FEATURES AND ADVICE
HotelPlanner | October 20, 2021
HotelPlanner, a leading travel technology platform powered by proprietary artificial intelligence, announced the launch of its new Alexa-enabled hotel booking feature that immediately connects customers to a global gig-based ‘Hotel Planner’ agent to book a discounted hotel stay – anywhere in the world – at any time, an industry first.The announcement is well-timed with the rise in voice-activated technology and the ‘Internet of Things’ revolution that is already disrupting every industry across the globe.
How Alexa-Enabled Hotel Bookings Work
Using an Alexa device or the Alexa app, a customer must first say “Alexa – enable the HotelPlanner skill.” Once the skill is enabled, customers can then activate the feature any time by saying “Alexa – open HotelPlanner” or “Alexa – ask HotelPlanner to make a new reservation in Boston.”
Once a customer tells Alexa their travel details, the service immediately connects the customer to a live Hotel Planner as a priority call, which bypasses the call queue. The Hotel Planner can then typically offer a discounted rate before completing the booking. This is equivalent to having a personal hotel concierge at one’s beck and call anytime help is needed with hotel bookings.
HotelPlanner’s proprietary artificial intelligence and VOIP capabilities will also try to route customers to a gig-based Hotel Planner who either lives in, or knows about, the customer’s desired destination so that they can provide localized and personalized service.And this new booking feature is completely free of charge.
Staying Ahead of the Technology Curve
Since its founding in 2004, HotelPlanner has sought to stay ahead of the technology curve with next generation features that anticipate evolving customer needs to further simplify and automate the hotel booking process.
For example, HotelPlanner pioneered the electronic Request for Proposal (eRFP) process for group bookings in 2004, and then added an online negotiation capability in 2009. In 2014, the company launched its instant group booking feature. In May 2020, at the height of the pandemic, HotelPlanner launched its global gig-economy based reservations platform in response to an influx of customer calls, an industry first for an online travel agency.
“We believe that adding Alexa-enabled hotel bookings is an industry game changer,As the Internet of Things and smart homes, smart cars and smart offices become more ubiquitous, HotelPlanner is ready to provide a tech-forward solution that embraces voice activation and anticipates how consumers will interact with technology to make travel plans. And this capability is sustainable, scalable, and complementary with the ongoing expansion of our gig-based Hotel Planner reservation platform.”
-John Prince, Co-Founder & Chief Information Officer, HotelPlanner.
The transaction is expected to enable HotelPlanner to transform into a diversified hotel and event booking platform with complementary revenue streams, and to provide the combined company opportunities to realize multiple operating synergies to drive growth at scale.
HotelPlanner is a leading travel technology company that combines proprietary artificial intelligence capabilities with a 24/7 global gig-based reservations and customer service network. HotelPlanner travel agents can customize all traveler hotel & accommodation needs from a single platform while providing localized advice. HotelPlanner is one of the leading providers of individual, group and corporate travel bookings, specializing in unique “Closed User Group” discounted rates offered in unpublished private sale environments. Founded in 2004, HotelPlanner has enduring partnerships with many of the world’s largest OTAs, well-known hotel chains, individual hotels, online wedding providers, ancillary lodging providers, corporations, professional and amateur sports teams and franchises, universities and government agencies.For more information, please visit https://www.hotelplanner.com
Reservations.com is an award-winning online travel company on a mission to bring the human-touch back to travel. Founded in 2014 with a focus on helping consumers create memorable travel experiences, Reservations.com has experienced rapid growth. Reservations.com's user-friendly website offers unparalleled visibility into hotels, including: descriptions, pricing information, and reviews of nearly 500,000 properties globally. The company is on a journey to enable customers to not only reserve hotels, but to create memories.more information, please visit www.reservations.com
About Astrea Acquisition Corp.
Astrea Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: ASAXU) is a blank check company organized for the purpose of effecting a merger, capital stock exchange, asset acquisition or other similar business combination with one or more businesses or entities. While we intend to evaluate opportunities in many industries, we are targeting technology-enhanced high-growth companies that have clear differentiated business models suited for disruption in their sectors. The diverse experience, extensive relationship network, and successful SPAC experience of our management team and board of directors make Astrea an ideal partner for businesses that have the potential to become outstanding public companies.
DESTINATION AND TOURISM
Cloudbeds, Riparide | September 21, 2021
Cloudbeds, the hospitality industry’s fastest-growing technology provider for independent properties worldwide, today announced a partnership with Riparide, the leading Australian outdoor adventure accommodation booking site. The collaboration provides hospitality owner-hosts access to distribute their unique accommodations to Riparide using the award-winning Cloudbeds Hospitality Platform.
“My property is unique and the distribution through Riparide provides me access to the perfect distribution platform reaching the kind of guests that appreciate the type of property we offer. With the connection to Cloudbeds, I can now have peace of mind knowing that all information seamlessly integrates between both my property system and Riparide,” says Monique Easton, Owner-Creators of The Eastern Thredbo Village.
During the pandemic, Riparide became popular with Australians seeking to get away from urban environments to enjoy the beauty of the vast Australian bush and stunning coastlines. Riparide guests who book accommodation are encouraged to journal and photograph authentic experiences about their adventure and accommodation and share them on the Riparide site. These stories are shared with guests, new and existing, to grow the community and the platform.
“Our customers have now experienced over 10,000 moments of fulfillment through their Riparide escapes, through our partnerships with our incredible host community. As we grow into new regions across the globe, we’re thrilled to have Cloudbeds make the experience of hosting adventure travelers simple and low effort for our hosts today and into the future,” explains Nate Sampimon, CEO of Riparide.
“Our partnership with Riparide is part of Cloudbeds’ strategy to ensure our customers have access to an extensive variety of distribution channels, especially those focused on domestic leisure travel,” says Sebastien Leitner, VP of Partnership for Cloudbeds. “Domestic travel channels will be critical for the industry’s recovery as international and business travel remains restricted.”
Founded in 2012, Cloudbeds is the hospitality industry’s fastest-growing technology provider, serving a global clientele of 22,000+ independent properties across 157 countries. Its award-winning Cloudbeds Hospitality Platform seamlessly combines operations, revenue, distribution, and growth marketing tools with a marketplace of third-party integrations to help hoteliers and hosts grow revenue, streamline operations, and deliver memorable guest experiences.
Our purpose at Riparide is to inspire people to unplug from modern-day trappings and head outdoors in search of fulfilling moments. Seek out a beautiful waterfall, step out of a cabin into the wilderness, paddle out for a morning surf or abseil down a cliff face. It’s about pursuing those peaceful, exciting and challenging moments that restore balance and bring fulfillment to our lives.
Sojern | August 25, 2021
Sojern, a leading provider of digital travel marketing solutions, today published a new report titled, “How Travel Marketers Are Activating Digital Advertising in 2021.”
Worldwide Business Research (WBR) Insights surveyed senior decision makers in Asia-Pacific, Europe, North America, and Middle East and Africa who own the marketing budget for a hotel, attraction or tourism brand. These 300 travel marketers shared key challenges faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led them to test new solutions, innovate with new messaging, and generally do more with less.
“The last 18-months have been quite the rollercoaster for travel marketers navigating the global pandemic, but one thing is clear: travel marketers are more focused than ever before on effectively and efficiently spending precious resources to drive a business return,” said Noreen Henry, Chief Revenue Officer, Sojern. “In this environment you need to be agile, data-driven and optimistic—travel is coming back and it’s a great time to take part in that recovery.”
Key findings of travel marketers surveyed include:
56 percent agree that the current environment is ideal for direct response campaigns. Travellers are booking directly because of clearer cancelation or refund policies, coupled with their frustrating experiences navigating online travel agency (OTA) reimbursements for cancelled trips.
88 percent have increased or kept their digital advertising strategy budget the same since COVID-19.
87 percent tightened spending on brand campaigns and increased spending on performance campaigns in 2020.
84 percent rated machine learning and artificial intelligence as top priority for personalisation across channels.
Consumers are eager to travel, and with the increasingly widespread administration of COVID-19 vaccines, the hard hit travel, media, and entertainment industries are all expected to rebound in 2021. The upward swing is already under way, with a surge in domestic and regional tourism, as newly vaccinated consumers exercise the option to travel within their own borders.