Booking Holdings integrates brands, develops payment capabilities in quest for “connected trip”

PhocusWire | August 07, 2019

Bookings Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel says the company is making progress in its vision to create a seamless, holistic system that gives and does everything for the traveler and makes their lives easier and gives value to them. This what he frequently referred to as the connected trip in a call with analysts to share the companys second-quarter 2019 financial results.Fogel cites the companys work to develop a payments system as one example of this effort to power a frictionless global marketplace.People want to pay in different ways, but not every accommodation has the ability or even wants to have the ability to accept payment that way, he says.Somebody can come to us and use the payment method they want, and we are able to pay the accommodation in an easy way – so right away thats removing a part of the friction.

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INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

New Travel Loyalty Survey Finds Awareness Gap in Travel Rewards' Perceived Value

arrivia | June 16, 2022

American consumers are ready for travel, ready to redeem and ready to earn travel rewards, according to a new survey report released this week by arrivia, a leading travel loyalty and booking technology platform that serves consumer-facing companies worldwide. The report, Where travel meets loyalty, reveals that U.S. consumers are looking for value when it comes to travel and that travel rewards have the potential to deliver that value. The report also shows a significant gap between what customers expect from their rewards and what loyalty providers offer. Between December 2021 and January 2022, arrivia surveyed 2,150 American consumers and 204 industry decision-makers about the role of travel rewards in the post-pandemic travel resurgence. Almost 50% of the consumer respondents said the ability to earn points on travel is important. In comparison, 42% have redeemed points to lower the cost of their trip and one-third expected to use their loyalty points to cover the entire cost of their journey. These findings suggest that loyalty programs that enable members to earn and redeem travel rewards can leverage the recent surge in travel demand to capture more of their members' spend, incentivize new sign-ups and better engage with existing members. Travel rewards are key but are often lacking. While travel rewards programs can be effective loyalty engines, they often fall short of expectations. Both industry decision-makers and consumers agree as to why. Almost a quarter of travelers said their rewards don't seem valuable enough, while nearly a third are frustrated by the lack of redemption options, and roughly the same amount say it's difficult or complex to earn and redeem points. Industry leaders recognize that their loyalty programs are lacking, with 27% admitting they fail to offer enough variety when it comes to travel options, and 28% report that they struggle to demonstrate the value of their rewards. What's even more worrying for loyalty administrators is the number of respondents who say that none of their loyalty programs offer travel rewards (54%), compared to 65% of industry leaders who say these redemption options are available. This apparent disconnect means loyalty providers should emphasize marketing their travel rewards and better communicate their value. "Loyalty providers that want to use their travel rewards program to help grow their business must give members what they want. As our survey results indicate, that means delivering the right rewards and offers to the right people at the right time, Expanding travel options, making it easier to redeem travel and providing a seamless booking experience backed by flexible technology are all important to increasing the real and perceived value of travel loyalty programs." -Jeff Zotara, arrivia Chief Marketing Officer Technological capability remains a barrier to closing the value gap for many loyalty program providers; 39% of loyalty programs don't allow members to book travel directly through their platform. Another 31% say booking conversion rates would improve if they could offer more exclusive discounts. Other findings from the survey include: 63% of industry respondents plan on offering new travel rewards or benefits in 2022, including exclusive travel options, deeper discounts and experiences or activities. 30% say attracting new members to their loyalty programs is their biggest challenge 26% of travelers turn to their loyalty program platforms first when travel planning signaling that deals can influence decisions 59% of millennials say it's either extremely or very important to be able to redeem points or miles when planning a trip. Focus on travel loyalty programs for financial services brands Though the survey included respondents from different industries, including hospitality, travel and education, the report reveals that financial services companies have the most to gain by upping the value proposition of their travel rewards programs. More than half of credit cardholders belong to a loyalty program that includes travel benefits, and roughly 80% belong to five or more loyalty programs. That means they are more likely to be familiar with various reward structures and more attuned to the relative value of rewards, while loyalty providers in this sector must stand out from the crowd to differentiate their programs from traditional types of travel rewards. Offering travel rewards is a good first step; we know they resonate with cardholders and consumers, added Zotara. But if credit card companies and financial institutions want to become their customers' go-to for everyday purchases and capture more of their travel spend, they need to get to the next level by providing exceptional, exclusive discounts combined with streamlined redemption and whole-trip booking capabilities. That's how brands can not only meet the expectations established by online travel providers but exceed them and become their customers' first thought when planning to travel. The Where travel meets loyalty survey report can be downloaded here. For more information about the survey or to speak with Jeff Zotara, Chief Marketing Officer at arrivia, please contact Sylvia Kindlain at skindlain@thinkinkpr.com. About arrivia Arrivia is a travel technology company that provides travel loyalty, booking and marketing solutions to consumer-facing companies that want to deliver exceptional value to their customers, uncover new revenue streams and drive growth through exciting travel rewards and member benefits. The company's Travel Privileges platform opens up the world of travel for companies like American Express, USAA and Marriott Vacation Club by offering their customers more value through exclusive pricing and encouraging discovery with relevant and personalized options that inspire travel and consumer loyalty. To learn more about how arrivia helps companies drive growth, incentivize sales, boost affinity and reward high-value customers, visit www.arrivia.com.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Trasava Lets Travelers Book 5-Star Hotels at 2-Star Prices

Trasava | February 02, 2022

As travel returns and the demand for hotel rooms increases, Trasava introduces a new way of booking rooms that keeps prices low and hoteliers happy. Through a combination of superior technology and its unique approach to inventory, Trasava has managed to bridge the gap between business and leisure travel, making discounted travel rates—similar to those of corporate travel discounts—accessible to individual travelers. The problem in the hospitality industry is clear: nearly every OTA, online travel agency, pulls from the same inventory pool, causing prices across dozens of sites to be more or less the same. Trasava flips this model on its head, leveraging exclusive agreements with its suppliers to offer travel rates not available to the general public. This allows Trasava to get deep discounts on hotels of all types—from basic to luxury—all over the world. While other OTAs compete to sell unwanted last-minute rooms, Trasava offers lower prices from the outset, whether you're booking one day or one year in advance. Led by a passionate team of nomadic entrepreneurs, Trasava's founders are scratching their own itch by building a better booking platform. They offer over 1 million listings in 70+ countries, plus a 110% guarantee. If travelers can find a cheaper price elsewhere online available to the public, they will refund 110% of the difference. With its focus on making both hotels and travelers happy, Trasava has created a booking experience that's a win-win. Here are some of the savings travelers can expect from Trasava: $400 saved over a long weekend in a 4-star hotel in Manhattan in July $650 saved over a 5-day stay at a 5-star hotel in central Berlin in September $900 saved on a weeklong vacation at a 5-star resort in Cancún in February Travelers interested in learning more can try out Trasava for themselves at Trasava.com. AboutTrasava: Trasava is a new travel tech startup based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Launched in 2022, Trasava is making travel more affordable by bringing corporate hotel pricing to the masses.

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INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

Aggressor Adventures Dives into the New Year with Optimism Following a Successful 2021

Aggressor Adventures | December 23, 2021

Aggressor Adventures® is celebrating the end of a successful 2021 and looking back on the past 12 months with pride while looking forward with optimism and excitement. In 2021, the company launched its Consumer Travel Index, won numerous awards, reopened its Sri Lanka Safari Lodge and announced plans to offer new adventures to customers in 2022. Return to Travel Aggressor saw an increase in bookings for operating destinations of 123% in 2021 over 2020. “I am incredibly proud of how our staff has persevered through the many changes in requirements from governments worldwide, updating protocols, destination reopenings, and more. The quality of our service never wavered; in fact, I’d say the past few years have made us even better than we were before Even through it all, we still saw tremendous growth this year compared to last. I believe that people were ready to make up for lost time and rebook the trips they had to cancel in 2020.” -Wayne Brown, CEO of Aggressor Adventures. Aggressor provided an adventure of a lifetime to more than 12,000 guests in 2021. The company’s top three most popular destinations were Socorro, which saw 240% growth in bookings, Red Sea RE, which saw 230% growth in bookings and Belize, which saw 182% growth in bookings. Exciting for Aggressor, the future looks just as bright: “We are confident we can plan double digit growth in 2022,” Brown added. Consumer Travel Index Aggressor’s Consumer Travel Index provided insightful findings from a series of national surveys to track consumer sentiments. Topics from 2021 included interest and comfortability in traveling, motivations for traveling, how long consumers are planning trips for, what their budgets are, how remote working has impacted travel plans, and much more. Award Wins In 2021 Aggressor earned many awards, including Top Liveaboard Company in the World with 69 Readers Choice Awards from Scuba Diving Magazine, a Gold Travel Weekly Magellan Award for Cruise Safety for the company’s industry-leading Clean, Refresh, Sanitize program, and a Silver Travel Weekly Magellan Award for Cruise Podcast for the company’s Inspired by Adventure podcast. New Adventures 2021 saw the reopening of the Aggressor Safari Lodge in Sri Lanka® and the announcement of a new liveaboard, the Red Sea Royal Evolution (RE) Aggressor, which will set sail in February 2022. In addition to these new destinations and reopenings, the brand also has major plans for several exciting new destinations for customers in 2022. Brown and his team have visited numerous adventure sites and are actively exploring new trips in Belize, the British Virgin Islands and several other exciting destinations. About Aggressor Adventures Since 1984, Aggressor Adventures® has offered travelers liveaboard scuba and snorkeling charters, luxury river cruises and exotic wildlife safaris. Worldwide locations the company explores include Bahamas, Belize, Cayman Islands, Cocos Island, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Galapagos, Hawaii, Indonesia, Maldives, Mexico, Philippines, Palau, Red Sea, Roatan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Turks and Caicos. The company’s Clean, Refresh, Sanitize safety standards are industry leading. For more information, visit www.aggressor.com

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COMMERCIAL TRAVEL

TRAWICK INTERNATIONAL NAMED TOP TRAVEL INSURANCE PROVIDER OF 2021 BY SQUAREMOUTH

TRAWICK INTERNATIONAL | February 15, 2022

Trawick International (Trawick) has been named Top-Selling Travel Insurance Provider for 2021 by the popular travel insurance comparison site, Squaremouth. The announcement cites total premium sold, number of policies sold, overall customer rating, and percent of negative reviews to sales as key indicators. In 2021, the top-selling Trawick plan on Squaremouth was Safe Travels Voyager, designed for travelers wanting the highest available benefit limits. Trawick has been ranked number one on Squaremouth's monthly Top-Selling Travel Insurance Providers - Ranked by Premium Sold list for 17 consecutive months, beginning September 2020 through January 2022. Previously, Trawick held the third spot on the annual list for 2020. "We are thrilled to top the 2021 Squaremouth list. The Trawick team is passionate about designing and offering travel insurance plans at competitive rates with the most sought-after coverage. Moving up from the third spot in 2020 to the top spot in 2021 indicates that travelers around the world trust Trawick to be there for them when they need it most, and for that, we are grateful." -Daryl Trawick, Founder and President, Trawick International Bailey Foster, Vice President of Trip Insurance, Trawick International, added, This is an exciting time for Trawick. Holding the top spot is not something we take for granted. We will keep innovating and improving our offerings to provide travelers with industry-leading products and services. We are thankful for our partnership with Squaremouth and to everyone who put their trust in us. In addition to Safe Travels Voyager, Trawick offers a diverse portfolio of international and domestic travel insurance plans. In 2021, more than 650,000 travelers enrolled in a Trawick plan. About Trawick International Trawick International has been a leading provider of travel insurance and other assistance services for nearly 25 years. The Company offers a full suite of innovative travel, travel medical, and student insurance, as well as emergency assistance services. For more, visit www.trawickinternational.com. About Squaremouth Squaremouth.com has insured over two million travelers. Using Squaremouth's intuitive quoting and comparison engine, award-winning support team, and verified customer reviews, travelers can save time and money to find the best travel insurance policy for their trip. For more, visit www.squaremouth.com.

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If you develop a fever and Ebola symptoms yourself promptly inform airline personnel. fever, weakness, DESTINATION muscle pain, headache, and sore throat; followed by vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding. Avoid direct physical contact with anyone who is displaying the symptoms of Ebola.

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