Yes, sustainable tourism is within reach

January 8, 2020 | 82 views

Imagine going on a vacation. You take public transportation to the airport. An electric shuttle brings your luggage to the plane. You order an in-flight meal on an app before you board, reducing food waste. You board a hybrid-electric plane to your regional destination. Upon arrival, you check in to a hotel powered by renewable energy and jump in your room's water-conserving shower with refillable dispensers of soap. The next day, you catch a train to explore a nearby village, meeting local people who benefit from tourist activities based on their sustainable management of ecosystems. This vision of sustainable tourism is well within our reach, and there are many incentives to realize it.

Spotlight

Travel Leaders Fargo

Travel Travel/Travel Leaders Fargo is a leader in the travel industry serving clients since 1986. It is a full service travel agency including leisure and corporate travel, as well as specialties areas such as Destination Weddings, Honeymoons, Group Travel, Cruising, Disney, Incentive Travel and much, much more.

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COMMERCIAL TRAVEL

Age of Digital Concierge: Hotel Chatbots Are Redefining CX

Article | May 31, 2022

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

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BUSINESS TRAVEL,INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

Augmented Reality Transforming the Travel and Hospitality Industry

Article | June 29, 2022

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

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BUSINESS TRAVEL

Excellent Customer Experience in Travel Industry Generate Customer Loyalty

Article | May 10, 2022

As the impact of COVID-19 subsides, the devasted travel industry appears to be resuming normalcy with increased travel volumes. In addition, emerging tourism trends and technology in the travel industry have offered new possibilities for business travel to redefine itself. The present opportunities available in the travel sector may benefit your firm. However, customer experience in the travel industry has a significant impact on growing long-term loyalty. Providing a positive client experience is a significant problem for many in the travel and tourism industry. Customer Experience Is a Challenge to Recover Customer experience is a critical component of the travel and tourism industry. As travel volumes have increased in the post-covid era, so have negative travel experiences. Business travelers who commute frequently have higher expectations. For a very long time, they have voiced their dissatisfaction, even before the leisure travelers complained. This imbalance has been exacerbated by COVID-19. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, 38% of business passengers complained about the airline, double the percentage compared to leisure travelers. The actual question, though, is how to overcome this obstacle. Some companies may go above and beyond to reassure travelers with honesty, openness, and unmatched customer service. You may improve the customer experience by implementing the following ideas. Concentrate on the corporate culture Give specific examples of consumer advocacy Equip employees with the necessary tools According to a survey conducted by Think with Google, superior customer service is the most compelling aspect for high-value travelers. Additionally, 60% of them agree that customer service is the most crucial factor when it comes to picking a brand to travel with. CX Plays a Vital Role in Revenue Generation Managing customer experience in travel can enhance the brand-customer relationship, ultimately leading to revenue growth. The adoption of technology for travel booking, ticketing, and expenditure management has improved the customer experience. Satisfied customers increase income and assist firms in calculating the return on their travel and cost expenditures. Customer experience is a key differentiator that boosts customer happiness and loyalty, and both sells and establishes a competitive edge. “CX is the difference between success or slump.” — Chris Pescott, CEO of Perceptive. Annual business travel expenditures will reach $1.7 trillion globally by 2022. According to Statista, nearly 500 million business travels will take place withing the United States each year by 2022. Ways to Improve Customer Experience (CX) Use Tech to Create Breakthrough Customer Experiences Technology in the travel industry is regularly evolving. By putting technology at the center of each touchpoint, the industry is laying the groundwork for a successful customer experience in travel. Chatbots powered by AI and machine learning deliver client care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Chatbots have been intelligently developed using cutting-edge technology and may be used in place of humans. AI is constantly evolving, making it more trustworthy and effective as a commercial solution. Embrace an Omnichannel Mindset With mobile devices accounting for more than 50% of online traffic, multi-device digital experiences have become the norm. In addition, today's customers interact with companies across various offline and online channels, frequently switching several times, and each stage of the journey must be seamlessly connected and consistent. As a result, adopting omnichannel is one of the most significant changes you will undertake. Use Customer Journey Mapping To create a customer journey, you must first understand your consumer. By comparing journey maps to core KPIs, you may gain a deeper insight into your customer experience and identify areas of concern and opportunity. You may use trip maps to enhance the customer experience and visualize the customer experience in the future. Alternatively, you may influence organizational transformation from the stage of inspiration to the planning and execution phases. Utilize all touchpoints and seek new possibilities for interaction. Case studies: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines KLM's social care staff are well-known for their responsiveness and efficiency – the airline even shows a live countdown on its Twitter header picture to inform consumers when they may anticipate a response. However, what sets the organization apart is its ability to generate unique customer experiences. Qatar Airways Qatar Airways is elevating the business class travel experience. At a recent travel industry conference in Berlin, the airline unveiled its Business Class QSuite. This is the first time a business class cabin has been offered and sold with a real double bed. However, the organization goes a step further by providing value to consumers traveling for business. Additionally, the QSuite may be an open work and meeting room. Multiple configuration choices appeal to clients seeking privacy or personalization. A score of 9.2 for audience insights indicates that the brand is in tune with its social audience well enough to cultivate an impressive number of committed followers. Conclusion The travel and tourism industry significantly benefits from nurturing an outstanding customer experience. Supremacy in customer experience can be offered with the help of sophisticated digital technology that can quantify effects and forecast behavior. In addition, as 'bleisure' travel continues to grow in popularity to blend business and leisure time, the customer experience in travel is increasing in relevance. FAQ: What are the benefits of a good customer experience? A good customer experience increases sales and creates customer loyalty. Moreover, it reduces complaints. How would you define excellent customer service? Great customer service means responding promptly to a client's wants, being responsive to their concerns, and offering an enthusiastic level of care. Do you value customer service or customer experience more? Consumer service results in a positive customer experience. Both are critical to the business's success.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Travel Agency Software to Automate and Revolutionize the Travel Industry

Article | April 28, 2022

Technological advancements and the paradigm shift in the travel industry post COVID have altered the way we travel. Businesses have elevated their operations to a whole new level due to technological advances. The digital age has facilitated the travel industry's rapid recovery from the COVID crisis. Additionally, travel firms are embracing automation to save time and reallocate resources. Business travel is resuming as restrictions ease. Companies spend a huge amount of money on travel. According to the York Journal, business travel has increased year after year and is expected to grow to be worth $1.7 trillion in 2022. It further states that businesses allocate around 10% of their revenue on business travel expenditure. So, now is the time for businesses to deploy travel software applications to automate some tasks. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) corporate travel costs is expected to climb by 26% in 2021 and 34% in 2022, despite the slow recovery. The Nelson Research suggests that travel industry experts anticipate that the global digital travel market will grow at a 3.8% annual rate to reach $11.4 trillion. With these rising numbers in mind, travel agencies must step up their efforts to make the most of the situation. Travel agencies often require different types of travel agency software, each serving a unique purpose supporting efficient and seamless operation. However, businesses must strategically incorporate automation into your travel system. B2B Travel System - Automate Intelligently A holistic travel agency software solution includes a travel system that automates real-time operations and streamlines the travel process in less than an hour. Consider the nature of your firm while deciding on a software package and determining which business procedures should or should not be automated. Automated travel industry software, for example, accelerates sales, increases staff productivity, centralizes information, improves accuracy, streamlines booking systems, and coordinates and explores customer data. An automated travel software is mobile and tablet friendly, allowing travel agencies to book hotels, tours, transfers, and other related activities through mobile devices and websites. It improves efficiency and enables the agency to save money and time. Businesses Now Prefer Adoption of Technology Drivers for Smoother Customer Experience (CX) The travel industry is highly dependent on customer experience. Therefore, enhanced customer experience is the new loyalty currency for the travel and hospitality industry. Travel agents and tour operators utilize travel agency software to automate their regular processes. Many predict that emerging technologies, ranging from AI-driven personal assistants to connected devices, will increase opportunities to serve travelers better. 33% of tourists use a virtual travel assistant to plan their trips, says hotelMize. In a survey conducted by DMA, about 59% of participants stated that they choose a travel company based on its value for money, and 58% prefer a travel company based on customer service. Software for travel agencies simplifies the process of online booking, inventory management, package customization, back-office administration, itinerary design, facilitating business leads, and accounting to assist travel agencies in increasing bookings and lowering costs. Consumers demand a seamless experience that is personalized to their specific travel requirements. With cutting-edge technology in place, travel and hotel businesses can significantly enhances customer experience (CX) and foster loyalty that inspires future visits and recommendations. In addition, the travel experience will be driven forward by technology, as customers will rely on AI and other customer experience technologies to assist them in managing the obstacles associated with modern travel. List of Travel Agency Software That Can Transform Your Travel Business Travel agent software enables travel agencies and associated organizations to boost revenue and simplify reporting. Choose travel agency software that can be customized to meet your specific requirements. Here are some travel agency software options that can be considered. Travefy “When I promote my services to my clients, Travefy itineraries are one of my selling points.” Lene Minyard, Owner - Perfectly Planned Journeys Travefy lets travel consultants, tour operators, and other travel professionals save time, provide good deals to consumers, and increase sales by utilizing simple tools. This software generates visually appealing client itineraries or proposals. Over 100 supplier integrations over 625 city guides Live flight database CRM integrations ClientBase ClientBase is a travel agent-specific customer relationship management (CRM) program. Its advanced and enriching features make it a standout in tour and travel operator software, providing solutions for enterprises and travel agencies. A marketing database, a travel planner, and a contact manager are all rolled into one. ClientBase also integrates with remote information systems and booking engines. The core ClientBase features are listed below: Itinerary creation Reservation management Payment processing Travenza Travenza is a cloud-based travel booking software for travel companies, tour operators, agents, and consultants. The suite includes reservation administration, quota management, payment processing, and marketing functionality. Rezdy Rezdy is a cloud-based business-to-business technology that enables tour operators to sell their products online and through different distribution channels. The open platform enables customers to connect their internal systems and online apps to a supplied booking engine. In addition, it assists distribution channels such as online travel agencies, marketplaces, and hotel chains locate and acquiring additional clients' items. Conclusion According to Zippia, the business travel sector is expected to experience a CAGR of 13.2% between 2021 and 2028.Therefore, travel companies must integrate new and immersive technology to expedite the process and provide a seamless travel experience for tech-savvy travelers. Technology has the ability to act as a generational catalyst for customer loyalty. FAQ What are the benefits of automation in the travel industry? Boosts sales Reduces costs Data and documents can be centralized in an organization Increases customer satisfaction and loyalty What is B2B travel software? B2B travel software streamlines various travel operations. It helps travel agents and agencies access real-time data. What system do travel agents use? Travel agencies use airline inventory from multiple GDS (Global Distribution Systems) to find seat fares and book tickets.

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Spotlight

Travel Leaders Fargo

Travel Travel/Travel Leaders Fargo is a leader in the travel industry serving clients since 1986. It is a full service travel agency including leisure and corporate travel, as well as specialties areas such as Destination Weddings, Honeymoons, Group Travel, Cruising, Disney, Incentive Travel and much, much more.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,DESTINATION AND TOURISM

lastminute.com Selects Thoughtworks to Drive Engineering Excellence in a Growing and Complex Technology Landscape

lastminute.com | July 01, 2022

a global technology consultancy that integrates strategy, design and engineering to drive digital innovation, announced a strategic collaboration with lastminute.com, the European Travel-Tech leader in dynamic holiday packages. lastminute.com will partner with Thoughtworks at a time when its business is rapidly resuming after the pandemic, and it is now back at full speed in delivering on its ambitious growth plans. To achieve this, its developer teams are evolving and growing in numbers, all in a very short timeframe and in a dynamic and complex technology landscape. Thoughtworks will support lastminute.com in this exciting transformation phase, to continue to meet the rapid pace of change in the travel industry most effectively and create even more customer-centric experiences. “At lastminute.com, we see ourselves as a tech company that travels. Every month we reach 60 million users via our websites and app and for us it is a business imperative to always make sure our clients have the best customer experience. The travel industry is continuously evolving and the global move to digitalization means we’ll increasingly grow our traffic, as more and more users search for and book their travel experiences online, The purpose of Thoughtworks, as stated on their website, is ‘To create an extraordinary impact on the world through our culture and technology excellence’. This is very much in line with my vision for our technology department, and I cannot wait to harness their thought leadership in software engineering to bring us one step closer to technology excellence.” -Corrado Casto, chief technology officer at lastminute.com The lastminute.com and Thoughtworks engineering teams will work side-by-side in a co-delivery setup on the most business-critical technologies and architectural challenges. The co-delivery work will be supported by coaching, training and mentoring sessions aimed at boosting lastminute.com’s ability to deliver engineering excellence and their ways of working. “In the face of unpredictability and constant change, modern digital businesses such as lastminute.com have an advantage. They have learned to demand new levels of business agility and to continuously innovate, We’re excited to partner with lastminute.com as they continue to drive technology excellence and help people fulfill their aspirations as they return to traveling.” -Gautam Srusti, managing director at Thoughtworks Italy About lastminute.com lastminute.com is the European Travel-Tech leader in dynamic holiday packages. The company operates a portfolio of well-known brands such as lastminute.com, Volagratis, Rumbo, weg.de, Bravofly, Jetcost, Crocierissime and Hotelscan, with a vision to design the future of travel & tourism using digital technology as an enabler. The business is run in 17 languages and 40 countries, with more than 1,500 employees spread worldwide developing owned products and services aimed at powering the entire traveler journey for millions of people. lastminute.com N.V. is a publicly traded company listed under the ticker symbol LMN on SIX Swiss Exchange. About Thoughtworks Thoughtworks is a global technology consultancy that integrates strategy, design and engineering to drive digital innovation. We are 11,000+ people strong across 49 offices in 17 countries. Over the last 25+ years, we’ve delivered extraordinary impact together with our clients by helping them solve complex business problems with technology as the differentiator.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Expedia Group and Bilt Rewards Launch Exclusive Travel Portal

Expedia Group | July 01, 2022

On June 30, Expedia Group, the leading travel technology platform, announced the launch of the new Bilt Travel Portal in collaboration with Bilt Rewards. It will be available exclusively to Bilt Rewards members. Members of Bilt Rewards can use their Bilt points to cover all or a portion of the cost of their next vacation and can book every aspect of their trip directly through the Bilt Rewards app, from flights to hotels and even theme park or Broadway show tickets. Bilt members can access more than 700,000 properties, 500 airlines, 120 car rental companies, and thousands of activities worldwide, thanks to Expedia Group's White Label Template technology. 1 White Label Template includes all of the functionality of the Expedia.com site, as well as tools and customer support to assist Bilt members with questions or bookings. Expedia Group's expert knowledge of the travel industry is combined with a nearly $2 billion annual investment in new technology innovation to meet the changing needs and demands of both partners and travelers. Travel is among the most important experiences to our members, who don’t want to be limited when it comes to using their hard-earned loyalty points, said Bilt Rewards Founder and CEO Ankur Jain. Partnering with Expedia Group enables us to give members a one-stop-shop with access to endless travel options, along with the easy integration to create a seamless booking experience. “We’re excited to power the Bilt Travel Portal, and to help the Bilt Rewards members build the vacation of their dreams simply by paying rent,Our innovative solutions provide Bilt Rewards with technology they need to build a wonderful experience and offer an unparalleled amount of travel options to their members.” -Christian Gerron, senior vice president, Media & Brand Partnerships, Expedia Group. Bilt Rewards members can access the Bilt Travel Portal powered by Expedia Group by logging into the Bilt Rewards app or visiting travel.biltrewards.com and entering their Bilt Rewards login credentials to view available travel supply and booking options. When booking in real-time, members will be able to see the value of their Bilt points, with 10,000 Bilt points equaling $125 in travel credits. Members will also earn 2x points for bookings made through the Bilt Travel Portal with their Bilt Mastercard, and 1x point for bookings made with another form of payment. Bilt Rewards, which will be available in June 2021, is the first-ever loyalty program and co-brand credit card for renters, allowing 109 million renters in the United States to earn points on their largest monthly expense with no fees. Renters can access the free Bilt Rewards loyalty program by living within the Bilt Rewards Alliance, a network of over 2 million rental units in the United States, or by using the Bilt Mastercard, the first credit card that can be used to pay rent with no transaction fees at any rental unit in the United States. In addition, Bilt members have access to one of the most valuable rewards programs available, with the ability to redeem points for travel, boutique fitness classes, limited-edition art, and home décor, as well as rent credits and even a down payment on a future home. Members now have access to thousands of new options for redeeming their points thanks to the addition of the Bilt Travel Portal powered by Expedia Group, further increasing the value of Bilt's

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DESTINATION AND TOURISM,BUSINESS TRAVEL

EBG Acquires Undercover Tourist

EBG | June 30, 2022

EBG, one of the rapidly growing e-commerce solutions providers in the U.S. specializing in entertainment and travel, is acquiring Undercover Tourist, a privately held successful B2C online travel marketplace in the country. It specializes in theme parks and attractions. “With the addition of the Undercover Tourist platform to the EBG portfolio, we are gaining a strong consumer brand with a loyal customer following along with a robust knowledge base of engaging content for theme park vacations. We look forward to collaborating with the Undercover Tourist team to expand the platform and to help our supplier partners increase their reach,” -EBG CEO and Founder Brett Reizen. We are excited for Undercover Tourist to take this big leap, which is poised for growth and national product expansion and support as part of EBG’s network. I’m so proud of what the team has built over the years and the future offers amazing opportunities fueled by EBG's insight and guidance, explained Undercover Tourist CEO and Founder Ian Ford. The acquisition complements EBG's current offerings and will broaden EBG's portfolio to serve the B2C market while also providing timely and engaging content such as trip planning advice, travel tips, and more. The Undercover Tourist brand and platform will remain a separate business unit, with product offerings expanding nationally. EBG powers a diverse portfolio of technology solutions and operates a network of employer and membership-based platforms that reach a captive audience, providing leading brands with new distribution channels. The EBG network reaches over 100 million users through participating companies and closed-loop affinity and membership groups. Undercover Tourist, a travel website and theme park expert founded in 2000, has sold over 25 million theme park admission tickets to popular destinations and attractions such as Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood, SeaWorld Parks, LEGOLAND Parks, and others. Along with saving time and money on attraction tickets, hotels, and car rentals, Undercover Tourist provides free vacation planning tools such as crowd calendars, park planning apps, and more.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,DESTINATION AND TOURISM

lastminute.com Selects Thoughtworks to Drive Engineering Excellence in a Growing and Complex Technology Landscape

lastminute.com | July 01, 2022

a global technology consultancy that integrates strategy, design and engineering to drive digital innovation, announced a strategic collaboration with lastminute.com, the European Travel-Tech leader in dynamic holiday packages. lastminute.com will partner with Thoughtworks at a time when its business is rapidly resuming after the pandemic, and it is now back at full speed in delivering on its ambitious growth plans. To achieve this, its developer teams are evolving and growing in numbers, all in a very short timeframe and in a dynamic and complex technology landscape. Thoughtworks will support lastminute.com in this exciting transformation phase, to continue to meet the rapid pace of change in the travel industry most effectively and create even more customer-centric experiences. “At lastminute.com, we see ourselves as a tech company that travels. Every month we reach 60 million users via our websites and app and for us it is a business imperative to always make sure our clients have the best customer experience. The travel industry is continuously evolving and the global move to digitalization means we’ll increasingly grow our traffic, as more and more users search for and book their travel experiences online, The purpose of Thoughtworks, as stated on their website, is ‘To create an extraordinary impact on the world through our culture and technology excellence’. This is very much in line with my vision for our technology department, and I cannot wait to harness their thought leadership in software engineering to bring us one step closer to technology excellence.” -Corrado Casto, chief technology officer at lastminute.com The lastminute.com and Thoughtworks engineering teams will work side-by-side in a co-delivery setup on the most business-critical technologies and architectural challenges. The co-delivery work will be supported by coaching, training and mentoring sessions aimed at boosting lastminute.com’s ability to deliver engineering excellence and their ways of working. “In the face of unpredictability and constant change, modern digital businesses such as lastminute.com have an advantage. They have learned to demand new levels of business agility and to continuously innovate, We’re excited to partner with lastminute.com as they continue to drive technology excellence and help people fulfill their aspirations as they return to traveling.” -Gautam Srusti, managing director at Thoughtworks Italy About lastminute.com lastminute.com is the European Travel-Tech leader in dynamic holiday packages. The company operates a portfolio of well-known brands such as lastminute.com, Volagratis, Rumbo, weg.de, Bravofly, Jetcost, Crocierissime and Hotelscan, with a vision to design the future of travel & tourism using digital technology as an enabler. The business is run in 17 languages and 40 countries, with more than 1,500 employees spread worldwide developing owned products and services aimed at powering the entire traveler journey for millions of people. lastminute.com N.V. is a publicly traded company listed under the ticker symbol LMN on SIX Swiss Exchange. About Thoughtworks Thoughtworks is a global technology consultancy that integrates strategy, design and engineering to drive digital innovation. We are 11,000+ people strong across 49 offices in 17 countries. Over the last 25+ years, we’ve delivered extraordinary impact together with our clients by helping them solve complex business problems with technology as the differentiator.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Expedia Group and Bilt Rewards Launch Exclusive Travel Portal

Expedia Group | July 01, 2022

On June 30, Expedia Group, the leading travel technology platform, announced the launch of the new Bilt Travel Portal in collaboration with Bilt Rewards. It will be available exclusively to Bilt Rewards members. Members of Bilt Rewards can use their Bilt points to cover all or a portion of the cost of their next vacation and can book every aspect of their trip directly through the Bilt Rewards app, from flights to hotels and even theme park or Broadway show tickets. Bilt members can access more than 700,000 properties, 500 airlines, 120 car rental companies, and thousands of activities worldwide, thanks to Expedia Group's White Label Template technology. 1 White Label Template includes all of the functionality of the Expedia.com site, as well as tools and customer support to assist Bilt members with questions or bookings. Expedia Group's expert knowledge of the travel industry is combined with a nearly $2 billion annual investment in new technology innovation to meet the changing needs and demands of both partners and travelers. Travel is among the most important experiences to our members, who don’t want to be limited when it comes to using their hard-earned loyalty points, said Bilt Rewards Founder and CEO Ankur Jain. Partnering with Expedia Group enables us to give members a one-stop-shop with access to endless travel options, along with the easy integration to create a seamless booking experience. “We’re excited to power the Bilt Travel Portal, and to help the Bilt Rewards members build the vacation of their dreams simply by paying rent,Our innovative solutions provide Bilt Rewards with technology they need to build a wonderful experience and offer an unparalleled amount of travel options to their members.” -Christian Gerron, senior vice president, Media & Brand Partnerships, Expedia Group. Bilt Rewards members can access the Bilt Travel Portal powered by Expedia Group by logging into the Bilt Rewards app or visiting travel.biltrewards.com and entering their Bilt Rewards login credentials to view available travel supply and booking options. When booking in real-time, members will be able to see the value of their Bilt points, with 10,000 Bilt points equaling $125 in travel credits. Members will also earn 2x points for bookings made through the Bilt Travel Portal with their Bilt Mastercard, and 1x point for bookings made with another form of payment. Bilt Rewards, which will be available in June 2021, is the first-ever loyalty program and co-brand credit card for renters, allowing 109 million renters in the United States to earn points on their largest monthly expense with no fees. Renters can access the free Bilt Rewards loyalty program by living within the Bilt Rewards Alliance, a network of over 2 million rental units in the United States, or by using the Bilt Mastercard, the first credit card that can be used to pay rent with no transaction fees at any rental unit in the United States. In addition, Bilt members have access to one of the most valuable rewards programs available, with the ability to redeem points for travel, boutique fitness classes, limited-edition art, and home décor, as well as rent credits and even a down payment on a future home. Members now have access to thousands of new options for redeeming their points thanks to the addition of the Bilt Travel Portal powered by Expedia Group, further increasing the value of Bilt's

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DESTINATION AND TOURISM,BUSINESS TRAVEL

EBG Acquires Undercover Tourist

EBG | June 30, 2022

EBG, one of the rapidly growing e-commerce solutions providers in the U.S. specializing in entertainment and travel, is acquiring Undercover Tourist, a privately held successful B2C online travel marketplace in the country. It specializes in theme parks and attractions. “With the addition of the Undercover Tourist platform to the EBG portfolio, we are gaining a strong consumer brand with a loyal customer following along with a robust knowledge base of engaging content for theme park vacations. We look forward to collaborating with the Undercover Tourist team to expand the platform and to help our supplier partners increase their reach,” -EBG CEO and Founder Brett Reizen. We are excited for Undercover Tourist to take this big leap, which is poised for growth and national product expansion and support as part of EBG’s network. I’m so proud of what the team has built over the years and the future offers amazing opportunities fueled by EBG's insight and guidance, explained Undercover Tourist CEO and Founder Ian Ford. The acquisition complements EBG's current offerings and will broaden EBG's portfolio to serve the B2C market while also providing timely and engaging content such as trip planning advice, travel tips, and more. The Undercover Tourist brand and platform will remain a separate business unit, with product offerings expanding nationally. EBG powers a diverse portfolio of technology solutions and operates a network of employer and membership-based platforms that reach a captive audience, providing leading brands with new distribution channels. The EBG network reaches over 100 million users through participating companies and closed-loop affinity and membership groups. Undercover Tourist, a travel website and theme park expert founded in 2000, has sold over 25 million theme park admission tickets to popular destinations and attractions such as Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood, SeaWorld Parks, LEGOLAND Parks, and others. Along with saving time and money on attraction tickets, hotels, and car rentals, Undercover Tourist provides free vacation planning tools such as crowd calendars, park planning apps, and more.

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