Research Shows Reducing Friction Matters; Expedia Group Prioritizes for Travelers and Partners

PR Newswire | November 13, 2019

Technology can improve travel experiences by reducing pain points and stressors along the journey. Today, Expedia Group and business strategy Firm Magid released the Online Travel Friction Index1, finding travelers want suppliers to offer a seamless travel experience, and to quickly and effectively handle any challenge during their travels. The research is aligned with Expedia Group's priority focus to unleash the power of its platform to build out traveler and partner solutions that can help knock down the barriers to travel, making it easier, more enjoyable, more attainable, more accessible and in doing so, ultimately bring the world within reach for billions of people around the globe..

Spotlight

The BTN Group and Concur recently hosted a panel of managed travel professionals to discuss some of the most important mobile travel functions that every TMC should have in their toolbox today along with details about what they should look for in the future. MOBILE BOOKING : TODAY & TOMORROW – Technology researcher Gartner reported last year that CFOs view the T&E category as the No. 1 application candidate for mobile device usage. Phocas Wright projects 12 percent of all U.S. travel sales would be transacted on a mobile device by 2015.

Spotlight

The BTN Group and Concur recently hosted a panel of managed travel professionals to discuss some of the most important mobile travel functions that every TMC should have in their toolbox today along with details about what they should look for in the future. MOBILE BOOKING : TODAY & TOMORROW – Technology researcher Gartner reported last year that CFOs view the T&E category as the No. 1 application candidate for mobile device usage. Phocas Wright projects 12 percent of all U.S. travel sales would be transacted on a mobile device by 2015.

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INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

Trip.com Group Holds Traveler's Forum, Focusing on Content Marketing Innovation and Destination Development

Trip.com | August 19, 2022

Trip.com Group, a leading online travel service provider, held its annual Traveler's Forum (TF) in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province in central China, on August 18, 2022, focusing on travel content marketing innovation and destination development. The Traveler's Forum consists of three parts: International Travelers' Content Creator Forum, Travelers' Night, and a Music Festival & Lifestyle Fair. The forum offered cross-border communication opportunities to the tourism industry, experts, academics, and travel content creators.As a rapid-growing travel destination, Changsha is popular among influencers and KOLs, attracting millions of travelers from home and abroad. Jointly hosted by Changsha Municipal People's Government, the forum shared Changsha's development roadmap of building a vibrant travel destination through travel content marketing, technology, and integration of resources. "Changsha has become a stylish tourism destination, not only because of its fascinating history and culture but because the city is actively embracing innovation and building Internet-famous products. Changsha's inclusiveness and diversity will attract widespread attention and become a trendsetter." -Jane Sun, CEO of Trip.com Group Rungang Zhang, Deputy Chairman and Secretary General of the Chinese Tourism Association shared, "In recent years, with high internet attention, Changsha has rapidly grown into an internet-famous tourism destination. From Changsha's experience, I believe that travel content incubation and upgrade will be an essential pivot of the future destination development." Yong Tan, Deputy Secretary of the CPC Changsha Municipal Committee, said, With Trip.com Group's strong resource integration capabilities, Changsha is confident it can facilitate tourism transformation further and, in time, build a robust international tourism destination. Trip.com Group has been an essential strategic partner in Changsha's fast-growing tourism development. Leveraging Trip.com Group's strong resource integration capabilities and content marketing strategy, the city has rolled out various travel campaigns and products on Trip.com Group's platforms. For instance, Changsha Municipal Bureau of Culture, Tourism, Radio and Television, together with Trip.com Group, have launched consumption vouchers this year, accelerating travel recovery in the city. As part of the Group's Rural Revitalization Plan, Trip.com Group built a country retreat in the suburb of Changsha in 2021. Only a week after the retreat was built, the number of bookings surpassed the same period last year. Trip.com Group's Traveler's Forum has been held in various cities across China, including Lijiang, Chengdu, Shanghai, Xi'an, Chongqing, Guiyang, Anyang, and Sanya. Over 100,000 travelers have actively participated in the annual event, which has generated billions of online exposures. With the recovery of tourism following the pandemic, the forum showcased Trip.com Group's content marketing strategy. Through gathering high-quality content creators, holding special activities, and facilitating the interaction of experienced travelers, Trip.com Group aims to revitalize the tourism economy and reconnect with keen travelers in post-pandemic times and beyond.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Spirit Airlines Completes Initial High-Speed Wi-Fi Installation, Takes Ultra-Low Fare Air Travel Experience to New Heights

Spirit Airlines | July 14, 2022

Spirit Airlines (NYSE: SAVE) has completed yet another groundbreaking investment in the Guest experience. Guests can now binge their favorite shows via Spirit Wi-Fi on flights operated by its Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft. The major milestone marks the first time a U.S.-based ultra-low fare airline has offered high-speed Wi-Fi. Spirit partnered with Thales to install the high-speed connectivity solution FlytLIVE to cover Spirit's network across the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean. This state-of-the-art system offers access to internet services. Guests can enjoy an at-home level of experience in the air while viewing video from their streaming services, playing games and connecting on social media with their personal devices. As another major milestone, Spirit expects to provide the fastest Wi-Fi service of any U.S.-based airline when all FlytLIVE-enabled planes are connected to the new, very high-throughput SES-17 satellite by September 2022. "This is a real groundbreaking moment in the industry as Spirit adds in-flight amenities and product options that have previously not been available on ultra-low fare carriers, We're continuing to deliver the best value in the sky by providing options that are important to our Guests, like our high-speed Wi-Fi service, while keeping our focus on affordable fares to provide our Guests with More Go." -Matt Klein, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer for Spirit Airlines. At Thales, we are proud to partner with Spirit Airlines in their mission to enhance the Guest experience and are truly excited to have 100% of their A320 & A321 fleet equipped with FlytLIVE. The system's reliability and performance is getting rave reviews from Spirit's passengers who can now stream to their heart's content," said TK Kallenbach, CEO Thales InFlyt Experience. Spirit Wi-Fi Spirit is the leader in providing customizable travel options that allow Guests to pay only for the options they choose like bags, seat assignments, refreshments, and now, Wi-Fi service will be part of this À La Smarte approach to travel. In addition to purchasing Wi-Fi on the flight, Guests can pre-purchase Wi-Fi at the time of booking on spirit.com effective July 13, 2022, and on the mobile app effective August 10, 2022, for flights on or after August 24, 2022. The voucher codes received from the pre-purchase option are for entry in the online Wi-Fi portal on the plane. Wi-Fi Your Way Browsing: browse the web and stay in touch via email, chat, and social media starting at $2.99 Streaming: stream, browse, and chat on board with high-speed internet that's 20x faster than our browsing option starting at $5.99 How To Connect Turn on your device's Wi-Fi and choose "Spirit_WiFi" Open your web browser and visit SpiritWiFi.com Choose the plan, enter your payment or voucher code information, and enjoy Spirit Wi-Fi Features: The most advanced Ka-band high-throughput connectivity FlytLIVE uses SES & Hughes next-generation aviation satellite network and technology SES-17 satellite built to serve routes across the Americas and Atlantic with Ka-band coverage SES-17 is SES's first satellite to have a totally digital payload, powered by a Thales advanced digital transparent processor (DTP), enabling greater flexibility and efficiency than previously available. Using Thales' FlytLIVE and SES-17, Spirit expects to offer the best availability in the Americas and will be faster than other airlines based on published data. Additional program details: In total, more than 80 percent of Spirit's fleet has Wi-Fi capability with system installations completed on Spirit's existing A320 and A321 sub-fleets. The expansion of Wi-Fi functionality to Spirit's existing A319 sub-fleet will be determined at a later date. Spirit plans to gain 24 brand new A320neo planes in 2022 for a projected fleet-wide total of 197 by the end of the year, and 33 more new planes projected for delivery in 2023. The price of the Wi-Fi options is based on the duration of the flight. While inflight, Guests can enjoy complimentary access to Spirit.com—check your flight status on connecting flights, access your mobile boarding pass, and join Free Spirit to earn points from your flight. More information may be found on spirit.com/wifi. Recognition Spirit continues to garner recognition for innovation in the Guest experience and its commitment to operational excellence. The carrier won "Best Airport Innovation" in the 2021 APEX/IFSA Awards for its groundbreaking self-bag drop system with biometric photo matching, which speeds up the check-in process and reduces face-to-face contact. Additionally, Spirit was recognized by Forbes as one of America's Best Employers for Diversity in 2022. Spirit also received the FAA's "Aviation Maintenance Technician Diamond Award of Excellence" for the fourth consecutive year. About Spirit Airlines: Spirit Airlines (NYSE: SAVE) is committed to delivering the best value in the sky. We are the leader in providing customizable travel options starting with an unbundled fare. This allows our Guests to pay only for the options they choose — like bags, seat assignments and refreshments — something we call À La Smarte®. We make it possible for our Guests to venture further and discover more than ever before. Our Fit Fleet® is one of the youngest and most fuel-efficient in the U.S. We serve destinations throughout the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean, and are dedicated to giving back and improving those communities. Come save with us at spirit.com. About Thales: Thales (Euronext Paris: HO) is a global leader in advanced technologies, investing in digital and "deep tech" innovations – connectivity, big data, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and quantum computing – to build a confident future crucial for the development of our societies. The Group provides its customers – businesses, organisations and governments – in the defence, aeronautics, space, transport, and digital identity and security domains with solutions, services and products that help them fulfil their critical role, consideration for the individual being the driving force behind all decisions.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Hudini and Incode Technologies Enter Strategic Partnership to Digitally Transform the Hospitality Experience

Hudini & Incode | July 08, 2022

Smart hospitality solutions provider, Hudini, and Incode Technologies, the industry-leader in identity verification and authentication for global enterprises, announced their strategic partnership to transform hospitality guest experiences. The partnership with Incode will enable Hudini customers to deploy identity verification during the check-in and check-out processes through enhanced digital biometric technology. This association will automate these processes making it quick, seamless and at the convenience of the guest.The hospitality industry relies on its ability to connect people and the places they visit to create memorable experiences for its guests. In its revitalization post-pandemic, the industry is realizing the impact that technology can have on a guest’s stay, and the potential it holds to increase customer loyalty and create additional revenue. In fact, a recent study found that 76% of hotel executives are looking to introduce “a fully contactless experience” by 2025. “Hotel guests crave seamless experiences when they travel, Long check-in processes and complex payment procedures can ruin a guest’s stay. As a leader in biometric identity verification, Incode’s solution removes these challenges and helps to maximize the digital guest experience, without compromising on security or privacy. Through our partnership with Incode, we are excited to offer fully automated identity verification to our check-in and check-out features across our partner hotels.” -Prince Thampi, Founder and CEO at Hudini. Both Hudini and Incode realize the potential identity verification holds across the hospitality industry and share the ambition for its widespread adoption during hotel check-in and check-out. To further that vision, the partnership will include the following experiences: Transparent guest identification: In a matter of seconds, even before arrival, Incode’s technology, the industry’s only fully automated identity verification engine, validates the identity of a guest. This allows guests to identify themselves at their convenience, triggering Hudini’s systems to match the profile and immediately introduce a magical, personalized experience upon arrival. Automated digital ID creation: A digital profile of each guest is automatically created by Hudini from existing IDs and payment sources. This saves time and energy from filling out forms. Seamlessly integrated experience: Once onboarded, guests use their most unique attribute—their face—to fully manage their respective journey. From booking, accessing a digital key and ordering amenities and room service, the identity-centric journey translates into the industry’s most transparent experience, all while ensuring privacy and security. Contactless payments: Using biometrics, Hudini can enable guests to pay for any service across the property without the need for a physical payment card. “The hospitality industry is going through a period of modernization, and it is important that hotels look to leverage best-in-class technology, Together with Hudini’s proven track record of enabling digital transformation in the hospitality sector, we believe our solution can help brands to drastically enhance their guest experiences.” -Ricardo Amper, CEO and Founder of Incode. About Incode Incode is a leading identity company that is reinventing the way humans verify their identity and interact with the world’s largest companies with a highly secure and delightful AI-based experience. Incode’s end-to-end fully automated orchestration platform enables seamless access across multiple channels with products focused on onboarding, authentication and payment verification that increase conversion and reduce fraud. With its mission to power a world of trust, Incode works with several of the world’s biggest banks, fintechs, hotels, governments, and marketplaces. Incode is based in San Francisco with offices in Europe and Latin America. To learn more about Incode, visit www.incode.com About Hudini Hudini is the leading digital transformation platform for the hospitality industry. Powered by a proprietary middleware and an omnichannel (App, Web, TV) guest interface that leverages data + AI to increase guest engagement and hotel revenues Hudini delivers an enhanced guest experience. Through its 100+ pre-built integrations across all functionalities, Hudini delivers personalised, immersive guest experiences that enable guests to communicate, control and interact with hotels closer than ever before. With over 300 hotels across 25 countries, Hudini is fast becoming the industry benchmark for digital transformation in the hospitality industry.

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