BCD Travel launches new digital platform

Buying Business Travel | September 30, 2019

BCD Travel has released Connect, a “digital engagement platform” that enables peer collaboration and provides access to training material and industry information.Connect provides the TMC’s customers with community discussion groups, as well as information on programme best practices, product updates and case studies. It also features proprietary research, industry trends, support and account details.Yannis Karmis, senior VP of product planning and innovation for BCD Travel, said: “At BCD Travel we do more than manage travel programmes. We serve as a trusted advisor to our customers. Connect will give our customers a dynamic digital environment in which to interact with BCD programme optimisation and technology experts, peers with shared interests and provide information and guidance on our various products and solutions.

Spotlight

Despite significant advances throughout travel and tourism, many aspects of international travel remain encumbered by manual processes that are susceptible to fraud. For many years, aspiring voices from government and industry have advocated a vision of better travel experiences. A vision where outdated paper-based processes are replaced by modern digital processes that include strong identity assurance; and where passengers can travel from anywhere to anywhere
using just their Digital Identity1 But as both the travel and tourism sectors – and the technology that underpins them – have been transformed, it is important for governments to
begin developing their own strategies to deliver safe, secure and seamless travel for all international travelers, regardless of their mode of transport.

Spotlight

Despite significant advances throughout travel and tourism, many aspects of international travel remain encumbered by manual processes that are susceptible to fraud. For many years, aspiring voices from government and industry have advocated a vision of better travel experiences. A vision where outdated paper-based processes are replaced by modern digital processes that include strong identity assurance; and where passengers can travel from anywhere to anywhere
using just their Digital Identity1 But as both the travel and tourism sectors – and the technology that underpins them – have been transformed, it is important for governments to
begin developing their own strategies to deliver safe, secure and seamless travel for all international travelers, regardless of their mode of transport.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,DESTINATION AND TOURISM

Space Perspective Becomes First Global Space Travel Experience Company

Space Perspective | November 16, 2022

Space Perspective unveiled MS Voyager – the world’s first Marine Spaceport for human spaceflight, and the first in a planned fleet of this new class of spaceports globally. Spaceports are sites for launching and receiving spacecraft. Now with the capacity to launch from marine-based sites around the world, in addition to launching from land on Florida’s Space Coast, Space Perspective becomes the first global space travel experience company, offering safe and sustainable journeys to the edge of space from where Explorers live and play.The name Voyager is an homage to the Voyager 1 Space Probe mission which, on astronomer Carl Sagan’s request, took a photo of Earth from across the solar system on February 14th, 1990. That photo, now known iconically as the Pale Blue Dot, inspired Sagan’s book of the same name and his call for humans to “preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known” – words that reverberate through Space Perspective’s mission today. “Space Perspective will change your relationship with our planet by providing the quintessential astronaut experience of viewing Earth from the blackness of space, It’s imperative for us to think about our business with a global mindset. Removing geographic borders for launch and landing accelerates our mission of making this transformative experience more accessible to the world and international marketplace – safely, reliably and with minimal impact on our planet.” -Jane Poynter, Space Perspective’s Founder and Co-CEO Plans are underway to integrate marine-based launches into marquee global events, and conversations are active with several potential destinations across the globe to offer Explorers an awe-inspiring view of some of the world’s most iconic geography. We always imagined offering the opportunity to view the most incredible natural phenomena from space, including the Northern Lights, the boot of Italy, the sheer scale of the Nile Delta, and the deep blue seas around the Bahamas. Marine Spaceports like MS Voyager make this a reality, said Poynter. MS Voyager and future Space Perspective Marine Spaceports give the company the operational flexibility needed to grow its business more quickly to reach a supply-constrained global market for commercial space travel that analysts recently estimated could reach over $8 billion by 2030[1]. Marine Spaceports create ideal launch conditions in two ways: by navigating to areas of good weather, which allows for year-round operations within a region, and by moving with the sea breeze, so there is virtually no wind across the deck. This enables more frequent launch opportunities, as well as more options for the time of day, including sunrise and sunset nighttime stargazing flights for Explorers. “This is another important milestone and a proud moment for the Space Perspective crew both in terms of pioneering engineering and the ability to scale our offer quickly, globally. We are grateful to our extended crew of dynamic, best-in-class operational partners,” -Space Perspective’s Founder, Co-CEO and CTO Taber MacCallum. Acquired from one of the world’s premier shipbuilders, Edison Chouest Offshore, MS Voyager’s marine operations will be supported by Guice Offshore. The 292-foot-long vessel, which will call Port Canaveral its home, is now being outfitted for launch, retrieval, and SpaceBalloon™ operations at Conrad Shipyard -- preparations for which were provided by Gulf Ship. In keeping with Space Perspective’s environmentally conscious ethos, offsets will be provided by Cool Effects, and the vessel itself is being retrofitted to use biofuel to reduce its carbon footprint. When it’s time to come back to Earth at the end of the journey in Spaceship Neptune’s pressurized capsule, a patent-pending splash-cone at its base provides a smooth and gentle water landing. Fast boats from Fluid Watercraft will then arrive to stabilize the capsule, which will be lifted onto the Marine Spaceport by a custom-built A-frame provided by Supreme Integrated Technologies. Communications throughout the operation – between land, sea, and capsule – will be provided by Silvus Technologies, utilizing military-grade StreamCaster MANET radios and MN-MIMO waveform technology. We've always believed in Space Perspective's mission and the experience they are bringing to the world through human spaceflight. Unlocking the ability to scale globally with the addition of Marine Spaceports only strengthens the proposition and the power of the company to change people's lives and the future of our planet, said Brandon Ross, General Partner of LightShed Ventures, a major Space Perspective investor. MS Voyager will begin operations in the New Year, aligned to Space Perspective’s planned test flights that commence in early 2023. Space Perspective has sold over 1,000 tickets to date. Tickets are available to reserve now at their current price of $125,000 at SpacePerspective.com. For more information, visit SpacePerspective.com. Follow Space Perspective for updates on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube. Experience the capsule interior here. About Space Perspective Space Perspective is the world’s only carbon-neutral luxury spaceflight experience company. It invites more people than has historically been possible to experience a thrillingly new and visceral perspective that expands the human consciousness – the incredibly exhilarating panoramas and scale of Earth in space. The Observer cited Space Perspective as "the best suborbital space tourism offering in the world." Setting a new bar in out-of-this-world thrilling experiences, as soon as late 2024 Space Perspective plans to take Space Explorers to space inside Spaceship Neptune’s pressurized capsule propelled by a high-performance SpaceBalloonTM without using rocket fuel or high G forces. Space Explorers see the world anew through its vast windows, 450 miles in any direction. The ultra-comfortable, accessible, and gentle six-hour journey redefines space travel. Space Perspective is led by industry luminaries Jane Poynter and Taber MacCallum and their unique-in-the-world expert crew who have been integral to all human SpaceBalloonTM flights, and marine launches over the last 50 years. Building on that experience, the Space Perspective crew has innovated and patented the safest spaceflight experience in the world. Poynter and MacCallum have been dubbed ‘Masters of the stratosphere’ by Bloomberg Businessweek. MacCallum also served as Chairman of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

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DESTINATION AND TOURISM

Taconic Capital Advisors and HEI Hotels & Resorts Jointly Acquire Hyatt Regency Jersey City

Taconic Capital Advisors LP and HEI Hotels & Resorts | December 05, 2022

Taconic Capital Advisors LP (“Taconic”) and HEI Hotels & Resorts (“HEI”), announced that they have jointly acquired Hyatt Regency Jersey City from affiliates of Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE: H) and Veris Residential Inc. (NYSE: VRE). The property is a full-service, 351-key hotel located adjacent to Exchange Place situated on a pier extending over the Hudson River in Jersey City, NJ.In conjunction with the purchase, Taconic and HEI were successful in assuming a $100 million fixed-rate CMBS mortgage with ample remaining term. The hotel was completed in 2002 and more than $15 million in subsequent upgrades have been performed since 2010. Major enhancements to the guestrooms, food and beverage outlets and event spaces are expected to commence under the new ownership. Hyatt Regency Jersey City occupies fee simple real estate with unmatched and undisturbed views of the Manhattan Skyline. The property features well-appointed guestrooms, a state-of-the-art gym and indoor heated pool, a restaurant and lounge and 20,000 square feet of meeting space that has long served as a popular venue for corporate retreats, weddings, and social gatherings. The hotel is centrally positioned amongst 28 million SF of office space within a one-mile radius and is conveniently located near world-famous attractions, including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, One World Trade and the 9/11 Memorial. “We are pleased to further our partnership with HEI and begin an exciting relationship with Hyatt. Hyatt Regency Jersey City was a compelling opportunity to acquire a world-class hotel with a strong segmentation mix and a diverse set of revenue contributors, The highly accretive assumable financing allowed us to continue our thesis for well-located urban, upscale hotels in an otherwise prohibitive financing environment.” -Andrew Lam, a Director in Taconic Capital Advisors’ Commercial Real Estate Group Hyatt Regency Jersey City is a wonderful property with a rich legacy that has greatly benefitted from Jersey City’s rapidly expanding corporate base as well as the revitalization of Hudson Yards and Lower Manhattan, said Clark Hanrattie, Partner at HEI. We are proud to team with Taconic on this important transaction and we are looking forward to making the hotel the very best it can be. The joint acquisition of Hyatt Regency Jersey City follows Taconic and HEI’s March 2022 purchase of the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown, NY, a 15-acre property that offers 444 guestrooms and 21 event rooms for a total of 26,700 SF of conference and meeting space, including a 9,000 SF ballroom. Over the past two years, Taconic has been involved in hotel transactions throughout the capital structure, spanning over 20 properties totaling more than 5,000 keys. About Taconic Capital Advisors Taconic Capital Advisors (“Taconic”) is a global institutional investment firm that pursues an event-driven, multi-strategy investment approach designed to generate strong, risk-adjusted returns over multiple market cycles. Taconic was founded in 1999 by former Goldman Sachs partners Frank Brosens and Ken Brody. The firm has approximately $8 billion of total assets under management with offices in New York, London and Hong Kong and more than 100 employees worldwide. Taconic’s full-service commercial real estate platform invests in all asset classes and across the capital structure in both public and private markets. The strategy’s brand mandate offers flexibility to capitalize on shifting market opportunities, creating uncorrelated risk-adjusted return profiles for investors. Rooted in distressed and opportunistic investing, the team applies high-touch asset management capabilities to drive strong asset-level performance and capital market executions. Well-established relationships drive Taconic’s unique and diverse transaction sourcing channels which include local operating partners, investor partners, and a broad network of lenders, CMBC special servicers, trading desks, and brokerage houses. Taconic’s series of closed-ended real estate funds are fully discretionary and have received over $1 billion in capital commitments. Investments to date across all Taconic funds total over $3 billion of gross asset value across approximately 175 distinct transactions. About HEI Hotels & Resorts Founded in 1985, HEI is an established expert on Luxury, Upper-Upscale, and Upscale hotels in Urban, Super-Suburban, and destination Resort locations across branded, soft-branded and independent lifestyle categories. The company’s portfolio currently includes 90-plus assets, representing more than 28,000 keys across approximately 30 different capital partners. HEI continues to be one of the most active investors in, and managers of, institutional-quality hotel assets across the US.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY, DESTINATION AND TOURISM

Aeroitalia joins WorldTicket to Expand Travel Options in the European Region

WorldTicket | January 24, 2023

Aeroitalia reported today that it is connecting with WorldTicket to offer more travel options in the European region. Aeroitalia would broaden its internal sales reach to include OTAs and travel agencies. This integration would fulfill the increasing demands for travel in Europe. For example, according to a report by ENIT, international visitors to Italy's tourist agency increased by 172% from January to July 2022 and 57% from pre-pandemic levels. This growth in demand is expected to continue in the future thereby, generating more possibility for Aeroitalia to provide non-stop, high-quality air travel at reasonable prices in Italy and the Southern Mediterranean. Furthermore, it can now quickly sell flights through any GSD and successfully offer seasonal itineraries, especially summer routes. Hence, it is a genuine adaptive business that adapts according to its customer’s demands. "Aeroitalia is committed to delivering outstanding service to passengers which incorporate easy access for our product, especially for our business customers," says Krassimir Tanev, Chief Commercial Officer of Aeroitalia and further adds that "Multichannel distribution is an important development as it goes hand-in-hand with our network expansion plans for summer 2023. Thanks to our marketing partnership with WorldTicket and its global distribution technology, Aeroitalia services are now closer to the travel agency community to the benefit of our customers." (Source – Cision PR Newswire) Aeroitalia connects unserved and underserved markets through travel options like six days per week, connecting Italy's two largest cities, Milan and Rome, and routing Milan and London Heathrow. By integrating with WorldTicket's technologies, it can establish business in these markets swiftly and affordably. Moreover, it can also enhance its distribution capability with the help of WorldTicket's GDS Sub-Hosting solutions. Thus, making it the principal air travel agency in Europe. About WorldTicket: WorldTicket has provided creative and flexible IT solutions to over 75 airlines globally since 2002. With offices in Bangkok, Kyiv, Warsaw, and Beijing, this Copenhagen-based company supports airline consumers across various time zones. Besides, WorldTicket's W2 GDS Sub-Hosting is suited for start-ups and virtual airlines needing fast and easy GDS distribution without extensive implementation or upfront costs. It also offers W2 ticketing for Global BSP Ticketing. The technology lets its interline partners maximize global ticketing benefits and boost earnings from remote and non-strategic BSP areas.

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