Iran to attract 2 million Chinese tourists with visa-free entry

Travel And Tour World | July 18, 2019

Iran is waiving visas for Chinese visitors as early as the end of July in a bid to boost the economy, faltering under the weight of U.S. sanctions. The tourism officials have said they hope to attract as many as two million Chinese a year to Iran, a massive increase from the 52,000 Chinese visiting last year.

Spotlight

In the competitive hospitality industry customers are demanding a better, more personalized experience. Despite increased consumer spending, operational expenses are putting brands under pressure leading them to search for new efficiency. Mergers, new partnerships, personalization, and digitization are causing the volumes of data to grow. Older technologies aren’t keeping up with the change despite rising maintenance costs. Travel companies must contend with a complex set of ever-changing products and services. Hospitality companies require the ability to provide premium services at a lower cost. Meanwhile, airlines are forced to compete with low-cost alternatives.

Spotlight

In the competitive hospitality industry customers are demanding a better, more personalized experience. Despite increased consumer spending, operational expenses are putting brands under pressure leading them to search for new efficiency. Mergers, new partnerships, personalization, and digitization are causing the volumes of data to grow. Older technologies aren’t keeping up with the change despite rising maintenance costs. Travel companies must contend with a complex set of ever-changing products and services. Hospitality companies require the ability to provide premium services at a lower cost. Meanwhile, airlines are forced to compete with low-cost alternatives.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY, INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

ARC and ForwardKeys Partner for New Destination Marketing Tool

Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) and ForwardKeys | September 21, 2022

Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) and ForwardKeys are pleased to announce the launch of Destination Gateway, a new data tool designed for destination marketing organizations (DMOs), tourism bureaus and conventions and visitors bureaus. This new product combines ARC’s industry-leading ticketing data with ForwardKeys’ travel search interest, airline schedule and capacity data to provide a comprehensive view of travel to specified destinations.With Destination Gateway, users can gain valuable insights into travel to their destination and similar destinations to better inform decisions and marketing strategies. The data is presented in easy-to-understand visuals that can be exported for presentations and further analysis. “Destination Gateway is the result of a strong collaboration between two leading air travel data and analytics organizations,” said Steve Solomon, chief commercial officer at ARC. “Nowhere else can destinations generate insights via global air traffic ticketing data, with historical trending and an outlook on future travel and traveler behavior. This comprehensive solution allows users to identify opportunities to influence travel by building relationships with travel sellers to guide them in effectively promoting their destination.” Users can customize their Destination Gateway reports across four modules to provide insights that grow a destination: Performance – How well a destination is attracting travelers. Recovery – Comparing today’s travel levels with pre-COVID-19 levels. Connectivity – Data designed to help with negotiations with airlines. Agencies – Insight into which agencies sell travel to a particular destination. “We are very excited with the launch of Destination Gateway in the USA – the first tangible outcome, of which we expect there to be many more, of our collaboration with ARC, ForwardKeys has many years of experience serving and supporting tourism-related businesses and enjoys strong market leadership with over 60 DMO-related customers throughout Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and Asia-Pacific. We look forward to working with ARC to bring data insights and intelligence from Destination Gateway to ARC customers in the USA.” -Olivier Jager, chief executive officer at ForwardKeys. About ARC ARC accelerates the growth of global air travel by delivering forward-looking travel data, flexible distribution services and other innovative industry solutions. We are a leading travel intelligence company that possesses the world’s largest, most comprehensive global airline ticket dataset, including more than 15 billion passenger flights representing 490 airlines and 230 countries and territories. Our solutions and expertise strengthen economies and enrich lives by connecting stakeholders across the travel ecosystem. For more information, visit arccorp.com. About ForwardKeys Founded in 2010, ForwardKeys has pioneered the way forward for tourism organizations, hotels, and retailers keen to understand who is travelling where, when, and for how long. We’ve managed to share such information by having the most comprehensive ticketing data covering the globe from online bookings to travel agencies and airlines. From ticketing data to Seat Capacity and Total Air Market (TAM) the variety of datasets means you get a 360-degree view of the real travel ecosystem. Equipped with historical data, future bookings, and forecasts, planning, even with a pandemic, can be simpler with daily updated data.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY, INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

Expedia Group Launches New Global Social Impact & Sustainability Strategy

Expedia Group | September 14, 2022

Expedia Group announced its new global social impact and sustainability strategy to advance a travel ecosystem that is responsible, open, and accessible to all. Combining the company’s mission, purpose, and values with its traveler-centric mindset, the Open World™ social impact and sustainability strategy is focused on three priorities – increasing access for underserved travelers, democratizing the travel economy, and innovating sustainable solutions for the future of travel. Earlier this year, the company announced its Open World technology platform – created for partners of all sizes to leverage and configure products and services needed to succeed in the travel ecosystem. Aligned with this innovation, and the belief that travel is a force for good, the next iteration of Open World extends to the traveler experience, community engagement, and environmental impact. “Travel is transformative. It broadens horizons, strengthens connections and changes perspectives. With our new Open World™ social impact and sustainability forward-looking plans, we will further our mission to power travel for everyone, everywhere,Travel needs to lighten its footprint on the planet, and everyone should be able to experience it and receive the associated benefits. Now is the time to innovate the existing model. We have a responsibility to enable a stronger, more sustainable industry.” -Peter Kern, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Expedia Group. The Open World™ social impact and sustainability strategy will tackle inequities in travel, accelerate meaningful change for the mosaic of travelers and communities that power the global industry, and ensure a healthy planet. Expedia Group’s social impact and sustainability strategic framework includes: Inclusive pathways for underserved travelers Unfortunately, historic and social barriers still too often limit equitable and accessible travel. Per Expedia Group Media Solutions’ recent Inclusive Travel Insights Report1, demand is increasing as consumers are seeking more inclusive travel offerings when searching and booking. Expedia Group is increasing its own capabilities to improve the experience of underserved travelers by identifying and helping to lessen gaps. For example, Expedia.com has made improvements to accessibility filters to include options like elevators, service animal accommodations, roll-in showers, sign-language staff availability, and also expanded search features for travelers such as LGBTQIA+ welcoming properties. What’s Next? To ensure more people are able to experience all that travel has to offer​, Expedia Group will focus a portion of its giving to provide grants to impact-driven organizations working to remove barriers to travel for underserved communities around the world. ​ Economic advancement for communities underrepresented in travel Expedia Group is strengthening economic opportunity across the travel ecosystem to ensure more people and communities can benefit from the industry’s growth and associated benefits. Using the power of its technology platform to help diversify the business of travel, Expedia Group will support small and local businesses, particularly those focused on improving the representation and experience of underrepresented travelers. What’s Next? To help diversify the business of travel and meet traveler demand for more responsible options, Expedia Group will soon launch a program aimed at start-ups and small and medium-sized businesses in travel. Prosperous planet for generations to come Expedia Group recognizes the environmental toll that today’s travel industry often has on the planet and is committed to mobilizing its vast network of travelers, partners, and peers to innovate more sustainable business models and empower travelers to make more responsible choices. Fostering a healthy planet and a travel industry that mitigates and adapts to climate change is central to the Open World social impact and sustainability strategy. Expedia Group recently joined the Travalyst Coalition and signed the Glasgow Declaration for Climate Action in Tourism. Under the Glasgow Declaration, Expedia Group has committed to deliver plans that will support the global goals of cutting emissions in half over the next decade and allowing the travel industry to reach Net Zero emissions as soon as possible before 2050. The Travalyst Coalition enables these goals by allowing travel companies like Expedia Group to deliver unified sustainability frameworks and methodologies to travelers across the globe. What’s Next? Expedia Group is currently developing a long-term climate action plan and associated roadmap for greening its own operations while driving industry-wide change. A new program being developed in partnership with The Travel Foundation will offer training and practical guidance to destination marketing organizations (DMOs), enabling them to lead the way on climate action in tourism and catalyze meaningful change at a local level. These three priorities build upon Expedia Group’s foundation and ongoing commitment to philanthropy. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic Expedia Group led programs including the Give the World a Shot initiative – a joint endeavor with UNICEF to enhance COVID-19 vaccination rates in communities around the world – as global, equitable access to the vaccine is in line with traveler values and essential to reopening the world to travel. Expedia Group donated approximately $10.5 million – vaccinating three million people and moving the travel industry one step closer to recovery. Learn more about Expedia Group’s past impact work in its 2021 Global Impact Report and latest Inclusion and Diversity Report. For additional information, visit www.expediagroup.com/who-we-are/Impact--Sustainability. The research for the Inclusive Travel Insights Report was conducted in collaboration with Wakefield Research, which included an online survey of 11,000 representatives, general population adults ages 18+ in 11 global markets – Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, the UK and U.S. – fielded between February 11 and March 6, 2022. About Expedia Group Expedia Group, Inc. companies power travel for everyone, everywhere through our global platform. Driven by the core belief that travel is a force for good, we help people experience the world in new ways and build lasting connections. We provide industry-leading technology solutions to fuel partner growth and success, while facilitating memorable experiences for travelers. Our organization is made up of three pillars: Expedia Product & Technology, focused on the group’s product and technical strategy and offerings; Expedia Brands, housing all our consumer brands; and Expedia for Business, consisting of business-to-business solutions and relationships throughout the travel ecosystem. The Expedia Group family of brands includes: Expedia®, Hotels.com®, Expedia® Partner Solutions, Vrbo®, trivago®, Orbitz®, Travelocity®, Hotwire®, Wotif®, ebookers®, CheapTickets®, Expedia Group™ Media Solutions, CarRentals.com™, and Expedia Cruises™.

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INDUSTRY OUTLOOK, HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Optii Partners with the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers

Optii Solutions | November 25, 2022

Optii Solutions, the leading hotel operations software, announced that it is entering into a partnership with the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP) to support the organization and its members. The Association of Serviced Apartment Providers is the not for profit trade body representing serviced accommodation Providers, who collectively operate more than 100,000 apartments in 25 countries and offer 3 million bed nights per year. Following the success of multiple properties in the Staycity Group portfolio, Optii is appealing to new segments in the European market beyond traditional hotels. As demand for technology in the serviced apartment segment increases, Optii is pleased to support ASAP’s objective to grow the professional serviced apartment sector into one where the majority of all consumers understand the benefits of serviced apartments, and see them as a safe, modern and credible alternative to more conventional types of accommodation. “We are enthusiastic to partner with Optii after seeing the value they bring to operators such as Accredited ASAP Member Staycity. Raising awareness and understanding of professionally managed serviced apartments with travelers is part of our mission. We recognize that serviced apartments have to meet a certain level of guest experience and value to support that. Optii and other leading technology providers can play a big role in helping our members stay competitive by having a modern, technology-forward operation.” -James Foice, Chief Executive, ASAP Maria Macree, Vice President of Sales - EMEA, Optii Solutions, said: There’s a lot of connective tissue in the hospitality industry, and it’s organizations like ASAP that make that happen. We are thrilled to partner with them, and I am personally excited to add new names and faces to the conversations I am having with members around how Optii can help them run a smart housekeeping and engineering operation that protects the bottom line and delivers on the guest experience that they promise. About the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers The Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP) is the not-for-profit trade body for the serviced apartment and aparthotel sector. All Members sign up to our Code of Conduct and share our aims of raising and promoting standards within this growing part of the hospitality industry. Together we are driving the sector towards becoming a safe, inclusive industry delivering top customer service and living up to our promises, so guests can always stay with confidence. Please see www.theasap.org.uk and our membership directory www.staywithconfidence.com. About Optii Solutions Optii Solutions is a hotel operations solution that leverages smarter technologies such as artificial intelligence, analytics, messaging and mobility to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of housekeeping and service delivery departments. For further information about Optii, please visit: www.optiisolutions.com.

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