Expedia Becomes Exclusive Distributor of Marriott Wholesale Rates

Travel Market Report | September 18, 2019

Expedia Group and Marriott International announced Tuesday the online travel platform will become the exclusive distributor of the hotel giant’s wholesale rates, availability, and content to a network of global travel provider, marking an industry first.Redistributors such as bed banks, online travel agencies, and wholesalers will no longer have access to rates and inventory directly from Marriott, beginning Oct. 15. Instead, they will be redirected to Expedia Partner Solutions to obtain access to Marriott’s rates and availabilities from any of the chain’s 7,000 properties across the globe.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,BUSINESS TRAVEL

Direct Travel’s “Next New Now” Digital Transformation (DX) Strategy Delivers Powerful Automation and Personalization

Direct Travel | August 18, 2022

Direct Travel, Inc. is advancing its digital transformation journey with the upcoming deployment of its AI virtual travel assistant, Simon, and through the integration of key products and services into enterprise-collaboration platforms. Direct Travel is intentionally meeting its customers where they are by delivering Simon and key products, such as OBTs, duty of care, reporting, itinerary/invoice services and messaging within enterprise collaboration platforms such as MS Teams, Slack, Zoom and others. “The pandemic has fundamentally changed the pace of business, speeding up the adoption of digital technologies and emphasizing the need for process transformation,By deploying Simon in the channels that our customers use most, such as our website, mobile app, Microsoft Teams, Slack and others, this chat component of our customer engagement strategy allows us to remain even closer to the pulse of our customers. Integration with these endpoints also reinforces our ‘know your customer’ strategy enabling us to acquire personalization-related information from key data stores such as traveler profiles and customer relationship platforms, ensuring the delivery of a completely personalized end-to-end traveler experience,” -Darryl Hoover, Chief Technology Officer, Direct Travel. Direct Travel’s DX strategy allows the customer to determine how and where they engage with us based on their needs and specific situation. It also allows Direct Travel to extend management of specific activities, such as invoice/itinerary retrieval, profile updates and reservation processing, to both travelers and travel arrangers. Key differentiators of this strategy include: Creating a robust conversational AI chat experience in Microsoft Teams, Slack, our mobile app, webchat and more Maintaining an agnostic approach with the contact channels Deploying commonly used applications within our customers' preferred enterprise collaboration platforms Redefining the customer and employee experience is more important than ever. At Direct Travel, we’re meeting travelers where they are by bringing our services to them and we believe this will drive significant value in the future, transforming the way our customers do business with us, said John Coffman, Chief Financial Officer, Direct Travel. By combining its virtual assistant, Simon, chat automation and self-service activities for the traveler and travel arranger, Direct Travel is delivering customer engagement at the highest level possible. For more information about this “next new now” DX strategy, visit www.dt.com. About Direct Travel, Inc. Direct Travel is a leading provider of corporate travel management services. The company has been providing travel management for over 40 years, working with clients to develop highly customized travel programs. By leveraging both the expertise of its people and innovative solutions, Direct Travel enables clients to derive the greatest value from their travel program in terms of superior service, progressive technologies and significant cost savings. Direct Travel has offices in over 70 locations across North America and the UK and is currently ranked 11th on Travel Weekly’s Power List. For more information, visit www.dt.com.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,BUSINESS TRAVEL

HRS Acquires Paypense, Enabling Widescale Digitized Payment Technology for Corporations and Employees

HRS | August 08, 2022

HRS, the leading Gobal corporate travel and payment technology platform, announced the acquisition of Germany-based Paypense, enhancing HRS’ growing compilation of efficient corporate payment offerings. Only two years since launch, Paypense’s open platform has already made inroads with a broad range of corporations, enabling employees to use digital payment technology to pay for all work-related purchases. This smarter solution ensures compliance to budgets while also capturing relevant data for auditing, steering and even sustainability metrics. “HRS Pay, reinforced by years of proprietary investments and our 2021 purchase of Itelya to propel the digital transformation of payment, is taking the next step in delivering an exceptional 'in destination experience' for corporate employees, Paypense provides intelligent spend management services for managers and employees alike, whether they are on the road for weeks at a time or supporting a one-day, off-site event that doesn’t require travel. This acquisition represents a new milestone for HRS Pay as we continue to focus on elevating employee satisfaction.” -Tobias Ragge, HRS CEO The employee satisfaction component is critical to driving the successful deployment and ongoing use of spend management technology. Recent research from the Global Business Travel Association, inclusive of feedback from 600+ procurement executives and nearly 2,500 business travelers, found that 85 percent of respondents said that the ease of completing expense reports, ease of expense approval process and speed of reimbursement are important to spend management.. Paypense’s Broad Array of Controls and Efficiencies Redefine Spend Management Leveraging automated intelligence and auto-approved, in-policy purchasing, Paypense dramatically reduces concerns about what items an employee may acquire. This elegant solution appeals to accounting and procurement managers, as Paypense effectively ensures the right amounts are spent on the right kind of purchases, every single time. The under-the-hood approach to managing virtual technology and secure connections to a company’s preferred banking institutions makes this seamless to employees who crave simplicity in all expense-related processes. Other Paypense highlights include: The provision of pre-approved budgets in real time to individual employees, groups, or job candidates via Paypense’s patented "matrix approval engine.” Functionality also allows for the approval and dispensing of increased allocations for emergency scenarios; Mobile app capabilities that facilitate tracked purchases by the employees, without him/her ever having to use their own funds; Automated receipt acquisition for common online portals used by employees, including air, rail, hotel, auto, ridesharing, phone and other prominent suppliers; and Leveraging supplier and localized data, Paypense captures the CO2 emissions of individual expenses, a vital element for companies taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint. “With our open platform, we’ve introduced a unique differentiator for the provision of virtual credit cards for pre-approved expenses, It’s clear from our industry engagement that there is an appreciation for our approach. We’re working in concert with expense providers and financial institutions, not competing with them as we transition from expense management to spend management. And with all parties squarely focusing on enhancing the employee experience, we’re increasing satisfaction even as we uncover new avenues of payment efficiency.” -Christopher Hecht, founder and CEO of Paypense Complemented by this acquisition, HRS Pay now offers truly holistic spend management solutions covering not only travel-related spend, but also non-travel, localized spend that accounts for significant expenses,” said Kurt Knackstedt, Chief Growth Officer for HRS Pay. “With the full integration of Paypense, our complete end-to-end spend management platform provides unmatched visibility of level-3 data, multi-category invoice digitization, and superior VAT reclaim automation – all available globally via any payment provider. Given these cumulative capabilities, HRS Pay is uniquely positioned to deliver the consummate payment solution for Fortune 500 multi-national companies. Paypense’s employees will officially become HRS Pay employees when the acquisition formally closes in August. Christopher Hecht will join the HRS Pay team as Chief Product Officer, overseeing development and working collaboratively with clients, partners and employees to enrich HRS Pay solutions moving forward. HRS Pay solutions will be featured at the upcoming Global Business Travel Association conference in San Diego on August 14-17 at the HRS booth (# 3229). Paypense is also one of an exclusive few new technologies to be selected for the Innovate event in New York City on October 24. About HRS HRS is reinventing the way businesses and governments work, stay and pay in today’s dynamic global marketplace. HRS’ advanced platform technology is extending its reach beyond hospitality to meetings, office space management, payment efficiency and crisis recovery. Beyond cost savings in the global post-pandemic economy, HRS clients gain from an unrivaled focus on essential aspects including safety, security and satisfaction. HRS is also recognized for its award-winning Green Stay Initiative, technology that helps corporate hotel programs achieve their NetZero targets, and its groundbreaking Crew & Passengers Solution, which leverages automation to elevate experiences for air and rail operations. Founded in 1972, HRS works with 35 percent of the global Fortune 500, as well as the world’s leading hotel chains, regional hospitality groups and payment providers. More information at www.hrs.com/enterprise.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

GigNet Announces Agreement with Palladium Hotel Group to Provide Advanced Broadband to Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres Resort and Spa

GigNet | August 25, 2022

GigNet, a Digital Infrastructure company with an extensive regional fiber optic broadband network from Costa Mujeres, North of Cancun, through the Hotel Zone of Tulum, announced today it is providing broadband for fast, and reliable Internet to the Grand Palladium Resort and Spa. Costa Mujeres is a fast-growing resort development area approximately ten miles north of central Cancun and features large scale resorts, golf courses, and some of the best beaches in the region. Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres is an all-inclusive luxury resort featuring six buildings with 1146 rooms that make up Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres and TRS Coral, four pool areas, thirty restaurants and bars, a beach club, luxury spa, retail shops, convention center, and a Rafa Nadal Tennis Center. According to Mexico News Daily, the Grand Palladium, its 473-room sister property TRS Coral, and other future developments represent over US$750 million in planned investment in Costa Mujeres by Palladium Group. Mark Carney, OBE and President of GigNet Mexico, stated, “We extended our fiber-optic network to Costa Mujeres because we recognized this would be a major growth area for the Cancun tourism market. We are excited to begin our relationship with Palladium Hotel Group by bringing the best broadband in Quintana Roo to this magnificent resort. Palladium has a reputation for working only with best-in-class partners, and we know it is critical for mega resorts to have reliable fiber-optic connectivity, backed by service level guarantees that only GigNet can offer. We appreciate the trust that Palladium is placing with GigNet and are excited to be part of the future of Palladium Hotel Group and Costa Mujeres.” ABOUT PALLADIUM HOTEL GROUP The Palladium Hotel Group hotel chain was founded in the late 1960s in Ibiza by Abel Matutes Juan, who dreamed of bringing paradise within the reach of travelers and offering them amazing experiences. He took his first steps in the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands, and in the early 1990s he continued expansion by opening several resorts in the Caribbean and other top world destinations including Mexico, Dominican Republic, Spain, Italy, Jamaica, and Brazil. In 2000, these hotels were combined under the name Fiesta Hotel Group and in 2012 the group became Palladium Hotel Group, taking its name from its five-star Caribbean resorts. Palladium continues to set industry standards based on a commitment to guest satisfaction and a priority for developing the group’s human capital. https://www.palladiumhotelgroup.com/en ABOUT GIGNET GigNet is the Mexican Caribbean brand of GigNet, Inc., a U.S. based international Digital Infrastructure company specializing in Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) and Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) for enterprise customers including hotels, resorts, retailers, offices, large commercial operations, governmental offices, and medical and educational facilities, as well as fiber-optic transport services for mobile phone operators in the region. Through its Mexico operating subsidiaries, GigNet, S.A. de C.V., and Sanalto Redes Peninsular, S.A.P.I. de C.V., the Company is a fully licensed telecommunications provider in Mexico. GigNet is actively adding customers to its extensive regional broadband network in the Mexican Caribbean, one of the largest and fastest growing tourism and new residential development destinations in the world, with over 25 million annual airport visitors. GigNet is a leader in the Digital Transformation of the region.

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