FEATURES AND ADVICE
Air Canada | July 26, 2021
After reporting a bigger quarterly loss on Friday, Air Canada projected higher bookings for domestic and US-bound flights this winter as travel restrictions ease.
Although bookings remain below pre-pandemic levels, Canada's biggest airline predicts slower cash burn as travel resumes.
"We are witnessing steadily increasing bookings for the coming winter in the domestic, trans-border, and Atlantic markets, as well as to sun destinations," CEO Michael Rousseau told analysts. "Future bookings for next winter sun travel during certain weeks in June were ahead of the same time in 2019."
After a 16-month ban due to the pandemic, Canada will allow fully vaccinated US visitors to enter the country beginning August 9.
Air Canada recorded a net cash burn of about C$8 million ($6.36 million) per day for the second quarter, lower than previously projected. However, it anticipates that figure will rise to between C$3 million and C$5 million each day in the third quarter.
Carriers are increasing flying capacity, putting downward pressure on fares in certain areas.
While domestic pricing is more difficult, "the environment is fairly steady" on international routes, according to Chief Commercial Officer Lucie Guillemette, who predicts a fall return in corporate travel.
According to the airline, cargo flights, which were introduced during the pandemic, will become a more significant part of the carrier's future.
Air Canada signed an assistance agreement with the Canadian federal government in April, allowing it to access up to C$5.9 billion in funds.
Rousseau said that the airline would determine whether or not to withdraw from the government's financial facilities later this year.
According to Refinitiv data, Air Canada lost C$3.03 per share excluding items. Analysts predicted a C$2.76 loss on average.
In the fiscal quarter ended June 30, the airline's net loss was C$1.17 billion, or C$3.31 per share, compared to a loss of C$1.75 billion, or C$6.44 per share, a year earlier.
Holiday Inn | April 23, 2021
Ken Hamlet, the former CEO of Holiday Inn, intends to use a $500 million war chest to acquire limited-service hotels (those without facilities such as a restaurant or spa) and reposition them as properties with a more upscale customer experience.
Consider it adding more of the Four Seasons experience to roadside hotels, as Hamlet put it.
He was CEO of Holiday Inn for nine years in the 1980s and early 1990s, and during that time the business was purchased by IHG and introduced or acquired brands such as Embassy Suites, Crowne Plaza, Hampton Inn, and Harrah's. Rather than starting his fund, Hamlet joined Olive Tree Hotels & Resorts, a hotel investment group where he now serves as CEO, to pursue deals.
“I began to think of maybe now is a very good time to take advantage of getting back into the hotel industry and purchasing distressed assets or buying assets that were well-located, well-branded, relatively well-managed, and that were being distressed and only needed additional capital to get them up to 2021 standards,” he said this week.
The only thing is that there is a litany of hotel investors drooling about hotel investment prospects that did not come true before the pandemic.
Investment firms such as CGI Merchant Group, in collaboration with New York Yankees baseball legend Alex Rodriguez, and Bainbridge DXS are also scouring the market for hotel acquisitions of hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming years. Dreamscape Cos., owner of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, has more than $1 billion in cash to purchase hotels, including troubled business-transient and convention-focused properties.
Olive Tree's capital distinguishes itself by concentrating on limited-service hotels in a mix of the 75 major U.S. cities as well as some secondary and tertiary markets such as Las Cruces, New Mexico. As long as there is a nearby demand driver, such as a hospital, university, or office park, the company can seek a deal. The majority of buyers are looking for troubled hotels in metropolitan markets or resorts in drive-to and leisure destinations.
Olive Tree intends to upgrade its guest rooms with more innovative features, such as automated check-ins and co-working-inspired workspaces in public areas. But, in addition to the technology, Hamlet desires enhanced client support, such as staffers adding personal touches to the guest experience, such as a bottle of wine or glass of champagne delivered to a room or hors d'oeuvres and chocolate bars in the lobby.
The move is reminiscent of how Holiday Inn became a brand. Kemmons Wilson established the roadside motel business in the early 1950s after becoming dissatisfied with the choices offered on a road trip between Memphis, Tenn., and Washington, D.C.
He set out to fix it because there was no consistency or quality in the accommodation experience. Olive Tree intends to replicate the success of existing limited-service hotels that are underperforming.
Many of Olive Tree's acquisitions would be branded by major companies such as Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, and IHG. However, the company is not opposed to maintaining property independence or even launching its brand.
It is unclear when any of those acquisition goals will become available. Olive Tree reportedly has one hotel under contract and another "in the works."
Due to a mix of bank forbearance on mortgages and several rounds of federal stimulus by offerings such as the Paycheck Protection Program of forgivable small business loans, there haven't been as many distressed hotel properties exchanged throughout the last year. The Olive Tree team does not anticipate having to wait much longer.
Uplift, Inc. | August 19, 2021
Uplift, the leading enterprise Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) solution serving the world's top travel brands, has announced a new partnership with Tripster - the premier all-in-one travel booking site for one stop destination trip planning. Tripster customers can easily plan their entire vacation in one place and pay over time with surprise-free monthly installments through Uplift.
When booking on Tripster, customers can choose from more than 30 destinations across the United States and easily package hotel accommodations, experiences, theme park tickets and more all with just a few clicks. Customers can build their own vacation package and bundle these purchases for immediate savings. Tripster takes great pride in vetting every experience and destination to get the most out of each vacation complete with side by side comparisons and customer reviews to ensure the best experience imaginable.
"Tripster has always believed that a vacation shouldn't feel like work. With the addition of flexible payment options through Uplift, we've taken one more potential stress point out of travel planning by allowing our customers to spread the cost of their vacation over low monthly payments," said John Johnson, Founder & CEO for Tripster. "We selected Uplift as our exclusive BNPL partner. Uplift offered us the best suite of tools to help deepen our customer loyalty and increase average order values."
Uplift is seamlessly integrated into the Tripster booking process, on all platforms including desktop and mobile. Customers will see the total cost at the time of booking along with the monthly payment amount making it easy to budget for and experience the vacation they deserve. There are no late fees or prepayment penalties and customers can travel even before they are finished making their payments.
Uplift partners with more than 200+ of the world's leading airlines, cruise lines, resorts and other major travel brands to offer BNPL payment options that help people make meaningful purchases and get the most out of their travel experiences.
Tripster guests can pay through Uplift's flexible payment options for purchase amounts beginning at $100. For example, a customer may select a hotel package with Orlando theme park tickets priced at $800, instead of paying the entire amount up front, Uplift gives customers the luxury of zero money down at the time of booking and instead spreading the total cost over 12 easy monthly payments of $78.29.
"From coast to coast Tripster offers incredible experiences which are a great addition to any vacation and they are now even more affordable when guests opt to pay over time with Uplift," said Tom Botts, Chief Commercial Officer for Uplift. "We are honored to be selected by Tripster as their BNPL partner, providing more people the opportunity of affordable travel to create memories for a lifetime."
Uplift's BNPL flexible payment options are now available for bookings on Tripster in some of their most popular vacation destinations, including:
Florida: Miami, Orlando, St. Augustine and Tampa
California: Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco
Texas: Austin and San Antonio
North Carolina: Asheville and Charlotte
Tennessee: Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge
Find thousands of things to do and great places to stay - Tripster is a one stop shop to build the ideal vacation package. From fun vacations at top destinations across the United States to offering discount tickets to theme parks, tours, soft adventure, Broadway shows, Vegas productions, aquariums, and lots more. Book a hotel, condo or vacation home with Tripster as well, and save more money by bundling with tickets. In addition, customers can find valuable package savings and helpful customer support from real people. One account, one purchase, all in one place. Tripster is the easy route.
Uplift is the leading Buy Now, Pay Later solution that empowers people to get more out of life, one thoughtful purchase at a time. Serving the world's top enterprise level travel brands, Uplift's complete range of flexible payment options drive higher conversion and loyalty for partners, while giving customers a simple, surprise-free way to pay over time with no late or early payment fees. Uplift is currently available throughout the United States and Canada