HRS introduces ‘augmented artificial intelligence’

Buying Business Travel | November 11, 2019

Hotel solutions provider HRS has introduced rate projection technology powered by augmented artificial intelligence (AAI). The company claims AAI is “superior” to standard artificial intelligence because it runs multiple data models instead of a single routine. Its own models leverage prediction algorithms used by financial institutions, social networks and large e-commerce marketplaces. These models are then combined and validated for accuracy before automation reviews all results and selects the model or output with the least degree of error.

Spotlight

From your home to your destination, it is not just you who needs to be secured for any travel. As much as you get stressed during your trip, your luggage is also exposed to various risks which could present some serious challenges even before you reach your destination. The multinational IT services company SITA revealed in their 2017 study that there are 21.6 million approximate counts of mishandled bags by the airlines in the year 2016. However, regardless of any hurdles, the call of your work will still need to be heeded. So to avoid any predicament,business travellers must be educated enough on how to keep their luggage safe. Are you worried about your luggage on the upcoming business trips? Calm yourself down with these essential tips on how to safeguard your luggage on your business trip:


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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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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Relay Robotics to Showcase Newest Service Robot at World’s Largest Hospitality Tech Conference, HITEC Orlando

Relay Robotics, Inc | June 30, 2022

Relay Robotics, Inc., a leading supplier of service robots to the hospitality, healthcare, and real estate industries, is exhibiting its Relay+ Service Robot, the hospitality industry’s most advanced delivery robot, at the 2022 Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC), June 27-30, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Booth #2629. HITEC is the world’s largest and most comprehensive event serving the technology sector of the hospitality industry.Relay Service Robots have become the go-to solution for the ongoing labor shortage in the hotel industry, performing room service delivery tasks in a timely and highly cost-efficient manner. “In the face of continued labor shortages, service robots have become a mainstream solution for supplementing staff at hotels, Our robots make deliveries in under 10 minutes, operate for as little as $4.00 per hour, and are tireless team members, working 24/7/365.” -Michael O’Donnell, Chief Executive Officer, Relay Robotics. O’Donnell says HITEC attendees will be able to meet their Relay+ Service Robot face-to-face and learn how it safely operates in crowds and performs contact-free deliveries. Our robots are being widely used by hoteliers to supplement their teams, increase revenues, and delight guests with excellent service,” tells O’Donnell. “Hotels also see a social media explosion around their robot and increased RevPAR from higher occupancy and repeat stays from guests who want to stay at the ‘robot hotel. Relay Service Robots are deployed at all the major hotels in the United States, including leading brands Marriott, Hilton, Wyndham, IHG, Hyatt, Mandarin Oriental, DREAM, and Radisson. Relay’s Rapid-InstallSM trains and activates a robot within hours of arrival at a location. Customers can name their robot and create a customized “wrap” to give it a unique character and harmonize it with their brand. About Relay Robotics Relay Robotics is a leading supplier of simple, sophisticated, autonomous service robots that work with humans safely, securely, reliably, and contact-free. Relay Robotics and its affiliates have been technology leaders in robotics since 2013 and hold 10 U.S. patents. Relay’s robots supplement staff across hospitality, healthcare, and commercial real estate settings. They have completed more than 1,000,000 deliveries worldwide.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Barceló Hotel Group Chooses Talkdesk Contact Center Solution

Barceló Hotel Group | June 20, 2022

Talkdesk®, Inc., a global cloud contact center leader for customer-obsessed companies, has been chosen by Barceló Hotel Group to provide a cloud-based destination to centralize the hospitality brand’s contact center operations and improve customer experience (CX) for their clientsBarceló Hotel Group is the hotel division of the Barceló Group, a Spanish tourism leader. Founded in 1931 by Simón Barceló, the hospitality company has continued to flourish under the leadership of three generations of the Barceló family. Barceló Hotel Group manages 60,000 guest rooms in more than 270 four- and five-star urban and leisure hotel properties across 24 countries. Their company philosophy of “forward hoteligence” inspires the brand to continue elevating the benchmark for guest experience – earning them recognition as one of the 30 largest hotel brands in the world. Talkdesk CX Cloud™, an end-to-end customer experience solution, helped Barceló achieve digital transformation within their contact center. The flexibility and scalability of the Talkdesk platform eased the brand through a critical pivot from geographically siloed contact centers to one centralized virtual hub for managing all customer interactions. Previously, Barceló Hotel Group contact center agents – working from various locations across the globe – were only able to focus on customer inquiries within their own geographic areas. With the Talkdesk solution, every Barceló Hotel Group agent can assist any customer at any time. Talkdesk for Salesforce™ provides agents with real-time access to key customer details, ensuring guest needs are anticipated and met. Individual agents can also access all of their communication channels, tools, and customer data on a single screen, resulting in streamlined workflows and increased efficiency. AI-powered features like Talkdesk Interaction Analytics™ and Talkdesk QM Assist™ offer valuable, real-time coaching opportunities to help agents mine every interaction for the customer insights that lead to outstanding guest experiences. “The Barceló commitment to excellent guest service is one of the main strategic objectives of the company. It’s not just our vocation, it’s the passion that drives us forward, We also believe that delivering excellent guest experiences, and offering additional value during the reservation process through our contact centers, begins with giving our employees access to the best tools integrated into an omnichannel experience with Barceló.com. The Talkdesk solution presents our contact center agents with a simpler way to leverage complex data and provide a more personalized, seamless guest experience – before, during, and after staying at any one of the hotels managed by Barceló Hotel Group.” -Iñigo Onieva, global digital business director, Barceló Hotel Group. In hospitality and tourism, the customer journey extends beyond those moments spent enjoying five-star hotel accommodation. The brands who strive to also provide five-star guest experiences – from first inquiry to those thoughtful post-visit touchpoints – will be recognised as pioneers in the quest for guest loyalty,” said Kathie Johnson, chief marketing officer, Talkdesk. “With the Talkdesk solution, Barceló agents will have the capabilities and support needed to guide guests on that complete journey. We’re proud to partner with Barceló in achieving their customer experience goals.

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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

From your home to your destination, it is not just you who needs to be secured for any travel. As much as you get stressed during your trip, your luggage is also exposed to various risks which could present some serious challenges even before you reach your destination. The multinational IT services company SITA revealed in their 2017 study that there are 21.6 million approximate counts of mishandled bags by the airlines in the year 2016. However, regardless of any hurdles, the call of your work will still need to be heeded. So to avoid any predicament,business travellers must be educated enough on how to keep their luggage safe. Are you worried about your luggage on the upcoming business trips? Calm yourself down with these essential tips on how to safeguard your luggage on your business trip:

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