TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Expedia Group and Bilt Rewards Launch Exclusive Travel Portal

Expedia Group | July 01, 2022 | Read time : 03:03 min

Expedia Group and Bilt Rewards
On June 30, Expedia Group, the leading travel technology platform, announced the launch of the new Bilt Travel Portal in collaboration with Bilt Rewards. It will be available exclusively to Bilt Rewards members. Members of Bilt Rewards can use their Bilt points to cover all or a portion of the cost of their next vacation and can book every aspect of their trip directly through the Bilt Rewards app, from flights to hotels and even theme park or Broadway show tickets.

Bilt members can access more than 700,000 properties, 500 airlines, 120 car rental companies, and thousands of activities worldwide, thanks to Expedia Group's White Label Template technology. 1 White Label Template includes all of the functionality of the Expedia.com site, as well as tools and customer support to assist Bilt members with questions or bookings. Expedia Group's expert knowledge of the travel industry is combined with a nearly $2 billion annual investment in new technology innovation to meet the changing needs and demands of both partners and travelers.

Travel is among the most important experiences to our members, who don’t want to be limited when it comes to using their hard-earned loyalty points, said Bilt Rewards Founder and CEO Ankur Jain. Partnering with Expedia Group enables us to give members a one-stop-shop with access to endless travel options, along with the easy integration to create a seamless booking experience.

“We’re excited to power the Bilt Travel Portal, and to help the Bilt Rewards members build the vacation of their dreams simply by paying rent,Our innovative solutions provide Bilt Rewards with technology they need to build a wonderful experience and offer an unparalleled amount of travel options to their members.”

-Christian Gerron, senior vice president, Media & Brand Partnerships, Expedia Group.

Bilt Rewards members can access the Bilt Travel Portal powered by Expedia Group by logging into the Bilt Rewards app or visiting travel.biltrewards.com and entering their Bilt Rewards login credentials to view available travel supply and booking options.

When booking in real-time, members will be able to see the value of their Bilt points, with 10,000 Bilt points equaling $125 in travel credits. Members will also earn 2x points for bookings made through the Bilt Travel Portal with their Bilt Mastercard, and 1x point for bookings made with another form of payment.

Bilt Rewards, which will be available in June 2021, is the first-ever loyalty program and co-brand credit card for renters, allowing 109 million renters in the United States to earn points on their largest monthly expense with no fees. Renters can access the free Bilt Rewards loyalty program by living within the Bilt Rewards Alliance, a network of over 2 million rental units in the United States, or by using the Bilt Mastercard, the first credit card that can be used to pay rent with no transaction fees at any rental unit in the United States.

In addition, Bilt members have access to one of the most valuable rewards programs available, with the ability to redeem points for travel, boutique fitness classes, limited-edition art, and home décor, as well as rent credits and even a down payment on a future home. Members now have access to thousands of new options for redeeming their points thanks to the addition of the Bilt Travel Portal powered by Expedia Group, further increasing the value of Bilt's

Spotlight

With the ocean breeze in your hair, a mai tai in your hand and a new port to look forward to, cruises may well be the hidden gem of vacationing. But before you hop aboard, it's essential you know what type of cruise is right for you. Take our quiz to ensure you make the most of your unique holiday at sea!

Spotlight

With the ocean breeze in your hair, a mai tai in your hand and a new port to look forward to, cruises may well be the hidden gem of vacationing. But before you hop aboard, it's essential you know what type of cruise is right for you. Take our quiz to ensure you make the most of your unique holiday at sea!

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Spirit Airlines Completes Initial High-Speed Wi-Fi Installation, Takes Ultra-Low Fare Air Travel Experience to New Heights

Spirit Airlines | July 14, 2022

Spirit Airlines (NYSE: SAVE) has completed yet another groundbreaking investment in the Guest experience. Guests can now binge their favorite shows via Spirit Wi-Fi on flights operated by its Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft. The major milestone marks the first time a U.S.-based ultra-low fare airline has offered high-speed Wi-Fi. Spirit partnered with Thales to install the high-speed connectivity solution FlytLIVE to cover Spirit's network across the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean. This state-of-the-art system offers access to internet services. Guests can enjoy an at-home level of experience in the air while viewing video from their streaming services, playing games and connecting on social media with their personal devices. As another major milestone, Spirit expects to provide the fastest Wi-Fi service of any U.S.-based airline when all FlytLIVE-enabled planes are connected to the new, very high-throughput SES-17 satellite by September 2022. "This is a real groundbreaking moment in the industry as Spirit adds in-flight amenities and product options that have previously not been available on ultra-low fare carriers, We're continuing to deliver the best value in the sky by providing options that are important to our Guests, like our high-speed Wi-Fi service, while keeping our focus on affordable fares to provide our Guests with More Go." -Matt Klein, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer for Spirit Airlines. At Thales, we are proud to partner with Spirit Airlines in their mission to enhance the Guest experience and are truly excited to have 100% of their A320 & A321 fleet equipped with FlytLIVE. The system's reliability and performance is getting rave reviews from Spirit's passengers who can now stream to their heart's content," said TK Kallenbach, CEO Thales InFlyt Experience. Spirit Wi-Fi Spirit is the leader in providing customizable travel options that allow Guests to pay only for the options they choose like bags, seat assignments, refreshments, and now, Wi-Fi service will be part of this À La Smarte approach to travel. In addition to purchasing Wi-Fi on the flight, Guests can pre-purchase Wi-Fi at the time of booking on spirit.com effective July 13, 2022, and on the mobile app effective August 10, 2022, for flights on or after August 24, 2022. The voucher codes received from the pre-purchase option are for entry in the online Wi-Fi portal on the plane. Wi-Fi Your Way Browsing: browse the web and stay in touch via email, chat, and social media starting at $2.99 Streaming: stream, browse, and chat on board with high-speed internet that's 20x faster than our browsing option starting at $5.99 How To Connect Turn on your device's Wi-Fi and choose "Spirit_WiFi" Open your web browser and visit SpiritWiFi.com Choose the plan, enter your payment or voucher code information, and enjoy Spirit Wi-Fi Features: The most advanced Ka-band high-throughput connectivity FlytLIVE uses SES & Hughes next-generation aviation satellite network and technology SES-17 satellite built to serve routes across the Americas and Atlantic with Ka-band coverage SES-17 is SES's first satellite to have a totally digital payload, powered by a Thales advanced digital transparent processor (DTP), enabling greater flexibility and efficiency than previously available. Using Thales' FlytLIVE and SES-17, Spirit expects to offer the best availability in the Americas and will be faster than other airlines based on published data. Additional program details: In total, more than 80 percent of Spirit's fleet has Wi-Fi capability with system installations completed on Spirit's existing A320 and A321 sub-fleets. The expansion of Wi-Fi functionality to Spirit's existing A319 sub-fleet will be determined at a later date. Spirit plans to gain 24 brand new A320neo planes in 2022 for a projected fleet-wide total of 197 by the end of the year, and 33 more new planes projected for delivery in 2023. The price of the Wi-Fi options is based on the duration of the flight. While inflight, Guests can enjoy complimentary access to Spirit.com—check your flight status on connecting flights, access your mobile boarding pass, and join Free Spirit to earn points from your flight. More information may be found on spirit.com/wifi. Recognition Spirit continues to garner recognition for innovation in the Guest experience and its commitment to operational excellence. The carrier won "Best Airport Innovation" in the 2021 APEX/IFSA Awards for its groundbreaking self-bag drop system with biometric photo matching, which speeds up the check-in process and reduces face-to-face contact. Additionally, Spirit was recognized by Forbes as one of America's Best Employers for Diversity in 2022. Spirit also received the FAA's "Aviation Maintenance Technician Diamond Award of Excellence" for the fourth consecutive year. About Spirit Airlines: Spirit Airlines (NYSE: SAVE) is committed to delivering the best value in the sky. We are the leader in providing customizable travel options starting with an unbundled fare. This allows our Guests to pay only for the options they choose — like bags, seat assignments and refreshments — something we call À La Smarte®. We make it possible for our Guests to venture further and discover more than ever before. Our Fit Fleet® is one of the youngest and most fuel-efficient in the U.S. We serve destinations throughout the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean, and are dedicated to giving back and improving those communities. Come save with us at spirit.com. About Thales: Thales (Euronext Paris: HO) is a global leader in advanced technologies, investing in digital and "deep tech" innovations – connectivity, big data, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and quantum computing – to build a confident future crucial for the development of our societies. The Group provides its customers – businesses, organisations and governments – in the defence, aeronautics, space, transport, and digital identity and security domains with solutions, services and products that help them fulfil their critical role, consideration for the individual being the driving force behind all decisions.

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COMMERCIAL TRAVEL,HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Hilton Introduces First Global Brand Platform “Hilton. For the Stay” Putting the Hotels Back into Hotel Marketing

Hilton | July 27, 2022

Hilton is shaking up hotel marketing and advertising with the announcement of its first global brand platform that identifies what has been missing from hotel marketing – the hotel stay.“Hilton. For the Stay” places the hotel front and center, elevating the role and importance of the stay at a time when lodging advertising is a sea of sameness, featuring overused destinations, cliché walks on the beach and generic descriptions of travel. Hilton is debuting “It Matters Where You Stay,” a new advertising campaign to introduce the platform, using humor to push against some of the common but unspoken pitfalls of travel, boldly poking fun at what can go wrong when booking or on a trip. The campaign also features the multi-faceted businesswoman and philanthropist Paris Hilton, who grew up living in and staying in numerous Hilton hotels across the world, which gave her a unique exposure to the hotel business early on. Her role in the campaign is inspired in part by the legacy of her family, whose belief in the power of travel and the hotel stay to connect people and cultures continues to motivate Hilton Team Members around the world today. In addition to Paris, renowned actor Catherine O’Hara lends her voice to the campaign, with TV commercials first airing in the U.S. on July 25 and audio rolling out shortly thereafter. “Today, as we make company history with Hilton’s first brand platform, we’re reminding guests that at the heart of a great trip is a great stay and that it’s just different when that stay is with Hilton, As we enter this next era of travel, it has never been more important to consider where you stay – and Hilton is uniquely committed to making sure your stay is everything you need it to be.” -Mark Weinstein, Chief Marketing Officer, Hilton. Hilton and TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, Hilton’s agency since 2017, used TBWA’s Disruption methodology to architect the bold new vision, born from the insight the hospitality industry has become almost entirely focused on the destination, not the stay itself. Consumer research uncovered “the Stay,” and being cared for, are the crucial elements that can make or break any trip. So, Hilton is doubling down on its new brand platform to prove to its guests that truly, “it matters where you stay.” The platform will permeate nearly every consumer touchpoint, from broad-reaching consumer advertising through the travel planning process and the guests’ stay with Hilton, as well as post-stay. With ‘Hilton. For the Stay,’ we are more fully connecting our external customer marketing to our purpose – staking our rightful claim that Hilton owns the Stay,” said Weinstein. “The idea of the Stay was incredibly natural to Hilton, and yet no one else was talking about it. As others tout the generic virtues of travel, minimize the role of the hotel and the hotel team members, and romanticize the destination, through our platform and the campaign it inspires, we’re reminding travelers that ‘It Matters Where You Stay’ and boldly affirming ‘Hilton. For the Stay.’ “IT MATTERS WHERE YOU STAY” CAMPAIGN The advertising creative has a fun, relatable tone in which Hilton breaks from the formulaic approach seen across the industry, highlighting the benefits Hilton offers to make guests feel cared for – from amazing service and pet-friendly travel to the choices available in the Hilton Honors app to skip the front desk and personalize your stay, to Confirmed Connecting Rooms by Hilton and more. In one of the featured TV spots, “Haunted,” the brand pokes fun at what can go wrong when booking a vacation rental – depicting a family showing up to a hilariously creepy property that wasn’t exactly as advertised. “Confirmed Together” zeroes in on a unique Hilton feature that addresses a very real pain point of family travel, the importance of securing connected rooms at the time of booking. And in “Extra Storage,” Paris Hilton has an innovative solution for her extra luggage. The campaign includes television, audio, social media, print, out of home, spanning 13 commercials and bespoke social executions. It will launch first in the U.S. followed closely by the U.K. and select Asia-Pacific and Middle East markets. Hilton tapped a world-class creative team to bring this global campaign to life, including A-list commercial director Matt Aselton of Arts & Sciences. To extend the brand platform, Hilton will lean into social media, experiential and influencers. Across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter, Hilton will engage in an already robust conversation around travel and trip disasters by helping travelers have a better stay – whether planning for a future trip or helping rescue a trip that has gone off the rails. Hilton has also partnered with familiar voices on social media to bring “Hilton. For the Stay” to life. “In developing the campaign, we were inspired by showing the realness of travel; the tensions, the hardships, the too-high expectations. It goes against convention in the hospitality category and it’s an exciting space for the brand to own,” -Amy Ferguson, Chief Creative Officer, TBWA\Chiat\Day New York. For more than 100 years, Hilton has been a pioneer in the hospitality industry, and that has never been more evident than the past two years. “Hilton. For the Stay” encompasses the brand’s world-class hospitality; from innovations such as Digital Key Share, Confirmed Connecting Rooms, early confirmation of upgraded rooms for Hilton Honors members and through thoughtful service, proving out that it matters where you stay. More information on “Hilton. For the Stay” and “It Matters Where You Stay” is available at Stories.Hilton.com/ForTheStay. To start planning for future stays and earn exclusive perks, visit Hilton.com and sign up for Hilton Honors – it’s free and easy to join. About Hilton Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 18 world-class brands comprising nearly 6,900 properties and nearly 1.1 million rooms, in 122 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its founding vision to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality, Hilton has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its more than 100-year history, earned a top spot on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For list and been recognized as a global leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for five consecutive years. Hilton has introduced several industry-leading technology enhancements to improve the guest experience, including Digital Key Share, automated complimentary room upgrades and the ability to book confirmed connecting rooms. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors, the nearly 133 million members who book directly with Hilton can earn Points for hotel stays and experiences money can't buy. With the free Hilton Honors app, guests can book their stay, select their room, check in, unlock their door with a Digital Key and check out, all from their smartphone. Visit stories.hilton.com for more information, and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.

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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Radisson Blu Hotel, Cluj opens as first five-star hotel in Transylvania

RADISSON BLU | July 11, 2022

Cluj-Napoca, Romania’s second largest city, is growing in popularity as a leisure and business destination and attracts visitors year-round with its artistic vibe, chic cafés in which to linger, peaceful green spaces, and cutting-edge festivals, including Untold, Romania’s biggest electronic-music festival with famous international DJs, held at Cluj Arena, directly across the street from the hotel.Located in the central-western part of the city, Radisson Blu Hotel, Cluj offers contemporary elegance after an extensive, two-year long renovation and conversion of a 1980s hotel to a modern, upper-upscale Radisson Blu property. The architects and designers took inspiration for the new design concept from the location of the hotel and the surrounding nature, including the city’s Central Park, one of the oldest recreational public gardens in Europe, and the contemporary buildings in the local neighborhood.The hotel’s 149 rooms feature large windows with stunning views of the city and the Central Park. Spacious family rooms include an additional sofa bed, while the suites offer the ultimate comfort. The largest suite is the 79-sqm Presidential Suite, which offers guests a separate living room, dining area, and a luxurious bathroom with an aromatherapy shower. The modern Lobby Bar at Radisson Blu Hotel, Cluj is the perfect place to enjoy signature drinks, specialty coffee and snacks, or a quick business lunch. The Park, the hotel’s modern international restaurant, is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and offers a terrace for outdoor dining on warmer days. Hikari, the hotel’s Japanese restaurant is inspired by the “Land of the Rising Sun” and serves sushi, seafood, as well as Japanese spirits and wine in a setting inspired by nature, with views overlooking the adjacent Central Park from its floor-to-ceiling windows.For meetings and events, the hotel includes five meeting rooms for up to 60 people, featuring the latest meeting technology. The private ballroom can host events with up to 300 attendees. Radisson Blu Hotel, Cluj has partnered with the adjacent BTarena, also known as Polyvalent Hall, to provide external meeting and events space for up to 10,000 people. A fitness room is also available with weight training and cardio equipment. “We are excited to open the first Radisson Blu hotel in Transylvania in vibrant Cluj and are thrilled to welcome our first guests this summer. With our attention to detail and personalized service, each stay with us is sure to be a memorable experience” -George Miu, General Manager. With the health and safety of guests and team members as its top priority, Radisson Blu Hotel, Cluj is implementing the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol program. The in-depth cleanliness and disinfection protocols were developed in partnership with SGS, the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company, and are designed to ensure guest safety and peace of mind from check-in to check-out. The Safety Protocol is an integral part of Radisson Hotel Group’s Safety and Security program ensuring we always care for our guests and team members. ABOUT RADISSON BLU Radisson Blu is an upper upscale hotel brand that delivers positive and personalized service in stylish spaces. Characterized by attention to small details and the Yes I Can! service philosophy, Radisson Blu hotels are designed to make a big difference and inspire unforgettable experiences with every stay. Through personalized service and local nuance, each stay at a Radisson Blu hotel becomes a true meaningful and memorable experience. Radisson Blu hotels can be found in major cities, key airport gateways, and leisure destinations. Guests and professional business partners can enhance their experience with Radisson Blu by participating in Radisson Rewards, a global loyalty program offering exceptional benefits and rewards. Radisson Blu is part of Radisson Hotel Group, which also includes Radisson Collection, Radisson, Radisson RED, Radisson Individuals, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson, Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, and prizeotel brought together under one commercial umbrella brand Radisson Hotels. ABOUT RADISSON HOTEL GROUP Radisson Hotel Group is one of the world's largest hotel groups with nine distinctive hotel brands, and more than 1,700 hotels in operation and under development in 120 countries. The Group’s overarching brand promise is Every Moment Matters with a signature Yes I Can! service ethos. The Radisson Hotel Group portfolio includes Radisson Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Radisson Individuals, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson, Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, and prizeotel brought together under one commercial umbrella brand Radisson Hotels. Radisson Rewards is our international rewards program that delivers unique and personalized ways to create memorable moments that matter to our guests. Radisson Rewards offers an exceptional experience for our guests, meeting planners, and travel agents at over 640 hotels in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. Radisson Meetings provides tailored solutions for any event or meeting, including hybrid solutions placing guests and their needs at the heart of its offer. Radisson Meetings is built around three strong service commitments: Personal, Professional and Memorable, while delivering on the brilliant basics and being uniquely 100% Carbon Neutral.

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