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

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.

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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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Destination and Tourism, Business Travel

Sixt USA Announces New Car Rental Branch at Salt Lake City International Airport

PR Newswire | January 09, 2024

SIXT USA, a subsidiary of Sixt SE – the global leader in premium mobility services – is continuing its robust U.S. expansion with a new car rental branch opening today at Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) in Salt Lake City, Utah. Car rental reservations can be made now at SIXT.com or via the SIXT app. Open just in time for ski season, the new branch is located at 395 North Wright Brothers Drive, a quick five minute shuttle ride from the airport, and is SIXT's first branch in Utah. It offers a wide selection of premium rentals specifically chosen to cater to the needs of the market including high-end SUVs, as well as standard and luxury coupes and sedans that give travelers to the Salt Lake City region a wide selection of vehicles to meet specific needs and preferences. To celebrate the opening of its new SLC location, SIXT is partnering with The Hollywood Reporter (THR) as exclusive transportation provider to THR's Festival Studio at Park City during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Under the partnership, SIXT will have a presence in the THR Festival Studio to engage talent with the premium rental car experience that sets SIXT apart from typical rental car services. Tom Kennedy, President, SIXT USA & Canada: "As a major gateway to the Intermountain West region and with the world-class ski resorts of Deer Valley and Park City a mere 45-minute drive away, SLC is an important new location for SIXT. We are excited to bring our premium fleet and service to this dynamic and picturesque region and look forward to helping enable memorable moments for our customers by providing a premium car rental experience at an affordable price." The new SLC branch joins a growing list of recent branch openings across North America including other airport branches such as Raleigh-Durham, Jacksonville, Washington D.C. and several recent off-airport locations including Houston, Fort Worth, Toronto, Boston and Jersey City. SIXT will continue to expand in the U.S. and Canada with the opening of additional locations this year. In just a little over 10 years, the United States has become the most important growth market for SIXT. Today, SIXT operates more than 100 rental branches in 23 states, employs more than 1,700 team members, and now serves 44 of the most important airports in the U.S. In addition, by launching operations in Canada in 2022, SIXT is tapping into another billion-dollar market that also offers potential for synergies with its U.S. business.

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Business Travel, Airlines and Airports

interCaribbean Announces Upcoming Launch of Non-Stop Flights Between Bridgetown and Kingston

InterCaribbean Airways | January 08, 2024

In a significant development for Caribbean regional travel, interCaribbean Airways is excited to announce the upcoming launch of its new non-stop flight service connecting Bridgetown, Barbados, and Kingston, Jamaica. Scheduled to commence on February 6th, 2024, this service will mark a new chapter in the connectivity between these two major Caribbean destinations. Bridgetown, the Southern Caribbean hub for interCaribbean, will see flights to Kingston on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with return flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Operated by interCaribbean's CRJ700 Jet aircraft, this route will be the only non-stop service between Bridgetown and Kingston. "We are proud to introduce this non-stop service, which is a direct response to the growing need for improved travel connectivity in the Caribbean," said Trevor Sadler, CEO of interCaribbean. "This new route is set to enhance both business travel and tourism, bringing these two vibrant cities closer." This new service also introduces convenient one-stop connections for passengers traveling from southern destinations such as Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, Georgetown, Antigua, and Dominica, further expanding the reach and impact of the route. These connections will significantly enhance the travel experience for passengers, providing more efficient and streamlined travel options within the Caribbean. With the introduction of the Bridgetown-Kingston service, interCaribbean continues to expand its network, reinforcing its role as a key player in Caribbean aviation and contributing to stronger connections within the region.

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