Q&A with Olivia (Ross) Taylor, Director of CRO at Directive Consulting

MEDIA 7 | June 25, 2019

Olivia Taylor, Director of CRO at Directive Consulting has 10 years of working experience in graphic designing and has expert knowledge in CRO/UX in landing pages and websites designing.

Olivia was recently nominated for the Orange County Business Journal's Top 25 Women in Business Awards.

MEDIA 7: What’s your superpower?
OLIVIA TAYLOR: I would like to think my superpower is empathy. That’s part of what CRO is: figuring out and understanding what’s going on through people’s minds and finding out what people need and want.

M7: Does it point to user intent, a term generally used in Account Based Marketing?
OT: 
Yes, exactly that. Because I’m able to basically understand where the consumer and the buyer is coming from, I can better optimize my clients’ websites, change that language in the headline and the subhead to relate to the customers’ pain points and better describe the benefits of what my client can provide to them.

M7: Your career spans an impressive 8 years from a Graphic Designer to being a Director of CRO at Directive Consulting. What attracted you to this industry, and how does Directive Consulting fit into your story?
OT:
I became a designer because all other subjects in school were boring. 2+2 will always be 4, but with design, there are so many possibilities - so many different solutions to a problem. Plus, I always loved drawing and creating.
While going to school, I worked as a designer at a few different places. Then upon graduating, I worked at a tech company in-house but it just wasn’t for me. I moved on to an agency that was full-service, but that also was not the right fit. After that job, I ended up at a PPC agency where I learned about CRO. I started there as just a designer and left there as the Director of CRO.

Using the skills I learned there, I was able to join the upstanding company that is Directive where I’m learning so much more, and doing so many more awesome things than I did at any other job and it has been amazing. It’s so wonderful to work at a place that is professional and that takes the work so seriously, only striving to be the best at being different. 


"The best way we can convince the customers is that we need to address what our client does, that no other competitor can do."

M7: Could you tell us about your best practices for creating an ideal customer experience?
OT: 
A functioning website that loads quickly
Easy navigation and user experience
Clear offerings and clear unique value propositions (what is it that you do that no competitor does?)
Great social proof (testimonials and case studies from current clients, awards, etc)

Great customer service: prompt support, regular email check-ins to see how your customer is doing, offer deals and promotions - all of these things keep a customer coming back for more.

M7: While creating a unique value proposition, how do you drive in the utility? In other words, how do you convince the customer about the uniqueness of your service?
OT: 
We definitely have to utilize this through the headline and anywhere in the hero section of the landing page or the homepage because that’s where people are landing first and you need to be able to grab their attention in the first five seconds. So, the best way we can convince the customers, is that we need to address what our client does, that no other competitor can do.

If you can say we’re the only platform that does x, y, and z, that is a great unique selling point. Another thing to consider is backing up your clients with data. If you are offering some sort of platform that will save me time on the implementation of a process, then tell me how much time I’m going to save. If you say, “Cut down your execution time by 90% with our platform” that’s a unique value proposition. That shows the benefit to the user there, and that will entice users to click through and complete the form. So, gaining conversions is usually based around giving real data that explains exactly what value the visitors are going to see or how much money is going to be made or saved, and how much time is going to be saved to solve a problem with this solution. The other side of the coin is “we are the only ones that do x y z” and that will basically set a business apart from their competitors.

M7: How does collaboration and communication come into play in your role?
OT: 
It’s the entire job. I oversee a design team and I need to make sure my team is not only communicating with me but communicating with other departments. PPC, SEO, and CRO must all work together to get the job done and we’re stronger together than apart. I have daily follow-ups on different accounts, weekly meetings, client sync ups - whatever it takes to make sure that I and the rest of the team have complete transparency into what is happening with these accounts so that we can assist in whatever way we can. We want our specialists and account managers to own their strategy, but the directors are responsible for approving the strategy and improving it if needed.


"As designers, we need to remember that form follows function, so we must be sure that this information is easily accessible, that the message is clear."

M7: What are the biggest mistakes you see businesses making when attempting to optimize their site to increase conversions?
OT:
These companies spend tens of thousands of dollars on a rebrand which will be done by a branding agency that has no knowledge of designing a site for increased conversions. Too many times we’ve had clients come in that just had a rebrand done and their conversions plummeted. So we will go in and audit the site to find out what is causing the problem. Too often, design takes over function but we must always remember that form follows function. As an example, the white space in the new site may be beautiful, but none of your visitors can even see what you’re offering until they get halfway down the page. Things like this are the biggest issues we see.

Also, with too many changes implemented at once, it makes it harder to pinpoint what caused the drop in conversions. It’s often times all of the things combined together that caused the problem. If a company is going to focus on increasing conversions, the changes need to be based on data and not on whims or best practices. Data doesn’t lie.

M7: What is the most challenging part of doing a conversion optimization project? What type of resource commitment do you require from your team?
OT:
The most challenging part is that the results cannot be guaranteed. Our tests are based on data but they’re just that: a test, a hypothesis. Nothing is written in stone. 9 out of 10 times I will be right in my hypothesis, but there will always be a test that fails. We still celebrate the failure because we still learn from it. We can find out why the test didn’t work and use it to narrow down on what will work.

As far as resources are concerned, we want to make sure that we’re testing at least a few things each week per client. We use Hotjar for qualitative research as well as Google Optimize for on-page testing, and Instapage/Unbounce for landing page testing. Reporting is a big part of our deliverable so a good amount of our time is spent gathering the data and providing insights to the client.

M7: According to you, what prompts a visitor to scroll down to the bottom of a webpage?
OT: 
Usually you would have to have a message that entices them in the hero section of the landing page. Just like we discussed about the UVPs, we need to show the customer right when they land on the page, that this is the solution for your problem. That will entice them to scroll down. You can sometimes kind of coax people to scroll down: I like to use false CTAs to get more information and if they click that CTA, it will scroll down to the benefit section on the page and that will get people to start scrolling. And from that benefit section you could have a CTA linking to the case studies on the landing page and get them to scroll down even further on the page.

The main issue is people think of redesigning their page to look better and they see horrible conversions because it may be beautiful but it’s not functional. The messaging is vague and does not relate to what it is they do as a company that’s better than anybody else. They don’t adjust the benefits, and they’re too stuck on this flowery and technical language that a lot of SaaS companies like to use. So, the biggest thing is being very upfront with what you do in layman’s terms, making it as clear as possible to the lowest common denominator, so that you have a potentially larger pool of leads versus only having that technical jargon that only a few may understand. This usually relates a lot to B2B and SaaS clients. They get really hung up on their own language that’s very technical but the common man that needs their service doesn’t understand that...just tell them what the benefit is.

So, to summarize that long rant: basically, make sure that the messaging is clear about the benefits right away, then use CTAs on your page to entice people to keep scrolling so they continue to learn more. Keep people engaged and reading, section by section.


"Gaining conversions is based around giving real data that explains what value the visitors are going to see or how much money is going to be made or saved, and how much time is going to be saved."

M7: In a world where anyone can start a web-based business, generating trust is more important than ever before. Considering this, what impact does design have on revenue?
OT: 
It has a huge impact. If you land on a site that is poorly designed - it’s ugly, it’s confusing, you have no idea what they sell - do you think you would stay on that site for long? No, you’d go to a site that has a clear hero image showing the product and how it works, and a headline that explains what sets it apart from any other competitor product. The way information is presented is just as important as what information is being said.




One-size-doesn’t-fit-all and I’ve seen pages that - funny enough - looked horrible but converted better than the redesign we did, just because the form was more readily available. All the information was above the fold and it looked really scrunched. However, the customers got whatever they needed right away and that was what was important. So even when you’re seeing this image of bad vs good, we could argue that maybe the option on the right still won’t convert because it’s not quite explaining any unique value composition. It has a lot of beautiful imagery but it’s not getting to the point. Although these full-width websites with huge images is the trend, I think it needs to be taken with a grain of salt and used sparingly; and it needs to be dialed back a bit when it comes to conversions. You have these big beautiful images and people have to scroll very far just to get down to the first paragraph which is not good for conversions even though it’s trendy. As designers, we need to remember that form follows function, so we must be sure that this information is easily accessible, that the message is clear and if it is, then great! The beauty comes after that, but messaging has to be clear, concise, and easily understood.

M7: Directive Consulting ranks #1 on Google for “SEO Agency”. What SEO strategies and tools does the company leverage to channelize its sales campaigns?
OT: 
On page SEO and targeted guest posting with keyword driven anchor text. Then we continually write content around SEO and internally link back to our core SEO page.

M7: As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
OT:
I wanted to be a speleologist (a cave scientist) for years. I was obsessed with caves, stalactites, and stalagmites. I’ve always been interested in maths and sciences, but there are dangers tied to being a cave scientist so I gave up on that. I still sometimes wonder what would have been if I had gone into the sciences instead of design. Maybe I’ll try it out in a few years!

M7: That sounds interesting! Have you visited caves in your earlier days?
OT: Yes, I did visit just a few caves, nothing big like the Man of the cave or Carlsbad cavern but as a child I was very interested in science – Biology, Zoology, Geology just the world around me and caves are interesting because they��re the dark places that not many people go to. I love history, I love biology so I think caves are kind of that interesting combination of both cause they’re ancient and they have these creatures that are so bizarre you know, like these blind salamanders which is like a different world there. I got very fixated on that for a few years as a child, reading all the books I could about it. I had my mind set, this is what I was going to do and I didn’t take into account the dangers of being a cave scientist. You’ll have to get into tight little spaces and there could be cavemen, you could get lost and stuck. Me being a homebody and kind of a bookworm, I decided, you know, maybe this is not the path for me, but I was also an artistic child. I was drawing all the time and that’s how I ended up in design school instead. So a very different path, but I still love science and history so I might dabble in it later in my life but for now it’s been design.

ABOUT DIRECTIVE CONSULTING

Directive does beautiful search marketing for B2B and enterprise companies that share our values. We redefine the global standard for how marketers work, live, and grow. We are a group of SEO, PPC, and content experts who are passionate about working with the best B2B brands in the world. When we are not executing ROI driven campaigns, you can find us drinking cold brew, volunteering in our community, or playing an intense game of ping-pong.

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As part of the agreement, Mastercard has agreed to make a minority investment in Conferma Pay, which will continue to operate independently and serve the entire travel industry and beyond. Mastercard's investment in Conferma Pay is subject to customary closing conditions. A combination of experience, technologies and capabilities will accelerate travel payment innovation and drive inclusive and sustainable growth for the sector, said Chris Fendley, Executive Vice President, Enterprise Partnerships at Mastercard. Virtual cards deliver visibility, boost liquidity and increase control over B2B payment flows, which enhance payment strategies and empower organizations across the travel value chain to run, grow and protect their business, which has never been more essential. Conferma Pay connects issuers to more than 700 travel management companies, all the major global distribution systems and more than 100 online booking tools. Conferma Pay is fully integrated with all the major card schemes and serves more than 50 banking partners, who issue Conferma Pay generated virtual cards in nearly 100 currencies. "We've already made significant inroads in the B2B travel space through partnering with Sabre, We are excited about the new investments. This, combined with our existing strong relationships, will enable Conferma Pay to build on our global footprint and be at the forefront of addressing industry challenges and opportunities." -Martin Cowley, interim CEO at Conferma Pay Sabre's Virtual Payments will continue to offer Conferma Pay services – with increased capabilities that help travel buyers, agencies and corporations best support travel customer needs. Sabre Virtual Payments is a unique, secure, automated and integrated end-to-end payment solution designed to simplify and add value to the transactions that TMCs, OTAs, travel agencies, corporations and travel suppliers do every day. Sabre Virtual Payments takes all the capabilities of Conferma Pay and its network of issuers and combines it with seamless integration across Sabre products for -connected travel buyers, agencies and corporations. About Sabre Corporation Sabre Corporation is a leading software and technology company that powers the global travel industry, serving a wide range of travel companies including airlines, hoteliers, travel agencies and other suppliers. The company provides retailing, distribution and fulfilment solutions that help its customers operate more efficiently, drive revenue and offer personalized traveler experiences. Through its leading travel marketplace, Sabre connects travel suppliers with buyers from around the globe. Sabre's technology platform manages more than $260B worth of global travel spend annually. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world. For more information visit www.sabre.com. About Mastercard (NYSE: MA) Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all. www.mastercard.com About Conferma Pay Conferma Pay is a global financial technology company. It designs and integrate virtual payment systems that provide a more efficient, seamless and secure way to pay for businesses. Conferma Pay was born in Manchester in 2005. Since then, it has connected over 700 TMCs, and directly integrates with all the major GDSs and OBTs. Its roots lie in corporate travel payment integration. It enables its payment providers to flow virtual cards into the preferred purchasing process of any business travel buyer. Crucial to this is its network of banking partners, who have issued virtual cards in over 200 countries, in 40 currencies with over 45 commercial banking partners via all major card networks. Its ecosystem continues to expand to meet the growing requirements of its global customer base.

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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Hyatt Continues Asset-Light Growth Strategy with Plans to Acquire Dream Hotel Group

Hyatt Hotels Corporation | November 30, 2022

Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE: H) and Dream Hotel Group announced an agreement for a Hyatt affiliate to acquire Dream Hotel Group’s lifestyle hotel brand and management platform including the Dream Hotels, The Chatwal Hotels and Unscripted Hotels brands, with properties in some of the world’s most prominent hotel markets across the Americas, Europe and Asia.This asset-light acquisition will include a portfolio of 12 managed or franchised lifestyle hotels, with another 24 signed long-term management agreements for hotels expected to open in the future. Upon closing, this expansion will add over 1,700 rooms to Hyatt’s lifestyle portfolio and increase Hyatt’s room count in New York City by more than 30%. This acquisition continues Hyatt’s asset-light growth strategy following its transactions to acquire Two Roads Hospitality in 2018 and Apple Leisure Group in 2021 – and, most recently, Hyatt’s collaboration agreement with German Lindner Hotels AG, to further grow Hyatt’s brand footprint in Europe. Upon closing, Hyatt will pay a base purchase price of $125 million, with up to an additional $175 million over the next six years as properties come into the pipeline and open. Stabilized management fees associated with the base purchase price of $125 million are anticipated to be approximately $12 million and, to the extent the contingent purchase price of $175 million is paid, additional stabilized management fees are anticipated to be up to approximately $27 million. The total base purchase price plus the contingent purchase price represents an attractive acquisition multiple in the high-single digits on projected stabilized earnings. Dream Hotel Group properties are known for their vibrant dining and nightlife experiences including hotspot restaurants, lavish entertainment venues and exclusive night clubs built on strategic collaborations with innovative and award-winning industry leaders. The acquisition will extend Hyatt’s brand footprint in key markets, including Nashville, Hollywood, South Beach, Durham, several locations in New York City and one in the Catskills. Signed contracts represent additional strategic destinations including Las Vegas, Saint Lucia and Doha. “We have tremendous respect for what Dream Hotel Group founder Sant Singh Chatwal and Chief Executive Officer Jay Stein and their team have created and are grateful for the trust being placed in us by Dream Hotel Group to care for their brands and carry their success forward into the future, We look forward to continuing our growth journey with more than 600 new Hyatt family members who will further elevate our lifestyle expertise and expand the success of our dedicated lifestyle division. We are excited to offer even more inspiring experiences and celebratory programming to our guests and loyalty members and bring the value of the Hyatt network to a growing number of discerning hotel owners and developers around the world.” -Mark Hoplamazian, president and chief executive officer, Hyatt Hyatt has a proven track record of preserving what makes lifestyle hotels special and is the ideal new home for our growing Dream Hotel Group brands, said Sant Singh Chatwal, chairman and founder, Dream Hotel Group. As an owner of Dream Hotel Group properties, I look forward to the next part of our journey and am confident there is a bright future ahead for our hotels, owners, guests and team members as part of the Hyatt family. The transaction is anticipated to close in the coming months, subject to customary closing conditions. Following completion of the transaction, Hyatt will work to welcome the new properties into the World of Hyatt loyalty program, bringing more stay occasions and destinations to its member base. World of Hyatt members are some of the most valuable travelers in the industry who spend more and stay more, generating high-quality revenue for the owners of Dream Hotel Group properties. Dream Hotel Group founder Sant Singh Chatwal will continue his commitment as an owner of four open and two future hotels that are expected to join the Hyatt portfolio. Dream Hotel Group CEO Jay Stein will join Hyatt as Head of Dream Hotels to guide the integration of the Dream Hotel Group brands into the Hyatt portfolio, ensuring the unique DNA of each brand is preserved while leveraging Hyatt’s capabilities to optimize property performance. Additionally, Dream Hotel Group’s Chief Development Officer David Kuperberg will join Hyatt as Head of Development – Dream Hotels; Chief Operating Officer Michael Lindenbaum will join Hyatt as Global Head of Operations – Dream Hotels. In connection with the transaction, Moelis & Company LLC served as financial advisor to Hyatt and Latham & Watkins LLP acted as its legal advisor. The term “Hyatt” is used in this release for convenience to refer to Hyatt Hotels Corporation and/or one or more of its affiliates. About Hyatt Hotels Corporation Hyatt Hotels Corporation, headquartered in Chicago, is a leading global hospitality company guided by its purpose – to care for people so they can be their best. As of September 30, 2022, the Company’s portfolio included more than 1,200 hotels and all-inclusive properties in 72 countries across six continents. The Company's offering includes brands in the Timeless Collection, including Park Hyatt®, Grand Hyatt®, Hyatt Regency®, Hyatt®, Hyatt Residence Club®, Hyatt Place®, Hyatt House®, and UrCove; the Boundless Collection, including Miraval®, Alila®, Andaz®, Thompson Hotels®, Hyatt Centric®, and Caption by Hyatt; the Independent Collection, including The Unbound Collection by Hyatt®, Destination by Hyatt™, and JdV by Hyatt™; and the Inclusive Collection, including Hyatt Ziva®, Hyatt Zilara®, Zoëtry® Wellness & Spa Resorts, Secrets® Resorts & Spas, Breathless Resorts & Spas®, Dreams® Resorts & Spas, Vivid Hotels & Resorts®, Alua Hotels & Resorts®, and Sunscape® Resorts & Spas. Subsidiaries of the Company operate the World of Hyatt® loyalty program, ALG Vacations®, Unlimited Vacation Club®, Amstar DMC destination management services, and Trisept Solutions® technology services. For more information, please visit www.hyatt.com. About Dream Hotel Group Dream Hotel Group is a hotel brand and management company with a rich, 35-year history of managing properties in some of the world's most highly competitive hotel environments, including New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Bangkok and most recently Nashville. Home to its Dream Hotels, Unscripted Hotels, The Chatwal and new By Dream Hotel Group brands, Dream Hotel Group encompasses three business lines: Proprietary Brands, Hotel Management, and Dining & Nightlife. The company is committed to the philosophy that forward-thinking design, service and guest experiences should be available across all market segments. Dream Hotel Group is dedicated to offering travelers an authentic connection to their chosen destination through a truly original approach. For more information on Dream Hotel Group and its brands, visit www.DreamHotelGroup.com and follow @dreamhotelgroup on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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DESTINATION AND TOURISM, HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Hyatt Announces the Opening of Hyatt Regency Trivandrum

Hyatt Hotels Corporation | November 29, 2022

Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE:H) announced the opening of Hyatt Regency Trivandrum in Kerala. The hotel is the third Hyatt property in the state of Kerala following the opening of Grand Hyatt Kochi and Hyatt Regency Thrissur, and the sixteenth Hyatt Regency hotel in the country – a significant milestone in Hyatt’s brand growth in the Indian market. Hyatt Regency Trivandrum is designed for business and leisure travelers to enjoy seamless and energizing experiences, borrowing inspiration from the rainforest, beaches and low coastal hills that are distinctive to the state of Kerala. Spread across 2.2 acres, Hyatt Regency Trivandrum is in the cultural hub of the city–located at the southwestern tip of India—and will give guests access to well-known historic sites such as Kanakakunnu Palace, Napier Museum, Kuthiramalika Palace, Koyikkal Palace and the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre. Guests at the hotel can also relax on the scenic backwaters of Kerala and a long shoreline with internationally renowned beaches that make this district a much sought-after tourist destination. “The opening of Hyatt Regency Trivandrum marks an important step forward in Hyatt’s brand expansion in India. The state’s beauty makes it one of the most desirable for travelers in India, and at Hyatt, we are focused on strengthening our brand presence in locations where our guests like to travel. We’re excited to serve guests and World of Hyatt members as we welcome them to Hyatt Regency Trivandrum.” -Rahul Raj, general manager at Hyatt Regency Trivandrum Guestrooms Hyatt Regency Trivandrum embodies the perfect combination of classic comfort and contemporary style complete with a host of intuitive services for both business and leisure travelers. The 132-room property boasts the highest suite inventory in the city, with three suite categories – Regency, Diplomatic and Presidential. The 1900-square-foot Presidential Suite is unrivalled in its grandeur by suites in any other hotel in the city. The rooms feature a spacious entertainment area and bay windows that provide a panoramic view of the cultural district. Dining The hotel also features a range of dining experiences that capture the essence of the state’s culture and reiterates Hyatt’s commitment to care for local communities. Malabar Café serves local cuisine that draws on the city’s much-loved dishes along with North Indian delicacies in a casual café-style dining setup. For those seeking authentic Asian experiences, The Oriental Kitchen serves Szechuan and Thai cuisine and beverages which include Asian aromatics such as lemongrass, kafir leaves, galanagal and so on. The Ivory Club has both indoor and outdoor seating and is marked by its old-world aesthetics. The Regency Lounge is the perfect meeting spot for guests to relax over classic drinks, eclectic cocktails, and all-day delicacies. All Things Baked provides a modern spin on the classic bakery with a range of innovative cakes, fresh-baked bread, gourmet sandwiches, beverages, and artisanal products. Special Events Hyatt Regency Trivandrum houses one of the largest convention centers in the city. With a dynamic event space spanning 20,000 square feet across three venues, the hotel is designed to host a range of large- and small-scale events in both indoor and outdoor settings – be it an intimate celebration, wedding or corporate conference. Recreation and Wellness Invoking the perfect setting for a peaceful and relaxing stay, the Śāntata Spa encourages guests to indulge in modern and traditional wellness approaches through Ayurveda, Western and Eastern therapy. The hotel also features a fitness center and an outdoor pool. About Hyatt Hotels Corporation Hyatt Hotels Corporation, headquartered in Chicago, is a leading global hospitality company guided by its purpose – to care for people so they can be their best. As of September 30, 2022, the Company’s portfolio included more than 1,200 hotels and all-inclusive properties in 72 countries across six continents. The Company's offering includes brands in the Timeless Collection, including Park Hyatt®, Grand Hyatt®, Hyatt Regency®, Hyatt®, Hyatt Residence Club®, Hyatt Place®, Hyatt House®, and UrCove; the Boundless Collection, including Miraval®, Alila®, Andaz®, Thompson Hotels®, Hyatt Centric®, and Caption by Hyatt; the Independent Collection, including The Unbound Collection by Hyatt®, Destination by Hyatt™, and JdV by Hyatt™; and the Inclusive Collection, including Hyatt Ziva®, Hyatt Zilara®, Zoëtry® Wellness & Spa Resorts, Secrets® Resorts & Spas, Breathless Resorts & Spas®, Dreams® Resorts & Spas, Vivid Hotels & Resorts®, Alua Hotels & Resorts®, and Sunscape® Resorts & Spas. Subsidiaries of the Company operate the World of Hyatt® loyalty program, ALG Vacations®, Unlimited Vacation Club®, Amstar DMC destination management services, and Trisept Solutions® technology services. For more information, please visit www.hyatt.com. About Hyatt Regency The Hyatt Regency brand prides itself on making travel free from stress and filled with success. More than 220 conveniently located Hyatt Regency urban and resort locations in more than 45 countries around the world serve as the go-to gathering space for every occasion – from efficient personalized, high-touch business meetings to energizing family vacations. The brand offers stress-free environments for seamless gatherings and empathetic service that anticipates guests’ needs. Designed for productivity and peace of mind, Hyatt Regency hotels and resorts offer a full range of services and amenities, including the space to work, engage or relax; notable culinary experiences; technology-enabled ways to collaborate; and expert meeting and event planners who can take care of every detail. For more information, please visit hyattregency.com. Follow @HyattRegency on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and tag photos with #HyattRegency

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,COMMERCIAL TRAVEL

Sabre, Conferma Pay and Mastercard Join Forces to Power the Travel Economy with Virtual Cards

Sabre Corporation,Conferma Pay and Mastercard | November 29, 2022

Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR) a leading software and technology provider that powers the global travel industry, and Conferma Pay, a global fintech firm that specializes in payment technology, announced a new partnership with Mastercard to accelerate the use of virtual cards for business-to-business (B2B) travel payments. Today's announcement builds on Sabre's August 2022 acquisition of Conferma Pay. The collaboration with Mastercard is the next step in advancing Sabre's goal to create an open and independent travel payment ecosystem. Digitization of travel payments with virtual cards helps address the historic challenges associated with B2B leisure and corporate travel payments. The securely generated, single use card numbers provide a link between booking and associated payments to third party suppliers. Travel buyers and suppliers are therefore able to easily track and reconcile payments, as well as benefit from flexible pricing, financing options, and enhanced security through card payment guarantees. "The payments industry is in the midst of a revolution and there is an increased need for travel companies to better manage the whole payment experience, Companies in the travel space – including travel management companies, travel agencies, corporations, issuers and technology partners – need sophisticated solutions and seamless connections. Sabre is taking strategic steps to fulfill the needs of our industry, beginning with the acquisition of Conferma Pay. Now, the new partnership with Mastercard will help Conferma Pay to build new and enhanced digital capabilities in virtual cards, transforming the payment experience for issuers." -Roshan Mendis, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Sabre Travel Solutions. As part of the agreement, Mastercard has agreed to make a minority investment in Conferma Pay, which will continue to operate independently and serve the entire travel industry and beyond. Mastercard's investment in Conferma Pay is subject to customary closing conditions. A combination of experience, technologies and capabilities will accelerate travel payment innovation and drive inclusive and sustainable growth for the sector, said Chris Fendley, Executive Vice President, Enterprise Partnerships at Mastercard. Virtual cards deliver visibility, boost liquidity and increase control over B2B payment flows, which enhance payment strategies and empower organizations across the travel value chain to run, grow and protect their business, which has never been more essential. Conferma Pay connects issuers to more than 700 travel management companies, all the major global distribution systems and more than 100 online booking tools. Conferma Pay is fully integrated with all the major card schemes and serves more than 50 banking partners, who issue Conferma Pay generated virtual cards in nearly 100 currencies. "We've already made significant inroads in the B2B travel space through partnering with Sabre, We are excited about the new investments. This, combined with our existing strong relationships, will enable Conferma Pay to build on our global footprint and be at the forefront of addressing industry challenges and opportunities." -Martin Cowley, interim CEO at Conferma Pay Sabre's Virtual Payments will continue to offer Conferma Pay services – with increased capabilities that help travel buyers, agencies and corporations best support travel customer needs. Sabre Virtual Payments is a unique, secure, automated and integrated end-to-end payment solution designed to simplify and add value to the transactions that TMCs, OTAs, travel agencies, corporations and travel suppliers do every day. Sabre Virtual Payments takes all the capabilities of Conferma Pay and its network of issuers and combines it with seamless integration across Sabre products for -connected travel buyers, agencies and corporations. About Sabre Corporation Sabre Corporation is a leading software and technology company that powers the global travel industry, serving a wide range of travel companies including airlines, hoteliers, travel agencies and other suppliers. The company provides retailing, distribution and fulfilment solutions that help its customers operate more efficiently, drive revenue and offer personalized traveler experiences. Through its leading travel marketplace, Sabre connects travel suppliers with buyers from around the globe. Sabre's technology platform manages more than $260B worth of global travel spend annually. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world. For more information visit www.sabre.com. About Mastercard (NYSE: MA) Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all. www.mastercard.com About Conferma Pay Conferma Pay is a global financial technology company. It designs and integrate virtual payment systems that provide a more efficient, seamless and secure way to pay for businesses. Conferma Pay was born in Manchester in 2005. Since then, it has connected over 700 TMCs, and directly integrates with all the major GDSs and OBTs. Its roots lie in corporate travel payment integration. It enables its payment providers to flow virtual cards into the preferred purchasing process of any business travel buyer. Crucial to this is its network of banking partners, who have issued virtual cards in over 200 countries, in 40 currencies with over 45 commercial banking partners via all major card networks. Its ecosystem continues to expand to meet the growing requirements of its global customer base.

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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Hyatt Continues Asset-Light Growth Strategy with Plans to Acquire Dream Hotel Group

Hyatt Hotels Corporation | November 30, 2022

Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE: H) and Dream Hotel Group announced an agreement for a Hyatt affiliate to acquire Dream Hotel Group’s lifestyle hotel brand and management platform including the Dream Hotels, The Chatwal Hotels and Unscripted Hotels brands, with properties in some of the world’s most prominent hotel markets across the Americas, Europe and Asia.This asset-light acquisition will include a portfolio of 12 managed or franchised lifestyle hotels, with another 24 signed long-term management agreements for hotels expected to open in the future. Upon closing, this expansion will add over 1,700 rooms to Hyatt’s lifestyle portfolio and increase Hyatt’s room count in New York City by more than 30%. This acquisition continues Hyatt’s asset-light growth strategy following its transactions to acquire Two Roads Hospitality in 2018 and Apple Leisure Group in 2021 – and, most recently, Hyatt’s collaboration agreement with German Lindner Hotels AG, to further grow Hyatt’s brand footprint in Europe. Upon closing, Hyatt will pay a base purchase price of $125 million, with up to an additional $175 million over the next six years as properties come into the pipeline and open. Stabilized management fees associated with the base purchase price of $125 million are anticipated to be approximately $12 million and, to the extent the contingent purchase price of $175 million is paid, additional stabilized management fees are anticipated to be up to approximately $27 million. The total base purchase price plus the contingent purchase price represents an attractive acquisition multiple in the high-single digits on projected stabilized earnings. Dream Hotel Group properties are known for their vibrant dining and nightlife experiences including hotspot restaurants, lavish entertainment venues and exclusive night clubs built on strategic collaborations with innovative and award-winning industry leaders. The acquisition will extend Hyatt’s brand footprint in key markets, including Nashville, Hollywood, South Beach, Durham, several locations in New York City and one in the Catskills. Signed contracts represent additional strategic destinations including Las Vegas, Saint Lucia and Doha. “We have tremendous respect for what Dream Hotel Group founder Sant Singh Chatwal and Chief Executive Officer Jay Stein and their team have created and are grateful for the trust being placed in us by Dream Hotel Group to care for their brands and carry their success forward into the future, We look forward to continuing our growth journey with more than 600 new Hyatt family members who will further elevate our lifestyle expertise and expand the success of our dedicated lifestyle division. We are excited to offer even more inspiring experiences and celebratory programming to our guests and loyalty members and bring the value of the Hyatt network to a growing number of discerning hotel owners and developers around the world.” -Mark Hoplamazian, president and chief executive officer, Hyatt Hyatt has a proven track record of preserving what makes lifestyle hotels special and is the ideal new home for our growing Dream Hotel Group brands, said Sant Singh Chatwal, chairman and founder, Dream Hotel Group. As an owner of Dream Hotel Group properties, I look forward to the next part of our journey and am confident there is a bright future ahead for our hotels, owners, guests and team members as part of the Hyatt family. The transaction is anticipated to close in the coming months, subject to customary closing conditions. Following completion of the transaction, Hyatt will work to welcome the new properties into the World of Hyatt loyalty program, bringing more stay occasions and destinations to its member base. World of Hyatt members are some of the most valuable travelers in the industry who spend more and stay more, generating high-quality revenue for the owners of Dream Hotel Group properties. Dream Hotel Group founder Sant Singh Chatwal will continue his commitment as an owner of four open and two future hotels that are expected to join the Hyatt portfolio. Dream Hotel Group CEO Jay Stein will join Hyatt as Head of Dream Hotels to guide the integration of the Dream Hotel Group brands into the Hyatt portfolio, ensuring the unique DNA of each brand is preserved while leveraging Hyatt’s capabilities to optimize property performance. Additionally, Dream Hotel Group’s Chief Development Officer David Kuperberg will join Hyatt as Head of Development – Dream Hotels; Chief Operating Officer Michael Lindenbaum will join Hyatt as Global Head of Operations – Dream Hotels. In connection with the transaction, Moelis & Company LLC served as financial advisor to Hyatt and Latham & Watkins LLP acted as its legal advisor. The term “Hyatt” is used in this release for convenience to refer to Hyatt Hotels Corporation and/or one or more of its affiliates. About Hyatt Hotels Corporation Hyatt Hotels Corporation, headquartered in Chicago, is a leading global hospitality company guided by its purpose – to care for people so they can be their best. As of September 30, 2022, the Company’s portfolio included more than 1,200 hotels and all-inclusive properties in 72 countries across six continents. The Company's offering includes brands in the Timeless Collection, including Park Hyatt®, Grand Hyatt®, Hyatt Regency®, Hyatt®, Hyatt Residence Club®, Hyatt Place®, Hyatt House®, and UrCove; the Boundless Collection, including Miraval®, Alila®, Andaz®, Thompson Hotels®, Hyatt Centric®, and Caption by Hyatt; the Independent Collection, including The Unbound Collection by Hyatt®, Destination by Hyatt™, and JdV by Hyatt™; and the Inclusive Collection, including Hyatt Ziva®, Hyatt Zilara®, Zoëtry® Wellness & Spa Resorts, Secrets® Resorts & Spas, Breathless Resorts & Spas®, Dreams® Resorts & Spas, Vivid Hotels & Resorts®, Alua Hotels & Resorts®, and Sunscape® Resorts & Spas. Subsidiaries of the Company operate the World of Hyatt® loyalty program, ALG Vacations®, Unlimited Vacation Club®, Amstar DMC destination management services, and Trisept Solutions® technology services. For more information, please visit www.hyatt.com. About Dream Hotel Group Dream Hotel Group is a hotel brand and management company with a rich, 35-year history of managing properties in some of the world's most highly competitive hotel environments, including New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Bangkok and most recently Nashville. Home to its Dream Hotels, Unscripted Hotels, The Chatwal and new By Dream Hotel Group brands, Dream Hotel Group encompasses three business lines: Proprietary Brands, Hotel Management, and Dining & Nightlife. The company is committed to the philosophy that forward-thinking design, service and guest experiences should be available across all market segments. Dream Hotel Group is dedicated to offering travelers an authentic connection to their chosen destination through a truly original approach. For more information on Dream Hotel Group and its brands, visit www.DreamHotelGroup.com and follow @dreamhotelgroup on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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