Direct Travel buys Professional Travel

Travel Weekly | January 14, 2020

Direct Travel , a roll-up of travel management companies based in the Denver area, has acquired Professional Travel of Cleveland (No. 31 on the Power List). Terms of the acquisition, Direct Travel’s largest in the U.S. to date, were not disclosed. According to Direct Travel, Professional Travel has more than 175 employees with sales of $448 million. Professional Travel’s leadership team will remain in place following the acquisition. “We’re enthusiastic to begin this new chapter with Direct Travel as it will allow us to provide more depth and a wider array of services to our clients,” Professional Travel chairman and CEO Bob Sturm said in a statement. “Direct Travel’s focus on the mid-market customer along with their service excellence means they are committed to the same guiding principles that have shaped our agency from the beginning.”

Spotlight

It’s 2014. Is your company making the most of its meetings spend? For many companies, meetings spend is one of their least transparent spend categories. It can represent up to 35% of a company’s total travel budget (in some industries, like the pharmaceutical and financial sectors, that percentage can go even higher).1 But meetings spend is often fragmented and hidden, and the task of uncovering and piecing it together can seem daunting.


Other News
HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Choice Hotels International to Acquire Radisson Hotel Group Americas

Choice Hotels International, Inc | June 14, 2022

Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH) and Radisson Hotel Group announced that Choice Hotels has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the franchise business, operations and intellectual property of Radisson Hotel Group Americas for approximately $675 million. The addition of Radisson's nine hotel brands in the Americas is the latest chapter in Choice's successful strategy to expand its growth opportunities by bringing the company's best-in-class franchising platform to adjacent hotel segments and to a new set of hotel owners. The added 624 hotels with over 68,000 rooms expand Choice Hotels' presence in the upscale and core upper-midscale hospitality segments, particularly in the West Coast and Midwest of the United States.The acquisition of some of the industry's most recognized brands extends Choice Hotels' customer reach in the upscale segments, as well as to more business travelers and a broader demographic within Choice's core leisure segment. The combination strengthens Choice's ability to provide a more holistic product offering across segments and continue to capitalize on consumer trends expected to fuel future demand for travel such as remote work, increasing retirements and road trips. The transaction brings Choice's industry-leading RevPAR (revenue per available room) growth performance to a new set of franchisees and hotel investors and provides new growth opportunities to expand Choice Hotels' presence to additional locations in Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. Consistent with Choice Hotels' long-term strategy of growing in higher revenue segments, the Radisson brands typically have larger room counts and are located in higher RevPAR markets, driving higher royalty revenue per hotel. "Choice has a well-established history of smart acquisitions in new segments where our world-class franchising engine can spur future growth. This transaction brings together two highly complementary businesses, enhancing our guest offerings in the core upper-midscale hospitality segments, while extending our reach into the upper upscale and upscale full-service segments and in higher revenue geographic markets. We are confident that guests and franchisees will significantly benefit by combining these two exceptional sets of brands." -Patrick Pacious, President and Chief Executive Officer of Choice Hotels The transaction unlocks significant potential value for the Radisson brands in the Americas. Choice Hotels has a deep familiarity with the Americas franchisee community and will bring a strong commitment to driving the success of Radisson franchisees, many of whom already have franchise agreements with Choice Hotels. Pacious continued, "Our long track record of establishing mutually beneficial relationships with our franchisees has resulted in a best-in-class voluntary retention rate, and those franchisees are the source of a majority of our new hotel development. Our existing and new hotel owners will benefit from the improved business delivery capabilities of the combined companies, including our award-winning loyalty program, proprietary tools and emerging technologies that will enable them to capture more business, lower their hotel operating costs, reach new customers and respond to evolving industry trends." Federico J. González, CEO of Radisson Hotel Group, said, Since the introduction of our strategic transformation plan in 2017, Radisson Hotel Group has been committed to the global success of the Radisson brands and expanding the overall footprint of our global operations. We have achieved strong results, doubling the number of rooms signed per year in EMEA and APAC, confirming Radisson Blu as the largest upper-upscale brand for over 10 years and establishing Radisson as the upscale brand with the largest growth in EMEA. We are confident that Choice Hotels is the owner with the right long-term strategy, resources and management team to successfully accelerate the growth of the Radisson business in the Americas. Radisson Hotel Group will continue to leverage the strength of operational excellence to set our business in EMEA and APAC on a significant growth path with the aim of doubling the portfolio in those markets by 2025. Together with Choice, we will work to ensure that customers continue to experience the highest levels of service and a superior brand experience. "Our associates have been working hard to solidify the power of our brands, build a better commercial engine and offer best-in-class solutions to franchisees and customers. We are very pleased that the Radisson family of brands in the Americas will join Choice Hotels. We believe that this acquisition will drive growth in a highly competitive market and enable stronger performance for our franchisees."About Choice Hotels® -Tom Buoy, interim CEO of Radisson Hotel Group Americas Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH) is one of the largest lodging franchisors in the world. With nearly 7,000 hotels, representing nearly 600,000 rooms, in 35 countries and territories as of March 31, 2022, the Choice® family of hotel brands provides business and leisure travelers with a range of high-quality lodging options from limited service to full-service hotels in the upscale, midscale, extended-stay and economy segments. The award-winning Choice Privileges® loyalty program offers members benefits ranging from everyday rewards to exceptional experiences. For more information, visit www.choicehotels.com. About Radisson Hotel Group Americas Radisson Hotel Group Americas represents Radisson Hotels operations and brands in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. The Radisson Hotel Group Americas portfolio of brands includes Radisson Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Radisson Individuals, Radisson Inn & Suites, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson and Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, brought together under the overarching Radisson Hotels Americas name. For more information visit www.radissonhotelsamericas.com About Radisson Hotel Group Radisson Hotel Group is one of the world's largest and most dynamic hotel groups with nine distinctive brands, more than 1,700 hotels in operation and under development, more than 260,000 rooms and a footprint spanning over 120 countries and territories. 100,000+ global team members work for the Radisson Hotel Group and at the hotels licensed to operate in its systems. The Group's overarching brand promise is Every Moment Matters with a signature Yes I Can! service ethos.

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AIRLINES AND AIRPORTS

TICO Board Approves Canada Jetlines as a Registered Travel Retailer and Travel Wholesaler Under the Travel Industry Act

Canada Jetlines Operations Ltd | June 27, 2022

Canada Jetlines Operations Ltd. (NEO: CJET) (“Canada Jetlines”) the new all-Canadian, leisure airline, is proud to announce the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (“TICO”) has provided approval to the carrier’s subsidiary Canada Jetlines Vacations Ltd. as a travel retailer and travel wholesaler under the Travel Industry Act, 2022.TICO is mandated by the Ontario government to administer the Ontario Travel Industry Act, 2002 and Ontario Regulation 26/05 which governs approximately 2,100 travel retailers and travel wholesalers registered in Ontario – providing Canadian travelers with confidence from their stamp of approval. A recent survey of Ontario consumers found that 82% of respondents think it’s important that the travel agency or website they are booking with is regulated. TICO ensures all registered agencies and websites are safe, reliable, and provide customer protections and benefits. “Canada Jetlines Vacations is thrilled to officially receive approval from the highly respected TICO organization, We look forward to offering our passengers the resources, and consumer protection benefits to create a safe and efficient travel experience as a TICO-registered company.” -Duncan Bureau, CCO, Canada Jetlines. Formed in 1997, TICO is a not-for-profit corporation wholly financed by Ontario-registered travel agents and wholesalers. It administers the Travel Industry Act, 2002 and the Ontario Travel Industry Compensation Fund. Please visit TICO’s website at www.tico.ca for more information. Visit www.jetlines.com to learn more, sign up for email updates, and follow on all social media platforms to join the Canada Jetlines family. About Canada Jetlines Canada Jetlines is a well-capitalized leisure focused air carrier, utilizing a growing fleet of Airbus 320 aircraft targeting launch in the summer of 2022, subject to Transport Canada approval. The air carrier was created to provide Canadians with value vacation choices and convenient travel options to fly to fantastic leisure destinations within Canada, the U.S.A., Cuba, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Antigua, Bahamas, and other Caribbean nations. Canada Jetlines will provide exciting vacation packages to iconic Canadian destinations and beyond via strong partnerships with airports, CVB’s, tourism entities, hotels, hospitality brands, and attractions. With a projected growth of 15 aircrafts by 2025, Canada Jetlines aims to offer the best-in-class operating economics, customer comfort and fly-by-wire technology, providing an elevated guest centric experience from the first touchpoint. The efficient aircraft design merged with the experience of the all-Canadian management team, allows for accessible flight options without sacrificing quality or convenience. The carrier will use a state-of-the-art web booking platform, making the turnkey solution available to consumers, travel agents, and tour operators, with the capability of generating revenue on reservations and ancillary sales with the aim to provide more revenue opportunities to current and future agent partners and all the work that they do. We look forward to working with you to create memorable travel experiences for consumers. To learn more, please visit www.jetlines.com and follow on all social media platforms for news and updates.

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COMMERCIAL TRAVEL

Travelopia Takes Next Steps On Customer Experience Journey With Talkdesk

Talkdesk | December 18, 2021

Talkdesk®, Inc., the global customer experience leader for customer-obsessed companies, has been chosen by Travelopia, the world’s largest collection of specialist travel brands, as its contact centre solution provider. Talkdesk provided a flexible, scalable solution as this pioneer in specialty travel charted a new course to remote call center technology for its portfolio of independent brands operating across the globe.Travelopia - the only travel brand of its kind in the world - is at the forefront of global travel for those wanting a distinctive experience. With primary headquarters in Crawley, England, the company supports a global network of hospitality professionals representing 23 independent travel brands offering more than 70 destinations, spanning 10 countries across all seven continents. The Travelopia portfolio is exclusively focused on specialist travel, and the company strives to deliver unique experiences - from exploring Canada’s Rideau Canal by boat to joining the ranks of those rare travellers who cross the Antarctic Circle to see the South Pole. Whether travelling around the world by private jet or exploring closer to home on bicycle, Travelopia helps cultivate the passions and interests of its more than 750,000 guests each year. Talkdesk CX Cloud™, an end-to-end customer experience solution, made the transition from on premises to remote contact centre operations much easier for the geographically diverse Travelopia network of sales agents responsible for helping guests with highly customised travel itineraries and complex customer support enquiries. Agents across multiple geographies could better manage their time, which reduced the number of missed guest calls. The Talkdesk solution offered robust analytics, and those deeper insights into customer data enabled agents to proactively suggest new, customised travel experiences for returning guests. The flexibility and scalability of remote contact centre operations allowed Travelopia to efficiently adapt to the rapidly changing travel market conditions over the last year, as well as lowered operating costs during a volatile time for the travel industry as a whole. “One of the core values driving Travelopia forward is our constant pursuit of the ultimate customer experience for our guests to enrich their lives through travel. As part of that pursuit, we’re committed to reflect on and evolve our operational approach,” said Mark Beauchamp, technology director, Travelopia. “For our move to remote contact centre operations, we wanted an innovative, flexible solution with the best tools to delight our customers. The Talkdesk solution provides our global network of agents across the portfolio of Travelopia brands with the resources they need to provide a seamless customer journey for guests - from first contact with our sales team through to the conclusion of that world beating travel experience.” “Customer experience has never been more important to the success of travel and hospitality brands as it is now. Travellers worldwide are making up for lost time and missed opportunities, and they will choose to partner with those companies that can deliver not only that once-in-a-lifetime adventure, but also an unforgettable customer service experience before, during, and after,With the Talkdesk solution, Travelopia agents can provide customer experience as unique and meaningful as the extraordinary travel experiences they create. We’re proud to partner with Travelopia in achieving their customer experience goals.” -Kieran King, chief customer officer, Talkdesk. About Talkdesk® is a global cloud contact center leader for customer-obsessed companies. We believe that better customer experiences start with AI. Our automation-first customer experience solutions optimize our customers’ most critical customer service processes. Our speed of innovation, deep vertical expertise, and global footprint reflect our commitment to ensuring that businesses everywhere can deliver better customer experiences across any industry and through any channel, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and accelerated business outcomes. Over 1,800 innovative companies around the world, including Acxiom, Fujitsu, Hunter Douglas, IBM, Trivago, Tuft & Needle, YMCA, and 2U partner with Talkdesk to deliver a better way to great customer experience. Learn more and request a demo at www.talkdesk.com.Talkdesk is a registered trademark of Talkdesk, Inc. All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered ® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation or endorsement by them.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Cirium Partners With 3Victors to Offer the Most Dynamic Travel Demand Forecasting

Cirium | May 19, 2022

Cirium, the aviation analytics company, and travel data analytics firm, 3Victors today announced a reseller partnership to enable Cirium to bring together flight schedules and passenger traffic data with online search data to interpret, understand and forecast passenger demand for airports and DMOs“Cirium and 3Victors share the mission to revolutionize the way the travel industry forecasts future demand. “Airlines and airports worldwide have long used the Diio by Cirium suite of products for network and traffic analysis. We have invested in the products and have enhanced the quality of our schedules, traffic, and fares data to ensure we maintain our leading position in the market.” -Kim Gesch, VP Airline Planning at Cirium Chris Zando, CEO at 3Victors said: Both 3Victors and Cirium are focused on high quality data science to bring real-time insights to commercial decision-making for the industry. The combination of both our capabilities provides the most dynamic forecasting in the market and at a time when it is most needed. Travel demand models have traditionally been built by comparing current bookings for flights against historical trends. Ticket prices were raised and lowered based on indicators from these models to ensure a flight was booked at optimum fare levels. Post-pandemic, changes to traveler booking behavior means past booking patterns may no longer be reliable as a guide to future demand. Cirium and 3Victors will join forces to offer the most complete solution for analyzing future traffic, monitoring trends across time and detecting emerging opportunities. The offering will include the Diio by Cirium flight schedules, traffic and fares data alongside 3Victors DemandView search data, providing the most accurate forecast as possible. This is particularly important for airports seeking better insights to retain and gain air service or DMOs wanting to optimize their marketing campaigns and traveler conversion rates. 3Victors’ search data is captured from more than half a million global touchpoints, including when a prospective traveler visits traditional or online travel agency, meta search, or travel search engine: or searches for flights. The most advanced data science is applied to interpret the traveler behavior, which provides a clear demand signal for flight bookings. An example using 3Victors data shows that on a recent date there were large spikes in domestic demand originating in the UK and US, along with output showing year-over-year variation. If historical trends alone were used to forecast travel demand, the spikes in travel being seen in 2022 to date would not have been forecast. Said Cirium’s Gesch: “Pairing Cirium’s capabilities with 3Victors’ contemporary travel demand insights means we can offer clients worldwide the most advanced solution to determine accurate traveler intent, monitor passenger trends, and identify correlations between what travelers are searching and actually booking.” About Cirium Cirium brings together powerful data and analytics to keep the world moving. Delivering insight, built from decades of experience in the sector, enabling travel companies, aircraft manufacturers, airports, airlines and financial institutions, among others, to make logical and informed decisions which shape the future of travel, growing revenues and enhancing customer experiences. Cirium is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. The shares of RELX PLC are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RELX. For further information please follow Cirium updates on LinkedIn or Twitter or visit www.cirium.com About 3Victors 3Victors has built the industry’s first travel data analytics as a service platform in the Cloud. 3V’s proprietary 360° view of the travel landscape is the nexus between data volume, variety and velocity. 3V delivers market-leading data coverage and real-time analytics and insights, empowering companies with actionable intelligence.

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Spotlight

It’s 2014. Is your company making the most of its meetings spend? For many companies, meetings spend is one of their least transparent spend categories. It can represent up to 35% of a company’s total travel budget (in some industries, like the pharmaceutical and financial sectors, that percentage can go even higher).1 But meetings spend is often fragmented and hidden, and the task of uncovering and piecing it together can seem daunting.

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