CWT adds messaging service for travelers, ponders adding voice tech

PhocusWire | February 13, 2020

CWT adds messaging service for travelers, ponders adding voice tech
Business travel management company CWT has launched a messaging service within its myCWT platform. The technology enables travelers to contact a counselor at any time of the day via desktop, mobile or a third party messaging app approved by their employer. Travelers can make bookings, amend or cancel existing trips and retrieve itineraries via the messaging service, which also enables counselors to see the history of a traveler’s interactions. The technology can also be integrated with existing messaging interfaces such as Skpe and Teams.

Spotlight

It’s clear that business travel is one of the fastest growing sectors today. Despite the continued global uncertainty, cautious optimism rules the forecast, according to Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) which predicts global business travel spend to advance 5.8 percent on average over the next five years reaching $1.6 trillion in 2020.

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Apple Leisure Group Joins ‘Buy One, Give One’ Campaign to Jump-Start Travel

Apple Leisure Group | May 22, 2020

Apple Leisure Group Vacations (ALGV) announced today that it’s coming together with other hospitality operators to participate in a new ‘Buy One, Give One’ program, which serves the dual purpose of generating immediate revenue for hotels suffering from the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and providing a “thank you” gesture to the dedicated healthcare professionals who’ve worked tirelessly on the front lines of the pandemic. As such, ALGV becomes the only wholesale tour operator thus far to join in the “pay it forward” campaign. Restarting leisure travel is a major priority for the whole hospitality industry, which has been among the most severely impacted economic sectors amid COVID-19. According to recent data from the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), 70 percent of hotel employees have been laid off or furloughed, and 80 percent of hotel rooms sit empty.

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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Loews Hotels & Co Breaks Ground on New $550 Million Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center

Loews Hotels & Co | October 13, 2021

Loews Hotels & Co, a wholly owned subsidiary of Loews Corporation, has officially broken ground on the new $550 million Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center. Executives from the company were joined by Arlington Mayor Jim Ross, former Mayor Jeff Williams, Chairman & Managing Partner of the Texas Rangers Ray Davis, The Cordish Companies' Director of Communications, Cari Furman, along with members of the Arlington City Council and other community and business leaders, to recognize and celebrate this milestone. The addition of the Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center, a full-service resort, will further strengthen Arlington's robust convention and tourism opportunities. The city is one of the premier sports and entertainment destinations in the United States, and a leading destination for meetings, events, and leisure travel. "Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center will allow us to capitalize on what we do best – combine a unique meetings and events destination with a best-in-class leisure resort. This significant investment further underscores our confidence and commitment not only in the great City of Arlington, Texas but also in the strength of the travel and tourism industry and our belief in the recovery of post-pandemic travel." Jonathan Tisch, Chairman & CEO, Loews Hotels & Co. This property will be the second Arlington hotel for the hospitality company. Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center is scheduled to open in early 2024. This new hotel will be located across from Live! by Loews, which is a joint venture among Loews Hotels & Co, the Texas Rangers and The Cordish Companies, built on the former Texas Rangers' Lot J parking lot. "Arlington has some of the best built-in demand generators in the country, such as AT&T Stadium and Globe-Life Field. These attractions, coupled with Loews Hotels' track record of offering distinctive experiences alongside operational excellence, will help establish the Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center as a centerpiece in The American Dream City," said Alex Tisch, President, Loews Hotels & Co. "Our goal is for Arlington, Texas to stand alongside Las Vegas and Orland as one of the preeminent family, sports and entertainment destinations in America." This new project marks the first time that Loews Hotels & Co is acting as the developer as well as the owner and branded operator. The nearly $550 million project is financed with Loews Hotels & Co capital and a $300 million loan from MetLife Investment Management. "Arlington continues to build on our incredible economic momentum, and today's groundbreaking is another exciting example of our commitment to job creation and providing world-class amenities to our residents and visitors," said Arlington Mayor Jim Ross. "Loews Hotels & Co is a best-in-class hotel brand and with innovative partners like Loews Hotels & Co, the Tisch Family, the Texas Rangers and The Cordish Companies, we're able to further establish The American Dream City as a premier destination for visitors around the globe." Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center will feature: 888 guestrooms and suites 200,000 square feet of indoor meeting space 66,000 square feet of outdoor space, including an oversized event lawn Five food and beverage outlets, including a three-meal indoor/outdoor restaurant featuring two wood-fire pizza ovens and homemade pasta made on-site and a soon-to-be-named third-party restaurant from a well-known restaurateur 1,550-space parking garage Resort-style beach club with two pools, man-made beach, cabanas, fire pits and water slide The Arlington Convention Center, also operated by Loews Hotels & Co, will be located within the hotel Situated between Globe Life Field and AT&T Stadium, Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center will be accessible to the 300-room Live! by Loews via a Sky Bridge. The two hotels combined will offer nearly 1,200 guestrooms and more than 300,000 square feet of meeting and event space. "The addition of the Loews Arlington Hotel and the Arlington Convention Center bring the development of the Arlington Entertainment District to another whole level," said Texas Rangers Chairman and Managing Partner Ray Davis. "The existing world-class sports and entertainment venues will now be complimented by incredible hotel and meeting facilities that will attract national and international events of all kinds. I want to thank our partners, the City of Arlington, Loews Hotels & Co, and The Cordish Companies for sharing our vision that has become a spectacular reality in a few short years." Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center is part of phase two of the development of Arlington's Entertainment District. Continuing their public-private partnership with the City of Arlington, Loews Hotels & Co, The Texas Rangers and The Cordish Companies are building upon the momentum and success of Texas Live!, Live! by Loews, and the Rangers' new Globe Life Field. Additional features of the new expansion include a mixed-use residential building and a Spark coworking space, both developed by The Cordish Companies. "It is an honor for The Cordish Companies to continue our partnership with the Texas Rangers, Loews Hotels & Co and the City of Arlington to deliver a transformative project for Arlington," said Blake Cordish, Principal of The Cordish Companies. "Loews is one of the preeminent hoteliers in North America and a leader in the convention and meetings industry. The groundbreaking of the new Loews Arlington Hotel and Arlington Convention Center is an important next step in our commitment to create a world-class, mixed-use development that will cement Arlington as one of the leading premier sports, entertainment, culture, hospitality and tourism destinations in the country." Loews Hotels & Co is working with HKS as the architect and Looney & Associates on the interior design for this new development. Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center is being built by JE Dunn, who recently built the Loews Kansas City Hotel, which opened in June 2020. Arlington's Con-Real is also involved in the construction of the project. About Loews Hotels & Co Headquartered in New York City, Loews Hotels & Co is rooted in deep heritage and excellence in service. The hospitality company encompasses branded independent Loews Hotels, and a solid mix of partner-brand hotels. Loews Hotels & Co owns and/or operates 26 hotels and resorts across the U.S. and Canada, including the new Loews Kansas City and Universal's Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites, the eighth hotel in partnership with Comcast NBC Universal that opened at the end of 2020. Located in major city centers and resort destinations from coast to coast, the Loews Hotels portfolio features properties grounded in family heritage and dedicated to delivering unscripted guest moments with a handcrafted approach.

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BUSINESS TRAVEL

Cleartrip, an Online Travel Company, will be Acquired by Flipkart

Cleartrip, Flipkart | April 16, 2021

Flipkart announced on Thursday that it has agreed to acquire Cleartrip, an online travel and hotel ticketing firm, as the Walmart-owned e-commerce firm seeks to expand its offerings in the world's second-largest internet market. According to a person familiar with the matter, the deal values 14-year-old Cleartrip, which raised approximately $74 million before the acquisition, at approximately $40 million. Cleartrip, like most other travel companies, is under immense stress as a result of the worldwide pandemic, which has greatly reduced people's desire to travel. Last month, Indian news outlet MoneyControl announced that the two firms were considering a merger. Cleartrip is also an Amazon partner in India, powering the American e-commerce giant's ticketing engine. In 2019, the two companies signed an agreement. The American e-commerce company did not react, even though it is currently battling a legal battle to prevent its estranged Indian partner Future Group from selling business to Reliance Retail. Cleartrip will continue to exist as a standalone brand, with all staff staying, while collaborating with Flipkart to “further create digital innovations to make travel easier for customers,” the two firms announced today. Flipkart has been reported to be working on adding a flight ticket buying feature on its website for more than a year. “Through digital commerce, the Flipkart Group is dedicated to improving customer experiences. For many customers, Cleartrip is synonymous with travel, and as we diversify and search for new areas of growth, this investment will further strengthen our diverse portfolio of customer offers. We welcome the Cleartrip team to the Flipkart Group, with their vast industry expertise and technological skills, and look forward to working together to provide greater value and travel experiences for customers,” said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO of Flipkart Group, in a tweet.

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Spotlight

It’s clear that business travel is one of the fastest growing sectors today. Despite the continued global uncertainty, cautious optimism rules the forecast, according to Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) which predicts global business travel spend to advance 5.8 percent on average over the next five years reaching $1.6 trillion in 2020.