Features and Advice

“Alexa – Ask HotelPlanner to Make a New Reservation:” Travel Technology Company Launches Alexa-Enabled Booking Feature

HotelPlanner, a leading travel technology platform powered by proprietary artificial intelligence, announced the launch of its new Alexa-enabled hotel booking feature that immediately connects customers to a global gig-based ‘Hotel Planner’ agent to book a discounted hotel stay – anywhere in the world – at any time, an industry first.The announcement is well-timed with the rise in voice-activated technology and the ‘Internet of Things’ revolution that is already disrupting every industry across the globe.

How Alexa-Enabled Hotel Bookings Work
Using an Alexa device or the Alexa app, a customer must first say “Alexa – enable the HotelPlanner skill.” Once the skill is enabled, customers can then activate the feature any time by saying “Alexa – open HotelPlanner” or “Alexa – ask HotelPlanner to make a new reservation in Boston.”

Once a customer tells Alexa their travel details, the service immediately connects the customer to a live Hotel Planner as a priority call, which bypasses the call queue. The Hotel Planner can then typically offer a discounted rate before completing the booking. This is equivalent to having a personal hotel concierge at one’s beck and call anytime help is needed with hotel bookings.

HotelPlanner’s proprietary artificial intelligence and VOIP capabilities will also try to route customers to a gig-based Hotel Planner who either lives in, or knows about, the customer’s desired destination so that they can provide localized and personalized service.And this new booking feature is completely free of charge.


Staying Ahead of the Technology Curve
Since its founding in 2004, HotelPlanner has sought to stay ahead of the technology curve with next generation features that anticipate evolving customer needs to further simplify and automate the hotel booking process.

For example, HotelPlanner pioneered the electronic Request for Proposal (eRFP) process for group bookings in 2004, and then added an online negotiation capability in 2009. In 2014, the company launched its instant group booking feature. In May 2020, at the height of the pandemic, HotelPlanner launched its global gig-economy based reservations platform in response to an influx of customer calls, an industry first for an online travel agency.

“We believe that adding Alexa-enabled hotel bookings is an industry game changer,As the Internet of Things and smart homes, smart cars and smart offices become more ubiquitous, HotelPlanner is ready to provide a tech-forward solution that embraces voice activation and anticipates how consumers will interact with technology to make travel plans. And this capability is sustainable, scalable, and complementary with the ongoing expansion of our gig-based Hotel Planner reservation platform.”

-John Prince, Co-Founder & Chief Information Officer, HotelPlanner.

The transaction is expected to enable HotelPlanner to transform into a diversified hotel and event booking platform with complementary revenue streams, and to provide the combined company opportunities to realize multiple operating synergies to drive growth at scale.

About HotelPlanner
HotelPlanner is a leading travel technology company that combines proprietary artificial intelligence capabilities with a 24/7 global gig-based reservations and customer service network. HotelPlanner travel agents can customize all traveler hotel & accommodation needs from a single platform while providing localized advice. HotelPlanner is one of the leading providers of individual, group and corporate travel bookings, specializing in unique “Closed User Group” discounted rates offered in unpublished private sale environments. Founded in 2004, HotelPlanner has enduring partnerships with many of the world’s largest OTAs, well-known hotel chains, individual hotels, online wedding providers, ancillary lodging providers, corporations, professional and amateur sports teams and franchises, universities and government agencies.For more information, please visit https://www.hotelplanner.com

About Reservations.com
Reservations.com is an award-winning online travel company on a mission to bring the human-touch back to travel. Founded in 2014 with a focus on helping consumers create memorable travel experiences, Reservations.com has experienced rapid growth. Reservations.com's user-friendly website offers unparalleled visibility into hotels, including: descriptions, pricing information, and reviews of nearly 500,000 properties globally. The company is on a journey to enable customers to not only reserve hotels, but to create memories.more information, please visit www.reservations.com

About Astrea Acquisition Corp.
Astrea Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: ASAXU) is a blank check company organized for the purpose of effecting a merger, capital stock exchange, asset acquisition or other similar business combination with one or more businesses or entities. While we intend to evaluate opportunities in many industries, we are targeting technology-enhanced high-growth companies that have clear differentiated business models suited for disruption in their sectors. The diverse experience, extensive relationship network, and successful SPAC experience of our management team and board of directors make Astrea an ideal partner for businesses that have the potential to become outstanding public companies.

Spotlight

Spotlight

Related News

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.

Read More

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."

Read More

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.

Read More