The best (and cheapest) travel destinations for Canadians in 2019

We’re definitely hitting the January blahs (soon to be followed by the February blahs) so what better time to plan your next vacation? If you’re looking at that post-holiday bank account and thinking planning a trip is totally out of the question, we’ve got a list that just might change your mind.Susan Catto of Travelzoo has put together six of the best (and cheapest) destinations for Canadians this year. According to Susan, these aren’t just great locations to visit, they’re the places where you can get the most bang for your Canadian buck as well as the most reasonable flights and accommodations.We talked to Susan about her hottest tips for each destination so you can have the best experience possible (at the best price) in any of these awesome locations in 2019.

Spotlight

Discover Los Angeles

The mission of Discover Los Angeles is to advance the prosperity of L.A.'s visitor economy and the livelihoods that depend on it. This is achieved by sales and marketing to the principle segments of both the domestic and international travel trade and consumer. In particular, Discover Los Angeles represents the L.A. destination to the meetings and convention industry nationwide; the international travel trade and traveler; the cruise passenger and cruise lines; the domestic leisure traveler; as well as the worldwide travel media.

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Business Travel

Top 5 Ways Big Data is Transforming the Travel Industry Businesses

Article | May 17, 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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Hospitality Management

Age of Digital Concierge: Hotel Chatbots Are Redefining CX

Article | June 20, 2023

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

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Hospitality Management

Deploying Advanced Technology for Enhanced Travel Management Services

Article | June 19, 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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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

Discover Los Angeles

The mission of Discover Los Angeles is to advance the prosperity of L.A.'s visitor economy and the livelihoods that depend on it. This is achieved by sales and marketing to the principle segments of both the domestic and international travel trade and consumer. In particular, Discover Los Angeles represents the L.A. destination to the meetings and convention industry nationwide; the international travel trade and traveler; the cruise passenger and cruise lines; the domestic leisure traveler; as well as the worldwide travel media.

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