Solo travel: 8 pearls of wisdom from a blogger who’s been going it alone for years

Many people dream of taking some time off, packing a rucksack and booking a ticket somewhere you’ve never been before. Doing it totally alone is slightly scarier.Aubrey Daquinag, who runs travel and lifestyle blog The Love Assembly, has been exploring the world alone for the last few years. Now she’s written a book, Wander Love: Lessons, tips & inspiration from a solo traveller, with six destination guides including Cartagena in Colombia and Palwan in the Philippines.

Spotlight

Master Group Tour Operator

Among Italian excellences of wholesale Tour Operator since 20 years, Master Group counts at worldwide level, focused on development of Incoming. Impeccable services and a dynamic young staff are the key of our success. Basically, it is a combination of experiences and reliability that creates a tool to satisfy all requests.

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Hospitality Management

How Best Practices for Travel Expense Management Can Benefit your Business

Article | July 24, 2023

As every department is going through digital transformation in travel companies, finance processes are no exception. The advancements in technology are influencing how travel expense management is evolving. Technology is widely affecting how travel expenses are captured, submitted, audited, processed, and reimbursed. The automated travel expense management is helping most of the corporate travel companies with inclusion of the latest travel management and expense management tools. In 2016, the share of corporate travel expense management was US$1.3 trillion; therefore, by 2023, it is predicted to hit US$1.6 trillion. Companies today are rethinking modern travel expense management policy and developing corporate travel expense management system including expense management best practices. They are actively using travel management and expense management tools to create a smoother workflow. Looking at these developments in expense management policy, it’s important to understand what companies were facing before implementation of automated version of expense management system. Main Hurdles While Managing Travel and Expense Policy violations Multiple layers of forms Delayed submission of expense reports by employees Increased processing cost Lack of visibility into the process Heaps of productive hours were wasted because of the manual processes involved in the expense management policy. Managing the excel reports and cross-verification for policy compliance resulted in increased costs. Delayed submission of expense reports caused late input tax credit claims, which affected businesses to generate revenue. Consequently, to minimize the hurdles of managing travel expenses, an automated travel expense management system, and some best practices for travel expense management were the need of the hour. An Overview: Modern Travel Expense Management Modern travel and expense management systems and its practices help employees manage the financial process in real and measurable ways. The system governs how the finance team spends company money on corporate travel and other related expenses. It includes an automated expense management process, which has drawn attention to seamless receipt generation, auditing, reimbursing, submission of finance reports, and cost savings. To implement modern travel expense management, some best practices for travel expense management are suggested to help build a consistent workflow. Many corporate travel companies have included it to automate the expense management process but are little aware of practices that can enhance their workflow. In this scenario, it's important to know the importance of including the best practices for travel expense management. Why Talk about Best Practices for Travel Expense Management? In the finance department, various types of frauds such as multiple reimbursements, overstated expenses, fictitious expenses, and more always stay at the top of the mind for most CFO’s. A well-controlled travel expense management system helps prevent misuse of company assets and prohibits misconduct from dealing with such situations. According to the Aberdeen group’s research, 43% of top travel companies and their CMOs consider T&E management a critical strategy for their company to handle travel expenses. In comparison, 48% of them say they “need to reduce expense processing costs,” which is why they implemented best practices for travel expense management. Whether large or small, companies realize the potential benefits of a well-managed travel spend mechanism that had best practices for travel expense management to automate the expense management process. They invested heavily in expense management software, which helped them frame a consolidated expense management policy. In the end, corporate travel policy best practices need to be tailored specifically to employees to create best-in-class expense management and improve performance. By following expense management best practices, you can also define and implement an accurate policy and ensure your employees implement potential tools to automate the expense management process. This will create an efficient finance process that will lead to a friction-free travel and expense management system. If you are updating your finance functions, this small expense management guide to the best practices for travel expense management will help you far to reach your goals. Best Practices for Travel Expense Management Create Ownership of the Policy Before you start implementing T&E management as a critical strategy, defining ownership of the policy clearly is crucial. Ideally, your finance team needs to understand it thoroughly while using the best expense management software. Creating ownership of the policy will benefit as follows: First: You will have clear ownership that will ensure that your finance team tracks the policy accurately and makes necessary changes to cater to corporate travelers and their requirements. Second: Your employees will be able to address queries and concerns related to corporate travel a defined way. This way it will become easier for them to handle multiple queries at a time and cater to possible services. Include Simple Policies Your expense management policy should outline what it is accurately. It can only be practiced if you keep policies simple based on the company’s culture and its budget. Using the right travel management and expense management tools, your company’s travel expense management mechanism will be quick and easy for employees to work on expenses claimed by corporate travelers, submit, and audit them. Including simple policies will help employees track receipts through mobile applications and even upload them immediately. This entire process will help minimize errors and lessen receipt loss possibilities. Accurate Expense Reporting To include accurate expense management reporting is considered one of the most successful best practices for travel expense management. Around 30% of CFOs believe that to review expenses reporting for policy violation is the biggest pain point. As you automate the expense management process, the mechanism of expense reporting and expense claim management also gets smarter. There are multiple benefits to have a sound reporting system. It gives budget creators a better understanding of how a specific travel expense budget is consumed. Finance teams get a proper structure and create a defined spending pattern to identify transactions so that there are no fraud possibilities in the management system. The reports under expense reporting become accountable because the total spends are available to senior management for a broad review. Expense Payments Are Timely Processed The right expense management software usage can help your employees process expense payments on time and faster to reduce errors. By implementing this expense management best practice, your employees can present expense reports timely to managers. An automated expense management system eliminates the tedious job of manually checking expense payment violations and encourages initiating flawless expense payment processing. Creates Accountability To keep accountability in expense management is vital for a finance manager. The automated travel and expense management system creates an opportunity to enable accountability option for your company’s expense plan so that managers are made aware of the transactions, submission of reports, expense claims, reimbursements, and more that are taking place. In order to gain high accountability in these areas, the new travel expense management process provides easy access to review and gives appropriate reports. You can easily implement this corporate travel policy best practice to your system and keep a check using expense management software that provides access via mobile applications. Practicing this will give your finance team more power and guide them to generate better revenue annually. Conduct Regular Audits By implementing this as best practices for your travel and expense management, you can efficiently conduct regular audits of the travel expense. Many CMOs have followed it and attained success while implementing it. Similarly, a regular audit also identifies areas of improvement and can point variances that could generate exemplary revenue. Practicing this in your finance process will also help uncover expense fraud. In this case, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ (ACFE) reveals, 20% of small businesses and 13% of larger firms reported fraudulent expense reimbursements in 2019. The activities that were highlighted as Access expenses Non-characterized expenses Fictitious expenses Multiple reimbursements for the same expense After putting your time and effort into recreating a new travel and expense management system and inculcating best practices for travel expense management in your company, it is crucial to choose the right ways to enforce it. Consistent use of best practices for travel expense management will let you save costs, and there will be no adverse impact on your company's budget. You can make effective decisions for your business as it eradicates your finance team's hurdles that were before. Frequently Asked Questions What is a travel and expense policy? A travel and expense policy is a set of rules that covers the process of reimbursement and claims for expenses that are incurred by employees on corporate travel plans. This policy outlines how a company’s employees should set procedures for corporate travel. What is business travel management? Business travel management includes policies that set a company’s function in a strategic way. It includes various types of contracts made with airlines, hotel chains, rental car companies, and other business travel related management services. What is expense management? Expense management works according to two key elements—how a business pays for employee-initiated expenses and how to track all employee-initiated spending. In this, management of costs is included mainly for corporate travel, accommodation, meals, flights, and car rentals. What is expense management automation? Expense management automation encourages services like collection, storage, submission, reporting to function automatically. It implies the use of analytical tools to help companies maintain accountability and compliance through accurate tracking and reporting process. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is a travel and expense policy?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "A travel and expense policy is a set of rules that covers the process of reimbursement and claims for expenses that are incurred by employees on corporate travel plans. This policy outlines how a company’s employees should set procedures for corporate travel." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is business travel management?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Business travel management includes policies that set a company’s function in a strategic way. It includes various types of contracts made with airlines, hotel chains, rental car companies, and other business travel related management services." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is expense management?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Expense management works according to two key elements—how a business pays for employee-initiated expenses and how to track all employee-initiated spending. In this, management of costs is included mainly for corporate travel, accommodation, meals, flights, and car rentals." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is expense management automation?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Expense management automation encourages services like collection, storage, submission, reporting to function automatically. It implies the use of analytical tools to help companies maintain accountability and compliance through accurate tracking and reporting process." } }] }

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Hospitality Management

Blockchain Technology in Travel Insurance

Article | July 19, 2023

Most people associate the term "blockchain" with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Dogecoin, or Ethereum. Blockchain is the technology behind cryptocurrencies, but it is also a technology in its own right that has many uses. Blockchain is an immutable ledger that tracks transactions and assets, like cash and patents. All parties have access to the same data simultaneously, eliminating intermediaries and making it a cost-effective way to track assets. It could, for example, track a flight delay and automatically refund a customer’s money. A German blockchain start-up Etherisc launched an insurance product, FlightDelay, which uses blockchain to automatically issue policies and execute payouts for flight delays and cancellations on around 80 airlines. Customers can buy policies with cryptocurrency and receive claims in cryptocurrency. Flight delays are where blockchain-based insurance can make a difference in the travel insurance domain. Data on delays and cancellations is readily accessible, and all assist in automatic payments. This way, companies that offer flight insurance can avoid higher claims-processing costs and save on data protection costs because blockchain is secure. U.S. Insurance Regulations Prevent Blockchain-based Travel Insurance In the U.S, there is a need for state-by-state approval for changes in regulations. Blockchain’s appearance in the U.S. insurance industry may take another ten or fifteen years. However, the potential of blockchain-based insurance products is huge. Insurance companies can sell them at much lower costs compared to traditional insurance products. Blockchain Can Change the Travel Insurance Business Interestingly, the U.S. already has an insurance product similar to FlightDelay but none of them have the blockchain component. Called ‘parametric insurance’, an auto payout is done when some parameter is violated. Using blockchain technology to offer this insurance could save money and enable insurers to pass on some of the savings to the customers. Insurance industry experts think blockchain will definitely make a mark in the travel insurance domain and can change the way travel insurance businesses operate at large.

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Travel Technology

Top 5 Ways Big Data is Transforming the Travel Industry Businesses

Article | May 5, 2023

Data science has lead to marvelous opportunities for many industries. Like so many other industries, the travel industry would greatly benefit from knowing future travel information in advance. Fortunately, there is no need to rely on some fortunetellers anymore, but take advantage of Big Data. Big Data in the travel industry is driving in the right direction, especially after the pandemic, as companies had to be more technologically advanced to cater to their regular operations effortlessly. And big data is now transforming the way businesses used to conduct their operations. It has started taking care of everything that a traveler expects from the traveling organizations in terms of personalized offers to products and more. In this digital period, where everything is hyperconnected, new technologies and big data analysis have become essential for the travel industry to adopt new consumption models and improve the decision-making process. Many industry leaders are already using big data in the travel industry. Still, but you may not understand the real value it can provide for your business or how is big data being used in the travel industry. With a closer look at the ways big data is transforming the travel industry, you can determine how your business can benefit from its use. Before you reach this point, a brief about significant big data challenges in the travel industry can help you understand how you can improve your company. What were Big Data Challenges? Data capture Unorganized structure of data Speed Privacy and security Data ownership Data handling Data storage 5 Ways Big Data is being Used in Travel Industry Businesses So how exactly is big data going to affect your company? Amadeus's research study identifies two segments of change, one is the operations, and the other is marketing strategies. Greater Personalization Companies in the travel industry, such as car rental companies, tour operators, airlines, and more, must find a way to improve their overall functionalities to meet goals. To stand out, you must have a unique approach to market your products. Using big data, you can easily pinpoint exactly what employees are looking for and then establish a concrete base right out of the gate. When it comes to greater personalization offerings, effective uses of big data analytics help making well-informed decisions. By using big data analytics, the applications provide wide-ranging personalization offerings such as promotions, deals, referrals, and more, keeping an aim to generate revenue. Identification of Potential Risks Currently, businesses are struggling to deal with high-risk environments, where a proper risk management process is the need of the hour. Big data in the travel industry has been instrumental in developing new risk management solutions and can enhance the effectiveness of risk management models and build intelligent strategies. This is one potential power of big data is transforming the travel industry. Pricing strategies Price is a critical component to set under marketing strategies. Big data used by travel companies can easily track, analyze, and file the competitors’ prices to get a clear picture of what’s trending. This real-time analytics can help your company track pricing changes and build a consistent pricing strategy for a better workflow for employees. Price strategies can turn into a game-changer for your business goals in the future. Through a transparent idea of what competitors are implementing in their process, your business can execute optimum pricing strategies that would considerably benefit your company by predicting future demand. Security Enhancements As the amount of online transactions has amplified steadily over the years, the rate of fraud has also increased simultaneously. Losing customer data can destroy your business’s reputation. Big data in the travel industry allows companies to plan and implement software that would increase safeguards on sensitive information by leveraging types of technologies, including natural language processing, video recognition, speech recognition, machine learning engines, and automation. This is considered one of the best solutions for how big data is helping the travel industry. Revenue Management Travel businesses use big data analysis to manage their revenue. Big data in the travel industry has become one essential part of companies that effectively maximizes financial aspects. If you have set a goal in your company to achieve specific revenue, then it is crucial to define a market strategy to offer corporate travelers the right services through the right channel. Because of this, you can manage the prices to maximize the revenue of your company. Benefits of Big data From a humble beginning of big data in tourism before the pandemic, it has become a mainstay in the business world. Big data solutions and big data analytics will not only foster taking data-driven decision, but also empower your workforce that add value to your business. According to Harvard Business Review, 99% of companies surveyed reported that they intend to implement big data analytics and AI in the near future. What are other significant big data benefits that you should inculcate it in your business? Here are some of these: Big data benefits for the travel industry by offering real-time monitoring, forecasting of business, and the market. Unlock the true potential of data-driven marketing. Facilitate faster delivery of services and products that meet and exceed the client’s expectation. How Businesses can Analyze Big Data? To understand big data, you firstly need to know the points that need solutions. Then, attempt to identify the answer to your questions such as, ‘how can I get the data to solve it?’ or ‘what can big data do for my business?’ Your big data solutions need to be effortless. It is important to match what you had in mind for pricing and make it flexible to serve your business in the future. Research the most reliable big data tool so that it can serve to provide you the right solution. For example, if you want to introduce more effective promotions and marketing campaigns, you can use Canopy Labs, to predict big data travel behavior and sales trends. The travel and tourism industry uses big data with the help of several tools that are inexpensive or even free to use. Google also has user-friendly tools like Google Adwords and Google BigQuery. So, don’t feel overwhelmed by all the data that’s out there. With the right tools, you can separate the data to find what you need to start growing your business today! Some Success Stories KAYAK sets an example of using big data in the travel industry by innovation and spearheads the technological revolution. It has developed a new benchmark in the travel industry using big data for travel management and operations. United Airlines embraced a “collect and analyze” approach to their big data for travel planning. The company tracks all information using real-time data, including individual and general historical data. The Schiphol Group, which operates the airport, has reportedly invested in data science packages. A team of big data analysts easily analyze, report, and visualize the constant influx of data of employees on corporate trips. These developments are reflective of the growing big data analytical trends in the travel and tourism industry. Following the steps of industry leaders, a lot of companies have started the adoption of big data for travel management and improvising their analytical tools to make more informed decisions for future travel mechanism. You can get more interesting and updated news to rely on how big data in the travel industry is transforming. Future Outlook of Big Data in Travel Industry Many industry leaders are talking about big data in the travel industry, its evolving benefits and the future of big data within the tourism industry. With the effective uses of big data, your company can use information about employees catering to corporate business services to understand the workflow. Hadoop, one of the big data applications in the travel industry, provide suffecient data storage space and presents information from a wide range of sources in a structured manner. It enables tourism companies to take immediate decisions as per requirements. Big Data applications in the travel industry help companies introduce new products to have predictive analysis and critical insights about corporate travelers. What could be anticipated from the future of big data is that travel industry professionals will progressively utilize big data to facilitate their potential benefit. This will genuinely modify what companies would offer corporate travelers equally in the future. With such activities to cater the markets worldwide, big data in the travel industry has formed a clear map. Frequently Asked Questions How is big data being used in the travel industry? Big data in the travel industry is used to observe various marketing strategies and some customer-related patterns and trends. Following these is important to create loyalty among employees as well as customers also. Therefore, the more data a business collects, the more it will understand ways to generate revenue. What is the future of big data in travel industry? The future of big data in the travel industry stays impressive as the market leaders can make decisions that are more informed based on analytics and number-driven data. Big data in the future will boost the efficiency of the services and the quality at the same time. How big data is helping the travel industry? Big data is helping the travel industry in many ways. It is allowing businesses to make more evidence-driven decisions for revenue. These include the ability to anticipate customers' future demands accurately, re-structure pricing, target more marketing strategies, and improve real marketing tricks. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How is big in the travel industry being used?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Big data in the travel industry is being used with intent to observe various marketing strategies and some customer-related patterns and trends. Following these is important to create loyalty among employees as well as customers also. Therefore, the more data a business collects, the more it will understand ways to generate revenue." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is the future of big data in travel industry?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "The future of big data in the travel industry stays impressive as the market leaders can make decisions that are more informed based on analytics and number-driven data. Big data in the future will boost the efficiency of the services and the quality at the same time." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How is big data in the travel industry helping?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Big data in the travel industry is helping in many ways. It is allowing businesses to make more evidence-driven decisions to generate revenue. These include the ability to anticipate customers' future demands accurately, re-structure pricing, target more marketing strategies, and improve real marketing tricks." } }] }

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Travel Technology

Deploying Advanced Technology for Enhanced Travel Management Services

Article | May 5, 2023

Learn how adopting advanced travel technology services can improve your operations in the digital age and evade business complexities. Embrace these technologies for better business growth. Contents 1. Overview of Travel Technology 2. Importance of Technology in Travel Management 2.1 Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning 2.2 Virtual and Augmented Reality 2.3 Software and Its Application 2.4 Automation, Analysis and Reporting 2.5 GPS Tracking and Emergency Assistance 2.6 Expense Tracking and Management Tools 2.7 Mobile Wallets and Digital Payments 3. Challenges and Considerations 3.1 Privacy and Data Security Concerns 3.2 Integration with Legacy Systems 3.3 Employee Adoption and Training 4. Conclusion 1. Overview of Travel Technology Technology has not only influenced the lifestyles of human civilization but also completed them to live with it. With proper technology integration in business travel, they can thrive in today's digital world. The travel technology serviceslike artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual and augmented reality, software applications, automation, GPS tracking, emergency services, expense tracking, and digital payments enhance travel management. This article evaluates the importance of technology in the travel management sector. Using artificial intelligence, software tools, and digital channels is vital for travel business growth. With advanced technology, businesses enhance customer experience, convenience, support, and retention. For example, the technology-based 24/7 customer support and risk management services for an emergency can respond even when the employee is absent. Such automation is the future of travel management services. 2. Importance of Technology in Travel Management 2.1 Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Upgrading artificial intelligence solutions increase the reliability and effectiveness of the travel management company's services. There is a vast implementation of AI and machine learning in the tourism sector. Corporate travel technology assists businesses with administrative tasks and customer services. It provides enhanced personalization, valuable advice, and speedy response in the employees' absence. In addition, many hotels and resorts use these tools for better services and brand awareness. 2.2 Virtual and Augmented Reality Virtual and augmented reality enables hotels and travel-related businesses to enhance the physical environments to encourage customer engagement in local sights and hotel rooms. Customers highly research travel purchases as they require detailed information before arrival, and even after their arrival, it renders relevant information 24/7. Therefore, adopting AR and virtual reality in the travel industry is a must to cope with changing customer lifestyles and behavior toward technology trends. Modern customers often use smartphones, so using augmented reality apps is easy to use. 2.3 Software and Its Application Travel management software provides users with a platform for planning, purchasing, and recording travel expenses. Travel agency uses this software to simplify purchasing decisions, centralize records of employee travel expenses, and control travel budgets with digital transformation. 2.4 Automation, Analysis, and Reporting Automation optimizes travel routes according to the choices of the customers. It manages the inventory and analyzes the business travel, maintains the travel reports, and predicts the increase in demand for a particular period. Even with the latest innovation in business travel technology, artificial intelligence like ChatGPT can integrate seamlessly to automate different tasks of businesses from applications like chatbots and others. 2.5 GPS Tracking Its Emergency Assistance The technology-based solutions for travel businesses ensure the workforce's well-being, safety, and security. With constantly evolving travel risks, enterprises need a permanent solution that can adapt to changing travel circumstances and customize to the needs of companies and customers. It provides not only updated information, location, and incident monitoring during travel but also critical event response for safety, as well as suggesting alternatives to the traveler's existing plan. 2.6 Expense Tracking and Management Tools Travel businesses generate a vast amount of data on financial transactions, which can become tedious to manage. To address this issue, travel tech companies offer solutions to organize, monitor, and analyze travel expenses while ensuring compliance with policies. In addition, based on past travel experience, it predicts future travel of business travelers. 2.7 Mobile Wallets and Digital Payments Mobile wallets and digital payments are influencing the growth of travel businesses. The leading travel technology company provides a profitable, convenient, and secure experience to customers. Many use mobile devices for payment using different applications, making it easy to purchase through a simple scan or click. 3. Challenges and Considerations 3.1 Privacy and Data Security Concerns With the increasing amount of sensitive information being collected and shared, travel management companies must follow all applicable privacy laws and regulations. In addition, they must take precision to protect data from unauthorized access, breaches, and cyber-attacks. It can involve implementing strong data encryption and access controls, monitoring systems for suspicious activity, and ensuring that all employees get training in best practices for data security. 3.2 Integration with Legacy Systems Many travel companies have invested heavily in legacy systems, which are difficult to replace or upgrade. However, failing to integrate new technologies can lead to inefficiencies, huge data collection, and missed opportunities. Incorporating new technologies involves developing new APIs, migrating data to new systems, or adopting new technologies that work alongside legacy systems. 3.3 Employee Adoption and Training Employees must get training on using new technologies and learn the resources they need to succeed. It can involve providing ongoing training and support, establishing clear communication channels, and developing incentives for adoption. Travel managers must address any concerns or resistance from employees and work to build excitement for new technologies. Technology and travel are reliant on each other for their business growth and enhancement. 4. Conclusion The usage of the advanced latest technology in the travel management industry is evolving rapidly. Travel businesses integrate the travel technology company to enhance responses and customer experience and stand out. Modern customers demand personalized travel experiences with 24/7 support of GPS tracking, travel monitoring, optimized travel routes, and quick alerts in emergencies. Techno-savvy customers rely more on digital payments and prefer mobile wallets for travel booking. Travel businesses must integrate digital channels to retain and attract these customers. There are particular challenges while using advanced travel technology, like privacy and data security and aligning with legacy systems. In addition, travel managers must encourage employee adoption and training for new technologies.

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Spotlight

Master Group Tour Operator

Among Italian excellences of wholesale Tour Operator since 20 years, Master Group counts at worldwide level, focused on development of Incoming. Impeccable services and a dynamic young staff are the key of our success. Basically, it is a combination of experiences and reliability that creates a tool to satisfy all requests.

Related News

Hospitality Trends, Hospitality Management

Sonesta Announces First Sonesta Es Suites Ground Up Development

PR Newswire | January 24, 2024

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

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Travel Technology, Airlines and Airports

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

PR Newswire | January 22, 2024

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

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Travel Technology, Destination and Tourism

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

PR Newswire | January 23, 2024

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

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Hospitality Trends, Hospitality Management

Sonesta Announces First Sonesta Es Suites Ground Up Development

PR Newswire | January 24, 2024

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

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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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Events