prnewswire | April 12, 2023
Whimstay, Inc., the marketplace leader for last-minute vacation rental bookings, announces today that it has secured $10 million in equity financing. The investment will fund key new hires and the development of new products and features focused on search experience, guest engagement, more integrated dynamic pricing, flexibility for guests, loyalty and rewards programs, ancillary fintech products, and multiple conversion initiatives that will generate more bookings for property managers during periods that typically experience lower occupancy rates and RevPAR. Roughly 50 percent of vacation rental nights stay vacant every year. Whimstay is uniquely positioned to book nights that would have otherwise gone unrented. This lost revenue for property managers and owners represents a $60 billion market opportunity.
Whimstay offers travelers the best deals and significant savings on last-minute vacation rentals across North America. For property managers and owners, the company offers better economics, more control over the customer experience, robust reporting and reconciliation, reduced dependency on larger, less user-friendly, and more expensive channels, and, most importantly, generates incremental bookings, revenue, and profitability above and beyond the property manager's direct bookings and those from other channels.
"Closing our financing amidst a myriad of extremely challenging market conditions is a testament to the caliber of our amazing team, our differentiated product offering, the quality of our partner and customer relationships, the size of our market opportunity, and the confidence our investors have in our ability to strengthen our position as the leading vacation rental marketplace focused on booking last-minute stays," said Whimstay's CEO David Weiss.
"Propelled by our proprietary marketing engine, product features and functionality, and unique go-to-market strategy, we're able to attract incremental guests and generate incremental bookings for property managers and owners. We complement a property manager's overall distribution strategy by providing specific capabilities and conducting specific types of missions, all focused on booking last-minute stays. As a result, bookings on Whimstay are up 7x YTD vs. the same period last year, and March was our highest booking month in the company's history. Guest traffic and bookings are further accelerating due to our recent integration into Google Vacation Rentals, giving us access to millions of potential guests."
Whimstay is a vacation rental marketplace that offers travelers the best deals on vacation rentals across North America. For property managers and owners, Whimstay books nights last-minute that would have otherwise gone un-rented, and certain property managers are now utilizing the company to fill vacancies during shoulder seasons, off-seasons, and other booking windows throughout the year that typically experience lower occupancy rates and RevPAR. From beautiful beach homes to the world's best ski retreats to cozy mountain cabins and more, Whimstay currently offers vacation rental homes and condos in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico and is adding new properties and destinations daily.
prnewswire | April 27, 2023
Trip.com, an international one-stop travel service provider, today announced it will build a joint innovation lab with Amazon Web Services (AWS), the world's most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud. The joint lab aims to use experts from AWS and Trip.com to develop new technologies that will improve the online travel provider's travel and services. Trip.com and AWS will combine technology resources and knowledge in cloud computing and artificial intelligence to identify and develop new ways to support Trip.com customers.
Trip.com, with its unique value proposition, offers an all-in-one suite of diversified travel products and industry-leading customer service, via its mobile-first app to users around the world.
Chen Zhang, Executive Vice President of Trip.com Group, said: "We are excited to sign an MoU with Amazon Web Services to build the innovation lab. Trip.com has worked hard to consistently develop technology to improve services and offerings for customers. The innovation lab aims to make travel more accessible and provide the ultimate experience for travellers, using the latest technology, renowned experts, and leading researchers from Trip.com and AWS."
"Trip.com is the world's leading one-stop travel service provider and a role model of global development," said Gu Fan, General Manager of Growth Acceleration of AWS Greater China. "We are honored to empower Trip.com through the joint innovation lab with our cloud services and successful practices in the fields of big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to continuously help Trip.com expand its existing business, uncover new growth opportunities and fulfill its mission to 'achieve the perfect journey' for global travelers."
The joint lab will focus on five programmes, including Artificial Intelligence, Flight Business, Hotel Business, International Business, and Cloud Technology.
In recent years, Trip.com has strengthened collaborations with AWS to improve marketing capabilities and service qualities through its advanced technology.
Trip.com has migrated more than 400 of its international business micro services to AWS, proving the model for more departments and mature business component tools to follow suit.
After migrating to AWS, Trip.com saw a significant improvement in its air ticket booking system, and reduced overall total memory consumption by more than 96%, achieving major cost savings.
During the pandemic, Trip.com successfully launched its innovative live stream campaign 'DreamNowTripLater'. By leveraging AWS services, Trip.com has a robust, high quality, and engaging live stream to showcase true travel destination experiences to customers.
AWS has also allowed Trip.com to improve connections with flight and hotel partners, by providing increasingly reliable service for users with a faster and more stable system that reaches millions of global users.
In addition, as part of the collaboration, Trip.com leverages AWS to provide training and AWS Certifications to its employees in various fields, such as cloud computing architecture, development, operations, containers, data analysis, database, security, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, which will help them upskill and innovate using cloud computing. AWS and Trip.com also collaborated to develop a four-year training plan and are expected to train approximately 2,000 employees through comprehensive training courses supported by AWS's customer service team.
Headquartered in Singapore, Trip.com, a global online travel agency, offers services for flights tickets, hotels booking, train tickets, and the internet. It enhances the travel experience from a short trip to a nearby city to a long adventure across the continent, helping travelers at every step of the journey. It has connected about 1.2 million hotels and over 500 airlines in approximately 200 countries to travelers. With a committed customer service team, it offers services non-stop 24/7 and assists travelers worldwide. It also provides an all-in-one travel application with features like trip coins, app-inclusive deals, easy trip planning, the latest travel updates, and worldwide coverage.
phocuswire | April 18, 2023
Host travel agency InteleTravel has acquired Hickory Global Partners, a corporate travel alliance, to cater to demand for blended travel. The purchase price was not disclosed.
“With the new blending of leisure and business travel, the idea of separate consortia for these markets is now outdated,” InteleTravel president James Ferrara said. “This merger creates a single source of advantages and support for all travelers and the professionals who serve them – the consortium of the future.”
Hickory will continue operating as its own brand “newly powered as a wholly owned unit of InteleTravel.” InteleTravel expects to create more than 100 jobs during the development of new programs.
Established in 1991, InteleTravel has a network of more than 90,000 independent, home-based advisors across the United States, United Kingdom, Caribbean, Mexico and Republic of Ireland, and is approaching $1 billion in sales. The Florida-based company said it has developed its own booking technology for all verticals and packaging tools including cruises, discount leisure hotel rates, short-term rentals, low-cost air carriers and activities and entertainment.
Hickory, whose members are corporate travel agencies, corporate travel departments and corporations, said it negotiates with hotels, airlines, ground transportation companies and ancillary partners “to provide our members with the best rates, incentives and opportunities available.”
Ferrara and Hickory president Chris Dane will work together to lead the focus on emerging market opportunities and initiatives for systemwide advancement, including a new Hickory business travel education and certification program for InteleTravel advisors. Hickory also said it will expand InteleTravel advisors’ earning opportunities with “business travel-focused education, negotiated travel products and services through Hickory’s air portfolio, preferred hotel and amenities programs, expense management tools and ancillary supplier partnerships.”
“We have a vision for a consortium that leads into the next decades with a modern view of business and leisure travelers, and advantages, technology and supply for our members to satisfy those needs,” Dane said. “InteleTravel’s resources and reach will help us do that.”
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