Travelstart takes over rival Jumia Travel, plans to tap new customers

Nigerian-based digital retailer Jumia is offloading its fledgling travel business to South African online travel agency Travelstart. Under the conditions of the distribution and commercial agreement, Travelstart will manage the operations of Jumia Travel’s online booking websites – including sales, fulfillment and customer service. Financial terms were not disclosed. “Twelve thousand customers travel with us daily,” says Stephan Ekbergh, CEO of Travelstart. “Being Jumia’s exclusive distribution partner will help even more travelers in Africa unlock high-quality online travel services.” The new “partnership” is effective immediately, with visitors to Jumia Travel’s website redirected to Travelstart.

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Destination and Tourism, Business Travel

Sixt USA Announces New Car Rental Branch at Salt Lake City International Airport

PR Newswire | January 09, 2024

SIXT USA, a subsidiary of Sixt SE – the global leader in premium mobility services – is continuing its robust U.S. expansion with a new car rental branch opening today at Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) in Salt Lake City, Utah. Car rental reservations can be made now at SIXT.com or via the SIXT app. Open just in time for ski season, the new branch is located at 395 North Wright Brothers Drive, a quick five minute shuttle ride from the airport, and is SIXT's first branch in Utah. It offers a wide selection of premium rentals specifically chosen to cater to the needs of the market including high-end SUVs, as well as standard and luxury coupes and sedans that give travelers to the Salt Lake City region a wide selection of vehicles to meet specific needs and preferences. To celebrate the opening of its new SLC location, SIXT is partnering with The Hollywood Reporter (THR) as exclusive transportation provider to THR's Festival Studio at Park City during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Under the partnership, SIXT will have a presence in the THR Festival Studio to engage talent with the premium rental car experience that sets SIXT apart from typical rental car services. Tom Kennedy, President, SIXT USA & Canada: "As a major gateway to the Intermountain West region and with the world-class ski resorts of Deer Valley and Park City a mere 45-minute drive away, SLC is an important new location for SIXT. We are excited to bring our premium fleet and service to this dynamic and picturesque region and look forward to helping enable memorable moments for our customers by providing a premium car rental experience at an affordable price." The new SLC branch joins a growing list of recent branch openings across North America including other airport branches such as Raleigh-Durham, Jacksonville, Washington D.C. and several recent off-airport locations including Houston, Fort Worth, Toronto, Boston and Jersey City. SIXT will continue to expand in the U.S. and Canada with the opening of additional locations this year. In just a little over 10 years, the United States has become the most important growth market for SIXT. Today, SIXT operates more than 100 rental branches in 23 states, employs more than 1,700 team members, and now serves 44 of the most important airports in the U.S. In addition, by launching operations in Canada in 2022, SIXT is tapping into another billion-dollar market that also offers potential for synergies with its U.S. business.

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Hospitality Trends, Hospitality Management

Auberge Resorts Collection Announces Strategic Partnership with Bdt & Msd Partners

PR Newswire | February 02, 2024

The Friedkin Group announced today that the company has entered into a strategic partnership with BDT & MSD Partners ("BDT & MSD"), a merchant bank built to serve the distinct needs of business owners and strategic, long-term investors. BDT & MSD, through its affiliated hospitality investment vehicle, will make a minority investment in Auberge Resorts Collection, the manager of the award-winning portfolio of luxury hotels, resorts, residences and private clubs set in some of the world's most desirable locations. In addition, BDT & MSD's hospitality vehicle intends to invest significant capital towards acquiring and developing luxury hotel and residential assets that will be branded and managed by Auberge Resorts Collection. The partnership reflects BDT & MSD's belief in Auberge Resorts Collection's unique brand positioning and focus on creating one-of-a-kind luxury hospitality experiences. The investment will support Auberge's continued strategic growth in the Americas, Europe and beyond, with a focus on gateway urban markets and high-profile experiential destinations. "This partnership further solidifies Auberge Resorts Collection's position as the leading name in boutique luxury hospitality and marks a new and exciting era for our world-class portfolio," said Dan Friedkin, chairman of Auberge Resorts Collection and chairman and CEO of The Friedkin Group. "BDT & MSD's differentiated, long-term capital and expertise in luxury hospitality investments makes them a perfect strategic partner and will allow us to further grow the strength of the Auberge brand." "Auberge is a world-class manager of distinctive luxury hotel properties, with an exceptional track record of delivering curated guest experiences in the world's leading hospitality markets. We are excited to be a part of its future and look forward to partnering with Auberge's talented team to build on its differentiated strengths and accelerate further growth," said Coburn Packard, partner & head of real estate at BDT & MSD. Since becoming part of The Friedkin Group in 2013, Auberge Resorts Collection has grown into the leading name in boutique luxury hospitality, comprising 27 unparalleled properties across the U.S., Latin America and Europe, with a development pipeline of over a dozen hotels and two additional hotels planned to open in Florence and South Carolina this year. While each property is unique, all share a crafted approach to luxury and bring the essence of the location to life through one-of-a-kind design that reflects the destination, exceptional cuisine and dining experiences that attract both the local community and global traveler, innovative spas and wellness retreats and highly personalized service.

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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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