Qatar Airways | February 19, 2021
Qatar Airways is featuring its steps towards offering full touchless in-flight technology onboard its aircraft in a further indication of how airlines are adapting their product and marketing in light of customer sensitivities to flying in the post-pandemic environment.
The Gulf carrier is introducing technology enabling passengers to navigate the onboard IFE across its Airbus A350 fleet utilizing their own electronic devices, just as the offering the option to utilize their own headphones to get to access onboard through Bluetooth technology on its Boeing 787 fleet.
Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker says: “The introduction of the state-of-the-art zero-touch technology, and enabling passengers to use their personal Bluetooth headset on board is an important step in taking our already rigorous and stringent Covid-19 precautions to another level, limiting passenger surface contact and preventing any possible spread of infection on board.
“We hope it provides yet further assurance of the safety of air travel, as well as offering passengers on board increased confidence that they are enjoying the most consistently advanced customer experience available in the sky.”
Cleartrip, Flipkart | April 16, 2021
Flipkart announced on Thursday that it has agreed to acquire Cleartrip, an online travel and hotel ticketing firm, as the Walmart-owned e-commerce firm seeks to expand its offerings in the world's second-largest internet market.
According to a person familiar with the matter, the deal values 14-year-old Cleartrip, which raised approximately $74 million before the acquisition, at approximately $40 million. Cleartrip, like most other travel companies, is under immense stress as a result of the worldwide pandemic, which has greatly reduced people's desire to travel.
Last month, Indian news outlet MoneyControl announced that the two firms were considering a merger.
Cleartrip is also an Amazon partner in India, powering the American e-commerce giant's ticketing engine. In 2019, the two companies signed an agreement. The American e-commerce company did not react, even though it is currently battling a legal battle to prevent its estranged Indian partner Future Group from selling business to Reliance Retail.
Cleartrip will continue to exist as a standalone brand, with all staff staying, while collaborating with Flipkart to “further create digital innovations to make travel easier for customers,” the two firms announced today.
Flipkart has been reported to be working on adding a flight ticket buying feature on its website for more than a year.
“Through digital commerce, the Flipkart Group is dedicated to improving customer experiences. For many customers, Cleartrip is synonymous with travel, and as we diversify and search for new areas of growth, this investment will further strengthen our diverse portfolio of customer offers. We welcome the Cleartrip team to the Flipkart Group, with their vast industry expertise and technological skills, and look forward to working together to provide greater value and travel experiences for customers,” said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO of Flipkart Group, in a tweet.
Global Travel Collection | October 19, 2021
As countries reopen their borders and international air travel resumes, pent-up demand for hard-earned vacations is driving new luxury travel trends. Travel advisors and experts from the Global Travel Collection (GTC) recently shared key insights from travel bookings at "Elevate," the international virtual conference and trade show that brought together luxury travel advisors with 300 of the industry's leading luxury travel suppliers.
Travel advisors from All Star Travel Group, Andrew Harper, Colletts Travel, In The Know Experiences, Protravel International, R. Crusoe & Son and Tzell Travel Group, along with advisors from ALTOUR, a sister company of GTC at Internova Travel Group, comprise the largest selling force for luxury travel.
Luxury Travel Planning
Luxury is being redefined. Luxury travel advisor Maya George of Tzell Travel Group notes luxury travel is now more than expensive five-star hotels and first-class flights. It's the total package from beginning to end, and the connections made through the travel experience.
Planning for travel is now done farther out. Tiffany Bowne of All Star Travel Group shares that she's already booking summer and fall 2022 trips for clients, many of whom are also using a travel advisor for the first time. They're also booking multiple luxury trips at a time.
Travelers are spending more. It's been almost two years since some clients have taken a trip, said Scott Davis of ALTOUR, so they're willing to pay more for their next vacation.
Brazil is trending worldwide, according to Wagner Barros of Colletts Travel. "Some places in Brazil remind travelers of the Maldives," he says.
Exotic, far-off destinations are still in demand. Travelers are traveling to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia for sports fishing, said luxury travel advisor Paulette Darensburg of Protravel International. Maya George adds, there's also a huge buzz around Zanzibar and Roatan, Honduras.
Travelers still flock to the Caribbean and Mexico for privacy. Amy Blackenship of ALTOUR explains that private villas are plentiful here, and these destinations are reached easily by private air.
Safety and ease of entry are paramount. Luxury travel advisor Leslie Tillem of Tzell Travel Group says clients are constantly asking questions about travel requirements and health and safety protocols. This is expected to continue well into the next few years.
People want something different. Lily Szemplinski of In The Know Experiences shares clients want all the details of their trips taken care of so they can seek out new experiences that are inspiring and enlightening.
Luxury travel is evolving in ways that connect people with luxury products. Kamala Cummings of In The Know Experiences notes her clients are looking at travel as a means to rejuvenate their souls. They're seeking experiences and accommodations that are infused with gastronomy, art and fashion.
Luxury travelers are also seeking sustainability. Wagner Barros continues this is a trend that is going to stay as clients are increasingly asking for eco-friendly hotels and operators.
Luxury is not necessarily opulent hotels anymore. It is becoming more experiential and cultural, based within offerings at a property and within the destination itself, shares Stephen Scott, Protravel International.
Small boutique resorts and villas offer an ideal escape. Small boutique resorts and villas are the most sought-after accommodations, along with private yachts, notes Linda Seargent of Tzell Travel Group. Travelers want access to resort amenities but with the private space.
Domestically, luxury clients are looking for properties outside of major cities. What the pandemic has shown is we need more hotels in these areas, shares Ashley Les of Protravel International.
Space travel is piquing interest. Greg Kiep of Protravel International notes space travel is something that, though still new to the luxury travel space, will continue to gain interest over the next five years.
More are opting for trains over flights. Quality alone time is underestimated, says Maya George. Some travelers are preferring to take longer routes or different methods of travel, such as long, scenic train rides, to get away.
Cruising makes a big comeback. There is heightened interest in Luxury River cruising, particularly in Europe, for 2022 and 2023, comments Paulette Darensburg. World cruises are selling out in record time, notes Scott Davis.
"Our travel advisors are trusted counsellors with insider knowledge of emerging trends in the luxury travel space, and they know how to deliver these experiences to their clients seamlessly. They are becoming more of a concierge with their service levels. For the ultra-luxury clientele, these travel advisors travel with their clients to ensure everything is done correctly. They look after their travelers every step of the way, saving clients the time and hassle of having to make any necessary changes to their itinerary on their own."
Angie Licea, President of Global Travel Collection
Internova Travel Group recently launched its "Go Human. Book Human." advertising campaign to promote the value of a travel advisor as the complexity of travel continues in the wake of the pandemic. At the heart of the campaign is an immersive web experience on BookHuman.Travel that connects consumers directly with travel advisors from Protravel International, Tzell Travel Group and Andrew Harper Travel, travel brands of Global Travel Collection, the luxury and premium division of Internova.
About Global Travel Collection:
Global Travel Collection (GTC), a division of Internova Travel Group, is the world's largest collection of international luxury travel agencies, including the well-established networks of Protravel International, Tzell Travel Group, and Colletts Travel, as well as Andrew Harper, In the Know Experiences, All Star Travel Group and R. Crusoe & Son. GTC advisors and agencies are industry leaders in providing premium travel services to leisure travelers, corporate executives and the entertainment industry. The combined global reach and leverage translates into value, recognition, and preferential treatment for its world travelers.
About Internova Travel Group:
Internova Travel Group is one of the largest travel services companies in the world with a collection of leading brands delivering high-touch, personal travel expertise to leisure and corporate clients. Internova manages leisure, business and franchise firms through a portfolio of distinctive divisions. Internova represents more than 62,000 travel advisors in over 6,000 company-owned and affiliated locations predominantly in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, with a presence in more than 80 countries.