Airbnb | February 25, 2021
Since going public, most of the news out of Airbnb has been around policy. Today, the organization has an announcement that is about the product.
As the pandemic evolves the way we do everything, and we collectively realize that quite a bit of that new behavior will be permanent, tech companies are looking to evolve alongside us.
Airbnb is today introducing Flexible Search, which will allow users to forgo putting in exact dates when they look to book lodging on the platform. Instead, users can search for a weekend getaway, week-long vacation, month-long vacation or months-long vacation without setting specific dates.
Not only does this give guests more options to browse, but it should also increase exposure for hosts.
“It’s no surprise COVID-19 continues to change the way we travel, and in addition to redesigning our platform last year to make nearby and longer-term stays easier to find and book, our new Flexible Dates feature aligns with a broader shift in how people will travel in the future. The traditional travel industry was built around fixed destinations with fixed dates in mind, but that model no longer meets the needs of today’s travelers.”
Stasher | July 09, 2021
Traveling is one of the most rewarding but also one of the most difficult activities. One challenge is storing things while traveling, but an English startup called Stasher is attempting to change the way people store their luggage.
Stasher links travelers with hotels and shops that can keep luggage secure while users enjoy their time in a city.
Wedderburn-Day developed Stasher as a happy accident when one of his pals wanted to store items with another friend. The friend jokingly suggested charging people for this service. An idea was conceived. They created a platform where people could store items in their homes. The model has subsequently developed, but the fundamental concept has not changed.
“Storage in cities is a real issue,” Wedderburn-Day said. “If you remember, and this is still the case, Airbnb had gone from an interesting concept to a household brand at the time, and everyone was beginning to do it. It was also generating a larger potential in this space.”
What started as a joke is now in over 250 towns worldwide, but they took a hit during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Hotels and businesses advertise their storage space on the site, and tourists can store their things in a safe place. Dandashy, a former concierge, recognized the need for tourists to keep stuff while on the travel.
“The idea has a sort of simplicity to it that makes it great,” Wedderburn-Day said. “It is not reinventing anything, and it is using the sharing-economy concept that has proven to be so successful with taxis and rentals. It is simply making use of existing space.”
FEATURES AND ADVICE
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.
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
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.