This Is the One Place Americans Say They Would Travel If Time and Money Were No Factor

Almost any destination can make for a good vacation, but according to a new survey by VRBO, we’re all dreaming of one very specific location for our next getaway.The vacation home rental service polled 1,067 adult American travelers to find out which place they’d like to go if time and money weren’t a factor. And as the results showed, we’re all dreaming of a trip down under.“When we asked Americans where they’d go if all constraints were removed, the results hinted at why some destinations might remain a dream and how those dreams evolve as we grow older,” reps for VRBO wrote in the survey’s findings. “Among all survey respondents, Australia was the top international dream destination.”With the survey, VRBO hoped to better understand travel preferences and see how age has changes the way people feel about travel. For example, just look at Australia. While it’s everyone’s dream destination, it was only the 18th most-visited destination by American travelers in 2018, according to Expedia data.

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WebBeds Europe

WebBeds is the world’s second largest accommodation supplier to the travel industry operating its B2B travel business through; Sunhotels, JacTravel and Totalstay (Global & Europe), FIT Ruums (Asia) and Lots of Hotels (Americas, Middle East and Africa). WebBeds provides our global network of travel trade partners with the choice of 250,000 hotels in nearly 10,000 destinations.

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Hospitality Management

Big Data In Travel: Triggering Business Transformation

Article | July 18, 2023

Global travel agencies are striving to maintain a competitive edge in the market. They are relying on big data to analyze the current state of the market, automate work processes, and better understand customer needs to streamline their businesses. Big data is now an important part of the future of the travel industry because it helps: Accurate decision-making Customer demand forecasting Service personalization Travel marketing Optimization of pricing strategies How is Big Data Sourced? The following data sources are used to gather big data: UGC Data User-Generated Data (UGC) is the most affordable data to obtain and includes textual data gathered through questionnaires, social networks, and image data. Device Data Device data gives access to GPS data, mobile roaming data, bluetooth data, RFID, WiFi data and more. This data is harder to obtain and is expensive. Transaction Data Web search data, web page visit data, online booking data, etc., constitute transaction data. Advanced web services such as Google Analytics can help collate this data. The sourced data is analyzed using artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing (NLP). How Is Big Data Changing the Way Travel Companies Operate? With the help of big data, you can increase your performance, get deeper customer insights, and offer an excellent customer experience to travelers. Let us briefly examine how big data can help you achieve all these objectives. Optimize Your Revenue Optimize your costs and accurately predict short-term and long-term revenues. Through customer experience metrics, you can also analyze your profit potential, correctly forecast peak period demand and offer relevant services to customers at the right time. As a result, protect your agency from unexpected expenses and make the most of customer demand. Recognize & Capitalize on Trends Historical, real-time data and a standard analytical approach help you understand the changing trends in the tourism industry. Then, you can swiftly take measures to adapt to these changing trends and capitalize on the ones that contribute to revenue. Bleisure is an excellent example of such a travel trend. Improve Your Marketing Campaigns Big data processes large amounts of information on your target audience and helps you see which marketing campaigns can succeed based on long-term forecasting. Consequently, you can prevent any unexpected losses while executing seasonal marketing campaigns. Additionally, big data collects information on your competitors and target audience in real-time, so you know the kind of marketing campaigns you need to execute to remain ahead in the race. Enhance Brand Reputation Big data considers customer reviews and comments to help you understand which aspects of your business need improvement. Internally collected feedback and big data analysis can create a standard to improve the brand reputation of your agency. Conclusion Big data in the travel industry is more than just a trend; it is a tool for better understanding the market situation and each customer in general (potential and existing). All of this lays the groundwork for a more personalized approach and accurate prediction of what customers want, and contributes to an elevated customer experience and an increase in revenue.

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Hospitality Management

Business Turnaround Expert Cites Keys to a COVID-19 Comeback

Article | July 19, 2023

The September 11th attacks. The Great Recession. The COVID-19 pandemic. All three of these seismic and tragic events have resulted in heartbreak to humanity, including loss of life and our emotional well-being both individually and collectively. Of course, accompanying these global crises were monetary meltdowns reminiscent of the Great Depression that commenced in 1929 and lingered until the late 1930s. After a “relatively” calm 70 years, the United States economy has suffered three devastating developments inside the last two decades, alone. There have been wars fought throughout the world and inflation escalations along the way, to be sure, but the start to the 21st century has suffered escalating and unusually concentrated economic calamities some that have profoundly altered the very fabric of our lives, both personally and professionally. Indeed, on the business front, such periods have been among the most perhaps the unequivocal most trying of times. Amid current circumstances as the coronavirus rages on around the globe, I recently connected with internationally-renowned business restructuring executive James “Jim” Martin, founder of ACM Capital Partners with offices in Charlotte, Denver and Miami. Having spent the last three decades leading international middle-market companies through periods of distress and transition to actualize stability and growth, Martin is uniquely well-positioned to share insights on how business can rally to best assure a “COVID comeback.” Here’s what he had to say. MK: First, before addressing the current coronavirus situation, what can you tell us about how you’ve helped companies navigate previous “rough waters”? JM: Relative to the September 11th attacks back in 2001, I’ll share a representative example of a strategic pivot that didn’t just help a company survive, but actually drove profit. After that horrendous event, I stepped in to assist a large aviation maintenance repair-and-overhaul facility whose revenue had been cut fully in half immediately following the attacks the result of many carriers permanently parking older aircraft (including the 727 fleet). The sizable challenge presented was to maintain a 1000-person labor force while allowing the industry the necessary time to recover. To do so, we created a captive subcontracting company to which we transferred one-third of our labor force. During our troughs, we contracted this labor to our competitors and, during peak periods, we utilized this labor for ourselves. Thus, not only were we able to retain our skilled, well-oriented labor force during the recovery, but that very staff actually provided additional, supplemental profit. The end result was that we sold the business for $138 million, which provided our new investors with a 33 percent internal rate of return (IRR). Less than a decade after 9/11, amid The Great Recession in 2008, I entered another industry that proved to be among the most brutalized by a global economic downturn: automotive supply. My client was a key supplier to the “Big 3” U.S. auto manufacturers. At the start of 2008, the industry forecast was the production of 18 million vehicles in North America. Come summer, however, it was clear the automakers would not come near reaching that forecast due to the financial crisis. This did not come as a complete surprise to us, though, because amid our firm’s protocols we had had already fully immersed ourselves in our client’s industry and employed forecasting tools alerting us of trends ... this one in the wrong direction. So, we were privy to the situation well before management and others within the industry. By late June 2008, we instituted cost-cutting maneuvers and furloughs that enabled the company to withstand the industry’s brutal second half of ’08 that would result in two of the “Big 3” automakers filing for Chapter 11. Despite the industry producing less than half—as much as eight million—of its original vehicle-production forecast, our client not only survived, but ultimately grew and prospered. MK: Turning attentions to COVID-19, what do you feel is integral for businesses to survive and recover? JM: For businesses to recover from the coronavirus shutdown, it’s going to take a two-pronged approach: both financial and human capital. Starting with the financial, it will be a “loan-ly” world for those not well-versed in the intricacies of SBA, PPP and other “economic disaster” lending. Consider how expeditiously those programs were rolled out. Then consider how even more quickly they were scooped up. Did anyone really read those loan documents in full, or even halfway through, initially or even to this day? My guess is at least half of the companies receiving COVID-related loans took a very “CliffsNotes” approach to these agreements. The result is there’s a solid chance funds were used incorrectly, which is going to make a lot of the loans, shall we say, less “forgivable.” For example, if your company’s payroll roster is shorter today than it was pre-virus, the portion of the loans forgiven is likely to be less. And while your mind may rush to claiming ignorance and throwing yourself upon the mercy of the government to which you already pay taxes, realize that third-party capital is likely to participate in this market through securitization. This means that thousands of SBA loans could be bought, then packaged to be sold to the secondary market, at a discounted rate, no less. If this happens, understand that the purchasers will have the full intention of holding their borrowers (i.e. small business owners) to paying back 100 cents on the dollar. So, those companies who received loans and are required, but unable, to pay them back in full may be exposed to either foreclosure or, worse, a “loan to own” scenario. In other words, much like the agreement that comes with your big-tech user agreements, like those prompting users to “click agree,” the fine print matters. What this means to recovery is that, once again, cash is king: gather it; preserve it; cease lines of credit; liquidate what you can; negotiate costs down with suppliers. And if your company had a healthy bottom line pre-COVID, than a professional familiar with these trenches can help you look to refinance or bring in equity. With all of that said, the key to a COVID-19 recovery is going to be adhering to the rules of a lender’s road, as well as the ability to navigate the red tape when you veer off that road. If you have read all the fine print and properly managed your loan, congratulations! You’ve acquired some really cheap capital. For those who didn’t do their research, however, this road to recovery likely will need some paving. MK: What about the human capital you mentioned? JM: Yes, and then we arrive at the human capital. Lots of companies today are excessively top-heavy. Remember the part about removing emotions from this process? Companies that quickly recognize cuts need to be made will be better positioned to recover than those who dawdle. Again, compiling and preserving cash is going to best position a business for recovery. This is an instance where it’s especially beneficial to know when to pull triggers (best if earlier than others) and to make decisions that are not based on emotions a tall order for many CEOs, which is why many turn to turnaround experts. However it’s undertaken, what’s certain is that reducing human capital is painful, but it is also often necessary and almost always beneficial. The upside is that, when the virus no longer exits, businesses can already be well-positioned for a fairly quick recovery. Maybe not v-shaped sans a vaccine, but quick relatively speaking due to the downturn having been so specific to one singular causing factor. MK: Tell us a bit about your role as and general value of a turnaround expert when turmoil strikes a business. JM: During times of difficulty, owners and executives can greatly benefit from specialized knowledge that’ll help them best navigate those unchartered waters that are often entangled in a lot of red tape. So, turnaround experts bring to the table a litany of tried-and-true “been there, weathered that” experience and expertise. There’s simply no substitute for engaging with a partner whose entire mandate is ensuring your company’s survival and success during some of the most grim and challenging times it might experience those professionals who are willing to spend sleepless nights figuring out how to ensure the company meets payroll; who’ll work around the clock to keep the company’s doors open; and who can tackle challenges without being hindered by emotions that understandably weigh on a business owner or manager. It takes this kind of specialized expertise, experience and grit to lead companies through periods of distress and transition, to stability and growth. No stranger to corporate chaos, during Martin’s own three decades as a globally-regarded turnaround expert, he has reportedly created and restored nearly $1.5 billion in value to lower middle-market companies; raised an additional $1 billion in capital; and managed mergers and acquisitions in excess of $500 million all collectively representing his company restructuring portfolio valuation in excess of $3 billion. Today, as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on business operations far and wide, take heed that there are various key strategic and creative tactics that can help businesses not only weather the storm, but even emerge stronger and more financially secure on the other side.

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Travel Technology

Trends and Opportunities in Hospitality Management Careers

Article | May 5, 2023

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

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Travel Technology, Airlines and Airports

Flight Chaos: Call Centers Turn to AI for Help

Article | July 19, 2022

In recent weeks, call centers have struggled to keep up with consumer complaints about a large number of delayed and canceled flights. As a result, some are turning to automation, specifically an artificial intelligence program based on advanced natural language processing (NLP). In April 2022 alone, the US Department of Transportation received 5,079 complaints about airline service, a more than 320 percent increase from the same month three years prior. Travel Industry Chasing Task Automation and Personalized Customer Service Customers cannot reach customer service representatives without struggling, waiting as long as eight hours because of cancelled or delayed flights. This situation makes call centers seek the help of conversational AI solutions that offer task automation and personalized customer service powered by NLP. NLP improves linguistic interpretation skills and response rate. In contrast to a traditional interactive voice response structure, which walks callers through a series of menus, modern conversational AI solutions immediately ask callers how they can help and quickly get them the right answer. With the help of an AI-powered solution, call center employees aren’t overwhelmed by lower-level, less complicated queries and can rely on AI to do mundane tasks that consume their time. In addition, customers can help themselves through the automation. Any complex, emotionally-driven conversations are directed to human contact centers automatically. An Airline Uses Mosaicx to Enhance the Customer Experience Intrado, a company that provides an artificial program called Mosaicx, helped an airline client decrease its call abandonment rates by 60%. The solution supports 20 languages, so global clients can be handled seamlessly. AI-powered Call Centers will be Common in the Travel Industry Businesses are swiftly adopting AI-powered conversational solutions to address the spike in flight cancellations and delays due to pilot shortage, the Great Resignation, and the permanent shift to remote working.

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Spotlight

WebBeds Europe

WebBeds is the world’s second largest accommodation supplier to the travel industry operating its B2B travel business through; Sunhotels, JacTravel and Totalstay (Global & Europe), FIT Ruums (Asia) and Lots of Hotels (Americas, Middle East and Africa). WebBeds provides our global network of travel trade partners with the choice of 250,000 hotels in nearly 10,000 destinations.

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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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