TapTrip | March 25, 2021
Grant-winning travel tech organization TapTrip divulges strong new branding and creativity today, including another site and promotion video featuring RuPaul's Drag Race UK's heavenly Divina de Campo, which approaches the travel industry to #daretobedifferent.
The rebrand sets TapTrip's market and item situating inside the worldwide travel area and uncovers its cutting edge omnichannel offering, which mirrors the wants, needs, and estimations of Millennial and Gen Z travelers.
“Our new creative clarifies our position within the travel market as a valued tech partner to travel management companies. We don’t sell direct to corporates, we provide TMCs with a business travel tool – which is neither overdeveloped nor overpriced – that helps them target, and cater for, the lucrative SME market and the Millennial and Gen Z travellers that work within it,” explained TapTrip COO Neil Ruth.
They have brought together the best and brightest minds in travel technology to bring out the best and brightest business travel solution. Team of tech wizards squeeze every last drop of goodness out of every single line of code to develop the smoothest, most streamlined experience possible. Having helped build some of the world’s biggest travel companies out there, they now make up the TapTrip team: the brains (and the beauty) behind the future of corporate travel.
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.
Skift | July 29, 2021
Brazil is proving to be a fertile ground for travel tech companies. According to a recent study, the country has 219 companies that provide corporate travel, online travel, distribution, and business intelligence. Entrepreneurs established the majority of these businesses in the last seven years.
The country is positioning itself to become a Latin American travel tech hub comparable to Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina. These companies are investing now to gain a competitive edge in the post-pandemic period, and they are playing the long game.
According to the So Paulo consultancy Loureiro Consultores, Brazil’s travel tech businesses are expected to generate or service about $6 billion (35 billion reals) in gross travel volume in 2022. The report expands on a rough version published a year ago by business travel company Onfly.
The “agency and online reservations” area seems to be Brazil’s most robust category of travel IT firms, accounting for 29% of the total.
To be sure, global brands like Booking.com, Expedia, and the Despegar-owned brand Decolar are major online travel sellers in Brazil. In addition, Hurb (formerly Hotel Urbano) is a local player, although it is backed in parts by Booking Holdings. Finally, Submarinoviagens is the online brand of CVC Corp, the established travel giant that claims itself as the largest group of travel and tourist businesses in the Americas.
Nonetheless, despite these well-capitalized brands, smaller local competitors seem to be gaining momentum. 123milhas and Viajanet are among the agencies that have maintained or increased their market share throughout the crisis, thanks in part to smart marketing on Lusophone social media.
Voopter has maintained its share of the travel price-comparison search, or metasearch, market, despite competition from Mundi, a brand purchased by Booking Holdings, Skyscanner, Trip.com Group, and Google’s travel search.
YouVisa is a travel company that provides an adjacent service by digitizing and simplifying the still enigmatic process of obtaining visas for international travel.
Just as Oyo Rooms and Ayenda Hoteles in Colombia have generated buzz with their branded hospitality franchise models, Brazil has its own similar tech-forward hospitality startup: Voa Hotéis.
Housi in Brazil, like Sonder in the United States and Casai in Mexico, operates on similar business models. It sometimes signs master leases from property managers, creates short-term rentals, and markets them through online agencies. In addition, it sometimes owns the property itself. In December, the startup raised $11 million in funding.
Optimized for Brazilian Travel
The rise of domestic travel tech and trends in internet use and flight expansion is laying the foundation for a rebound.
Millions of Brazilians moved from offline to online due to pandemic restrictions, similar to how China experienced a spike in digitization after the SARS epidemic in 2003. An estimated 150 million Brazilians use the internet, with the recent expansion of mobile broadband benefitting them.
The success of the new airline Azul in introducing flights to places that other carriers had overlooked is also benefiting the growing middle class.
Investors have mostly ignored the Portuguese-speaking country because they believe its middle-class has not yet reached “the inflection points” at which it would substantially increase travel spending, to use language from a Boston Consulting Group report.
Investors have also been cautious about the country, which had only attracted around 5 million international visitors each year on average before the pandemic.
However, the relative lack of foreign investor activity has made room for newer homegrown players to take and solidify positions in the long term.
Strength in corporate travel tech
Brazil’s travel tech scene seems to be doing particularly well in corporate travel.
Brazil currently lacks a competitor to Barcelona-based TravelPerk or Palo Alto-based TripActions.
Onfly, Paytrack, and Voll are three of the most promising businesses that could follow in their steps. However, it is still early on in the game.
B2B Reservas is another promising company. It handles corporate travel distribution, reservations, and payments by connecting hotels to the biggest travel agencies, similar to HRS’s corporate travel marketplace.
In an economy dominated by family-owned or state-backed conglomerates, the growth of these stand-alone companies is remarkable. However, it seems that many legacy companies in Brazil’s travel industry have left gaps that can be exploited by entrants, as Azul has shown in the face of established airlines like LATAM and Gol.
Enterprise or business-to-business technology vendors are another intriguing categories in Brazil’s travel tech scene.
Sensys Travel, for instance, is a business intelligence company that assists travel brands in tracking the rates that their competitors are placing on the market in “real-time.”
Any effort to capture a travel company ecosystem should consider whether or not to include so-called mobility players, including ride-hailing companies, ground transportation operators, and next-generation aircraft manufacturers. Some analysts, such as Lufthansa Innovation Hub, include mobility players in their assessments.
Brazil may offer a more compelling case for adding mobility players than other markets.
The line between IT players providing tourism, business travel, and mobility in Brazil is often more hazy than in other markets. Much of the country’s leisure and business travel occurs outside of aircraft (almost no rail). WiiMove, like Berlin-based Omio, aims to capture multi-modal choices for travelers.
The little cruise industry in Brazil is one of the country’s travel mysteries.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the country’s Economic growth is expected to expand by more than 4.3 percent this year. In addition, a gradual easing of the pandemic should lead to a recovery in leisure and business travel.