Croatia Allows American Travelers to Visit Despite Europe Ban

Total Croatia | July 09, 2020

Travelers who are healthy and looking for a taste of Europe but are disappointed by the European Union travel ban barring U.S. travelers entry can take comfort in knowing that there are still destinations that they can travel to.
Croatia is one of a few European nations that still allows Americans to visit during the coronavirus pandemic and was on the New York Times list of places that U.S. travelers can still visit.

Spotlight

The tourism industry, with travel and hospitality as two of its major components, is no longer the same as it was. Consumer behaviors toward tourism have significantly changed, influenced by the desire for safety and social contact and the accelerated shift to digital. Travel planning now happens with just a few clicks — from selecting a travel location and checking safety protocols to receiving information on flights and lodgings. For businesses, this means tougher asks from customers
and greater competition for wallet share, especially as digital evens out the playing field between small and large companies.

Spotlight

The tourism industry, with travel and hospitality as two of its major components, is no longer the same as it was. Consumer behaviors toward tourism have significantly changed, influenced by the desire for safety and social contact and the accelerated shift to digital. Travel planning now happens with just a few clicks — from selecting a travel location and checking safety protocols to receiving information on flights and lodgings. For businesses, this means tougher asks from customers
and greater competition for wallet share, especially as digital evens out the playing field between small and large companies.

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INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

Hotel Payment Software Platform Selfbook Announces a Strategic Investment from Amex Ventures

Selfbook | December 09, 2022

Selfbook, a unique, comprehensive hotel payment software platform bringing direct bookings and modern payment technology to hotels worldwide, announced a strategic investment from Amex Ventures. The investment follows a $40 million Series A and A+ round led by Tiger GlobalThis announcement highlights Selfbook’s continuous growth within the hospitality space. As it continues to broaden its reach in the travel industry, Selfbook looks forward to working with American Express following this investment. Selfbook enables hotels to offer guests a seamless, one-step checkout experience directly on their websites while elevating the user experience and streamlining the payment process for hotels, which can increase conversion and boost revenue. Selfbook also groups multiple services, such as restaurant reservations, spa appointments and activities, into a single payment flow to easily drive upsells. “The American Express brand is synonymous with global travel and payment security, and we are thrilled to have Amex Ventures be part of our investor base, As hotels around the world continue to use Selfbook to offer a guest-first booking experience and secure payments, the investment from American Express will help us deepen our global presence and provide even more effective payment tools for our partners.” -Khalid Meniri, Co-Founder and CEO of Selfbook We are constantly on the lookout for innovative technologies that enhance and elevate the travel and payments experience,” said Margaret Lim, Managing Director of Amex Ventures. “We believe Selfbook is driving hotel bookings and payments into the future with their elegant checkout experience, intuitive user interface, and robust support for modern payment methods preferred by guests through a unified platform that seamlessly integrates with existing hospitality software. About Selfbook Uniquely positioned at the intersection of fintech and hospitality, Selfbook revolutionizes hotel bookings and payments from the inside out. Working in tandem with hotels’ existing technology systems, Selfbook enhances what matters most to hotels, including direct conversion, revenue, cash flow control, and security. Built by a team of hospitality veterans, Selfbook’s products provide a refreshingly effortless user experience for guests and hoteliers alike. Selfbook is committed to empowering hotels worldwide with modern e-commerce solutions tailor-made for our industry.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,COMMERCIAL TRAVEL

Virgin Voyages Welcomes Paysafe Aboard for Online Payments

Paysafe and Virgin Voyages | November 30, 2022

Paysafe (NYSE: PSFE), a leading payments platform, announced a partnership with Virgin Voyages, Richard Branson’s lifestyle travel brand focused on delivering irresistible cruise vacations for adult travelers. Paysafe will ensure travelers can quickly and securely pay online for their next cruise with Virgin Voyages, whose payments risk will also be mitigated by Paysafe’s bespoke travel solution.Whether booking an opulent Virgin Voyages cruise in the Caribbean, Europe, or the South Pacific as well as Transatlantic crossings, travelers can now use their credit card to pay online to book their exclusively adult seabound vacation through Paysafe, with all transactions processed seamlessly. With 20+ years’ card-not-present payments’ experience, including for travel merchants, Paysafe will allow Virgin Voyages to better serve its global customer base by accepting payments in multiple currencies besides the U.S. dollar. The relatively high-risk nature of cruise travel payments – with cruises often booked many months in advance of travelers’ setting sail – will be mitigated by Paysafe, which has deep expertise in risk management for travel merchants. Paysafe’s custom risk product for Virgin Voyages leverages Mastercard’s T&E Risk Monitor, which is powered by Actuary, to provide the merchant with full transparency on the holdback and release of funds for processed ticket sales, ensuring effective credit risk management. Paysafe will also help Virgin Voyages negotiate the issue of fraud and chargebacks through its dedicated in-house risk and chargeback teams. In addition, a Cruise Line Relationship Manager at Paysafe will enable Virgin Voyages to overcome specific payments challenges. “We’re delighted to partner with Virgin Voyages, the latest venture from the iconic Virgin Group and its co-founder Richard Branson. We look forward to supporting this unique travel brand’s growth by leveraging our travel payments experience to facilitate the reservation process for Virgin Voyages and its customers.” -Afshin Yazdian, President of Merchant Solutions at Paysafe John Birdsall, Senior Director of Corporate Accounting at Virgin Voyages, commented: "Virgin Voyages is strongly focused on giving our Sailors the vacation of a lifetime, and this covers every aspect of their experience including booking their trip and making safe and secure online payments. Our partnership with Paysafe has helped create a smooth and seamless process." About Paysafe Limited Paysafe (NYSE: PSFE) (PSFE.WS) is a leading payments platform. Its core purpose is to enable businesses and consumers to connect and transact seamlessly through industry-leading capabilities in payment processing, digital wallet, and online cash solutions. With over 20 years of online payment experience, an annualized transactional volume of over U.S. $120 billion in 2021, and approximately 3,500 employees located in 10+ countries, Paysafe connects businesses and consumers across 100 payment types in over 40 currencies around the world. Delivered through an integrated platform, Paysafe solutions are geared toward mobile-initiated transactions, real-time analytics and the convergence between brick-and-mortar and online payments. Further information is available at www.paysafe.com. About Virgin Voyages Virgin Voyages is a new lifestyle travel brand focused on delivering irresistible cruise vacations. Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady - the first and second ships in the fleet - were designed to reflect a yacht’s sleek luxury, offering the intimate, elevated experience of a boutique hotel at sea. Featuring spaces designed by some of the top names in contemporary interiors, our Lady Ships are exclusively adult, a sanctuary at sea for the 18+ traveler. A dose of Vitamin Sea is naturally intertwined across the entire ship, with well-being, relaxation and rejuvenation at the forefront. Our fleet sails to 100 of the world's most incredible destinations with 25+ unique itineraries across four continents. Each sailing offers alluring entertainment and Michelin-inspired menus served across 20+ world-class eateries. With a modern twist on luxury, coupled with discerning design, Virgin Voyages offers incredible value for its Sailors, including food, essential drinks, WiFi and group fitness classes, all covered in the voyage fare.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,COMMERCIAL TRAVEL

Sabre, Conferma Pay and Mastercard Join Forces to Power the Travel Economy with Virtual Cards

Sabre Corporation,Conferma Pay and Mastercard | November 29, 2022

Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR) a leading software and technology provider that powers the global travel industry, and Conferma Pay, a global fintech firm that specializes in payment technology, announced a new partnership with Mastercard to accelerate the use of virtual cards for business-to-business (B2B) travel payments. Today's announcement builds on Sabre's August 2022 acquisition of Conferma Pay. The collaboration with Mastercard is the next step in advancing Sabre's goal to create an open and independent travel payment ecosystem. Digitization of travel payments with virtual cards helps address the historic challenges associated with B2B leisure and corporate travel payments. The securely generated, single use card numbers provide a link between booking and associated payments to third party suppliers. Travel buyers and suppliers are therefore able to easily track and reconcile payments, as well as benefit from flexible pricing, financing options, and enhanced security through card payment guarantees. "The payments industry is in the midst of a revolution and there is an increased need for travel companies to better manage the whole payment experience, Companies in the travel space – including travel management companies, travel agencies, corporations, issuers and technology partners – need sophisticated solutions and seamless connections. Sabre is taking strategic steps to fulfill the needs of our industry, beginning with the acquisition of Conferma Pay. Now, the new partnership with Mastercard will help Conferma Pay to build new and enhanced digital capabilities in virtual cards, transforming the payment experience for issuers." -Roshan Mendis, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Sabre Travel Solutions. As part of the agreement, Mastercard has agreed to make a minority investment in Conferma Pay, which will continue to operate independently and serve the entire travel industry and beyond. Mastercard's investment in Conferma Pay is subject to customary closing conditions. A combination of experience, technologies and capabilities will accelerate travel payment innovation and drive inclusive and sustainable growth for the sector, said Chris Fendley, Executive Vice President, Enterprise Partnerships at Mastercard. Virtual cards deliver visibility, boost liquidity and increase control over B2B payment flows, which enhance payment strategies and empower organizations across the travel value chain to run, grow and protect their business, which has never been more essential. Conferma Pay connects issuers to more than 700 travel management companies, all the major global distribution systems and more than 100 online booking tools. Conferma Pay is fully integrated with all the major card schemes and serves more than 50 banking partners, who issue Conferma Pay generated virtual cards in nearly 100 currencies. "We've already made significant inroads in the B2B travel space through partnering with Sabre, We are excited about the new investments. This, combined with our existing strong relationships, will enable Conferma Pay to build on our global footprint and be at the forefront of addressing industry challenges and opportunities." -Martin Cowley, interim CEO at Conferma Pay Sabre's Virtual Payments will continue to offer Conferma Pay services – with increased capabilities that help travel buyers, agencies and corporations best support travel customer needs. Sabre Virtual Payments is a unique, secure, automated and integrated end-to-end payment solution designed to simplify and add value to the transactions that TMCs, OTAs, travel agencies, corporations and travel suppliers do every day. Sabre Virtual Payments takes all the capabilities of Conferma Pay and its network of issuers and combines it with seamless integration across Sabre products for -connected travel buyers, agencies and corporations. About Sabre Corporation Sabre Corporation is a leading software and technology company that powers the global travel industry, serving a wide range of travel companies including airlines, hoteliers, travel agencies and other suppliers. The company provides retailing, distribution and fulfilment solutions that help its customers operate more efficiently, drive revenue and offer personalized traveler experiences. Through its leading travel marketplace, Sabre connects travel suppliers with buyers from around the globe. Sabre's technology platform manages more than $260B worth of global travel spend annually. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world. For more information visit www.sabre.com. About Mastercard (NYSE: MA) Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all. www.mastercard.com About Conferma Pay Conferma Pay is a global financial technology company. It designs and integrate virtual payment systems that provide a more efficient, seamless and secure way to pay for businesses. Conferma Pay was born in Manchester in 2005. Since then, it has connected over 700 TMCs, and directly integrates with all the major GDSs and OBTs. Its roots lie in corporate travel payment integration. It enables its payment providers to flow virtual cards into the preferred purchasing process of any business travel buyer. Crucial to this is its network of banking partners, who have issued virtual cards in over 200 countries, in 40 currencies with over 45 commercial banking partners via all major card networks. Its ecosystem continues to expand to meet the growing requirements of its global customer base.

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