Is Tour Operator Cox & Kings the Next to Fall?

Concerns are mounting over whether Cox & Kings is next on the chopping block following Thomas Cook Group’s demise earlier this week.The India-based tour operator shuttered its Australian/New Zealand operations last week and received a vote of no confidence from Virtuoso after it cut ties to Cox & Kings in the U.S. and Dubai citing “continuing financial problems with the operator’s affiliate in India.”The Australian/New Zealand business Tempo Holidays and Bentours announced on September 19 that it was closing following advice from parent Cox & Kings India that its negotiations with “investors/buyers with heavy interest” had failed to materialize.

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Hospitality Management

How Corporate Travel and Expense Management Is Evolving Post-pandemic

Article | July 4, 2023

The travel industry is getting back to business, and demand has skyrocketed for travel technologies that make interactions possible between companies and corporate travelers. A recent Gartner survey reveals how 2020 affected CFOs with their corporate travel and expense management tasks globally. How will finance teams report and forecast expenses? How can corporate travel costs be managed? How to manage travel expense management processes effortlessly? Does this sound familiar to you? These were a few valid questions that kept companies engaged in finding answers during the pandemic. Many finance leaders want to implement proper corporate travel and expense management services and find solutions to bring consistency and clarity to their financial processes. While switching from manual processes to automated management systems can be difficult post-pandemic, with an efficient travel and expense management tool or software, your company can gain optimum benefits and stay productive in the future. This article will show you how it evolved through the coronavirus phase efficiently. Adoption of T&E Management Process for Seamless Work Experience An American Express survey found that 55% of the chief executives and senior financial managers ranked rising travel and expense costs as a top concern during the peak pandemic phase. Digital transformation of your processes is a critical strategy for spend management, and it ensures that employees are using the right product to get the best value. By adopting an efficient travel and expense management tool, your company can gain stellar benefits for your finance team to cater varied requirements, and keep a rigorous control over corporate travel spend. Before looking into how travel expense management processes are evolving post-pandemic, here are the benefits and value travel and expense management solutions offer. Also, this will further facilitate your finance team to manage the current corporate travel scenario effectively. Benefits of Travel and Expense Management Solutions The travel and expense management didn’t disappear during the pandemic. Instead, it accelerated its core value. The idea of integrating travel and expense management services with the help of big data in the travel industry is to leverage best practices for travel expense management that can help analyze and extract key information to diverse corporate travel finance functions. Travel industry leaders who are integrating effective travel expense management services in their corporate travel system have experienced the following benefits: Automatic processes of expenditure Data-driven decisions are smarter Time-saving mechanism Simplifies budgeting Ability to forecast more accurately Delivers better user experience Quick access to integrated data from expenditures Gain deep data visibility Higher rate of compliance with corporate policies in finance These significant upticks will benefit your company and will simultaneously improve your corporate travel policies. Understanding these benefits will help you identify how travel technology can help your company manage complex financial tasks that arose during the pandemic. According to a Gartner survey, a travel expense management system is essential as a key solution to manage the corporate travel economy. Any company, big or small, needs to control its expenditure to recover during the pandemic. Complex Forms of T&E Management Are Gone Legacy processes may get a job done, but they are more time consuming, error-prone, and do not provide visibility into travel spend. And when your travel and expense management process is slow and cumbersome, it can slow down the growth trajectory of your business. Corporate travel and expense management automation and its associated features like corporate travel policy, quick and easy booking, automated expense and reimbursement solutions, live credit card feeds, backup analytics capabilities, and more have taken precedence post-pandemic. These services offer more visibility into the travel spend of your employees. With top travel and expense management solutions, your finance teams can monitor and control costs and expenses in the long run. While many corporate travelers have started researching and organizing trips online, you need to add value to financial services by adopting automated travel and expense management solutions that work effortlessly. Core Focus Areas of Travel and Expense Management The post-pandemic era has seen a lot of companies embracing new and updated travel and expense management solutions to drive cost savings, and enable finance teams to have a better control over their road warriors. Here are some: Contactless Data Record Is the next Big Thing Travel and expense management systems allow employees to record all corporate travel bills and receipts through mobile apps and create expense reports immediately. Big data in the travel industry has played a significant role during the pandemic. Technology leaders have already experienced the benefits of travel and expense management. For example, TripActions’ travel and expense management platform uses data to learn about business travelers’ preferences, and predicts within 30 seconds what travelers are going to book with 90% accuracy. The advantage of big data to travel and expense management has already organized several effortless finance processes for corporate travelers to experience seamless budgets. Automation Is Crucial Integrating travel and expense management solutions could easily add to the unimaginable overheads that companies are experiencing. Automation is one of these solutions. Its integration in the travel and expense management system will give rise to a paperless world that will facilitate finance functions to build an audit trail. With this, it also ensures total compliance to keep the organization and its process fast. Agile Technology Is the Enabler Critically for the travel industry, agile technology has allowed multiple methodologies for incremental development in corporate travels, which has transformed the processes from rigid to flexible. The agile process in corporate travel and expense management allows analyzing tangible results on expense. The approach also provides the potential to change plans according to the requirements. For example, Lola.com, the agile travel management company is helping corporate travelers book, re-book, and take the task of expense reports off the table easily. Finance teams arrange travel policies in minutes and equally manage, control, and view expenditure effortlessly. In short, agile technology is making it much easier for travelers and companies all round. To address the use of agile technology in travel and expense management, Jeanne Hopkins, former CMO at Lola.com, the agile travel management company shares “Finance teams at Lola.com have tried managing, controlling, and got visibility into expenditures efficiently by implementing travel and expense management. Small and mid-sized businesses have to be fast and dynamic in the changing scenario of travel, so that actions like booking, re-booking, and managing corporate travel could be performed with efficiency and results in high productivity.” A Hassle-free Expense Management System Expense has been one common challenge with corporate travel programs. Integrating travel and expense management in your company can eventually introduce you to a hassle-free work solution. As the process involves collecting receipts from multiple sources, either from hotels, flights, or car rentals, travel and expense management solutions make it easier for a manager to look at all corporate travel costs at once. Also, in terms of future travel spend and potential savings, the capability of this management remains exceptional. Modern travel and expense management solutions also include self-service, real time, and easy navigation. For example, for travelers, Lola.com has a large inventory of flights and hotels that allow users to avoid going to various sites to compare fares, and save preferences, loyalty programs, and provides payment options in one place. Traveler profiles are automatically stored so that users can book with one click. The 24/7 support team then ensures easy booking and re-booking for its users without any delay. End-to-End Integration Is the New Order of Workforce End-to-end integrated systems in your company will help your finance team implement best practices for travel expense management. This will make it easier for your employees to initiate, approve, and pay each transaction out of hundreds within minutes, thereby creating a seamless task without any manual involvement. Travel and Expense Management Trends When you automate your travel and expense process, it will not only maximize your returns but, at the same time, it will minimize your spending. This will save you both time and money. Below are the reasons you will want to consider making a switch to automate from a manual process. Remove Guess Work from Expense Process For finance personnel in your company, the new travel and expense management system can be set up in five minutes. One of the travel and expense management tools, like Expensify, helps with easy expense tracking and reporting. Similar to this, SpendCatcher – a mobile application of MobileXpense.com that is infused with AI and deep machine learning extracts payment information with just one tap. Supplier-direct Bookings Companies whose employees use a corporate travel and expense management system can receive reports according to department, employee, direct travel supplier, hotel, or car rental company. This information helps managers analyze spending patterns by actively monitoring it with up-to-date information in one flow from various travel suppliers. In this case, Concur TripLink connects to corporate travelers for direct bookings across the borders. It gives visibility of bookings no matter where it is booked. True Visibility into Spending The corporate travel and expense report management system automatically flags and creates analyses of dashboards highlight hidden expenditure. This can be helpful to know: How much expenditure is going in personal corporate travel cards, and why Find expense categories easily Find out why expense is falling short and ask for details In this context, MasterCard International is rapidly approaching towards a smart, web-based expense management system to control spending, generate comprehensive spending reports, and accurately integrate purchase data. Thus, delivering business efficiently, quickly, and easily. Rise of Bleisure Travel Corporate travel and expense management also includes ‘bleisure travel’ for corporate travelers, those looking to combine business travel with leisure time. With agile travel and expense management tools, you can make quick changes in plans to keep your employees and finance team happy and productive while mapping the budget. In this case, Lola.com has made travel and expense management real by providing an effortless way to manage, book, and report on business plus leisure travel, by encouraging its employers to save most of their time and money. Travel technology offers a deserving platform with travel and expense management to companies for added efficiency and visibility over travel spend. As corporate travel businesses are returning rapidly towards their regular work scenarios, the travel industry will see a rise in revenue. Travel and expense management system will be one of the powerful remedies to the travel industry and will increase its scope to drive growth post-pandemic. According to the new Skift report, 88% of corporate travelers will drive travel technology company growth. 86% of corporate travel managers believe it. Put an end to complex budget management and legacy processes; it is time to know how to manage travel expenses in corporate. Frequently Asked Questions What is travel and expense process? The aim of the travel and expense process is the complete administration of travel expenses, including the recording of expenses, posting in Financial Accounting (FI), and allocation in Controlling (CO) and Funds Management (FI-FM). The process also involves the valuation of costs associated with business-related activities. Why is expense management important? Expense management is important for businesses because it helps employees to keep an accurate track of expenses. This caters to them to plan financial aspects for the future with more clarity and confidence. Capital flow is a daily process in any business, so to manage some significant amounts could get efficiently done through expense management and generate a profit. What is travel and expense management? Travel and expense management is a process that includes finance management by the employee when on a business trip or any expense is made for business goals. Each travel and expense management consists of detailed records of costs, expenditure, budgeting, and report submission.

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Hospitality Management

Overcoming Obstacles of Hospitality Management in Travel Industry

Article | June 19, 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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Business Travel

Leveraging AI English Language Training Tools to Address Travel Surge

Article | May 17, 2023

Following the relaxation of travel restrictions worldwide, the travel and hospitality industries are bracing for a surge in demand, which will be exacerbated by the upcoming holiday season. As widespread delays and cancellations become more likely, companies like airlines are looking for new ways to put customer experience first. In a global workplace, not being able to speak more than one language, especially English, can hurt productivity and customer service. For this reason, people who work with customers need to have good communication skills. Investing in AI English Language Training Tools Traditional training for staff in the travel and hospitality industries requires in-person sessions. It can be expensive and impractical because employees have tight work schedules and staff operates in different time zones. AI app-based training alternatives solve these key issues, allowing employees to learn "on-the-fly" whenever possible. Digital training alternatives can provide greater levels of personalization for task assignment and user feedback. This individualized approach to staff development is difficult to replicate in large in-person sessions. Because all tasks are given and done digitally, management teams can track each user's progress and how well training is going for the whole department. Offering Excellent Customer Experience English communication is vital to offering an excellent customer experience and long-term profitability as the travel industry recovers. Artificial intelligence-powered English language training solutions stand out from the crowd. This technology has the potential to constantly advance and improve over time, thanks to its own learning community. Ed-tech learning tools that incorporate future-proofed AI technology will enable providers to confidently invest in training, increase staff engagement, and provide best-in-class customer experiences to global travelers. As a result, companies in the travel and hospitality industries that put communication skills training at the top of their list of priorities and speed it up can increase customer loyalty and stay competitive with other market leaders.

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Travel Technology

Emerging Key Technology Trends That Is Revolutionizing The Travel Industry

Article | February 12, 2021

Technology advancements have changed the way we travel. And some of the new developments promise an improved day-to-day operation and interactive experiences for the customers. With the help of technologies, thousands of companies have transformed their conventional accommodation and traveling experiences. Travelers have gained free access to chart their journey, arrange required services, and enjoy hassle-free traveling. And the best part of this is, the ability to acquire all without leaving the comfort of home. However, there has been a paradigm shift in the travel industry with the development of some emerging techs around the world. So let’s check out what these technologies are, how they are going to impact, and the way it is going to change the entire traveling experience. Key Tech Trends In Traveling 1. AI Chatbots Chatbots powered by artificial intelligence is the most sensible investment. It helps users to talk with chatbots through messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, Skype, or Slack. With the data stored in these chatbots, they recommend the best locations, tips, and price-alerts, thus, impact the decisions of the customers. During the trip, it would prompt the traveler about check-in updates and flight delays. Some of the booking sites that use chatbots include Skyscanner, Kayak, Booking.com, etc. 2. AR & VR Thanks to the development of augmented reality and virtual reality, potential customers can now take a virtual tour of the resort or hotel from anywhere around the world. It assists not only the customer to choose the best option for them but also helps the hotels to promote their facilities. With AR and VR, the possibilities in the travel industry are infinite. 3. Recognition Technology Due to the Covid-19 crisis, one of the biggest fears a customer faces is coming in contact with an infected person. But, the recognition technology assists in both check-in and check-out from the hotel with the help of retina scanning, facial recognition, and other biometric identifications. 4. Smart Rooms with IoT A wide number of hotels have moved towards the Internet of Things for their rooms. It enhances the entire customer experience via customized and potential control to the rooms while detecting any problem that can be faced by them. 5. Contactless Payment Last but not the least, contactless payment is another form of advancement in travel tech that allows companies to process payments quickly and saves time for the customers who don’t have cash or access to their debit or credit card. What’s Next? For every company that is operating in the travel industry, it is important to keep up with the technological trends. Understanding and using the tech mentioned will help in providing a better experience for the customer and optimize business along with the overall performance of the business. If you want to know more about these technologies and their adoption then have an IT consultant from experienced experts and acquire the in-depth information.

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Experts in tailor-made travel itineraries for Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Myanmar. Mahannop Travel offers unbeatable value and exceptional tour services.

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Hospitality Trends, Hospitality Management

Sonesta Announces First Sonesta Es Suites Ground Up Development

PR Newswire | January 24, 2024

Sonesta International Hotels Corporation (Sonesta) today announced plans for the construction of a new Sonesta ES Suites in Port Charlotte, Florida. This new property, expected to open in Spring 2025, marks the first Sonesta ES Suites brand project developed from the ground up. "We are excited that Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte will be our first purpose-built location for the brand," said Brian Quinn, Sonesta's Chief Development Officer. "The Sonesta ES Suites brand stands out as an attractive choice for franchisees looking for an upscale option to capitalize on the continued dependable performance of extended stay hotels." "Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte will benefit business travelers and tourists who are looking for accommodations near the beaches, golf courses, parks and other attractions that Port Charlotte has to offer," said Alan Lane, one of Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte's owners. "The addition of Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte to our diverse portfolio reflects Commonwealth Hotels' unwavering commitment to providing an unparalleled guest experience through visionary development, ethical practices and a steadfast dedication to superior service," said Jennifer Porter, President of Commonwealth Hotels, the hotel's management company. To be located at 1321 Claburn Circle in Port Charlotte, Florida, the Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte will be an upscale extended-stay hotel spanning four floors and offering 117 rooms with amenities including breakfast and dining services, an outdoor pool, fitness room, market pantry, guest laundry, onsite parking and more. The location of the new hotel is close to over 20 colleges and universities, two hospitals, more than 70 parks and recreational spaces, more than 12 miles of beaches, 14 golf courses and numerous other attractions. Guests of this location will be able to earn or redeem points in the award winning Sonesta Travel Pass loyalty program.

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Travel Technology, Airlines and Airports

Trip.com Group and LATAM Airlines Group Partner to Enhance Travel Experience Through NDC Technology

PR Newswire | January 22, 2024

Trip.com Group, a leading travel service provider, announced today the signing of a new NDC agreement with LATAM Airlines Group. This agreement between the two companies aims to provide a contemporary and streamlined ticketing experience for global travellers. It also offers unparalleled connectivity to over 144 destinations covered by LATAM Airlines across 22 countries and regions, including Latin America, the Caribbean, North America, Europe, Africa, and Oceania. The key benefit of this agreement is the adoption of NDC standard technology. This technology gives customers access to a complete and more comprehensive selection of airline offerings and the option to buy additional products, services, and add-ons such as baggage allowance and seats. Moreover, customers can access a broader range of ancillary services and more detailed information by browsing the change and cancellation policy section during checkout, leading to improved Trip.com Group and LATAM Airlines Group's after-sales services. Juan Villanova, Sales Manager of Trip.com for Spain and Latin America, comments: "Trip.com is a cutting-edge online travel company that leads the way in technology. Our commitment is to improve our product offerings to guarantee the highest customer satisfaction. With this tech solution, our passengers will have access to an improved and more competitive selection of flights and products." The agreement will include integrating a shopping engine for ticket sales via some of Trip.com Group's leading brands, offering a cost advantage to both suppliers and customers. Henk Van der Velde, Regional Director for Southern Europe and Latin America for Trip.com Group's flight Department, adds: "We are delighted to collaborate with LATAM Airlines Group in the implementation of an NDC standard, and offer solutions for everyone via a shopping engine, which has yielded excellent results. I look forward to continuing this collaboration and bringing new features that positively impact our customer's travel experience." Andreas Schek, Vice President of Sales and Branding of LATAM Airlines Group, adds: "We are proud of this collaboration with Trip.com Group on the implementation of the NDC standard, as it allows us to explore ways to enhance its efficiency further. This is a significant milestone in the future of distribution that will benefit our global customers."

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Travel Technology, Destination and Tourism

Exodus Adventure Travels Announces New Trips in Partnership with Royal Canadian Geographic Society

PR Newswire | January 23, 2024

Exodus Adventure Travels, the international award-winning leader in adventure travel, today announced its new 2024 RCGS Quests trips, a series of expert-led tours developed in partnership with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. These limited edition, small group trips are what travel legends are made of – adventures that are designed to offer travelers unparalleled opportunities to explore some of the planet's most awe-inspiring destinations and led by noted hosts in their respective fields. This year's line-up features such noted hosts as World Elephant Day co-founder, Patricia Sims; bestselling author, Robin Esrock; Indigenous education advocate, Charlene Bearhead, and others. "We are honored to partner with The Royal Canadian Geographical Society on these highly anticipated adventures," said Sam Seward, President at Exodus Adventure Travels. "This is our third year operating our RCGS Quests program, with continued demand to explore further and experience more, pushing these trips to new heights and featuring another stellar line-up of hosts to add even more depth to each itinerary." Exodus' 2024 RCGS Quests Series features the following six adventures: RCGS: Highlights of the Amalfi Coast with Scott Forsyth Discover the land of la dolce vita for a wondrous week on the Amalfi Coast led by an expert local guide and hosted by professional photographer and fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Scott Forsyth. Explore one of Europe's most dramatic stretches of coastline and be spellbound by this land's natural beauty and cultural treasures. The Host: Scott Forsyth is an award-winning photographer who specializes in Canadian landscapes. Devoted to exploring Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific and Arctic Ocean coastlines, Scott is a Fellow of both the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the Explorer's Club and is Canadian Geographic's Photographer-In-Residence. Eight-day itinerary priced from $2,240 USD. Departing April 6, 2024 RCGS: Classic Kenya 4WD Safari with Patricia Sims No country, perhaps, is more synonymous with a classic African safari than Kenya. Step into scenes from 'Out of Africa' as you explore Kenya's best safari sites led by an expert local safari guide and hosted by award-winning Canadian filmmaker, Royal Canadian Geographical Society fellow and World Elephant Day co-founder, Patricia Sims. The Host: Patricia Sims is the co-founder of the annual World Elephant Day (Aug. 12), a global awareness campaign that brings attention to the critical threats facing elephants. From swimming with wild dolphins and whales in oceans around the world to getting up close and personal with monkeys in the jungles of Borneo and elephants of Thailand, Patricia is also an award-winning filmmaker who always has a passionate eye on conservation. Patricia is a Fellow International of The Explorers Club and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Seven-day itinerary priced from US$4,649 Departing August 10, 2024 RCGS: A Week in Jordan with Sarah Legault Explore the wondrous historical and archaeological highlights of Jordan on this week-long adventure. From the incredible history of the Wadi Rum Desert to strolling through ancient Roman cities and floating in the Dead Sea, this Jordanian adventure contains all the highlights of this fascinating country. It is led by an expert local guide and hosted by Vice President of Philanthropy for the RCGS, Sarah Legault. The Host: Sarah Legault has been the head of advancement at the Royal Canadian Geographical Society since 2018 and has worked at charitable organizations throughout her career. Her vast understanding of the Society, Canadian Geographic and all associated programs is extraordinary. As the current Vice President of Philanthropy and Fellow of the RCGS, Sarah's mission-aligned values of environment, people, culture, and geographical literacy support engaging and forward-thinking initiatives which she always is keen to share and discuss. Seven-day itinerary priced from US$2,550 Departing October 19, 2024 RCGS: Rome, Assisi & Magical Umbria – Premium Adventure with Robin Esrock Explore Rome and Assisi's historic landmarks and classical ruins. Walk through Italy's unspoiled countryside staying in a picturesque four-star resort in the hills of Umbria, led by an expert local guide and hosted by bestselling author, TV host, public speaker and Royal Canadian Geographical Society Fellow Robin Esrock. The Host: Dubbed "King of the Bucket List" by Travel + Leisure, Robin Esrock's success as a global adventurer, travel writer, bestselling author and international TV personality started with a one-year solo round-the-world backpacking adventure to 24 countries. During this year, Robin uploaded weekly reports, photography, videos, reviews, and interviews with every person he met. In doing so, he ushered in a new era of multi-platform, switched-on wired-in travel journalism, leading to adventures beyond his wildest dreams. Robin's stories have been published in noted publications worldwide, including National Geographic Traveler, The Guardian, Chicago Tribune, Toronto Star, Reader's Digest, and more. Eight-day itinerary priced from US$4,050 Departing October 19, 2024 RCGS: Egypt Nile Cruise with Charlene Bearhead Follow in the footsteps of the ancient pharaohs and ride the sands of time back thousands of years on this classic Egypt Nile cruise led by an expert local guide and hosted by Indigenous education advocate, author, Vice President of Learning and Reconciliation at Canadian Geographic, and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Charlene Bearhead. With ancient tombs and mysteries around every bend, unrivaled legacy and mind-blowing history await. The Host: Charlene Bearhead is an Indigenous education advocate and author with over 30 years of regional, national and international experience. Previously Charlene served as education days coordinator for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, education coordinator for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, education advisor for the Canadian Geographic Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada, a member of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Indigenous Education working group, and the first education lead for both the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba and the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at UBC. She is also the co-author of the children's book series Siha Tooskin Knows. Eight-day itinerary priced from US$2,380 Departing November 16, 2024 RCGS: Highlights of Vietnam with Lynn Moorman Discover the complex culture and history of Vietnam on this intoxicating exploration of Vietnamese life highlighted by superb landscapes and amazing cuisine. Led by an expert local guide and hosted by Lynn Moorman, a lifelong geographer with a love for exploring remote landscapes and environments. The Host: Lynn Moorman is a prominent geographer and a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Mount Royal University, in Calgary, Canada. Lynn's teaching and research interests lie at the intersection of geography, learning sciences and applied visualization technologies, including virtual and augmented reality. Her work has taken her to the highlands of northern Vietnam, to map agricultural productivity, to the frozen Arctic Ocean where she works with Inuit in Canadian Arctic communities to use near-real time satellite imagery to keep ice travel safe. Lynn is a Fellow, former Board member and current Chair of the Research Committee of the RCGS. 10-day itinerary priced from US$2,170 Departing November 17, 2024

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Hospitality Trends, Hospitality Management

Sonesta Announces First Sonesta Es Suites Ground Up Development

PR Newswire | January 24, 2024

Sonesta International Hotels Corporation (Sonesta) today announced plans for the construction of a new Sonesta ES Suites in Port Charlotte, Florida. This new property, expected to open in Spring 2025, marks the first Sonesta ES Suites brand project developed from the ground up. "We are excited that Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte will be our first purpose-built location for the brand," said Brian Quinn, Sonesta's Chief Development Officer. "The Sonesta ES Suites brand stands out as an attractive choice for franchisees looking for an upscale option to capitalize on the continued dependable performance of extended stay hotels." "Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte will benefit business travelers and tourists who are looking for accommodations near the beaches, golf courses, parks and other attractions that Port Charlotte has to offer," said Alan Lane, one of Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte's owners. "The addition of Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte to our diverse portfolio reflects Commonwealth Hotels' unwavering commitment to providing an unparalleled guest experience through visionary development, ethical practices and a steadfast dedication to superior service," said Jennifer Porter, President of Commonwealth Hotels, the hotel's management company. To be located at 1321 Claburn Circle in Port Charlotte, Florida, the Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte will be an upscale extended-stay hotel spanning four floors and offering 117 rooms with amenities including breakfast and dining services, an outdoor pool, fitness room, market pantry, guest laundry, onsite parking and more. The location of the new hotel is close to over 20 colleges and universities, two hospitals, more than 70 parks and recreational spaces, more than 12 miles of beaches, 14 golf courses and numerous other attractions. Guests of this location will be able to earn or redeem points in the award winning Sonesta Travel Pass loyalty program.

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Travel Technology, Airlines and Airports

Trip.com Group and LATAM Airlines Group Partner to Enhance Travel Experience Through NDC Technology

PR Newswire | January 22, 2024

Trip.com Group, a leading travel service provider, announced today the signing of a new NDC agreement with LATAM Airlines Group. This agreement between the two companies aims to provide a contemporary and streamlined ticketing experience for global travellers. It also offers unparalleled connectivity to over 144 destinations covered by LATAM Airlines across 22 countries and regions, including Latin America, the Caribbean, North America, Europe, Africa, and Oceania. The key benefit of this agreement is the adoption of NDC standard technology. This technology gives customers access to a complete and more comprehensive selection of airline offerings and the option to buy additional products, services, and add-ons such as baggage allowance and seats. Moreover, customers can access a broader range of ancillary services and more detailed information by browsing the change and cancellation policy section during checkout, leading to improved Trip.com Group and LATAM Airlines Group's after-sales services. Juan Villanova, Sales Manager of Trip.com for Spain and Latin America, comments: "Trip.com is a cutting-edge online travel company that leads the way in technology. Our commitment is to improve our product offerings to guarantee the highest customer satisfaction. With this tech solution, our passengers will have access to an improved and more competitive selection of flights and products." The agreement will include integrating a shopping engine for ticket sales via some of Trip.com Group's leading brands, offering a cost advantage to both suppliers and customers. Henk Van der Velde, Regional Director for Southern Europe and Latin America for Trip.com Group's flight Department, adds: "We are delighted to collaborate with LATAM Airlines Group in the implementation of an NDC standard, and offer solutions for everyone via a shopping engine, which has yielded excellent results. I look forward to continuing this collaboration and bringing new features that positively impact our customer's travel experience." Andreas Schek, Vice President of Sales and Branding of LATAM Airlines Group, adds: "We are proud of this collaboration with Trip.com Group on the implementation of the NDC standard, as it allows us to explore ways to enhance its efficiency further. This is a significant milestone in the future of distribution that will benefit our global customers."

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Travel Technology, Destination and Tourism

Exodus Adventure Travels Announces New Trips in Partnership with Royal Canadian Geographic Society

PR Newswire | January 23, 2024

Exodus Adventure Travels, the international award-winning leader in adventure travel, today announced its new 2024 RCGS Quests trips, a series of expert-led tours developed in partnership with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. These limited edition, small group trips are what travel legends are made of – adventures that are designed to offer travelers unparalleled opportunities to explore some of the planet's most awe-inspiring destinations and led by noted hosts in their respective fields. This year's line-up features such noted hosts as World Elephant Day co-founder, Patricia Sims; bestselling author, Robin Esrock; Indigenous education advocate, Charlene Bearhead, and others. "We are honored to partner with The Royal Canadian Geographical Society on these highly anticipated adventures," said Sam Seward, President at Exodus Adventure Travels. "This is our third year operating our RCGS Quests program, with continued demand to explore further and experience more, pushing these trips to new heights and featuring another stellar line-up of hosts to add even more depth to each itinerary." Exodus' 2024 RCGS Quests Series features the following six adventures: RCGS: Highlights of the Amalfi Coast with Scott Forsyth Discover the land of la dolce vita for a wondrous week on the Amalfi Coast led by an expert local guide and hosted by professional photographer and fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Scott Forsyth. Explore one of Europe's most dramatic stretches of coastline and be spellbound by this land's natural beauty and cultural treasures. The Host: Scott Forsyth is an award-winning photographer who specializes in Canadian landscapes. Devoted to exploring Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific and Arctic Ocean coastlines, Scott is a Fellow of both the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the Explorer's Club and is Canadian Geographic's Photographer-In-Residence. Eight-day itinerary priced from $2,240 USD. Departing April 6, 2024 RCGS: Classic Kenya 4WD Safari with Patricia Sims No country, perhaps, is more synonymous with a classic African safari than Kenya. Step into scenes from 'Out of Africa' as you explore Kenya's best safari sites led by an expert local safari guide and hosted by award-winning Canadian filmmaker, Royal Canadian Geographical Society fellow and World Elephant Day co-founder, Patricia Sims. The Host: Patricia Sims is the co-founder of the annual World Elephant Day (Aug. 12), a global awareness campaign that brings attention to the critical threats facing elephants. From swimming with wild dolphins and whales in oceans around the world to getting up close and personal with monkeys in the jungles of Borneo and elephants of Thailand, Patricia is also an award-winning filmmaker who always has a passionate eye on conservation. Patricia is a Fellow International of The Explorers Club and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Seven-day itinerary priced from US$4,649 Departing August 10, 2024 RCGS: A Week in Jordan with Sarah Legault Explore the wondrous historical and archaeological highlights of Jordan on this week-long adventure. From the incredible history of the Wadi Rum Desert to strolling through ancient Roman cities and floating in the Dead Sea, this Jordanian adventure contains all the highlights of this fascinating country. It is led by an expert local guide and hosted by Vice President of Philanthropy for the RCGS, Sarah Legault. The Host: Sarah Legault has been the head of advancement at the Royal Canadian Geographical Society since 2018 and has worked at charitable organizations throughout her career. Her vast understanding of the Society, Canadian Geographic and all associated programs is extraordinary. As the current Vice President of Philanthropy and Fellow of the RCGS, Sarah's mission-aligned values of environment, people, culture, and geographical literacy support engaging and forward-thinking initiatives which she always is keen to share and discuss. Seven-day itinerary priced from US$2,550 Departing October 19, 2024 RCGS: Rome, Assisi & Magical Umbria – Premium Adventure with Robin Esrock Explore Rome and Assisi's historic landmarks and classical ruins. Walk through Italy's unspoiled countryside staying in a picturesque four-star resort in the hills of Umbria, led by an expert local guide and hosted by bestselling author, TV host, public speaker and Royal Canadian Geographical Society Fellow Robin Esrock. The Host: Dubbed "King of the Bucket List" by Travel + Leisure, Robin Esrock's success as a global adventurer, travel writer, bestselling author and international TV personality started with a one-year solo round-the-world backpacking adventure to 24 countries. During this year, Robin uploaded weekly reports, photography, videos, reviews, and interviews with every person he met. In doing so, he ushered in a new era of multi-platform, switched-on wired-in travel journalism, leading to adventures beyond his wildest dreams. Robin's stories have been published in noted publications worldwide, including National Geographic Traveler, The Guardian, Chicago Tribune, Toronto Star, Reader's Digest, and more. Eight-day itinerary priced from US$4,050 Departing October 19, 2024 RCGS: Egypt Nile Cruise with Charlene Bearhead Follow in the footsteps of the ancient pharaohs and ride the sands of time back thousands of years on this classic Egypt Nile cruise led by an expert local guide and hosted by Indigenous education advocate, author, Vice President of Learning and Reconciliation at Canadian Geographic, and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Charlene Bearhead. With ancient tombs and mysteries around every bend, unrivaled legacy and mind-blowing history await. The Host: Charlene Bearhead is an Indigenous education advocate and author with over 30 years of regional, national and international experience. Previously Charlene served as education days coordinator for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, education coordinator for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, education advisor for the Canadian Geographic Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada, a member of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Indigenous Education working group, and the first education lead for both the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba and the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at UBC. She is also the co-author of the children's book series Siha Tooskin Knows. Eight-day itinerary priced from US$2,380 Departing November 16, 2024 RCGS: Highlights of Vietnam with Lynn Moorman Discover the complex culture and history of Vietnam on this intoxicating exploration of Vietnamese life highlighted by superb landscapes and amazing cuisine. Led by an expert local guide and hosted by Lynn Moorman, a lifelong geographer with a love for exploring remote landscapes and environments. The Host: Lynn Moorman is a prominent geographer and a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Mount Royal University, in Calgary, Canada. Lynn's teaching and research interests lie at the intersection of geography, learning sciences and applied visualization technologies, including virtual and augmented reality. Her work has taken her to the highlands of northern Vietnam, to map agricultural productivity, to the frozen Arctic Ocean where she works with Inuit in Canadian Arctic communities to use near-real time satellite imagery to keep ice travel safe. Lynn is a Fellow, former Board member and current Chair of the Research Committee of the RCGS. 10-day itinerary priced from US$2,170 Departing November 17, 2024

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