Amex GBT Makes Strategic Move in Middle East

Skift | August 16, 2019

Another week, another major deal for a top travel management company. American Express Global Business Travel will expand its operations in the Middle East, continuing aggressive growth in markets across the world.Despite all the consolidation in recent years, the competitive balance in corporate travel isn’t really shifting. The deals represent a realization that business travel is truly a global industry and serving clients in their region has become a necessity.The Middle East, with Dubai as a hub for the regional economies looking to expand beyond oil, makes sense for Western travel management companies.

Spotlight

Sustainability has risen to the top of the CEO agenda and leaders across industries are stepping up action.1 In travel, many companies are already in the process of setting ambitious sustainability goalsand developing corresponding strategies, including
the transition to net zero. 2 However, to achieve these goals and transition to a more sustainable future, travel and tourism (T&T) companies mustsuccessfully develop products that enable more sustainable travel choices.

Spotlight

Sustainability has risen to the top of the CEO agenda and leaders across industries are stepping up action.1 In travel, many companies are already in the process of setting ambitious sustainability goalsand developing corresponding strategies, including
the transition to net zero. 2 However, to achieve these goals and transition to a more sustainable future, travel and tourism (T&T) companies mustsuccessfully develop products that enable more sustainable travel choices.

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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Mid-Century Modern Style and Sensibility of Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts Arrive on Fifth Avenue, with Second Hotel in New York City

Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts | December 21, 2022

Nostalgic nods to the glamourous era of travel set in the iconic, cosmopolitan allure of New York City's most well-known avenue. Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts – part of Marriott Bonvoy's® portfolio of 30 extraordinary brands – introduces its newest outpost in New York City with the opening of Le Méridien New York, Fifth Avenue. Taking cues from the European-born brand's mid-century modern design aesthetic, the chic hotel is a 21-story architectural masterpiece featuring 165 beautifully styled guest rooms and 17 apartment-style residences for longer stays. "Le Méridien has always inspired travelers to explore the world in style and savor the good life through the lens of its European spirit, and what better city to continue this legacy than in Manhattan, with our second hotel in the destination,As we continue to celebrate the brand's momentous 50th anniversary this year, we're delighted to expand on our global footprint and bring a distinct stay experience and chic signature programs to creative-minded travelers visiting New York City." -Jennifer Connell, Global Brand Leader, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts and Vice President, Distinctive Premium Brands, Marriott International. Designed by Gene Kaufman Architect, the hotel's light-colored masonry façade and grid of windows with dark railings blend traditional elements with a modern flair. The timeless chic interiors, designed by Paul Vega and Vennie Lau of New Jersey-based design studio VLDG, pay homage to the neighborhood that was dominated by the textile mercantile trade in the 20th century. Bold geometric patterns, contrasting colors, and textured fabrics are woven into the hotel's design scheme and infused with iconic New York City cultural elements and modern, mid-century design details. Signature design details include curated artwork throughout the lobby, including a luminous acrylic wall sculpture, a textile column that merges units of color and patchwork to create a patterned field, and a scale map printed on wood acoustic walls. Within the New York-inspired guest rooms, design takes shape with the brand's signature mid-century modernism along with custom murals that depict a map of Manhattan, with connecting waterways. Featuring a color palette with shades of grey and blue with pink accents for a cohesive aesthetic, the rooms – six of which have walk-out terraces – include the Le Méridien signature bed, MALIN+GOETZ bath products, 4K smart TVs, an elevated desk inspired by higher surfaces used by creative individuals, and more. Serving as a focal point of the hotel's public spaces, the Le Méridien Hub is a gathering place and modern reinterpretation of the traditional hotel lobby, serving custom-brewed, barista-crafted coffee beverages during the day and sparkling cocktails in the evening at the signature Latitude/Longitude Bar. The property's all-day ristorante, Allora, specializes in seasonally inspired, regional Italian aperitivi and fare including its signature Miller's Wife Pasta. Additional amenities and services include a complimentary 24-hour health club with Life Fitness equipment, in-room dining, and more. Located on Fifth Avenue between West 30th and West 31st, the new hotel is near some of the city's most notable sights including Empire State and Flatiron buildings, NoMad district, Herald Square, and not to forget, the famed Fifth Avenue shopping, and many more must-see, can't-miss attractions. Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts participates in Marriott Bonvoy, the award-winning travel program from Marriott International. Marriott Bonvoy Members will earn points for their stay at the new hotel, and at other properties across Marriott Bonvoy's portfolio of 30 extraordinary brands, including all-inclusive resorts and premium home rentals, as well as through everyday purchases with co-branded credit cards. Members can redeem their points for experiences including future stays, Marriott Bonvoy Moments, or through partners for luxurious products from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques. With the Marriott Bonvoy app, members enjoy a level of personalization and a contactless experience that allows them to travel with peace of mind. To explore further and make a reservation, please visit www.Marriott.com/en-us/Hotels/NYCCMU-Le-Meridien-New-York-Fifth-Avenue. About Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts Born in 1960's Paris during an era of glamorous travel, Le Méridien® Hotels & Resorts continues to celebrate cultures around the world through the distinctly European spirit of savoring the good life. With over 110 hotels and resorts in more than 30 countries and territories, spanning from Maldives to Monaco and from Santa Monica to Sichuan, Le Méridien's engaging mid-century designed spaces coupled with chic signature programs put a playful twist on art, coffee, sparkling cocktails, summer, family, and inspire creative-minded travelers to explore the world in style. For more information, please visit www.lemeridien.com, and stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Le Méridien is proud to participate in Marriott Bonvoy®, the global travel program from Marriott International. The program offers members an extraordinary portfolio of global brands, exclusive experiences on Marriott Bonvoy Moments, and unparalleled benefits including free nights and Elite status recognition. To enroll for free or for more information about the program, visit www.MarriottBonvoy.com. About Marriott Bonvoy Marriott Bonvoy's® extraordinary portfolio offers renowned hospitality in the most memorable destinations in the world, with 30 brands that are tailored to every type of journey. Members can earn points for stays at hotels and resorts, including all-inclusive resorts and premium home rentals, and through everyday purchases with co-branded credit cards. Members can redeem their points for experiences including future stays, Marriott Bonvoy Moments™, or through partners for luxurious products from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques®. To enroll for free or for more information about Marriott Bonvoy, visit www.MarriottBonvoy.com

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY, COMMERCIAL TRAVEL

CLEAR Launches a New Identity Verification Technology at Long Beach Airport

CLEAR | January 25, 2023

On January 24, 2023, the consumer services company - CLEAR launched its identity verification technology at Long Beach Airport, making travelers' identity screening quick and effortless. CLEAR's network is specialized to verify the identities of its members by scanning their eyes or fingers instead of identity proofs like a driver's license. After verification, the CLEAR ambassador will take the member through a specific lane to TSA physical security. It will save the time of the member waiting for security screening approval. This new launch is set to generate a profit of around 1.2 million dollars, along with creating 23 job opportunities. Members, who opt for the CLEAR Plus feature, will get access to this new identity-verification technology, which would cost around $16 per month, billed annually. This membership is discounted for American Express, United Airlines, and Delta Air Lines members. The newly-registered active members who are military, veterans, and government officials will also be charged less. Besides, the member can also add family members to their CLEAR Plus account, which would cost $60 for one adult per year. CLEAR's CEO, Caryn Seidman-Becker, said, "California continues to be an incredibly important market for CLEAR, and we're excited to kick off 2023 by further expanding our footprint in Southern California. Launching at Long Beach Airport means locals and tourists alike can enjoy our predictable, friction-free travel experience in even more places – which is all part of our mission to transform the way people live, work and travel." (Source – Cision PR Newswire) About CLEAR CLEAR has been making identity verification frictionless since 2010. Its new lanes are accessible at San Diego International Airport, Ontario International Airport, Palm Springs International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, and Long Beach Airport. In addition, the company also features a free LAX Fast Lane, a virtual queueing pilot. This feature allows travelers to plan ahead of time and even book a time slot for a party at the security checkpoint.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,COMMERCIAL TRAVEL

Sabre, Conferma Pay and Mastercard Join Forces to Power the Travel Economy with Virtual Cards

Sabre Corporation,Conferma Pay and Mastercard | November 29, 2022

Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR) a leading software and technology provider that powers the global travel industry, and Conferma Pay, a global fintech firm that specializes in payment technology, announced a new partnership with Mastercard to accelerate the use of virtual cards for business-to-business (B2B) travel payments. Today's announcement builds on Sabre's August 2022 acquisition of Conferma Pay. The collaboration with Mastercard is the next step in advancing Sabre's goal to create an open and independent travel payment ecosystem. Digitization of travel payments with virtual cards helps address the historic challenges associated with B2B leisure and corporate travel payments. The securely generated, single use card numbers provide a link between booking and associated payments to third party suppliers. Travel buyers and suppliers are therefore able to easily track and reconcile payments, as well as benefit from flexible pricing, financing options, and enhanced security through card payment guarantees. "The payments industry is in the midst of a revolution and there is an increased need for travel companies to better manage the whole payment experience, Companies in the travel space – including travel management companies, travel agencies, corporations, issuers and technology partners – need sophisticated solutions and seamless connections. Sabre is taking strategic steps to fulfill the needs of our industry, beginning with the acquisition of Conferma Pay. Now, the new partnership with Mastercard will help Conferma Pay to build new and enhanced digital capabilities in virtual cards, transforming the payment experience for issuers." -Roshan Mendis, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Sabre Travel Solutions. As part of the agreement, Mastercard has agreed to make a minority investment in Conferma Pay, which will continue to operate independently and serve the entire travel industry and beyond. Mastercard's investment in Conferma Pay is subject to customary closing conditions. A combination of experience, technologies and capabilities will accelerate travel payment innovation and drive inclusive and sustainable growth for the sector, said Chris Fendley, Executive Vice President, Enterprise Partnerships at Mastercard. Virtual cards deliver visibility, boost liquidity and increase control over B2B payment flows, which enhance payment strategies and empower organizations across the travel value chain to run, grow and protect their business, which has never been more essential. Conferma Pay connects issuers to more than 700 travel management companies, all the major global distribution systems and more than 100 online booking tools. Conferma Pay is fully integrated with all the major card schemes and serves more than 50 banking partners, who issue Conferma Pay generated virtual cards in nearly 100 currencies. "We've already made significant inroads in the B2B travel space through partnering with Sabre, We are excited about the new investments. This, combined with our existing strong relationships, will enable Conferma Pay to build on our global footprint and be at the forefront of addressing industry challenges and opportunities." -Martin Cowley, interim CEO at Conferma Pay Sabre's Virtual Payments will continue to offer Conferma Pay services – with increased capabilities that help travel buyers, agencies and corporations best support travel customer needs. Sabre Virtual Payments is a unique, secure, automated and integrated end-to-end payment solution designed to simplify and add value to the transactions that TMCs, OTAs, travel agencies, corporations and travel suppliers do every day. Sabre Virtual Payments takes all the capabilities of Conferma Pay and its network of issuers and combines it with seamless integration across Sabre products for -connected travel buyers, agencies and corporations. About Sabre Corporation Sabre Corporation is a leading software and technology company that powers the global travel industry, serving a wide range of travel companies including airlines, hoteliers, travel agencies and other suppliers. The company provides retailing, distribution and fulfilment solutions that help its customers operate more efficiently, drive revenue and offer personalized traveler experiences. Through its leading travel marketplace, Sabre connects travel suppliers with buyers from around the globe. Sabre's technology platform manages more than $260B worth of global travel spend annually. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world. For more information visit www.sabre.com. About Mastercard (NYSE: MA) Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all. www.mastercard.com About Conferma Pay Conferma Pay is a global financial technology company. It designs and integrate virtual payment systems that provide a more efficient, seamless and secure way to pay for businesses. Conferma Pay was born in Manchester in 2005. Since then, it has connected over 700 TMCs, and directly integrates with all the major GDSs and OBTs. Its roots lie in corporate travel payment integration. It enables its payment providers to flow virtual cards into the preferred purchasing process of any business travel buyer. Crucial to this is its network of banking partners, who have issued virtual cards in over 200 countries, in 40 currencies with over 45 commercial banking partners via all major card networks. Its ecosystem continues to expand to meet the growing requirements of its global customer base.

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