The Best Destinations to Solo Travel to in Your 40s

October 10, 2019 | 109 views

Solo travel is not just for teenagers and millennials. Even those in their 40s can go solo backpacking too and enjoy the world! In fact, traveling in your 40s can even be more rewarding and, well, easier. After all, you are mature, aware, and adeptly in tune with what you love. Isn't that the perfect time to travel the world? On a getaway alone to soak up some culture, here are the best destinations:

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,AIRLINES AND AIRPORTS

Age of Digital Concierge: Hotel Chatbots Are Redefining CX

Article | July 19, 2022

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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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

3 Travel Preparation Tips for Your Holiday Trip

Article | July 7, 2022

A holiday abroad is an exciting experience, a chance to be in a new place where you can enjoy the sights and food, and have that much-needed break you need. Whether you are off to visit family or friends or plan to embark on an adventure as a tourist, holidays are the best way to leave work behind for a while and do something nice for yourself. With all the hard work you have been doing, you deserve a break. Going on a trip also takes careful preparation to ensure that everything goes according to plan. If you start preparing in advance, you can cover all the details and relax while away, knowing everything is in place. It is also best to get travel insurance. With it, you provide yourself with coverage against certain travel risks like cancellations, missing luggage, and medical expenses, should you require them while away from home. Of course, it is always best to be safe than sorry, and details like this reduce stress and keep you prepared for anything on your holiday. Below are some travel preparation tips for a stress-free and enjoyable holiday. Try to travel light Travelers find it challenging to pack for a trip. We tend to take extras along with us, fearing that something could come up and we might need certain items. However, it is always better to pack light, as long as you have the essentials with you. Avoid over-packing and stick to the necessities for a less stressful vacation. If you are flying to your destination, have your travel documents organized and in your possession at all times. Find out what the weather is like where you are going and choose suitable clothing to pack. Be prepared for anything You never know what can happen during a holiday trip. You may encounter a few snags such as delays, a change of weather conditions, closed roads, etc. So, prepare for unexpected situations and know what to do if they happen. Furthermore, arriving hours earlier than your flight at the airport keeps you relaxed, which you should be since it is your holiday. If security lines are long and time is of the essence, being there early helps you take it easy rather than rush to reach your flight on time. Book your flight as early as possible Ensure that you get to leave on your preferred dates by booking your flight as early as possible. There have been a few changes in many airline companies where people can quickly make cancellations and other changes. Additionally, there is now limited seating in planes. This means that they fill up the seats faster. Apart from booking your flight in advance, it would also help to book hotel accommodations and other planned activities early on. A holiday is even more enjoyable when you have planned everything out. Make the necessary preparations so when you get to your destination, all that's left to do is relax and enjoy your vacation.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

AI CRM and Online Booking Tipped To Boost Travel Recovery

Article | July 13, 2022

Travel technology professionals view tech as the way to help travel come back stronger, according to research. The TravelTech Show (formerly TTE Europe) polled buyers and suppliers who listed artificial intelligence, customer relationship management and online booking tools as the top three technologies to help boost recovery. Rounding out the top five were self-service portals and innovative payment options. The findings will be unsurprising to many in the industry already looking to AI, the cloud and other technologies to boost efficiency and improve the customer experience. Brian Sheerin, managing director of SABS Travel Technologies, says: Allowing travelers to self-book through an OBT [online booking tool] while still providing simple methods to communicate, such as online chat, are key to reducing customer frustration and allowing travel businesses the space to restructure, to resource and to meet customer expectations. OBTs were already playing a massive part in booking travel pre-pandemic and now it is even more important in the role of rebuilding the sector and customer confidence in it.”In recent weeks, American Airlines announced a far-reaching partnership with Microsoft, Expedia Group unveiled its new tech platform Open World and Miami Airport announced its rollout of biometric boarding technology. Payment developments and other advances in travel fintech also have been highlighted recently as an increasing priority to the industry as it looks to find new revenue streams. The TravelTech Show research also quizzed participants on the top challenges facing the travel technology industry currently, with economic uncertainty taking the top slot (52%), followed by COVID-19 restrictions (46%) and climate change (36%). Cyber security took fourth place compared to two years ago when it was in seventh place. Meanwhile, sustainable travel moved to seventh place compared to the second-place spot it held in 2020.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Augmented Reality Transforming the Travel and Hospitality Industry

Article | May 20, 2022

“I believe that augmented reality will be the biggest technological revolution that happens in our lifetimes.” – Tim Sweeney, Founder and CEO of Epic Games Augmented reality (AR) has proved to be a significant concept in tourism and hospitality management in the past few years. It allows us to enhance the physical environment and enhance the experience of exploring the surrounding area. According to Grand View Research, the global market for augmented reality was worth USD 25.33 billion in 2021. From 2022 to 2030, the market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40.9%. As things keep pace with digitalization and this generation seeks quick and efficient yet reliable methods, every sector widely uses the application of augmented reality. According to Hospitality Tech, the market size of augmented reality will reach $198 billion by 2025, and the hotel business will be one of the key contributors to this income target. Effectively, Starwood, Marriott and Holiday Inn are already making a difference in the travel and hospitality industry by leveraging this technology. An investment in AR brings a lot of change in business revenue for both small hoteliers and prominent hotel tycoons. AR Improve Customer Experience for Travel and Hospitality Redefine the customer experience with augmented reality in the tourism industry. AR-based travel apps help businesses enhance their services and offer personalized experiences to their customers. By adding interactive hotel features that make the space more fun, you can get people to visit nearby attractions. Utilizing CX to maintain and expand a client base produces a terrific asset that positively affects ROI. CX effectively boosts customer lifetime value (LTV), which can become self-perpetuating. Companies that excel at CX and customer-centricity are 60% more profitable and generate 5.7% more revenue than those that don't. Ideas for Implementing AR in the Tourism and Hotel Industry AR is utilized chiefly via smartphones and offers many options concerning interactive experiences. AR in Excursions & Travel Attractions AR technology may be a terrific marketing tool for guiding first-time guests through the hotel and a great way to retain customers and provide more engaging experiences. With the application of augmented reality software, a standard tourist map comes to life. Moreover, AR technology enables clients to examine points of interest, restaurants, and other businesses. Your hotel restaurant may even use augmented reality to let customers explore the menu and ingredients in a new way by showing them 3D versions of the meals on their phones. Transportation If you have a travel mobile app with AR, you can point out the transportation objects to get the best possible directions, travel route, next destination, and places to travel to. Pokemon Go shows one such example of how you can use modern digital technologies to make the travel experience even better. It became the first popular augmented reality game. This AR app brought players out into the street and made them move and travel a lot. Scadi is one such AR app in travel for visitors of Alpine ski resorts. It uses advanced algorithms to create the most comfortable, safe and exciting routes for skiers and snowboarders. Integrates with other technology Using augmented reality in conjunction with other technologies such as beacon technology allows your hotel to more efficiently promote to visitors and upsell through push notifications. For example, through push notifications, hotels may give partner companies special offers or discounts, and vice versa, partner businesses can advertise the hotel. Hospitality Industry Must Make Room for AR for Better ROI In a post-pandemic context, the travel and hotel industries embrace technological advancements that enhance visitor experiences, eventually boosting corporate income and reducing operating expenses. Utilizing interactive technologies like AR, VR, and other interactive technologies increases operational efficiency, productivity, and ROI. By using augmented reality with CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) or EAM, you gain more understanding (Enterprise Asset Management). Augmented reality can assist facility managers in boosting the efficiency of their engineers and reducing the expense of ensuring their safety. AR will assist them in increasing their revenue by reducing their maintenance expenses. Using AR-based product models, the hospitality industry is gaining a significant competitive edge, resulting in faster sales cycles. Case Studies Holiday Inn During the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London in 2012, Holiday Inn introduced one of the first uses of Augmented Reality in a hotel setting. The experiences used picture recognition and chroma video. The program identified hotel locations and activated athlete video footage, merging real and virtual components. This Holiday Inn use case shows how hotels may leverage AR to develop unique guest experiences around local events. In addition, the campaign helped promote the hotel and bolster its status as the official hotel for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Premier Inn The Hub Hotel from Premier Inn, the largest hotel chain in the United Kingdom, is one of the few places to have adopted the AR technology back in 2016. The hotel provided a wall map of the local region in each room. Tourists could use their smartphones to read information about local areas of interest by pointing them at a wall. Conclusion The benefits of augmented reality in the travel and hospitality industries are immense. AR is a potent tool for increasing company potential and returns on investment. Utilizing innovative technology boosts your hotel's exposure and brand awareness while propelling it into the digital age. Augmented reality in the tourism industry truly sets you apart from the competition. FAQ How is augmented reality changing the travel & tourism industry? Augmented reality helps hotels enhance the physical locations they are attempting to attract visitors to, such as hotel rooms and local attractions. What is digital transformation in the hospitality industry? Digital transformation refers to how companies restructure themselves to adapt and modify their corporate culture to empower innovations that utilize technology and propel their enterprises to new levels of growth. What are the benefits of augmented reality? Creates unique customer experiences Reduces cognitive overload Increases engagement

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Enroll today in the Premier Travel Heroes Safety Certification Course expertly crafted by Depart Smart, the nation’s leading non-profit travel safety organization on a mission to help travelers learn how to stay safe abroad.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Agoda and Alipay+ Expand on Their Partnership to Offer Greater Rewards to Travelers Through Digital Payment Methods

Agoda and Alipay+ | August 09, 2022

Agoda and Alipay+ announced a new partnership that will leverage Alipay+ solutions on the Agoda platform for better customer benefits and rewards. This is in addition to the existing integration of multiple digital wallets, namely the AlipayHK, GCash and TrueMoney, through Alipay+ on Agoda’s platforms.With this new partnership, multiple Alipay+ marketing solutions, including Alipay+ Rewards and its in-cashier marketing services, can be used for discounts distribution and redemption on Agoda. This enables Agoda to enhance its transaction conversion rate, while travelers can enjoy great returns in countries and regions like Hong Kong SAR of China, the Philippines, and Thailand – with the possibility of more regions to come in the future. As the global economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, the online travel industry has seen a vigorous rebound. In some key countries across the region, bookings have increased nearly tenfold since the start of the year, according to Agoda data and this number is only expected to increase. “As we gear up for the return to travel, we want to offer our customers greater choice and flexibility in their bookings. The pandemic has greatly accelerated the digitisation of travel and we are committed to keeping with the times as we continue to onboard more diverse modes of payments globally. We value this partnership with Alipay+ as it helps us offer more benefits to the end user through the clever integration of new payment solutions and rewards programs – allowing us to reach out to and target a wider network of customers.” -Damien Pfirsch, CCO, Agoda. Introduced by Ant Group in 2020, Alipay+ is a suite of global cross-border digital payments and marketing solutions designed to enable businesses, especially small and medium-sized businesses, to process a wide range of mobile payment methods and reach hundreds of millions of regional and global consumers. Other leading e-wallets supported by Alipay+ include Boost (Malaysia), Rabbit LINE Pay (Thailand), Touch 'n Go (Malaysia), Kakao Pay (South Korea), Klarna (Europe) and more. “We are glad to reach this new partnership with Agoda to support the recovery of the travel industry from the pandemic. With innovative payment and marketing solutions, Alipay+ is committed to helping merchants reach global consumers as a cross-border economic connector and allow consumers to make payments on global platforms with their preferred digital wallets.” -Jing Yin, General Manager of Global Strategic Accounts of International Business Group at Ant Group Agoda has partnered with Ant Group and integrated Alipay as a payment option in the Chinese market as early as 2013. Since early 2022, Agoda has been integrating Alipay+ payment solutions to accept payments through multiple digital wallets across Asia. On July 4, Agoda also worked with Alipay+ to launch a Brand Day campaign in the Philippines market. About Agoda Agoda helps anyone travel anywhere with its great value deals on a global network of 2.7M hotels and holiday properties worldwide, plus flights, airport transfers and more. Agoda.com and the Agoda mobile app are available in 39 languages and supported by 24/7 customer support. Headquartered in Singapore, Agoda is part of Booking Holdings (Nasdaq: BKNG) and employs more than 4,800 staff in 32 markets, dedicated to leveraging best-in-class technology to make travel even easier. About Alipay+ Alipay+ provides global cross-border digital payments and marketing solutions that enable global e-wallets and merchant partners, especially small and medium-sized businesses, to better serve their users and customers. Alipay+ is introduced by Ant Group, the owner and operator of Alipay. As one of the world’s leading digital payment platforms, Alipay serves hundreds of millions of users by connecting them with merchants and partner financial institutions that offer inclusive financial services and digital daily life services.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,BUSINESS TRAVEL

HRS Acquires Paypense, Enabling Widescale Digitized Payment Technology for Corporations and Employees

HRS | August 08, 2022

HRS, the leading Gobal corporate travel and payment technology platform, announced the acquisition of Germany-based Paypense, enhancing HRS’ growing compilation of efficient corporate payment offerings. Only two years since launch, Paypense’s open platform has already made inroads with a broad range of corporations, enabling employees to use digital payment technology to pay for all work-related purchases. This smarter solution ensures compliance to budgets while also capturing relevant data for auditing, steering and even sustainability metrics. “HRS Pay, reinforced by years of proprietary investments and our 2021 purchase of Itelya to propel the digital transformation of payment, is taking the next step in delivering an exceptional 'in destination experience' for corporate employees, Paypense provides intelligent spend management services for managers and employees alike, whether they are on the road for weeks at a time or supporting a one-day, off-site event that doesn’t require travel. This acquisition represents a new milestone for HRS Pay as we continue to focus on elevating employee satisfaction.” -Tobias Ragge, HRS CEO The employee satisfaction component is critical to driving the successful deployment and ongoing use of spend management technology. Recent research from the Global Business Travel Association, inclusive of feedback from 600+ procurement executives and nearly 2,500 business travelers, found that 85 percent of respondents said that the ease of completing expense reports, ease of expense approval process and speed of reimbursement are important to spend management.. Paypense’s Broad Array of Controls and Efficiencies Redefine Spend Management Leveraging automated intelligence and auto-approved, in-policy purchasing, Paypense dramatically reduces concerns about what items an employee may acquire. This elegant solution appeals to accounting and procurement managers, as Paypense effectively ensures the right amounts are spent on the right kind of purchases, every single time. The under-the-hood approach to managing virtual technology and secure connections to a company’s preferred banking institutions makes this seamless to employees who crave simplicity in all expense-related processes. Other Paypense highlights include: The provision of pre-approved budgets in real time to individual employees, groups, or job candidates via Paypense’s patented "matrix approval engine.” Functionality also allows for the approval and dispensing of increased allocations for emergency scenarios; Mobile app capabilities that facilitate tracked purchases by the employees, without him/her ever having to use their own funds; Automated receipt acquisition for common online portals used by employees, including air, rail, hotel, auto, ridesharing, phone and other prominent suppliers; and Leveraging supplier and localized data, Paypense captures the CO2 emissions of individual expenses, a vital element for companies taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint. “With our open platform, we’ve introduced a unique differentiator for the provision of virtual credit cards for pre-approved expenses, It’s clear from our industry engagement that there is an appreciation for our approach. We’re working in concert with expense providers and financial institutions, not competing with them as we transition from expense management to spend management. And with all parties squarely focusing on enhancing the employee experience, we’re increasing satisfaction even as we uncover new avenues of payment efficiency.” -Christopher Hecht, founder and CEO of Paypense Complemented by this acquisition, HRS Pay now offers truly holistic spend management solutions covering not only travel-related spend, but also non-travel, localized spend that accounts for significant expenses,” said Kurt Knackstedt, Chief Growth Officer for HRS Pay. “With the full integration of Paypense, our complete end-to-end spend management platform provides unmatched visibility of level-3 data, multi-category invoice digitization, and superior VAT reclaim automation – all available globally via any payment provider. Given these cumulative capabilities, HRS Pay is uniquely positioned to deliver the consummate payment solution for Fortune 500 multi-national companies. Paypense’s employees will officially become HRS Pay employees when the acquisition formally closes in August. Christopher Hecht will join the HRS Pay team as Chief Product Officer, overseeing development and working collaboratively with clients, partners and employees to enrich HRS Pay solutions moving forward. HRS Pay solutions will be featured at the upcoming Global Business Travel Association conference in San Diego on August 14-17 at the HRS booth (# 3229). Paypense is also one of an exclusive few new technologies to be selected for the Innovate event in New York City on October 24. About HRS HRS is reinventing the way businesses and governments work, stay and pay in today’s dynamic global marketplace. HRS’ advanced platform technology is extending its reach beyond hospitality to meetings, office space management, payment efficiency and crisis recovery. Beyond cost savings in the global post-pandemic economy, HRS clients gain from an unrivaled focus on essential aspects including safety, security and satisfaction. HRS is also recognized for its award-winning Green Stay Initiative, technology that helps corporate hotel programs achieve their NetZero targets, and its groundbreaking Crew & Passengers Solution, which leverages automation to elevate experiences for air and rail operations. Founded in 1972, HRS works with 35 percent of the global Fortune 500, as well as the world’s leading hotel chains, regional hospitality groups and payment providers. More information at www.hrs.com/enterprise.

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BUSINESS TRAVEL

Cain Travel agency signs GDS agreement with Sabre to drive agency sales and revenue growth

Cain Travel and Sabre | August 05, 2022

Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR) a leading software and technology provider that powers the global travel industry, announced a new distribution agreement with Cain Travel, a US-based travel agency. This new agreement will enable Cain Travel to complement services to their customers worldwide, drive efficiencies and support their economic growth by leveraging their proprietary technologies along with Sabre's travel marketplace (GDS). Cain Travel will have access to Sabre's marketplace of more than 400 airlines, 750,000 hotel properties, and hundreds of tour operators, rail, car rental and cruise providers, to sell customized travel packages from suppliers around the world. Additionally, the travel agency will use their proprietary technologies – powered by Sabre API's – along with the reach represented by the Sabre GDS to differentiate its services among their competitors. "The key reasons Cain Travel chose Sabre were its technology and strategic vision on NDC. We were looking for a travel technology partner that could help us address many aspects of our business – driving revenue, reducing costs, and improving our efficiency, Sabre's technology strategy including its approach to NDC will make it easier for our staff to find the content and personalized offers that our customers expect. We look forward to a successful and bright future with our new partner." -Michael Cain, President of Cain Travel Group of Boulder Founded in 1985, Cain Travel is one of the nation's largest independent travel management companies, providing a unique set of travel solutions. "As the industry continues to recover, travel companies face the challenge of quickly adapting their business to this dynamic market's changing needs and requirements, We are excited to serve as the strategic technology partner for Cain Travel and to bring them onto the Sabre GDS where they will have full access to Sabre's leading technology and broad travel content." -Andy Finkelstein, senior vice president, Global Agency Sales and Corporate Solutions for Sabre Today, thousands of agency points of sale are shopping, booking and servicing NDC offers through the Sabre marketplace. Sabre continues to broaden its NDC capabilities, coverage and content from multiple airlines. About Sabre Corporation Sabre Corporation is a leading software and technology company that powers the global travel industry, serving a wide range of travel companies including airlines, hoteliers, travel agencies and other suppliers. The company provides retailing, distribution and fulfilment solutions that help its customers operate more efficiently, drive revenue and offer personalized traveler experiences. Through its leading travel marketplace, Sabre connects travel suppliers with buyers from around the globe. Sabre's technology platform manages more than $260B worth of global travel spend annually. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world. For more information visit www.sabre.com. About Cain Travel The Cain Travel Group of Boulder, Inc. (Cain) is a certified Woman Owned Small Business founded in 1985. Since our inception, Cain has grown to become among the largest privately held TMCs in the country. Cain has achieved this success through a combination of employing extremely experienced and dedicated staff, enjoying unparalleled employee and customer retention rates and conceptualizing, developing and deploying new technologies designed to enhance traveler experience and facilitate the success of travel programs. The Company is based in Boulder, Colorado.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Agoda and Alipay+ Expand on Their Partnership to Offer Greater Rewards to Travelers Through Digital Payment Methods

Agoda and Alipay+ | August 09, 2022

Agoda and Alipay+ announced a new partnership that will leverage Alipay+ solutions on the Agoda platform for better customer benefits and rewards. This is in addition to the existing integration of multiple digital wallets, namely the AlipayHK, GCash and TrueMoney, through Alipay+ on Agoda’s platforms.With this new partnership, multiple Alipay+ marketing solutions, including Alipay+ Rewards and its in-cashier marketing services, can be used for discounts distribution and redemption on Agoda. This enables Agoda to enhance its transaction conversion rate, while travelers can enjoy great returns in countries and regions like Hong Kong SAR of China, the Philippines, and Thailand – with the possibility of more regions to come in the future. As the global economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, the online travel industry has seen a vigorous rebound. In some key countries across the region, bookings have increased nearly tenfold since the start of the year, according to Agoda data and this number is only expected to increase. “As we gear up for the return to travel, we want to offer our customers greater choice and flexibility in their bookings. The pandemic has greatly accelerated the digitisation of travel and we are committed to keeping with the times as we continue to onboard more diverse modes of payments globally. We value this partnership with Alipay+ as it helps us offer more benefits to the end user through the clever integration of new payment solutions and rewards programs – allowing us to reach out to and target a wider network of customers.” -Damien Pfirsch, CCO, Agoda. Introduced by Ant Group in 2020, Alipay+ is a suite of global cross-border digital payments and marketing solutions designed to enable businesses, especially small and medium-sized businesses, to process a wide range of mobile payment methods and reach hundreds of millions of regional and global consumers. Other leading e-wallets supported by Alipay+ include Boost (Malaysia), Rabbit LINE Pay (Thailand), Touch 'n Go (Malaysia), Kakao Pay (South Korea), Klarna (Europe) and more. “We are glad to reach this new partnership with Agoda to support the recovery of the travel industry from the pandemic. With innovative payment and marketing solutions, Alipay+ is committed to helping merchants reach global consumers as a cross-border economic connector and allow consumers to make payments on global platforms with their preferred digital wallets.” -Jing Yin, General Manager of Global Strategic Accounts of International Business Group at Ant Group Agoda has partnered with Ant Group and integrated Alipay as a payment option in the Chinese market as early as 2013. Since early 2022, Agoda has been integrating Alipay+ payment solutions to accept payments through multiple digital wallets across Asia. On July 4, Agoda also worked with Alipay+ to launch a Brand Day campaign in the Philippines market. About Agoda Agoda helps anyone travel anywhere with its great value deals on a global network of 2.7M hotels and holiday properties worldwide, plus flights, airport transfers and more. Agoda.com and the Agoda mobile app are available in 39 languages and supported by 24/7 customer support. Headquartered in Singapore, Agoda is part of Booking Holdings (Nasdaq: BKNG) and employs more than 4,800 staff in 32 markets, dedicated to leveraging best-in-class technology to make travel even easier. About Alipay+ Alipay+ provides global cross-border digital payments and marketing solutions that enable global e-wallets and merchant partners, especially small and medium-sized businesses, to better serve their users and customers. Alipay+ is introduced by Ant Group, the owner and operator of Alipay. As one of the world’s leading digital payment platforms, Alipay serves hundreds of millions of users by connecting them with merchants and partner financial institutions that offer inclusive financial services and digital daily life services.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,BUSINESS TRAVEL

HRS Acquires Paypense, Enabling Widescale Digitized Payment Technology for Corporations and Employees

HRS | August 08, 2022

HRS, the leading Gobal corporate travel and payment technology platform, announced the acquisition of Germany-based Paypense, enhancing HRS’ growing compilation of efficient corporate payment offerings. Only two years since launch, Paypense’s open platform has already made inroads with a broad range of corporations, enabling employees to use digital payment technology to pay for all work-related purchases. This smarter solution ensures compliance to budgets while also capturing relevant data for auditing, steering and even sustainability metrics. “HRS Pay, reinforced by years of proprietary investments and our 2021 purchase of Itelya to propel the digital transformation of payment, is taking the next step in delivering an exceptional 'in destination experience' for corporate employees, Paypense provides intelligent spend management services for managers and employees alike, whether they are on the road for weeks at a time or supporting a one-day, off-site event that doesn’t require travel. This acquisition represents a new milestone for HRS Pay as we continue to focus on elevating employee satisfaction.” -Tobias Ragge, HRS CEO The employee satisfaction component is critical to driving the successful deployment and ongoing use of spend management technology. Recent research from the Global Business Travel Association, inclusive of feedback from 600+ procurement executives and nearly 2,500 business travelers, found that 85 percent of respondents said that the ease of completing expense reports, ease of expense approval process and speed of reimbursement are important to spend management.. Paypense’s Broad Array of Controls and Efficiencies Redefine Spend Management Leveraging automated intelligence and auto-approved, in-policy purchasing, Paypense dramatically reduces concerns about what items an employee may acquire. This elegant solution appeals to accounting and procurement managers, as Paypense effectively ensures the right amounts are spent on the right kind of purchases, every single time. The under-the-hood approach to managing virtual technology and secure connections to a company’s preferred banking institutions makes this seamless to employees who crave simplicity in all expense-related processes. Other Paypense highlights include: The provision of pre-approved budgets in real time to individual employees, groups, or job candidates via Paypense’s patented "matrix approval engine.” Functionality also allows for the approval and dispensing of increased allocations for emergency scenarios; Mobile app capabilities that facilitate tracked purchases by the employees, without him/her ever having to use their own funds; Automated receipt acquisition for common online portals used by employees, including air, rail, hotel, auto, ridesharing, phone and other prominent suppliers; and Leveraging supplier and localized data, Paypense captures the CO2 emissions of individual expenses, a vital element for companies taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint. “With our open platform, we’ve introduced a unique differentiator for the provision of virtual credit cards for pre-approved expenses, It’s clear from our industry engagement that there is an appreciation for our approach. We’re working in concert with expense providers and financial institutions, not competing with them as we transition from expense management to spend management. And with all parties squarely focusing on enhancing the employee experience, we’re increasing satisfaction even as we uncover new avenues of payment efficiency.” -Christopher Hecht, founder and CEO of Paypense Complemented by this acquisition, HRS Pay now offers truly holistic spend management solutions covering not only travel-related spend, but also non-travel, localized spend that accounts for significant expenses,” said Kurt Knackstedt, Chief Growth Officer for HRS Pay. “With the full integration of Paypense, our complete end-to-end spend management platform provides unmatched visibility of level-3 data, multi-category invoice digitization, and superior VAT reclaim automation – all available globally via any payment provider. Given these cumulative capabilities, HRS Pay is uniquely positioned to deliver the consummate payment solution for Fortune 500 multi-national companies. Paypense’s employees will officially become HRS Pay employees when the acquisition formally closes in August. Christopher Hecht will join the HRS Pay team as Chief Product Officer, overseeing development and working collaboratively with clients, partners and employees to enrich HRS Pay solutions moving forward. HRS Pay solutions will be featured at the upcoming Global Business Travel Association conference in San Diego on August 14-17 at the HRS booth (# 3229). Paypense is also one of an exclusive few new technologies to be selected for the Innovate event in New York City on October 24. About HRS HRS is reinventing the way businesses and governments work, stay and pay in today’s dynamic global marketplace. HRS’ advanced platform technology is extending its reach beyond hospitality to meetings, office space management, payment efficiency and crisis recovery. Beyond cost savings in the global post-pandemic economy, HRS clients gain from an unrivaled focus on essential aspects including safety, security and satisfaction. HRS is also recognized for its award-winning Green Stay Initiative, technology that helps corporate hotel programs achieve their NetZero targets, and its groundbreaking Crew & Passengers Solution, which leverages automation to elevate experiences for air and rail operations. Founded in 1972, HRS works with 35 percent of the global Fortune 500, as well as the world’s leading hotel chains, regional hospitality groups and payment providers. More information at www.hrs.com/enterprise.

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BUSINESS TRAVEL

Cain Travel agency signs GDS agreement with Sabre to drive agency sales and revenue growth

Cain Travel and Sabre | August 05, 2022

Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR) a leading software and technology provider that powers the global travel industry, announced a new distribution agreement with Cain Travel, a US-based travel agency. This new agreement will enable Cain Travel to complement services to their customers worldwide, drive efficiencies and support their economic growth by leveraging their proprietary technologies along with Sabre's travel marketplace (GDS). Cain Travel will have access to Sabre's marketplace of more than 400 airlines, 750,000 hotel properties, and hundreds of tour operators, rail, car rental and cruise providers, to sell customized travel packages from suppliers around the world. Additionally, the travel agency will use their proprietary technologies – powered by Sabre API's – along with the reach represented by the Sabre GDS to differentiate its services among their competitors. "The key reasons Cain Travel chose Sabre were its technology and strategic vision on NDC. We were looking for a travel technology partner that could help us address many aspects of our business – driving revenue, reducing costs, and improving our efficiency, Sabre's technology strategy including its approach to NDC will make it easier for our staff to find the content and personalized offers that our customers expect. We look forward to a successful and bright future with our new partner." -Michael Cain, President of Cain Travel Group of Boulder Founded in 1985, Cain Travel is one of the nation's largest independent travel management companies, providing a unique set of travel solutions. "As the industry continues to recover, travel companies face the challenge of quickly adapting their business to this dynamic market's changing needs and requirements, We are excited to serve as the strategic technology partner for Cain Travel and to bring them onto the Sabre GDS where they will have full access to Sabre's leading technology and broad travel content." -Andy Finkelstein, senior vice president, Global Agency Sales and Corporate Solutions for Sabre Today, thousands of agency points of sale are shopping, booking and servicing NDC offers through the Sabre marketplace. Sabre continues to broaden its NDC capabilities, coverage and content from multiple airlines. About Sabre Corporation Sabre Corporation is a leading software and technology company that powers the global travel industry, serving a wide range of travel companies including airlines, hoteliers, travel agencies and other suppliers. The company provides retailing, distribution and fulfilment solutions that help its customers operate more efficiently, drive revenue and offer personalized traveler experiences. Through its leading travel marketplace, Sabre connects travel suppliers with buyers from around the globe. Sabre's technology platform manages more than $260B worth of global travel spend annually. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world. For more information visit www.sabre.com. About Cain Travel The Cain Travel Group of Boulder, Inc. (Cain) is a certified Woman Owned Small Business founded in 1985. Since our inception, Cain has grown to become among the largest privately held TMCs in the country. Cain has achieved this success through a combination of employing extremely experienced and dedicated staff, enjoying unparalleled employee and customer retention rates and conceptualizing, developing and deploying new technologies designed to enhance traveler experience and facilitate the success of travel programs. The Company is based in Boulder, Colorado.

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