These are the best credit card and loyalty programs for travelers

Travel isn't always cheap – sometimes it's free! At least that can be the case for those who leverage the vast network of miles and points programs out there. Credit cards, frequent flyer programs and hotel loyalty clubs allow travelers to earn free or discounted travel, sometimes just with your everyday spending on gas, groceries and other purchases.

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Hospitality Online

From first impression to brand advocacy, the candidate experience impacts every applicant—including those who don’t get hired. Your goal should be to make sure the opinions formed during the recruiting process are positive. After all, every job seeker is a potential guest.

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Hospitality Management

Streamlining Business Operations with Travel Management Agencies

Article | June 29, 2023

Contents 1. Introduction 2. Enhancing Operations of Travel Businesses 2.1 Constant Assistance 2.2 Increased Efficiency 2.3 Travel Spend Reduction 2.4 Advice and Insights 2.5 Travel Policy Compliance 2.6 Greater Knowledge and Visibility 3. Leveraging Business Functions with Services of Agencies 3.1 Travel Management 3.2 Passenger Assistance 3.3 Consulting 3.4 Marketing and Internal Communication 3.5 Technology 3.6 Leisure Services 4. Conclusion 1. Introduction Travel management agencies empower business travel with in-depth analysis, reporting and constant assistance. They improve efficiency in business operations and reduce travel spending through a subscription or one-off payment for their services. With their profound knowledge and vast network of service providers, they offer more discounts and offerings to the travel company’s clients. This feature enhances the visibility and customer reach of the company. They also ensure travel policy compliance, consulting, and other services for better results. 2. Enhancing Operations of Travel Businesses 2.1 Constant Assistance It becomes challenging to manage multiple providers simultaneously, so travel management agencies fill the communication gaps and prevent confusion during travel planning. They reach out various customer support teams and keep track of all communications as an all-in-one solution for global business travel. Some TMCs also assist in day and night shifts to assist with last-minute travel booking and urgent changes in the travel plan. 2.2 Increased Efficiency Travel management agencies help to streamline the booking process. The travel agents would design a comprehensive travel program with travel arrangements as per the requirement of the clients. In addition, they would handle the logistics of making travel arrangements for multiple clients simultaneously. 2.3 Travel Spend Reduction Travel management agencies may charge for a subscription or one-off payment via business travel credit cards for their services. But it leads to significant investment savings, cutting costs over an extended period. They have a vast network of travel service providers offering unique discounts for multiple services. The TMC officials have sound knowledge of reservation availability during particular periods and the destinations at the cheapest fares; that takes care of complex, repetitive and time-consuming travel processes of businesses. Such services make it easy to plan trips, make changes to reservations, and get reimbursed for travel costs. 2.4 Advice and Insights TMC professionals understand the working of the travel industry at its core. As a result, they provide valuable advice on spending the company’s money for greater productivity. In addition, they are experts with in-depth knowledge of new destinations, the best routes for intra-city travel, and general compliance with policies of national and international trips. Moreover, travel management agencies can help to ensure that travelers are fully prepared and equipped for their journey by providing expert guidance and advice on travel requirements, health and safety protocols, and other important considerations. 2.5 Travel Policy Compliance Compliance with travel rules, regulations and policies is vital for travel expense management. It ensures transparency and safeguards the privacy of travel companies or individuals. The travel management agencies adopt a travel policy to ensure efficiency in executing travel business processes. 2.6 Greater Knowledge and Visibility Unclear travel processes cause malpractices and conflicts between travel companies and their clients. Travel management agencies minimize these risks through transparent travel processes. They provide real-time reports of reservations and bookings. They help manage travel within strict budgets, offering travel trend analyses for better decisions. In addition, they manage travel itineraries and assist businesses in every process. 3. Leveraging Business Functions with Services of Agencies 3.1 Travel Management Travel management is the base of organizing and handling travel business, reservation of transport tickets, searches for accommodations, car rental, etc. Still, new technologies have transformed the traditional methods of travel operations. In addition, it undertakes price comparisons or strategies for more deals and discounts. 3.2 Passenger Assistance As global travel continues to increase in frequency and complexity, travelers are often faced with a myriad of unforeseen problems and issues that can potentially derail their plans. Such issues may include repatriation due to illness, accident, or emergency, lost luggage or documents, flight cancellations, and many others. In order to effectively manage and resolve these issues, it is essential to rely on the expertise and resources of travel management agencies. These agencies specialize in providing comprehensive travel solutions and support services to individuals and organizations alike. 3.3 Consulting Consulting services require taking care of different aspects based on the information of interest for the traveler, like traditions of the destination country, recommendations, cultural references, mannerisms, etc. Furthermore, their efforts are geared towards minimizing costs, maintaining control, and offering up-to-date guidance on travel policy. 3.4 Marketing and Internal Communication As a travel management agency gains expertise, it becomes proficient in furnishing robust assistance in the formulation of travel policies for businesses, along with facilitating efficient communication among employees. The process of policy preparation entails regulations pertaining to business travel expenses and management, which the agency is adept at handling. 3.5 Technology Utilizing the most up-to-date and advanced technology is crucial for any travel company in today's world. This allows travel companies to request and compare travel services such as booking tickets, finding suitable accommodations, managing billing, and providing emergency services in a more efficient and effective manner. With the latest business travel software, the companies can leverage automation and artificial intelligence to streamline their operations and offer personalized services to their customers. For instance, chatbots can assist customers with their travel plans, provide recommendations, and handle queries in real-time. 3.6 Leisure Services Travel management companies also offer direct discounts or revised policies for travel and leisure activities in exceptional cases for the company’s employees and relatives. They provide value-adding services meeting the current expectations and needs of the companies through a comprehensive management of corporate travel. 4. Conclusion Travel management agencies help travel companies in every aspect of their business, from travel management, passenger assistance, consulting, marketing and internal communication, and technology to leisure services. They provide constant help, increased efficiency, valuable insights and business advice. In addition, with profound years of experience, knowledge and a solid network, they give enhanced visibility to travel businesses. They reduce travel spend and ensure travel policy compliance between travel companies and their clients, encouraging customer loyalty and trust.

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Hospitality Management

Augmented Reality Transforming the Travel and Hospitality Industry

Article | June 20, 2023

“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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Hospitality Management

5 Reasons the BMW Performance Center West is a Business Itinerary Imperative

Article | June 19, 2023

With the travel and tourism sector having taken a gut punch this year amid coronavirus concerns, many business groups and professionals are seeking new and innovative ways to enjoy memorable team events, proffer inspiring staff incentives and have some impactful one-on-one with customers and clients particularly those activities that inherently facilitate large crowd avoidance. With that, I’ve found a fabulous option in the BMW Performance Center West. This permanent performance driver training facility, located in Thermal, California near Palm Springs, offers one-of-a-kind experiences for both business groups and individuals that are taught by BMW professional driving instructors on a private course. With up to 5.1 miles of expansive track layouts, the facility offers various driving programs and schools allowing participants to get behind the wheel of “the Ultimate Driving Machine” and learn key skills. Things like proper vision, basic car control, panic braking, handling, last-minute emergency lane changing, distracted driving, high-speed control and precision driving are all taught. Plus, it’s just plain old adrenaline-inducing fun. The facility, which opened in 2015, offers various driving solutions for people of all ages and capabilities, and they also have special programs and meeting space for private and corporate groups. So, your entire department or company at large can get in on the action! There are multiple one- and two-day driving schools and experiences, private instruction, customizable events and the opportunity to experience the expansive, luxurious facility in either BMW or MINI vehicles. Here are my top five reasons why this facility is a must-visit vacation destination, with the finer details courtesy of the BMW Performance Center West: 1. Private Instruction in the latest and greatest models Instruction at the facility encompasses the full line of the newest BMW and MINI vehicles. In fact, there are reportedly over 100 new models available for activities at the BMW Performance Center West. Also notable is the fact that all BMW driving experiences and schools are taught by professional BMW Driving Instructors, many of whom are professional race car drivers with dozens of wins. They even hold two world records: Longest Drift in eight hours (232.5 miles) and Longest Tandem Drift (39.25 miles). These BMW Professional Driving instructors teach you how to handle your vehicle in challenging situations and conditions including accident avoidance, cornering, drifting, car control, braking and more. A skidpad allows drivers to feel oversteer and understeer, simulating hydroplaning or driving on black ice and providing the opportunity to learn how to handle those situations. The skidpad also provides advanced drivers with the thrilling experience of drifting. The tight performance track offers plenty of opportunity to learn how to control a vehicle at various speeds and cornering situations. Drivers can definitely satisfy their need for speed and excitement on one of the four tracks and experience driving scenarios they’ve only ever seen in the movies. 2. A variety of track experiences are available In addition to BMW-dedicated tracks and a polished wet skidpad, some classes take advantage of the FIA certified race tracks of The Thermal Club. There are three tracks there with a combined length of 5.1 miles. The North Palm track is 1.2 miles long, the Desert Palm track is 1.8 miles long, and the South Palm track is also 1.8 miles long. Their newly-opened Off-Road Track allows drivers to experience extreme angles in the BMW X-series vehicles, splashing through water obstacles, driving over bumpy off-road trails and more. The vertical angles are literally steeper than any street in San Francisco and the visual sensation is amazing. Drivers often say, “I didn’t know a car could do that!” 3. A range of performance driving experiences are offered Each BMW Performance Center West’s fun and action-packed driving programs delivers a robust experience that you’re sure not to forget. These include: -- BMW Performance Center Drive: This option packs a real punch with two intense and exhilarating driving sessions capped off with a Hot Lap by a Certified BMW instructor. -- M Track Drive: This is the perfect combination of machine and track with six hard-charging laps on one of the tracks of The Thermal Club pushing a BMW M3 or M4 to its limits. Featuring the facility’s most powerful and responsive vehicles, the M Track Drive will put you behind the wheel of an M car for six exhilarating laps on an FIA Certified racetrack. You’ll follow an instructor’s car for a warm-up lap and also learn the proper line for achieving the best time. Then, try to keep their car in your sights as speeds and g-forces increase, pushing your M car to its considerable limits. -- The Ultimate BMW Mixer / The Track Meet: This is a unique driving and dining experience that elevates gift-giving, business networking and client entertaining to a whole new level. It’s a great way to get a taste of what the group events can offer. The mixer is a half-day experience that includes a delicious chef-prepared lunch, three exhilarating driving sessions in a fleet of brand-new BMWs and a Hot Lap around the track with a BMW pro at the wheel. The afternoon is capped off at a private reception with hors d’oeuvres and beverages at the BMW Performance Center. If you do have business needs, the facility has meeting spaces with multimedia capabilities, site-wide Wi-Fi and both indoor and outdoor dining with a delicious catering menu. 4. Both one- and two-day car control schools are available Engage your senses and push through your comfort zone by learning vehicle handling, quick judgment and accident avoidance skills—all developed in a controlled environment with a BMW-certified instructor observing and coaching via radio. These include real-world driving conditions and scenarios—wet pavement, emergency braking and lane changes, distracted driving and more. For the two-day options, participants will build on and reinforce the skills and techniques learned on day one. More seat time and real-time feedback takes driving abilities to the next level. Day two is when things really “click” and safe driving instincts kick in. This is also the day participants will experience an Instructor Hot Lap. There are a wide range of driving school options at the BMW Performance Driving Center that are available to individuals and groups, alike. Below is a brief synopsis of each: -- Car Control School: Take the wheel of a BMW and head out to the track, where professional instructors will hone your driving skills. Understanding stability control, knowing what to do when a vehicle starts to slide on the wet skid-pad and practicing proper vision through the lane-change course will allow you to anticipate situations on a real road. Available as a one-day, or for even more in-depth instruction, two-day course. -- M School: Take the wheel of a high-performance BMW M vehicle and experience the power of M firsthand. Accelerate, corner and brake faster than you ever have before, then learn to maintain control in low traction conditions on the facility’s wet skidpad and keep 400 horsepower under control. End the day with a hot lap in an instructor-driven M vehicle. Available as a one-day, or for even more pulse-pounding excitement, a full two-day course. -- One-Day M School: Learn the theory, physics and mechanics of performance driving. M School builds confidence and consistency while perfecting control, handling, acceleration and braking techniques. -- Two-Day M School: Take everything you learned on day one and push “GO.” Slaloms, drifting, braking, cornering at optimum slip, full- and modified-time laps at speeds you’ve only dreamed of. -- Advanced M School: Game on. M School graduates are an elite class of driver. They’ve proven that they’ve got what it takes to handle the ultimate challenge: BMW’s Advanced M School, held for two full days at road course tracks with pro Instructors, is the closest you can get to a racing experience. -- MINI Motoring School: Take a John Cooper Works MINI Cooper and run it through an autocross course, lead/follow session and some stunt driving techniques, all under the watchful eye of a professional instructor. The mighty MINI will have you grinning from ear to ear all day long. -- MINI Tricks and Stunts School - The first half of the day gets you intimately familiar with the MINI’s handling and capabilities, but the fun meter gets cranked to 11 in the afternoon. They’ll cover silky smooth reverse donuts on the skidpad, J-turns and reverse turns. -- Teen School: There’s a lot for brand-new drivers to keep in mind and the BMW Teen School will allow them to experience how a vehicle feels at the limit in the safety of a closed environment. From wet skidpad exercises and panic braking to performing a double lane change, teens will leave with a solid foundation of vehicle control and a big smile. This option is available as either a one or two-day curriculum. 5. Amenities abound Set against a backdrop of breathtaking mountain views, the BMW Performance Center not only boasts a private course where only you can experience the Ultimate Driving Machine, but also a luxurious modern building, gourmet café, coffee bar and gift shop with exclusive merchandise that you cannot buy anywhere else. Customized corporate retreats and group events held at the BMW Performance Center are a refreshing change from the cliché team-building sessions. All programs are designed to improve dynamics, build trust and facilitate group communication. They have meeting spaces with Multimedia capabilities, site-wide Wi-Fi and indoor and outdoor dining space. In all, this is an unforgettable experience that also makes a great gift idea. With stay at home orders having been lifted, getting behind the wheel of a new BMW at the BMW Performance Center West is a “bucket list” excursion sure to leave you longing for more.

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Hospitality Trends

Why Working in Hotel Management is a Nightmare!

Article | January 3, 2022

If a kid comes to me nowadays and tells me about his passion for working in the hotel industry, he goes back home with a dream to become a pilot. I am not saying that the hotel industry is the worst kind of industry currently existing in today’s environment, but I am also not denying that. Now, no offence to the hoteliers. You guys rock! It is no joke to work on a New Year Eve and see other people celebrating it while you guys make it happen. You have my respect! But I am probably not that tough. It took me a whole trial and error approach to declare this industry a nightmare for me. But I have so many of my friends still working in hotels and loving every second of their life. (At least that’s what they tell me.) So why were our experiences so different? Why do I know that so many people are not really made for this industry? And what does it take to be a hotelier? I will try to answer these questions through my experience and observations. Why Hotel Management? It is that one question that is the most common and important one. Before taking any big decision, one should be asking a similar question. But what was my why? Allow me to rewind my journey. I was in my 12th with commerce stream, and I was going through that self-enquiry phase. What after this? There was no 13th, nor did I enjoy accountancy too much to do it until I die. So I used to surf the internet and explore different career options almost every day. That was one of my significant hobbies during that time. I used to evaluate my choices, and very soon I understood that I had limited options in the commerce field. So it was arts then? But what was the median salary in that sector? After a lot of research, I realised the median salary in the arts sector was ‘disappointing’. But still, if not that, then what? What was I going to do with my life? It was then that I saw the picture of a cruise ship and remembered 'Titanic'. It was then that I imagined the luxury of a 5-star hotel. It was that moment where I was about to make one of the stupidest decisions of my life. I had never stepped into a kitchen nor showed the slightest interest in making any dish. I never really fancied cleaning glasses, nor did I like managing people under me. I also didn’t know absolutely anything about what was this industry all about. But I dared to share it with my sister, and she was like, wow! It sounds so different! I told this to my friends, and they were like, wow! We always knew you would be doing something different! I told this to my father, and he told me students have to clean toilets during the internship, and I shouted, ‘But that’s not a big deal! Anyone can do that!’ Dad said, ‘Do whatever you want to do then, my son.’ Well, so what did I want apart from freedom in my life at that point? Maybe maturity? Oh! Screw that! So I gave the entrance exam and got a decent rank. I desired to stand in the lobby of a 5-star-hotel and meet salacious women. I was pretty sure that many women would choose that industry apart from me. That was enough motivation! So yes, my reasons to choose the hotel industry was very logical and thoughtful, suffice to say. What Happens in a Hotel? The hotel industry is one of the most glamorous industries out there. Everything is so clean, eloquent, expensive, and pretty. People come to a 5-star hotel, are warmly welcomed, served drinks; they are provided comfortable beds to sleep in, and they enjoy their stay and endless services. Then they simply check out. My only mistake while considering this option was that I wouldn’t be treated like one of those ‘People’ there. In our very first lecture, the term ‘Guest’ was taught to us and how we are not them. We are the ones who would serve them. We would be the waiters, the cooks, the greeters, the bartenders, etc. We wouldn’t be drinking with them but watching them while they would be cavorting. That was a shocker! So many things happen in a hotel, and hoteliers make those things happen. They do all the hard work. The Bakery Chef would spend hours decorating the cake, which the guests would smash on each other's faces. The housekeeper would clean the bathtub while the guest would take five more baths after that. The front desk agent would be greeting the guest during check-in, and the guest would throw tantrums because of his arduous journey. Suddenly my bubble broke, and I realised what I really signed for. I signed for an everyday vacation in hell. Who Survives? I think adulthood is about that realisation when you get to know that bread isn’t free. And what buys that bread isn’t that easy to get. And how much that thing matters to you is going to decide how happy you are going to be in your life. If I was that guy who had grown up watching Masterchef and experimenting in the Kitchen all my life, then a Gordon Ramsey could have come out of me. If I were a fastidious guy who wanted everything to be clean and perfect, then an entrepreneur or a manager could have come out of me who would have tried to do that during his job. If I were a guy who loved making people smile, then interacting with guests while serving the food or taking their check-ins would have been the best things out there for me. You get my point! There are so many things that could have made hotel management an ideal career choice for me. It really is a glamorous industry, and it can provide satisfaction as a career option to some people out there. But that wasn’t the case with me. Sadly that wasn’t the case with many of my batchmates and colleagues of mine as well. After completing my three-year graduation, four-month industrial training, and one-year job as a Front Desk Agent, I quit. Nor could the managers inspire me, nor any other incentives that the industry had to offer. My future looked as grim as the life of an insect (No offence to you if you are an insect.) So yes, be wise before choosing this industry because this industry demands a lot! It is one of the most selfless jobs out there, and you have to be prepared for the nasty feedbacks after all your hard work. So do some self-inspection (Unlike me) if you are stuck in this industry or are planning to do so. And if you love where you are right now, then as I said, you have my respect.

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Spotlight

Hospitality Online

From first impression to brand advocacy, the candidate experience impacts every applicant—including those who don’t get hired. Your goal should be to make sure the opinions formed during the recruiting process are positive. After all, every job seeker is a potential guest.

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Hospitality Trends, Hospitality Management

Sonesta Announces First Sonesta Es Suites Ground Up Development

PR Newswire | January 24, 2024

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

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Travel Technology, Airlines and Airports

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

PR Newswire | January 22, 2024

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

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Travel Technology, Destination and Tourism

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

PR Newswire | January 23, 2024

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

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Hospitality Trends, Hospitality Management

Sonesta Announces First Sonesta Es Suites Ground Up Development

PR Newswire | January 24, 2024

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

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Travel Technology, Airlines and Airports

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

PR Newswire | January 22, 2024

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

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Travel Technology, Destination and Tourism

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

PR Newswire | January 23, 2024

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

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Events