OTDYKH International to host a series of B2B marketing events for exhibitors

Travel and Tour World | June 17, 2019

OTDYKH International to host a series of B2B marketing events for exhibitors
Organizers of the OTDYKH Leisure Trade Fair are offering a range of unmissable B2B marketing events for exhibitors to partake in at the OTDYKH 2019 expo, which takes place this year, 10-12 September. This comes at a time where live events are proven to be especially important for B2B professionals when it comes to increasing brand awareness and customer engagement. The scheduled events include B2B Speed Dating, where industry specialists will be granted the opportunity to have short, individual meetings, one after the other at exhibitors’ stands.

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For hotels to surpass guest expectations and establish loyalty, they must offer value to travelers at every touchpoint: Inspiration, Pre-trip,  In-destination, Post Stay

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COMMERCIAL TRAVEL

Mastercard Launches Tourism Innovation Hub in Spain

Mastercard | January 21, 2022

Mastercard announced the establishment of a new Tourism Innovation Hub in Spain, with the support of the Spanish Government. The Hub, based in Madrid and which will open in the second quarter of 2022, will develop solutions to support a sustainable and inclusive recovery for the global tourism sector through innovation, research and collaboration across the ecosystem. The initiative was ratified today, at the FITUR International Tourism Fair, between Reyes Maroto, Spain’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, and Mark Barnett, President of Mastercard Europe.In 2019, travel and tourism represented 10.4% of global GDP but nearly halved to 5.5% in 2020 - similarly international visitors spent US$1,691.5 billion in 2019 and the amount dropped to US$517.6 billion in 20201. And according to its latest forecast, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) estimates that international tourist arrivals remained 70 to 75 percent below 2019 levels last year2. The impact also goes beyond GDP figures, with the industry playing a vital role in generating jobs and creating opportunities for micro and small businesses around the world. But despite the clear challenges, Mastercard data shows that there are opportunities for a robust recovery in the relatively near future. Many consumers are looking at how to spend their share of the extra US$5 trillion saved since the onset of COVID-193, and travel ranks second only to eating out as the out-of-home activity most missed during lockdowns4. There has been a clear willingness to travel that has been determined by pandemic-related restrictions. “There has been a multi-trillion dollar impact on the global tourism industry over the past couple of years, but Mastercard is committed to enabling innovation and ensuring that technology is harnessed for a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable recovery, The Tourism Innovation Hub will foster programs and build partnerships which will help the industry recover and drive more inclusive and sustainable tourism growth. Being located in Spain will allow us to leverage the expertise of a country intrinsically linked to tourism and the second most visited destination in the world." -Mark Barnett, President of Mastercard Europe. According to the Spanish Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto: "The Spanish Government believes that now is the time for us to work together to build the future of our post-pandemic tourism model. We are going to stop measuring the success of the Spanish tourism model exclusively by the increase in the number of tourists - we must now go beyond this and focus on quality, profitability, innovation and sustainability, as well as social inclusion and territorial cohesion. There is no time to lose in taking up this challenge. And we all need to work together - the institutions and the private sector - strengthening our alliances and bringing other partners on board so that the Spanish tourism sector maintains its international leadership." UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili added: “Tourism’s future will be driven by new ideas, new business methods and through joined-up solutions to overcome challenges and fulfil our sector’s enormous potential. UNWTO warmly welcomed the creation of a new Tourism Innovation Hub and looks forward to working closely with Mastercard to harness the power of data and creativity to build a more inclusive and sustainable sector.” The Tourism Innovation Hub will act as a global platform for industry research, tourism strategy development and the co-creation of tailored products and solutions, through partnerships and initiatives such as: Thought Leadership: leveraging data insights and capturing target consumer insights to identify trends and inform policy decision-making. Development Center: co-creating new products and services, codifying best practices and serving as a platform to bring together public and private sector partners to innovate together. Labs As A Service: designing, developing and testing new products and platforms that deliver digital first, sustainable and inclusive solutions for the industry, which address common business and consumer priorities. Supporting the Global Tourism Industry. Mastercard’s trusted network and leading technology stands at the heart of the global tourism industry: Facilitating payments so tourists can spend safely, securely and easily when they travel abroad Enabling digital payments acceptance for small businesses to allow them to benefit from the tourism economy Working with travel agents, airlines, hospitality providers and many others across the ecosystem Building loyalty through engagement programs and Priceless Experiences, giving tourists tailored access to the best and most exciting opportunities when they explore or return to preferred destinations Partnering with tourism agencies to supporting businesses in the tourism industry and encouraging inbound tourism through digital vouchers and incentive schemes Providing data insights to governments and tourism agencies to identify trends and inform strategies, including through the Mastercard Economics Institute Insights Reports, as well as executing inbound tourism campaigns. Sustainable tourism will be a key focus, and there will be close collaboration between the Tourism Innovation Hub and Mastercard’s Sustainability Innovation Lab, to help empower governments, businesses and consumers to transform how they adapt and create new sustainable tourism innovations in destination, travel, accommodation, experience, rewards and incentives and other services. Alongside this, Mastercard is working with the UNWTO, headquartered in Madrid, across a range of initiatives. For example, last year the company supported the UNWTO SDGs Global Startup Competition, providing mentorship to innovative small businesses that are enabling sustainable and responsible tourism around the world. In Spain, Mastercard has a well-established track record of supporting the tourism industry, as part of the broader work with governments and cities around the world adapt their tourism strategies. In 2020, Mastercard's data intelligence tools helped the City Councils of Madrid and Barcelona identify how the flow of tourists were being impacted, helping them draw a roadmap to recover post-pandemic tourism. Additionally, in May last year, together with Turespaña, Mastercard announced the first Security Perception Index, which measures the level of confidence shown by visitors in Spain’s health-measures. The Tourism Innovation Hub becomes part of Mastercard's network of global centers of excellence around the world, including the Intelligence and Cyber Centre in Canada, the Fintech-Cyber Innovation Lab in Israel, the Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion in Kenya, and the Sustainability Innovation Lab in Sweden, as well as Tech Hubs in Dublin and New York City. About Mastercard Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all. www.mastercard.com

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BUSINESS TRAVEL

CWT Enters into Agreement with Financial Partners to Recapitalize Business as Business Travel Recovery Gains Momentum

CWT | September 16, 2021

CWT, the Business-to-Business-for-Employees travel management platform, announced that it has entered into an agreement with financial stakeholders representing over 90% of the Company’s outstanding debt to recapitalize the business and further strengthen CWT’s financial position as the recovery in business travel continues to gain momentum in key markets around the world. CWT expects to begin soliciting formal approval of the plan from its existing financial stakeholders in the next few weeks and to finalize implementation of the plan later this year. Key terms of the agreement, entered into with financial stakeholder Barings LLC, among others, include: Adding $350 million of new equity capital into the business; Eliminating almost $900 million of debt by replacing CWT’s existing $1.5 billion in debt with new first lien debt of $625 million issued at market rates and a new undrawn revolving credit facility; Providing CWT with substantial long-term liquidity through the resulting balance sheet cash and new revolving credit facility; and Providing for all business partners and other providers of goods and services to CWT to be paid in full. CWT expects to begin soliciting formal approval of the plan from its existing financial stakeholders in the next few weeks and to finalize implementation of the plan later this year. “This is great news for CWT and our stakeholders, highlighting the progress we have made to position CWT for long-term success and providing significant financial resources to further grow and develop our business,” said Michelle McKinney Frymire, CWT’s Chief Executive Officer. “This is an important and exciting time for travel, as the industry is seeing meaningful increases in demand for the first time since the start of the pandemic. As we ramp up operational capacity to continue serving our customers through the recovery, we are continuing to advance our strategic objectives, including driving innovation and delivering industry-leading solutions. We are pleased to be moving ahead with overwhelming support from our financial partners, who will become CWT’s new majority owners, underscoring their confidence in the market, CWT and our strategy and services.” Ms. McKinney Frymire added, “Implementation of this agreement will enable us to move beyond the pandemic, accelerate investments that create industry-leading experiences for our clients and travelers, and position CWT to benefit from the recovery already underway. Our teams have risen to the occasion and continued to meet high customer expectations at every turn despite the pandemic’s outsized impact on the travel industry. Looking ahead, our focus remains on providing best-in-class travel experiences for our customers and travelers while maintaining strong relationships with our partners, suppliers and other stakeholders. At the same time, we are excited to accelerate our strategic priorities. With travel demand now increasing, the actions we are taking will enable us to build on our industry-leading position.” Advancing CWT’s Strategy and Business Momentum CWT entered the pandemic with a track record of strong growth and delivering on its strategic priorities. Building on this success, CWT has used the period of COVID-related travel restrictions and related demand reductions to accelerate many of its strategic development plans and investments across its innovative products, program delivery and travel services. As the recovery in business travel, meetings and events gains momentum, CWT’s customer proposition is fundamentally stronger, broader and more robust. Among others, CWT’s many improvements to benefit travelers include: Patented algorithm search applications; A true omni-channel experience; More efficient follow-the-sun servicing capabilities; An enhanced digital hotel booking experience; Refined data analytics for greater insight and improving ROI; and Dedicated resources and services to enable a safe and secure return to travel. Since its inception, CWT has successfully delivered efficient, safe and connected travel programs from city centers to some of the most remote and hard-to-reach corners of the world, maximizing the potential of technological advancements and human ingenuity. Importantly, CWT believes that a true omni-channel experience brings together people and technology, and is essential for business travel and meetings & events now, and in the future, which is why the Company has been enabling solutions for the E in its B2B4E strategy. CWT’s early positioning as a platform business, enhanced by strategic physical operations, underscores the Company’s commitment to developing the next generation of skills, closing the gap between talent supply and demand, and future-proofing not only its own, but also its customers’ potential. As a result of this differentiated approach, CWT’s global connections, coupled with local knowledge and the application of innovative, patented platform technology, continue to benefit customers while enabling CWT to deliver unparalleled, valuable and seamless travel experiences. CWT is committed to remaining at the forefront of innovation, exceeding customer expectations long into the future, connecting people and helping businesses grow. About Barings Barings is a $382+ billion (as of 6/30/2021) global investment manager sourcing differentiated opportunities and building long-term portfolios across public and private fixed income, real estate, and specialist equity markets. With investment professionals based in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, the firm, a subsidiary of MassMutual, aims to serve its clients, communities and employees, and is committed to sustainable practices and responsible investment. About CWT CWT is a Business-to-Business-for-Employees travel management platform. Companies and governments rely on us to keep their people connected – anywhere, anytime, anyhow – and, across six continents, we provide their employees with innovative technology and an efficient, safe, and secure travel experience.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Google Travel Now Includes Vacation Rentals in its Search Results Alongside Hotels

Google Travel | June 01, 2021

Google is making moves that further blur the line between hotels and private accommodations. The search giant says searches for “beach rentals” and “staycations” grew by more than 100% globally in the last year. It wants to better serve that interest by combining vacation rentals and hotels in one comprehensive search result for a destination. The “vacation rentals” filter – launched in 2019 – remains for users that want to limit results to only non-hotel properties. Still, without that filter, the default display will show both types of accommodations. Google says results are ranked organically based on relevance to the user’s query. The company would not provide a list of current supply partners, but searches on the site show listings from Tripadvisor, Vacasa, Red Awning, Sonder, Rentals United, and others. Vrbo listings had been on the site for nearly two years but in its earnings call in February, Expedia Group CEO Peter Kern announced the company had pulled them, saying, “We didn’t find investment in the Google vacation rental product particularly incremental, we didn’t think the customer experience was precious, and we are of course also having a period where we see great direct traffic for Vrbo. So we found other ways, and I’d argue more profitable ways, to drive traffic.” It’s unclear at this stage whether properties from Booking.com and Airbnb are participating in the vacation rental search. Google announced the new combined hotels and vacation rental search product Thursday morning during its Google Marketing Live online event. “We’ve seen growing and sustained interest in vacation rentals since the start of the pandemic and have evolved our product accordingly to meet those user preferences. This launch is the first time that we’re showing results that combine both hotels and vacation rentals when a user is trying to find a place to stay,” says a company spokesperson via email.

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Spotlight

For hotels to surpass guest expectations and establish loyalty, they must offer value to travelers at every touchpoint: Inspiration, Pre-trip,  In-destination, Post Stay