Serko Limited Signs Acendas Travel Zeno Reseller Partner Agreements for North America

Serko | July 24, 2020

Serko Limited Signs Acendas Travel Zeno Reseller Partner Agreements for North America
Serko Limited, a leader in online travel booking and expense management for business, announced the signing of Acendas Travel as a Zeno reseller partner for North America. The agreement brings Zeno’s user-friendly, consumer grade travel booking and expense platform to Acendas customers and continues to expand Serko’s presence in North America.
“Zeno is a ground-breaking product that finally gives all parties what they need, whether that’s ease of use for the traveler, control and visibility for the travel manager or rich merchandising for the supplier,” said Acendas SVP, Corporate Travel Joe Curtis. “Particularly with the Zeno expense offering, we foresee this agreement as a way for us to better compete - both in customer retention and acquisition - in competitive bid situations. To top it all off, working with the Serko team has been an incredibly positive experience.”

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Are you planning some epic trip, dream vacation or just a business trip? Whichever is the case, I am sure extra cash will cheer you up and help you spend money in a more reasonable way than on overpriced air tickets. So, how can you save money when booking your next flight?

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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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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

RateGain launches Content.AI, an end-to-end AI platform for hotels to make content management seamless

RateGain | November 12, 2021

RateGain Travel Technologies Limited, a provider of SaaS solutions for travel and hospitality, announced the launch of Content.AI, a self-serve SaaS solution powered by AI to help hotels manage, optimize, enhance as well as distribute content across demand partners to solve for higher conversions. Since the beginning of 2021, RateGain has been launching AI-powered solutions focused on helping hotels get more control on guest acquisition and help them drive recovery. While the first half of 2021 focused on providing solutions that helped the industry forecast more accurately in the absence of consistent historical data, RateGain is now focusing to help hotels improve conversions across all channels by delivering a consistent brand experience. As travel comes back, potential guests are looking at online channels and hotels to provide accurate information about room amenities, health and hygiene standards as well as the overall experience. According to a recent study by McKinsey, in the post-pandemic world, guests are more likely to provide extreme feedback in case the stay does not meet their expectations; making it more critical for hotels to communicate the right experience across all channels. With Content.AI, hotels of every size get a platform that helps them solve the three-pronged challenge of completeness, consistency and conversions. Hotels and hotel chains have struggled in maintaining high-quality content about all the properties at one place and the process has involved multiple teams managing components of contents while working across disparate demand partners – making it extremely difficult to collate, update and manage the data. This inconsistent content is manually updated across each demand partner's extranet and the repetitive process introduces errors, which makes information on demand partners incorrect, incomplete and inconsistent. Content.AI solves all of these problems to improve conversions: Augmentation allows hotels to improve the level of content with minimum manual intervention and effort Uses AI to prioritize which content should hotels update first to drive more conversions Edit, Enhance and Optimize images to communicate the best experience to the prospective guests Auto-tag images for easy identification and categorization by demand partners to improve SEO One-click distribution to demand partners saving hours of effort in updating content Hotels of all sizes now have complete control on driving more conversions by augmenting, optimizing and distributing high-quality content across all demand partners as well as through RateGain's Martech offerings of BCV and myhotelshop; giving them the ability to have a 360-degree approach to unlock new revenue. "Trust is the most critical criteria for winning over guests in the new normal, and consistently providing high-quality content across all customer touch points is no longer an option for hotels and a necessity to improve retention and conversions. For most of the last decade, content management has been an extremely time consuming operational task which has not been related to conversions, however, with the share of digital bookings increasing and the guest being more aware, hotels would need to solve this quickly and Content. is the only end-to-end platform to facilitate that." -Bhanu Chopra, Founder, RateGain About RateGain RateGain is a global provider of SaaS solutions for the hospitality and travel industry, offering travel and hospitality solutions that unlock new revenue every day. We are one of the largest aggregators of data points in the world for the hospitality and travel industry (Source: Phocuswright Report). For more information visit https://www.rategain.com

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

RateGain enters into agreement to acquire myhotelshop to help hotels optimize guest acquisition

RateGain, myhotelshop | September 23, 2021

RateGain Travel Technologies Limited, a provider of SaaS solutions for travel and hospitality, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement for the acquisition of myhotelshop, a company incorporated in Germany, which provides a platform to help hotels improve direct guest acquisition. Together, myhotelshop and RateGain will now offer hotels the ability to reach more customers at higher returns. The agreement is in line with RateGain's mission to become the leading revenue maximization platform for the hospitality and travel industry. As COVID-19 accelerated digitization of customer interactions, according to Phocuswright 9 out of 10 travelers engage with travel online. The research also shows that most travelers do not shop and book from the same source with a majority of online shoppers searching on OTAs and booking on hotel websites. In the midst of multiple channels including intermediaries, metasearch and OTAs hotels are struggling to create the optimum distribution strategy that helps them drive more bookings and lower acquisition costs. This increases the need for hotels to move away from disparate systems and have a single provider that can help them get better control on guest acquisition and reduce dependency on one channel. myhotelshop offers reporting, bid management and campaign intelligence platform for metasearch publishers and other travel products that enables hotel suppliers, OTAs, and agency clients to reach more customers at higher returns. Commenting on the agreement Bhanu Chopra, Founder, RateGain said, "We are delighted to welcome Ullrich and the myhotelshop team to the RateGain family. The merger will help in addressing a key challenge that the industry is facing in the post-COVID world that is witnessing increased digitization. The need to become digital first is increasingly becoming chaotic and we aim to make it simpler for hotels to manage their acquisition strategy and enable them to unlock new revenue." Ullrich Kastner, CEO & Founder, myhotelshop added, "With RateGain we found a partner that helps us scale our technology and business model globally and at the same time keep our company brand and culture as it is. Our people, customers and partners rely on the fact that we stay who we are. Just as much it is important for them that we keep our growth path, to stay ahead in the meta and online marketing space for hotels. We aspire to be the leading marketing software for individual hotels and medium sized chains and the merger with RateGain will help us further enhance this vision within a strong technology framework." About RateGain: RateGain is a global provider of SaaS solutions for the hospitality and travel industry, offering travel and hospitality solutions that unlock new revenue every day. We are one of the largest aggregators of data points in the world for the hospitality and travel industry. About myhotelshop Established in January 2012, headquartered in Leipzig, Germany, myhotelshop provides solutions to increase direct sales of hotels and make it a profitable distribution channel by optimizing, managing and distributing hotel content and campaigns to demand partners and driving the online success of its hotel partners.

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Spotlight

Are you planning some epic trip, dream vacation or just a business trip? Whichever is the case, I am sure extra cash will cheer you up and help you spend money in a more reasonable way than on overpriced air tickets. So, how can you save money when booking your next flight?