Travel Technology

Offline Travel App Maps.me raises $50 Million in Funding Round Led by Alameda Research

Offline travel application Maps.me has brought $50 million up in a funding round led by Alameda Research, joined by new financial specialists cryptocurrency lender Genesis Capital and crypto firm CMS Holdings, as indicated by a Monday (Jan. 18) declaration, Coindesk announced.

The new funds will be reserved for the rollout of a multi-cash wallet on Maps.me and will empower a decentralized finance (DeFi) environment on the stage, Coindesk said. With DeFi, it desires to form the apparatus into an "everyday app," making Maps.me more standard.

The disconnected planning application has 140 million clients worldwide and is endeavoring to make a decentralized money biological system inside the guide application.

The objective is to launch an inserted multi-currency wallet inside Maps.me, which gives travel aides and guide benefits and permits clients to take an interest in yield-making finance and to win money back by means of exchanges through the wallet.

“By embedding and democratizing access to yield-earning finance to millions of users via an everyday app, Maps.me has the potential to really propel DeFi mainstream adoption and bring a groundbreaking technology to the masses,” Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and CEO of Alameda Research and also crypto exchange FTX, told the news outlet.

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Hospitality Trends, Cruise

Viking Launches New "Discover More" Sale

Viking | January 04, 2024

Viking® today announced the Discover More sale, providing North American travelers with a variety of new booking incentives across the company's collection of river, ocean and expedition voyages. From now through January 31, 2024, Viking is offering special fares, up to free airfare and a $25 deposit on all itineraries—as well as additional savings for both new and returning guests. "For more than 26 years, we have invited curious travelers to explore the world in comfort. We focus on the destination, and we design travel experiences for the thinking person. This approach has always allowed our guests to discover more history, science and culture when they travel with us," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "As this new year begins, we look forward to welcoming returning guests back on board, as well as introducing new travelers to the Viking way of exploration." Viking now explores all seven continents, with river, ocean and expedition voyages calling in more than 500 ports in more than 85 countries. Highlights of the company's most popular itineraries include: Viking Homelands (15 days; Stockholm – Bergen) – Sail historic waters and discover more of Scandinavia with overnights in Stockholm, Oslo and scenic Bergen. See charming Ålborg and Gdańsk, and visit the grand cities of Berlin and Copenhagen. Witness breathtaking scenery from your ship as she glides through majestic Norwegian fjords in the legendary homelands of the Vikings. Empires of the Mediterranean (10 days; Venice – Athens) – Ten days. Nine magnificent destinations. One epic journey. Sail the Adriatic and Aegean, taking in all the riches of this fabled region. On an exploration bookended by iconic Venice and Athens, discover the ancient ruins of Olympia and the Acropolis. Explore the medieval warrens of Zadar and Dubrovnik, and admire the famed whitewashed villages of Santorini. Delight in the beauty of Corfu and be captivated by Koper, the gateway to picturesque Slovenia. Rhine Getaway (8 days; Amsterdam – Basel) – Explore one of Europe's best-loved rivers. Discover the turreted fortresses, grand cathedrals, historic cities, medieval towns and stunning scenery of the Middle Rhine—a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Taste the region's renowned white wines, the roots of its terraced vineyards reaching back to Roman times. Savor the various culinary traditions of Alsace. With calls in Amsterdam, Cologne and Basel, this journey reveals a rich landscape of beauty and culture. Danube Waltz (8 days; Budapest – Passau) – Soak up soothing steam at a Budapest thermal bath. Learn to waltz at a Viennese dance school. Savor Austro-Hungarian cuisine in Vienna and Budapest. Admire the Wachau Valley's beauty. Explore lesser-known Central European cities like Bratislava and Passau. Witness daily monastic life on an exclusive visit to Göttweig Abbey. This eight-day itinerary reveals the best of these places while cruising leisurely through spectacular scenery. Great Lakes Collection (15 days; Ontario – Duluth) – Join Viking for a unique voyage across the historic waterways of all five of the majestic Great Lakes. Experience culture-rich urban centers and admire the awesome power of thundering Niagara Falls. Explore the granite islands and sheltered inlets of Georgian Bay and traverse the famous Soo Locks. Study the aquatic ecosystems of the lakes as you journey and venture into the dense boreal forests that line the shores of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. Antarctic Explorer (13 days; Buenos Aries – Ushuaia) – This ultimate adventure takes you to the Antarctic peninsula, where you will witness towering glaciers, snow-covered landscapes, immense icebergs and once-in-a-lifetime wildlife viewing. In the footsteps of explorers such as Amundsen, Shackleton and Scott, you will be one of the few to discover the world's last truly wild frontier. Each day brings new surprises and the opportunity to change plans to maximize wildlife sightings and adapt to ever-changing weather. Heart of the Delta (12 days; New Orleans - Memphis) – Immerse yourself in history and heritage on this journey bookended by New Orleans and Memphis. Attend a Privileged Access Mississippi Delta blues experience in Greenville and be inspired by the stories of famed musicians and iconic civil rights heroes. Savor delicious Cajun and Creole cuisine, as well as Memphis's famous barbecue. And stir your soul with the rhythms of Dixieland jazz, Delta blues and gospel.

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Destination and Tourism

TravelHost Relaunches Brand with New Website and Marketing Initiatives, Eyes National Expansion

TravelHost | January 05, 2024

TravelHost, the premier provider of local news and information for travelers, has unveiled the first step of a comprehensive transformation today with the launch of a new website and multi-media marketing initiative. This is the beginning of a brand revitalization strategy that includes new social channels and the premier of a 15-second commercial that will air on digital and broadcast platforms in Q1 2024. Founded in 1968 as the nation's first in-room hotel magazine, TravelHost was purchased last year by Bridge Media Networks (Bridge Media), a growing media conglomerate, to join a lineup of national media outlets including TV networks NEWSnet™ and Sports News Highlights™ and DRIVEN Autos. Orestes Baez, an industry veteran with more than 35 years of experience in the magazine and newspaper business, was hired as CEO to revamp the TravelHost brand and expand the service markets. Baez has opened six new markets in 2023, including: Nashville and Pigeon Forge, TN; Austin, TX; Virginia Beach VA; Phoenix, AZ; and San Diego and Orange County, CA. TravelHost plans to add 100 additional markets throughout the United States over the next five years. This rapid growth initiative and new marketing strategy highlight the brand's commitment to providing travelers with custom-curated recommendations to eat, shop, play, and stay. "TravelHost has helped families create unforgettable moments for 55 years," said Baez. "We are committed to building the innovative products and services that will help our customers make new memories in the years to come. With deep, hyperlocal expertise driving our business, TravelHost will help any traveler 'live like a local'." The all-new Travelhost.com website, created in partnership with BLOX Digital, boasts intuitive navigation, robust review-style articles, available e-Editions of the printed magazines and an integration with Expedia for hassle-free reservations. Users can also opt-in for a complementary newsletter to deliver the latest local tips right to their inbox. TravelHost will make use of BLOX Digital's full solutions suite, a strategic move aimed at enhancing efficiency and managing costs. "We are delighted that TravelHost has chosen to partner with BLOX Digital," said Brad Ward, CEO of BLOX Digital. "Our team looks forward to helping TravelHost harness the full potential of our fully-integrated platform to expand into new markets, improve efficiency, and boost digital revenue."

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Travel Technology, Hospitality Management

AirDNA Acquires Uplisting, Setting New Standards in Short-Term Rental Intelligence and Management

PR Newswire | January 10, 2024

AirDNA, a leading short-term rental (STR) data provider, announced today the acquisition of vacation rental software and channel management system Uplisting. This acquisition marks a pivotal leap in AirDNA's mission to provide a comprehensive, one-stop solution for those investing in and operating short-term rental properties. Demi Horvat, CEO of AirDNA, shares the vision behind the acquisition: "Merging Uplisting's first-class property management tools with our unparalleled market insights will create holistic, tailored solutions for all STR stakeholders, from aspiring hosts to large professional managers. This integration equips users with robust tools for every step on their journey, from research and investment to set-up and ongoing optimization of their properties." Uplisting, an Airbnb Preferred Plus software partner, is a powerhouse for effectively managing and synchronizing STR listings on key platforms like Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com. Its automation of critical tasks like real-time booking updates and guest communication has made it indispensable in optimizing the operations of vacation rental hosts and property managers globally. In 2023 alone, Uplisting processed an estimated $400 million in bookings, empowering users with reliable technology tools that catalyze growth. Vincent Breslin, Founder of Uplisting, commented: "Joining forces with AirDNA opens up a realm of possibilities for the vacation rental market. With our combined wealth of expertise, we are poised to redefine industry standards, driving innovation and delivering enhanced value to all our clients." In another decisive move to strengthen its commitment to STR hosts, AirDNA is introducing a new Dynamic Pricing feature that automatically syncs AirDNA's Smart Rates™ to Airbnb. This much-requested functionality empowers users to maximize booking revenues, drawing on extensive data from millions of listings on Airbnb and Vrbo to provide effective pricing recommendations. "Dynamic Pricing makes it easier for busy STR hosts to set their rates by automatically analyzing market and competitor trends. This ensures the best prices are delivered in real-time to their Airbnb listings, eliminating guesswork and manual adjustments. With our focus on building easy-to-use tools for hosts and Uplisting's comprehensive suite for bookings, operations, guest communication, and beyond, we're bringing professional tools within reach of everyone," said Horvat. Following AirDNA's acquisition of Arrivalist in July 2023, these strategic milestones showcase AirDNA's dynamic expansion under the umbrella of predictis, a family of software-enabled data businesses, and a portfolio company of Alpine Investors. "With this second acquisition in just six months, AirDNA is poised for continued growth and innovation, and with more developments in the pipeline, it is well positioned to expand its leadership position at the forefront of the short-term rental industry," remarked Jean-Marc Levy, CEO of predictis. FOCUS Capital Partners Ireland served as the financial advisor to Uplisting.

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