TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Skytours and Militaryfares Selects RocketFuel’s Disruptive Blockchain-Based Payment Technology for its One-Click Check-Out Payment Solution

Skytours | December 10, 2020

RocketFuel Blockchain, Inc., a developer of blockchain-based payment registration technologies, today declared that Skytours and Militaryfares, two significant travel organizations, have picked RocketFuel's troublesome blockchain-based payment technology for usage of its one-click check-out payment solution.

The first segment of the usage will empower Skytours and Militaryfares to acknowledge digital currencies from its clients, consistently and frictionless. Their customers will profit by an advantageous registration in a 100% secure environment.

The second part of the implementation will, other than the blockchain based payment infrastructure, include everything from booking passes to preparing bank payments. The implementation of RocketFuel's services will help abbreviate exchange time and reduce the measure of paperwork, all while guaranteeing transaction security.

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Virtual reality could change the way people consumer travel content but are consumers ready to embrace this new technology and is it worth travel brands investing today? This white paper explores market conditions and the business case for virtual reality both now and in the future.


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BUSINESS TRAVEL

LBA Hospitality Acquires Management Contract for the Best Western New Smyrna Beach Hotel & Suites

LBA Hospitality | June 13, 2022

LBA Hospitality, an Alabama–based hotel management company, announced that it has recently taken over the management contract for the 101-suite Best Western New Smyrna Beach Hotel & Suites. The beachfront hotel located at 1401 South Atlantic Avenue is owned by Key International.The eight-story property is situated 15 miles from Daytona Beach International Airport, and just a short drive from Disneyland and Cape Canaveral and the Cape Canaveral National Seashore. The hotel offers guests convenient access to Turtle Mound, Ponce Inlet, Daytona Racetrack and numerous activities in and around the idyllic waters and sandy beaches of New Smyrna Beach. "I fell in love with New Smyrna Beach when we opened our first hotel here in 2012. It has that small beach town charm, great food, a nationally recognized arts scene, and the amazing white sand beach and blue water of the Atlantic Ocean, I am excited that we have added a one-of-a-kind accommodation that literally offers a toes-in-the-sand experience for visitors from around the world." -Beau Benton, president of LBA Hospitality. The Best Western New Smyrna Beach Hotel & Suites guestrooms feature luxury bedding, kitchenettes, as well as balconies with unobstructed views of the gorgeous blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Amenities include an outdoor swimming pool with a sundeck, a fitness center and onsite dining. About LBA Hospitality Established in 1973, LBA Hospitality is one of the leading hotel management, development, and consulting companies in the US. With an extensive portfolio of hotels located in the Southeast and Southwest, the company is a recognized leader developing and operating the most respected brands under franchise licenses of Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide, and InterContinental Hotel Group. For more than four decades, LBA Hospitality has continued to set a higher standard in hotel development, management, and guest satisfaction, resulting in sustained, profitable growth for owners. For more information, visit www.lbahospitality.com. About Key International Key International is a full-service real estate firm bringing over 30 years of leadership and success in global investments and developments, with offices in Miami and Madrid. With a proven track record in generating excellent returns for partners, the firm specializes in real estate projects that improve customers' lifestyles through great locations and quality product. This includes forward-thinking considerations for everyday life, work, convenience, entertainment, and leisure. Following these principles, Key International is one of the few real estate firms with the demonstrated ability to deliver success across multiple real estate classes – including condominium, hospitality, multifamily, and office. Such diversification is a cornerstone of its approach and serves to maximize future development and investment opportunities.  With over 10 million square feet in residential developments, notable projects include Eden Roc Resort Miami Beach, Marriott Stanton Hotel South Beach, 400 Sunny Isles, 1010 Brickell, and the master plan of Riverfront Community (a 13.5-acre gated community in Downtown Miami). Additionally, Key International manages over $1.5 billion in assets under its current hotel portfolio comprised of over 3,000 hotel units. Please see keyint.com for more information on the company and its portfolio.

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BUSINESS TRAVEL

Monarch Alternative Capital Grows Orlando Hospitality Portfolio through Multiple Acquisitions

Hersha Hospitality Management (HHM) | July 14, 2022

Monarch Alternative Capital LP, a leading investment firm with approximately $9.4 billion of assets under management, announced the purchase of three hotels in Orlando, Florida. Given the firm's established reputation within the market, Monarch was able to acquire the newly-built, high quality properties located in Orlando submarkets adjacent to Monarch's existing hotels at a discount to replacement cost in off-market transactions. With these acquisitions, Monarch's hospitality portfolio in Orlando now totals approximately 2,000 keys across seven properties. As the Orlando market continues to show encouraging signs of economic recovery, these hotel purchases exemplify Monarch's ability to identify and invest in premium properties in an attractive and dynamic market that is poised to outperform as the business cycle evolves. Monarch purchased the Aloft Orlando ("Aloft") and the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Orlando ("Holiday Inn Express"), both located in the Lake Buena Vista submarket within close proximity to Disney World. In addition, the firm acquired the TownePlace Suites Orlando ("TownePlace Suites") located in the Universal Studios submarket. In aggregate, the three properties represent over 430 keys. Relative to other limited-service hotels, each asset offers a high-end room product, multiple food and beverage options, an outdoor swimming pool, and an on-site fitness center. In addition, the Aloft and Holiday Inn Express combined have over 2,700 square feet of meeting and banquet space, which can be used for additional events, special occasions, and business needs. The three newly acquired properties are located near or along International Drive providing guests with easy access to nearby major attractions, including Disney World theme parks, the Orange County Convention Center, SeaWorld and Universal Studios. Bo­th the Aloft and Holiday Inn Express are affiliated with the Walt Disney World Good Neighbor Hotel program, and the TownePlace Suites is a Preferred Universal Partner hotel, which permit the hotels to extend additional benefits to guests at Disney World and Universal theme parks, respectively. Monarch believes these acquisitions will further enhance its Orlando portfolio given the properties' locations in desirable submarkets and elevated product offering. "We remain very excited about the opportunity set in the Orlando market, and these recent hotel additions reflect our conviction in Orlando as a market that is well-positioned for recovery and continued growth. Furthermore, this clustering of assets allows us to leverage our existing presence and drive supplemental revenue and cost synergies as we continue to scale our portfolio in the market." -Ian Glastein, Managing Principal and Co-Head of Real Estate at Monarch Monarch has partnered with HHM, an industry-leading hospitality management, investment, and development firm with over 185 hotels across 30 states, to operate and manage the portfolio. About Monarch Alternative Capital LP Monarch Alternative Capital LP is a global investment firm founded in 2002 with approximately $9.4 billion in assets under management. Monarch focuses primarily on opportunistic and distressed situations across corporate debt, real estate, special situations, and other market segments. Monarch draws on the skills and experience of its employees across its offices in New York and London. For more information, please visit www.monarchlp.com. About Hersha Hospitality Management (HHM) HHM is an award-winning hotel management and investment company that operates over 185 full-service and select-service hotels across 30 states and in virtually every major hospitality market from coast to coast. HHM is a leading manager of Marriott and Hilton hotels, while also operating over 30 independent hotels ranging from The Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia to The Joule Hotel in Dallas to The Whitney Hotel in Boston. HHM's highly experienced and stable operating team is known for being nimble, accountable, and entrepreneurial in how they drive market-leading results for owners including publicly traded companies, private equity firms, and family office investors. Additional information on HHM can be found at www.hhmhospitality.com and www.independentcollection.com.

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DESTINATION AND TOURISM

Wix Relaunches its Solution for Hotels - Now Powered by HotelRunner, Providing a Comprehensive Platform Built for the Hospitality Industry

HotelRunner | June 08, 2022

Wix.com Ltd. (NASDAQ: WIX), a leading global SaaS platform to create, manage and grow an online presence, announced the relaunch of its new solution for the hotel industry. Wix has partnered with HotelRunner, a complete platform tailored to support all accommodation businesses, to redevelop Wix Hotels. The new platform is a major improvement to the existing solution and includes a full suite of professional tools for every touchpoint needed to launch, manage, and grow a hospitality business of any size and maximize revenue.Wix's comprehensive online platform combined with HotelRunner's end-to-end travel technology provides the ability for users to create a website, manage their property, guests, bookings, and sales channels all from one platform. Whether running a bed and breakfast, boutique hotel, chain hotel, vacation rental, resort, or unique accommodation, business owners are equipped with the operational tools they need to efficiently run their business online and on premise. Benefits for users of Wix Hotels by HotelRunner include: Connect to leading online sales channels and travel agencies such as Booking.com, Expedia, Hotelbeds, and Airbnb, which can help increase revenues Receive direct reservations and secure payments from their website Manage rates and availability with user-friendly calendars on a single reliable platform to manage reservations and keep all inventory in sync while implementing complex pricing and revenue management strategies Real-time inventory updates on all sales channels Manage front desk operations including check-in and outs Manage policies and taxes, offer extras, promotions, deals, and coupons, engage with guests, and promote their property on sales channels via the channel manager "We are constantly improving our offering to provide business owners with a complete solution for any type of business, and we're thrilled to relaunch our hotel solution for the hospitality and tourism industry, As travel has begun to increase in the post-pandemic era, we're seeing a rise in the demand for digitalization in the hotel and hospitality industry and we're proud that we have developed a strong solution for these businesses and grow the addressable market. Wix has invested resources into building out the proper infrastructure to support privately owned businesses and large franchises, both for restaurants and hotels, and this new partnership with HotelRunner is another step in creating the go-to solution for businesses to efficiently manage their operations and grow." -Ronny Elkayam, SVP Mobile, App Market and Strategic Products at Wix. HotelRunner has been introducing innovations for more than a decade to build a bigger travel economy. Wix Hotels by HotelRunner has been developed by leveraging both companies' deep expertise in both travel and technology and positioning our award-winning platform, recognized globally by the leading travel industry players, as its foundation," said Ali Beklen, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of HotelRunner. "Our unique partnership with Wix will be the driving force that will take the hospitality and tourism industries to the next level by accelerating the digital transformation. Thousands of accommodation properties from all over the world will benefit from an affordable and comprehensive set of products, thanks to the new Wix Hotels by HotelRunner, added Arden Agopyan, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of HotelRunner. Wix Hotels by HotelRunner is in beta with a gradual rollout in English first and then to other languages. Existing users of the Wix Hotels solution will move to the new solution after the beta. To sign up for the beta version click here. About Wix.com Ltd. Wix is a leading platform to create, manage and grow a digital presence. What began as a website builder in 2006 is now a complete platform providing users with enterprise-grade performance, security and a reliable infrastructure. Offering a wide range of commerce and business solutions, advanced SEO and marketing tools, Wix enables users to have full ownership of their brand, their data and their relationships with their customers. With a focus on continuous innovation and delivery of new features and products, anyone can build a powerful digital presence to fulfill their dreams on Wix. About HotelRunner HotelRunner is a SaaS-enabled unified sales, operations, and distribution management platform and B2B network for accommodations, travel agencies, and payment providers. HotelRunner has thousands of accommodation and travel agency partners globally. HotelRunner is a Booking.com Premier Connectivity Partner, Expedia Elite Connectivity Partner, Airbnb Software Partner, Agoda Innovative Supplier, Oracle Gold, Hotelbeds, and Google Hotel Ads strategic partner.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,DESTINATION AND TOURISM

lastminute.com Selects Thoughtworks to Drive Engineering Excellence in a Growing and Complex Technology Landscape

lastminute.com | July 01, 2022

a global technology consultancy that integrates strategy, design and engineering to drive digital innovation, announced a strategic collaboration with lastminute.com, the European Travel-Tech leader in dynamic holiday packages. lastminute.com will partner with Thoughtworks at a time when its business is rapidly resuming after the pandemic, and it is now back at full speed in delivering on its ambitious growth plans. To achieve this, its developer teams are evolving and growing in numbers, all in a very short timeframe and in a dynamic and complex technology landscape. Thoughtworks will support lastminute.com in this exciting transformation phase, to continue to meet the rapid pace of change in the travel industry most effectively and create even more customer-centric experiences. “At lastminute.com, we see ourselves as a tech company that travels. Every month we reach 60 million users via our websites and app and for us it is a business imperative to always make sure our clients have the best customer experience. The travel industry is continuously evolving and the global move to digitalization means we’ll increasingly grow our traffic, as more and more users search for and book their travel experiences online, The purpose of Thoughtworks, as stated on their website, is ‘To create an extraordinary impact on the world through our culture and technology excellence’. This is very much in line with my vision for our technology department, and I cannot wait to harness their thought leadership in software engineering to bring us one step closer to technology excellence.” -Corrado Casto, chief technology officer at lastminute.com The lastminute.com and Thoughtworks engineering teams will work side-by-side in a co-delivery setup on the most business-critical technologies and architectural challenges. The co-delivery work will be supported by coaching, training and mentoring sessions aimed at boosting lastminute.com’s ability to deliver engineering excellence and their ways of working. “In the face of unpredictability and constant change, modern digital businesses such as lastminute.com have an advantage. They have learned to demand new levels of business agility and to continuously innovate, We’re excited to partner with lastminute.com as they continue to drive technology excellence and help people fulfill their aspirations as they return to traveling.” -Gautam Srusti, managing director at Thoughtworks Italy About lastminute.com lastminute.com is the European Travel-Tech leader in dynamic holiday packages. The company operates a portfolio of well-known brands such as lastminute.com, Volagratis, Rumbo, weg.de, Bravofly, Jetcost, Crocierissime and Hotelscan, with a vision to design the future of travel & tourism using digital technology as an enabler. The business is run in 17 languages and 40 countries, with more than 1,500 employees spread worldwide developing owned products and services aimed at powering the entire traveler journey for millions of people. lastminute.com N.V. is a publicly traded company listed under the ticker symbol LMN on SIX Swiss Exchange. About Thoughtworks Thoughtworks is a global technology consultancy that integrates strategy, design and engineering to drive digital innovation. We are 11,000+ people strong across 49 offices in 17 countries. Over the last 25+ years, we’ve delivered extraordinary impact together with our clients by helping them solve complex business problems with technology as the differentiator.

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Spotlight

Virtual reality could change the way people consumer travel content but are consumers ready to embrace this new technology and is it worth travel brands investing today? This white paper explores market conditions and the business case for virtual reality both now and in the future.

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