Travel Technology

Agoda and Alipay+ Expand on Their Partnership to Offer Greater Rewards to Travelers Through Digital Payment Methods

Agoda and Alipay+ Expand on
Agoda and Alipay+  announced a new partnership that will leverage Alipay+ solutions on the Agoda platform for better customer benefits and rewards. This is in addition to the existing integration of multiple digital wallets, namely the AlipayHK, GCash and TrueMoney, through Alipay+ on Agoda’s platforms.With this new partnership, multiple Alipay+ marketing solutions, including Alipay+ Rewards and its in-cashier marketing services, can be used for discounts distribution and redemption on Agoda. This enables Agoda to enhance its transaction conversion rate, while travelers can enjoy great returns in countries and regions like Hong Kong SAR of China, the Philippines, and Thailand – with the possibility of more regions to come in the future.

As the global economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, the online travel industry has seen a vigorous rebound. In some key countries across the region, bookings have increased nearly tenfold since the start of the year, according to Agoda data and this number is only expected to increase.

“As we gear up for the return to travel, we want to offer our customers greater choice and flexibility in their bookings. The pandemic has greatly accelerated the digitisation of travel and we are committed to keeping with the times as we continue to onboard more diverse modes of payments globally. We value this partnership with Alipay+ as it helps us offer more benefits to the end user through the clever integration of new payment solutions and rewards programs – allowing us to reach out to and target a wider network of customers.”

-Damien Pfirsch, CCO, Agoda.

Introduced by Ant Group in 2020, Alipay+ is a suite of global cross-border digital payments and marketing solutions designed to enable businesses, especially small and medium-sized businesses, to process a wide range of mobile payment methods and reach hundreds of millions of regional and global consumers. Other leading e-wallets supported by Alipay+ include Boost (Malaysia), Rabbit LINE Pay (Thailand), Touch 'n Go (Malaysia), Kakao Pay (South Korea), Klarna (Europe) and more.

“We are glad to reach this new partnership with Agoda to support the recovery of the travel industry from the pandemic. With innovative payment and marketing solutions, Alipay+ is committed to helping merchants reach global consumers as a cross-border economic connector and allow consumers to make payments on global platforms with their preferred digital wallets.”

-Jing Yin, General Manager of Global Strategic Accounts of International Business Group at Ant Group

Agoda has partnered with Ant Group and integrated Alipay as a payment option in the Chinese market as early as 2013. Since early 2022, Agoda has been integrating Alipay+ payment solutions to accept payments through multiple digital wallets across Asia. On July 4, Agoda also worked with Alipay+ to launch a Brand Day campaign in the Philippines market.

About Agoda
Agoda helps anyone travel anywhere with its great value deals on a global network of 2.7M hotels and holiday properties worldwide, plus flights, airport transfers and more. Agoda.com and the Agoda mobile app are available in 39 languages and supported by 24/7 customer support. Headquartered in Singapore, Agoda is part of Booking Holdings (Nasdaq: BKNG) and employs more than 4,800 staff in 32 markets, dedicated to leveraging best-in-class technology to make travel even easier.

About Alipay+
Alipay+ provides global cross-border digital payments and marketing solutions that enable global e-wallets and merchant partners, especially small and medium-sized businesses, to better serve their users and customers. Alipay+ is introduced by Ant Group, the owner and operator of Alipay. As one of the world’s leading digital payment platforms, Alipay serves hundreds of millions of users by connecting them with merchants and partner financial institutions that offer inclusive financial services and digital daily life services.

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Travel Technology, Airlines and Airports

Sabre and IAG expand partnership with multi-year distribution agreement including NDC content

PR Newswire | January 11, 2024

Sabre Corporation, a leading software and technology provider to the global travel industry, has entered into a multi-year distribution agreement with International Airlines Group (IAG) that will expand their existing partnership and further promote modern travel retailing practices. The agreement will allow Sabre-connected travel buyers and agencies to sell traditional EDIFACT content as well as having competitive access to NDC offers from British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling – including Additional Price Points and ancillaries – through the Sabre travel marketplace globally. This enhanced content will provide travel agencies with a wider range of options to compare and shop for, while travelers will benefit from an improved experience with more choice and transparency. Sabre and IAG's airlines are working closely together and will communicate as NDC content is rolled out to Sabre-connected travel agencies on a carrier-by-carrier basis. The agreement between Sabre and IAG underscores the industry's shift towards modern travel retailing, where airlines can differentiate their offerings and provide more personalized experiences to travelers. Both Sabre and IAG are committed to advancing the NDC standard as a key component in the industry's evolution towards modern airline retailing enabled by offers and orders. Colm Lacy, British Airways' Chief Commercial Officer, said: "We are on a journey to A Better BA and we continue to invest across the business as part of that commitment. Not only are we improving the experience of those customers who fly with us, but also the way we work with our valued travel agent and travel buyer partners. We understand how valuable retailing is to them, and IAG's partnership with Sabre allows us to make a wide range of attractable offers available even further across the globe." This agreement is another milestone in the IAG strategy to embrace digital retailing practices and offer more opportunities for customers to access NDC content. The partnership with IAG demonstrates Sabre's continued commitment to driving value and serving the diverse interests of the global travel ecosystem. "We are very excited about what's ahead. The travel industry is entering a new era of personalized retailing that will bring better experiences for travelers and new revenue opportunities for airlines and travel agencies," said Roshan Mendis, Chief Commercial Officer, Sabre Travel Solutions. "It's fantastic to work with a strong, forward-thinking partner like IAG that is just as committed as we are to driving the industry forwards."

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Travel Technology, Destination and Tourism

Exodus Adventure Travels Announces New Trips in Partnership with Royal Canadian Geographic Society

PR Newswire | January 23, 2024

Exodus Adventure Travels, the international award-winning leader in adventure travel, today announced its new 2024 RCGS Quests trips, a series of expert-led tours developed in partnership with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. These limited edition, small group trips are what travel legends are made of – adventures that are designed to offer travelers unparalleled opportunities to explore some of the planet's most awe-inspiring destinations and led by noted hosts in their respective fields. This year's line-up features such noted hosts as World Elephant Day co-founder, Patricia Sims; bestselling author, Robin Esrock; Indigenous education advocate, Charlene Bearhead, and others. "We are honored to partner with The Royal Canadian Geographical Society on these highly anticipated adventures," said Sam Seward, President at Exodus Adventure Travels. "This is our third year operating our RCGS Quests program, with continued demand to explore further and experience more, pushing these trips to new heights and featuring another stellar line-up of hosts to add even more depth to each itinerary." Exodus' 2024 RCGS Quests Series features the following six adventures: RCGS: Highlights of the Amalfi Coast with Scott Forsyth Discover the land of la dolce vita for a wondrous week on the Amalfi Coast led by an expert local guide and hosted by professional photographer and fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Scott Forsyth. Explore one of Europe's most dramatic stretches of coastline and be spellbound by this land's natural beauty and cultural treasures. The Host: Scott Forsyth is an award-winning photographer who specializes in Canadian landscapes. Devoted to exploring Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific and Arctic Ocean coastlines, Scott is a Fellow of both the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the Explorer's Club and is Canadian Geographic's Photographer-In-Residence. Eight-day itinerary priced from $2,240 USD. Departing April 6, 2024 RCGS: Classic Kenya 4WD Safari with Patricia Sims No country, perhaps, is more synonymous with a classic African safari than Kenya. Step into scenes from 'Out of Africa' as you explore Kenya's best safari sites led by an expert local safari guide and hosted by award-winning Canadian filmmaker, Royal Canadian Geographical Society fellow and World Elephant Day co-founder, Patricia Sims. The Host: Patricia Sims is the co-founder of the annual World Elephant Day (Aug. 12), a global awareness campaign that brings attention to the critical threats facing elephants. From swimming with wild dolphins and whales in oceans around the world to getting up close and personal with monkeys in the jungles of Borneo and elephants of Thailand, Patricia is also an award-winning filmmaker who always has a passionate eye on conservation. Patricia is a Fellow International of The Explorers Club and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Seven-day itinerary priced from US$4,649 Departing August 10, 2024 RCGS: A Week in Jordan with Sarah Legault Explore the wondrous historical and archaeological highlights of Jordan on this week-long adventure. From the incredible history of the Wadi Rum Desert to strolling through ancient Roman cities and floating in the Dead Sea, this Jordanian adventure contains all the highlights of this fascinating country. It is led by an expert local guide and hosted by Vice President of Philanthropy for the RCGS, Sarah Legault. The Host: Sarah Legault has been the head of advancement at the Royal Canadian Geographical Society since 2018 and has worked at charitable organizations throughout her career. Her vast understanding of the Society, Canadian Geographic and all associated programs is extraordinary. As the current Vice President of Philanthropy and Fellow of the RCGS, Sarah's mission-aligned values of environment, people, culture, and geographical literacy support engaging and forward-thinking initiatives which she always is keen to share and discuss. Seven-day itinerary priced from US$2,550 Departing October 19, 2024 RCGS: Rome, Assisi & Magical Umbria – Premium Adventure with Robin Esrock Explore Rome and Assisi's historic landmarks and classical ruins. Walk through Italy's unspoiled countryside staying in a picturesque four-star resort in the hills of Umbria, led by an expert local guide and hosted by bestselling author, TV host, public speaker and Royal Canadian Geographical Society Fellow Robin Esrock. The Host: Dubbed "King of the Bucket List" by Travel + Leisure, Robin Esrock's success as a global adventurer, travel writer, bestselling author and international TV personality started with a one-year solo round-the-world backpacking adventure to 24 countries. During this year, Robin uploaded weekly reports, photography, videos, reviews, and interviews with every person he met. In doing so, he ushered in a new era of multi-platform, switched-on wired-in travel journalism, leading to adventures beyond his wildest dreams. Robin's stories have been published in noted publications worldwide, including National Geographic Traveler, The Guardian, Chicago Tribune, Toronto Star, Reader's Digest, and more. Eight-day itinerary priced from US$4,050 Departing October 19, 2024 RCGS: Egypt Nile Cruise with Charlene Bearhead Follow in the footsteps of the ancient pharaohs and ride the sands of time back thousands of years on this classic Egypt Nile cruise led by an expert local guide and hosted by Indigenous education advocate, author, Vice President of Learning and Reconciliation at Canadian Geographic, and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Charlene Bearhead. With ancient tombs and mysteries around every bend, unrivaled legacy and mind-blowing history await. The Host: Charlene Bearhead is an Indigenous education advocate and author with over 30 years of regional, national and international experience. Previously Charlene served as education days coordinator for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, education coordinator for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, education advisor for the Canadian Geographic Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada, a member of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Indigenous Education working group, and the first education lead for both the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba and the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at UBC. She is also the co-author of the children's book series Siha Tooskin Knows. Eight-day itinerary priced from US$2,380 Departing November 16, 2024 RCGS: Highlights of Vietnam with Lynn Moorman Discover the complex culture and history of Vietnam on this intoxicating exploration of Vietnamese life highlighted by superb landscapes and amazing cuisine. Led by an expert local guide and hosted by Lynn Moorman, a lifelong geographer with a love for exploring remote landscapes and environments. The Host: Lynn Moorman is a prominent geographer and a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Mount Royal University, in Calgary, Canada. Lynn's teaching and research interests lie at the intersection of geography, learning sciences and applied visualization technologies, including virtual and augmented reality. Her work has taken her to the highlands of northern Vietnam, to map agricultural productivity, to the frozen Arctic Ocean where she works with Inuit in Canadian Arctic communities to use near-real time satellite imagery to keep ice travel safe. Lynn is a Fellow, former Board member and current Chair of the Research Committee of the RCGS. 10-day itinerary priced from US$2,170 Departing November 17, 2024

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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

My Place Hotels of America Opens My Place Hotels-Idaho Falls, ID

PR Newswire | January 25, 2024

My Place Hotels of America has officially opened My Place Hotels-Idaho Falls, ID, in Idaho Falls, ID. This marks the 70th open and operating My Place property nationally. Guard Hospitality manages the property, which is owned by MP Idaho Falls and was developed by Legacy Builders. The 64-key property is pet-friendly and offers many amenities, including complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, onsite laundry, a grilling station, and a 24-hour grab-and-go store stocked with food, beverages, and other necessities. Each guestroom includes a full kitchen and coffee maker. The property sits just minutes from the heart of historic downtown Idaho Falls and is adjacent to the new Snake River Landing Development. Idaho Falls is the largest city East of Idaho's capital, with an estimated population of approximately 64,000 people. The city serves as the commercial, cultural, and healthcare hub for Eastern Idaho, Western Wyoming, and Southern Montana. Idaho Falls' location in the greater Bonneville County is often referred to as the "Gateway to Yellowstone Park" due to its proximity to one of the nation's most popular national parks and its own recreational activities. My Place Hotels-Idaho Falls is also the official hotel partner of the Idaho Falls Spud Kings, one of the newest franchises in the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL)'s Tier 3 Mountain Division, and is minutes from Mountain America Center, where the Spud Kings play. "We were very excited to see My Place Hotels-Idaho Falls officially open its doors at the end of 2023," stated Ryan Rivett, co-founder and CEO of My Place Hotels. "This property boasts an incredible location, and we are confident that our robust offerings will distinguish us in this dynamic market. As we look forward to additional openings in 2024, we are eager to leverage our momentum to expand our presence with a focus on strategic growth."

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