TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

LNER Launches International Website Making Travel Simpler for Overseas Tourists

LNER | February 14, 2022

LNER Launches International Website
London North Eastern Railway (LNER) is proud to announce the launch of its new international website, making travel simpler and smarter for overseas customers.

The new website coincides with the removal of pre-departure testing and quarantine rules for vaccinated people arriving in England or Scotland from 11 February 2022.

In a move that expands LNER’s global market, customers in 10 countries, including China, Japan, Spain, South Korea and Italy, are among the first to benefit when booking directly online.

LNER’s new search and booking engine offers international customers in those countries an option to purchase train tickets using their language and currency. The LNER.co.uk website will automatically detect those customers who are searching outside of the UK and will redirect them to the customised site to improve their online booking experience. The website launch comes as LNER reintroduces its full timetable, excluding pre-planned engineering works, meaning customers can discover destinations across the full 956-miles of East Coast route.

LNER has been working with travel tech company and rail retailer, Omio, to develop the site, which has the capability to operate in up to 20 languages and 26 currencies, including Euros, Korean Won and Japanese Yen or by using a payment method recognised in the home country.

 “Our mission is to transform rail travel, inspiring more people to explore the beauty of England and Scotland with our world-class Azuma trains. The launch of our international website means we are offering our customers the best possible experience throughout their journey from the moment they look to make a reservation, to their journey onboard to the time they arrive at their destination."

-David Horne, Managing Director at LNER

We are continuing to see strong demand for customers travelling with LNER for leisure, which is contributing to a strong recovery from the pandemic. Our new international website will now make it easier for even more visitors from overseas to travel with LNER and explore our fantastic destinations.

Data from the Office for National Statistics show there were 40.9 million visits to the UK in 2019, with overseas visitors spending £28.4 billion, when almost a quarter travelled by rail during their stay.

Many of the top tourist destinations feature on LNER’s East Coast route, including London, Edinburgh, Leeds, York, Newcastle and Inverness. The LNER route is also home to some of the most spectacular scenery in the country, from the Scottish Highlands to the Northumberland coastline and the many towns and cities along the way.

Figures from the Office of Rail and Road further showed that LNER customer numbers in July to September 2021 recovered to 89.6 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, nearly 20 percentage points higher than any other operator, with LNER working hard to build on that success.

Sally Balcombe, Chief Executive at VisitBritain said: This new initiative will help to boost future bookings by making it much easier for international visitors to plan their trips. Removing barriers to travel also promotes a message of welcome and will encourage visitors to explore more, travel further and stay longer, helping to drive tourism across more of the country, boosting local economies.

VisitScotland is also welcoming the move. Data from 2019, pre-pandemic, shows there were 3.4 million overnight international trips to Scotland, of which around a third came from Europe, with a £2.5bn spend from overnight international trips of which 36 per cent was from Europe.

 “We welcome the launch of LNER’s new international website to make it easier for visitors to book and travel by rail. Train travel is a central part of creating a sustainable tourism destination in Scotland and we support any moves which will encourage its use, while helping to boost Scottish tourism as it recovers from the impact of COVID-19.”

-Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland

LNER is welcoming even more customers back to rail in many ways. ‘Seat Sure’ enables customers to travel reassured they have the comfort of a seat for the duration of their journey. Once onboard, they’ll enjoy the very best in LNER hospitality and customer service, with a wide range of food and drink, sourced locally along the route, served to their seat in both First Class and Standard.

For visitors and customers looking for inspiration to make eco-friendly choices, LNER has launched a ‘Green Guide’ showcasing the best places to stay, eat and drink during trips to London, Newcastle or Edinburgh. https://www.lner.co.uk/our-destinations/travel-inspiration/green-guides/

LNER’s new Azuma fleet is delivering significant environmental benefits with trains running using overhead electric wires along the majority of the East Coast route, delivering the greenest form of motorised public transport.

To ensure customers can travel with confidence, enhanced levels of cleaning continue to be carried out at LNER managed stations and onboard trains.

About LNER 
London North Eastern Railway (LNER) is on a mission to transform rail travel for the customers and communities we serve. Our new modern Azuma fleet of trains will continue the LNER tradition of setting new, higher standards in comfort, reliability and customer experience. LNER calls at more than 50 stations along the East Coast route, totalling 956 miles including major towns and cities between London, the East Midlands, Yorkshire, North East of England and Scotland.

Spotlight

Cape Town sits on South Africa’s Cape Peninsula, where the waters of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans converge. Begin your adventure at The Castle of Good Hope, the centerpoint from which the city grew. Nearby you’ll find Company’s Garden, the Parliament Building, and the South African Museum. Don’t miss the District Six Museum, which gives voice to the 60,000 non-white residents who saw their vibrant multi-racial neighborhood flattened during the darkest days of the Apartheid era.


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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Rêv & Visit Mexico Establish Payments & Loyalty Innovations Partnership Focused On Strengthening Cross Border Travel Engagement

Rêv | January 07, 2022

Rêv Worldwide, Inc. (“Rêv”), a global payments & loyalty product innovations company, and Visit Mexico, Mexico’s official tourism marketing agency, announced a multi-year strategic partnership aimed at fostering cross border tourism by leveraging innovative digital products and services that facilitate engagement, convenience and value for the travel sector.With the introduction of the X World Wallet, a multi-currency debit account accessible by downloading a mobile app, linked to physical and digital Visa cards, and integrated loyalty program, Rêv and Visit Mexico take a first step in offering a suite of products and services with a mission to promote tourism activity for one of the world’s most important travel corridors. The X World Wallet, now available nationwide, puts in the hands of its users a powerful tool that facilitates international transactions, discounts on travel bookings, and a points based loyalty program that helps maximize value for the user. While there are a variety of branded and co-branded credit products targeting the travel market, the availability of a mobile-first debit product that combines payments, foreign currency exchange, loyalty, and bookings is part of a recent wave of innovation that is giving consumers an alternative from credit cards with application requirements, high annual fees, interest rates and restrictive loyalty programs. “We are proud to be working side by side with Visit Mexico to put our technology to work so that travelers can access relevant and hassle free tools to facilitate their journey,” -Bertrand Sosa, President & Chief Marketing Officer, Rêv Worldwide. Given continued pandemic impacts globally across the travel industry, consumers and industry players alike are seeing how digital solutions play an even more important role in helping to reduce friction as well as open the opportunity to enhance key aspects of the travel experience. While the pandemic has decimated the travel industry globally, Mexico is one of the few countries who kept air travel open throughout the challenging times. The World Tourism Organization (WHO) estimates Mexico was the third most-visited country in the world in 2020. “As we continue to establish Mexico as the best destination for travelers from around the world, we are excited to collaborate with Rêv on the development of useful products that help us connect with travelers and help make their travel experience better - beginning with making it easier, cheaper and safer for Americans to transact in our country,” -Carlos Gonzalez Gonzalez, Chief Executive Officer, Visit Mexico. In a recent report citing travel recovery trends, Ryan Felipe, Visa’s Head of North America Cross Border Business noted, “Travelers continue to seek digital-first experiences throughout their journeys – from planning and booking to paying for dining and shopping while on the road. This provides an opportunity for financial service providers and businesses to drive increased engagement with their customers via trigger-based offers and messaging to drive loyalty. The X World Wallet offers users access to person-to-person payment transfers, tap-and-go purchase convenience, virtual and digital pay card functionalities, block/unblock account security features, and an integrated support platform to automatically contribute to climate change initiatives. The no credit check, low fees, no application reloadable X World Wallet™ Visa Debit cards available on the X account are issued by Texas First Bank, pursuant to a license by Visa Inc., and subject to cardholder Terms & Conditions. There are no offline or online purchase transaction fees, or foreign conversion fees when using the X World Wallet Visa card(s). Standard ATM fees and applicable FX rates do apply. For more information on the X World Wallet, visit xworldwallet.com. Rêv and Visit Mexico are also collaborating on making available the X World Wallet in Mexico in early 2022 so Mexicans traveling abroad may also enjoy the benefits US tourists have access to now. About Rêv Rêv is a fintech company, founded by prepaid debit industry pioneers Roy Sosa and Bertrand Sosa, dedicated to delivering innovative payment experiences to consumers worldwide. Its solutions are powered by the company’s proprietary multi-currency and multi-language payments processing platform. With vast experience developing payment industry innovations, Rêv is focused on the general, international banking & travel sectors. Rêv has partnered with companies across the globe to launch products in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific. Learn more at revworldwide.com. About Visit Mexico Visit Mexico, the official brand under which Mexico’s Tourism Board has promoted domestic and international travel within-and-to Mexico for years, is now a private-government collaboration operating as the official marketing agency in charge of developing tourism campaigns, partnerships, and innovative operating models to further tourism activity for the country around the world. For more information visit visitmexico.com.

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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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COMMERCIAL TRAVEL

Fareportal Shares Holiday Season Good Works to Encourage Giving

Fareportal | December 24, 2021

2021 is coming to a close, and the holidays are upon us. In this traditional season of giving, Fareportal, the travel technology company behind leading online travel agencies CheapOair and OneTravel, is changing the narrative on what has been a very challenging year by sharing with others. Continuing what has been a tradition of giving that spans more than a decade, and as an expression of goodwill, the company has donated to The Ali Forney Center, which supports LGBTQIA+ individuals and organizations; New York Cares, which addresses needs in the New York City area through year-round volunteer opportunities; Covenant House, which provides shelter, food, immediate crisis care, and other services to homeless and runaway youth; Tourism Cares, dedicated to support of the travel & tourism industry; The Travis Roy Foundation, dedicated to supporting those suffering from spinal cord injuries; Berkshire South, supporting the health and well-being of residents of the Southern Berkshires; Digital Undivided, supporting the creation of economic opportunity for Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs; Children's Hope India, serving the needs of the children of India, and Amigos de los Animales Puerto Rico, which rescues, rehabilitates, and rehomes abused and abandoned animals. “Philanthropy has always been a foundational concept for Fareportal. Since the company’s inception, our Founder & Executive Chairman, Sam S. Jain, ensured that we prioritize giving back to the local and global community. This year presented unprecedented challenges to so many individuals that we felt it only right to step up our efforts to shine a light of hope as we enter the New Year,” -Werner Kunz-Cho, CEO of Fareportal. The company hopes that sharing this information will remind others there is still time to brighten someone’s holiday by making a charitable donation. About CheapOair CheapOair is an online travel agency that specializes in providing cheap flights and great last-minute flight deals for travelers worldwide. Consumers can book online, on mobile apps for iOS and Android, by phone, or live chat. Part of Fareportal’s family of travel brands, CheapOair bridges the gap between an online travel agency and a traditional agency with travel agents available worldwide to help find great deals on flights to global destinations on over 600 airlines, a million lodgings, and 100s of car rental companies. Follow CheapOair on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for travel inspiration and helpful travel tips.  About Fareportal   Fareportal is a travel technology company powering a next generation travel concierge service. Utilizing its innovative technology and company-owned and operated global contact centers, Fareportal has built strong industry partnerships providing customers access to over 600 airlines, a million hotels, and hundreds of car rental companies around the globe. With a portfolio of consumer travel brands including CheapOair and One Travel, Fareportal enables consumers to book online, on mobile apps for iOS and Android, by phone, or live chat. Fareportal provides its airline partners with access to a broad customer base that books high-yielding international and domestic flight, hotel, and other travel and add-on ancillaries.

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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Marriott International Signs Agreement With Sunwing Travel Group to Debut Royalton Splash Riviera Cancun

Blue Diamond Resorts | May 23, 2022

With a dynamic and growing selection of all-inclusive experiences across the Caribbean and Latin America, Marriott International, Inc. announced the signing of Royalton Splash Riviera Cancun to join its growing all-inclusive portfolio. Expected to open in late 2022, Royalton Splash Riviera Cancun is owned and managed by Blue Diamond Resorts and will join the All-Inclusive by Marriott Bonvoy portfolio, which includes close to 30 immersive getaways in 8 locations across the Caribbean and Latin America. We are thrilled to continue working with Blue Diamond Resorts & Hotels to add another exciting all-inclusive resort to the All-Inclusive by Marriott Bonvoy portfolio, said Laurent de Kousemaeker, Chief Development Officer, Caribbean and Latin America, Marriott International. “The Autograph Collection Hotels brand champions individuality with each hotel being a product of passion, making this brand an exceptional fit for this significant project and the other 20 Blue Diamond Resorts that have joined the collection. Set to debut in late 2022, the 1,049-room Royalton Splash Riviera Cancun will bring an exciting new all-inclusive resort and waterpark to one of the world’s most vibrant vacation destinations. Additionally, the resort is expected to offer encapsulating experiences through its distinct personality including a theater, bowling alley, unique water attractions, and immersive culinary encounters at a dozen on-property restaurants and nine bars all amidst stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. “We are excited for Royalton Splash Riviera Cancun to join Marriott’s Autograph Collection brand, Today’s announcement reinforces Blue Diamond’s position as one of the fastest growing hotel chains in the Caribbean.” -Jordi Pelfort, President, Hotels and Resorts of Sunwing Travel Group Redefining and elevating the segment, All-Inclusive by Marriott Bonvoy brings together several of Marriott International’s iconic brands, unsurpassed operational expertise, and the over 164 million Marriott Bonvoy members, creating exciting new opportunities for guests. Marriott International entered the all-inclusive space in 2019 with the acquisition of Elegant Hotels’ seven hotels in Barbados. 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Spotlight

Cape Town sits on South Africa’s Cape Peninsula, where the waters of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans converge. Begin your adventure at The Castle of Good Hope, the centerpoint from which the city grew. Nearby you’ll find Company’s Garden, the Parliament Building, and the South African Museum. Don’t miss the District Six Museum, which gives voice to the 60,000 non-white residents who saw their vibrant multi-racial neighborhood flattened during the darkest days of the Apartheid era.

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