Bidders Line Up to Buy Anbang Luxury Hotel Portfolio

Skift | May 22, 2019

Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and Fortress Investment Group are among the bidders for a portfolio of 15 hotels owned by Anbang Insurance Group Co., according to people familiar with the sales process.Blackstone Group LP, South Korea’s Mirae Asset Management, and GIC Pte, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, are also among the bidders for the hotels, the Financial Times reported earlier today [Tuesday], citing unnamed sources.Representatives for Fortress, owned by Japan’s Softbank Group Corp., and Brookfield declined to comment. A Blackstone representative also declined to comment

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Companies need to take stock of their travel and expense (T&E) costs since these add up to unimaginable overheads. We believe the agamied T&E management system to be a viable solution. With millennials – who look for engaging and enriching experiences – making up a majority of the workforce today, the case for agamication solution is bolstered further.

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Companies need to take stock of their travel and expense (T&E) costs since these add up to unimaginable overheads. We believe the agamied T&E management system to be a viable solution. With millennials – who look for engaging and enriching experiences – making up a majority of the workforce today, the case for agamication solution is bolstered further.

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New Travel Company Aims To Disrupt Industry With Unique Platform, Proprietary Technology

nomad.me | October 28, 2021

With the busy holiday travel on the horizon, industry leaders Nick Reid and Todd Copley has recently launched nomad.me, a new travel subscription service poised to disrupt the industry with breakthrough aggregation technology and a zero commission markup model. Aimed at savvy leisure and business travelers looking to maximize value, the new platform enables members to pay $295 annually to access the company's proprietary technology to book the lowest possible rates – with a savings up to 60% – at over two million hotels, flights, car rentals, cruises and more. According to Reid – who has worked in every facet of the travel industry, including for such industry leaders as Thai Airways International – this community-based subscription model allows members to exclusively access the company's proprietary aggregation booking engine. "We are focused on revolutionizing the travel industry with an easier and improved buying experience, offering the best possible pricing because there are no markups or commissions," -Nick Reid Copley, a longtime travel industry executive with expertise in the global tour operator sector, travel product development and international hospitality contracting, says nomad.me dovetails into a growing trend – embracing a membership model accelerated by online perusing during the COVID-19 pandemic. "With the launch of nomad.me, we are meeting a growing demand with forward thinking technology," he said. "The subscription economy was on the rise before the pandemic but intensified its reach into nearly every industry as the outbreak persisted. This trend is expected to continue." -Todd Copley About nomad.me Offering enticing travel perks and deals, nomad.me is a community-based travel subscription business that allows members of its closed user group to access a proprietary aggregation booking engine. For more information, visit https://nomad.me/.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Despite the Pandemic, Brazil's Travel Tech Scene is Thriving

Skift | July 29, 2021

Brazil is proving to be a fertile ground for travel tech companies. According to a recent study, the country has 219 companies that provide corporate travel, online travel, distribution, and business intelligence. Entrepreneurs established the majority of these businesses in the last seven years. The country is positioning itself to become a Latin American travel tech hub comparable to Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina. These companies are investing now to gain a competitive edge in the post-pandemic period, and they are playing the long game. According to the So Paulo consultancy Loureiro Consultores, Brazil’s travel tech businesses are expected to generate or service about $6 billion (35 billion reals) in gross travel volume in 2022. The report expands on a rough version published a year ago by business travel company Onfly. The “agency and online reservations” area seems to be Brazil’s most robust category of travel IT firms, accounting for 29% of the total. To be sure, global brands like Booking.com, Expedia, and the Despegar-owned brand Decolar are major online travel sellers in Brazil. In addition, Hurb (formerly Hotel Urbano) is a local player, although it is backed in parts by Booking Holdings. Finally, Submarinoviagens is the online brand of CVC Corp, the established travel giant that claims itself as the largest group of travel and tourist businesses in the Americas. Nonetheless, despite these well-capitalized brands, smaller local competitors seem to be gaining momentum. 123milhas and Viajanet are among the agencies that have maintained or increased their market share throughout the crisis, thanks in part to smart marketing on Lusophone social media. Voopter has maintained its share of the travel price-comparison search, or metasearch, market, despite competition from Mundi, a brand purchased by Booking Holdings, Skyscanner, Trip.com Group, and Google’s travel search. YouVisa is a travel company that provides an adjacent service by digitizing and simplifying the still enigmatic process of obtaining visas for international travel. Just as Oyo Rooms and Ayenda Hoteles in Colombia have generated buzz with their branded hospitality franchise models, Brazil has its own similar tech-forward hospitality startup: Voa Hotéis. Housi in Brazil, like Sonder in the United States and Casai in Mexico, operates on similar business models. It sometimes signs master leases from property managers, creates short-term rentals, and markets them through online agencies. In addition, it sometimes owns the property itself. In December, the startup raised $11 million in funding. Optimized for Brazilian Travel The rise of domestic travel tech and trends in internet use and flight expansion is laying the foundation for a rebound. Millions of Brazilians moved from offline to online due to pandemic restrictions, similar to how China experienced a spike in digitization after the SARS epidemic in 2003. An estimated 150 million Brazilians use the internet, with the recent expansion of mobile broadband benefitting them. The success of the new airline Azul in introducing flights to places that other carriers had overlooked is also benefiting the growing middle class. Investors have mostly ignored the Portuguese-speaking country because they believe its middle-class has not yet reached “the inflection points” at which it would substantially increase travel spending, to use language from a Boston Consulting Group report. Investors have also been cautious about the country, which had only attracted around 5 million international visitors each year on average before the pandemic. However, the relative lack of foreign investor activity has made room for newer homegrown players to take and solidify positions in the long term. Strength in corporate travel tech Brazil’s travel tech scene seems to be doing particularly well in corporate travel. Brazil currently lacks a competitor to Barcelona-based TravelPerk or Palo Alto-based TripActions. Onfly, Paytrack, and Voll are three of the most promising businesses that could follow in their steps. However, it is still early on in the game. B2B Reservas is another promising company. It handles corporate travel distribution, reservations, and payments by connecting hotels to the biggest travel agencies, similar to HRS’s corporate travel marketplace. In an economy dominated by family-owned or state-backed conglomerates, the growth of these stand-alone companies is remarkable. However, it seems that many legacy companies in Brazil’s travel industry have left gaps that can be exploited by entrants, as Azul has shown in the face of established airlines like LATAM and Gol. Enterprise or business-to-business technology vendors are another intriguing categories in Brazil’s travel tech scene. Sensys Travel, for instance, is a business intelligence company that assists travel brands in tracking the rates that their competitors are placing on the market in “real-time.” Any effort to capture a travel company ecosystem should consider whether or not to include so-called mobility players, including ride-hailing companies, ground transportation operators, and next-generation aircraft manufacturers. Some analysts, such as Lufthansa Innovation Hub, include mobility players in their assessments. Brazil may offer a more compelling case for adding mobility players than other markets. The line between IT players providing tourism, business travel, and mobility in Brazil is often more hazy than in other markets. Much of the country’s leisure and business travel occurs outside of aircraft (almost no rail). WiiMove, like Berlin-based Omio, aims to capture multi-modal choices for travelers. The little cruise industry in Brazil is one of the country’s travel mysteries. According to the Wall Street Journal, the country’s Economic growth is expected to expand by more than 4.3 percent this year. In addition, a gradual easing of the pandemic should lead to a recovery in leisure and business travel.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

WCI Technologies and Lumen Deliver Secure Connectivity for the Travel and Hospitality Industry

WCI Technologies, Lumen Tehcnologies | September 13, 2021

WCI Technologies, a World Cinema enterprise offering, in collaboration with Lumen Technologies, is delivering a range of network and IT services to the travel and hospitality industry. Most recently, these services helped enable hotel management company Remington Hotels to deliver a better guest experience with increased connectivity for guests who opt to use digital amenities, like mobile entry and virtual check-in and check-out. Working with WCI Technologies, a Lumen Channel Partner Program member, Texas-based Remington Hotels updated their wireless connectivity services at properties across the nation to provide enhanced performance, reliability and security. “Technology plays a role in every aspect of the travel industry and is only becoming more vital. We’re very excited to add value to our customers through a secure foundation of connectivity services,” said Robert Grosz, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, WCI. “WCI Technologies, in collaboration with Lumen, is expanding our advanced services portfolio and transforming our great legacy brand into a global technology leader in the industry.” As a Lumen Channel Partnership Program member, WCI Technologies can utilize the flexible, fully integrated portfolio of network and IT services provided by Lumen that spans infrastructure, applications, services and geographies to enable greater adaptability for customers. Offerings include a range of managed network and IT services designed for easy installation, maintenance, monitoring and management, thus simplifying the path to deployment and use. “As businesses are using tech to fuel change and supercharge the customer experience, our Partners can leverage our solutions and expertise to help accelerate growth, increase efficiencies and exceed customer expectations,” said David Young, senior vice president, strategic sales for Lumen. “Our Channel Partner program is about making connections – not just to our global network and technology solutions, but also to a network of support, resources and training that can help companies deliver new opportunities and experiences.” "Our partnership with WCI Technologies and Lumen has allowed us to deploy secure connectivity throughout our portfolio, catered to our modern-day traveler. Having partners that are committed to the success of the hotel industry despite the challenges of the pandemic is key. Their innovative technology paired with their top-of-the-line customer support has been a game-changer,” Said Stan Kennedy, Chief Operating Officer, Remington Hotels. Companies are moving towards hybrid cloud environments to leverage the hyper-scalable user experience of the cloud. Digital transformation is underway and when connecting to cloud service providers, flexible bandwidth capabilities and low latency are the top features required. WCI will focus on bringing solutions that address these business needs to its existing portfolio customers. About WCI: Headquartered in Houston, WCI is a market leader innovating and delivering technology and services to guest-centric properties. The company was the first technology service provider to hotels nationwide, beginning in 1974. Today, WCI is building on that legacy as a stable and trusted provider of video, data and connectivity services to some of the largest owners and managers of hotel and multifamily brands in the world.

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