Italy Tourism pulls in nearly 40 billion in international traveler spend

eTurboNews | May 14, 2019

The positive outcome in 2018  for Italy’s tourism shows an increase of almost 11%, with around 41.7 billion euros spent by international travelers compared to 39.1 billion euros in 2017, with a volume of 25.5 billion euros spent by Italians abroad against the 24.6 billion euros from the previous year, equal to 16.2 billion euros.This was the most significant data presented at an Italy and international tourism conference. Results and trends for incoming and outgoing in 2019 were organized by Ciset (International Center of Studies) on the Tourism Economy Ca Foscari University of Venice in collaboration with the Bank of Italy in Treviso.

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INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

InsureMyTrip Recognized for Travel Safety Campaign, Wins Search Award

InsureMyTrip | January 11, 2022

InsureMyTrip is pleased to announce a win at the 2021 UK Search Awards. InsureMyTrip, along with Screaming Frog, a search marketing company, won the award in the category of "Best Use of Search – Travel/Leisure (SEO)" with the entry "Travel Restrictions by State" page. Nominations for this award must demonstrate creativity, innovative campaigns, attract links and improve rankings. InsureMyTrip and Screaming Frog rose to that challenge, creating informational content for travelers that drives performance success. The "Travel Restrictions by State" page has more than 260 referring domains and is the third most linked page on InsureMyTrip.com (behind the homepage and Covid-19 information hub). "While many of the links were gained because of ScreamingFrog's rigorous outreach, our own constant updates, email marketing, and high ranking have all contributed heavily to the page's success in the search results," -InsureMyTrip's Search Engine Optimization expert Brendan Pearson. Judges of the UK Search awards said this about InsureMyTrip's "Travel Restrictions by State" campaign: "Really clear objectives and strategy – clear focus on relatable, credible, and unique content for their readers. Brilliant use of real time information, assets and leveraging in the moment moments – no tourism, hand sanitizer, interactive maps. Brilliant performance for competitive terms which has resulted in solid organic growth. Massive well done!" About InsureMyTrip It's simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. We are committed to empowering travelers to make the best possible insurance decisions by leveraging our technology, data intelligence, and expertise.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Curator Hotel & Resort Collection and Optii Solutions Announce Partnership to Provide Unique Hotel Operations Technology to Independent Hotels

curator hotel & resort | March 09, 2022

Curator Hotel & Resort Collection (“Curator”) has selected Optii Solutions (“Optii”), a leading hotel management software for hotel operations and housekeeping teams, to offer its member hotels the technology to have complete visibility of their operations.Curator member hotels can now leverage Optii’s data-driven technology to streamline their housekeeping operations and provide a dynamic connection between front and back of house. It will furnish independent hotels with AI-powered technology to optimize labor and cleaning sequences, resulting in an estimated 25% increase in productivity. This increased productivity and optimization will also help independent hoteliers’ become more profitable. Optii Housekeeping centralizes operations for full visibility and improved team performance, managing room attendant routes and room status so that rooms can be turned around faster and more efficiently and eliminate ineffective manual communications. Optii’s tools are critical in the current challenging labor environment. “This partnership with Curator Hotels & Resorts and Optii Solutions is an exciting part of our continued expansion in the US to support hotels and provide access to technology that will provide the ultimate guest experience. Through this partnership, Curator independent hotels will access Optii’s Housekeeping solution to help hotels optimize labor and run their daily operations efficiently. We look forward to working closely with these hotels to help lift the independent hotel industry.” -Katherine Grass, CEO of Optii Solutions Curator selected Optii Solutions as a preferred partner due to the data-driven insights the platform can provide hoteliers. The insights lead to greater overall efficiency and productivity for hotel management teams, and provide guidance on where resources need to be allocated and how much time is being spent on tasks. “As independent hotels continue to adjust to and implement necessary operational changes in order to better service guests, Curator remains focused on adding preferred technologies that can have an immediate and meaningful impact on both operational efficiency and costs,Optii Solutions is a great example of a service provider well-positioned to unlock value for our hotel owners by providing faster and more efficient housekeeping operations and insights into the performance of their housekeeping teams. Over time, technology like this will allow our members to do more with less.” -Austin Segal, Vice President of Curator Hotel & Resort Collection. About Curator Hotel & Resort Collection Curator Hotel & Resort Collection is a distinct collection of hand-selected small brands and independent lifestyle hotels and resorts, founded by Pebblebrook Hotel Trust and a group of industry-leading hotel operators. Curator provides lifestyle hotels the platform to come together and tap into cost saving agreements, new products, services and technologies, and benchmarking reports while allowing their members the freedom to retain what makes their hotels unique. In addition to Pebblebrook, the founding members of Curator include Davidson Hospitality Group, Noble House Hotels & Resorts, Provenance, Sage Hospitality Group, Springboard Hospitality, and Viceroy Hotels & Resorts. For more information, visit www.curatorhotelsandresorts.com and follow us at @CuratorHotelCollection. About Optii Solutions Optii Solutions, headquartered in Austin, TX and with offices in London and Brisbane, is a hotel operations technology that optimizes labor, streamlines operations, and empowers teams across housekeeping, service delivery, internal communication, and preventative maintenance. Optii is an MCR portfolio company and is used by hotels and resorts around the world including La Cantera Resort & Spa (Benchmark), The Don Cesar (Host), Okada Manilla Resort & Casino, Le Meridien, Doma Hotels, IHG and more. For further information about Optii, please visit www.optiisolutions.com. About Pebblebrook Hotel Trust Pebblebrook Hotel Trust (NYSE: PEB) is a publicly traded real estate investment trust (“REIT”) and the largest owner of urban and resort lifestyle hotels and resorts in the United States. The Company owns 53 hotels and resorts, totaling approximately 13,200 guest rooms across 15 urban and resort markets. For more information, visit www.pebblebrookhotels.com and follow us at @PebblebrookPEB.

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COMMERCIAL TRAVEL

As Summer Travel Returns at Record Levels, JetBlue Launches Plan to Reliably Deliver the JetBlue Experience Loved by Customers

JetBlue | April 27, 2022

JetBlue (NASDAQ: JBLU) announced a series of investments that will set up the airline to reliably deliver the JetBlue experience during what is expected to be a record-breaking summer. JetBlue’s broad and comprehensive plan includes a reduction of its summer schedule, focus on hiring and training, efforts to reduce customer support call volume and hold times, proactive aircraft maintenance efforts, and facilities/infrastructure readiness. “We want customers who love the JetBlue experience to have confidence we will deliver it to them this summer,We let our crewmembers and our customers down in April, and we must perform better. The investments we’re making will help reduce delays and cancellations during the busiest travel period.” -Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer, JetBlue. As the aviation industry has rebounded from the historic impact of COVID-19, airlines have faced ongoing challenges this year from the Omicron wave, staffing ramp up, attrition, weather events, and air traffic control delays. JetBlue’s plan builds more flexibility into its schedule and crew staffing to recover from these events, and ensures its facilities and technology are equipped to handle increased demand, especially in New York where the airline is growing nearly 50 percent as part of its Northeast Alliance (NEA) with American Airlines. Reduced schedule offers more buffer and flexibility to recover from disruptions Even though the industry continues to forecast robust demand, JetBlue is taking steps to reduce its flight schedule for increased reliability. A reduced schedule will add more buffer room throughout the day to make up for operational disruptions and put less stress on its crew resources. JetBlue originally planned to grow capacity this year by 11 to 15 percent compared to 2019. Now, with its reduced schedule, JetBlue’s capacity will grow zero to five percent compared to 2019. Most importantly, JetBlue is reducing its summer schedule by more than 10 percent from its original plan, and scheduled aircraft utilization will be down 10 to 15 percent compared to 2019. JetBlue is a growth airline, and we want nothing more than to bring our unique combination of low fares and award-winning service to more customers, Geraghty said. However, by taking a more conservative approach to growth, we can bring resiliency to our operation and ensure our crewmembers – who are the best in the industry – come to work each day set up for success. JetBlue’s capacity cuts take into account the impact of higher-priced fuel and are distributed throughout its network. Even with the reductions, JetBlue will grow significantly in New York’s three major airports as part of the NEA – from 200 flights a day in 2019 to nearly 300 flights a day. JetBlue has trimmed some of its growth at Newark to ease congestion and ensure the terminal facilities can accommodate its schedule until construction is completed on the new Terminal A. Accelerating staffing and training to support the schedule Like many businesses across a range of industries, staffing resources have pressured airlines as customers returned. Even though it’s pulling down some flying, JetBlue is moving forward with hiring efforts to staff up for the summer, including 5,000 new crewmembers in New York. The airline’s recently expanded training facility in Orlando is operating at maximum capacity. We are well aware of the staffing challenges that many companies are facing, but it’s been incredible to see how many job seekers want to work at JetBlue,” Geraghty said. “Our differentiated brand and culture continue to attract the best talent, and we have expanded our training facilities to get our new hires on the job as soon as possible. In addition to general staffing, JetBlue is working through a backlog of pilot training and re-certification flights after delays from Omicron. Volatile pilot attrition is also creating a need for additional recruiting and training capacity. JetBlue has increased its pilot training team and simulator capacity to meet this demand. “Ensuring we have a strong pipeline of pilots remains a focus, and we are expanding our innovative JetBlue Gateways program this year to support that effort, We are having incredible success attracting a diverse set of candidates to join our Gateway Select program, which trains individuals with little or no flight experience, and we launched new pathways for current crewmembers and their families to become JetBlue pilots.” -Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer, JetBlue. Addressing customer call volume and hold times Recent operational disruptions have led to a record number of calls into JetBlue’s customer support center and extended wait times. These disruptions, coupled with the greater number of customers taking advantage of ticket flexibility and calls regarding other COVID-related questions, have taxed customer service teams across the industry. Since the fall, JetBlue has brought on board more than 1,100 new hires into customer support and continues to increase hiring and training while bringing on outside support to help manage call volume. By this summer, JetBlue expects to have its largest-ever customer support team ready to support customers as many embark on their first vacation or travel experience since the pandemic. JetBlue is continuing to strengthen staffing for its suite of digital tools to help customers avoid waiting on hold, including online chat capabilities and support via iMessage. In addition, JetBlue is improving self-service capabilities on its website to offer customers additional options to make changes without calling. The best way to reduce long hold times is to eliminate the need to call us in the first place, and a more reliable schedule with fewer delays and last-minute cancellations will help improve that,” Geraghty said. “For those customers who do need individual support, we continue hire a record number of customer support crewmembers and are using technology to make it easier to chat with us. Long hold times are not unique to JetBlue, but they are simply not acceptable. JetBlue is also working to proactively cancel flights on days when bad weather is forecasted or if it anticipates air traffic control delays due to congestion or air traffic control center staffing shortages. The dynamic nature of spring and summer weather, including thunderstorms, sometimes prevents this, but the airline is working to provide cancellation well in advance of arriving to the airport so customers have time to adjust their plans. Reducing disruptions due to maintenance The reduced schedule frees up aircraft time to give the airline additional opportunities to get ahead of planned maintenance programs. JetBlue is investing in additional preventative maintenance as well as reserving more aircraft as spares this summer to reduce the impact of maintenance-related cancellations and delays. With COVID-19 supply chain challenges continuing, JetBlue has pre-purchased long lead parts, tools, and equipment as well as added additional inventory of frequently used parts, to mitigate potential delays. Handling a record summer at JFK This summer, JetBlue will operate approximately 190 daily flights from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) as it continues to expand its footprint as part of the NEA. With its heavy concentration in the Northeast and major operation at JFK, ensuring that JFK runs smoothly is essential for the entire network. In addition to hiring across workgroups, JetBlue is making a number of investments at JFK’s Terminal 5: Redeveloping a portion of the lobby to add more kiosks and open additional space for customer throughput. Retiming flights for the busiest international markets to ensure enough lobby space is available for COVID documentation checks. Smoothing out some of the peaks in the schedule to ease congestion in the lobby, TSA checkpoint, and gates. Dedicating ground staffing crews at gates across Terminal 5 and adding ground equipment. While summer reliability continues to be the focus, JetBlue will also see a significant improvement in its airport facilities across focus cities this fall, as new terminals and space become available to support the airline’s growth. JetBlue will be consolidating or opening new or renovated terminal spaces in LaGuardia, Newark, and Orlando. Many customers have been waiting for two years to travel again, and our goal this summer is to offer an incredible experience, Geraghty said. Unfortunately, weather and air traffic control delays will always be part of air travel, and we are doing everything we can to manage them better for our crewmembers and customers. Our plan makes responsible investments to prepare us for these challenges and restore trust in JetBlue. About JetBlue Airways JetBlue is New York's Hometown Airline®, and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Los Angeles, Orlando and San Juan. JetBlue carries customers across the United States, Caribbean and Latin America and London. For more information, visit jetblue.com.

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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Swire Hotels Teams Up With Agilysys to Provide Smarter, Faster, Greener Guest Experiences

Swire Hotels | April 08, 2022

Agilysys, Inc. (Nasdaq: AGYS), a leading global provider of next-generation end-to-end SaaS and on-prem ready hospitality software solutions, announced that Hong Kong-based Swire Hotels has activated Agilysys solutions in all its Hong Kong properties and plans to extend these across its entire property portfolio.The comprehensive suite from Agilysys includes Agilysys Seat, an online seat reservation, wait-list and venue management system that optimizes both revenue and guest satisfaction; InfoGenesis POS using the IG 12UX client, the leading hospitality market POS system; and IG OnDemand, a guest-facing contactless food and beverage ordering for guest delivery or pick up across venues. Swire Hotels is a group of seven properties under The House Collective and EAST brands, with locations in Hong Kong, Chinese Mainland and the United States. The hotel group is known for personalized service and unique guest experiences and is dedicated to enhancing sustainability across its properties. In our search to provide guests with a smarter, faster and greener experience, we were consistently impressed with the solutions from Agilysys, IG OnDemand is a great fit for our properties, enabling team members with the technology we need to enhance our operational efficiency thereby elevating guest experiences. -Dean Winter, Managing Director for Swire Hotels. With IG OnDemand, guests can place and pay for food and beverage (F&B) orders using their mobile devices rather than having to call a service line. A simple scan of a QR code in the guestroom leads to a user-friendly interface displaying pictures, descriptions and prices of food and beverage choices. Guests can choose to have their orders delivered to them or can opt to pick them up. In addition to enabling the contactless service experience guests increasingly desire, replacing printed menus with QR codes in guestrooms contributes to sustainability by reducing paper waste. Agilysys Seat enables properties to maximize revenue from seating options and venue space while enabling guests to view and select seats and track their waitlist status at various venues through an online experience. As the foundation for these experiences, the IG 12UX client for the comprehensive InfoGenesis POS system enables hoteliers to present point-of-sale experiences to guests in a variety of ways using equipment that reflects guest preferences, whether through mobile devices or at fixed-place terminals. “It was important for us to choose a technology partner that understood our focus on sustainability, ease of use, and guest experience,Through Agilysys, we have seen that the platforms are gaining popularity with our guests from the decreasing phone call volume in the first two months after launch and around 60 percent of in-room dining orders now come from guests using IG OnDemand.” -Clement Durand, Senior Operations Manager at Swire Hotels. We are proud to partner with Swire Hotels, a hospitality group known for its extraordinary service excellence,” said Andrew Cox, Managing Director APAC at Agilysys. “With Agilysys Seat, IG OnDemand and IG 12UX, Swire Hotels can enhance the food and beverage experience for guests and staff alike and elevate the personalized service that they have come to enjoy. We look forward to implementing our solutions throughout the Swire Hotels portfolio, helping them increase revenue and meet growing expectations for frictionless and contactless guest experiences. Solutions In Use InfoGenesis® POS provides an award-winning enterprise-class point-of-sale solution that processes transactions in the highest volume, most demanding hospitality industry environments worldwide. Its modern, flexible client, IG 12UX, allows customers to choose devices that match the style and needs of their venues. From traditional POS terminals to iPads, Android tablets and mobile phones, the IG 12UX client enables customers to seamlessly deliver a variety of POS experiences based upon guest preferences and server requirements. In addition, InfoGenesis offers robust reporting and analysis features, extensive enterprise-grade menu and item configuration capabilities, and multi-language support to help drive service flexibility and increased operational efficiency. The result is improved F&B operations and increased revenue across venues. IG OnDemand provides a complete cloud-native contactless self-service food & beverage ordering solution that offers an intuitive guest-facing order and pay experience. IG OnDemand enables guests to place and pay for orders using their own devices – phone, tablet, laptop – for pick-up or delivery. The result is dramatically increased revenue opportunities and more chances to enhance guest service. Agilysys Seat provides a complete online seat reservation, wait-list and venue management system that displays and manages seat availability for a wide range of venues including restaurants, pool cabanas, stadiums and arenas, gaming table seats and more. The solution enables guests to choose their preferred location or server while optimizing venue usage and enabling social distancing protocols through mobile messaging communication. In addition, its table/venue layout management capabilities ensure the most efficient use of space based on the type of venue and event. The result is improved guest service with shorter, predictable wait times, increased table turnovers and increased venue revenue. About Agilysys Agilysys has been a leader in hospitality software for more than 40 years, delivering innovative cloud-native SaaS and on-prem ready guest-centric technology solutions for gaming, hotels, resorts and cruise, corporate foodservice management, restaurants, universities, stadia and healthcare. Agilysys offers the most comprehensive software solutions in the hospitality industry, including point-of-sale (POS), property management (PMS), inventory and procurement, payments, and related applications, to manage the entire guest journey. Agilysys is also known for its world class customer-centric service. During recent years, Agilysys has made major investments in R&D and has successfully modernized virtually all its longstanding trusted software solutions. Some of the largest hospitality companies around the world use Agilysys solutions to help improve guest loyalty, drive revenue growth and increase operational efficiencies. Agilysys operates across North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and India with headquarters located in Alpharetta, GA. For more information visit Agilysys.com. About Swire Hotels Swire Hotels creates and manages distinctive hotels in Hong Kong, Chinese Mainland and the United States under two brands, The House Collective and EAST, providing unscripted and authentic experiences for individually minded travellers who seek originality, style and personalised service. The House Collective, a group of Houses each uniquely imagined and inspired by their locations, began with The Opposite House in Beijing, which opened in 2008, followed by The Upper House in Hong Kong, The Temple House in Chengdu and the latest addition, The Middle House in Shanghai, which opened in 2018. While EAST, designed for today’s go-getters, takes personal life balance to a whole new level and includes EAST, Hong Kong; EAST, Beijing and EAST, Miami.

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Spotlight

Women are strong influencers in destination choice and holiday planning, Halal travelers are not equal: They have different needs and expectations, Halal travelers want to unlock untapped destinations and visit non-Muslim countries as easily as Muslim countries

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