BCD Travel predicts rise in global prices for 2020

Buying Business Travel | September 17, 2019

Global hotel rates could increase by between 1 and 3 per cent, while air fares will go up 1 to 2 per cent, according to new predictions from BCD Travel.The TMC’s 2020 Industry Forecast shows hotel prices will be driven by solid demand keeping occupancy high in most regions. The TMCTravel Management Company: An agency which manages business travel for a company. said rate increases could be even higher in Asia (up between 2 and 4 per cent) – particularly in Japan, which will host the 2020 Summer Olympics, and Vietnam, where both leisure and business travel demand is holding strong.Europe will see strong demand drive meetings costs up 3 to 4 per cent, according to the forecast, while rates will also increase in Sydney and Auckland.

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Risk management is a fundamental element of corporate travel management. With the number of risks present – from terrorism, natural disasters, to medical emergencies and culture shock – it is only imperative for businesses to be proactive in ensuring the health and safety of their business travellers.


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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Nexion Travel Group Launches First Immersive Journeys Experience

Nexion Travel Group | April 05, 2022

Nexion Travel Group, the leading host agency for travel professionals, recently completed its inaugural "Immersive Journey" on board Princess Cruises' Regal Princess. From March 7-12, 2022, 20 travel advisors who are members of Nexion Travel Group were hosted by Princess and Nexion's Business Development & Education (BDE) team to learn about how they can set their agencies up for long-term success."Coach Martin" Mussey, BDE Manager for Nexion Travel Group and certified business coach, led the advisors in workshops and exercises to help them establish specific and measurable goals to increase profitability and plan for sustainable growth. Each attendee was also provided exclusive content and materials from Business Success Journeys, Nexion's newly launched coaching program. Other faculty on this Immersive Journey included LaDonna Allen, National Account Manager with Princess Cruises. Each Immersive Journey is hosted by and exclusive to a supplier, giving Nexion members the chance to not only learn a particular topic, but get to know a supplier's offerings. Immersive Journeys attendees on this trip experienced a cruise with stops at Grand Turks and the Dominican Republic, and Princess's exclusive Medallion Class sailing. Regal Princess's Hotel Director also sat down with attendees to share insights about the unique onboard experience that Princess offers, and how to sell it to their clients. Our first Immersive Journey was a smashing success," said Mussey. "Our members loved being able to have the luxury of a few days of time to really learn about achieving business success in a small-group environment. They left with actionable ideas for their businesses and deepened their relationships with an important supplier partner. The Princess team put a lot of time and effort towards helping attendees not only fully understand their product, but also learn about business success from their experts. "Immersive Journeys' success depends on a true partnership with our preferred suppliers and I cannot thank Princess enough for hosting our inaugural event. Nexion members have been telling us they want to combine learning about a new skill or tactic with experiencing our suppliers' offerings. Immersive Journeys fits the bill for both, and we cannot wait to host our next Immersive Journeys event with another focus and a new partner." -Nexion Travel Group President Jackie Friedman All travel professionals interested in learning how to succeed as a professional business owner, backed by Nexion Travel Group's many great benefits, are encouraged to call 800-747-6813 or email sales@nexion.com. About Nexion Travel Group Nexion® Travel Group is a fully accredited host agency, offering membership to independent travel professionals since 1995. Nexion Travel Group provides ticketing, operations and fulfillment support to independent travel professionals coupled with best-in-class tools, technology, marketing, education and support. As part of Travel Leaders Group, a division of Internova Travel Group, Nexion Travel Group is the complete host agency for multi-agent agencies, corporate agencies, experienced agents and those new to the industry. About Internova Travel Group Internova Travel Group is one of the largest travel services companies in the world with a collection of leading brands delivering high-touch, personal travel expertise to leisure and corporate clients. Internova manages leisure, business and franchise firms through a portfolio of distinctive divisions. Internova represents more than 62,000 travel advisors in over 6,000 company-owned and affiliated locations predominantly in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, with a presence in more than 80 countries.

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DESTINATION AND TOURISM

Frommer's Names the Best Hotel Booking Engines for Summer Travel in 2022

frommer | March 30, 2022

With travelers eager to hit the road again for summer vacation after the disruptions caused by the pandemic, Frommers—the trusted travel media company and guidebook publisher celebrating its 65th year in 2022—has released the latest edition of its Best and Worst Hotel Booking Sites. The ranking names the top online travel agencies and aggregators for finding lodgings on the road in 2022. The top 10 has been shaken up considerably since the previous ranking in 2020. Using a complex, weighted system involving 60 different room reservation scenarios, travel expert and analyst Reid Bramblett put booking engines through the wringer to determine which sites deliver the lowest rates, the most options, and the easiest user experience.For the first time, Google tops the list, but the search giant only narrowly edged out previous winner HotelsCombined, with both showing a keen ability to find the most affordable rooms. Other heavy hitters, including Tripadvisor and Kayak, only managed middling scores when put to the Frommer's test, ranking 5th and 7th respectively. After falling out of the top 10 five years ago, Hotels.com clawed its way to the 10th slot, displacing Hotwire from the list entirely. The complete top 10, along with detailed analysis, a rundown of each site's pros and cons, and money-saving warnings about sneaky tactics and outright rip-offs, can be found at Frommers.com/BestHotelSites. And coming soon: Frommer's latest ranking of the top sites for finding affordable airfare—fully updated for 2022. About Frommer's One of the most venerable brands in travel, Frommer's has been in continuous publication since the 1957 debut of Arthur Frommer's Europe on 5 Dollars a Day, which changed the way the world traveled. The Frommer's collection of travel products has expanded to include nearly 100 award-winning guidebooks, a popular podcast, and Frommers.com, winner of the 2021 silver medal for best travel journalism website in the prestigious Lowell Thomas Awards from the Society of American Travel Writers.

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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Swire Hotels Teams Up With Agilysys to Provide Smarter, Faster, Greener Guest Experiences

Swire Hotels | April 08, 2022

Agilysys, Inc. (Nasdaq: AGYS), a leading global provider of next-generation end-to-end SaaS and on-prem ready hospitality software solutions, announced that Hong Kong-based Swire Hotels has activated Agilysys solutions in all its Hong Kong properties and plans to extend these across its entire property portfolio.The comprehensive suite from Agilysys includes Agilysys Seat, an online seat reservation, wait-list and venue management system that optimizes both revenue and guest satisfaction; InfoGenesis POS using the IG 12UX client, the leading hospitality market POS system; and IG OnDemand, a guest-facing contactless food and beverage ordering for guest delivery or pick up across venues. Swire Hotels is a group of seven properties under The House Collective and EAST brands, with locations in Hong Kong, Chinese Mainland and the United States. The hotel group is known for personalized service and unique guest experiences and is dedicated to enhancing sustainability across its properties. In our search to provide guests with a smarter, faster and greener experience, we were consistently impressed with the solutions from Agilysys, IG OnDemand is a great fit for our properties, enabling team members with the technology we need to enhance our operational efficiency thereby elevating guest experiences. -Dean Winter, Managing Director for Swire Hotels. With IG OnDemand, guests can place and pay for food and beverage (F&B) orders using their mobile devices rather than having to call a service line. A simple scan of a QR code in the guestroom leads to a user-friendly interface displaying pictures, descriptions and prices of food and beverage choices. Guests can choose to have their orders delivered to them or can opt to pick them up. In addition to enabling the contactless service experience guests increasingly desire, replacing printed menus with QR codes in guestrooms contributes to sustainability by reducing paper waste. Agilysys Seat enables properties to maximize revenue from seating options and venue space while enabling guests to view and select seats and track their waitlist status at various venues through an online experience. As the foundation for these experiences, the IG 12UX client for the comprehensive InfoGenesis POS system enables hoteliers to present point-of-sale experiences to guests in a variety of ways using equipment that reflects guest preferences, whether through mobile devices or at fixed-place terminals. “It was important for us to choose a technology partner that understood our focus on sustainability, ease of use, and guest experience,Through Agilysys, we have seen that the platforms are gaining popularity with our guests from the decreasing phone call volume in the first two months after launch and around 60 percent of in-room dining orders now come from guests using IG OnDemand.” -Clement Durand, Senior Operations Manager at Swire Hotels. We are proud to partner with Swire Hotels, a hospitality group known for its extraordinary service excellence,” said Andrew Cox, Managing Director APAC at Agilysys. “With Agilysys Seat, IG OnDemand and IG 12UX, Swire Hotels can enhance the food and beverage experience for guests and staff alike and elevate the personalized service that they have come to enjoy. We look forward to implementing our solutions throughout the Swire Hotels portfolio, helping them increase revenue and meet growing expectations for frictionless and contactless guest experiences. Solutions In Use InfoGenesis® POS provides an award-winning enterprise-class point-of-sale solution that processes transactions in the highest volume, most demanding hospitality industry environments worldwide. Its modern, flexible client, IG 12UX, allows customers to choose devices that match the style and needs of their venues. From traditional POS terminals to iPads, Android tablets and mobile phones, the IG 12UX client enables customers to seamlessly deliver a variety of POS experiences based upon guest preferences and server requirements. In addition, InfoGenesis offers robust reporting and analysis features, extensive enterprise-grade menu and item configuration capabilities, and multi-language support to help drive service flexibility and increased operational efficiency. The result is improved F&B operations and increased revenue across venues. IG OnDemand provides a complete cloud-native contactless self-service food & beverage ordering solution that offers an intuitive guest-facing order and pay experience. IG OnDemand enables guests to place and pay for orders using their own devices – phone, tablet, laptop – for pick-up or delivery. The result is dramatically increased revenue opportunities and more chances to enhance guest service. Agilysys Seat provides a complete online seat reservation, wait-list and venue management system that displays and manages seat availability for a wide range of venues including restaurants, pool cabanas, stadiums and arenas, gaming table seats and more. The solution enables guests to choose their preferred location or server while optimizing venue usage and enabling social distancing protocols through mobile messaging communication. In addition, its table/venue layout management capabilities ensure the most efficient use of space based on the type of venue and event. The result is improved guest service with shorter, predictable wait times, increased table turnovers and increased venue revenue. About Agilysys Agilysys has been a leader in hospitality software for more than 40 years, delivering innovative cloud-native SaaS and on-prem ready guest-centric technology solutions for gaming, hotels, resorts and cruise, corporate foodservice management, restaurants, universities, stadia and healthcare. Agilysys offers the most comprehensive software solutions in the hospitality industry, including point-of-sale (POS), property management (PMS), inventory and procurement, payments, and related applications, to manage the entire guest journey. Agilysys is also known for its world class customer-centric service. During recent years, Agilysys has made major investments in R&D and has successfully modernized virtually all its longstanding trusted software solutions. Some of the largest hospitality companies around the world use Agilysys solutions to help improve guest loyalty, drive revenue growth and increase operational efficiencies. Agilysys operates across North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and India with headquarters located in Alpharetta, GA. For more information visit Agilysys.com. About Swire Hotels Swire Hotels creates and manages distinctive hotels in Hong Kong, Chinese Mainland and the United States under two brands, The House Collective and EAST, providing unscripted and authentic experiences for individually minded travellers who seek originality, style and personalised service. The House Collective, a group of Houses each uniquely imagined and inspired by their locations, began with The Opposite House in Beijing, which opened in 2008, followed by The Upper House in Hong Kong, The Temple House in Chengdu and the latest addition, The Middle House in Shanghai, which opened in 2018. While EAST, designed for today’s go-getters, takes personal life balance to a whole new level and includes EAST, Hong Kong; EAST, Beijing and EAST, Miami.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Collinson Group Uses Freshworks to Modernize its Customer Experience and Adapt to New Travel Requirements

collinson group | March 29, 2022

Freshworks Inc. (NASDAQ: FRSH), a software company empowering the people who power business, announced that its customer Collinson Group, a UK travel experiences and insurance company, is using Freshdesk™ to react to fast-changing business and travel requirements caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, servicing a 50% surge in new enquiries. Following the introduction of new travel requirements, Collinson Group pivoted its medical assistance division to offer COVID-19 testing at partner airports and clinics in the UK, USA and APAC regions, setting up facilities in just three weeks. Using Freshdesk, Collinson introduced chatbot-first support and automation into its customer communications to help manage the 50% surge in traffic and queries. The company set up over 120 automated workflows including email triage, automated ticket type routing, and chat bot self-service. Help articles were created to enable the global operation to manage backlogs effectively, run as efficiently as possible, and share work across customer service locations and teams. The Freshdesk ticketing dashboard also helped Collinson to better track customer interactions across disparate communications channels. Using Freshdesk, customer service agents can now view metrics on contact resolution, total time to service, and subject matter of enquiries, and track and respond proactively if a particular subject keeps arising in communications. As a result, Collinson now handles an average of 1,200 testing-related customer enquiries per day, rising to a daily peak of around 10,000 new tickets per day in 2021, 24/7 across multiple global testing locations and service customer teams in English and Indonesian languages. Speaking about the quick deployment, Sacha Puffett, Group Customer Service Director at Collinson Group said, "The Freshdesk implementation has helped to consolidate our customer communications, while ensuring that omnichannel sits at the heart of our strategy. For the first time, we have a unified view of customer interactions in nearly real time, meaning we can see trends emerging and work to mitigate issues quickly. It’s a win-win situation that’s more efficient for both the customer and us.” “Our work with Collinson Group, supported by AWS, enabled its rapid transition during a tumultuous year for the travel industry, The flexibility Freshdesk provided significantly reduced the time taken for major operational pivots, from weeks to days. Freshworks’ omnichannel engagement solution helps agents quickly resolve customer enquiries at a stressful time for travellers, providing visibility to leading companies in the travel industry across channels such as chat, email, and voice through a single unified interface.” -John Crossan, Vice President & General Manager of Europe at Freshworks Ms. Puffett added, "The project manager and technical subject matter expert from Freshworks’ onboarding team were very supportive of our changing needs. Thanks to their guidance, we were able to launch the first iteration of Freshdesk within just three weeks, which was just sensational." In 2019, Freshworks also helped Collinson pivot its business practices to ensure customer service levels were maintained. Through the work with Freshworks and Amazon Web Services (AWS), Collinson Group equipped customer service agents to work from home and migrated 120 phone lines to Amazon Connect, an easy-to-use, highly scalable, and cost-effective omnichannel cloud contact center solution. The migration was completed within a couple of weeks, and it included training time for call centre agents, which can often take months. About Collinson Group Collinson is a global leader in customer benefits and loyalty. We deliver exceptional travel, assistance and insurance products that differentiate value propositions, and loyalty solutions that win deeper, more valuable customer relationships.Our customer benefits products include the original and market-leading airport experiences programme, Priority Pass, as well as travel insurance, identity assistance, flight delay, international health and travel risk management solutions. Our loyalty expertise uniquely combines strategy, award-winning technology and programme management to create greater engagement and experiences for our clients’ customers.For over 30 years, we’ve been chosen by the world’s leading payment networks, 1,400+ banks, 90+ airlines and 20+ hotel groups to craft customer experiences that win competitive edge. This enables them to acquire, engage and retain the most profitable, but most demanding customers. Our clients include Air France KLM, American Express, Cathay Pacific, Chase, Hackett, Mastercard, RSA, Sephora, UnionPay, Vhi and Visa. About Freshworks Freshworks Inc., (NASDAQ: FRSH) makes business software people love to use. Purpose-built for IT, customer support, sales and marketing teams, our products empower the people who power business. Freshworks is fast to onboard, priced affordably, built to delight, yet powerful enough to deliver critical business outcomes. Headquartered in San Mateo, California, Freshworks operates around the world to serve more than 56,000 customers including Bridgestone, Chargebee, DeliveryHero, ITV, Klarna, Multichoice, OfficeMax, TaylorMade and Vice Media. For the freshest company news visit www.freshworks.com and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Spotlight

Risk management is a fundamental element of corporate travel management. With the number of risks present – from terrorism, natural disasters, to medical emergencies and culture shock – it is only imperative for businesses to be proactive in ensuring the health and safety of their business travellers.

Resources