Travel Leaders adds Viator tours and activities for business travelers staying on

PhocusWire | August 09, 2019

Travel Leaders Corporate is rolling out a new service to cater to the growing trend of business and leisure travel melding in one trip.Through its new Concierge service, the travel management companys corporate clients now have access to more than 200,000 bookable activities, powered by TripAdvisor-owned Viator.Travel Leaders Corporate says it conducted a survey that found 75% of consumers occasionally extend business trips for leisure experiences.Our goal is to make business travel a great experience and, for many people, that means exploring the destinations on their corporate travel itinerary, says Gabe Rizzi, president of Travel Leaders Corporate.

Spotlight

Ten years ago a seminal blueprint for cultural and heritage tourism was adopted by the more than 1,500 dedicated political and industry leaders and practitioners as part of their national agenda for the travel industry, which they developed at the 1995 White House Conference on Travel and Tourism. Recognizing the extraordinary opportunity presented by this landmark event to expand the creative dialogue between this industry and America’s cultural and heritage institutions, a coalition representing the arts, historic preservation, humanities organizations and the federal cultural agencies—the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum Services, and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities— submitted a white paper, Cultural Tourism in the United States, to provide specifi c responses to the industry’s nine issue areas and outline goals for the culture and heritage tourism segment.


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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Collinson Group Uses Freshworks to Modernize its Customer Experience and Adapt to New Travel Requirements

collinson group | March 29, 2022

Freshworks Inc. (NASDAQ: FRSH), a software company empowering the people who power business, announced that its customer Collinson Group, a UK travel experiences and insurance company, is using Freshdesk™ to react to fast-changing business and travel requirements caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, servicing a 50% surge in new enquiries. Following the introduction of new travel requirements, Collinson Group pivoted its medical assistance division to offer COVID-19 testing at partner airports and clinics in the UK, USA and APAC regions, setting up facilities in just three weeks. Using Freshdesk, Collinson introduced chatbot-first support and automation into its customer communications to help manage the 50% surge in traffic and queries. The company set up over 120 automated workflows including email triage, automated ticket type routing, and chat bot self-service. Help articles were created to enable the global operation to manage backlogs effectively, run as efficiently as possible, and share work across customer service locations and teams. The Freshdesk ticketing dashboard also helped Collinson to better track customer interactions across disparate communications channels. Using Freshdesk, customer service agents can now view metrics on contact resolution, total time to service, and subject matter of enquiries, and track and respond proactively if a particular subject keeps arising in communications. As a result, Collinson now handles an average of 1,200 testing-related customer enquiries per day, rising to a daily peak of around 10,000 new tickets per day in 2021, 24/7 across multiple global testing locations and service customer teams in English and Indonesian languages. Speaking about the quick deployment, Sacha Puffett, Group Customer Service Director at Collinson Group said, "The Freshdesk implementation has helped to consolidate our customer communications, while ensuring that omnichannel sits at the heart of our strategy. For the first time, we have a unified view of customer interactions in nearly real time, meaning we can see trends emerging and work to mitigate issues quickly. It’s a win-win situation that’s more efficient for both the customer and us.” “Our work with Collinson Group, supported by AWS, enabled its rapid transition during a tumultuous year for the travel industry, The flexibility Freshdesk provided significantly reduced the time taken for major operational pivots, from weeks to days. Freshworks’ omnichannel engagement solution helps agents quickly resolve customer enquiries at a stressful time for travellers, providing visibility to leading companies in the travel industry across channels such as chat, email, and voice through a single unified interface.” -John Crossan, Vice President & General Manager of Europe at Freshworks Ms. Puffett added, "The project manager and technical subject matter expert from Freshworks’ onboarding team were very supportive of our changing needs. Thanks to their guidance, we were able to launch the first iteration of Freshdesk within just three weeks, which was just sensational." In 2019, Freshworks also helped Collinson pivot its business practices to ensure customer service levels were maintained. Through the work with Freshworks and Amazon Web Services (AWS), Collinson Group equipped customer service agents to work from home and migrated 120 phone lines to Amazon Connect, an easy-to-use, highly scalable, and cost-effective omnichannel cloud contact center solution. The migration was completed within a couple of weeks, and it included training time for call centre agents, which can often take months. About Collinson Group Collinson is a global leader in customer benefits and loyalty. We deliver exceptional travel, assistance and insurance products that differentiate value propositions, and loyalty solutions that win deeper, more valuable customer relationships.Our customer benefits products include the original and market-leading airport experiences programme, Priority Pass, as well as travel insurance, identity assistance, flight delay, international health and travel risk management solutions. Our loyalty expertise uniquely combines strategy, award-winning technology and programme management to create greater engagement and experiences for our clients’ customers.For over 30 years, we’ve been chosen by the world’s leading payment networks, 1,400+ banks, 90+ airlines and 20+ hotel groups to craft customer experiences that win competitive edge. This enables them to acquire, engage and retain the most profitable, but most demanding customers. Our clients include Air France KLM, American Express, Cathay Pacific, Chase, Hackett, Mastercard, RSA, Sephora, UnionPay, Vhi and Visa. About Freshworks Freshworks Inc., (NASDAQ: FRSH) makes business software people love to use. Purpose-built for IT, customer support, sales and marketing teams, our products empower the people who power business. Freshworks is fast to onboard, priced affordably, built to delight, yet powerful enough to deliver critical business outcomes. Headquartered in San Mateo, California, Freshworks operates around the world to serve more than 56,000 customers including Bridgestone, Chargebee, DeliveryHero, ITV, Klarna, Multichoice, OfficeMax, TaylorMade and Vice Media. For the freshest company news visit www.freshworks.com and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Placemakr Announces New Pop-Up Hotel in Virginia

Placemakr | May 12, 2022

Placemakr, a tech-enabled hospitality platform and operator, announced the launch of its newest pop-up location under the Placemakr brand - WhyHotel by Placemakr, Alexandria. In partnership with Stonebridge, this unique pop-up will allow guests to experience hotel amenities and services, while staying in fully furnished, spacious apartments equipped with full kitchens, spacious living rooms, bedrooms with walk-in closets, and more. WhyHotel by Placemakr's pop-ups combine the best of home and hospitality to meet the evolving needs of residents and guests alike; effectively creating a new real estate asset class for blended living. Located at 2455 Mandeville Lane in Alexandria, VA, guests will be able to begin to book stays at the end of May. WhyHotel by Placemakr, Alexandria is located in Carlyle Crossing, a 1.7 million square foot neighborhood created by Stonebridge. The property itself includes modern apartments with the largest range of amenities in all of Alexandria, including two roof decks, a 3-acre private elevated terrace, a rooftop pool, two state-of-the-art fitness centers, co-working space, a demonstration kitchen and a stage for TED-style talks. Future guests will be able to enjoy on-site retail offerings anchored by a Wegmans Food Market, set to open later this month. WhyHotel by Placemakr, Alexandria will have 120 units available at the luxury apartment building, Dylan. Additionally, Bozzuto will have residential leasing opportunities at the luxury apartment buildings Easton, Dylan and Reese. The Carlyle Crossing neighborhood offers unparalleled access for travelers to the Capital Beltway, Eisenhower Metro Station, Amtrak line and the regional train station at King Street Station. The immediate neighborhood features 5.7 million square feet of existing office space, with an additional 2 million feet to be added. "The future of hospitality and home is flexible. Our unique model bridges the hotel and apartment world, creating an offering more valuable than either product alone, Our guests at WhyHotel by Placemakr, Alexandria will get to stay in fully furnished apartments while having access to the best services found in hospitality. We're linking these two industries to provide a greater experience for our guests and residents." -Jason Fudin, CEO and Co-founder of Placemakr The expansion to Alexandria, VA is the latest property to open under the new Placemakr brand - with additional properties planned to open this spring and summer. Following the company's recent funding round, the company is pursuing aggressive growth into new geographic locations in partnership with organizations dedicated to innovating the multifamily and hospitality industry. Their model includes pop-up partnerships, property management agreements, and real estate acquisitions. "At Stonebridge, we focus on creating transformative mixed-use developments in the Washington area and we see Placemakr as the perfect partner in expanding our offerings in Carlyle Crossing, Placemakr will add to our vision for a dynamic living environment embedded into a neighborhood rich with shopping and working opportunities to create the ideal destination for travelers coming for business or leisure." -Marvin Poole, Director at Stonebridge. Placemakr looks forward to announcing additional properties throughout the remainder of 2022. For more information, please visit placemakr.com. About Placemakr Placemakr is a flexible hospitality living platform, property manager, and real estate investor. Its tech-enabled operating platform allows the company to blur the line between hospitality and home, delivering the best experiences of both in a single building. Placemakr's curated spaces in hand-picked neighborhoods allow its guests and residents the flexibility to stay for a night, a year, or anywhere in-between. Visit placemakr.com to learn more. About Stonebridge Stonebridge is a real estate development and investment firm focused on creating exceptional places in the Greater Washington area. Their portfolio includes several of the region's most successful mixed-use projects: premier properties that realize the broad benefits of transit-oriented development and enhance communities with integrated office, retail, residential, and hotel space. Complex in nature due to their urban locations, these developments reflect their vision for dynamic living, working, and shopping environments as well as their commitment to sustainable planning and design, including proximity to mass transportation. Stonebridge's comprehensive expertise in real estate acquisition, finance, land entitlement, development, and investment management enables them to navigate risks inherent in real estate while implementing innovative strategies to transform neighborhoods and generate lasting value.

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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

388 Ventures and Life House Announce Opening of The Lenox Collection in the Berkshires

388 Venture | May 27, 2022

Following extensive renovations, three storied boutique properties located in downtown Lenox are reopening together as part of The Lenox Collection, a newly reimagined family of inns connected by their deep historical roots in the town and elevated contextual design. As part of the reopening is Ophelia's, a 66-seat restaurant and bar offering farm-to-table comfort food in an intimate indoor-outdoor setting, with locally sourced ingredients and curated cocktail list. New York-based firm 388 Ventures acquired the properties in 2021 and brought on independent hotel management company, Life House, to lead design and branding, as well as oversee all hotel and F&B operations leveraging their tech-enabled management platform. At the heart of the collection is the Whitlock - formally The Church Street Inn - built in 1771 by John Whitlock, a local farmer who turned his two-room farmhouse into an inn for stagecoach travelers. The property now takes cues from its natural surroundings with a rustic and warm feel reminiscent of its farmhouse origins. The Whitlock’s bar and restaurant, Ophelia’s, pays homage to the ingredients and labors of the hotel’s namesake. With locally-inspired farm-to-table cuisine with dishes featuring herbs & garnishes from local purveyors, Ophelia’s is already becoming a favorite among locals, guests, and downtown passerbys. Located in the historic center of town is The Constance - formally the Rookwood Inn - which was built in 1825 as The Williams Tavern. In the 1880s it was purchased by Frederick Constance Peters, a businessman from England, who turned the property into ancillary lodging for owners of Lenox’s famed Gilded Age estates. The inn has been completely reimagined with an extensive renovation to restore and enhance the elegant charm and whimsical character of the storied property with the benefit of modern guest amenities. On the north side of town is The Dewey - formally the Birchwood Inn - which was originally built by Israel Dewey, a founding member of Lenox’s Continental Congress Committee when the town was incorporated in 1767. Over the years, the site has taken on many lives, owned by various influential figures in the Berkshires. Today, the newly-reappointed inn carries on its rich tradition of hospitality with elevated guest room interiors and stately common areas. About Life House Life House is a vertically integrated hotel software & operations platform focused on increasing profitability and reliability for independent hoteliers. Life House was founded in 2017 as one of the only vertically integrated asset-light hotel companies backed by institutional venture and private equity investors. The company is ambitiously investing in operational systems to make it far more profitable, predictable, and seamless for owners while making the guest experience more reliable for travelers. Today the company has nearly 60 hotels in its portfolio across North America. For more information visit www.life-house.com. About 388 Ventures 388 Ventures is a real estate investment firm focused on regional leisure destinations across the United States, with an emphasis on hospitality assets with differentiated market positioning. 388 Ventures invests primarily in lifestyle boutique product in the upper-upscale and luxury segment, with in-house development capabilities to take on transformative renovations. www.388ventures.com.

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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Trinity Investments Acquires Fifty Percent Interest in Omni San Diego Hotel

Trinity Investments | December 22, 2021

An investment fund managed by Trinity Fund Advisors LLC, an affiliate of Trinity Real Estate Investments LLC (“Trinity”), announced the acquisition of a 50 percent interest in Omni San Diego Hotel from JMI Realty, who originally developed the hotel in conjunction with Petco Park in 2004. Omni Hotels & Resorts (“Omni”) owns the remaining fifty percent interest in the hotel and will continue to manage it. The acquisition also includes more than 13,000 square feet of fully leased, street-level retail space, located across the street from the hotel.Situated in the heart of the historic Gaslamp Quarter, adjacent to Petco Park and across from the San Diego Convention Center, the 511-key, AAA 4-Diamond, award-winning Omni San Diego Hotel is located in a highly trafficked area and benefits from numerous demand generators. Trinity and Omni plan to take advantage of strategic opportunities, including a multimillion-dollar capital improvement plan involving a comprehensive renovation of guestrooms, a reimagination of the food and beverage offerings, and the enhancement of the hotel’s rooftop pool deck, fitness center and other amenities. “We are pleased to acquire, what we believe to be, one of the best-located hotels in San Diego, and to partner with Omni to unlock the hotel’s full potential,In partnership with Omni, our teams have identified numerous opportunities to drive higher revenues and position the hotel as the premier destination in the market for business and leisure travel.” -Sean Hehir, Managing Partner, President and CEO of Trinity Over the last 10 years, the San Diego lodging market has demonstrated robust growth as a top drive-to, leisure destination, and highly desirable locale for business gatherings. The downtown area is experiencing significant redevelopment, with several large office and life science development projects underway, as well as the anticipated future expansion of the San Diego Convention Center, all of which projected to drive increased demand for well-appointed hotels. In conjunction with their capital improvement plan, and factoring in the area’s redevelopment activity, Trinity and Omni plan to shift current demand segmentation to higher-rated transient and group business. “This is a mutually important and strategic business alignment between Omni Hotels & Resorts and Trinity,We are especially excited to partner with Trinity, given their current portfolio of premier assets, and their dedication to elevating the hotel’s presence and impact in the San Diego market.” -Omni Hotels & Resorts’ President Peter Strebel. The Omni San Diego Hotel represents Trinity’s third acquisition on behalf of Trinity GP Fund I L.P., Trinity’s inaugural U.S. commingled hospitality fund, following its acquisitions of the 352-key EAST Miami and the 305-key W Hollywood, earlier this year. About Trinity Real Estate Investments LLC Trinity is a private real estate investment firm with a 26-year history of specializing in value-add opportunities. Based in Honolulu, Hawaii, with an office in Beverly Hills, California, Trinity focuses on unique real estate investments in world-class markets and has invested more than $8 billion in the United States, Mexico, Europe, and Japan by leveraging its deep institutional knowledge and longstanding local relationships. Trinity is based in Honolulu, Hawaii, with an office in Beverly Hills, California. For additional information, please visit Trinity’s website at www.trinityinvestments.com. About Omni Hotels & Resorts Omni Hotels & Resorts creates genuine, authentic guest experiences at over 50 distinct luxury hotels and resorts in leading business and leisure destinations across North America. With more than 21 iconic golf courses and multiple short courses, 24 award-winning spas featured in dynamic locales nationwide, every Omni proudly opens its doors to share the true spirit of its destination. Reflected through local color, personalized service, unique wellness options, signature restaurants and creative culinary offerings, Omni leaves a lasting impression with every guest and a heightened level of recognition and rewards delivered through its Select Guest® loyalty program. Omni is committed to reducing hunger and is on a mission through its Say Goodnight to Hunger initiative to provide millions of meals each year for food banks to feed children, families, and seniors in communities in which it operates. Through its partnership with Shared Hope International, Omni is dedicated to the education and training of its associates to help combat human trafficking. Omni Hotels & Resorts is the official hotel of the PGA TOUR® and PGA TOUR Champions. For information or to book accommodations, visit www.omnihotels.com or call 1-800-The-Omni.

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Spotlight

Ten years ago a seminal blueprint for cultural and heritage tourism was adopted by the more than 1,500 dedicated political and industry leaders and practitioners as part of their national agenda for the travel industry, which they developed at the 1995 White House Conference on Travel and Tourism. Recognizing the extraordinary opportunity presented by this landmark event to expand the creative dialogue between this industry and America’s cultural and heritage institutions, a coalition representing the arts, historic preservation, humanities organizations and the federal cultural agencies—the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum Services, and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities— submitted a white paper, Cultural Tourism in the United States, to provide specifi c responses to the industry’s nine issue areas and outline goals for the culture and heritage tourism segment.

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