COMMERCIAL TRAVEL

Snowfall launches Junction - the travel platform for a new generation

Snowfall | December 03, 2021

Snowfall launches Junction
Snowfall, the travel technology company, has announced the launch of Junction – the next-generation travel platform that enables suppliers, resellers and partners to deliver the next generation of travel.

Junction provides travellers with more control, choice and confidence, making it possible to book multiple modes of travel door-to-door in a single ticket and supports the traveller throughout the entire journey. By offering a wide range of content, services and enhancements, the platform introduces a new way of connecting all the participants in the ecosystem and disrupts the way to book and experience travel.

Junction arrives at a time when outdated infrastructures and legacy systems are leaving major gaps in the consumer experience. The online research and booking process for travellers has become a maze, difficult to navigate. With an increasing focus on sustainability - Booking.com's 2021 Sustainable Travel Report found 81% of travellers want to stay in sustainable accommodation - Junction simplifies the complexities of booking and leads the way to more sustainable modes of travel, empowering conscious choices every day.

Junction empowers suppliers, resellers and partners to offer more choice to the traveller, by incorporating all modes of travel in a single operating system and removing legacy complexity. Junction is powered by four cloud-based modules: Exchange, Pay, Boost and Plus. These technologies ensure:
  • Cost effective distribution (Exchange)
  • An open architecture app store for ecosystem collaboration (Boost)
  • Seamless payments (Pay)
  • Revolutionising industry workflows and traveller experience (Plus)
These four modules modernise the way to connect, interact and increase value across the ecosystem, creating a new standard for the industry.

"We created Junction because when it comes to travel, we believe there's a better way. Junction unlocks the power of technology and delivers travel that is accessible, flexible and straightforward. By incorporating all modes of travel in a single, dynamic operating system, we are bringing simplicity to the complex travel industry and empowering suppliers, resellers and partners to change the way people experience travel for good. Connected to Junction, suppliers and resellers can provide their customers with a new generation of offers through the channels their customers prefer."

-Stefan Cars, Snowfall CEO and Founder

 About Snowfall
the company behind Junction, is a UK-based travel technology company delivering products, services and partnerships. Snowfall is leveraging its experience from all major multimodal travel verticals, one of the few companies who can bring this extensive expertise. While partnering with over 40 top tier travel companies, Snowfall's solutions, such as ticketless travel, have consistently led the way for travel innovation on a global scale.


Spotlight

Destination Melbourne is pleased to announce an exciting rebrand of our Melbourne Tourism Industry Exchange (MTIE). Over the past 10 years, MTIE has been the centerpiece of Melbourne Tourism Week, and it will continue to be. Now called The Exchange, the event has been given a new name and visual identity to reflect the value of the exhibition and decentralize the focus of the name from Melbourne alone.

Spotlight

Destination Melbourne is pleased to announce an exciting rebrand of our Melbourne Tourism Industry Exchange (MTIE). Over the past 10 years, MTIE has been the centerpiece of Melbourne Tourism Week, and it will continue to be. Now called The Exchange, the event has been given a new name and visual identity to reflect the value of the exhibition and decentralize the focus of the name from Melbourne alone.

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BUSINESS TRAVEL

Hopper Secures $175 Million Growth Investment Led By GPI Capital

Hopper | August 18, 2021

Hopper is announcing that it has completed a $175 million Series G financing led by GPI Capital with participation from Glade Brook Capital, WestCap, Goldman Sachs Growth and Accomplice as the company emerges from the pandemic stronger than ever. As the travel industry continues to rebound, Hopper has demonstrated significant outperformance with its category-leading mobile-only marketplace, delivering value to customers and supply partners with the company's proprietary suite of fintech offerings. Hopper has over 60 million downloads, consistently ranks as one of the most downloaded travel apps, and now has a larger air travel market share in North America than it did before the pandemic (source: MIDT) along with a growing suite of API-enabled solutions for its B2B initiative. Based on its current run rate, Hopper is pacing towards 330% revenue growth compared to last year and it has already surpassed its pre-pandemic revenue peak from Q1 2020 by over 100%. Product roll-outs have been delivered over an increasingly diversified mix of air, hotel and car rental bookings with the company's fintech offerings now representing a majority of its revenue. Whether it's pricing volatility or avoiding trip disruptions, Hopper's fintech offerings aim to address every pain point in the customer journey while driving conversion, repeat purchases, and profitability. Earlier in the year, Hopper announced that it was launching a B2B initiative called Hopper Cloud. Through this partnership program, any travel provider – airlines, online travel agencies, meta-search companies, travel agencies, etc. – can integrate and seamlessly distribute Hopper's fintech or agency content. Additionally, Hopper Cloud offers white-label travel portals for companies that aspire to sell travel with a differentiated consumer experience and offering. By leveraging its vast data assets, Hopper takes on all financial risk as its AI is able to dynamically price each fintech offering on a real-time basis at scale. "The success of our fintech offerings demonstrate that travelers are willing to pay for flexibility and assurance as they resume traveling again," said Frederic Lalonde, CEO and Co-Founder of Hopper. "We feel strongly that our fintech offerings through Hopper Cloud can help supercharge the travel industry's recovery by introducing a totally unique revenue stream for other brands. In fact, if all travel distribution channels offered our fintech, it could increase the total consumer spend for the sector by $200 billion annually. We are excited to be partnering with GPI and their distinguished track record of supporting iconic consumer internet companies. We welcome Khai to the board as we execute on a roadmap for sustained growth over the long term." Khai Ha, Managing Partner at GPI Capital, commented "Hopper has created a large market opportunity with unique fintech products for the travel industry that applies an entirely differentiated and attractive business model in which we are excited to work with Fred and the leadership team to accelerate the flywheel. The company emerged from a challenging period for the industry, bolstering its technology capabilities, customer service and its opportunity set with a stronger, durable foundation. We are thrilled to be a partner in this category-defining story." The funds will be used to accelerate the company's growth across several fronts including customer support. Following a year of unprecedented customer support requests, Hopper has scaled its customer support team by 200% and developed several self-serve automation tools so that 60% of customer support requests are now resolved instantly. Hopper is hiring an additional 500 employees, of which 300 of them are focused on customer service. The company is actively looking to acqui-hire other teams in travel, data science, or engineering-heavy startups to introduce new product offerings and fuel international expansion. Hopper has had recent success integrating the teams of Journy and Mowgli, which will accelerate entry into new travel categories such as home rentals and regional expansion to Europe. Kirkland & Ellis LLP and McCarthy Tétrault LLP acted as legal counsel to GPI Capital. About Hopper Hopper is the world's fastest-growing mobile-first travel marketplace. By leveraging massive amounts of data and machine learning, the company has developed several unique fintech solutions that help customers save money and travel better. Through its B2B initiative, Hopper Cloud, the company is syndicating its fintech solutions, infrastructure, and agency content. Whether it's pricing volatility or trip disruptions, Hopper's proprietary suite of fintech solutions address every pain point in the customer journey while driving conversion, repeat purchases, and profitability. About GPI Capital GPI Capital is an alternative investment firm specializing in leading growth equity investments in technology, consumer and industrial companies. GPI focuses on identifying high quality businesses looking to accelerate growth and execute on transformational opportunities with an engaged and value-add partner

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

SKT and Joby Join Forces to Bring Air Taxi Service to South Korea

Joby | February 07, 2022

SK Telecom (NYSE:SKM, “SKT”), South Korea’s leading telecommunications company, and Joby Aviation (NYSE:JOBY, “Joby”), a California-based company developing an all-electric, five-seat aircraft that can take off and land vertically (eVTOL), today announced they will work together to introduce emissions-free aerial ridesharing services to cities and communities across South Korea.SKT’s CEO Ryu Young-sang and Joby’s founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt signed a strategic collaboration agreement at Joby’s manufacturing facility in Marina, California. The agreement will see the two companies work closely on introducing this revolutionary form of transportation in support of the South Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport’s “K-UAM” (Korean Urban Air Mobility) Roadmap, first announced in 2020. With a maximum range of 150 miles (241 kilometers), a top speed of 200 mph (321 km/h), and a low noise profile that will allow it to access built-up areas, Joby's piloted aircraft is designed to make convenient, emissions-free air travel an everyday reality. SKT has been promoting the development of urban air mobility by leveraging its expertise in telecommunications, autonomous driving, precise positioning, and security to become a leading company in connected intelligence. As a member of the “UAM Team Korea”, SKT is also working together with other major Korean companies to enhance the nation’s competitiveness in the field. The partners intend to leverage SK’s T Map mobility platform, Korea’s largest mobility platform, and UT ride hailing service to provide multi-modal journeys to customers seamlessly integrating both ground and air travel. UT was established as a joint venture between SKT and Uber in 2021, bringing together SK’s T Map platform and Uber’s ride sharing technology. Joby and Uber have been collaborating since 2019. “By joining forces with Joby, a global leader in this field, we expect to accelerate our journey towards the era of Urban Air Mobility and lead the way on introducing this exciting new technology,” said Ryu Young-sang, CEO of SKT. Collaborating with leading global companies is essential to securing leadership in future industries, which we are confident will be driven by the growth of UAM, autonomous driving, and robots. Joby has spent more than a decade developing the technology behind its aircraft, completing more than 1,000 test flights and becoming the first, and only, eVTOL company to sign a G-1 (stage 4) Certification Basis for their aircraft with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Commenting on the partnership and the opportunity presented by the South Korean market, "We are thrilled to be partnering with the team at SKT who bring a wealth of relevant experience and technology to the table." -JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby With more than 42 million people living in urban areas, South Korea offers a remarkable opportunity for Joby to make air travel a part of daily life, helping people to save time while reducing their carbon footprint. While Joby’s aerial ridesharing service will be operated directly by the company and offered to passengers via the Joby app or the Uber app in core U.S. markets, this announcement reflects Joby’s strategy to partner with local companies committed to delivering exceptional customer service and operational excellence to launch its service in select markets outside the U.S. Images of the signing ceremony are available here. Photos and video footage of the Joby aircraft are available in Joby's Media Kit. About Joby Aviation Joby Aviation, Inc. (NYSE:JOBY) is a California-headquartered transportation company developing an all-electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft which it intends to operate as part of a fast, quiet, and convenient air taxi service beginning in 2024. The aircraft, which has a maximum range of 150 miles (241 kilometers) on a single charge, can transport a pilot and four passengers at speeds of up to 200 mph (321 km/h). It is designed to help reduce urban congestion and accelerate the shift to sustainable modes of transit. Founded in 2009, Joby employs around 1,000 people, with offices in Santa Cruz, San Carlos, and Marina, California, as well as Washington, D.C. and Munich, Germany. To learn more, visit www.jobyaviation.com. About SK Telecom SK Telecom (NYSE:SKM) is Korea’s leading ICT company, driving innovations in fixed & wireless telecommunications, AI service, and digital infrastructure service. Armed with cutting-edge ICT including AI and 5G, the company is ushering in a new level of convergence to deliver unprecedented value to customers. As the global 5G pioneer, SKT is committed to realizing the full potential of 5G through ground-breaking services that can improve people's lives, transform businesses, and lead to a better society. SKT boasts unrivaled leadership in the Korean mobile market with over 30 million subscribers, which account for nearly 50 percent of the market.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Expedia Group and Bilt Rewards Launch Exclusive Travel Portal

Expedia Group | July 01, 2022

On June 30, Expedia Group, the leading travel technology platform, announced the launch of the new Bilt Travel Portal in collaboration with Bilt Rewards. It will be available exclusively to Bilt Rewards members. Members of Bilt Rewards can use their Bilt points to cover all or a portion of the cost of their next vacation and can book every aspect of their trip directly through the Bilt Rewards app, from flights to hotels and even theme park or Broadway show tickets. Bilt members can access more than 700,000 properties, 500 airlines, 120 car rental companies, and thousands of activities worldwide, thanks to Expedia Group's White Label Template technology. 1 White Label Template includes all of the functionality of the Expedia.com site, as well as tools and customer support to assist Bilt members with questions or bookings. Expedia Group's expert knowledge of the travel industry is combined with a nearly $2 billion annual investment in new technology innovation to meet the changing needs and demands of both partners and travelers. Travel is among the most important experiences to our members, who don’t want to be limited when it comes to using their hard-earned loyalty points, said Bilt Rewards Founder and CEO Ankur Jain. Partnering with Expedia Group enables us to give members a one-stop-shop with access to endless travel options, along with the easy integration to create a seamless booking experience. “We’re excited to power the Bilt Travel Portal, and to help the Bilt Rewards members build the vacation of their dreams simply by paying rent,Our innovative solutions provide Bilt Rewards with technology they need to build a wonderful experience and offer an unparalleled amount of travel options to their members.” -Christian Gerron, senior vice president, Media & Brand Partnerships, Expedia Group. Bilt Rewards members can access the Bilt Travel Portal powered by Expedia Group by logging into the Bilt Rewards app or visiting travel.biltrewards.com and entering their Bilt Rewards login credentials to view available travel supply and booking options. When booking in real-time, members will be able to see the value of their Bilt points, with 10,000 Bilt points equaling $125 in travel credits. Members will also earn 2x points for bookings made through the Bilt Travel Portal with their Bilt Mastercard, and 1x point for bookings made with another form of payment. Bilt Rewards, which will be available in June 2021, is the first-ever loyalty program and co-brand credit card for renters, allowing 109 million renters in the United States to earn points on their largest monthly expense with no fees. Renters can access the free Bilt Rewards loyalty program by living within the Bilt Rewards Alliance, a network of over 2 million rental units in the United States, or by using the Bilt Mastercard, the first credit card that can be used to pay rent with no transaction fees at any rental unit in the United States. In addition, Bilt members have access to one of the most valuable rewards programs available, with the ability to redeem points for travel, boutique fitness classes, limited-edition art, and home décor, as well as rent credits and even a down payment on a future home. Members now have access to thousands of new options for redeeming their points thanks to the addition of the Bilt Travel Portal powered by Expedia Group, further increasing the value of Bilt's

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