Travel Advisors Highlight Companies Handling COVID-19 Pandemic the Best

As travel restrictions are lifted and more destinations are reopening to the public, travel advisors continue to work diligently for their clients. While some brands have dropped the ball, many companies within the industry have gone above and beyond for travel advisors when it mattered the most. The agents who have worked tirelessly since the coronavirus outbreak began are now sharing their positive stories. One of the groups making a huge splash is the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), which has gone to bat for agents. Cruise Holidays owner Shari Marsh spoke about the help the agency has provided.

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Travel Technology, Destination and Tourism

Exodus Adventure Travels Announces New Trips in Partnership with Royal Canadian Geographic Society

PR Newswire | January 23, 2024

Exodus Adventure Travels, the international award-winning leader in adventure travel, today announced its new 2024 RCGS Quests trips, a series of expert-led tours developed in partnership with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. These limited edition, small group trips are what travel legends are made of – adventures that are designed to offer travelers unparalleled opportunities to explore some of the planet's most awe-inspiring destinations and led by noted hosts in their respective fields. This year's line-up features such noted hosts as World Elephant Day co-founder, Patricia Sims; bestselling author, Robin Esrock; Indigenous education advocate, Charlene Bearhead, and others. "We are honored to partner with The Royal Canadian Geographical Society on these highly anticipated adventures," said Sam Seward, President at Exodus Adventure Travels. "This is our third year operating our RCGS Quests program, with continued demand to explore further and experience more, pushing these trips to new heights and featuring another stellar line-up of hosts to add even more depth to each itinerary." Exodus' 2024 RCGS Quests Series features the following six adventures: RCGS: Highlights of the Amalfi Coast with Scott Forsyth Discover the land of la dolce vita for a wondrous week on the Amalfi Coast led by an expert local guide and hosted by professional photographer and fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Scott Forsyth. Explore one of Europe's most dramatic stretches of coastline and be spellbound by this land's natural beauty and cultural treasures. The Host: Scott Forsyth is an award-winning photographer who specializes in Canadian landscapes. Devoted to exploring Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific and Arctic Ocean coastlines, Scott is a Fellow of both the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the Explorer's Club and is Canadian Geographic's Photographer-In-Residence. Eight-day itinerary priced from $2,240 USD. Departing April 6, 2024 RCGS: Classic Kenya 4WD Safari with Patricia Sims No country, perhaps, is more synonymous with a classic African safari than Kenya. Step into scenes from 'Out of Africa' as you explore Kenya's best safari sites led by an expert local safari guide and hosted by award-winning Canadian filmmaker, Royal Canadian Geographical Society fellow and World Elephant Day co-founder, Patricia Sims. The Host: Patricia Sims is the co-founder of the annual World Elephant Day (Aug. 12), a global awareness campaign that brings attention to the critical threats facing elephants. From swimming with wild dolphins and whales in oceans around the world to getting up close and personal with monkeys in the jungles of Borneo and elephants of Thailand, Patricia is also an award-winning filmmaker who always has a passionate eye on conservation. Patricia is a Fellow International of The Explorers Club and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Seven-day itinerary priced from US$4,649 Departing August 10, 2024 RCGS: A Week in Jordan with Sarah Legault Explore the wondrous historical and archaeological highlights of Jordan on this week-long adventure. From the incredible history of the Wadi Rum Desert to strolling through ancient Roman cities and floating in the Dead Sea, this Jordanian adventure contains all the highlights of this fascinating country. It is led by an expert local guide and hosted by Vice President of Philanthropy for the RCGS, Sarah Legault. The Host: Sarah Legault has been the head of advancement at the Royal Canadian Geographical Society since 2018 and has worked at charitable organizations throughout her career. Her vast understanding of the Society, Canadian Geographic and all associated programs is extraordinary. As the current Vice President of Philanthropy and Fellow of the RCGS, Sarah's mission-aligned values of environment, people, culture, and geographical literacy support engaging and forward-thinking initiatives which she always is keen to share and discuss. Seven-day itinerary priced from US$2,550 Departing October 19, 2024 RCGS: Rome, Assisi & Magical Umbria – Premium Adventure with Robin Esrock Explore Rome and Assisi's historic landmarks and classical ruins. Walk through Italy's unspoiled countryside staying in a picturesque four-star resort in the hills of Umbria, led by an expert local guide and hosted by bestselling author, TV host, public speaker and Royal Canadian Geographical Society Fellow Robin Esrock. The Host: Dubbed "King of the Bucket List" by Travel + Leisure, Robin Esrock's success as a global adventurer, travel writer, bestselling author and international TV personality started with a one-year solo round-the-world backpacking adventure to 24 countries. During this year, Robin uploaded weekly reports, photography, videos, reviews, and interviews with every person he met. In doing so, he ushered in a new era of multi-platform, switched-on wired-in travel journalism, leading to adventures beyond his wildest dreams. Robin's stories have been published in noted publications worldwide, including National Geographic Traveler, The Guardian, Chicago Tribune, Toronto Star, Reader's Digest, and more. Eight-day itinerary priced from US$4,050 Departing October 19, 2024 RCGS: Egypt Nile Cruise with Charlene Bearhead Follow in the footsteps of the ancient pharaohs and ride the sands of time back thousands of years on this classic Egypt Nile cruise led by an expert local guide and hosted by Indigenous education advocate, author, Vice President of Learning and Reconciliation at Canadian Geographic, and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Charlene Bearhead. With ancient tombs and mysteries around every bend, unrivaled legacy and mind-blowing history await. The Host: Charlene Bearhead is an Indigenous education advocate and author with over 30 years of regional, national and international experience. Previously Charlene served as education days coordinator for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, education coordinator for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, education advisor for the Canadian Geographic Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada, a member of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Indigenous Education working group, and the first education lead for both the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba and the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at UBC. She is also the co-author of the children's book series Siha Tooskin Knows. Eight-day itinerary priced from US$2,380 Departing November 16, 2024 RCGS: Highlights of Vietnam with Lynn Moorman Discover the complex culture and history of Vietnam on this intoxicating exploration of Vietnamese life highlighted by superb landscapes and amazing cuisine. Led by an expert local guide and hosted by Lynn Moorman, a lifelong geographer with a love for exploring remote landscapes and environments. The Host: Lynn Moorman is a prominent geographer and a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Mount Royal University, in Calgary, Canada. Lynn's teaching and research interests lie at the intersection of geography, learning sciences and applied visualization technologies, including virtual and augmented reality. Her work has taken her to the highlands of northern Vietnam, to map agricultural productivity, to the frozen Arctic Ocean where she works with Inuit in Canadian Arctic communities to use near-real time satellite imagery to keep ice travel safe. Lynn is a Fellow, former Board member and current Chair of the Research Committee of the RCGS. 10-day itinerary priced from US$2,170 Departing November 17, 2024

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Destination and Tourism

TravelHost Relaunches Brand with New Website and Marketing Initiatives, Eyes National Expansion

TravelHost | January 05, 2024

TravelHost, the premier provider of local news and information for travelers, has unveiled the first step of a comprehensive transformation today with the launch of a new website and multi-media marketing initiative. This is the beginning of a brand revitalization strategy that includes new social channels and the premier of a 15-second commercial that will air on digital and broadcast platforms in Q1 2024. Founded in 1968 as the nation's first in-room hotel magazine, TravelHost was purchased last year by Bridge Media Networks (Bridge Media), a growing media conglomerate, to join a lineup of national media outlets including TV networks NEWSnet™ and Sports News Highlights™ and DRIVEN Autos. Orestes Baez, an industry veteran with more than 35 years of experience in the magazine and newspaper business, was hired as CEO to revamp the TravelHost brand and expand the service markets. Baez has opened six new markets in 2023, including: Nashville and Pigeon Forge, TN; Austin, TX; Virginia Beach VA; Phoenix, AZ; and San Diego and Orange County, CA. TravelHost plans to add 100 additional markets throughout the United States over the next five years. This rapid growth initiative and new marketing strategy highlight the brand's commitment to providing travelers with custom-curated recommendations to eat, shop, play, and stay. "TravelHost has helped families create unforgettable moments for 55 years," said Baez. "We are committed to building the innovative products and services that will help our customers make new memories in the years to come. With deep, hyperlocal expertise driving our business, TravelHost will help any traveler 'live like a local'." The all-new Travelhost.com website, created in partnership with BLOX Digital, boasts intuitive navigation, robust review-style articles, available e-Editions of the printed magazines and an integration with Expedia for hassle-free reservations. Users can also opt-in for a complementary newsletter to deliver the latest local tips right to their inbox. TravelHost will make use of BLOX Digital's full solutions suite, a strategic move aimed at enhancing efficiency and managing costs. "We are delighted that TravelHost has chosen to partner with BLOX Digital," said Brad Ward, CEO of BLOX Digital. "Our team looks forward to helping TravelHost harness the full potential of our fully-integrated platform to expand into new markets, improve efficiency, and boost digital revenue."

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Travel Technology, Hospitality Management

AirDNA Acquires Uplisting, Setting New Standards in Short-Term Rental Intelligence and Management

PR Newswire | January 10, 2024

AirDNA, a leading short-term rental (STR) data provider, announced today the acquisition of vacation rental software and channel management system Uplisting. This acquisition marks a pivotal leap in AirDNA's mission to provide a comprehensive, one-stop solution for those investing in and operating short-term rental properties. Demi Horvat, CEO of AirDNA, shares the vision behind the acquisition: "Merging Uplisting's first-class property management tools with our unparalleled market insights will create holistic, tailored solutions for all STR stakeholders, from aspiring hosts to large professional managers. This integration equips users with robust tools for every step on their journey, from research and investment to set-up and ongoing optimization of their properties." Uplisting, an Airbnb Preferred Plus software partner, is a powerhouse for effectively managing and synchronizing STR listings on key platforms like Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com. Its automation of critical tasks like real-time booking updates and guest communication has made it indispensable in optimizing the operations of vacation rental hosts and property managers globally. In 2023 alone, Uplisting processed an estimated $400 million in bookings, empowering users with reliable technology tools that catalyze growth. Vincent Breslin, Founder of Uplisting, commented: "Joining forces with AirDNA opens up a realm of possibilities for the vacation rental market. With our combined wealth of expertise, we are poised to redefine industry standards, driving innovation and delivering enhanced value to all our clients." In another decisive move to strengthen its commitment to STR hosts, AirDNA is introducing a new Dynamic Pricing feature that automatically syncs AirDNA's Smart Rates™ to Airbnb. This much-requested functionality empowers users to maximize booking revenues, drawing on extensive data from millions of listings on Airbnb and Vrbo to provide effective pricing recommendations. "Dynamic Pricing makes it easier for busy STR hosts to set their rates by automatically analyzing market and competitor trends. This ensures the best prices are delivered in real-time to their Airbnb listings, eliminating guesswork and manual adjustments. With our focus on building easy-to-use tools for hosts and Uplisting's comprehensive suite for bookings, operations, guest communication, and beyond, we're bringing professional tools within reach of everyone," said Horvat. Following AirDNA's acquisition of Arrivalist in July 2023, these strategic milestones showcase AirDNA's dynamic expansion under the umbrella of predictis, a family of software-enabled data businesses, and a portfolio company of Alpine Investors. "With this second acquisition in just six months, AirDNA is poised for continued growth and innovation, and with more developments in the pipeline, it is well positioned to expand its leadership position at the forefront of the short-term rental industry," remarked Jean-Marc Levy, CEO of predictis. FOCUS Capital Partners Ireland served as the financial advisor to Uplisting.

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