AIRLINES AND AIRPORTS
Star Alliance, SITA, NEC Corporation of America | June 17, 2021
The Star Alliance has signed an agreement to extend airport biometric processing technologies with airline IT supplier SITA and NEC Corp.
Members of any Star Alliance airline's frequent-flyer program will ultimately be able to access biometric touchpoints at participating airports under the terms of the agreement. SITA's Smart Path technology is already accessible at over 460 airports worldwide, and the addition of NEC to the alliance means they will be able to collaborate on biometric initiatives. NEC, for example, might incorporate its NEC I: Delight platform, which can detect tourists even when they are wearing masks.
"We can scale and expand this solution well beyond our original estimates to several additional collaborating airports and airlines," NEC SVP and chief experience officer Raffie Beroukhim said in a video announcement of the arrangement.
Corporate Traveler | September 22, 2021
Ahead of the predicted boost in business travel demand, Corporate Traveler, the only global TMC catering exclusively for start-ups to mid-market businesses, has unveiled Melon – its new proprietary travel management platform. Launching in the US and Canada , Melon's intuitive design and simple navigation belies a host of innovative features developed in response to the evolving expectations of an increasingly travel hungry, tech-savvy and budget conscious workforce.
Commenting on the motivation for the development of Melon, Chris Lynes, Senior Vice President for Corporate Traveler said: "During this period of pause, we listened to our customers and adapted our offerings, investing in a next generation digital experience that combines rich content supported by our trademark dedicated and personalized service. Simple to use and tailored to meet the exacting needs of our customers, Melon is a different type of travel platform one that goes the extra mile just like our people.
"Our clients tell us that travel is crucial to their success, and in the US, we are already seeing encouraging signs of recovery with 35% uplift on bookings made in August alone. This indicates strong desire to return to in-person meetings in the months ahead," added Lynes.
Seamless online experience, tailored to individual needs
As a business travel expert, Corporate Traveler understands that an accessible, on-the-go travel management solution is business critical to its customers; therefore, the new omni-channel platform has been designed to switch between mobile and desktop without losing functionality.
With Melon, admins are also able to control travel options, by setting personalized algorithms and even individual spend levels. Armed with this information, the platform's AI technology does the legwork and removes the frustration typically associated when searching via multiple sites, serving up a variety of choices based on learned behaviors to align with company travel policies and program goals, while taking traveler preferences and loyalty affiliations into consideration. A breakdown of spend, alongside dashboard analysis of important KPI metrics in real-time, also helps customers extract key data needed to inform decision making and accurately manage finances.
Combining technology and personal service to support customers 24/7
Unsurprisingly, as barriers to international movement lift and companies resume travel programs, duty of care has been identified as a priority. Corporate Traveler addresses this in multiple ways with Melon: from displaying the latest guidance before booking to proactively sharing live updates. Program admins can also track employees' whereabouts in real-time, while Melon's robust health and safety capabilities provides prompt alerts on risk-related events impacting travel such as country entry requirements, latest government and supplier COVID restrictions, adverse weather, crime and more. These features are underpinned by access to dedicated travel consultants 24/7, 365 days a year.
Lynes added: "In this ever-evolving travel environment, it is difficult to keep track of the latest developments across the world. Melon ensures our customers are informed and aware at every step of their booking journey. And while on the go, help is always an instant away whether via Melon's AI mobile chat function or the expert assistance of our agent support team. At Corporate Traveler, every customer is considered a VIP, so we pride ourselves in always extending the highest level of service to all travelers at all times – with no exceptions."
Access to a competitively priced, truly global inventory
Corporate Traveler customers also enjoy an expansive choice of travel content and options sourced from the widest range of travel suppliers. And being part of industry powerhouse the Flight Centre Travel Group, this means the best market wide rates, unique added-value benefits, and exclusive deals too.
In the US, Corporate Traveler provides expert travel management services to over 6,000 businesses across the country, where its teams in more than 20 US cities are dedicated to making corporate travel simpler, faster, and easier for customers.
About Corporate Traveler
Corporate Traveler is the only global TMC catering exclusively to start-ups and mid-market businesses. Established in 1993, the company is present in seven countries where it provides expert tailored advice, dedicated travel managers, and innovative, advanced booking technology to more than 14,000 customers worldwide in a typical year. Being part of industry powerhouse the Flight Centre Travel Group, access to a competitively priced, truly global inventory alongside added-value benefits and exclusive deals comes as standard. Corporate Traveler recently unveiled Melon – its new proprietary, on-the-go travel management platform featuring intuitive navigation and a seamless end-to-end online experience to help customers easily book, manage, and measure the performance of their business travel programs.
DESTINATION AND TOURISM
Town of Pictou. | August 23, 2021
PICTOU, N.S, After two seasons of cancelled cruise ship visits, the local tourism industry is showing signs of a rebound after COVID.
Michelle Young, Manager of Recreation Services for Pictou Recreation and Parks, says that while cruise ship visits may have been on pause since 2020, work has continued behind the scenes to prepare for an eventual return of tourists. Now, bookings are beginning to ramp up again with ships scheduled to visit in 2022 and 2023.
“We're very optimistic,” says Young. “There's a lot of preparation, though, to get to that point. Over this past year-and-a-half, the cruise sector has been highly impacted with COVID. So, in the meantime, there's been a lot of preparation going on at the higher levels. When the reopening happens, there will be protocols in place and guidelines that will be given to us that we will have to follow. There's also preparation on the community side as well.”
Since 2012, the local cruise ship business has grown by partnering with companies operating smaller-sized vessels – an ideal fit for the primarily American tourists looking for a unique tourist experience.
“We've had some great successes,” says Young. “There's a company that is regularly calling on Pictou every year – Pearl Seas. We've always aligned, what we have here according to the cruise company and what their brand is all about and what their client is looking for.”
According to Young, the appeal to Pictou for U.S. visitors is a mixture of local features, including the connection to Scotland, local architecture and music. For some, the draw is a tie to family.
“There's been a number of times that passengers on the ship actually get off and visit friends and family here, or they have come through another time while traveling and had a desire to come back by ship,” says Young. “We have one family that was researching family history and they needed to find a graveyard here. So that was very, very specific- they had their own agenda for that cruise.”
The return of the cruise ships in a boon to the entire local economy, say Young, with not just tourism-related businesses benefiting.
“Impact is in the local economy here is, you know who comes through your front door,” says Young. “By cruise passengers and crews locally walking through a gift shop or a pharmacy looking for either a souvenir or supplies, those are the direct things that local business community feel.”
Adam Coulter, the UK Managing Editor for cruisecritic.com, predicts that smaller vessels to more unique locations will be a rising trend for the cruise ship industry in the future. “Expedition ships also focus on outdoor exploration in more remote places, which has become a priority during the pandemic,” says Coulter in a recent article.
For Pictou, getting on the map for the cruise industry at this moment might be ideal as companies look for smaller, safer destinations that are off the beaten path.