TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Launchtrip Unveils First Travel Platform Designed for Group Trips

Launchtrip | September 30, 2021

Launchtrip the world's first Together-Travel company, today releases its group-centric travel booking app. Available on iOS now, Launchtrip removes the roadblocks historically associated with group-travel by allowing users to plan and book travel based on destination city or event, and the ability to divide costs and pay separately, taking the awkwardness out of invites and chasing down money - all within the native platform's ecosystem.

Launchtrip is the first application to address a longstanding challenge for consumers and the hospitality industry: the need to facilitate group bookings in one application including payment processing and soon, with an industry first: fair and transparent pricing. From today, users will be able to:
  • Search by city or event to book accommodation and restaurants close to major sports, music, and entertainment events across the country, with more events being added regularly
  • Book hotel accommodations from a curated selection of 3 - 5 star properties across the country. From independent boutique hotels to 5-star luxury properties and everything in between, Launchtrip offers thousands of hotels across 8 major US cities to start (including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Orlando, Austin, Phoenix and Las Vegas), with more becoming available every month
  • Review thousands of highly recommended restaurants and book right in the app using Resy as Launchtrip's official restaurant booking partner
  • Split and manage payments of your group trips (available for group trips of 3 or more people)
  • Receive scaling group discounts with partnered hotels
  • Take advantage of Launchtrip's signature 24/7 concierge service - online and with text-driven customer support, powered by humans
  • Ground transportation and travel insurance will be available by the end of the year
  • Google Play store availability will launch in Winter 2021

Customers will also benefit from Launchtrip's 'My Trip' feature, where users can manage all of their group reservations and guest list, meaning they won't be stuck with reservation emails from multiple vendors. Within this feature, users can name their trip, check the trip's guest list and whether they've paid or not, and send reminders to anyone who hasn't yet paid.

Launchtrip recently surveyed 1,000 US adults to find that for 25% of Americans, dealing with payment is the most painful part of planning any group trip. A third (34%) of respondents even said they spend hours figuring out how to split costs. To reward these Group Trip 'Heroes' who've had to deal with organizing woes for far too long, Launchtrip is giving away an all-expenses paid vacation (including accomodation at select luxury hotel properties across the country) to one lucky 'Hero' plus three friends.

Launchtrip CEO and Founder Julian Ing is dedicated to providing a better travel experience for groups  a category that he believes has experienced little innovation in nearly 25 years. 

"Launchtrip is a new kind of travel booking company and one that we believe will transform the travel and hospitality space. From group travel to complete transparency for consumers and partners, we are committed to creating the best experience possible for our users and are thrilled to open to the public today."

Said Julian Ing, Launchtrip CEO and Founder

Looking ahead, Launchtrip will roll out additional features dedicated to creating a seamless travel experience, including curated trip recommendations, an AI-driven rewards system and more

About Launchtrip
Launchtrip is the Together-Travel company that makes booking group trips easy and rewarding. Founded by entrepreneur Julian Ing, Launchtrip's ethos is to make every experience outstanding, from end to end. Launchtrip's team of advisors include some of the industry's top experts with previous leadership roles within HomeAway (Expedia), MealPal and Tripping.com to name a few. This includes Traci Mercer, Taleeb Noormohamed, Michael Drever, Kathleen Reaume, Terry McBride and Mark Spencer.

Spotlight

Hate crowds? Well, it may be time to amend your travel itinerary. Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for Amazing Cities in Europe to Avoid Too Many Tourists. For this list, we’re taking a look at rewarding alternatives to Europe’s most popular tourist destinations, many of which are suffering from overtourism. We’d like to thank The New York Times for the selections.

Spotlight

Hate crowds? Well, it may be time to amend your travel itinerary. Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for Amazing Cities in Europe to Avoid Too Many Tourists. For this list, we’re taking a look at rewarding alternatives to Europe’s most popular tourist destinations, many of which are suffering from overtourism. We’d like to thank The New York Times for the selections.

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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Capital Square and Method Co. Announce Groundbreaking of New ROOST Apartment Hotel in Charleston

Capital Square | July 22, 2022

Capital Square, one of the nation's leading sponsors of tax-advantaged real estate investments and an active developer of multifamily communities, and Method Co., a real estate management, development and design company rooted in hospitality, today held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new design-forward, 50-unit development bridging the boutique hotel experience with apartment-style living, located at 529 King Street in Charleston's historic downtown. The $61 million project designed by acclaimed Morris Adjmi Architects will feature 52,700 square feet of space comprising a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartment hotel units, a rooftop lounge, and 27,700 square feet of rentable space. Method Co. will operate the property's rooftop lounge, drawing on significant experience in food and beverage operations to create a space that serves both as an amenity to guests and locals. Attendees included Capital Square executives Louis Rogers, founder and CEO, and Whitson Huffman, chief strategy and investment officer; Method Co.'s CEO and co-founder, Randall Cook, and president and co-founder, David Grasso; and Kathy Crawford, regional director of the Office of U.S. Senator Tim Scott (S.C.). With construction now underway, the hotel property is slated for completion in early 2024. "Capital Square is an active developer of luxury properties in growing markets within the Southeast and we couldn't be more pleased to begin construction on our inaugural project in Charleston, Charleston is a premier market, home to a growing community of high-income families and one of the nation's most popular tourist destinations. 529 King Street will contribute to this legacy and become a premier destination for local residents and tourists alike." -Whitson Huffman, chief strategy and investment officer The property will be the city's first high-design, extended-stay hotel concept blending the comfort and practicality of an apartment with the amenities and design of a boutique hotel, creating a temporary living environment ideally suited for a long-term stay. "We are thrilled to break ground on our first ROOST Apartment Hotel in South Carolina and our second project in the city of Charleston, ROOST will offer guests in Charleston a comfortable stay in a beautifully designed apartment that feels like a home and the flexibility to stay a few nights or a few months. The building's design by Morris Adjmi Architects is outstanding; it will be a fitting complement to the classic architectural charm of Charleston." -David Grasso, President and Co-Founder of Method Co. Located in the highly sought-after "Upper King" section of downtown Charleston, which is home to a concentration of luxury retail stores, restaurants and nightlife, the new apartment hotel will serve as an ideal accommodation for the city's high volume of annual visitors. The Upper King Street neighborhood also supports a burgeoning tech and start-up scene and represents a growth corridor and exceptional demand generator for higher-end residential and hotel development. About ROOST Apartment Hotel ROOST Apartment Hotel is a high-design boutique extended-stay hotel concept, conceptualized by Philadelphia-based hospitality company Method Co. A first of its kind, ROOST introduces a fresh approach to hospitality by blending the comfort and practicality of an apartment with the amenities and design of a boutique hotel, creating a temporary living environment ideally suited for a long-term stay. Designed by Morris Adjmi Architects, ROOST offers studio, one and two-bedroom and penthouse apartments with full-sized kitchens and modern appliances in a beautifully appointed space, which features contemporary furnishings, antique elements, custom lighting, and unique artwork. Featured amenities include an artisanal coffee program curated by La Colombe, bike share program, and recurring resident receptions that partner with local vendors, while a dedicated 24-hour concierge desk and on-site services team further enhance and ensure a memorable guest experience. The first location, ROOST Midtown, opened in 2015 and features 28 fully furnished apartments; their second outpost, ROOST Rittenhouse, followed in 2016 featuring 27 apartments and a communal lobby; their third location, ROOST East Market opened in January 2019 with 60 apartments, an outdoor pool, and communal in Philadelphia's Midtown Village neighborhood. The fourth location is the first outside of Philadelphia – ROOST Cleveland, which opened in March 2022 and features 62 apartments located downtown within the historic May building, a restoration of the city's original 1915 department store, while their fifth location, ROOST Tampa, opened in July 2022 and includes 97 apartments within Asher, a residential building within the new Water Street development. ROOST has plans to open locations in other markets, including Detroit, Baltimore and Charleston. www.myroost.com About Capital Square Capital Square is a national real estate firm specializing in tax-advantaged real estate investments, including Delaware statutory trusts for Section 1031 exchanges, qualified opportunity zone funds for tax deferral and exclusion and a real estate investment trust (REIT). In recent years the company has become an active developer of mixed-use multifamily properties in the southeastern US, with eight current projects totaling approximately 2,000 apartment units with a total development cost in excess of $600 million. Since 2012, Capital Square has completed more than $6.0 billion in transaction volume. Capital Square's related entities provide a range of services, including due diligence, acquisition, loan sourcing, property/asset management, and disposition, for a growing number of high-net-worth investors, private equity firms, family offices and institutional investors. Since 2017, Capital Square has been recognized by Inc. 5000 as one of the fastest growing companies in the nation for four consecutive years. In 2017, 2018 and 2020, the company was also ranked on Richmond BizSense's list of fastest growing companies. Additionally, Capital Square was listed by Virginia Business on their "Best Places to Work in Virginia" report in 2019 and their "Fantastic 50" reports in 2019 and 2020. To learn more, visit www.CapitalSq.com. About Method Co. Method Co. is a Philadelphia-based hospitality, development, design and branding firm founded on the joining of historically compatible disciplines under one roof; the firm bridges the worlds of interior design and real estate development, while embracing the custom design of products, furniture, identities and experiences. Built from a team of individuals with extensive experience in the fields of finance, interior design, branding, architecture, urban planning and fine arts, Method company's diverse skill set forms the foundation of the firm's interdisciplinary practice. The team has been responsible for the design, staging and development of hotel, restaurant, and real estate projects, such as the ROOST Apartment Hotel brand, Whyle, Wm. Mulherin's Sons Restaurant & Hotel and HIROKI restaurant, along with the newly opened boutique property in Charleston, The Pinch, with plans to expand their concepts to other major markets within the US including Detroit and Wilmington, DE. www.methodco.com

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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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COMMERCIAL TRAVEL,INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

Travel Insured International Announces New Partnership with Blue Ribbon Bags

Travel Insured International | September 27, 2022

Travel Insured International is pleased to announce a new partnership with Blue Ribbon Bags, a leader in travel luggage retrieval. Travel Insured joins Blue Ribbon Bags' growing list of industry partners seeking to provide a better experience for their travelers. As a travel protection provider with plans containing insurance benefits for lost and delayed baggage, we're excited to offer this service to our customers throThis non-insurance service provided by Blue Ribbon Bags will be available to clients of large tour operators working with Travel Insured. Because each Travel Insured plan features insured benefits for Baggage and Personal Effects, Travel Insured can provide eligible payment up to a maximum benefit amount if baggage and personal effects are lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed during the trip or while checked with a common carrier. The added service of Blue Ribbon Bags will assist travelers in tracking their baggage claim via text. "Our job is to make that process a little bit better and to keep that communication with the customer as smooth as possible," says Menkin. With assistance from Blue Ribbon Bags, plan holders will also receive intermediary support in pursuing their lost baggage, which can be a tedious and time-consuming process." -Blue Ribbon Bags CEO, Gabriel Menkin, understands that airlines are doing their best to keep up with lost baggage claims. When somebody has a lost bag, we are sending them real time email, SMS, and WhatsApp notifications every time there's a change to the status of their bag, says Menkin. Travelers will be empowered to track the progress of their lost baggage claim and receive notifications to stay informed every step of the way. For the first 96 hours, Blue Ribbon Bags will track and expedite the return of a traveler's lost bag. If the bag is not recovered, the traveler can file a claim against their Travel Insured protection plan for their lost or delayed baggage and personal effects. Travel Insured partners with large tour operators that provide travel packages to customers, which can include air travel, ground transportation, local tours, and other services at one or more locations per trip. For travelers with varied trip types and multiple destinations on their itineraries, baggage protection may be more important than ever. "This partnership comes at a time when the travel industry is facing unique obstacles in transportation, like significant increases in lost baggage claims from top airlines, We're always seeking innovative ways to enhance our programs, so we're eager to offer this baggage tracking service to our wholesale customers. We strive to help travelers feel confident before, during, and after their trip." -Isaac Cymrot, VP of Strategic Partnerships About Travel Insured International As a leading travel insurance provider with more than 25 years in business, Travel Insured International provides trip protection to help each individual travel confidently. Travel Insured is owned by Crum & Forster whose parent company is Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., an insurance specialty company that consistently earns an A credit rating from AM Best. We're proud to partner with tour operators and help them to offer extensive travel protection with major travel insurance benefits as well as non-insurance assistance services. At Travel Insured, we remain steadfast in the commitment to providing dependable coverage, great value, and end-to-end satisfaction for our customers' travel insurance experience.ugh our plans to help ensure expedition of luggage claims through any major airline in the world.

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