Travelport develops blockchain for hotel commission reconciliation

Buying Business Travel | August 22, 2019

Travelport has partnered with IBM Services, BCD Travel and major hotel chains to develop a blockchain solution to enhance the hotel commission reconciliation process for corporates.The technology aims to optimise hotel commission processing on a distributed ledger by managing reconciliation, tracking and accounting for commission payments owed from hotel chains for services purchased by travellers via booking agencies. Travelport said it also creates an accurate and shared view of the booking status and commissions.Blockchain technology has the ability to gather data and build upon it in real time to independently and securely report information to any number of parties based on permission.

Spotlight

In many organizations, employee travel policies are severely enforced, as if every employee was a criminal in the making. In this hostile environment, companies may distance competent, loyal and hard-working people, resulting in significant retention and recruitment issues.
That said, employers are not entirely at fault for counting every travel expense penny. A 2016 report by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners estimates that employee expense reimbursement fraud represents 15.8 percent of all corporate embezzlement schemes. Since employee travel and entertainment (T&E) expenses account for as much as 12 percent of the average organization’s budget, companies have a strong inducement to scrutinize expense reports. This, in turn, puts the onus on employees to adhere to T&E policies that many corporate travel management departments would agree are overly stringent.

Spotlight

In many organizations, employee travel policies are severely enforced, as if every employee was a criminal in the making. In this hostile environment, companies may distance competent, loyal and hard-working people, resulting in significant retention and recruitment issues.
That said, employers are not entirely at fault for counting every travel expense penny. A 2016 report by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners estimates that employee expense reimbursement fraud represents 15.8 percent of all corporate embezzlement schemes. Since employee travel and entertainment (T&E) expenses account for as much as 12 percent of the average organization’s budget, companies have a strong inducement to scrutinize expense reports. This, in turn, puts the onus on employees to adhere to T&E policies that many corporate travel management departments would agree are overly stringent.

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Tourism for Better Future, a Major Priority at ATM's Global Stage

Arabian Travel Market | May 17, 2021

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How 3D Robots Can Aid Hotels Amid Labor Shortages

Cobalt Robotics , Bear Robotics | August 24, 2021

The pandemic upended many sectors with mass layoffs at the beginning of COVID-19 and ended with record labor shortages. The hospitality sector in particular was deeply hit with massive unemployment gaps that ran well above the national unemployment rate during the pandemic. While other industries have started on the road to recovery, the hospitality industry is still 2.8 million jobs shy of where it was in February 2020. With more than 60% of Americans willing to travel again, 55% of U.S. companies planning to resume business travel within the next three months and more than a third of current hospitality workers planning to exit the industry, the hotel industry is in a bind. Long-term labor solutions in the area are needed to meet the rising demand for travel and seismic shifts in the hospitality workforce. This is where 3D camera-equipped robots can play a role. Robots are some of the most impactful forms of hospitality technology hoteliers can invest in to maintain efficiency, serve guests and aid understaffed operations. Solving staffing shortages From retail stores to the hospitality realm, customer-facing industries are already solving staffing shortages and improving operations through robots equipped with 3D imaging sensors. For example, restaurants have added self-navigating robots for food delivery and table bussing while grocery chains have discovered that robots can assist in cleaning, providing stock management alerts and checkout duties. These tasks are typically limited in their customer-facing duties but are repetitive and time-consuming activities that are easily programmed into digital sidekicks. This makes robots an ideal solution to the staffing shortages many hotel properties are experiencing. Properties of all sizes are starting to realize the practical uses for service robots - or “co-bots,” which work alongside humans to extend and improve performance, taking the burden off human workers so they can handle more demanding responsibilities. Versatile functionality A popular function behind the implementation of 3D camera-embedded robots is the ability to increase self-service functionality, increase convenience and improve customer experiences for guests. Mobile robots can perform navigation tasks that include guiding guests to their rooms and delivering commonly requested room service items such as pillows, blankets, towels and toiletries. They can even operate as roving security guards throughout the property. 3D facial authorization, like the technology used to unlock your smartphone, can be employed to recognize guests and address them by name, adding a sense of personalization and high-class service. Meanwhile, guests can say goodbye to fumbling for key cards, and hotel staff no longer have to worry about reprinting numerous key cards. Housekeeping and sanitization may be the most demanded and high-ROI use of 3D robots. Robots can manage in-room and common area cleaning tasks such as vacuuming and sanitation, while specially equipped units can completely disinfect high-touch areas and items. Equipped with a UV light and disinfectant sprays, these popular cleaning companions can eliminate germs off the surface of elevator buttons, doorknobs and TV remotes in just seconds. Safety and efficiency of 3D tech 3D cameras are the key to robots handling tasks alongside human workers. 3D camera technology enables mobile robots to identify and avoid obstacles and people with extreme accuracy. The camera technology can accurately perceive depth to navigate highly populated space: From high foot traffic in hallways to luggage and bags stacked in lobbies, 3D robots can navigate through it all. Using their depth-sensing capabilities, they can also spot anomalies like an open hallway door or atypical presence of individuals in a given space. When combined with SLAM (Simultaneous Location and Mapping), the technology that scans and creates a digital map of the space, self-propelled 3D service bots can deliver food, drinks and other amenities anywhere within the hotel property. No matter the obstacle, SLAM-supported 3D can seamlessly navigate and deliver guests what they need. Robotic ROI Cobalt Robotics and Bear Robotics are two companies utilizing 3D camera technology in the hospitality robotics sector. Cobalt Robotics, a U.S.-based company, develops 3D camera-equipped robots available for security, facilities management and concierge services. Bear Robotics offers robots specializing in food service deployments. The cost of utilizing robot workers in these instances is often comparable or less than an hourly worker. Combine these savings with the elimination of sick days, injuries or other disruptions and hotel managers are left with a more cost-effective way to handle routine tasks. Another vital form of ROI in employing 3D robots in hotels is that they can collect data on guest preferences, facility status and upkeep, security and more. This information is critical in helping hotels run more efficiently and with a greater focus on customer satisfaction. The future of hotels The pandemic has created vast uncertainty for the hospitality industry. It remains to be seen how guest bookings and behaviors, hospitality economics or competitive activity will change for the long-haul post-pandemic. What is certain, however, is that labor will be forever impacted - and that technology, specifically reliable and multifunctional robots, will be part of the future of hotels.

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Bahamas Targets October for Tourism Marketing Push

Bahamas Tribune | August 21, 2020

Expect Bahamas Ministry of Tourism officials to return to promoting the destination in October even as the destination adjusts policies to curb COVID-19 spikes that have led to lockdowns and hotel closings. Government officials are planning for an October “phase one” reopening between October and early November, said Travis Robinson, tourism parliamentary secretary, in a Bahamas Tribune report, after which officials will “go back out and infiltrate the market with the tourism brand of The Bahamas,” Robinson said.

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