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

Meet Andy, he is a snapchat filmmaker from England and last month we sent him on our brand-new trip, The Coastal Roam. He documented every day on our snapchat account and it was awesome!

Spotlight

Meet Andy, he is a snapchat filmmaker from England and last month we sent him on our brand-new trip, The Coastal Roam. He documented every day on our snapchat account and it was awesome!

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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

An ex-Holiday Inn Executive is Behind a $500 Million Plan to Jazz Up Troubled Hotels

Holiday Inn | April 23, 2021

Ken Hamlet, the former CEO of Holiday Inn, intends to use a $500 million war chest to acquire limited-service hotels (those without facilities such as a restaurant or spa) and reposition them as properties with a more upscale customer experience. Consider it adding more of the Four Seasons experience to roadside hotels, as Hamlet put it. He was CEO of Holiday Inn for nine years in the 1980s and early 1990s, and during that time the business was purchased by IHG and introduced or acquired brands such as Embassy Suites, Crowne Plaza, Hampton Inn, and Harrah's. Rather than starting his fund, Hamlet joined Olive Tree Hotels & Resorts, a hotel investment group where he now serves as CEO, to pursue deals. “I began to think of maybe now is a very good time to take advantage of getting back into the hotel industry and purchasing distressed assets or buying assets that were well-located, well-branded, relatively well-managed, and that were being distressed and only needed additional capital to get them up to 2021 standards,” he said this week. The only thing is that there is a litany of hotel investors drooling about hotel investment prospects that did not come true before the pandemic. Investment firms such as CGI Merchant Group, in collaboration with New York Yankees baseball legend Alex Rodriguez, and Bainbridge DXS are also scouring the market for hotel acquisitions of hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming years. Dreamscape Cos., owner of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, has more than $1 billion in cash to purchase hotels, including troubled business-transient and convention-focused properties. Olive Tree's capital distinguishes itself by concentrating on limited-service hotels in a mix of the 75 major U.S. cities as well as some secondary and tertiary markets such as Las Cruces, New Mexico. As long as there is a nearby demand driver, such as a hospital, university, or office park, the company can seek a deal. The majority of buyers are looking for troubled hotels in metropolitan markets or resorts in drive-to and leisure destinations. Olive Tree intends to upgrade its guest rooms with more innovative features, such as automated check-ins and co-working-inspired workspaces in public areas. But, in addition to the technology, Hamlet desires enhanced client support, such as staffers adding personal touches to the guest experience, such as a bottle of wine or glass of champagne delivered to a room or hors d'oeuvres and chocolate bars in the lobby. The move is reminiscent of how Holiday Inn became a brand. Kemmons Wilson established the roadside motel business in the early 1950s after becoming dissatisfied with the choices offered on a road trip between Memphis, Tenn., and Washington, D.C. He set out to fix it because there was no consistency or quality in the accommodation experience. Olive Tree intends to replicate the success of existing limited-service hotels that are underperforming. Many of Olive Tree's acquisitions would be branded by major companies such as Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, and IHG. However, the company is not opposed to maintaining property independence or even launching its brand. It is unclear when any of those acquisition goals will become available. Olive Tree reportedly has one hotel under contract and another "in the works." Due to a mix of bank forbearance on mortgages and several rounds of federal stimulus by offerings such as the Paycheck Protection Program of forgivable small business loans, there haven't been as many distressed hotel properties exchanged throughout the last year. The Olive Tree team does not anticipate having to wait much longer.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Tripadvisor Collaborates with Audible for the Ultimate Travel Audio Entertainment

Tripadvisor | September 14, 2021

As we are in the midst of travel planning or embarking on a long awaited adventure, Tripadvisor®, the world's largest travel guidance platform*, announced a collaboration with Audible, the leading creator and provider of premium audio storytelling. Together, the collaboration creates the ultimate travel content. Travelers will enjoy Audible's unmatched library of exclusive Originals, audiobooks and podcasts, and "Trip Playlists" created by Tripadvisor Plus that deliver people-powered travel guidance. From inspiring your budding bookworm with spots Tripadvisor travelers love visiting, highlighting international locations, spotlighting boundary-breaking travelers who will inspire you, and celebrating the best of what to see, shop and eat & drink in New York City. Collaboration Details & Benefits Now through November, this collaboration makes it easy for travelers to bring their favorite audio playlists with them during their next trip with just a few taps on their mobile device. No more heavy suitcases or cramming books into your carry-on! All U.S. Audible members and current free trial users: $30 off a year of Tripadvisor Plus* Tripadvisor Plus members: 90-day free trial to Audible Plus All Tripadvisor members: 30-day free trial to Audible Premium Plus "We're thrilled to collaborate with Audible to expand our Tripadvisor Plus member benefits outside of the traditional travel experience, which perfectly aligns with guiding and inspiring our travelers on the go. The ability to unlock unlimited access to thousands of audiobooks and special Audible-curated audio playlists is ideal for all vacation types - whether you're looking for great entertainment to accompany you through the great outdoors or the Big Apple," said Lindsay Nelson, chief brand and experience officer for Tripadvisor. "Tripadvisor guides travelers to find the perfect getaway and Audible is the destination for people who love quality audio storytelling, so together they're the ideal travel companion. We're so excited to offer Tripadvisor members the opportunity to pair their journeys with stories from some of the best creators and performers in the world drawn from the Audible collection of premium audio originals, audiobooks, and podcasts on their next road trip or plane ride," said Jane Winston, Director, Business Development at Audible. About Tripadvisor Tripadvisor, the world's largest travel guidance platform*, helps hundreds of millions of people each month** become better travelers, from planning to booking to taking a trip. Tripadvisor makes planning easy no matter the trip type. The subsidiaries of Tripadvisor, Inc., own and operate a portfolio of online travel brands and businesses.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Otium Technologies Launches, Bringing Innovation to the Travel and Tourism Industry

Otium Technologies | October 23, 2021

Otium Technologies is proud to announce its launch, which will bring blockchain to the travel and tourism industry. The company's mission is to revolutionize the traditional travel and tourism industry.In a bid to revolutionize the travel and tourism industry after the monumental impact caused by COVID-19, the team at Otium Technologies is pleased to announce the introduction of its project and service offerings to the leisure industry. Otium Technologies uses blockchain technology to proffer solutions to the wide range of challenges and problems bedevilling the industry. The impact of the pandemic caused businesses to shut down, companies laid off their employees, revenue sources were affected, and a lot of damages. But Otium Technologies has the magic finger to rejig any business that was affected by the pandemic and subsequent lockdown imposed by different levels of governments. What Is Otium Technologies Spanish company that develops Blockchain-based solutions for the leisure and tourism sector. Strengths: Pioneers in the vacation leisure industry Senior team of industry experts Well connected with major tourism companies Problems It Solves Inspired by the concept of Socios.com, we will provide large companies in the sector with a tool to capitalize through their own token while interacting and building customer loyalty in a new way, while the user will have the possibility to feel part of their favorite brand, using their loyalty tokens in a practical and simple way, either by voting, investing or using them on the brand's products. A tool that brings benefits to both outlets and users. It shortens waiting times, optimizes processes, allows people to use crypto to pay and we add special features to make it go viral (such as sharing the address of their table and receiving paid beers from their colleagues!).Defi is here to stay and we want to be the bank of the future for the tourist, with Staking products redeemable for paid vacations and many other option. It is a deflationary token that helps its value to increase Just by tokenizing them in their wallet, their Otiums grow with each sale and for monthly tokenizers, an extra % of Otium will be distributed during the first year.People will be able to use them to pay in the F&B app and get discounts.As a holder people will be able to access the pre-sales of tokens of hotel chains and large tourism companies. The company'sconsulting company will receive Otiums as a form of payment to encourage the purchase of Otiums. Faces Behind Otium Technologies parades a team of credible and knowledgeable experts who are well-versed in travel and tourism, blockchain technology, and digital marketing. The team is led by Yan Garayalde, who happens to be the CEO & Founder of the project. He is ably assisted by Rafael Camps, who serves as the COO and CoFounder of the project. Also on the team is Marco Taboas, who serves as a partner and Fernando Pareja, who is the Legal Adviser, offering useful legal guidance to comply with laid down rules and regulations. The team also includes Luca Longo and Benjamin Robles Pomar, who serves as the project designer and developer respectively. About Otium Technologies Otium Technologies brings blockchain to the travel and tourism industry. The project uses the best available technology, apps, and DApps to revolutionize the leisure Industry. Having experienced the COVID-19 crisis which wreaked havoc on the global economy, particularly the travel and tourism industry, Otium is committed to collaborate faithfully, adapt technological innovations, and leave no stone unturned to ensure that the industry jerks back to life. Otium is also committed to prepare the industry for new challenges and trends to come in the future. To achieve this mission, Otium parades a team of highly intellectual personalities and experts in their various fields of endeavors for the tasks ahead. The team at Otium Technologies is ever-ready to collaborate with users, tourist destinations, and companies to advance the frontiers of the industry. The company's focus is to research and develop different solutions using powerful tools like blockchain technology.

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