Booking.com enters ride-hailing business with Grab

Business Traveller | November 04, 2019

A new collaboration between Grab, a Singapore-based company offering ride-hailing transport services and travel accommodation booking platform Booking.com will now allow travellers to book local rides from the latter’s app. At present, the service is on iOS, and shall soon be accessed by android users. So, it means that Booking.com users can now book Grab rides in Singapore without the hassle of downloading the Grab app or even creating a new account on the same. This service is currently available in Singapore and will soon be extended to  Indonesia and Thailand by the end of the year, and in Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and the Philippines by early 2020.

Spotlight

You have most likely heard of Millenials by now and their importance in the travel industry. Folks aged between 18 and 34 now represent the most important demographic cohort, having surpassed Boomers (folks born between 1946 and 1964) last year, and in 2017 they now officially become the biggest demographic in the hotel industry.


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DESTINATION AND TOURISM

Denver ranks among most popular holiday travel destinations

Business Journal | December 15, 2021

Denver is one of the top 10 most popular destinations by flight this holiday season, according to a new online travel agency survey. Among those planning to fly between Dec. 17 and Jan. 1, Denver is one of the most popular destinations — and one of the most affordable for booking hotels — according to a survey by RetailMeNot and Priceline. Denver ranks among other popular cities such as New York City, Orlando, Florida, and Las Vegas for flight destinations. However, the survey found that most travelers are taking to the road for holiday travel, at 75% compared to 41% who said they're traveling by plane. The survey also found that hotels in Denver are among the most affordable, at an $151 average nightly rate. That put Denver among relatively affordable hotels in Las Vegas, Pigeon Forge, Tennesee, Washington, D.C., and Kissimmee, Florida, Hotels in the Denver metro area are still struggling to recover decreased visitors from the pandemic. Statewide hotel occupancy climbed from 15.7% in April 2020 to 77.2% occupancy in July, according to the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association. However, since then, occupancy has dropped again, particularly among downtown hotels. Meanwhile, Colorado is getting used to high air traveler volume, with Denver International Airport becoming the third-busiest airport in the world this year. DIA predicted about 2 million travelers to pass through the airport over the Thanksgiving holiday. AAA predicts more than 109 million people — an almost 34% increase from 2020 — will travel over the end-of-year holidays (between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2) in 2021. That includes people driving and flying, among other transportation. According to an AAA spokesperson, that number includes 851,900 predicted travelers from the Mountain region — including Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming — this holiday season.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Xeni Partners with Techspian for Its Web 3.0 Travel Ecosystem

Xeni | March 16, 2022

Xeni is modern infrastructure for travel built using blockchain. The platform allows clients to launch their own web-based travel agency with a custom booking engine, traveler interface, CRM, and payment settlement engine. It offers smaller travel resellers full control over their commissions and an online experience that is currently only available to the largest organizations. Through their partnership, Xeni will leverage Techspian’s travel technology and industry experience as they build their Web 3.0 travel ecosystem. “We are very pleased with this agreement. Xeni’s solutions and Techspian’s travel technology expertise put together enables us to set a new standard for our cooperation and deliver a unique offering for travel retailers and wholesalers across the globe, Furthermore, this partnership underscores our belief that future growth in the industry will come from companies that continually invest in improving the user experience.” -Sameer Lodha, CEO & Co-founder of Techspian. Rachel Obenshain, President & Co-founder of Xeni, said, Travel platform development is complex and requires a great deal of technical and industry knowledge. By leveraging Techspian’s travel domain expertise, we can build an ecosystem that democratizes access to reselling travel online. About Xeni The travel technology business Xeni, Inc. is based in New York City. Founders: Sachin Narode and Rachel Obenshain About Techspian Techspian, is a global IT service provider proficient in building software solutions using emerging technologies like AI and Data Science. Their software development efforts provide a seamless customer experience through its four center of excellence – Platform Engineering, Mobility, AI/ML Development, and Cloud Services. As a part of a software service offering, Techspian continues to share guidance, insights, and best practices with their readers via blogs, case studies, and webinars. Visit www.techspian.com to learn more.

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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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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Hudson Becomes First Travel Retailer To Deploy Amazon One

Hudson | December 16, 2021

Hudson, a Dufry company and travel experience leader with more than 1,000 stores in airports, commuter hubs, landmarks and tourist destinations across North America, announced it is the first retailer in the travel industry to offer Amazon’s palm recognition service, Amazon One, strengthening the company’s position as an innovative, digitally-powered retailer. Amazon One is now available at Hudson Nonstop – powered by Just Walk Out technology – at Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL).Hudson continues to expand its digital offerings to enhance customer service and reimagine the shopping journey. Now with the addition of Amazon One, Hudson is providing travelers with even more convenient and contactless ways to enter, shop, and pay – delivering greater choice and flexibility throughout their travels. “The integration of Amazon One into our technology portfolio demonstrates Hudson’s unique ability to continually redefine and elevate the travel experience,With consumers increasingly demanding greater convenience and speed, we look forward to leading the charge in introducing new innovative solutions and retail concepts that are designed to meet and exceed the expectations of our travelers and partners.” -Jordi Martin-Consuegra, Chief Executive Officer of Hudson. As the first-ever Just Walk Out technology-enabled store in an airport to deploy Amazon One, Hudson Nonstop at DAL now offers travelers two different options to enter and pay – either by inserting their credit or debit card, or by hovering their palm over the Amazon One device at the store’s entry gate. First-time Amazon One users can sign up at the dedicated Amazon One enrollment kiosk located outside of Hudson Nonstop to securely associate a credit or debit card with their unique palm signature before entering the store. If a traveler has previously enrolled in Amazon One at select Amazon Go, Amazon Books, Amazon 4-star, Amazon Fresh, Amazon Pop Up, or Whole Foods Market stores, they will not need to visit the enrollment kiosk – they can simply hover their palm over the Amazon One device at the entry gates to enter this Hudson Nonstop. Once travelers have completed their shopping, the card linked to their Amazon One ID will be charged for the items they selected and left the store with. “The introduction of Amazon One to the Hudson Nonstop store at the Dallas Love Field Airport brings another convenient way for travelers to quickly shop and be on their way, We’re thrilled Hudson is offering travelers in Dallas the ability to shop quickly and effortlessly using a combination of Just Walk Out technology and Amazon One so they can get what they need without having to wait in line, stopping to checkout, or even taking out their wallet.” -Dilip Kumar, Vice President of Physical Retail & Technology at Amazon Hudson currently has two Hudson Nonstop stores powered by Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology, including its most recent location at Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW). The deployment of Amazon One at Hudson Nonstop at DAL expands on the successful collaboration between the two industry-leading retailers while building on Hudson’s continued investments in its digital offerings. This includes launching automated specialty retail, introducing additional checkout options such as mobile point of sale (POS), offering 24x7 duty free omnichannel shopping, and adding new payment methods like “Tap To Pay” and now Amazon One. About Hudson Hudson, a Dufry Company, is a travel experience company turning the world of travel into a world of opportunity by being the Traveler’s Best Friend in more than 1,000 stores in airports, commuter hubs, landmarks, and tourist locations. Our team members care for travelers as friends at our travel convenience, specialty retail, duty free and food and beverage destinations. At the intersection of travel and retail, we partner with landlords and vendors, and take innovative, commercial approaches to deliver exceptional value. To learn more about how we can make your location a travel destination, please visit us at hudsongrou

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Spotlight

You have most likely heard of Millenials by now and their importance in the travel industry. Folks aged between 18 and 34 now represent the most important demographic cohort, having surpassed Boomers (folks born between 1946 and 1964) last year, and in 2017 they now officially become the biggest demographic in the hotel industry.

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