NASA Plans to Open the International Space Station to Tourists

Travel + Leisure | June 10, 2019

NASA might not be just about research and scientific discovery in the future. Instead, it might be another travel opportunity for the tourists out there.According to the BBC, NASA is planning to open the International Space Station for commercial businesses, including ones from the tourism industry, beginning in 2020. In addition, the space agency said in a statement that it is partnering with 11 companies to create 14 commercial facilities to aid in research and development projects.

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INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

ALLIANZ PARTNERS SWEEPS BOTH TRAVEL INSURANCE CATEGORIES AT THE TRAVELAGE WEST "WAVE" AWARDS

Allianz Partners | June 17, 2022

Travel insurance and assistance company Allianz Partners took home wins in both travel insurance categories at the 2022 TravelAge West WAVE (Western Advisors' Votes of Excellence) Awards, including Travel Insurance Company Providing the Best Travel Advisor Support and Travel Insurance Company Providing the Highest Client Satisfaction. This is the sixth consecutive year that Allianz Partners has been named a top travel insurance provider in the prestigious WAVE Awards. Now in its 17th year, the goal of TravelAge West's WAVE Awards is to give travel advisors in the West the opportunity to recognize the outstanding qualities and services of their travel-supplier partners. The Editor's Picks were chosen by Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Ken Shapiro and the entire editorial team of TravelAge West. Review methods included product analysis, on-site visits and a survey of a select group of travel advisors and industry experts. "As the travel industry starts to regain its footing, we want to help our readers celebrate the companies that have continued to serve travel advisors and their clients throughout the darkest days of the pandemic, The WAVE Awards are a pillar of the travel industry in the West, and we know many in the industry look forward to them each year, so we are very happy that we can once again bring this program to our partners." -Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Ken Shapiro During a black-tie dinner at The Ritz-Carlton, Marina Del Rey on June 9, Editor's Pick recipients were honored for their achievements and TravelAge West will feature a special WAVE Awards section in the July 11 issue, highlighting award winners. "We are elated to continue our winning streak at the TravelAge West WAVE Awards and are incredibly thankful to everyone who helped us achieve this milestone," said Richard Aquino, Vice President, Head of Sales at Allianz Partners USA. "It means the world to us to once again be recognized in both client satisfaction and travel advisor support, and it's a true testament to how deeply our team cares about our customers evolving needs." For a full list of this year's WAVE Award recipients, visit: https://www.travelagewest.com/Wave/Winners About TravelAge West TravelAge West is the leading trade media outlet for travel advisors and the travel industry in the 15 Western U.S. states. Serving more than 21,000 readers for 53 years, the brand is a main source of news and product information for the region's agents and travel executives. TravelAgeWest.com is a two-time winner of a Gold Award from the North American Travel Journalists Association for Best Travel Journalism Website. TravelAge West is a part of Northstar Travel Group LLC, a worldwide provider of information, news and data for the travel and hospitality industry. Northstar Travel Group is based in Secaucus, N.J. About Allianz Partners In the United States, Allianz Partners USA (AGA Service Company) offers Allianz Travel-branded travel protection plans and serves millions of customers each year. In addition to travel protection, the company offers event ticket protection, registration protection for endurance events and unique travel assistance services such as international medical assistance and concierge services. AGA Service Company is doing business as Allianz Global Assistance Insurance Agency in California (License # 0B01400) and Massachusetts. Allianz Partners USA is part of the Allianz Partners group. Allianz Partners is a world leader in B2B2C insurance and assistance, offering global solutions that span international health and life, travel insurance, mobility and assistance. Customer driven, our innovative experts are redefining insurance services by delivering future-ready, high-tech, high-touch products and solutions that go beyond traditional insurance. Present in over 75 countries, our 19,400 employees speak 70 languages, handle over 58 million cases each year, and are motivated to go the extra mile to offer peace of mind to our customers around the world.

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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

ZentrumHub Announces Strategic Partnership With WIHP, A Leading hotel marketing Company

ZentrumHub | May 31, 2022

ZentrumHub, a leading Hotel aggregator API specialist, and WIHP, the Hotel marketing specialists, announced a strategic partnership that will enable ZentrumHub' customers to get an easy access to metasearch channels and engines like Google Hotel Ads, TripAdvisor, Trivago, Bing Hotel Ads, etc. With WIHP's Meta I/O solution, ZentrumHub customers will now be able to better monitor and control their Metasearch distribution. ZentrumHub, as a start-up, is trying to make an impact in this space by providing its customers more and additional access to technologies that will add value to its clients business. This partnership is a great testimony of this core belief of the company and as next steps, will continue to add more partnerships in its kitty. ZentrumHub now offers more than 900,000 hotel inventory API to its customers with unique properties across the world, enabling their clients to provide a wide choice of hotels to their customers. "With the ever-growing demand for hotels, today's travellers want hotel searches to be quick and painless. With this partnership travel agencies using ZentrumHub Hotel API will be able to position their ads in metasearch engines and increase traffic to their reservation system driving more business." -ZentrumHub CEO Sachin Singh Julio Selva, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at WIHP, said, "Metasearch plays an important role in distributing hotels since 70% of users connect to them during a purchase journey. With Meta I/O, ZentrumHub can help their clients sell more on metasearch." About ZentrumHub: ZentrumHub turned its dream into reality in 2021 by accelerating its travel-tech venture and on a mission to be the fastest and smartest travel API hub in the world. ZentrumHub offers pre-integrated hotel booking API to over 50 leading hotel content suppliers. About WIHP: World Independent Hotels Promotion (WIHP) is a leading hotel marketing agency drawing on more than 20 years of experience and tracking. Having built over 5000 hotel websites and tracked the most efficient ones. With high-end marketing campaigns, WIHP provides global marketing services to the hospitality industry. To learn more, visit wihphotels.com

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COMMERCIAL TRAVEL

The Indigo Road Hospitality Group Leverages Stayntouch's Easy & Powerful PMS to Deliver Memorable Experiences

Stayntouch | May 13, 2022

Stayntouch, a global leader in cloud hotel property management systems (PMS) and guest-centric technology, has partnered with The Indigo Road Hospitality Group, a full-service hospitality management company, to power two boutique properties, Historic Park Inn Hotel in Mason City, Iowa, and The Skyline Lodge in Highlands, N.C., with a flexible mobile PMS.The Indigo Road Hospitality Group is an award-winning hotel and restaurant management group focusing on boutique properties that deliver authentic experiences for discriminating lifestyle travelers. Indigo Road chose Stayntouch's flexible and easy-to-use PMS to facilitate seamless integrations across their tech stack, providing a warm and organic hospitality experience for guests. They also benefit from a platform that empowers guests with a choice at check-in: from fully mobile and contactless, to a high-touch experience with an agent untethered from the front desk. "If we do our jobs well, all of our guests should leave the property feeling genuinely welcomed, appreciated, and understood. But for that to happen, our technology has to work seamlessly in the background to support our staff and promote these positive interactions. Here, Stayntouch really excels. The user interface is super clean and very easy-to-use, and allows our staff to keep their focus on their guests rather than buried in a screen. Additionally, one of the unknowns when starting a new relationship with a tech vendor is support. With Stayntouch, the people supporting the product, from implementation onward, are absolutely fantastic, and have taken our specific business goals as their own." -Scott Neslage, Director of Lodging Operations at The Indigo Road Hospitality Group Michael Helfin, Chief Revenue Officer of Stayntouch, replied, "It's been exciting to embark on a partnership with a hospitality company whose philosophy on service aligns so closely with our own. Our role is to be more than just a tech vendor, but to be a strategic partner: We're excited to provide The Indigo Road with flexible technology and seamless integrations to help their properties deliver a memorable guest experience and reinforce the commitment to service that has helped them establish an award-winning business. About The Indigo Road Hospitality Group Founded in 2009 by Steve Palmer, The Indigo Road Hospitality Group owns, operates, and manages restaurants and boutique hotels throughout the country. Based in the Southeast, The Indigo Road is founded upon the core principle of serving with love and creating memorable experiences for all. In 2019, The Indigo Road marked its tenth anniversary by being named a Forbes Small Giant and appearing on the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list, and in 2020 announced that hotelier Larry Spelts joined The Indigo Road as a partner and president of its new venture into lodging with a focus on food & beverage driven boutique hotels. The Indigo Road's dedication to excellence in food & beverage has been recognized by Palmer being named a semi-finalist by the James Beard Foundation's award for Outstanding Restaurateur-US in 2018, 2019 and 2020. For more information on the portfolio, team, core values and services, visit theindigoroad.com. About Stayntouch Stayntouch provides a cloud-native, guest-centric, and fully mobile hotel property management system (PMS) and over 1100+ integrations, enabling hotels to raise service levels, drive revenues, reduce costs, and ultimately captivate their guests. Backed by a team of professionals with deep roots in the hospitality industry, Stayntouch is a trusted partner to many forward-thinking hotels and resorts, including the TWA Hotel, First Hotels, Conscious Hotels, Margaritaville, Valencia Hotel Group, and Modus Hotels. Stayntouch is also a preferred PMS partner to some of the leading independent hotel collections around the world including; Design Hotels, an Independent Marriott Brand, and Curator Hotel & Resort Collection. Visit Stayntouch at www.stayntouch.com.

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Bordeaux – Enjoy a region where history and charm flows as freely as the world-famous wine produced here. Discover the best places to visit and be enthralled by one of France’s favorite cities.

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