Travelport steps up NDC roll-out in Asia-Pacific with ‘live’ Qantas bookings

Buying Business Travel | December 02, 2019

Travelport steps up NDC roll-out in Asia-Pacific with ‘live’ Qantas bookings
Travelport has processed live bookings of Qantas’s NDC content via its Trip Services API. These follow a series of “live NDC test bookings” made in the past few months. The agency partners taking part in the test programme include ATPI and Maxim’s Travel, which have both been using the Trip Services API this year. Last month, Travelport also signed a multi-year content agreement with TAP Air Portugal to deliver NDC standard connections. Travelport claims the platform “improves customer experience by enhancing the airline’s retailing, booking and servicing capabilities and delivering enhanced personalised content tailored to meet a travellers’ unique needs”. It is currently connected to five airlines’ NDC content.

Spotlight

Latin America has developed as a dynamic region for business travel with both internal growth and expansion of globally consolidated programs. But successful travel management in this area of more than 20 countries depends on careful navigation of key issues, among them cultural nuances, payment, regulations, supplier sourcing, and technology.

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Mondee Holdings acquires business travel technology startup Rocketrip

Rocketrip | September 09, 2020

Mondee Holdings, the leading travel technology group with a portfolio of globally recognized brands in the leisure, corporate and retail travel sectors announced today the purchase of Rocketrip, the award winning behavior change technology solution for global business travel programs. Founded in 2013 and backed by Bessemer Venture Partners, Canaan Partners, Genacast Ventures, Google Ventures and Y Combinator, Rocketrip's algorithm-based technology transforms business travel by empowering employees to align their booking choices with company interests. Building a company culture where travelers feel valued and empowered has never been more critical as travel begins to resume, and Rocketrip's solution seamlessly integrates into complex global programs to drive behavior that keeps costs under control and travelers happy.

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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Loews Hotels & Co Breaks Ground on New $550 Million Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center

Loews Hotels & Co | October 13, 2021

Loews Hotels & Co, a wholly owned subsidiary of Loews Corporation, has officially broken ground on the new $550 million Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center. Executives from the company were joined by Arlington Mayor Jim Ross, former Mayor Jeff Williams, Chairman & Managing Partner of the Texas Rangers Ray Davis, The Cordish Companies' Director of Communications, Cari Furman, along with members of the Arlington City Council and other community and business leaders, to recognize and celebrate this milestone. The addition of the Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center, a full-service resort, will further strengthen Arlington's robust convention and tourism opportunities. The city is one of the premier sports and entertainment destinations in the United States, and a leading destination for meetings, events, and leisure travel. "Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center will allow us to capitalize on what we do best – combine a unique meetings and events destination with a best-in-class leisure resort. This significant investment further underscores our confidence and commitment not only in the great City of Arlington, Texas but also in the strength of the travel and tourism industry and our belief in the recovery of post-pandemic travel." Jonathan Tisch, Chairman & CEO, Loews Hotels & Co. This property will be the second Arlington hotel for the hospitality company. Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center is scheduled to open in early 2024. This new hotel will be located across from Live! by Loews, which is a joint venture among Loews Hotels & Co, the Texas Rangers and The Cordish Companies, built on the former Texas Rangers' Lot J parking lot. "Arlington has some of the best built-in demand generators in the country, such as AT&T Stadium and Globe-Life Field. These attractions, coupled with Loews Hotels' track record of offering distinctive experiences alongside operational excellence, will help establish the Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center as a centerpiece in The American Dream City," said Alex Tisch, President, Loews Hotels & Co. "Our goal is for Arlington, Texas to stand alongside Las Vegas and Orland as one of the preeminent family, sports and entertainment destinations in America." This new project marks the first time that Loews Hotels & Co is acting as the developer as well as the owner and branded operator. The nearly $550 million project is financed with Loews Hotels & Co capital and a $300 million loan from MetLife Investment Management. "Arlington continues to build on our incredible economic momentum, and today's groundbreaking is another exciting example of our commitment to job creation and providing world-class amenities to our residents and visitors," said Arlington Mayor Jim Ross. "Loews Hotels & Co is a best-in-class hotel brand and with innovative partners like Loews Hotels & Co, the Tisch Family, the Texas Rangers and The Cordish Companies, we're able to further establish The American Dream City as a premier destination for visitors around the globe." Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center will feature: 888 guestrooms and suites 200,000 square feet of indoor meeting space 66,000 square feet of outdoor space, including an oversized event lawn Five food and beverage outlets, including a three-meal indoor/outdoor restaurant featuring two wood-fire pizza ovens and homemade pasta made on-site and a soon-to-be-named third-party restaurant from a well-known restaurateur 1,550-space parking garage Resort-style beach club with two pools, man-made beach, cabanas, fire pits and water slide The Arlington Convention Center, also operated by Loews Hotels & Co, will be located within the hotel Situated between Globe Life Field and AT&T Stadium, Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center will be accessible to the 300-room Live! by Loews via a Sky Bridge. The two hotels combined will offer nearly 1,200 guestrooms and more than 300,000 square feet of meeting and event space. "The addition of the Loews Arlington Hotel and the Arlington Convention Center bring the development of the Arlington Entertainment District to another whole level," said Texas Rangers Chairman and Managing Partner Ray Davis. "The existing world-class sports and entertainment venues will now be complimented by incredible hotel and meeting facilities that will attract national and international events of all kinds. I want to thank our partners, the City of Arlington, Loews Hotels & Co, and The Cordish Companies for sharing our vision that has become a spectacular reality in a few short years." Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center is part of phase two of the development of Arlington's Entertainment District. Continuing their public-private partnership with the City of Arlington, Loews Hotels & Co, The Texas Rangers and The Cordish Companies are building upon the momentum and success of Texas Live!, Live! by Loews, and the Rangers' new Globe Life Field. Additional features of the new expansion include a mixed-use residential building and a Spark coworking space, both developed by The Cordish Companies. "It is an honor for The Cordish Companies to continue our partnership with the Texas Rangers, Loews Hotels & Co and the City of Arlington to deliver a transformative project for Arlington," said Blake Cordish, Principal of The Cordish Companies. "Loews is one of the preeminent hoteliers in North America and a leader in the convention and meetings industry. The groundbreaking of the new Loews Arlington Hotel and Arlington Convention Center is an important next step in our commitment to create a world-class, mixed-use development that will cement Arlington as one of the leading premier sports, entertainment, culture, hospitality and tourism destinations in the country." Loews Hotels & Co is working with HKS as the architect and Looney & Associates on the interior design for this new development. Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center is being built by JE Dunn, who recently built the Loews Kansas City Hotel, which opened in June 2020. Arlington's Con-Real is also involved in the construction of the project. About Loews Hotels & Co Headquartered in New York City, Loews Hotels & Co is rooted in deep heritage and excellence in service. The hospitality company encompasses branded independent Loews Hotels, and a solid mix of partner-brand hotels. Loews Hotels & Co owns and/or operates 26 hotels and resorts across the U.S. and Canada, including the new Loews Kansas City and Universal's Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites, the eighth hotel in partnership with Comcast NBC Universal that opened at the end of 2020. Located in major city centers and resort destinations from coast to coast, the Loews Hotels portfolio features properties grounded in family heritage and dedicated to delivering unscripted guest moments with a handcrafted approach.

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FEATURES AND ADVICE

“Alexa – Ask HotelPlanner to Make a New Reservation:” Travel Technology Company Launches Alexa-Enabled Booking Feature

HotelPlanner | October 20, 2021

HotelPlanner, a leading travel technology platform powered by proprietary artificial intelligence, announced the launch of its new Alexa-enabled hotel booking feature that immediately connects customers to a global gig-based ‘Hotel Planner’ agent to book a discounted hotel stay – anywhere in the world – at any time, an industry first.The announcement is well-timed with the rise in voice-activated technology and the ‘Internet of Things’ revolution that is already disrupting every industry across the globe. How Alexa-Enabled Hotel Bookings Work Using an Alexa device or the Alexa app, a customer must first say “Alexa – enable the HotelPlanner skill.” Once the skill is enabled, customers can then activate the feature any time by saying “Alexa – open HotelPlanner” or “Alexa – ask HotelPlanner to make a new reservation in Boston.” Once a customer tells Alexa their travel details, the service immediately connects the customer to a live Hotel Planner as a priority call, which bypasses the call queue. The Hotel Planner can then typically offer a discounted rate before completing the booking. This is equivalent to having a personal hotel concierge at one’s beck and call anytime help is needed with hotel bookings. HotelPlanner’s proprietary artificial intelligence and VOIP capabilities will also try to route customers to a gig-based Hotel Planner who either lives in, or knows about, the customer’s desired destination so that they can provide localized and personalized service.And this new booking feature is completely free of charge. Staying Ahead of the Technology Curve Since its founding in 2004, HotelPlanner has sought to stay ahead of the technology curve with next generation features that anticipate evolving customer needs to further simplify and automate the hotel booking process. For example, HotelPlanner pioneered the electronic Request for Proposal (eRFP) process for group bookings in 2004, and then added an online negotiation capability in 2009. In 2014, the company launched its instant group booking feature. In May 2020, at the height of the pandemic, HotelPlanner launched its global gig-economy based reservations platform in response to an influx of customer calls, an industry first for an online travel agency. “We believe that adding Alexa-enabled hotel bookings is an industry game changer,As the Internet of Things and smart homes, smart cars and smart offices become more ubiquitous, HotelPlanner is ready to provide a tech-forward solution that embraces voice activation and anticipates how consumers will interact with technology to make travel plans. And this capability is sustainable, scalable, and complementary with the ongoing expansion of our gig-based Hotel Planner reservation platform.” -John Prince, Co-Founder & Chief Information Officer, HotelPlanner. The transaction is expected to enable HotelPlanner to transform into a diversified hotel and event booking platform with complementary revenue streams, and to provide the combined company opportunities to realize multiple operating synergies to drive growth at scale. About HotelPlanner HotelPlanner is a leading travel technology company that combines proprietary artificial intelligence capabilities with a 24/7 global gig-based reservations and customer service network. HotelPlanner travel agents can customize all traveler hotel & accommodation needs from a single platform while providing localized advice. HotelPlanner is one of the leading providers of individual, group and corporate travel bookings, specializing in unique “Closed User Group” discounted rates offered in unpublished private sale environments. Founded in 2004, HotelPlanner has enduring partnerships with many of the world’s largest OTAs, well-known hotel chains, individual hotels, online wedding providers, ancillary lodging providers, corporations, professional and amateur sports teams and franchises, universities and government agencies.For more information, please visit https://www.hotelplanner.com About Reservations.com Reservations.com is an award-winning online travel company on a mission to bring the human-touch back to travel. Founded in 2014 with a focus on helping consumers create memorable travel experiences, Reservations.com has experienced rapid growth. Reservations.com's user-friendly website offers unparalleled visibility into hotels, including: descriptions, pricing information, and reviews of nearly 500,000 properties globally. The company is on a journey to enable customers to not only reserve hotels, but to create memories.more information, please visit www.reservations.com About Astrea Acquisition Corp. Astrea Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: ASAXU) is a blank check company organized for the purpose of effecting a merger, capital stock exchange, asset acquisition or other similar business combination with one or more businesses or entities. While we intend to evaluate opportunities in many industries, we are targeting technology-enhanced high-growth companies that have clear differentiated business models suited for disruption in their sectors. The diverse experience, extensive relationship network, and successful SPAC experience of our management team and board of directors make Astrea an ideal partner for businesses that have the potential to become outstanding public companies.

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Spotlight

Latin America has developed as a dynamic region for business travel with both internal growth and expansion of globally consolidated programs. But successful travel management in this area of more than 20 countries depends on careful navigation of key issues, among them cultural nuances, payment, regulations, supplier sourcing, and technology.