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14 2017 Oct

Why Leisure Travel Is Becoming A Big Business

The term “Bleisure” travel is a relatively new term to define the combination of business and leisure travel. The fairly recent term has garnered a lot of attention recently catching the eyes of travel agents, as an opportunity for growth.

Travel agents are riding this wave and are finding this shift in lifestyle especially lucrative. According to Travel Weekly’s 2016 Consumer Trends report, the percentage of leisure trips that have a business component jumped to 17 percent, up from 11 percent in 2012 and 14 percent in 2015. Although Bleisure travel is growing at a rapid pace, it is more prevalent in certain metropolitan areas.

New York City, according to travel agency CheapOair has grown over 20 percent in bleisure travel each year for the past three years. There are many factors that can be considered for this uptick. Some of which is that the average ticket values have come down over the past three years, making it more affordable to bring a traveling companion. Another is that it can save a company money staying over a Saturday night, which can reduce the cost per ticket even more.

The average bleisure traveler is either a corporate or government employee, with an age anywhere between the late twenties and early fifties says Amy Blanco, branch manager at Omega World Travel in City of Industry, California. These demographics can help shape the marketing strategies used to attract new bookings within this segment.

According to Blanco, the business travelers who are most easily converted to bleisure, come from “corporate accounts that have clients in other states or countries.” She also notes, “It is possible to take leisure travelers and convert them to bleisure if the type of business/job they are in requires them to travel.”

Agencies like Blancos are utilizing social media as well as their call centers to suggest to business clients what the decrease in fare would be if they stayed over a Saturday night, or to look for options that would help best accommodate the business traveler to have a few leisure days of travel included in the trip.

Bleisure travel is becoming a big business, and a new segment for travel agencies to grow but like many other trends, relies on many factors to stay relevant.

What is your experience with bleisure travel?

 

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10 2017 Oct

There’s A New Way For Travel Agents To Book Tours and Activities

Middlemen distributors are a thing of the past since TripAdvisor’s brand Viator revealed a new Booking Tool for Travel Agents to book tours and activities without them.

Travel agents worldwide can now go directly to the source and book over 70,000 tours and attractions in thirteen currencies, earning an 8 percent commission on all bookings. They’re even handling customer support and payment processing.

Viator handles all customer support, including collecting payment from the agent at the time of booking. Although the process is free, Host agencies and independent agents must register on the platform and be approved prior to utilizing the new tool. The company says it has been beta testing since early August, and “thousands” have given nothing but positive feedback.

One of the drawbacks at this time is that the platform makes it clear to the consumer that the experience was booked through Viator. TripAdvisor is not offering a white label option at this time. The company positions itself as the first consumer-facing aggregator of tours and activities to offer direct, commissionable booking for travel agents. Will rivals PlacePass and GetYourGuide be following in their footsteps?

A Viator spokesperson said: “We think [our new platform] is the most efficient, lucrative way for [agents] to book Viator products and serve their clients.”

Are you a Travel Agent who has used this new booking tool? Share your experiences.

 

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29 2017 Sep

This Brand Just Unveiled A Millennial-Focused Airline

Hoping to compete against similar airlines-within-airlines such as Level, owned by British Airways’ parent company, Air France unveils a millennial-focused airline called Joon. The new millennial-focused branding strategy comes equipped with everything a millennial traveler could ask for.

Joon’s passengers will be able to access a rooftop bar in economy class, where alcohol will be available alongside 60 “tasty treats”, a third of which will be organic. Passengers will also be able to book tours from various travel partnerships,  including Airbnb Experiences in-flight. However, those aren’t Joon’s only cool factors.

The flight attendants will sport updated uniforms made up of classic and modern garments. They will wear slimline trousers, sneakers, redesigned sailor stripes and a sleeveless quilted jacket, the airline said.

Air France’s entrant, Joon, will begin flying in December from Paris to Barcelona, Berlin, Lisbon, and Porto. It will fly long haul next summer to Fortaleza in Brazil and Mahé in the Seychelles. By 2020, Joon should have 28 aircraft, including 10 long-haul Airbus jets, so it should announce further expansion soon.

 

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25 2017 Sep

Are facial-recognition software and fingerprint reading at airports safe?

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  • posted in News, Travel

One of the increasing demands of Business Travelers is getting through airport lines faster. Many tech-companies tried answering these demands by rolling out their own versions of a “fast pass” for example, Read an article about Clear, a kiosk that essentially lets you ‘cut the line’ here. However, The U.S. Customs and Border Protection are in the early stages of integrating facial-recognition software and fingerprint reading at airports. With this new advancement, some raise concern that these biometrics are not safe.

The facial-recognition program run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection is still in its pilot stage. However, five airports across the U.S. are currently using this machine to get through TSA lines faster. It works a lot like you would imagine, passengers are asked to stick their faces in front of a camera. The machine then takes a photo and compares it with a database of images of people who are supposed to be on the flight. If the software finds a match, the person can board, if not you are subject to more screening.

While Corporate travel groups have “generally” supported the pilot program, they are also adamant that travelers’ personal information be tightly guarded. In the program’s current state, all security measures seem fair, however, most speculate that it will not stay this way. Michelle Richardson, deputy director of the Freedom, Security, and Technology Project at the Center for Democracy & Technology in Washington, D.C. said “It’s [the program] very unlikely that it’s going to stay in this form going forward. For example, as it spreads to other airports, and the collection gets bigger, are you going to see other agencies asking for that information?”

Although flyers may be able to opt-out of biometric collection, the only way to be sure is to refrain from traveling all together. A few risks remain unseen for instance, even if a traveler opted out, he or she still may be subject to screening and probing as to why they opted out causing hold-ups within the line. Another risk of biometric collection is that databases can be hacked, and it happens all of the time.

For early adopters like business travelers, biometrics seem to be a great answer. However, the risk and safety factors are yet to be seen.

 

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20 2017 Sep

Why Uber Won’t Change, Even With A New CEO

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  • posted in News

Uber may have changed at the top, with new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi but their core issues remain the same. Continued issues like, surge pricing, lack of background checks and fingerprinting, requirements for licensing and professional background and even insurance coverage are still in question.

The seven year old ride-hailing app seems like an ideal solution for “seamlessly” connecting riders and drivers but, like many things in life that read well on paper, it turns out that Uber can be a risky choice for passengers and drivers, and it’s only getting worse. As Uber’s reputation falls, and a new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi is brought on to “turn things around”, the company’s fundamental values haven’t changed.

Uber’s lack of professional driving qualifications is a serious issue. Professional chauffeurs are held to certain standards. For instance, in San Francisco where Uber is based, professional chauffeurs must show proof of residency, good health and hygiene, and have a driver’s license. They must also have a clean criminal record, and they must complete professional driving training. In Los Angeles, prospective taxi drivers must be fingerprinted and pass a nationwide FBI criminal background check. Uber drivers can be just about anyone with a relatively new car in “working order”, and do not have to pass an inspection. More importantly, if something were to go wrong, Uber claims no liability.

Because drivers for Uber are classified as independent contractors, the company denies any liability when things go wrong, which they do. When you download the company’s app, you agree to terms and conditions by default, including the fact that Uber absolves itself of anything that happens to you—be it an accident, injury, theft, physical attack, rape or death.

With Uber still facing litigation from all sides including (but not limited to) driverless car know-how theft from Google-owned Waymo; drivers’ legal attempts to make Uber an employer; and in the last year, 48 allegations of driver sex attacks on passengers in London alone, many of Uber’s passengers are turning to safer, and more regulated alternatives like, Smart Cars Inc. and other professional ground transportation services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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25 2017 Aug

How One Company Is Getting You Through Airport Lines Faster

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  • posted in News, Travel

Two fingers, and a scan of your boarding pass is all the modern day business traveler needs to get through airport lines faster, with Clear.

The recently acquired Clear is similar to TSA PreCheck, moving you right to the front of the line in five minutes or less.

the technology is delivering a predictable experience…You’ll always know you’ll get through security in five minutes or less. Said, Seidman Becker,  Clear’s CEO.

The cost to cut lines with Clear is $179 a year, which is a littler steeper than PreCheck’s $85 fee for five years. However, unlike TSA PreCheck there is no appointment needed to enroll. To enroll, users complete online registration and then visit one of Clear’s airport locations or an enrollment center with a valid ID. Five to 10 minutes is needed after enrollment for your final in-person setup.

Delta experimented with Clear and their passengers rather than presenting a boarding pass or mobile phone. The potential of Clear proved to be valuable to all passengers as well as Delta and their employees.

How CLEAR Works

Posted by CLEAR on Friday, April 14, 2017

Clear is now rolling out in large-scale sports arenas, allowing people to skip lines in other industries, and not only travel.

For the business traveler, maximizing every possible hack to save time and hassle, Clear is worth looking into, even if you have PreCheck.

 

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11 2017 Aug

How One App Is Making Corporate Travelers Hungry

Dinova is a corporate dining program provider that has recently partnered with Tripism, a recommendation platform that have corporate travel customers hungry, literally.

The user-driven dining app aims at being the corporate traveler’s dining marketplace equipped with rates and reviews from other business professionals and co-workers. The app has more than 14,000 preferred restaurants in their ‘business dining marketplace’. Making the app the go-to place for busy professionals.

Originally focused on targeting travel agents, the new app has since shifted it’s target market. With the knowledge shared from hundreds of travel agents, their new audience is the end user. This is because, they’ve found the end user is the ultimate decision-maker.

The platform has been in the works for several years and none other than tech giant Microsoft, has been a huge help along the way.

The recommendation platform relies on user-driven content and artificial intelligence personalization to keep hungry corporate travelers satisfied. The founders plan to host with many other corporate travel apps in the near future, particularly those providing holistic resource for travelers, so keep a look out in the app store!

 

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7 2017 Aug

Why Technology-enabled Control is Top of Mind for Business Travelers

Business travelers are craving more and more accessibility. From changing their travel plans, to only interacting with human customer-service representatives in emergency situations.

In a recent study from Egencia, the buses-travel subsidiary of Expedia, Two-thirds of business travelers stated that they want to be able to manage everything from travel to transportation services through their mobile devices. This number also includes 76 per cent of US business travelers.

One of the largest queries that arrised from the survey was that Business Travelers would like to be able to make their travel plans using text message. This is just one example of why technology-enabled control is top of mind for business travelers right now.

It is no shock that the business travel market is at a turning point. A place where business travelers have increasingly high expectations and want instant gratitude from tools on every device available to them while they travel.

Another key insight found from the survey, was that Technology was viewed as a better tool to productivity than things like airport lounges and priority boarding.

Business travelers want ease-of-use verses perks. Which is why they’re asking companies to reimburse them for in-flight wifi, which currently only 29 per cent of companies do.

Business travelers are craving more technology-enabled control, which is creating a turning point for the business travel market. What are we going to do to accommodate them?

 

 

 

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30 2017 Jul

How One Company Is Using Personalization to Enhance the Business Travel Experience

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  • posted in Corporate, Travel

Offering business travelers personalized experiences can not only improve traveler satisfaction, but also allow corporate travel providers to stand out among their competitors. See how one company is using personalization to enhance the business travel experience.

Delta airlines has been focusing on improving customer experience within the last several years. They offer Wi-Fi, some of the best procured food, craft beer and other enhanced drink options, great entertainment options and bigger seats than most airlines.

Although the onboard experience will never be able to replace personalized human interactions, travel providers are quickly learning that integrating personal touches to the guest experience can be valuable. So valuable that they believe it will build stronger customer loyalty and give them an edge of their competitors.

Delta Airlines has been globally recognized as a company that has not lost sight of the “human touch”, and passengers like that. As they continue to bring humanity back to air travel they continue to roll out distinguished programs.

Both A Check-In Recognition program as well as a new Onboard Recognition program are both available to companies with a Corporate Sales Agreement. These programs are in place to engage with their corporate flyers by giving them an extra personal touch.

The Check-In Recognition program identifies travelers from the corporations who participate in the program by company name. Once recognized, the airport kiosk will thank the traveler when they check in.

In addition, The Onboard Recognition program equips business travelers with a Recognition Seat Map on their mobile devices.

Personalized experiences are becoming a top need for business travelers and can drastically improve traveler satisfaction, but also allow corporate travel providers to stand out among their competitors.

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24 2017 Jul

Here’s Why Business Travel Is Expected To Rise By 2018

With a rising of less-than-expected 3.5 percent to $1.26 trillion in 2016, the outlook for Business Travel Spending improves somewhat this year and more moving into 2018.

Though expectations pend many global uncertainties, the renewed optimism for business travel is being driven by current successes in global trade, expected improvements in manufacturing, economic improvements in emerging markets and shifting currency dynamics. Although a recent report by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) executive director and chief operating officer Michael McCormick stays cautious in saying, “Many downside risks remain, however. Most notably, public policy in the U.S and abroad has the potential to drastically change the global business travel environment.”

Unknowns such as President Trump’s intentions to lower corporate taxes, reduce regulations and invest in infrastructure are still at bay  but could turn out to be good for business travel. While restrictions on trade policy and travel bans could be detrimental.

“Policies that would have an incredibly negative impact on business travel activity include any policies aimed at reducing the free movement of goods, services or people,” GBTA said.

The 2018 Global Travel Forecast indicates that airfares worldwide are expected to be up 3.5 percent, while hotel room prices will increase 3.7 percent.

Higher pricing has always been a reflection of a strong economy and growing demand. The 2018 Global Travel Forecast numbers are a strong indicator of where we see global business spending in the near future.

 

 

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