prnewswire | May 17, 2023
Funds advised by Apax Partners LLP ("Apax") announced today that they have reached a definitive agreement to invest approximately $450m to acquire a significant minority stake in IBS Software, a leading provider of modern Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions to the global travel and logistics industry, from Blackstone. Following the transaction, Apax will partner closely with IBS Software's Founder and Executive Chairman, V K Mathews, who will remain the majority shareholder.
Founded in 1997 with a vision of redefining the future of travel through technology innovation, IBS Software provides next-generation SaaS solutions that power the most mission-critical operations at the world's leading aviation, tour and cruise, hospitality and logistics companies. With a comprehensive portfolio of modular, cloud-based solutions purpose-built for the travel industry, IBS Software helps travel companies accelerate innovation and drive efficiency across a broad set of core business processes, including cargo and logistics, flight operations, passenger services, loyalty programs, cruise operations, energy & resource logistics and hospitality distribution platforms. Backed by a team of 4000 professionals across the world with more than 25 years of deep domain expertise, IBS Software's scalable, cloud-native platform and demonstrated market leadership, position it to define the future of mission-critical technology for the travel industry.
V K Mathews, Founder and Executive Chairman of IBS Software said: "We're excited to partner with Apax as we enter a new phase in our mission to transform how travel companies operate in a digital world. This investment is an endorsement of our strategy and our commitment and contribution to the industry, and we have a shared vision with Apax for the future of the business. We thank our customers and employees who have been instrumental in our success so far. We're grateful to the Blackstone team for their invaluable support over the years and we look forward to an exciting and fulfilling journey ahead with Apax."
Anand Krishnan, CEO, IBS Software, added: "As the travel industry rapidly embraces digitalisation, we have a vital role to play in helping our customers accelerate revenues, drive efficiency and create differentiated customer experiences. Apax has deep experience in partnering with leading SaaS providers and will be a strategic partner for IBS Software as we embark on a new phase of growth. We thank Blackstone for helping us create real value and a true partnership."
Jason Wright, Partner, Apax, commented: "We are thrilled to partner with VK and the management team at IBS Software. Having closely monitored the travel software sector over the last several years, IBS Software stood out to us as uniquely positioned in the industry, offering a next-gen software suite that we believe is truly unrivalled. Over the last two decades, IBS Software has invested in products, innovation, and culture, while continuing to scale the business. We believe there is tremendous growth potential ahead and look forward to leveraging our software experience to help IBS Software become a world leader in travel and logistics software."
Amit Dixit, Head of Asia Private Equity, Blackstone, said: "We are happy to have played an important role in IBS Software's transformation to a SaaS company with global leadership in Travel and Logistics. IBS is already one of the largest enterprise SaaS companies out of India. We thank VK for his strategic vision and for being a terrific partner, and Anand and the management team for their impeccable execution. Value creation at IBS Software demonstrates our business-building approach to investing and reinforces our conviction in Technology as a sectoral theme."
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close end of Q2 2023. Financial terms were not disclosed.
J.P. Morgan is acting as financial advisor to IBS Software and Blackstone, Drew & Napier LLC is acting as legal counsel to IBS Software and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is acting as legal counsel to Blackstone.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP is acting as legal counsel and Jefferies LLC is acting as financial advisor to Apax.
About IBS Software
IBS Software is a leader in providing SaaS solutions for the travel industry based in Singapore. It manages mission-critical operations for clients in the aviation, tour & cruise, and hospitality industries. The aviation industry solutions provided by the company include fleet & crew operations, passenger services, staff travel, loyalty programs, aircraft maintenance, and air cargo management. It also operates a B2B and B2C distribution platform that provides hotel room inventory, rates, and availability to a network of hospitality companies and channels. Additionally, it offers a comprehensive, customer-centric digital platform for the tour and cruise industry that includes onshore, online, and on-board solutions. IBS Software is a Blackstone portfolio company with 15 offices worldwide.
DESTINATION AND TOURISM
geekwire | April 06, 2023
For many travelers, technology long ago supplanted travel agents for the basic booking of flights, hotels, and excursions. But how quickly will artificial intelligence replace humans for trusted travel advice?
That’s the larger question behind Expedia’s announcement this morning that it will offer a new “travel planning experience” powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Debuting today on Expedia’s iOS app, it’s part of a growing wave of AI-powered travel- and trip-planning technologies from a variety of startups and app developers.
Travel advice is already one of the most commonly cited scenarios for people using ChatGPT in its raw form or in Microsoft’s Bing search engine, for example. However, Expedia’s significant presence in travel makes this rollout especially interesting as a gauge of AI’s potential to serve in a role traditionally left to human expertise.
One of the ways Expedia is trying to differentiate its ChatGPT implementation is by automatically saving hotels discussed during a chat session to a “trip” in the app to make it easier to book a stay.
This capability will expand later to other forms of reservations, including flights and rental cars, Expedia CTO Rathi Murthy told the Wall Street Journal.
On the topic of privacy, Expedia won’t share customer data with OpenAI from ChatGPT searches in the app, but it may use the data in the future to further personalize the experience, Expedia Group CEO Peter Kern told the WSJ.
For now, Expedia is classifying the initial feature on iOS as a beta, which means it’s not necessarily ready for prime time.
For example, Lance Ulanoff reports on TechRadar this morning that he encountered a bug in which the app didn’t save his preferred hotel after he tested the chat function to plan a hypothetical family vacation.
Expedia says it will “rapidly evolve the experience” based on how people use it.
“It’s also important to remember that while many measures have been taken to limit inaccurate results and inappropriate responses, at times the experience may not work exactly as expected,” the company adds. “Feedback from both our employees and all those using the experience will be continually looked at to make sure responses meet our standards.”
In other words, your mileage may vary, perhaps literally.
Ultimately, this rollout promises to be an important test for this emerging era of generative AI. Just be sure to double-check its accuracy in the meantime before spending thousands on a trip to Europe.
About Expedia Group
At Expedia Group we believe that travel is a force for good it opens minds, builds connections, and bridges divides. We create transformative tech that fuels partner growth while enabling unforgettable experiences for all travelers, everywhere. Our trusted family of brands are known and loved by millions, and we power more trips than anyone else. To learn more about our vision of a more open world through travel, visit www.expediagroup.com.
prnewswire | May 23, 2023
United today became the first U.S. airline to support Live Activities for iPhone, giving customers real-time access to their boarding pass, gate and seat number, and countdown clock to departure time on their Lock Screen or while unlocked in the Dynamic Island, all without opening the United app.
United customers check their mobile boarding pass and flight status nearly 800,000 times each day, and this new feature makes it even easier and faster for United flyers to receive timely updates and find important flight details.
"We're seeing soaring demand for travel this summer, and Live Activities puts all the flight information you need right at your fingertips, whether your iPhone is locked or you're doing something else like checking email, listening to music or texting friends," said Linda Jojo, Chief Customer Officer for United. "This new feature is another way United is leveraging technology to improve our customers' travel journey. It's going to save passengers a lot of time, and we think they're going to love it, especially during a busy travel season."
Live Activities helps United customers with iPhones stay informed in real time, so they can see live flight updates, flight details and alerts right on the Lock Screen or in the Dynamic Island on iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.
With a quick glance at the iPhone screen, customers can:
Get details like the flight number, on-time status, inbound aircraft status, estimated departure and arrival times, and more in the Live Activity on the Lock Screen or the Dynamic Island when expanded
Open their boarding pass directly from the Live Activity to easily scan during security check-in or while boarding their flight
See departure and arrival gates, pre- and in-flight countdowns, and baggage carousel information right in the Dynamic Island
Support for Live Activities has started to roll out to United travelers and will be widely available by the end of May. To experience the new features, customers should verify that their iPhone is running iOS 16.1 or later and their United app is up to date.
With up to three million users interacting with the app daily, United' mobile app is recognized for its accessibility options for the visually impaired, personalization options and improved navigation. The air carrier has consistently rolled out industry-leading app features in recent years, including:
Agent on Demand: Only United has a virtual, on demand customer service tool that lets customers scan a QR code and video chat, text or call a customer service representative instead of waiting in line at the airport. Last year, 1.3 million customers used Agent on Demand, and in 2023, we've already seen 192,000 customers use the platform.
United Map Search: Customers can easily compare and shop for flights based on departure city, budget and location type, with an interactive map feature. Available on the United app and website, this digital tool displays fares in a map view, allowing customers to simultaneously compare travel to a variety of destinations in a single search.
Travel Ready Center: This one-stop digital assistant on united.com and the United app outlines any necessary travel requirements with clear guidance, helping customers prepare for their travel and breeze through the airport without stopping for manual document checks.
Terminal Guide: Customers receive personalized day-of instructions to navigate point-to-point throughout the airport – from directing them to the most ideal airport entrance to finding their departure gate.
At United, Good Leads The WaySM. With U.S. hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., United operates the most comprehensive global route network among North American carriers, and is now the largest airline in the world as measured by available seat miles. For more about how to join the United team, please visit www.united.com/careers and more information about the company is at www.united.com. United Airlines Holdings, Inc., the parent company of United Airlines, Inc., is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol "UAL".