DESTINATION AND TOURISM
App in the Air | April 21, 2022
App in the Air is joining the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and furthering its commitment to helping travelers achieve carbon neutrality.
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council, established to establish and manage global sustainability standards known as the GSTC Criteria, has brought consistency to the travel industry through four key sustainability pillars: sustainable management, socioeconomic impacts, cultural impacts, and environmental impacts.
As a GSTC member, App in the Air will participate in critical decision-making processes regarding the future of sustainable tourism, gain access to essential education and training opportunities that will assist the team in achieving their ambitious carbon neutrality goals and enhancing their own sustainability initiatives, all of which align with the app's and Founder's values.
For the worldwide community of App in the Air, the relationship with GSTC provides more openness about hotel sustainability policies and access to the world's largest database of sustainability-certified hotels. In addition, the search criteria, which are presently being developed and will be released later this year, will make it easier for app users to find sustainable and responsible lodging alternatives and enable regular travelers to monitor further and decrease their travel carbon footprint.
"We welcome App in the Air as a Member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, with their plan to utilize the GSTC framework to allow frequent fliers to identify sustainable accommodation options easily through the app. Such action not only helps travelers make more conscious purchasing decisions but also provide a market-based benefit to those sustainable accommodations that gained certification."
-Roi Ariel, General Manager of the GSTC
Noble Investment Group | February 19, 2022
Noble Investment Group ("Noble"), a leading real estate investment management firm specializing in the upscale U.S. lodging sector, and Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. ("Host"), a member of the S&P 500, the largest lodging real estate investment trust, and one of the most respected investors in luxury and upper-upscale hotels in the world, have formed a transformational strategic partnership to cultivate and expand innovative travel, leisure, and hospitality opportunities within Noble's real estate investment management and fund sponsorship platform.The partnership will combine Noble's operational expertise and development acumen with Host's scale, market insights, data analytics, and breadth of resources to cultivate and source differentiated investment strategies including property technology solutions, development, and alternative lodging.
As announced by Host, they are making a $150.0 million capital commitment as a limited partner in an existing Noble investment vehicle and will provide Noble with exclusive first-look at select-service and extended-stay hotel opportunities sourced through Host's channels. Host is also making a minority investment in Noble's fee-based asset management business, independent from the Noble team's investment interests in their existing funds.
"As we continue to expand our institutional investment management platform, this strategic partnership further augments Noble's ability to develop, source, and execute innovative growth strategies in travel, leisure, and hospitality,"
-Mit Shah, Noble's Chief Executive Officer.
We are incredibly excited to invest with Noble, a leading private hospitality investment manager. In addition to operating through multiple cycles over three decades, we were particularly attracted to Noble's proven expertise in sourcing and executing scalable select-service and extended-stay hotel investment opportunities," said James F. Risoleo, Host President and Chief Executive Officer. "Host will benefit from both chain scale diversification and the ability to incubate and invest in future lodging-adjacent strategies.
Both Host and Noble are deeply committed to corporate responsibility and operating with high business standards, principles, and integrity. Ranked among the world's most sustainable companies in S&P Global's Sustainability Yearbook, named one of America's Most Responsible Companies by Newsweek, and a recognized leader by Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI World and DJSI North America) and CDP, Host is dedicated to investing in industry leading ESG best practices and strategies. The majority of the Noble organization is comprised of women and minority leaders. Host is expected to provide thought leadership to Noble's ongoing environmental, social, and governance strategies.
Noble Investment Group
Founded in 1993, Noble is a leading real estate investment manager with a diverse team specializing in the upscale U.S. lodging sector. Through its institutional real estate funds, Noble has invested nearly $5 billion in communities throughout the country, adding value across cycles and creating thousands of jobs. As a signatory to the UNPRI. the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, and a fiduciary to foremost pensions plans, endowments, and foundations, Noble's endeavors help to preserve and grow its limited partners' capital, which assists in providing retirement benefits for our country's teachers, law enforcement, firefighters, other pensioners, and financial resources for students to attend college. For more information, please visit www.nobleinvestment.com
Host Hotels & Resorts
Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. is an S&P 500 company and is the largest lodging real estate investment trust and one of the largest owners of luxury and upper-upscale hotels. The Company currently owns 75 properties in the United States and five properties internationally, totaling approximately 44,400 rooms. The Company also holds non-controlling interests in six domestic and one international joint venture.
ATPI | July 06, 2021
When faced with a crisis, the travel industry reacts in a variety of ways. ATPI’s solution to the pandemic is to join the other mega-agencies that offer technology to other travel agencies. What ATPI may discover: licensing may be a complicated process.
ATPI’s track record with technology companies works to its advantage. For example, it recently invested $1.4 million in TapTrip and almost $350,000 in Singapore’s Greywing platform. According to its CEO, it now wants to “liberate” its platform and generate money by licensing it to other companies that may not have the means to create their own.
“The technology stacks that we’ve developed, we’re going to move into a different division so that, in addition to a travel management business arm, we’ll have our technology arm,” Ian Sinderson said.
ATPI has fared quite well in comparison to many of its rivals due to rising ties with the robust marine and cargo transport industries. It had a profit of $15 million last year, although that number was 50% lower than in 2019. Selling software could compensate for income lost.
When it formally launches in the coming months, its new technology arm, TripStax, will be a semi-autonomous company. TripStax was founded in August of last year, although ATPI experimented with various names, registering Travelstax and Lemonstack with the UK’s Companies House along the way.
TripStax will provide a full suite of platforms, including a booking tool, profile manager, analytics, duty of care, and traveler tracking platforms – key elements of technology that the agency has spent significant time developing internally, according to Sinderson.
GETTING THE BEST DEAL
ATPI is not the only agency to license a software-as-a-service travel platform to third parties; several of the industry’s larger players do as well. With their vast resources, they have greater opportunities to develop, or even buy, specialized platforms.
For example, American Express Global Business Travel has over 200 agencies signed up for its GBT Partnership Solutions section. They may, for example, utilize its booking tool, Neo, which assists the agency in filling gaps in its footprint. In addition, this premise collaborates with companies such as Kanoo in the Middle East and Tourvest in South Africa.
But what does it think of ATPI’s venture into software licensing?
If Amex GBT’s acquisition of Egencia goes through, it may be able to expand this segment of its company. “Teaming Egencia with GBT’s Supply MarketPlace, one of the most extensive sources for information and experiences for business travelers,” it said in a statement. It is now seeking a vice president for its GBT Partnership Solutions business.
However, one expert has warned that any agency selling its technology must guarantee that it is mature and flexible. “There is always a gap between utilizing a system inside one business and then providing it to a wider audience,” said Guy Sneglar, senior vice president, global travel technology integration, Partnership Travel Consulting.
Amex GBT’s Ahluwalia noted many legal, compliance, data privacy, and regulatory concerns to address before in-house solutions could compete with a third party. Then there are concerns about the content that comes with the technological product and other business structures.
Branching out has proven beneficial over the years, with some spin-offs taking on a life of their own. For example, Atriis, a managed travel technology platform, was founded in 2013 as a joint venture between Amsalem Travel in Israel and Portman Travel (acquired by Clarity Travel) in the United Kingdom.
HRG also found success with developing its expense tool Fraedom, while the UK corporate train booking site Evolvi was initially developed by Harry Weeks Travel, a 1954 agency.