Holidu Raises More Than $5 Million for Rental Search: Travel Startup Funding This Week

Holidu | September 25, 2020

Holidu, a travel tech startup, raised more than $4.6 million (€4 million) from former Booking.com CEO Kees Koolen out of his personal fund as part of a $5.8 million (€5 million) extension to its Series C round.
Holidu’s signature business is a price-comparison search tool for vacation homes. The Munich-based company has raised more than $55 million to date, according to Crunchbase.

Spotlight

Sometimes, travel doesn't go as planned. Snow storms, heat waves, strong winds or rain — there are plenty of reasons a flight can get delayed, or worse yet, cancelled altogether. Or maybe you're just the type of person who likes to get to the airport 3 hours before takeoff.Either way, there are plenty of reasons travelers might find themselves looking for something to help pass the time in an airport.

Spotlight

Sometimes, travel doesn't go as planned. Snow storms, heat waves, strong winds or rain — there are plenty of reasons a flight can get delayed, or worse yet, cancelled altogether. Or maybe you're just the type of person who likes to get to the airport 3 hours before takeoff.Either way, there are plenty of reasons travelers might find themselves looking for something to help pass the time in an airport.

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CRUISE

Alaska Cruising: Holland America Line Demand Surges

Holland America Line | July 04, 2022

With pent-up demand and the U.S. Independence Day travel rush approaching, premium cruise line Holland America Line reported a surge in interest for Alaska cruising to the bucket list travel destination during June for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic. "People are excited to travel again while reconnecting with family and friends in a meaningful way,We're seeing the pent-up demand leading to increased booking as guests realize cruising is a hassle-free way to enjoy unique destinations such as Alaska." -Beth Bodensteiner, senior vice president and chief commercial officer for Holland America Line Our summer travel inquiries and bookings show people are feeling safe to explore again, Alaska is one of my favorite places to visit in the summer. A preferred partner, like Holland America Line, helps us provide clients with convenient departures to and from our own back yard to this amazing place, without the added cost of airfare.Michelle Glass, vice president of travel for AAA Washington "With the cost and recent challenges with air travel, we are seeing excitement and traction from guests within driving distance of our cruise homeports such as Seattle and Vancouver, We recently invested in local marketing near our homeports and we're already seeing that pay off." -Kacy Cole, vice president of marketing and e-commerce for Holland America Line Overall, Holland America Line continues to see a high level of interest in cruises that are only a short flight or drive away from guests' homes. On round-trip sailings from the United States, the cruise line visits 225 different ports in 91 different countries, serving more international destinations on cruises sailing round trip from a U.S. homeport than any other brand. The line's homeports in the United States include Seattle, San Diego, Boston, and Fort Lauderdale. In addition, Holland America Line operates more Alaska cruises from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, than any other cruise line.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,COMMERCIAL TRAVEL

Mastercard Expands Travel Suite

Mastercard | June 24, 2022

Mastercard expanded its Mastercard Travel and Lifestyle Services platform. New partnerships that focus on smooth travel experiences and memorable moments for its cardholders are at the crux of this expansion. New features include WhatsApp servicing, COVID alerts and offers like lounge access when flights are delayed are offered to customers. “Many of us eagerly await the chance to satisfy our love for travel, but it can be stressful to plan a trip with so many uncertainties about what traveling will look like, At Mastercard, we’re here to support every step of the journey — from planning to booking to transportation to experiences in destination — so travelers can focus on what really matters. After two years of disruptions, we know that time with our loved ones is truly priceless.” -Mastercard’s Stephanie Meltzer-Paul, executive vice president, Global Loyalty In addition to providing direct service to cardholders, Mastercard assists governments, businesses, and brands in understanding changing consumer patterns and preferences to build and test programs and incentives. Mastercard services give customers everything they need to welcome back travelers, from market analysis and insights to marketing solutions and consumer engagement strategies. The Tourism Innovation Hub in Spain, for example, was recently established to develop customized goods and solutions to enable a sustainable, inclusive return to travel through innovation, research, and collaboration throughout the ecosystem. Mastercard Travel & Lifestyle Services is a travel planning and booking portal that provides World and World Elite cards with unique guarantees, amenities, and upgrades, as well as 24/7 concierge and premium offers and entertainment from major travel brands. With the experience economy in full swing, travelers can satisfy their wanderlust with customized city tours informed by local experts and member favorites via the Inspiration Module. The program now features WhatsApp servicing, which is presently accessible in certain geographies2 throughout the world and will be available globally by the end of the year, where members can message Lifestyle Managers regarding travel and concierge requirements from their phone. Cardholders benefit from the Lowest Hotel Rate Guarantee, and the Mastercard Hotel Stay Guarantee, as well as free nights and preferential treatment at over 4,000 4- and 5-star properties worldwide. In addition, travelers can book once-in-a-lifetime Priceless Experiences while in location, such as a dream vacation to London and Paris with Michelin-starred restaurants, luxury glamping in Sweden's Blekinge archipelago, or a visit to the top of New York City's One World Observatory. Premier Programs and New Travel Partnerships In addition to the preferred experience of Mastercard Travel & Lifestyle Services, Mastercard has formed several new alliances to provide perks that reduce travel stress and promote more enjoyable experiences. Convenience: Cardholders enjoy access to a global network of over 1,100 airport lounges for delayed flights or relaxing in quiet. Mastercard Flight Delay Pass, currently accessible in select locations worldwide, provides complimentary lounge access on eligible delayed flights. FastTrack in Europe was also recently established, as was Mastercard Travel Pass in Canada, providing a hassle-free airport experience. Connection: Starting in the Asia Pacific and expanding to additional regions later this year, select cardholders now have access to complimentary worldwide roaming data packs for use in more than 200 countries, and a 15% Mastercard discount on top-ups via Flexiroam. Care: Through Sitata, cardholders can opt-in to get real-time notifications and the most recent COVID limits and requirements, including testing locations and cost. Convenience: The new mycardbenefits.com is a digital insurance platform that allows Mastercard cardholders to instantly access – and smoothly submit – claims for the insurances contained on their card, such as vehicle rental, and lost luggage replacement, mobile phone, and trip cancellation. Cash Rewards: Use Mastercard Travel Rewards to shop and earn cash rewards at hundreds of prestigious retailers in 19 destinations, and thousands of online deals for unique save

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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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