Travel Technology, Hospitality Management
Virgin Voyages | September 08, 2023
Virgin Voyages announced a $550 million funding round led by Ares Management for global expansion.
Founder Tom McAlpin transitions to Chairman of the Board, while Nirmal Saverimuttu takes over as CEO, bringing extensive experience from Virgin Voyages' early days.
Virgin Voyages looks forward to continued success and collaboration with investors, including Ares Management, to drive future growth and innovation.
Virgin Voyages, the award-winning cruise brand backed by Richard Branson's Virgin Group, has announced the completion of a $550 million fundraise led by Ares Management's Private Equity Group. This funding, including contributions from existing investors such as Virgin Group and Bain Capital, is poised to propel Virgin Voyages into international markets while enhancing the overall customer experience.
Partner and Co-Portfolio Manager of Special Opportunities in the Ares Private Equity Group, Aaron Rosen, remarked,
With this new investment alongside our partners at Virgin Group and Bain Capital, we believe the company is on strong footing to capitalize on its differentiated product and value proposition in the growing cruise industry.
[Source - Cision PR Newswire]
Established as a leading player in the industry, Virgin Voyages has swiftly gained recognition and accolades with a fleet serving various destinations and recent wins like topping the mega-ship category in Travel + Leisure's 2023 World's Best Awards and sweeping all five cruise categories in the 2023 Cruise Critic Cruisers' Choice Awards.
Alongside this development, Tom McAlpin, the founding CEO, is transitioning to the role of Chairman of the Board. Nirmal Saverimuttu is taking the reins as the new Chief Executive Officer, having formerly served as President and Chief Experience Officer. In addition, Nirmal Saverimuttu has been a foundational figure at Virgin Voyages since 2014, when he joined as Chief Commercial Officer after securing initial investments from the Virgin Group. His role expanded in 2021 to President and Chief Experience Officer, making him well-prepared to guide the brand into its next phase of growth and innovation.
Nirmal Saverimuttu, CEO of Virgin Voyages, said,
I want to send our deepest thanks, on behalf of all our Crew and the Board, to Tom for his leadership and passion for the business. We are so grateful for all he has done and are thrilled to continue to partner with him as our Chairman.
[Source – Cision PR Newswire]
Virgin Voyages is a trusted brand due to its crew's dedication and passion for offering remarkable experiences for its guests. Nirmal also expressed his anticipation of collaborating with the Ares team and Virgin Voyages' current investors to execute growth and expansion plans as the company contemplates its promising future.
prnewswire | July 03, 2023
Shoes on or off? Full recline or no recline? Is skipping the security line ever OK? What about standing at the gate before your boarding zone is called? These are all questions we've asked ourselves when flying and likely have strong opinions about yet aren't quite sure what is considered socially acceptable versus outright rude. KAYAK is here to help. Known for searching hundreds of travel sites to find people the perfect flight, hotel or rental car, the world's leading travel search engine is taking it one step further by conducting an extensive search across the Internet, leaving no digital stone unturned to uncover how Americans truly feel about travel etiquette.
The search included blog posts, social media platforms, news outlets, online forums, and other sources to identify the most hotly debated topics surrounding air travel. From there, the company conducted a survey with aytm (Ask Your Target Market) revealing 64% of travelers have witnessed bad plane etiquette underscoring the urgency for establishing travel rules ahead of the most popular holiday travel weekend of the summer (July Fourth)**.
That's why KAYAK is posting the Unspoken Rules of Air Travel in the one place no one argues: the Internet. So now travelers will know what IS and IS NOT OK when taking their next trip.
These comprehensive rules address a wide array of topics, ranging from whether it's OK to put your feet on the chair in front of you (which 68% agree it's not) to the food you should never bring on a flight (spoiler alert: it's hard boiled eggs, according to 74% of North Americans.) Let this be your travel moral compass (which apparently we all need): Simply scroll through the rules on your own or share them with someone who needs them.
So… what ARE the Unspoken Rules of Air Travel? According to a survey conducted in partnership with aytm and work facilitated by Brandwatch's Consumer Research Platform, here are the Unspoken Rules of Air Travel as defined by all travelers:
Sit back and Relax. 88% of people say it's OK to recline your seat. But timing is important to some with 1 in 3 saying it's only okay to recline your seat on a long or overnight flight.
Arm rests are up for grabs. 57% say the middle seat is not entitled to both arm rests
Socks stay ON. 76% say you're NOT allowed to take your socks off.
Stinky foods stay at home. 92% of people agree that you should not bring any food with strong smells on a plane. That includes the biggest offenders: tinned fish (89%), hard boiled eggs (74%) and a rack of ribs (84%).
Keep your feet on the floor. 68% say you are NOT allowed to put your feet up against the back of the seat in front of you.
Noise control. 70% say you are not allowed to watch something without headphones. And, headphones on is the equivalent to do not disturb according to 94% of people.
Sleeping is not a valid excuse… for just about anything. Leaning on a stranger's shoulder (77%), snoring loudly (66%) and refusing to wake up to let the passenger next to you get up (66%) are not welcome.
Hold the phone…call. 69% agree you are NOT allowed to call someone before you get off the plane.
Nail care is a no-no. 92% say you are NOT allowed to clip or paint your nails at your seat. Filing your nails is also a no no, according to 81% of people.
Storage wars (overhead bin edition). 73% say you are allowed to store small items or jackets in the overhead bin
Below are some additional findings that KAYAK was shocked to learn:
Shoes ON during flights. 56% of North Americans agree your shoes should stay on during a flight. But, the fact that this was SO close (56% vs 44%) is a bit disturbing…
Furthermore… 1 in 5 people believe it's OK to use the restroom without shoes on. That means someone in your row likely did this during your flight… gross!
No Babies on Board. 1 in 4 people (26%) say it's NOT okay to bring a baby on a flight… ever. Wahhh.
Who called the fun police? 58% say you are not allowed to laugh loudly at a movie when on a plane.
Long Hair, Don't Care. Over 1 in 4 people (26%) say it's OK to hang your hair over the headrest/onto the front of the seat behind you.
It's NOT Crunch time. 55% of people say no to eating crunchy food on a plane.
"Travel etiquette is one of those things that is universally acknowledged yet frequently debated," said Matt Clarke VP of NA Marketing. "Even within our own team at KAYAK, we couldn't all agree whether it was or was not OK to recline your seat on a flight. So, we wanted to put an end to the debate once and for all. By launching these rules as summer travel really picks up, we hope to create a more enjoyable and agreeable summer travel experience for all."
The rules will be running on digital displays in major airports throughout summer and will also be available via a modernized seatback manual downloadable at www.kayak.com/rules starting Tuesday, June 27.
"In a perfect world these would grace the seat back pockets of every US flight. But, we recognize this ambitious endeavor cannot be achieved singlehandedly," continued Clarke. "In solidarity with flight crews everywhere, we hope that airlines will get on board with establishing official etiquette guidelines on all future flights. Imagine hearing 'please stow your rack of ribs' or 'keep your socks on when using the bathroom.' Planes everywhere would be a better, happier and overall more enjoyable place."
KAYAK is part of Booking Holdings Inc, one of the world's most prominent search engines for travel. It helps people find the vacation package, hotel, rental or shared car, and flights they want. The company enables travelers to search for the best flight deals and book with flexibility, as it's pretty reliable and completely free to use. With trip planning tools like a flight tracker, trip planner, and bag measure, KAYAK ensures that travelers' overall experience is more than just a flight search site!
Destination and Tourism
prnewswire | August 18, 2023
Global luxury travel network Virtuoso reveals when, where and how the affluent are traveling for the remainder of 2023. Respected as an industry-leading trend forecaster, Virtuoso gathered data and insights from its network of travel advisors, preferred partners and high net worth/ultra-high net worth clientele based on its data warehouse of more than $63.6 billion in transactions and an ongoing series of surveys. The results were shared at luxury travel's leading event, the 35th annual Virtuoso Travel Week. Running August 12-18 in Las Vegas at Bellagio Resort & Casino, ARIA Resort & Casino and Vdara Hotel & Spa, the event is recognized as the Fashion Week of luxury travel for its presentation of the latest news and trends affecting the industry before thousands of industry leaders, as well as the multi-million dollars in travel sales it drives.
The lead story: travel shows no signs of slowing down, despite inflation and global economic challenges. In the first half of 2023, Virtuoso reported a 69 percent uptick in sales versus 2019 numbers, with hotel and cruise segments leading the way, up 173 percent and 122 percent respectively.
Luxury hotels in the U.S. have seen a 57 percent increase compared to 2019, while luxury international hotels have soared to a 58 percent uptick.
Future leisure travel sales leading into 2024-2025 are equally strong. When comparing sales leading into 2020 from 2019, considered to be luxury travel's highwater mark, 2023's future sales are pacing 107 percent higher. Future sales for 2023 into 2024 are also pacing 44 percent higher than they were in 2022 leading into 2023.
Likewise, 2023 future cruise sales are 44 percent higher than they were in 2022 and 106 percent higher versus 2019.
Travelers are heading abroad in record numbers. Paris, London and Florence ranking among the most-booked cities this fall. When it comes to the hottest travel trends, Virtuoso advisors have noted continued demand for exclusive-use experiences, such as private aviation and yachting along with itineraries that incorporate next-level stimulation and engagement (think scientific expeditions in Antarctica). The wellness sector continues to thrive, with 94 percent of travelers incorporating self-care into their travels and a rising interest in programs that incorporate creative and performance art. Iceland has emerged as a wellness destination, as has Thailand, as travel to Asia returns. What hasn't changed, but is even more pronounced following the pandemic, is the importance travelers place on genuine, personalized service and their willingness to invest in collaborating with a travel advisor to arrange VIP treatment and access, to have reassurance, accountability and save time, and to ultimately have the experience they want.
An overview of the information is below, with complete findings here.
Booking analysis is based on transactional data sourced from Virtuoso's travel agency members; wellness and culinary travel insights were based on surveys conducted with Virtuoso advisors; and sustainability findings are the result of a recent in-depth analysis of Virtuoso partners resulting in its Virtuoso Impact Report, Sustainable Travel, 2023.
Virtuoso is the leading global network of travel agencies specializing in luxury and experiential travel, with more than 20,000 travel advisors. We partner with over 1,800 of the world’s best companies such as hotels, cruise lines, tour operators, and more. Our advisors use their personal connections and firsthand expertise to craft bespoke trips for clients, including unique experiences, special values, complimentary perks, VIP treatment and rare access.