AI-powered bot Eddy Travels lands $500K inaugural round for market expansion

PhocusWire | December 27, 2019

Eddy Travels, an AI-powered assistant that helps users find flights, has just completed its first major investment with a $500,000 pre-seed round. Techstars Toronto, Practica Capital and Open Circle Capital VCs led the round, which was mostly in convertible notes. There was also participation from angel investors in the United States, Canada and the U.K. The Toronto-based startup simplifies the travel experience by offering flight deals in chat apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram and Slack. Since its debut in 2018, Eddy Travels has grown to over 150,000 users and 50,000 monthly applied searches.

Spotlight

There has been a lot of talks recently about Marriott’s proposed acquisition of Starwood and what it would mean for guests, competitors, intermediaries, and the companies’ loyalty members if the transaction ultimately happens. Would SPG members see the value of their points diminish over time? Would SPG members’ loyalty wane if and when they’re integrated into the Marriott system? To inform the answers to these questions, it’s helpful to understand what’s happening with loyalty more broadly in the travel industry right now.

Spotlight

There has been a lot of talks recently about Marriott’s proposed acquisition of Starwood and what it would mean for guests, competitors, intermediaries, and the companies’ loyalty members if the transaction ultimately happens. Would SPG members see the value of their points diminish over time? Would SPG members’ loyalty wane if and when they’re integrated into the Marriott system? To inform the answers to these questions, it’s helpful to understand what’s happening with loyalty more broadly in the travel industry right now.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

HotelPlanner and Roibos Parter on Hotel Marketplace Connectivity

HotelPlanner | November 23, 2022

HotelPlanner, a global travel technology platform and hotel booking engine, announced a new service agreement with Roibos, one of the fastest-growing B2B hotel inventory marketplaces globally. HotelPlanner will deploy Roibos distribution channels to expand its hotel room offerings globally while improving real-time inventory efficiency. “In today’s complex and fragmented hospitality market, we are always looking to improve efficiency and connectivity in the global marketplace of selling hotel room nights, Parnering with Roibos will help us to offer the best inventory at the best rates – at the speed of now. We look forward to expanding this partnership in the coming years.” -Bas Lemmens, EMEA President, HotelPlanner. The direct connection between HotelPlanner and Roibos will help Hotelplanner accelerate the go-to-market on direct contracting, as Roibos is the most cost-efficient way to grow direct hotel contracts. says Anna Igual, Chief Distribution Officer, Roibos. “Accompanying HotelPlanner on its worldwide expansion is the perfect way to expand our reach. It’s a win-win! We look forward to being an integral part of their growth strategy moving forward. About Roibos Roibos is a B2B hotel distribution marketplace where hoteliers and travel operators can connect directly, without intermediaries. This new generation platform helps to improve sales, margins, and distribution, while removing inefficient contracting and complex integrations that reduce profit margins on both ends. Roibos has developed an exclusive Technology Platform (100% in house development), eliminating many traditional inefficiencies, and focusing on what is important to our clients. Roibos vision is to become the most relevant global marketplace for hoteliers and travel operators through reinforcing these three pillars: Innovation, Control and Profitability. About HotelPlanner HotelPlanner is a leading travel technology company that combines proprietary artificial intelligence and a 24/7 gig economy-based reservations and customer service network, to quickly and seamlessly serve all traveller hotel & accommodation needs from a single platform. HotelPlanner is one of the world’s top providers of individual, group and corporate travel bookings, specializing in unique “Closed User Group” discount rates. Founded in 2003, HotelPlanner has enduring partnerships with the world’s largest Online Travel Agencies, well-known hotel chains, individual hotels, online wedding providers, ancillary lodging providers, corporations, sports franchises, universities and government agencies.

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AIRLINES AND AIRPORTS,INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

CNX and New Frontier Announce Strategic Partnership to Leverage Abated Methane Emissions to Transform International Travel

CNX and New Frontier | November 08, 2022

CNX Resources Corporation (NYSE: CNX) and New Frontier Aerospace, Inc. (NFA) announced the companies have entered into an agreement, facilitated by Anew Climate, LLC (Anew Climate), to utilize abated methane emissions to fuel net carbon neutral ground and flight tests of NFA's hypersonic vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. NFA is developing next generation aircraft that can deliver passengers and cargo anywhere on the planet ten times faster than today's jets, while CNX is a leader in capturing and processing methane that would have otherwise vented into the atmosphere, resulting in ultra-low carbon intensity natural gas. The two companies are working towards a path to next generation air travel that is carbon neutral well before the airline industry's 2050 target date. This vision endeavors to bring the world closer together with cargo and passenger flights to any destination on Earth in less than two hours while significantly improving the environmental impact of today's airliners. "Like our recently announced partnerships with Pittsburgh International Airport and Newlight Technologies, this collaboration further demonstrates CNX's unique combination of assets, innovative technologies, and proven operational expertise which is helping to lead the sustainable energy revolution.Through this agreement, we are not only abating methane emissions from being emitted to the atmosphere, but we are also transforming the way people will travel in the future in a faster, more environmentally sustainable manner." -CNX President of New Technologies Ravi Srivastava CNX's carbon negative methane will be sold to New Frontier Aerospace at a premium to conventional natural gas reflecting its low carbon intensity value. The monetary benefit CNX is receiving from NFA for supplying this methane will be used to expand CNX's methane capture program and create more climate benefit in the future. The methane captured by CNX has a carbon intensity comparable to that of environmental attributes from dairy manure-derived renewable natural gas, one of the lowest negative carbon intensity gas resources available. NFA CEO Bill Bruner said, This agreement is a first step in moving from slow, subsonic jets that dump a billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere annually to a fleet of aircraft that are ten times faster with a net carbon negative fuel source. NFA's advanced propulsion, materials, aerothermal, and autonomous flight technologies will enable safe and affordable high-speed travel for everyone while reducing the airline industry's carbon impact to zero. The agreement between CNX and NFA was enabled by Anew Climate, the leading North American marketer of low carbon intensity renewable fuels and provider of comprehensive climate solutions. About CNX Resources CNX Resources Corporation (NYSE: CNX) is unique. We are a premier, low carbon intensive natural gas development, production, midstream, and technology company centered in Appalachia, one of the most energy abundant regions in the world. With the benefit of a 158-year regional legacy, substantial asset base, leading core operational competencies, technology development and innovation, and astute capital allocation methodologies, we responsibly develop our resources and deploy free cash flow to create long-term per share value for our shareholders, employees, and the communities where we operate. As of December 31, 2021, CNX had 9.63 trillion cubic feet equivalent of proved natural gas reserves. The company is a member of the Standard & Poor's Midcap 400 Index. Additional information is available at www.cnx.com. About New Frontier, Inc. ("NFA") With offices in Seattle, San Francisco, and Dayton, NFA builds renewably fueled hypersonic vertical landing aircraft so people and cargo can travel anywhere on the planet faster and cleaner than jets. NFA is supported by National Security Innovation Capital, a Department of Defense program that provides funding to early-stage hardware startups commercializing dual-use technologies critical to national security and economic competitiveness. Additional information is available at www.nfaero.com. About Anew Climate, LLC ("Anew" or "Anew Climate") Anew is accelerating the fight against climate change by enabling companies and organizations to align their goals for conservation and impact with actionable next steps. With a comprehensive solutions portfolio that includes advisory services, carbon credits, renewable natural gas, renewable energy credits, EV credits, plastic credits, and emission reduction credits, we lower barriers to participation in environmental markets for clients across the private and public sectors. As a leading marketer and originator of environmental products, we bring together strategic finance, regulatory expertise, scientific knowledge, and impact focus to make it possible for businesses to thrive while building a sustainable future. Anew is majority owned by TPG Rise, TPG's global impact investing platform, and emerged from the February 2022 combination of durational industry leaders Element Markets, LLC and Blue Source, LLC. The company has offices in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, and an environmental commodities portfolio that extends across five continents. Additional information is available at www.anewclimate.com.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY, HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Optii Announces Connectivity to Oracle Hospitality Integration Platform

Optii | September 29, 2022

Optii Solutions, the leading cloud-based hotel operations software, announced an integration with the Opera Hospitality Integration Platform (OHIP). The new integration will make it easier, faster, and more cost-effective for hoteliers to manage their integration between Optii and Oracle Cloud PMS.When implementing a modern technology solution like Optii, that is powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), integrations matter. When seeking to use hotel operations technology to increase productivity, reduce cost, and improve the guest experience, time is of the essence. The faster a solution like Optii can become operational, the faster the benefits are realized for hotel teams, their guests, and hotel owners. The integration with OHIP will address exactly this for Opera Cloud PMS hotel customers. Dino Pietropaolo, CTO of Optii Solutions said, Not only will this integration save Opera Cloud PMS customers time and money when choosing to transform their hotel operation with Optii, they will also get the latest in API technology and a high level of security with fine grained OAuth 2.0 on all APIs. The self serve aspect of Oracle Hospitality Integration Platform will mean a lot more flexibility and autonomy for hoteliers and for Optii. The typical integration between hotel technology applications and a hotel PMS requires work on both the technology application side and the PMS, while with OHIP, hotelier and technology providers such as Optii can manage the integration process without Oracle participation. “At Optii, customer success is everything. But when delays in integration happen, the time-to-value for our customers is impacted and often the mitigation is out of our control. With OHIP, together with our customer, we are in the driver’s seat and have full control of the process and timeline. This helps our customers realize their goals quicker. We are very excited to start offering OHIP integration to our customers in the coming weeks!” -Katherine Grass, CEO of Optii Solutions About Optii Solutions Optii Solutions is a hotel operations solution that leverages smarter technologies such as artificial intelligence, analytics, messaging and mobility to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of housekeeping and service delivery departments. For further information, please visit: www.optiisolutions.com.

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