TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,INDUSTRY OUTLOOK
Trip.com | August 10, 2022
The global travel rebound continues apace this summer, with global air traffic reaching almost 70% of pre-pandemic levels in May and international hotel occupancy rates achieving the same in April. Yet, against the backdrop of an increased appetite for travel driven by more than two years of pent-up demand, getaways over the summer months are likely to be affected by supply chain issues at airlines and airports, fully booked hotels and rising costs of accommodation and car hire.In the UK, travel chaos has dominated the headlines since springtime, with flight cancellations and long wait times, passenger caps and even a suspension on short-haul ticket sales threatening the chance of a summer holiday. In the US and Europe, the picture is equally fraught, and in Asia, recovery is fractured, with Southeast Asia and the Middle East recovering well, where China and South Korea are recovering at just 15% of pre-pandemic levels due to travel restrictions and COVID-19 outbreaks alike. As such, when customers should be getting excited about quality time with friends or family, relaxation and culture, they are now braced for uncertainty.
At Trip.com Group, we are committed to helping our customers take the perfect trip, and this summer is no different. In a world where the travel landscape is increasingly complicated, our Trip.com platform has a range of products and partnerships in place to ease traveller concerns. Combined with our leading customer service, Trip.com aims to ensure everyone has a summer holiday to remember – for all the right reasons – this year.
Trip.com Group's Pre-Travel Protection and Cost-Saving Products
Earlier this year, Trip.com expanded on its travel insurance product offering in collaboration with AXA Partners. Made available to UK customers since September last year, this insurance product was extended to travellers across Europe earlier this year and can be easily selected when booking a flight on Trip.com. This travel insurance option provides a variety of benefits including medical, cancellation and baggage cover, as well as protection against cancellation and medical costs if a customer contracts COVID-19. With travel restrictions in place in many countries across Asia and beyond, this product is still incredibly useful in terms of providing ample traveller protection and peace of mind.
In mainland China, our Ctrip platform introduced its TripTour2Day upgrade service, offering free refunds on group tour products cancelled up to two days before departure. Users simply click on the order details page to obtain a one-click refund in as little as one minute on products with the TripTour2Day label.
A week after the TripTour2Day product was launched, sales exceeded 20 million, which proves how vital these products are in terms of offering customers total peace of mind. With many travellers in China harbouring concerns about whether COVID-19 measures would interfere with their plans, this allows users an increased level of flexibility when booking their next trip.
"The TripTour2Day service upgrade shortens the threshold of a free refund from seven days or longer to just two days, giving every Ctrip user a better experience in terms of both booking and opportunity to refund. You can customise your travel needs at your own pace and join a tour with peace of mind,"
-Trip.com Group Tour Business CEO Wen Jiang.
In addition to providing protection-based products, Trip.com is also helping guests to get the best value on their next getaway. As the costs of travel rapidly increase, customers are frequently looking for the best deals in order to maximise the return on their investment. By partnering with Hopper Price Freeze on our European and US sites, Trip.com is offering customers added protection against travel price volatility. For a small upfront fee, Trip.com users can freeze a flight price for up to 14 days, giving them the chance to confirm plans with their travel companions before booking without having to worry about an unnecessary price rise. Price Freeze ensures that customers never lose out, because if a Trip.com user freezes a flight and the prices go up, the difference is covered up to a set amount. If the price goes down, the user pays that lower price.
Yudong Tan, CEO of the Flight Business Group, Trip.com Group commented, At Trip.com Group we are constantly seeking out ways to bring benefits to travellers. With this new Price Freeze feature, powered by Hopper, we are giving our customers more ways to save money when they book flights.
Dedicated Customer Service
Since the beginning of 2020, Trip.com's Customer Service team has been put through its paces, handling complex requests to support our users during some of the most testing times - and we continue to develop tech-focused Customer Service solutions today.
Our intelligent storage auto-expansion technology has been upgraded to allow our systems to manage call levels more than 10 times higher than our average, and we developed an AI-centric mechanism to recognise and prioritise the most urgent customer cases, directing these calls to a staff member as quickly as possible. While speaking with a Customer Service agent, our assistant tool helps agents by automatically labelling and categorising requests in real time, saving customers time and energy while solving problems quicker than ever before.
Our chatbot service also makes use of AI technology to automatically identify trending information in real time based on the most up to date COVID-19 policies and frequently asked questions, updating the FAQs on a daily basis and allowing customers to self-solve over 70% problems without having to hold for a Customer Service agent. The chatbot can also route requests directly to your hotel or airline, helping customers do everything from requesting a confirmation email to rescheduling a flight in the event of extreme weather conditions.
In addition, Trip.com also launched its Customer Service Pledge in November 2021, committing to six key pillars including 24/7 support and free in-app calls. Grace Ding, Head of Trip.com's Global Customer Support Centre commented We are proud to see one of our companies make a pledge towards maintaining an incredible level of service to ensure people can continue to travel stress-free.
With an average customer satisfaction rate of 90% in 2021, Trip.com is ready to support customers quickly and efficiently with any issues they face while travelling this summer.
Delayed Baggage Protection
As global lost luggage becomes a particularly problematic issue, Trip.com's Blue Ribbon Bags delayed baggage protection service also helps to remove the stress from summer travel. With this initiative, Trip.com users will be able to safeguard their checked luggage against any delays during transit.
Commenting on the new service, Lyrics Zhao, Director of Product and Business Development in the Flights Business at Trip.com said, "Trip.com strives to make travel worry-free and relaxing for all. We want the booking experience to be the beginning of a relaxing trip and to offer value added services to the passenger."
"Our service provides air travellers with confidence that if their checked-in baggage does not arrive at the destination airport, we will coordinate and expedite the swift return. Our clients should be able to enjoy their holiday or focus on their work trip while we locate and expedite the baggage,"
-CD Lazear, Senior Vice President of Blue Ribbon Bags.
Whatever this summer throws at you, Trip.com will be by your side to offer solutions. At every stage throughout your travel journey, from pre-booking to when you land in your chosen destination, Trip.com's supportive staff and customer-focused products are available to support you every step of the way and make sure your next trip offers all the relaxation, fun and good times you've been craving.
Entrust | September 07, 2022
Entrust has announced the successful conclusion of their participation in the Chain of Trust (CoT) Pilot, a six-month pilot project led by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). CoT was tested between September 2021 and March 2022 and facilitated the border clearance of a small group of Canadian volunteer flight crew participants at Toronto Pearson International Airport. The program was operated by the CBSA in collaboration with partners, including Entrust, Face4 Systems, Factor Safe, Air Canada and the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA)To address increasing travel volumes while maintaining the safety and security of Canada’s border, the CBSA is exploring ways to provide self-service options for travelers and facilitate the free-flow of persons and goods through the international border clearance process.
The CoT pilot project tested the use of innovative technology solutions to assess the effectiveness of automating the collection and verification of traveler information and the authentication of travel documents while reducing physical touch-points in the border clearance process.
Launched amid pandemic-restricted travel in March 2021, the CoT Pilot was one of the world’s first use of the latest electronic passport technical standards. This technology delivered a high level of security at border crossings and interoperability with existing inspection systems to simplify and speed up passenger processing at busy travel hubs.
“The Chain of Trust Pilot was one of the first to offer a real-world look at the future of travel, one that allows border services to focus their attention on higher risk situations and exceptions, and simplifies entry for low-risk travelers, Entrust is pleased to have had the opportunity to collaborate with the Government of Canada and all the partners in the Chain of Trust project. The project has proven its value and deepened our understanding of how digital transformation can evolve global travel.”
-Gordon Wilson, Vice President, Identity Verification at Entrust.
Demonstrating the Chain of Trust
The innovative CoT Pilot allowed volunteer Air Canada flight crew participants to use a smartphone app to expedite re-entry into Canada at the Toronto Pearson International Airport.
The program used identity verification technology from Entrust to confirm a traveler’s identity by positively associating them with their uploaded credential. The system leveraged information voluntarily provided in advance of arrival to enable early and continuous risk assessment.
Individual participants used their personal mobile device to extract data electronically from their ePassport, create a digital profile, and store it within the secure storage on their device. These data elements were collected to facilitate identifying the individual and the authenticity of their ePassport. A selfie picture was taken and linked to that individual’s CoT app profile for future travel.
The traveler’s verified credentials were then submitted to CBSA prior to border crossing. Customs declaration submission and assessment for border clearance were all processed through an orchestration layer. The traveler was guided through each step via personalized notifications sent to their smartphone. Border Services Officers participating in the pilot had visibility into traveler’s arrival status and could process travelers through a mobile app upon arrival in a seamless, touchless manner.
The CoT ensures traveler privacy using Privacy by Design principles, and personally identifiable information (PII) is safeguarded through encryption during transmission to the government. No PII has been retained by any non-government project partner.
This collaborative initiative was made possible by the Canadian Safety and Security Program (CSSP). Led by Defence Research and Development Canada, in partnership with Public Safety Canada, the CSSP fosters innovative scientific and technological solutions to Canada’s public safety and security challenges.
The CBSA will take lessons learned from the CoT pilot project and use knowledge gained to advance its commitment to modernize existing border management policies, programs and technologies to a more efficient, sustainable, and innovative future state.
About Entrust Corporation
Entrust keeps the world moving safely by enabling trusted identities, payments and data protection. Today more than ever, people demand seamless, secure experiences, whether they’re crossing borders, making a purchase, accessing e-government services or logging into corporate networks. Entrust offers an unmatched breadth of digital security and credential issuance solutions at the very heart of all these interactions. With more than 2,500 colleagues, a network of global partners, and customers in over 150 countries, it’s no wonder the world’s most entrusted organizations trust us. For more information, visit www.entrust.com.To learn more about Entrust Identity Verification Solutions, visit https://www.entrust.com/solutions/identity-verification.
COMMERCIAL TRAVEL,HOSPITALITY TRENDS
Hilton | July 27, 2022
Hilton is shaking up hotel marketing and advertising with the announcement of its first global brand platform that identifies what has been missing from hotel marketing – the hotel stay.“Hilton. For the Stay” places the hotel front and center, elevating the role and importance of the stay at a time when lodging advertising is a sea of sameness, featuring overused destinations, cliché walks on the beach and generic descriptions of travel.
Hilton is debuting “It Matters Where You Stay,” a new advertising campaign to introduce the platform, using humor to push against some of the common but unspoken pitfalls of travel, boldly poking fun at what can go wrong when booking or on a trip. The campaign also features the multi-faceted businesswoman and philanthropist Paris Hilton, who grew up living in and staying in numerous Hilton hotels across the world, which gave her a unique exposure to the hotel business early on. Her role in the campaign is inspired in part by the legacy of her family, whose belief in the power of travel and the hotel stay to connect people and cultures continues to motivate Hilton Team Members around the world today.
In addition to Paris, renowned actor Catherine O’Hara lends her voice to the campaign, with TV commercials first airing in the U.S. on July 25 and audio rolling out shortly thereafter.
“Today, as we make company history with Hilton’s first brand platform, we’re reminding guests that at the heart of a great trip is a great stay and that it’s just different when that stay is with Hilton, As we enter this next era of travel, it has never been more important to consider where you stay – and Hilton is uniquely committed to making sure your stay is everything you need it to be.”
-Mark Weinstein, Chief Marketing Officer, Hilton.
Hilton and TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, Hilton’s agency since 2017, used TBWA’s Disruption methodology to architect the bold new vision, born from the insight the hospitality industry has become almost entirely focused on the destination, not the stay itself. Consumer research uncovered “the Stay,” and being cared for, are the crucial elements that can make or break any trip. So, Hilton is doubling down on its new brand platform to prove to its guests that truly, “it matters where you stay.” The platform will permeate nearly every consumer touchpoint, from broad-reaching consumer advertising through the travel planning process and the guests’ stay with Hilton, as well as post-stay.
With ‘Hilton. For the Stay,’ we are more fully connecting our external customer marketing to our purpose – staking our rightful claim that Hilton owns the Stay,” said Weinstein. “The idea of the Stay was incredibly natural to Hilton, and yet no one else was talking about it. As others tout the generic virtues of travel, minimize the role of the hotel and the hotel team members, and romanticize the destination, through our platform and the campaign it inspires, we’re reminding travelers that ‘It Matters Where You Stay’ and boldly affirming ‘Hilton. For the Stay.’
“IT MATTERS WHERE YOU STAY” CAMPAIGN
The advertising creative has a fun, relatable tone in which Hilton breaks from the formulaic approach seen across the industry, highlighting the benefits Hilton offers to make guests feel cared for – from amazing service and pet-friendly travel to the choices available in the Hilton Honors app to skip the front desk and personalize your stay, to Confirmed Connecting Rooms by Hilton and more.
In one of the featured TV spots, “Haunted,” the brand pokes fun at what can go wrong when booking a vacation rental – depicting a family showing up to a hilariously creepy property that wasn’t exactly as advertised.
“Confirmed Together” zeroes in on a unique Hilton feature that addresses a very real pain point of family travel, the importance of securing connected rooms at the time of booking.
And in “Extra Storage,” Paris Hilton has an innovative solution for her extra luggage.
The campaign includes television, audio, social media, print, out of home, spanning 13 commercials and bespoke social executions. It will launch first in the U.S. followed closely by the U.K. and select Asia-Pacific and Middle East markets. Hilton tapped a world-class creative team to bring this global campaign to life, including A-list commercial director Matt Aselton of Arts & Sciences.
To extend the brand platform, Hilton will lean into social media, experiential and influencers. Across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter, Hilton will engage in an already robust conversation around travel and trip disasters by helping travelers have a better stay – whether planning for a future trip or helping rescue a trip that has gone off the rails. Hilton has also partnered with familiar voices on social media to bring “Hilton. For the Stay” to life.
“In developing the campaign, we were inspired by showing the realness of travel; the tensions, the hardships, the too-high expectations. It goes against convention in the hospitality category and it’s an exciting space for the brand to own,”
-Amy Ferguson, Chief Creative Officer, TBWA\Chiat\Day New York.
For more than 100 years, Hilton has been a pioneer in the hospitality industry, and that has never been more evident than the past two years. “Hilton. For the Stay” encompasses the brand’s world-class hospitality; from innovations such as Digital Key Share, Confirmed Connecting Rooms, early confirmation of upgraded rooms for Hilton Honors members and through thoughtful service, proving out that it matters where you stay.
More information on “Hilton. For the Stay” and “It Matters Where You Stay” is available at Stories.Hilton.com/ForTheStay. To start planning for future stays and earn exclusive perks, visit Hilton.com and sign up for Hilton Honors – it’s free and easy to join.
Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 18 world-class brands comprising nearly 6,900 properties and nearly 1.1 million rooms, in 122 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its founding vision to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality, Hilton has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its more than 100-year history, earned a top spot on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For list and been recognized as a global leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for five consecutive years. Hilton has introduced several industry-leading technology enhancements to improve the guest experience, including Digital Key Share, automated complimentary room upgrades and the ability to book confirmed connecting rooms. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors, the nearly 133 million members who book directly with Hilton can earn Points for hotel stays and experiences money can't buy. With the free Hilton Honors app, guests can book their stay, select their room, check in, unlock their door with a Digital Key and check out, all from their smartphone. Visit stories.hilton.com for more information, and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.