Orlando and Miami sees record growth in international tourism numbers

Travel and Tour World | May 17, 2019

Just couple of days before, Greater Miami and Beaches also boasted record-breaking news, as last year around 16.5 million overnight visitors represented a 3.5% rise from the year before.There are many common threads in these figures. The most interesting is the effect of foreign tourists, particularly from Latin American countries. Orlando experienced a 5.4% rise in international visitors, with just under 6.5 million, and Miami witnessed a 4.1% rise in international overnight visitors, a total of 5.8 million.To quote Visit Orlando president and CEO George Aguel, “We saw strong gains from all of our core countries, particularly from Latin America. This success is a testament to the special appeal of our destination that continues to grow and evolve.” He highlighted that Brazil and Mexico as leaders in Latin American tourism market of Orlando.

Spotlight

Hospitality has become a very popular topic in the senior living field. Communities featuring bistros and beer taps and the amenities of a fine hotel are popping up all around the country. Hospitality is seen as an approach that can attract baby boomers and eliminate the institutional feel that exists in many traditional communities. Indeed, the hospitality model has brought us more freedom and choice in services, higher quality dining experiences and less institutional designs. However, simply applying the concepts and operational structures of a hotel or resort without considering the significant differences inherent in senior living can backfire by undermining purpose and a sense of community. Senior living settings require a special approach – a blend
of hospitality, community building, and a focus on supporting meaningful purpose.

Spotlight

Hospitality has become a very popular topic in the senior living field. Communities featuring bistros and beer taps and the amenities of a fine hotel are popping up all around the country. Hospitality is seen as an approach that can attract baby boomers and eliminate the institutional feel that exists in many traditional communities. Indeed, the hospitality model has brought us more freedom and choice in services, higher quality dining experiences and less institutional designs. However, simply applying the concepts and operational structures of a hotel or resort without considering the significant differences inherent in senior living can backfire by undermining purpose and a sense of community. Senior living settings require a special approach – a blend
of hospitality, community building, and a focus on supporting meaningful purpose.

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Agoda and Alipay+ Expand on Their Partnership to Offer Greater Rewards to Travelers Through Digital Payment Methods

Agoda and Alipay+ | August 09, 2022

Agoda and Alipay+ announced a new partnership that will leverage Alipay+ solutions on the Agoda platform for better customer benefits and rewards. This is in addition to the existing integration of multiple digital wallets, namely the AlipayHK, GCash and TrueMoney, through Alipay+ on Agoda’s platforms.With this new partnership, multiple Alipay+ marketing solutions, including Alipay+ Rewards and its in-cashier marketing services, can be used for discounts distribution and redemption on Agoda. This enables Agoda to enhance its transaction conversion rate, while travelers can enjoy great returns in countries and regions like Hong Kong SAR of China, the Philippines, and Thailand – with the possibility of more regions to come in the future. As the global economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, the online travel industry has seen a vigorous rebound. In some key countries across the region, bookings have increased nearly tenfold since the start of the year, according to Agoda data and this number is only expected to increase. “As we gear up for the return to travel, we want to offer our customers greater choice and flexibility in their bookings. The pandemic has greatly accelerated the digitisation of travel and we are committed to keeping with the times as we continue to onboard more diverse modes of payments globally. We value this partnership with Alipay+ as it helps us offer more benefits to the end user through the clever integration of new payment solutions and rewards programs – allowing us to reach out to and target a wider network of customers.” -Damien Pfirsch, CCO, Agoda. Introduced by Ant Group in 2020, Alipay+ is a suite of global cross-border digital payments and marketing solutions designed to enable businesses, especially small and medium-sized businesses, to process a wide range of mobile payment methods and reach hundreds of millions of regional and global consumers. Other leading e-wallets supported by Alipay+ include Boost (Malaysia), Rabbit LINE Pay (Thailand), Touch 'n Go (Malaysia), Kakao Pay (South Korea), Klarna (Europe) and more. “We are glad to reach this new partnership with Agoda to support the recovery of the travel industry from the pandemic. With innovative payment and marketing solutions, Alipay+ is committed to helping merchants reach global consumers as a cross-border economic connector and allow consumers to make payments on global platforms with their preferred digital wallets.” -Jing Yin, General Manager of Global Strategic Accounts of International Business Group at Ant Group Agoda has partnered with Ant Group and integrated Alipay as a payment option in the Chinese market as early as 2013. Since early 2022, Agoda has been integrating Alipay+ payment solutions to accept payments through multiple digital wallets across Asia. On July 4, Agoda also worked with Alipay+ to launch a Brand Day campaign in the Philippines market. About Agoda Agoda helps anyone travel anywhere with its great value deals on a global network of 2.7M hotels and holiday properties worldwide, plus flights, airport transfers and more. Agoda.com and the Agoda mobile app are available in 39 languages and supported by 24/7 customer support. Headquartered in Singapore, Agoda is part of Booking Holdings (Nasdaq: BKNG) and employs more than 4,800 staff in 32 markets, dedicated to leveraging best-in-class technology to make travel even easier. About Alipay+ Alipay+ provides global cross-border digital payments and marketing solutions that enable global e-wallets and merchant partners, especially small and medium-sized businesses, to better serve their users and customers. Alipay+ is introduced by Ant Group, the owner and operator of Alipay. As one of the world’s leading digital payment platforms, Alipay serves hundreds of millions of users by connecting them with merchants and partner financial institutions that offer inclusive financial services and digital daily life services.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

HRS Offering Advanced Procurement Consulting and Technology to Hotels to Support Expedited RFP Response for Returning Corporate Volume

HRS | August 01, 2022

HRS, the leading global corporate travel and payment technology platform, announced the offering of its full range of consulting services to the hotel community in the coming months to support a revitalized corporate lodging ecosystem. Beyond data-driven consultation that reflects the hotel priorities of its corporate clients, HRS automation gives hotel sales teams the ability to access and more efficiently bid for corporate volume – all at a time when more corporate programs are using the RFP process to negotiate not only rates, but other elements vital to business travelers as they get back on the road.HRS, playing its part to facilitate corporate lodging’s recovery, is offering this unique package of localized consulting, unlimited bid refinement and RFP support at no charge to the hotel community. Among its growing client base, HRS works with 35 percent of Fortune 500 companies on their hotel programs. “It’s a new time for hotel corporate sales leaders. Travel patterns and dynamics are different, as are the definitions of 'travel' and 'workspace' for corporations, With volume rebounding and companies honing in on regional and national projections, married with the reality of diminished resources at many hotels, HRS is stepping up to help facilitate more opportunities for hotels to bid. Our unbiased RFP technology, data-driven analysis, and experts on the ground in key markets stand ready to help relevant hoteliers compete for these room nights.” -Lukasz Dabrowski, HRS’ senior vice president of global supplier relations. Optimized Tools Help Hoteliers Analyze & Refine Corporate Volume Bids HRS technology – with elements built specifically to aid hotels as they contend for corporate volume – is especially helpful for hoteliers at a time when companies are increasing their submission of RFPs and hotel sales teams are being re-built in the wake of the pandemic. In this fluid environment, it allows hoteliers 24x7 access to refine, revise and re-submit bid terms – all at no cost – as appropriate during the negotiation window. Other time-saving highlights include: Optimized bid submission processes that illustrate the progress towards completion of the submission, mandatory elements, and more Ability to anonymously view elements of competing hotel bids Multiple pre-filled fields in RFPs, reducing the time it takes for hoteliers to respond Simplified user-flow that addresses evolving corporate requests Efficient avenues to address the convergence of RFPs for different segments Transformative Attribute-Based Lodging Procurement, as Priorities and Process Have Evolved As new patterns come to light in the nascent post-pandemic corporate lodging arena, HRS is combining the buying concepts for transient, group, meetings and new Longstay segments to showcase the totality of anticipated client spend. Reflecting the new priorities of corporations – ranging beyond simple rates and amenities – HRS is helping hoteliers align with the most important elements of modern corporate hotel programs. This is particularly vital given the unforeseen elements impacting corporate travel procurement in varying locations, including items such as pandemic outbreaks, political instability, environmental changes and weather-related catastrophes. The “5S framework,” introduced by HRS in 2021, has proven effective in capturing the evolving scope of new requirements from the vast majority of corporate hotel programs. HRS is educating its hotel partners about the 5S framework and how addressing these elements on an ongoing basis can help hoteliers win more recurring volume. The 5S framework covers: Safety Satisfaction Savings Sustainability Security HRS is committed to working transparently with corporations and hotels to drive more automated, expedient negotiations, concludes Dabrowski. There is no longer a 'RFP Season' per se. Instead, automation is driving shortened four-week cycles that allow corporations to be nimbler and more targeted in their procurement activities all year long. Mix that in with prioritized hygiene and sustainability requirements, and hotels are competing in a totally transformed procurement process. 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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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Lightspeed to launch new flagship platform, Lightspeed Restaurant, to power Australian hospitality revival

Lightspeed Commerce Inc | September 08, 2022

Lightspeed Commerce Inc. ( NYSE: LSPD) (TSX: LSPD), the one-stop commerce platform for merchants around the world to simplify, scale, and create exceptional customer experiences, has announced the initial launch of Lightspeed Restaurant in the Australian market - a unified hospitality commerce and point-of-sale (POS) platform to power Australia's restaurant revival.Unveiling at Fine Food Australia, and coming soon to Australian businesses Lightspeed Restaurant, an industry-leading cloud platform, combines an innovative POS, contactless integrated payments, online ordering, advanced inventory, industry leading analytics and more; enabling operators to run smarter, more efficient restaurants. The local launch of Lightspeed Restaurant integrates cutting edge technology to build a single product that incorporates the best features of Australian leading Kounta and the breadth and sophistication of Lightspeed's market leading capabilities, and comes as Australia's world-famous dining industry continues to defy economic pressure. Data from a subset of Australian restaurants, cafes and bars using Lightspeed in July found that year-over-year revenue was up 50.3% in restaurants, 48.5% in bars, and 25.7% in cafes compared to the same month in 2021. Remarkably, July was the sixth successive month of year-over-year growth*. "Bringing Lightspeed Restaurant to an Australian market famed for the vibrancy of its hospitality sector is an exciting moment for Lightspeed. Restaurants have rapidly accelerated their digital transformation in recent years, and today merchants can't compromise when it comes to technology. Lightspeed Restaurant allows Australian restaurant owners to take control of seat level ordering, multiple service environments, complex printing setups, and more, all through a single commerce platform - providing the solution they need to meet and exceed the needs of their customers, empower their team and overcome the challenges of today." -Peter Dougherty, General Manager of Hospitality, at Lightspeed Key features of Lightspeed Restaurant include: Advanced insights: Lightspeed Restaurant informs operators what turns customers into regulars, who their best wait staff are and why, and makes them feel like they're on the floor every day even across multiple locations. Comprehensive integrated inventory: Track and automate inventory without breaking the bank. Know exactly how much product was sold, how much is still on hand, and how much is needed from a supplier for the next order. Speed and automation for the front of the house: Optimised by years of user testing, Lightspeed Restaurant is easy to use and train on, key for hiring and retaining staff and running smoother shifts in busy environments. Innovative ordering and payments with Order Anywhere: Fully integrated with Lightspeed Restaurant, Order Anywhere provides contactless ordering and payments for dine-in, and commission-free ordering for takeout, with the flexibility to either pre-pay online or pay at pick up, while avoiding expensive third-party fees. Real-time data: Restaurant owners, chefs and managers receive a daily email detailing everything they need to know before doors open, and a shift prep email detailing reservations, VIP guests, and notes for the service ahead. Bluebonnet Barbecue, Melbourne's iconic Texas-style BBQ venue, has been using Lightspeed Restaurant in the initial launch phase. Bluebonnet's Manager, Mikey Buchanan, said the platform gives the business a competitive advantage and the foundations to overcome challenges and provide better experiences for customers and employees alike. We've been looking for a platform like Lightspeed Restaurant for years. The access to real-time insights has given us a deeper, more accurate understanding of our business than we've ever had before. It's incredibly powerful and sophisticated, but also user-friendly, which is so important in a transient industry where staff come and go. Rather than using different systems for different business functions everything is on one system, driving operational efficiencies which benefit our team and, ultimately, our customers. We're passionate about our craft and our customers, and with Lightspeed Restaurant we spend less time working on administration and non-revenue generating tasks and more time delivering the food and experiences that bring people together. The initial launch of Lightspeed Restaurant in Australia follows the recent launch of Lightspeed Payments, an integrated, contactless payments processor that gives hospitality and retail businesses the ability to process customer payments directly from their point-of-sale. About Lightspeed Powering the businesses that are the backbone of the global economy, and used by merchants around the world including Messina, Lion, Momofuku, Five Guys, and Vera Wang, Lightspeed's one-stop commerce platform helps merchants innovate to simplify, scale and provide exceptional customer experiences. Our cloud commerce solution transforms and unifies online and physical operations, multichannel sales, expansion to new locations, global payments, financial solutions and connection to supplier networks. Founded in Montréal, Canada in 2005, Lightspeed is dual-listed on the New York and Toronto Stock Exchange ( NYSE: LSPD) (TSX: LSPD). With teams across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, the company serves retail, hospitality and golf businesses in over 100 countries.

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