Travel Management Companies Finally See Upgrades to Payment Technology

Skift | September 20, 2019

Much of the talk around so-called New Distribution Capability focuses on business travelers. Airlines, looking to implement a system that often gives them more control, are providing travelers access to lower rates and package deals through the new technology. Meanwhile, critics are examining how airlines stand to gain by upending the system, questioning whether New Distribution Capability is truly better for the industry.One piece that has often been overlooked is how travel management companies fit into the picture, however. Sure, plenty of travel management companies are implementing new distribution technology, but how does that actually change their day-to-day operations?

Spotlight

The digital landscape in APAC is shaped by the Chinese and Indian consumer to a large extent, and the travel industry is no exception. China and India have the highest number of users of travel websites, with 311 million (38%) and 152 million (54%) respectively. Each of China and India independently have a greater audience than Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam combined. There are also differences in the adoption of online travel services by market.

Spotlight

The digital landscape in APAC is shaped by the Chinese and Indian consumer to a large extent, and the travel industry is no exception. China and India have the highest number of users of travel websites, with 311 million (38%) and 152 million (54%) respectively. Each of China and India independently have a greater audience than Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam combined. There are also differences in the adoption of online travel services by market.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

FCM Transforms its Brand Identity by Developing New Tech Platform

FCM Travel Solutions | March 10, 2021

With the worldwide pandemic causing a seismic shift in the business travel industry, FCM has focused on it to address clients' problem areas and their travel programs by putting resources into new technology, rapid implementation, enhanced account management, and sustainable and secure travel. FCM's strong new look is intended to grandstand the brands' particularly adaptable and unpredictable way to deal with giving lithe travel management services to its clients internationally and locally. The start to finish rebrand has been dispatched in 97 nations across all sites, customer communications, and social media platforms. A core component of the declaration is that FCM is moving forward with the advancement of a notable exclusive technology that straightforwardly focuses on clients' trouble spots with current and heritage corporate travel technology. The in-house stage is an omnichannel offering that is being created following broad examination universally among clients to understand the various worries of their bookers, travelers, and managers. Discoveries of this exploration uncovered clients need a sweeping stage that is predictable across all business sectors, yet in addition completely adaptable with a positive client experience and straightforward UI. FCM’s global chief technology officer Adrian Lopez said the vision for the platform is based on addressing six key pillars: a globally consistent booking experience; always available travel assistance; traveller safety and wellbeing support; sustainability; AI powered reporting and savings, and flexible integration capabilities. “The development of FCM Platform’s core experience is already well advanced, including a new proprietary online booking solution planned for key markets and integration of AI enhanced chatbot tool Sam as the digital ‘avatar’, providing live chat and real-time assistance across all of the platform’s channels,” said Lopez. With powered-up features like AI powered reporting, allowing a search experience similar to that of Google for actionability of data, customers in several regions around the globe have a lot to look forward to as they begin testing the FCM Platform prior to the first phase of onboarding later this year. “We are very excited to unveil FCM’s new brand and also to reveal that 2021 will be a landmark year with the launch of our ground-breaking proprietary technology platform,” said Marcus Eklund, global managing director in FCM.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Xeniapp Inc. Announces Partnership With CTW

Xeniapp Inc | November 16, 2021

Xeniapp, Inc., the travel technology company, announced that it has partnered with CTW to build the most sophisticated flight shopping engine in the world for Xeniapp's unique travel operating system. Xeniapp is transforming the travel industry with its web 3.0 operating system built on a blockchain network. Today, corporate and leisure travel professionals can launch their full-service, web-based travel agency complete with custom booking engine, traveler web portal, CRM, and payment settlement engine. Xeniapp offers a full suite of bookable wholesale travel inventory, including flights, hotels, car rentals, airport transfers, and activities. "Flight booking is the most complex issue in travel today, with heavy regulation and millions of potential booking configurations. Servicing cancellations and rescheduling of flights is the most time-consuming, costly, and complex problem that the industry faces. By partnering with CTW, our operating system can automate flight reshopping, resolving one of the key pain points for travelers and travel professionals," -Sachin Narode, CEO of Xeniapp. The CTW platform is the most accurate airline pricing system on the market as evidenced by ATPCo's ratings. It is also the only platform to offer customers two years of historical flight schedules and fares with up-to-the-minute accuracy, a crucial necessity for post-ticketing servicing. CTW offers cost-effective technology, ticket exchange and refund management. CTW enables Xeniapp to automate even the most complex transactions and itineraries that previously required painstaking manual calculations and long customer service calls. "Partnering with Xeniapp - one of the most innovative travel companies in the world - is extremely rewarding for us. It demonstrates the value that the CTW platform can add for clients who are willing to innovate around the powerful functionalities that we offer. This partnership underscores our belief that future growth in the industry will come from companies that invest in continually improving the user experience and simplifying self-management of even the most complex trips," -Andrew Cuomo, Chief Commercial Officer of CTW. About Xeniapp, Inc. Xeniapp, Inc., the travel technology company, is based in New York City. Xeniapp's mission is to transform the travel industry by bringing travel software into the 21st century. The company was co-founded by Sachin Narode and Rachel Obenshain.Xeniapp Contact: Rachel Obenshain, President, Xeniapp; email: rachel@xeniapp.com.For more information about Xeniapp, visit https://xeniapp.com. About CTW CTW has developed several generations of airline shopping and pricing systems. The CTW Platform provides complete shopping, fares and pricing, reshopping, and ancillaries. CTW connects content providers and retailers worldwide. CTW Platform provides final pricing and repricing for 20% of all ARC/BSP-issued airline tickets in the world and has operations in Europe, North America, Asia and Oceania.For more information about CTW, visit https://ctw.travel.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Travel Experts Share Luxury Travel Trends

Global Travel Collection | October 19, 2021

As countries reopen their borders and international air travel resumes, pent-up demand for hard-earned vacations is driving new luxury travel trends. Travel advisors and experts from the Global Travel Collection (GTC) recently shared key insights from travel bookings at "Elevate," the international virtual conference and trade show that brought together luxury travel advisors with 300 of the industry's leading luxury travel suppliers. Travel advisors from All Star Travel Group, Andrew Harper, Colletts Travel, In The Know Experiences, Protravel International, R. Crusoe & Son and Tzell Travel Group, along with advisors from ALTOUR, a sister company of GTC at Internova Travel Group, comprise the largest selling force for luxury travel. Luxury Travel Planning Luxury is being redefined. Luxury travel advisor Maya George of Tzell Travel Group notes luxury travel is now more than expensive five-star hotels and first-class flights. It's the total package from beginning to end, and the connections made through the travel experience. Planning for travel is now done farther out. Tiffany Bowne of All Star Travel Group shares that she's already booking summer and fall 2022 trips for clients, many of whom are also using a travel advisor for the first time. They're also booking multiple luxury trips at a time. Travelers are spending more. It's been almost two years since some clients have taken a trip, said Scott Davis of ALTOUR, so they're willing to pay more for their next vacation. Destinations Brazil is trending worldwide, according to Wagner Barros of Colletts Travel. "Some places in Brazil remind travelers of the Maldives," he says. Exotic, far-off destinations are still in demand. Travelers are traveling to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia for sports fishing, said luxury travel advisor Paulette Darensburg of Protravel International. Maya George adds, there's also a huge buzz around Zanzibar and Roatan, Honduras. Travelers still flock to the Caribbean and Mexico for privacy. Amy Blackenship of ALTOUR explains that private villas are plentiful here, and these destinations are reached easily by private air. Experiences Safety and ease of entry are paramount. Luxury travel advisor Leslie Tillem of Tzell Travel Group says clients are constantly asking questions about travel requirements and health and safety protocols. This is expected to continue well into the next few years. People want something different. Lily Szemplinski of In The Know Experiences shares clients want all the details of their trips taken care of so they can seek out new experiences that are inspiring and enlightening. Luxury travel is evolving in ways that connect people with luxury products. Kamala Cummings of In The Know Experiences notes her clients are looking at travel as a means to rejuvenate their souls. They're seeking experiences and accommodations that are infused with gastronomy, art and fashion. Luxury travelers are also seeking sustainability. Wagner Barros continues this is a trend that is going to stay as clients are increasingly asking for eco-friendly hotels and operators. Accommodations Luxury is not necessarily opulent hotels anymore. It is becoming more experiential and cultural, based within offerings at a property and within the destination itself, shares Stephen Scott, Protravel International. Small boutique resorts and villas offer an ideal escape. Small boutique resorts and villas are the most sought-after accommodations, along with private yachts, notes Linda Seargent of Tzell Travel Group. Travelers want access to resort amenities but with the private space. Domestically, luxury clients are looking for properties outside of major cities. What the pandemic has shown is we need more hotels in these areas, shares Ashley Les of Protravel International. Transportation Space travel is piquing interest. Greg Kiep of Protravel International notes space travel is something that, though still new to the luxury travel space, will continue to gain interest over the next five years. More are opting for trains over flights. Quality alone time is underestimated, says Maya George. Some travelers are preferring to take longer routes or different methods of travel, such as long, scenic train rides, to get away. Cruising makes a big comeback. There is heightened interest in Luxury River cruising, particularly in Europe, for 2022 and 2023, comments Paulette Darensburg. World cruises are selling out in record time, notes Scott Davis. "Our travel advisors are trusted counsellors with insider knowledge of emerging trends in the luxury travel space, and they know how to deliver these experiences to their clients seamlessly. They are becoming more of a concierge with their service levels. For the ultra-luxury clientele, these travel advisors travel with their clients to ensure everything is done correctly. They look after their travelers every step of the way, saving clients the time and hassle of having to make any necessary changes to their itinerary on their own." Angie Licea, President of Global Travel Collection Internova Travel Group recently launched its "Go Human. Book Human." advertising campaign to promote the value of a travel advisor as the complexity of travel continues in the wake of the pandemic. At the heart of the campaign is an immersive web experience on BookHuman.Travel that connects consumers directly with travel advisors from Protravel International, Tzell Travel Group and Andrew Harper Travel, travel brands of Global Travel Collection, the luxury and premium division of Internova. About Global Travel Collection: Global Travel Collection (GTC), a division of Internova Travel Group, is the world's largest collection of international luxury travel agencies, including the well-established networks of Protravel International, Tzell Travel Group, and Colletts Travel, as well as Andrew Harper, In the Know Experiences, All Star Travel Group and R. Crusoe & Son. GTC advisors and agencies are industry leaders in providing premium travel services to leisure travelers, corporate executives and the entertainment industry. The combined global reach and leverage translates into value, recognition, and preferential treatment for its world travelers. About Internova Travel Group: Internova Travel Group is one of the largest travel services companies in the world with a collection of leading brands delivering high-touch, personal travel expertise to leisure and corporate clients. Internova manages leisure, business and franchise firms through a portfolio of distinctive divisions. Internova represents more than 62,000 travel advisors in over 6,000 company-owned and affiliated locations predominantly in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, with a presence in more than 80 countries.

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