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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BUSINESS TRAVEL

Emburse Launches the Ultimate Business Travel Companion Tool to Enhance the Entire Trip Experience

Emburse | April 06, 2022

Emburse, a global leader in spend management solutions, has announced the launch of Emburse Go: a mobile travel companion that delivers the best possible business travel experience by managing every aspect of a trip - from end to end. Emburse Go extends well beyond typical flight and hotel itinerary information, providing valuable location-based content to keep travelers safe, comfortable and productive. Traditionally, business travelers have had to navigate every aspect of a trip themselves, beyond basic transit and accommodation. Emburse Go allows employers to easily curate destination information and deliver contextual messaging that not only meets growing employee expectations, but also helps reduce spend leakage and minimize risks. It even allows companies to track the carbon footprint of each trip and across their travel program. Designed for small and medium-sized businesses, Emburse Go is based on the Emburse Go Premier (formerly Roadmap) award-winning corporate travel app used by millions of travelers at large enterprises including Nike, Microsoft and Merck. Notable features include: Consumer-like app delivers a curated experience at every stage of the trip Emburse Go differs from most business travel apps by providing much more than flight notifications and itinerary information, such as company-selected city guides and preferred supplier links for easy access to the corporate booking tool, corporate TMC, corporate card and expense solution. It focuses on supporting travelers holistically throughout their trip, including the entire time they’re at their destination. Once a trip is booked (whether via a corporate booking tool or online booking site), the app can be automatically pre-populated with the itinerary, any subsequent itinerary changes and all relevant destination information. This includes local transport tips, tipping recommendations, risk and safety information, and local music and points of interest. As employees use the app, employers can learn from their experiences via travel data that relies on machine learning best practices and traveler reviews given through the app. This helps improve future trip recommendations and measures performance against travel program goals. Emphasizes traveler safety, helping employers prioritize duty of care Travelers can access essential safety information about their destination within the app. Emburse Go provides the latest COVID testing requirements, travel advisories, and visa requirements, and links to request assistance during the trip. Corporate travel managers can reduce risk by easily communicating safety information to travelers via the app. Tracks carbon footprint and informs sustainable decision-making More than 70% of business travelers are concerned about their company’s carbon footprint, according to Statista. Emburse Go leverages data from Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GGP) to allow employees to manage their footprint and companies to get an overview of their impact. Travelers can view the carbon footprint of their entire trip, including flights, ground transportation and hotel choices, in the Emburse Go app. Data from all employee trips is gathered in a central dashboard, enabling organizations to measure and analyze their overall carbon footprint and benchmark it against their ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) commitments. “Optimizing the business traveler experience has long been overlooked as a nice-to-have. But not any more. The pause in business travel and the overall increased focus on employee wellbeing has made companies reassess how to treat their employees while on the road. All organizations, no matter their size, have to rise to the challenge with curated experiences, easy-to-use mobile apps, and clear commitment to comfort, safety and sustainability. Business trips are an opportunity to live up to your organization’s values and promises. Companies that fail to do so will feel the impact in the form of higher travel costs, employee churn and reputational pressure,” -Eric Friedrichsen, CEO of Emburse. Emburse Go is available as an iPhone or Android app, to existing Emburse customers. It comes with a desktop self-service portal for travel managers, enabling them to create targeted and custom messaging for travelers. Emburse Go Premier is available to existing customers or as a standalone solution. Emburse Go Premier customers also receive monthly reports and insights for their entire travel program. The app is available in seven languages. About Emburse Emburse is a modern spend management company offering solutions that revolutionize the way organizations manage employee expenses, process invoices and make payments. Emburse humanizes work by empowering business travelers, finance professionals, and CFOs to eliminate manual, time-consuming tasks, so they can focus on what matters most. Its innovative offerings, which are tailored to meet the unique business needs of specific industries, company sizes, and geographies, are trusted by more than 9 million users in more than 120 countries. Over 16,000 customers, from start-ups to global enterprises, including Bosch, Grant Thornton, Telefónica, Lufthansa Systems, and Toyota, rely on Emburse to make faster, smarter decisions, improve compliance, and optimize spend -- making corporate spend deliver meaningful value for the organization. Emburse is recognized as a leader in expense management and accounts payable automation by analyst firm IDC, and has received multiple awards for innovation and its high levels of customer satisfaction. For more information on Emburse, visit emburse.com, call 877-EMBURSE, or follow the organization’s social channels at @emburse.

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COMMERCIAL TRAVEL

SAMSONITE INTRODUCES DYNAMIC NEW ELEVATION PLUS COLLECTION

Samsonite | June 09, 2022

Samsonite, a worldwide leader in superior travel bags, luggage, and accessories, announces the launch of their latest collection, Elevation Plus. Comprised of four styles and three colorways, the Elevation Plus collection boasts a timeless design and proprietary capabilities, raising the bar for future travel.With traveler-friendly details like the new QuickEntry™ pocket for easy access to your essentials by the simple push of a button, Elevation Plus cases allow you to conveniently keep grab-and-go items such as your laptop, phone, or hand sanitizer within reach without having to open your luggage. The pocket also locks for added security during travel. Other attributes on both carry-on styles include the TecFolio™ removable pouch, for secure transportation of electronic chargers, cables, make-up brushes, or any other miscellaneous item that needs to be stowed away during a trip. The wireframe removable garment divider with dual compression straps, and expandable packing features allow the user to organize the luggage to their liking, without worrying about wrinkles or space. The design forward collection also features a WetPak™ pocket, a spill-safe pocket for stress-free traveling with TSA approved liquids. Offered in two carry-on sizes as well as a Medium Glider and Large Spinner, the Elevation Plus collection has something for any level of travel. The Medium Glider cases offer higher packing volume than traditional medium size spinners, for added storage of any items picked up during travel. Utility patented off-set wheels, a lower center of gravity, and extended handle system provide smooth movement during transport. This newest collection continues the Samsonite legacy of innovation and industry design leadership. Each piece is thoughtfully crafted to create a seamless packing experience. The result is a group of easy, approachable, and adaptable luggage with the sleek aesthetic and high-quality details that Samsonite is known for. In keeping with the Samsonite commitment to sustainability, the interior lining of the Elevation Plus Collection is crafted using Recyclex™ material technology and made from 100% post-consumer recycled PET (rPET) bottles. Since 2018, Samsonite has launched over 50 products using Recyclex™ fabric, made from 100% post-consumer recycled PET (rPET) bottles, recycling approximately 52 million 500ml PET bottles and resulting in longer-lasting luggage. The Elevation Collection is available in a 22x14x9 Carry-On Spinner ($209.99), Carry-On Spinner ($219.99), Medium Glider ($249.99), and Large Spinner ($279.99) and comes in Triple Black, Cypress Green, or Midnight Blue. The collection is available to purchase on shop.samsonite.com or through retailers including Macy's, Kohl's, and Belk. To learn more about the full range of Samsonite products, please visit shop.samsonite.com or Instagram at @samsoniteusa. About Samsonite: Samsonite is the world leader in superior travel bags, luggage and accessories combining notable style with the latest design technology. Renowned for breakthrough research, development and its commitment to both innovation and sustainability, Samsonite has cemented its prominence with a number of industry firsts while continuing to leverage its rich design heritage to create unparalleled products. For more information visit www.samsonite.com.

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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket teams with renowned local partners to offer a 'Simply Amazing' stay experience

Dusit International, Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket | March 31, 2022

Themed evening parties, a wide range of watersports activities, and a choice of stylish BMW or Peugeot cars await guests this April. BANGKOK, Mar 30, 2022 - (ACN Newswire) - Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket, a luxurious beachfront resort owned and operated by Dusit International, one of Thailand's leading hotel and property development companies, is turning collaborations into exceptional value with a 'Simply Amazing' stay experience featuring an enticing room offer and many opportunities to create lasting memories this month. Available for booking between 1-23 April 2022 for stay dates between 7-30 April 2022, the 'Simply Amazing' room offer applies to Club rooms, Suites, and Villas and starts at only THB 9,000 net per night, inclusive of daily breakfast for two. To elevate the stay experience, Dusit has also teamed up with esteemed local partners to create a wide range of special experiences, memorable activities, and unique services throughout April. Thanks to collaborations with authorised BMW dealer Millennium Auto and car rental company SIXT, guests staying in a Club room or above will have 24-hour access to BMW Series 5 or Peugeot 5008 cars, available to pick up at the resort on a first-come, first-served basis, at no additional charge during their stay.[1] Highlighting local musical talent, each weekend the resort will host nightly theme parties featuring live music, top local DJs, and creative drinks at a pop-up beach bar. The programme will start on Friday 8 April with "Sunset Chill Out & Retro Beats" - a celebration of the '60s, followed by the '80s and '90s on Saturday 9 April, and a multi-generation celebration on Sunday 10 April. Each party will start with a complimentary sunset cocktail. The resort has also teamed up with ZAK Extreme, Jet Board Thailand and Phuket Water Sports Club to offer very special rates on jet surf, surfboard, surf lessons, and other exciting watersports activities every Friday to Sunday throughout the month. Alongside occasional pop-up dining experiences with guest chefs - including, on Songkran (Wednesday 13 April), a special eight-course feast of Basque cuisine by globe-trotting Chef Inaki Bolumburu, for only THB 2,500++ - the resort will also offer its own exclusive Amore Dinner on the Beach for the special price of THB 4,000 per couple, inclusive of two glasses of wine. Set on the sands and illuminated by candles, this romantic dining experience is normally priced at THB 6,000 and is ideal for celebrating any special occasion. "The 'Simply Amazing' experience at Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket is part of our group-wide vision to transform our hotels into dynamic and vibrant spaces that meet the lifestyle needs of all generations of travellers," said Ms Prachoom Tantiprasertsuk, VP - Operations (Southern Thailand), Dusit International. "With this in mind, we are delighted to collaborate with Millennium Auto, SIXT, and other local partners to enhance our stay, dining, and activities experiences in meaningful and exciting ways - all while delivering additional convenience and value. "With a wide range of special activities, and the unique opportunity to explore the island in BMW or Peugeot cars, our international and domestic guests have everything they need to experience the best of Phuket while staying with utmost peace of mind. And we are sure they will find it 'Simply Amazing.'" Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket is located next to the white sands of Bang Tao beach overlooking the azure waters of the Andaman Sea in the heart of Laguna Phuket, an integrated destination resort on the west coast of Phuket island. Alongside SHA Plus certified standards of hygiene and cleanliness, Dusit's carefully crafted 'Dusit Care' services, such as flexible check-in and mobile payment methods, are also in place to deliver additional convenience while maximising guest safety. For more information about the 'Simply Amazing' offer, or to make a booking, please visit www.dusit.com or call (076) 362 999 (local fixed number). [1] Terms and conditions apply About Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket Located next to the white sands of Bang Tao beach overlooking the Andaman Sea and surrounded by lush tropical gardens, Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket comprises 253 elegant rooms, suites and villas. Amongst other facilities, it offers five dining outlets, a fully equipped gym, tennis and sports courts, a luxurious spa, an outdoor swimming pool, a watersports centre, a children's play area, and easy access to the neighbouring 18-hole Laguna Phuket Golf Course. Guests can also enjoy a range of complimentary activities reflecting responsible tourism practices. Among some of the options offered are sustainable crafts workshops such as upcycled tie-dye and bag painting; cooking classes featuring locally sourced ingredients; and Thai cultural workshops where guests can learn more about the history of Phuket and the island's unique traditions and customs. Dusit's new group-wide wellness concept, Devarana Wellness, also offers complimentary activities that enhance emotional and physical resilience, such as yoga, meditation, and breathwork. A Family Retreat Programme, meanwhile, features a mini-farm workshop, educational kids camp, stand up paddleboarding, and other entertaining and enriching experiences for adults and children alike. About Dusit International Established in 1948, Dusit International or Dusit Thani Public Company Limited (DUSIT) is a leading hospitality group listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand. Its operations comprise five distinct yet complementary business units: hotels and resorts, hospitality education, food, property development, and hospitality-related services. The group's portfolio of hotels, resorts and luxury villas includes more than 300 properties operating under a total of six brands (Dusit Thani, Dusit Devarana, dusitD2, Dusit Princess, ASAI Hotels, and Elite Havens) across 16 countries worldwide. The group also operates culinary schools and hospitality colleges in Thailand, plus catering companies for the education sector in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Dusit International's diversified investments in real estate development, hospitality-related services, and the food sector are part of its long-term strategy for sustainable growth, which focuses on three key areas: balance, expansion and diversification. For more information, please visit dusit-international.com.

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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

Are you planning some epic trip, dream vacation or just a business trip? Whichever is the case, I am sure extra cash will cheer you up and help you spend money in a more reasonable way than on overpriced air tickets. So, how can you save money when booking your next flight?

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