T&E Management: Understanding Travel Spend & Cutting Costs

T&E Management: Understanding
Corporate travel and entertainment are almost every company's second-largest controllable expense after payroll and other benefits offered to employees. When it comes to such expenses, manually recording them on paper, saving crumpled receipts, or even creating Excel spreadsheets doesn’t ensure efficiency.

Businesses are implementing software that automates travel and expense management to streamline operations, cut costs and reduce the frustration that repetitive tasks bring. They are leveraging expense data to categorize their travel spends based on projects, departments, and cost centers to stay on top of all their travel-related expenses and financial operations.


Control & Transparency Matter

Global accounting teams put two things above all else: control and transparency. Without these two, they leave room for risk and mishaps and cannot function efficiently. Travel and expense automation allows financial and accounting teams to see where every dollar is spent. Bills and reimbursements are paid diligently and without much scope for error or expense fraud. Accurate, transparent data can then become the foundation of business decisions on spend and expense forecasting.


Employees Dislike Mundane Tasks

Your employees have important job functions that they need to carry out on a daily basis. A cloud-based tool that they can access at anytime and from anywhere helps them look at travel expense reporting in a different way. They can spend their time doing productive tasks that do not involve mundane paperwork or tallying expenses manually.


Managers Expect Budgeting Compliance

No manager is a fan of going over a long paper trail of expenses and verifying if every expense complies with company policy. A travel and expense management software highlights employee travel expense that does not comply with business policy. As approvers, managers can access this data from any place, discuss the matter with the employee in question, and get a quick resolution.


Controlled Spending Makes C-level Execs Happy

Implementing travel and expense management software helps keep the company’s spend under control. Low spends and high profits make every C-level executive happy. To top it off, it also makes them happy to make their employees happy while maintaining travel spend transparency.


Features of T&E Management Software That Make a Difference

  • Extracting important expense data from receipts by scanning
  • Option to submit expense reports via commonly used apps and text messages in a single click
  • A comprehensive view of a trip spend in a single, error-free report
  • Option to set up automated expense approval workflows
  • Quicker employee reimbursement turnaround time
  • Instant expense report submission notifications for prompt review


Bottom-line

Streamline your T&E process, tackle expense reporting challenges for traveling employees, and simplify expense tracking, approvals, and reimbursements using T&E management software. Empower your finance teams with complete visibility of travel spend to create a seamless automated expense management experience.

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AirAsia BIG Loyalty

AirAsia BIG is the official loyalty programme for AirAsia and the Tune Group. Established in 2011 and operated by Think Big Digital Sdn. Bhd. - a joint venture between AirAsia and Tune Money, AirAsia BIG is a lifestyle reward programme that lets its BIG members collect BIG Points from AirAsia, participating entities under Tune Group, and also from over 100 BIG Loyalty Programme Partners worldwide.

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Trends and Opportunities in Hospitality Management Careers

Article | May 17, 2023

Embrace the opportunity in hospitality management careers. Make a difference in tourism to benefit businesses & explore rewarding pathways within sustainable hospitality and tourism industry. Contents 1. Introduction 2. Current Trends in Hospitality Management Careers 2.1. Technology Integration in the Hospitality Industry 2.2. Sustainability and Environmental Consciousness 2.3. Personalization and Customization 2.4. Focus on Wellness and Health 3. Importance of Skill Development and Training for Hospitality Management Careers 4. Emerging Opportunities for Hospitality Management Careers 1. Introduction Embarking on a career in hospitality management opens the doors to a captivating world of endless possibilities within a dynamic and continuously expanding industry. Whether aspirations are rooted in hotel management, restaurant operations, event planning, or tourism, the hospitality sector boasts a multitude of diverse roles and avenues to explore. To embark on this exciting journey, a combination of formal education, practical experience, and a service-oriented mindset is paramount. By acquiring the necessary skills, forging connections with industry professionals, and staying attuned to the latest trends, one can strategically position oneself for a fulfilling and ever-evolving career in this thriving field. 2. Current Trends in Hospitality Management Careers 2.1. Technology Integration in the Hospitality Industry The pandemic accelerated consumers' adoption of technology in hospitality industry, while hotels quickly embraced new tools like contactless check-in systems and branded applications. However, a significant digital skills gap persists among hospitality workers, with nearly one in three lacking necessary AI, machine learning, and content-driven marketing competencies. Trends in the hospitality industry presents a tremendous opportunity for individuals seeking a career in hospitality management. Upskilling in digital roles highly sought after by hotel brands, such as digital marketing, cybersecurity, e-commerce sales, data analysis, social media management, mobile app development, and digital guest experience management, can pave the way for a thriving career in the industry. Combining a hospitality management course with specialized training in digital marketing or ICT equips professionals to excel in the digital hotel economy. As the hospitality industry continues integrating technology, skilled individuals with digital expertise will play a vital role in driving innovation, enhancing guest experiences, and staying ahead of the competition. 2.2. Sustainability and Environmental Consciousness 90% of employees believe that companies should prioritize positive impacts on the planet as much as they prioritize profits. Moreover, consumers are increasingly concerned about environmental issues. A survey among 72,000 Hilton guests revealed that approximately 33% preferred hotels with environmental and social programs, emphasizing the significance of sustainability. (Source: ehotelier) Therefore, many hotels embrace sustainable practices, leading to a global shift towards the low-impact hospitality industry. The rise of green hotels contributes to a more environmentally conscious sector and creates additional employment opportunities for hotel staff. The demand for specialized green skills, such as auditing, compliance oversight, and change management, further reinforces the need for specialization in this expanding field. Sustainable hotels and eco-tourism offer a growing array of career options for individuals passionate about the environment, travel and hospitality sector. By pursuing a career in this sector, professionals can contribute to preserving the planet while capitalizing on the increasing demand for sustainability-focused services. 2.3. Personalization and Customization Customers in today's market seek tailored experiences that cater to their unique preferences and needs, prompting hotels and hospitality businesses to prioritize personalized offerings. The rise of technology has played a crucial role in enabling personalization at various touchpoints. From personalized welcome messages to customized recommendations based on guest preferences, hotels harness data and advanced analytics to deliver exceptional and individualized guest experiences. This trend creates exciting opportunities for professionals seeking to excel in hospitality and tourism careers. Roles such as guest experience managers, data analysts, and CRM specialists are in high demand as businesses strive to provide personalized services to their guests. Additionally, expertise in customer relationship management (CRM) systems, data analysis, and guest profiling can significantly enhance career prospects. By staying updated on emerging technologies, honing customer-centric skills, and understanding the importance of data-driven decision-making, hospitality professionals can thrive careers in hospitality industry that are focused on personalization and customization. Embrace this trend, and position yourself at the forefront of delivering unforgettable, tailored experiences in the hospitality industry. 2.4. Focus on Wellness and Health The pandemic has led people to be health conscious, and therefore, they have started prioritizing it, resulting in the growth of people prioritizing health with massive US $1.7 trillion market. With an expected growth rate of 44% in 2022, wellness is the fastest-growing segment of the tourism sector. With this explosion of consumer interest, hotel brands are expanding into the wellness space and acquiring reputable spa, wellness and fitness brands. Hyatt, for example, recently received Two Roads, Miraval and Exhale, and IHG acquired Six Senses. For hotel professionals , this trend opens up a new potential career opportunity that combine expertise in the wellness area with skills relevant to the hotel industry. For those who are passionate about wellness and health and like the idea of a career in beautiful locations and settings, this might be the right pathway in the hospitality and management career. 3. Skill Development & Training Importance for Hospitality Management Careers The hospitality industry is known for its focus on providing exceptional service and creating positive guest experiences. It is a people-oriented sector that relies on the skills and efforts of individuals to ensure customer satisfaction. Skill development is paramount in this industry as it encompasses diverse skills necessary for running a successful enterprise. Hospitality is a deliberate and sustained effort to maintain mutual understanding between organizations and the public, adapting to market requirements. As one of the fastest-growing sectors in the global economy, the industry faces the challenge of aligning its skills requirements with the evolving labor market. With approximately 10% of the global workforce engaged in the tourism and hospitality-related industry, skill development becomes a crucial concern for every entity operating as a hospitality service provider. Effective skill development programs and training initiatives enable professionals to acquire the necessary competencies to excel in their roles and deliver exceptional guest experiences. By investing in skill development and training, individuals in hospitality management careers enhance their abilities and adapt to changing customer demands. Continuous improvement in skills ensures that professionals meet guests' diverse needs and contribute to their organizations' success. 4. Emerging Opportunities for Hospitality Management Careers The hospitality industry is rapidly growing and evolving, presenting exciting career opportunities. To adapt to changing dynamics, the sector emphasizes the importance of skill development and training. The global health crisis has acted as a catalyst for innovation and technology adoption, enhancing customer experiences. Hospitality education has transformed to meet industry demands, ensuring a talented workforce with relevant skill sets. Aspiring students can explore diverse career prospects in hospitality, culinary entrepreneurship, revenue management, media, e-commerce, client servicing, lifestyle consulting, and health & wellness. Bespoke hospitality has expanded beyond traditional hotels, offering personalized experiences like luxury staycations, glamping, and high-end cruises. Culinary entrepreneurship thrives on creativity and unique dining concepts. The health and wellness segment is rapidly growing, focusing on improving customers' physical and mental well-being. Media and technology play significant roles, with social media engagement, e-commerce platforms, and virtual experiences shaping the industry. Customer service, revenue management, and 'human' skills like critical thinking and communication are highly valued. Skill development is crucial for success in the ever-evolving hospitality field. Professionals who embrace continuous learning and stay abreast of industry trends will seize abundant career opportunities in this dynamic sector. 5. Key Takeaway Careers in the hospitality industry offers various opportunities in hotel management, restaurant operations, event planning, and tourism. To succeed in this dynamic field, skill development and training are essential. Emerging trends such as technology integration, sustainability, personalization, and focus on wellness present exciting avenues for hospitality professionals. Digital skills are in high demand as hotels adopt new technologies and emphasize digital marketing, cybersecurity, data analysis, and guest experience management. Sustainability is a growing focus, with green hotels and eco-tourism creating opportunities for professionals with auditing and change management skills. Personalization and customization are key as hotels leverage technology to deliver tailored guest experiences, requiring expertise in guest management and data analysis. The wellness industry is also booming, offering potential career paths for those passionate about health and wellness.

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Overcoming Obstacles of Hospitality Management in Travel Industry

Article | December 22, 2020

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

Crypto Tourism: A Quick Guide

Article | December 23, 2020

Cryptocurrencies have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. They have progressed from a speculative asset class to one gaining widespread mainstream acceptance. And it's not just retail investors who are interested; cryptocurrencies are finding applications in various industries, including tourism. Yes, the travel industry, like many others, has warmed up to these virtual digital assets. It has even spawned a new type of operation, namely crypto tourism. Introduction to Crypto Tourism Crypto tourism is categorized into two broad groups: the first has tours and travel packages purchased with cryptocurrency. Emirates Airlines, the biggest airline in the UAE, has said it will soon accept bitcoin as a form of payment. Air Baltic, a Latvian airline, has also been accepting bitcoin for a long time. The second type of crypto tourism is trips and travel packages where crypto conferences, classes, or lectures are a big part of the schedule. You might not understand why someone would take a vacation to go to a lecture or learn about blockchain. Well, most people don't go on vacations like these. Instead, they focus on entrepreneurs and crypto fans who want to network, meet people with similar interests, and discuss business ideas. In addition to the usual sightseeing and relaxing, these crypto trips include talks by well-known speakers and industry veterans. Limitation and Scope Crypto tourism is a small market with few options, and only a small number of travel partners accept crypto payments. Also, the people who put on some crypto trips often use these events to sell ICOs and do other marketing. However, crypto tours are great for people who want to learn about cryptocurrencies, meet others interested in the same things, and relax. They are also great if you want digital money to pay for your trip. Then, you don't have to worry about currency exchange rates or losing cash. A Different Reality Crypto tourism might be niche, but it is a new reality in the travel industry. It allows safe transactions and innovative tours, which many businesses are keen about.

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Business Travel

Post-Pandemic Travelers Driving Demand for Private Villa Rentals

Article | August 10, 2021

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

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Spotlight

AirAsia BIG Loyalty

AirAsia BIG is the official loyalty programme for AirAsia and the Tune Group. Established in 2011 and operated by Think Big Digital Sdn. Bhd. - a joint venture between AirAsia and Tune Money, AirAsia BIG is a lifestyle reward programme that lets its BIG members collect BIG Points from AirAsia, participating entities under Tune Group, and also from over 100 BIG Loyalty Programme Partners worldwide.

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Hospitality Trends, Hospitality Management

Auberge Resorts Collection Announces Strategic Partnership with Bdt & Msd Partners

PR Newswire | February 02, 2024

The Friedkin Group announced today that the company has entered into a strategic partnership with BDT & MSD Partners ("BDT & MSD"), a merchant bank built to serve the distinct needs of business owners and strategic, long-term investors. BDT & MSD, through its affiliated hospitality investment vehicle, will make a minority investment in Auberge Resorts Collection, the manager of the award-winning portfolio of luxury hotels, resorts, residences and private clubs set in some of the world's most desirable locations. In addition, BDT & MSD's hospitality vehicle intends to invest significant capital towards acquiring and developing luxury hotel and residential assets that will be branded and managed by Auberge Resorts Collection. The partnership reflects BDT & MSD's belief in Auberge Resorts Collection's unique brand positioning and focus on creating one-of-a-kind luxury hospitality experiences. The investment will support Auberge's continued strategic growth in the Americas, Europe and beyond, with a focus on gateway urban markets and high-profile experiential destinations. "This partnership further solidifies Auberge Resorts Collection's position as the leading name in boutique luxury hospitality and marks a new and exciting era for our world-class portfolio," said Dan Friedkin, chairman of Auberge Resorts Collection and chairman and CEO of The Friedkin Group. "BDT & MSD's differentiated, long-term capital and expertise in luxury hospitality investments makes them a perfect strategic partner and will allow us to further grow the strength of the Auberge brand." "Auberge is a world-class manager of distinctive luxury hotel properties, with an exceptional track record of delivering curated guest experiences in the world's leading hospitality markets. We are excited to be a part of its future and look forward to partnering with Auberge's talented team to build on its differentiated strengths and accelerate further growth," said Coburn Packard, partner & head of real estate at BDT & MSD. Since becoming part of The Friedkin Group in 2013, Auberge Resorts Collection has grown into the leading name in boutique luxury hospitality, comprising 27 unparalleled properties across the U.S., Latin America and Europe, with a development pipeline of over a dozen hotels and two additional hotels planned to open in Florence and South Carolina this year. While each property is unique, all share a crafted approach to luxury and bring the essence of the location to life through one-of-a-kind design that reflects the destination, exceptional cuisine and dining experiences that attract both the local community and global traveler, innovative spas and wellness retreats and highly personalized service.

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Hospitality Trends, Hospitality Management

My Place Hotels of America Opens My Place Hotels-Idaho Falls, ID

PR Newswire | January 25, 2024

My Place Hotels of America has officially opened My Place Hotels-Idaho Falls, ID, in Idaho Falls, ID. This marks the 70th open and operating My Place property nationally. Guard Hospitality manages the property, which is owned by MP Idaho Falls and was developed by Legacy Builders. The 64-key property is pet-friendly and offers many amenities, including complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, onsite laundry, a grilling station, and a 24-hour grab-and-go store stocked with food, beverages, and other necessities. Each guestroom includes a full kitchen and coffee maker. The property sits just minutes from the heart of historic downtown Idaho Falls and is adjacent to the new Snake River Landing Development. Idaho Falls is the largest city East of Idaho's capital, with an estimated population of approximately 64,000 people. The city serves as the commercial, cultural, and healthcare hub for Eastern Idaho, Western Wyoming, and Southern Montana. Idaho Falls' location in the greater Bonneville County is often referred to as the "Gateway to Yellowstone Park" due to its proximity to one of the nation's most popular national parks and its own recreational activities. My Place Hotels-Idaho Falls is also the official hotel partner of the Idaho Falls Spud Kings, one of the newest franchises in the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL)'s Tier 3 Mountain Division, and is minutes from Mountain America Center, where the Spud Kings play. "We were very excited to see My Place Hotels-Idaho Falls officially open its doors at the end of 2023," stated Ryan Rivett, co-founder and CEO of My Place Hotels. "This property boasts an incredible location, and we are confident that our robust offerings will distinguish us in this dynamic market. As we look forward to additional openings in 2024, we are eager to leverage our momentum to expand our presence with a focus on strategic growth."

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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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Hospitality Trends, Hospitality Management

Auberge Resorts Collection Announces Strategic Partnership with Bdt & Msd Partners

PR Newswire | February 02, 2024

The Friedkin Group announced today that the company has entered into a strategic partnership with BDT & MSD Partners ("BDT & MSD"), a merchant bank built to serve the distinct needs of business owners and strategic, long-term investors. BDT & MSD, through its affiliated hospitality investment vehicle, will make a minority investment in Auberge Resorts Collection, the manager of the award-winning portfolio of luxury hotels, resorts, residences and private clubs set in some of the world's most desirable locations. In addition, BDT & MSD's hospitality vehicle intends to invest significant capital towards acquiring and developing luxury hotel and residential assets that will be branded and managed by Auberge Resorts Collection. The partnership reflects BDT & MSD's belief in Auberge Resorts Collection's unique brand positioning and focus on creating one-of-a-kind luxury hospitality experiences. The investment will support Auberge's continued strategic growth in the Americas, Europe and beyond, with a focus on gateway urban markets and high-profile experiential destinations. "This partnership further solidifies Auberge Resorts Collection's position as the leading name in boutique luxury hospitality and marks a new and exciting era for our world-class portfolio," said Dan Friedkin, chairman of Auberge Resorts Collection and chairman and CEO of The Friedkin Group. "BDT & MSD's differentiated, long-term capital and expertise in luxury hospitality investments makes them a perfect strategic partner and will allow us to further grow the strength of the Auberge brand." "Auberge is a world-class manager of distinctive luxury hotel properties, with an exceptional track record of delivering curated guest experiences in the world's leading hospitality markets. We are excited to be a part of its future and look forward to partnering with Auberge's talented team to build on its differentiated strengths and accelerate further growth," said Coburn Packard, partner & head of real estate at BDT & MSD. Since becoming part of The Friedkin Group in 2013, Auberge Resorts Collection has grown into the leading name in boutique luxury hospitality, comprising 27 unparalleled properties across the U.S., Latin America and Europe, with a development pipeline of over a dozen hotels and two additional hotels planned to open in Florence and South Carolina this year. While each property is unique, all share a crafted approach to luxury and bring the essence of the location to life through one-of-a-kind design that reflects the destination, exceptional cuisine and dining experiences that attract both the local community and global traveler, innovative spas and wellness retreats and highly personalized service.

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Hospitality Trends, Hospitality Management

My Place Hotels of America Opens My Place Hotels-Idaho Falls, ID

PR Newswire | January 25, 2024

My Place Hotels of America has officially opened My Place Hotels-Idaho Falls, ID, in Idaho Falls, ID. This marks the 70th open and operating My Place property nationally. Guard Hospitality manages the property, which is owned by MP Idaho Falls and was developed by Legacy Builders. The 64-key property is pet-friendly and offers many amenities, including complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, onsite laundry, a grilling station, and a 24-hour grab-and-go store stocked with food, beverages, and other necessities. Each guestroom includes a full kitchen and coffee maker. The property sits just minutes from the heart of historic downtown Idaho Falls and is adjacent to the new Snake River Landing Development. Idaho Falls is the largest city East of Idaho's capital, with an estimated population of approximately 64,000 people. The city serves as the commercial, cultural, and healthcare hub for Eastern Idaho, Western Wyoming, and Southern Montana. Idaho Falls' location in the greater Bonneville County is often referred to as the "Gateway to Yellowstone Park" due to its proximity to one of the nation's most popular national parks and its own recreational activities. My Place Hotels-Idaho Falls is also the official hotel partner of the Idaho Falls Spud Kings, one of the newest franchises in the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL)'s Tier 3 Mountain Division, and is minutes from Mountain America Center, where the Spud Kings play. "We were very excited to see My Place Hotels-Idaho Falls officially open its doors at the end of 2023," stated Ryan Rivett, co-founder and CEO of My Place Hotels. "This property boasts an incredible location, and we are confident that our robust offerings will distinguish us in this dynamic market. As we look forward to additional openings in 2024, we are eager to leverage our momentum to expand our presence with a focus on strategic growth."

Read More

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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