to comprehend what challenges may and how to overcome them to make better decisions. 2. Overcome Key Management Challenges in the Hospitality Industry 2.1. Personalizing Guest Experience Personalizing the guest experience has become an increasingly crucial challenge in the hospitality and travel industry, particularly as traditional B&Bs face competition from emerging players like Airbnb. To stay competitive and retain guests, it is essential to go beyond providing basic services and amenities. Today's travelers seek unique, tailored experiences that resonate with their preferences and needs. By personalizing the guest experience, hospitality establishments can create a lasting impression and build strong customer loyalty. This involves understanding guest preferences and anticipating their needs before they articulate them. It can include personalized greetings, offering amenities or services that align with their interests, and providing recommendations tailored to their tastes. Effective communication is vital before, during, and after the guest's visit. Leveraging guest data and preferences allows targeted marketing campaigns, personalized offers, and follow-up communication that nurtures the relationship and keeps guests engaged. 2.2. Seasonality of Hospitality One significant challenge is personalizing the guest experience, especially when considering the seasonality of the hospitality and travel industry. During peak seasons, although businesses may thrive, there is often added stress on staff to cater to a high volume of guests. Effective stress management measures and caring for the team's well-being are essential to delivering exceptional experiences consistently. In contrast, during off-peak seasons, it is an opportune time to utilize the team's talents for activities such as enhancing social media platforms, updating the website, reviewing security measures, conducting staff training, and staying abreast of industry innovations. This proactive approach helps maintain competitiveness and prepares for the next peak season. 2.3. Rapid Shift in Market Trends In hospitality and travel management, a critical challenge is the rapid shift in market trends driven by technological advancements. The advertising and marketing landscape has undergone significant transformations, rendering previously successful strategies ineffective. To navigate these transformations successfully, it is crucial to maintain updated websites, actively engage on social media platforms, promptly respond to online reviews, and develop compelling advertising campaigns. Hospitality industry managers can collaborate closely with either an internal marketing team or a marketing agency to ensure that their brand voice and mission are accurately conveyed and represented across all social platforms. Consistency, accuracy, and responsiveness are paramount in achieving marketing success in the dynamic world of hospitality. 2.4. Retaining, Hiring & Managing Staff While retention, hiring and effective staff management is a challenge that extends beyond the hospitality and tourism industry, it holds particular significance in roles that involve direct interaction with the public, as they play a crucial role in delivering exceptional guest experiences. Hospitality and tourism establishments rely on staff members of the highest caliber at all levels, be it front desk, housekeeping, maintenance, tour guides, wait staff, or kitchen personnel. In addition to possessing the necessary skills, staff members must embody essential qualities such as integrity, compassion, and empathy to provide guests with the finest service. Regular training programs are crucial to align new hires with the vision and mission of the hospitality business. Furthermore, fostering a strong team culture is essential for retaining staff members who consistently go above and beyond for guests. 2.5. Protecting Online Reputation In the contemporary hotel and tourism industry, where customers openly share reviews, opinions, and complaints on online platforms such as OTA websites, Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and social media, safeguarding and managing online reputation has become a critical challenge. With 96% of Tripadvisor users considering reviews critical in their travel planning and hotel booking decisions and 83% referencing reviews before booking, effective reputation management is paramount. Thoughtful and timely responses to customer reviews are crucial, as 85% of TripAdvisor users agree that it positively influences their perception of the hotel. (Source: Xotels) Maintaining a high review score on OTA sites is essential to prevent potential guests from filtering out hotels with lower scores. Additionally, leveraging positive reviews and customer feedback on social media platforms can be done by showcasing average scores and using customer quotes on the hotel's website. Importantly, customers understand that mistakes can happen, but how a hotel responds to them matters. Swiftly addressing issues, providing courteous and considerate online communication, and rectifying problems extensively safeguard the hotel's reputation. 3. Significance of Implementing the Right Solutions Implementing the right solutions holds immense significance in hospitality management. It is essential to address various challenges effectively, such as personalizing the guest experience, managing seasonality, adapting to rapid market trends, retaining and hiring staff, and protecting online reputation. By implementing tailored solutions, hospitality professionals can strengthen their hospitality management businesses. Understand the significance of the solutions to be implied to overcome management challenges. Enhanced Guest Experience: The hospitality and travel industry thrive on delivering exceptional guest experiences. By addressing management challenges effectively, such as streamlining operations, optimizing customer service, and personalizing guest interactions, the right hospitality solutions can significantly enhance the overall guest experience. This, in turn, leads to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and positive word-of-mouth, all of which are crucial for the success of any hospitality business. Improved Operational Efficiency: Hospitality management challenges often revolve around optimizing operational processes, managing resources, and ensuring a smooth workflow. Implementing the right solutions, such as advanced technology systems, automation, and efficient management tools, can significantly enhance operational efficiency. This results in cost savings, reduced errors, improved productivity, and better utilization of resources, leading to overall business growth and profitability. Effective Staff Management: The hospitality industry heavily relies on its workforce to deliver quality services. Staff scheduling, training, communication, and performance management challenges can be effectively addressed through the right solutions. Employee management systems, training programs, and communication tools improve staff organization, engagement, and productivity. When employees feel supported and empowered, they are more likely to provide exceptional service, leading to a higher guest satisfaction. Data-Driven Decision-Making: The hospitality industry generates vast amounts of data related to guest preferences, booking patterns, revenue streams, and operational metrics. However, deriving actionable insights from this data can be challenging without the right solutions. Implementing data analytics tools, performance tracking systems, and guest feedback platforms enable managers to make informed decisions based on real-time data. 4. Conclusion To achieve long-term success in the travel and hospitality industry, it is necessary to overcome hospitality management obstacles that businesses face. Through strategies such as personalizing the guest experience, effectively managing seasonality, adapting to market trends, retaining and hiring the appropriate staff, and protecting online reputation, hospitality businesses can differentiate themselves and develop customer loyalty. Through the strategic implementation of customized solutions, managers can navigate these challenges, enhance their guests' experiences, and drive long-term growth in the dynamic travel industry.

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Hospitality Management

Travel Agency Software to Automate and Revolutionize the Travel Industry

Article | July 18, 2023

Technological advancements and the paradigm shift in the travel industry post COVID have altered the way we travel. Businesses have elevated their operations to a whole new level due to technological advances. The digital age has facilitated the travel industry's rapid recovery from the COVID crisis. Additionally, travel firms are embracing automation to save time and reallocate resources. Business travel is resuming as restrictions ease. Companies spend a huge amount of money on travel. According to the York Journal, business travel has increased year after year and is expected to grow to be worth $1.7 trillion in 2022. It further states that businesses allocate around 10% of their revenue on business travel expenditure. So, now is the time for businesses to deploy travel software applications to automate some tasks. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) corporate travel costs is expected to climb by 26% in 2021 and 34% in 2022, despite the slow recovery. The Nelson Research suggests that travel industry experts anticipate that the global digital travel market will grow at a 3.8% annual rate to reach $11.4 trillion. With these rising numbers in mind, travel agencies must step up their efforts to make the most of the situation. Travel agencies often require different types of travel agency software, each serving a unique purpose supporting efficient and seamless operation. However, businesses must strategically incorporate automation into your travel system. B2B Travel System - Automate Intelligently A holistic travel agency software solution includes a travel system that automates real-time operations and streamlines the travel process in less than an hour. Consider the nature of your firm while deciding on a software package and determining which business procedures should or should not be automated. Automated travel industry software, for example, accelerates sales, increases staff productivity, centralizes information, improves accuracy, streamlines booking systems, and coordinates and explores customer data. An automated travel software is mobile and tablet friendly, allowing travel agencies to book hotels, tours, transfers, and other related activities through mobile devices and websites. It improves efficiency and enables the agency to save money and time. Businesses Now Prefer Adoption of Technology Drivers for Smoother Customer Experience (CX) The travel industry is highly dependent on customer experience. Therefore, enhanced customer experience is the new loyalty currency for the travel and hospitality industry. Travel agents and tour operators utilize travel agency software to automate their regular processes. Many predict that emerging technologies, ranging from AI-driven personal assistants to connected devices, will increase opportunities to serve travelers better. 33% of tourists use a virtual travel assistant to plan their trips, says hotelMize. In a survey conducted by DMA, about 59% of participants stated that they choose a travel company based on its value for money, and 58% prefer a travel company based on customer service. Software for travel agencies simplifies the process of online booking, inventory management, package customization, back-office administration, itinerary design, facilitating business leads, and accounting to assist travel agencies in increasing bookings and lowering costs. Consumers demand a seamless experience that is personalized to their specific travel requirements. With cutting-edge technology in place, travel and hotel businesses can significantly enhances customer experience (CX) and foster loyalty that inspires future visits and recommendations. In addition, the travel experience will be driven forward by technology, as customers will rely on AI and other customer experience technologies to assist them in managing the obstacles associated with modern travel. List of Travel Agency Software That Can Transform Your Travel Business Travel agent software enables travel agencies and associated organizations to boost revenue and simplify reporting. Choose travel agency software that can be customized to meet your specific requirements. Here are some travel agency software options that can be considered. Travefy “When I promote my services to my clients, Travefy itineraries are one of my selling points.” Lene Minyard, Owner - Perfectly Planned Journeys Travefy lets travel consultants, tour operators, and other travel professionals save time, provide good deals to consumers, and increase sales by utilizing simple tools. This software generates visually appealing client itineraries or proposals. Over 100 supplier integrations over 625 city guides Live flight database CRM integrations ClientBase ClientBase is a travel agent-specific customer relationship management (CRM) program. Its advanced and enriching features make it a standout in tour and travel operator software, providing solutions for enterprises and travel agencies. A marketing database, a travel planner, and a contact manager are all rolled into one. ClientBase also integrates with remote information systems and booking engines. The core ClientBase features are listed below: Itinerary creation Reservation management Payment processing Travenza Travenza is a cloud-based travel booking software for travel companies, tour operators, agents, and consultants. The suite includes reservation administration, quota management, payment processing, and marketing functionality. Rezdy Rezdy is a cloud-based business-to-business technology that enables tour operators to sell their products online and through different distribution channels. The open platform enables customers to connect their internal systems and online apps to a supplied booking engine. In addition, it assists distribution channels such as online travel agencies, marketplaces, and hotel chains locate and acquiring additional clients' items. Conclusion According to Zippia, the business travel sector is expected to experience a CAGR of 13.2% between 2021 and 2028.Therefore, travel companies must integrate new and immersive technology to expedite the process and provide a seamless travel experience for tech-savvy travelers. Technology has the ability to act as a generational catalyst for customer loyalty. FAQ What are the benefits of automation in the travel industry? Boosts sales Reduces costs Data and documents can be centralized in an organization Increases customer satisfaction and loyalty What is B2B travel software? B2B travel software streamlines various travel operations. It helps travel agents and agencies access real-time data. What system do travel agents use? Travel agencies use airline inventory from multiple GDS (Global Distribution Systems) to find seat fares and book tickets.

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Business Travel

Post-Pandemic Travelers Driving Demand for Private Villa Rentals

Article | August 10, 2021

It would be an understatement to say that the recent pandemic is ushering in a seismic shift for the travel trade, which suffered a collective gut punch as COVID-19 unrelentingly raged across the globe. New health and safety protocols, crisis management plans and other operational touchpoints are being overhauled to help those in—and dependent upon—the travel industry better pivot and adapt to the unforeseen. For travelers, priorities and sensibilities have also evolved on multiple fronts. For one, various reports extrapolate how privacy has become the new luxury. In fact, a “Covid Travel Outlook 2021” travel sentiment survey by Indagare found that travelers “feel more comfortable renting a home or private villa for added privacy” and that “more than half of those surveyed said that they are 54 percent more likely to rent a home than they were prior to coronavirus, preferring to ‘Stay at homes not hotels,’ for added security and peace of mind.” Other reports tout the key advantages of private luxury villa accommodations, with privacy and exclusive use entrenched among them. Amid the surge in category popularity, travelers must also consider ways to aptly vet luxe private villa options amid a burgeoning field. According to an Indagare.com story outlining the benefits of “going private,” proximity is one overarching booking factor noting that “for some travelers, a house close to town or affiliated with a nearby resort or hotel provides the perfect combination of exclusivity and access (to restaurants, coffee shops, fitness classes, etc.). Others prefer staying someplace further removed, opting for a home with fewer amenities or a lavish villa with every convenience under the sun.” The article also points out another critical aspect that, all too often, is taken for granted: availability. The story cites the reality that “accommodations can fill up months or even a year in advance,” which some more spontaneous wanderers might not expect. Relative to post-pandemic issues, the story further cautions that “this year, with exclusivity at an unprecedented premium and fewer destinations open to international arrivals, early planning is crucial. One reason: Many travelers are opting for longer stays, now that remote work and Zoom classes are ubiquitous, meaning there’s less turnover. For these extended trips—workcations or staycations—having strong WiFi, reliable phone service and separate areas for being productive are key factors when choosing the right rental.” With this and other public discourse helping spur private villa reservations, I sought to connect with one purveyor in the space that is making due strides: Destinations in Paradise. This boutique agency offers a suite of architectural five-star private villas in four locales: The Big Island and Kauai, Hawaii as well as Los Cabos, Mexico and Mendocino, California. Having personally experienced this company’s brand of haute hospitality on the Big Island, I sought to connect with the founders—David Cohen and Howard Appel—for some clarity on how they’ve apparently adapted so well in the post-pandemic era. Here’s what they had to say. MK: So, first, let’s talk about the properties, themselves, and also your company at large. What sets Destinations in Paradise apart from other luxury home and private villa purveyors in the various regions where you operate? Cohen: It's essentially our caliber of white glove service, which is highly personalized and with the very best amenities that can be provided. The company was started because we wanted to have some fun, as Howard and I had been retired a while. We wanted to give people, especially those desiring privacy and security, the kind of high-caliber experience that we would expect. When someone arrives at one of our homes, they're greeted and welcomed with enthusiasm and everything to elevate the experience is there. This includes the best linens, a house full of flowers and arrival gifts. In Mendocino, we leave fresh-baked goods and wine. In Mexico, our guests are greeted with cold towels and margaritas. Plus, any special requests are accommodated. Even when guests depart, we give them a thank you gift for having booked a stay with us. Overall, it’s a very personalized experience. It’s akin to having a member of the family come and stay. You get up early in the morning, make them breakfast and generally make them feel at home … that this is their home for the duration of the visit. The difference is that it's a five-star experience at every touch point. Appel: We, ourselves, like to travel in luxury and, as we started acquiring the properties, we realized that this is a great opportunity to offer to other people the same kind of treatment we enjoy. It's the way we all would love to be treated. And we think we offer it differently and more special than others. The business sort of just fell into place as bookings escalated and we started to acquire additional properties. MK: In the luxury travel space, much is said about the importance of personal touches to elevate the experience. So, can you provide an example of things you all do in this regard to go over-and-above for high-end luxury travelers? Cohen: Here's one interesting example about the Mexican property, for example: It's two acres of the most gorgeous landscaping that you've ever seen. Even though it's in the middle of a desert, we are desalinating seawater using solar power, so the yards and the landscaping and the flowers are all very lush, but still desert-type plants. The interesting thing is that Howard and I have worked together for close to 40 years and, until we actually got into this business, I had no idea that he had this artistic flair. The landscaping at all of the houses is beyond spectacular. My own personal favorite is the Mendocino home, which has the equivalent of an English country garden. You can just go and sit in there and read a book, sitting in the fresh air with beautiful butterflies and bees buzzing around. The Hawaiian property is the same; it’s just gorgeous, perfect Hawaii. Appel: It's important to note that these homes are indoor-outdoor homes. We want to make sure we carry the luxury on both sides. If you actually do a search of our home in Cabo on Google Earth, you can easily spot it because it's the only significant patch of green anywhere along the east scape. This kind of lush, natural beauty is just one of the many ways that we cater to our guests relative to the luxurious aspects both inside and outside of the homes. MK: You touched on some of it already, but what are some other special amenities and activities that you offer in, and around, the homes that are available to guests? Appel: One key aspect is that each home comes with a concierge service. Our guests can partake in any activity in the local surroundings. We try to offer the opportunities within the local community and try to personalize that. In Mexico, it might be premiere deep-sea fishing, surfing and paddle boarding. In Mendocino, we're about 30-minutes from Anderson Valley, so we can arrange for private wine tours. Especially during the recent pandemic, to help our guests have fun but also avoid big crowds was important to us. Of course, the homes in Hawaii and Mexico have beautiful pools, swim-up bars and each property has its own set of unique amenities on-site a like solar-lighted tennis court. In fact, when we travel to Mexico—in the seven or eight times we've been there—I think we've left the property twice. There's no reason to go elsewhere because everything is there with you. Whatever you want to do, whatever the guests would like, we can make it happen. MK: Speaking of the pandemic, obviously the past year and a half has been tough for the travel industry, so how have the recent health concerns impacted your business with respect to private villa versus hotel, resort or other kinds of accommodations? And, also, the guest experience while actually visiting a property? Appel: We took COVID very seriously from the beginning and, yes, 2020 was a hard year for us. We lost almost all of our business, but we used that down time as an opportunity to continue to enhance the homes. Even now, when guests come to one of our properties, they're greeted in a manner that best assures their health and safety. We have our house managers maintain their distance and use masks, of course. But, during the guests’ stay, we also make sure we work around their calendars to not intrude on their stay there. We take it very seriously. And, in fact, when a guest leaves, we have a minimum 48 hours between guests so we can properly clean and sanitize the home for the next guest. MK: Many people often associate private villa experiences more with leisure travel versus business. But I know Destinations in Paradise properties are also utilized in business—especially when there are privacy, exclusivity and health-related preferences. Plus, of course, the properties are also perfectly suited for corporate events, retreats and even utilized as incentives and rewards for employees and business partners. So, tell us about these kinds of corporate benefits. Cohen: Even though the houses are focused on providing a safe, comfortable environment for families and extended small events, we do also host small, medium and large-scale corporate events at the houses. Whether it's a two-person law firm figuring out how they're going to run their businesses remotely, to a large distillery that wants to try and get their name out for a new product for, say, tequila in Mexico, our homes are an apt venue. Of course, we host weddings and social media is prompting bookings from people like rappers who want a place to chill out and rethink what their next shows or postings are going to be. And we've hosted philanthropic events like releasing baby turtles in the beaches of Mexico to address species endangerment. For that, a university in Mexico held a business meeting at our property, and as a gift we paid and supported their release of 600 hatchlings. Howard has also had some dealings with movie studios that are interested in hosting either corporate get togethers and business strategy meetings. And, in at least two instances that I can recall, they’ve considered using the homes as part of a movie production. I should also mention that each of the homes have the ability to cater for large and small groups. If we bring chefs in, that event never ever needs to leave the property. The house in Mexico, for instance, has two kitchens that are fully capable of catering to as many people as the property can accommodate, which is substantial, but each of the homes have the ability to cater internally and not rely on outside services. Appel: All the homes offer businesses a unique opportunity to host meetings and events, from the very large as in Mexico, to even Mendocino for smaller gatherings. They’re all unique and offer the privacy, security and comfort that private villa venues offer—all, of course, with our discerning five-star touch.

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OneTravel by Fareportal Delivers Veteran's Day Travel Inspiration

Fareportal | November 08, 2023

Fareportal, featuring brands such as CheapOair and OneTravel, delivers online travel solutions focusing on global bookings through OneTravel. OneTravel's 'Going Places' blog suggests paying tribute to veterans by visiting parks, memorials, and museums on Veteran's Day. Veteran’s Day has undergone historical changes in its name and date, from its origins as Armistice Day to the fourth Monday in October and then its restoration to November 11. On the occasion of Veteran's Day, Fareportal's travel agency, OneTravel, is offering valuable insights for those seeking to commemorate this significant day and pay tribute to the individuals who have served in the armed forces. According to an article published by OneTravel's 'Going Places' blog site, there are several ways to observe Veteran's Day following its spirit, which include visiting various parks, memorials, and museums dedicated to honoring veterans. These locations encompass Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Mount Pleasant (South Carolina), Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg (Pennsylvania), Navajo Nation Veterans Memorial Park in Window Rock (Arizona), National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago (Illinois), Liberty Memorial in Kansas City (Missouri), Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington (Virginia). Werner Kunz-Cho, Chief Executive Officer of Fareportal, stated, "At Fareportal, travel is our mission. We feel it is our responsibility to provide readers with useful information to aid in their travel choices." [Source – Fareportal] Furthermore, he emphasized that the 'Going Places' article offers excellent recommendations for destinations that align perfectly with the spirit of Veteran's Day, and whether one chooses to travel by air or road, there is an encouragement for all to explore these captivating destinations. The history of this observance is intriguing, encompassing its original name and the date on which it was observed. Initially established as Armistice Day shortly after the conclusion of the First World War, the holiday's appellation underwent an official transformation to Veteran's Day in 1954. Subsequently, in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, primarily aimed at creating three-day weekends for federal employees while stimulating travel and tourism. This legislative action resulted in the moving of the observance of Veteran's Day to the fourth Monday in October. The American populace exhibited a mixed response to this alteration of the date. In 1978, President Gerald Ford decided to reinstate the observation of Veteran's Day to its original date, November 11. This year, since it's a Saturday, Veteran's Day will be observed on the preceding Friday. Fareportal, a company hosting consumer travel brands like CheapOair and OneTravel, facilitates customer bookings through various platforms, including online and mobile applications, and provides airline partners with access to a broad customer base for booking international and domestic flights, hotels, and additional services. OneTravel, a part of the Fareportal family, is globally recognized for delivering comprehensive travel solutions to meet diverse traveler needs. With OneTravel, customers can find budget-friendly flight options, including business and first-class fares, make reservations for hotels and car rentals, and plan vacations to top global destinations.

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CellPoint Digital, Riskified Unite to Boost Fraud Prevention

CellPoint Digital | November 07, 2023

CellPoint Digital, a Payment Orchestration provider, has partnered with Riskified, a leader in ecommerce fraud prevention and risk intelligence, to enhance fraud protection for airlines and travel merchants. This partnership allows both companies to boost the value for their joint customers by improving fraud detection capabilities and enabling the use of multiple payment providers. Riskified's fraud management platform utilizes advanced AI and machine learning to protect online retailers from fraudulent transactions. Combined with CellPoint Digital's Payment Orchestration platform, this provides higher transaction approval rates, instant decision-making capabilities, and complete chargeback protection. Kristian Gjerding, Chief Executive Officer at CellPoint Digital, remarked, “Our partnership with Riskified represents a step forward in the world of online payments. Together, these platforms empower airlines and other travel merchants to optimize their payment processes while safeguarding against fraud risks, setting a new standard for secure and efficient ecommerce transactions.” [Source- Business Wire] Riskified’s ecommerce platform is a dynamic system designed to protect online retailers from fraudulent transactions. Built for accuracy at scale. It utilizes advanced AI and machine learning algorithms to analyze and verify the legitimacy of each transaction. It also ensures secure and hassle-free online shopping experiences for customers while minimizing the risk of fraud for travel merchants. The travel merchants who use Riskified’s Chargeback Guarantee solution will not bear the cost of fraud chargebacks if Riskified approves a fraudulent transaction. Ravi Kumawasrami, President of Worldwide Field Operations at Riskified, stated, “Businesses should never have to choose between preventing fraud and providing a cohesive customer experience. Our partnership with CellPoint Digital enables airlines and travel merchants to avoid the dilemma while simultaneously streamlining their operations, increasing their revenue and creating a secure shopping environment.” [Source- Business Wire] Leveraging the integrated solutions offered by CellPoint Digital and Riskified, travel merchants, including airlines, can establish a robust safeguard against continuously evolving fraud threats. The Payment Orchestration platform from CellPoint Digital facilitates the integration of multiple payment methods and smartly routes transactions to increase acceptance while accommodating multiple PSPs and acquirers. Furthermore, this is enhanced by Riskified's sophisticated artificial intelligence and machine learning framework, which effectively identifies fraudulent activities in real-time by utilizing data from an extensive worldwide merchant network comprising over 2.5 billion past transactions. With CellPoint Digital’s Payment Orchestration platform, airlines and enterprise travel merchants enjoy cutting-edge fraud protection, instant decision-making capabilities, higher transaction approval rates, and complete chargeback protection, thus enhancing the overall security and efficiency of the payment processes. About CellPoint Digital CellPoint Digital is a prominent figure in the fintech sector, specializing in payment orchestration. The core of its offerings revolves around a robust Payment Orchestration Platform, which plays a pivotal role in streamlining digital payment transactions. It caters to a broad spectrum of payment methods, from traditional cards to alternative options, and expedites the deployment of novel payment solutions. The platform also optimizes transaction routing, boosting conversion rates and reducing payment-related expenses.

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Travel Technology

Sonesta's Travel SOS Offers Relief for Holiday Travel Disruptions

Sonesta Hotels | November 06, 2023

Sonesta International Hotels Corporation has launched a new service called Travel SOS to help travelers during holiday travel disruptions by providing information on room availability at the nearest Sonesta hotels. The service can be accessed via a dedicated hotline or online using a promo code, offering convenience and flexibility to travelers. Despite potential limitations such as room availability and location coverage, the initiative underscores Sonesta's commitment to exceptional service during peak travel times, potentially enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Sonesta International Hotels Corporation launches a new service, Travel SOS (Sonesta Overnight Stay), aimed at easing the stress of holiday travel disruptions. The service provides stranded travelers with information on room availability at the nearest Sonesta hotels during the busy holiday season. Travelers can access the service via a dedicated hotline or by using a promo code online. The initiative underscores Sonesta's commitment to exceptional service during peak travel times, offering peace of mind to travelers across its diverse portfolio of 17 brands and over 1,200 properties. Chris Trick, the Chief Marketing Officer at Sonesta, reportedly conveyed his optimism about the Travel SOS solution. He emphasized that Travel SOS exemplifies Sonesta's dedication to delivering superior service to travelers, especially during peak and challenging travel periods. He noted that the service, accessible via phone or online, offers up-to-date information on over 1,200 Sonesta properties, thereby providing travelers with reassurance. This allows them to relax and fully enjoy the holiday season. The new Travel SOS service launched by Sonesta International Hotels Corporation has its own set of potential drawbacks and benefits. On the downside, the service might be limited by the availability of rooms at Sonesta hotels, especially during peak travel times. If all rooms are booked, the service may not be able to provide the desired assistance. Additionally, the service might be less useful for travelers who are stranded in locations where Sonesta hotels are not present. On the upside, the service is designed to ease the stress of holiday travel disruptions by providing stranded travelers with information on room availability at the nearest Sonesta hotels. This is useful throughout the holidays. The service can be accessed via a dedicated hotline or by using a promo code online, offering convenience and flexibility to travelers. Furthermore, the initiative underscores Sonesta's commitment to exceptional service during peak travel times, potentially enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Travel SOS is crafted to be accessed with dial-to-book or click-to-book options, a dedicated Travel SOS hotline and a promo code STAYSOS for online reservations using Sonesta’s website's offers’ section.

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Travel Technology

OneTravel by Fareportal Delivers Veteran's Day Travel Inspiration

Fareportal | November 08, 2023

Fareportal, featuring brands such as CheapOair and OneTravel, delivers online travel solutions focusing on global bookings through OneTravel. OneTravel's 'Going Places' blog suggests paying tribute to veterans by visiting parks, memorials, and museums on Veteran's Day. Veteran’s Day has undergone historical changes in its name and date, from its origins as Armistice Day to the fourth Monday in October and then its restoration to November 11. On the occasion of Veteran's Day, Fareportal's travel agency, OneTravel, is offering valuable insights for those seeking to commemorate this significant day and pay tribute to the individuals who have served in the armed forces. According to an article published by OneTravel's 'Going Places' blog site, there are several ways to observe Veteran's Day following its spirit, which include visiting various parks, memorials, and museums dedicated to honoring veterans. These locations encompass Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Mount Pleasant (South Carolina), Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg (Pennsylvania), Navajo Nation Veterans Memorial Park in Window Rock (Arizona), National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago (Illinois), Liberty Memorial in Kansas City (Missouri), Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington (Virginia). Werner Kunz-Cho, Chief Executive Officer of Fareportal, stated, "At Fareportal, travel is our mission. We feel it is our responsibility to provide readers with useful information to aid in their travel choices." [Source – Fareportal] Furthermore, he emphasized that the 'Going Places' article offers excellent recommendations for destinations that align perfectly with the spirit of Veteran's Day, and whether one chooses to travel by air or road, there is an encouragement for all to explore these captivating destinations. The history of this observance is intriguing, encompassing its original name and the date on which it was observed. Initially established as Armistice Day shortly after the conclusion of the First World War, the holiday's appellation underwent an official transformation to Veteran's Day in 1954. Subsequently, in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, primarily aimed at creating three-day weekends for federal employees while stimulating travel and tourism. This legislative action resulted in the moving of the observance of Veteran's Day to the fourth Monday in October. The American populace exhibited a mixed response to this alteration of the date. In 1978, President Gerald Ford decided to reinstate the observation of Veteran's Day to its original date, November 11. This year, since it's a Saturday, Veteran's Day will be observed on the preceding Friday. Fareportal, a company hosting consumer travel brands like CheapOair and OneTravel, facilitates customer bookings through various platforms, including online and mobile applications, and provides airline partners with access to a broad customer base for booking international and domestic flights, hotels, and additional services. OneTravel, a part of the Fareportal family, is globally recognized for delivering comprehensive travel solutions to meet diverse traveler needs. With OneTravel, customers can find budget-friendly flight options, including business and first-class fares, make reservations for hotels and car rentals, and plan vacations to top global destinations.

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Business Travel

CellPoint Digital, Riskified Unite to Boost Fraud Prevention

CellPoint Digital | November 07, 2023

CellPoint Digital, a Payment Orchestration provider, has partnered with Riskified, a leader in ecommerce fraud prevention and risk intelligence, to enhance fraud protection for airlines and travel merchants. This partnership allows both companies to boost the value for their joint customers by improving fraud detection capabilities and enabling the use of multiple payment providers. Riskified's fraud management platform utilizes advanced AI and machine learning to protect online retailers from fraudulent transactions. Combined with CellPoint Digital's Payment Orchestration platform, this provides higher transaction approval rates, instant decision-making capabilities, and complete chargeback protection. Kristian Gjerding, Chief Executive Officer at CellPoint Digital, remarked, “Our partnership with Riskified represents a step forward in the world of online payments. Together, these platforms empower airlines and other travel merchants to optimize their payment processes while safeguarding against fraud risks, setting a new standard for secure and efficient ecommerce transactions.” [Source- Business Wire] Riskified’s ecommerce platform is a dynamic system designed to protect online retailers from fraudulent transactions. Built for accuracy at scale. It utilizes advanced AI and machine learning algorithms to analyze and verify the legitimacy of each transaction. It also ensures secure and hassle-free online shopping experiences for customers while minimizing the risk of fraud for travel merchants. The travel merchants who use Riskified’s Chargeback Guarantee solution will not bear the cost of fraud chargebacks if Riskified approves a fraudulent transaction. Ravi Kumawasrami, President of Worldwide Field Operations at Riskified, stated, “Businesses should never have to choose between preventing fraud and providing a cohesive customer experience. Our partnership with CellPoint Digital enables airlines and travel merchants to avoid the dilemma while simultaneously streamlining their operations, increasing their revenue and creating a secure shopping environment.” [Source- Business Wire] Leveraging the integrated solutions offered by CellPoint Digital and Riskified, travel merchants, including airlines, can establish a robust safeguard against continuously evolving fraud threats. The Payment Orchestration platform from CellPoint Digital facilitates the integration of multiple payment methods and smartly routes transactions to increase acceptance while accommodating multiple PSPs and acquirers. Furthermore, this is enhanced by Riskified's sophisticated artificial intelligence and machine learning framework, which effectively identifies fraudulent activities in real-time by utilizing data from an extensive worldwide merchant network comprising over 2.5 billion past transactions. With CellPoint Digital’s Payment Orchestration platform, airlines and enterprise travel merchants enjoy cutting-edge fraud protection, instant decision-making capabilities, higher transaction approval rates, and complete chargeback protection, thus enhancing the overall security and efficiency of the payment processes. About CellPoint Digital CellPoint Digital is a prominent figure in the fintech sector, specializing in payment orchestration. The core of its offerings revolves around a robust Payment Orchestration Platform, which plays a pivotal role in streamlining digital payment transactions. It caters to a broad spectrum of payment methods, from traditional cards to alternative options, and expedites the deployment of novel payment solutions. The platform also optimizes transaction routing, boosting conversion rates and reducing payment-related expenses.

Read More

Travel Technology

Sonesta's Travel SOS Offers Relief for Holiday Travel Disruptions

Sonesta Hotels | November 06, 2023

Sonesta International Hotels Corporation has launched a new service called Travel SOS to help travelers during holiday travel disruptions by providing information on room availability at the nearest Sonesta hotels. The service can be accessed via a dedicated hotline or online using a promo code, offering convenience and flexibility to travelers. Despite potential limitations such as room availability and location coverage, the initiative underscores Sonesta's commitment to exceptional service during peak travel times, potentially enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Sonesta International Hotels Corporation launches a new service, Travel SOS (Sonesta Overnight Stay), aimed at easing the stress of holiday travel disruptions. The service provides stranded travelers with information on room availability at the nearest Sonesta hotels during the busy holiday season. Travelers can access the service via a dedicated hotline or by using a promo code online. The initiative underscores Sonesta's commitment to exceptional service during peak travel times, offering peace of mind to travelers across its diverse portfolio of 17 brands and over 1,200 properties. Chris Trick, the Chief Marketing Officer at Sonesta, reportedly conveyed his optimism about the Travel SOS solution. He emphasized that Travel SOS exemplifies Sonesta's dedication to delivering superior service to travelers, especially during peak and challenging travel periods. He noted that the service, accessible via phone or online, offers up-to-date information on over 1,200 Sonesta properties, thereby providing travelers with reassurance. This allows them to relax and fully enjoy the holiday season. The new Travel SOS service launched by Sonesta International Hotels Corporation has its own set of potential drawbacks and benefits. On the downside, the service might be limited by the availability of rooms at Sonesta hotels, especially during peak travel times. If all rooms are booked, the service may not be able to provide the desired assistance. Additionally, the service might be less useful for travelers who are stranded in locations where Sonesta hotels are not present. On the upside, the service is designed to ease the stress of holiday travel disruptions by providing stranded travelers with information on room availability at the nearest Sonesta hotels. This is useful throughout the holidays. The service can be accessed via a dedicated hotline or by using a promo code online, offering convenience and flexibility to travelers. Furthermore, the initiative underscores Sonesta's commitment to exceptional service during peak travel times, potentially enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Travel SOS is crafted to be accessed with dial-to-book or click-to-book options, a dedicated Travel SOS hotline and a promo code STAYSOS for online reservations using Sonesta’s website's offers’ section.

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Events