FCM Travel Solutions invests in business travel startup Shep

PhocusWire | January 07, 2020

Business travel technology startup Shep - one of PhocusWire’s Hot 25 Startups for 2019 - has received strategic investment from travel management company FCM Travel Solutions. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but FCM is taking a minority stake in the business. Texas, U.S.-based Shep functions as a browser extension that lets companies manage bookings that occur outside of corporate travel policy. By monitoring activity on more than 70 consumer travel sites, the technology can help companies improve savings, compliance and safety. Shep’s browser extension can also enforce policy at the point-of-sale and gives managers real-time reporting and the ability to track expenses.

Spotlight

It's been awhile since I've taken a cruise, and quite awhile since I've travelled with my travel buddies. This trip has been so fun with these guys. Oh and, the Genting Dream Cruise is great: good food, pleasant service, nice amenities and AWESOME slides.

Spotlight

It's been awhile since I've taken a cruise, and quite awhile since I've travelled with my travel buddies. This trip has been so fun with these guys. Oh and, the Genting Dream Cruise is great: good food, pleasant service, nice amenities and AWESOME slides.

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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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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Competition for Leisure Guests Heats Up Between Hotels and Short-Term Rentals

AirDNA | November 15, 2022

A new joint report from hospitality data supplier STR and short-term rental analytics provider AirDNA shows that competition between short-term rentals and hotels has accelerated in the fight for leisure guests, with the price gap tightening and rental supply falling behind in urban markets.During the pandemic, the U.S. short-term rental sector used its supply flexibility to recover faster than hotels, especially in coastal and mountain destinations, pushing rentals' market share to a record 17% of total lodging in summer 2020. Hotels retargeted towards leisure guests to reclaim demand, focusing on urban areas, pushing short-term rentals' market share back to below its pre-pandemic trajectory. "During the pandemic, short-term rentals had an advantage over traditional hotels due to consumer perception of better COVID-19 safety, Now in 2022, hotels can compete on price and have claimed demand on key holidays where, pre-pandemic, they typically lost out on leisure travelers." -AirDNA Vice President of Research, Jamie Lane Hotels Lead in Cities In large cities, short-term rental supply contracted dramatically as demand dropped off in 2020, while government subsidies helped to reduce permanent closures of hotels. As urban demand began to recover in 2022, hotels were ready to accommodate travelers, while urban rental supply remains 17% below 2019. With strict regulations limiting short-term rentals in cities like New York and San Francisco, which both lost 25% of their pre-pandemic supply levels, supply is unlikely to fully recover in these areas. "Looking to the future, hotel supply will likely remain strongest in urban and suburban locations, with low development in coastal and rural areas due to higher barriers to entry, where short-term rentals will likely see more opportunity for growth," -STR's Vice President of Analytics Isaac Collazo. A new STR survey of more than 1,000 travelers shows that value for money is an important factor for rental guests, even more than hotel guests. Despite the perception that rentals are cheaper, in 2019, hotels and comparably-sized rentals were priced around the same, except in urban locations. In large cities, hotels were priced 42.9% higher than rentals, but that gap has closed to 26.6% in 2022. Hotels are now offering lower rates than rentals in all location types except urban and coastal resorts, where the difference is 10%. While rentals' market share is highest in coastal and mountain or lake destinations, in urban and suburban locations their share has flattened or declined. Rentals should continue to grow their market share, albeit at a slower pace than pre-pandemic, led by expansion in resorts and small towns less well-served by traditional hotels. About AirDNA AirDNA helps hosts, property managers, and investors succeed in the short-term vacation rental market by turning rental data into actionable analytics. The Denver-based company has tracked the daily performance of 10 million vacation rentals in 120,000 global markets since 2014 to provide real-time market insights. Their range of online and exportable reports offer a solution for everyone in the industry to analyze trends, price rentals, identify new investment opportunities, and benchmark performance. About STR STR provides premium data benchmarking, analytics and marketplace insights for the global hospitality industry. Founded in 1985, STR maintains a presence in 15 countries with a North American headquarters in Hendersonville, Tennessee, an international headquarters in London, and an Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore. STR was acquired in October 2019 by CoStar Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSGP), the leading provider of commercial real estate information, analytics and online marketplaces.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

Fareportal and Amadeus Expand Partnership with Integration of NDC Offers

Fareportal | November 18, 2022

Fareportal’s prominence in the travel industry’s adoption of new distribution capability (NDC) to advance travel retailing is growing with its most recent integration of NDC with Amadeus, a leader in global travel technology and long-time partner of Fareportal. The company behind leading online travel agencies CheapOair and OneTravel, Fareportal has been a front-runner in NDC integrations, with multiple airlines supported over the past few years. Amadeus has been a major driver of NDC since the technology standard’s inception and has heavily invested in retailing capabilities to enable this transition for our industry. Amadeus is live with NDC-enabled content in every region of the world and deeply committed to progressing NDC adoption and collaborating to unlock opportunities for value creation. Fareportal is leveraging the benefits of the Amadeus Travel Platform to access NDC-enabled content. Among the advantages is the ability for travel sellers to search, compare, book, and service air content through one single platform. Amadeus currently is partnering with more than 20 airlines to distribute NDC-sourced content in the Amadeus Travel Platform. More than half of them are already making their NDC content available in Amadeus. For the air traveler, the benefit of NDC comes in the form of enhanced retail offerings via a single platform. Passengers can access the full suite of products offered by an airline, all within the OTA’s digital ecosystem. Amadeus’ NDC-enabled solutions allow for complex servicing capabilities for NDC offers, which help streamline customer support, providing the ability to help those travelers who require post transaction service. “Our partnership with Amadeus has continued to grow and expand over the years. This latest integration highlights the strength of its solutions and the benefit Amadeus provides to our brands, CheapOair and OneTravel.” -Werner Kunz-Cho, Fareportal CEO Sam Abdou, Executive Vice President, Airline Distribution, Search and Online, Amadeus, adds, “The fact that our long-term relationship with Fareportal continues to grow is a testament to the strength of our teams and their dedication to technology innovation. We believe that NDC is critical to the advancement of travel retailing and we are dedicated to driving its growth and success for the benefit of all players. Today’s announcement with Fareportal is significant given the role online travel agencies play in advancing NDC and accelerating its adoption around the world. About Fareportal: Fareportal is a travel technology company powering a next generation travel concierge service. Utilizing its innovative technology and company-owned and operated global contact centers, Fareportal has built strong industry partnerships providing customers access to over 500 airlines, a million lodgings, and hundreds of car rental companies around the globe. With a portfolio of consumer travel brands including CheapOair and One Travel, Fareportal enables consumers to book online, on mobile apps for iOS and Android, by phone, or live chat. Fareportal provides its airline partners with access to a broad customer base that books high-yielding international and domestic flight, hotel, and other travel and add-on ancillaries.  About Amadeus: Travel powers progress. Amadeus powers travel. Amadeus’ solutions connect travelers to the journeys they want through travel agents, search engines, tour operators, airlines, airports, hotels, cars and railways. We have developed our technology in partnership with the travel industry for over 30 years. We combine a deep understanding of how people travel with the ability to design and deliver the most complex, trusted, critical systems our customers need. In 2019, we helped connect over 1.9 billion people to local travel providers in over 190 countries. We have a global mindset and a local presence wherever our customers need us. Our purpose is to shape the future of travel. We are passionate in our pursuit of better technology that makes better journeys. Amadeus is an IBEX 35 company, listed on the Spanish Stock Exchange under AMS.MC. The company has also been recognized by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the last ten years.To find out more about Amadeus, visit www.amadeus.com.

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