Global Travel News

Accor Hotels Expands Luxury Footprint in Africa with Fairmont Djibouti

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Accor Hotels Expands Luxury Footprint in Africa with Fairmont Djibouti - TRAVELINDEXDjibouti City, Djibouti, September 21, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Accor Hotels signs deal to open its first luxury property in Djibouti in 2024, adding a new flagship property to its portfolio in Africa with Fairmont Djibouti. Set to open in 2024, the hotel will feature 155 rooms and 10 serviced apartments, with five food and beverage outlets combined with 1,398 sqm of meetings & events facilities.

Located in Djibouti City, the capital of Djibouti and one of the country’s most affluent areas, the hotel will be strategically located by the beach in Plateau Du Serpent offering its visitors convenient proximity to the port of Djibouti. In addition, the property’s enviable seafront location will provide guests with unparalleled views, positioning Fairmont Djibouti as the “preeminent hotel” in the Djibouti market.

“Accor has always been a key player in the tourism industry across Africa,” says Mark Willis, CEO of Accor India, Middle East, Africa and Turkey, “and Djibouti is no exception. We are confident that this project will greatly benefit the hospitality landscape of Djibouti with the introduction of one of Accor’s flagship luxury brands, Fairmont, while supporting government efforts for its “Djibouti vision 2035”.

Accor is partnering with Carnegie Hill Hospitality, a company founded in 2018 which has positioned itself as a major player in the real estate sector in Djibouti, headed by Mrs Haibado Ismail, and showcases the strong ambition to be a leader in the tourism sector through “greenfield” developments and strategic partnerships in all segments of the hotel and real estate sectors.

When speaking about the new Fairmount project, Mrs Habaido Ismail states: “It’s not about building one more hotel. The partnership with Fairmont and Accor underlines our desire to create a unique place, emblematic of Djibouti. At the heart of our approach, there is a desire for authenticity. It is about offering a discovery, a destination in its own right that reflects our rich history, a symbol of our welcome, our culture, our traditions and our ambitions. It is also about doing our part in the development of the country, its economy, while offering a hotel complex at the highest level of luxury and service.”

In addition to the guestrooms and serviced apartments, the urban resort project will feature an all-day-dining restaurant, a specialty restaurant, a specialty bar, a lobby lounge, a pool bar & grill and a tea lounge. There will be 1,389 m² of meeting space featuring a large ballroom designed to host corporate meetings, weddings and social events as well as an exterior courtyard events area that can host up to 400 attendees. Furthermore, the project will include spa and fitness facilities, a Fairmont Gold Lounge, a salon, kids club, beach water sports center and all the amenities to become a destination in and of itself.

Once open, Fairmont Djibouti will welcome guests traveling for leisure and with family, while expecting a strong demand from corporate, governmental and military travelers. With the government vision for 2035, tourism activity is a priority with the market looking to attract 500,000 visitors by 2035, eager to visit and discover the exceptional natural heritage of the country, the richness of the seabed, the discovery of the desert, the nomadic life of the locals, the salt lakes and more.

The Accor group has been present in Africa for over 40 years and currently operates 155 properties (26,376 keys), with another 85 properties (16,765 keys) in the pipeline.

About Accor
Accor is a world leading hospitality Group consisting of more than 5,100 properties and 10,000 food and beverage venues throughout 110 countries. The Group has one of the industry’s most diverse and fully-integrated hospitality ecosystems encompassing luxury and premium brands, midscale and economy offerings, unique Lifestyle concepts, entertainment and nightlife venues, restaurants and bars, branded private residences, shared accommodation properties, concierge services, co-working spaces and more. Accor also boasts an unrivalled portfolio of distinctive brands and approximately 260,000 team members worldwide. Over 68 million members benefit from the company’s comprehensive loyalty program ALL – Accor Live Limitless – a daily Lifestyle companion that provides access to a wide variety of rewards, services and experiences. Through its Planet 21 – Acting Here, Accor Solidarity, RiiSE and ALL Heartist Fund initiatives, the group is focused on driving positive action through business ethics, responsible tourism, environmental sustainability, community engagement, diversity and inclusivity. Founded in 1967, Accor SA is headquartered in France and publicly listed on the Euronext Paris Stock Exchange (ISIN code: FR0000120404) and on the OTC Market (Ticker: ACCYY) in the United States.

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

WTTC Report Provides Vital Post-Pandemic Investment Recommendations

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WTTC Report Provides Vital Post-Pandemic Investment Recommendations - TRAVELINDEXLondon, United Kingdom, September 21, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Investment plummeted by almost one third in 2020. The World Travel & Tourism Council launched an important new report that provides investment recommendations for governments and destinations, as they aim to rebuild and grow their Travel & Tourism sector.

With the pandemic bringing international travel to an almost complete halt, the global Travel & Tourism sector suffered more than any other due to severe mobility restrictions.

The sector’s contribution to global GDP fell from nearly US$ 9.2 trillion in 2019, to just US$ 4.7 trillion in 2020, representing a loss of almost US$ 4.5 trillion. Furthermore, as the pandemic ripped through the heart of the sector, a shocking 62 million Travel & Tourism jobs were lost while many still remain at risk.

The report reveals that capital investment dropped by almost one third (29.7%) last year, plummeting from US$ 986 billion in 2019, to just US$ 693 billion in 2020 and now, as we head towards recovery, investment in Travel & Tourism has never been so critical.
This paper demonstrates how crucial it is for both destinations and governments to attract investment through an effective enabling environment, including incentives such as smart taxation, travel facilitation policies, diversification, integration of health and hygiene, effective communication, and a skilled and trained workforce.

The report also offers key recommendations for governments and destinations and highlights those segments which could be most attractive to investors.

According to the report, governments and destinations should invest and attract investment from the private sector in areas such as physical and digital infrastructure, as well as in travel segments such as wellness, medical, MICE, sustainable, adventure, cultural or targeted – including women, LGBTQI, and accessible – tourism.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said:
“WTTC data has laid bare the devastating impact the pandemic has had on the Travel & Tourism sector.  “It is crucial for stakeholders to focus on travel facilitation to achieve a safe and seamless traveller journey, and diversification of revenue-generating activities, amongst other opportunities.

“As this sector heads towards recovery, it is essential to understand the priorities to drive public and private investment in order to rebuild the economy and unlock the full potential of the Travel & Tourism sector.” WTTC’s report showcases the importance of investment in the Travel & Tourism sector as a pathway to recovery, and how crucial it is to forge a public-private-community partnerships (PPCP).

Mark Harms, Bespoke Capital Partners, Managing Partner, said:
“Clear and consistent government policy is key in attracting investors’ interest.
“To accelerate the resumption of international travel and attract investment, governments need to work together on the organised and coordinated response.”

Steven Siegel, KSL Capital Partners, Chief Operating Officer, said:
“We are delighted to have contributed to this important report, which we hope will help Travel & Tourism businesses attract critical investment post-pandemic.

“Destinations and governments should focus on safety and security, alongside political stability and well-established rule of law, as we look for these qualities as pre-requisites for investment.”

First published at TravelCommunication.net – Global Travel News

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

Marriott International Signs Agreement with Progetto Majestic S.R.L to Debut the First W Hotel in Tuscany

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W Florence Hero 1.jpg
W Florence

Marriott International today announced it has signed an agreement with Progetto Majestic S.r.l. to bring the W Hotels Worldwide brand to the iconic Tuscan city of Florence. Expected to welcome its first guests in 2023, W Florence is set to become a buzzing centrepiece in the heart of the artistic city alongside the Ponte Vecchio riverfront and the Duomo.

Florence is famed for its passion for culture and style, and therefore a perfect destination for the W Hotels brand,” said Candice D’Cruz, Vice President – Luxury Brands, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International. “With its energetic spaces, bold design, innovative programming and iconic Whatever/Whenever® service, W Florence will add its distinct take on modern, social luxury to the city’s hospitality scene.”

Located steps from Florence’s world-renowned art, thriving dining scene and celebrated shopping destination Via de’Tornabuoni, W Florence is well-situated to offer guests the very best of the city at their doorstep. The hotel is expected to feature 120 guestrooms, including 20 suites. The Extreme WOW Suite, W’s take on the Presidential Suite, will offer a large living space and private terrace with stunning views across the Duomo and the Santa Maria Novella church. Adding rare and much-sought-after inside and outside living spaces, the ground floor, which will house the W Lounge and Living Room, will seamlessly blend around a central partially covered courtyard.

“We are very excited to have signed this luxury lifestyle hotel that will be a highlight in the city of Florence. The building itself is a historical landmark being the first of only two modern structures built during its era, making the trend-setting W Hotels brand the perfect match. W Hotels embrace the history of each location yet adds an unexpected, thought-provoking experience which will make this hotel a new glamorous, socially driven destination,” said Roberto Puccini, CEO , PROGETTO MAJESTIC S.R.L.

“Florence is a dynamic, awe-inspiring city and we are thrilled to collaborate with Progetto Majestic S.r.l. to bring W Hotels to the city,” said Gianleo Bosticco, Senior Director, Development Italy, Marriott International. “This key signing underscores the growth of our luxury portfolio across Italy and impressive demand for the W brand.”

Marriott International currently operates 14 properties and residences under the W brand across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The brand is expected to make its debut in Italy with the opening of W Rome this autumn.

For more information, please visit www.whotels.com.

Media Contacts
Georgie Noble
Director, Consumer PR, EMEA
Marriott International
Georgie.Noble@marriott.com

About W Hotels
Born from the bold attitude and 24/7 culture of New York City, W Hotels, part of Marriott International, Inc., has disrupted and redefined the hospitality scene for over two decades. Trailblazing its way around the globe, with nearly 60 hotels, W is defying expectations and breaking the norms of traditional luxury wherever the iconic W sign lands. With a mission to fuel guests’ lust for life, W ignites an obsessive desire to soak it in, live it up and hit repeat. The brand’s provocative design, iconic Whatever/Whenever service and buzzing Living Rooms create an experience that is often copied but never matched. Innovative, inspiring and infectious, the brand’s super-charged energy celebrates guests’ endless appetite to discover what’s new/next in each destination, to see more, feel more, go longer, stay later. For more information on W Hotels, visit whotels.com/theangle or follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. W Hotels Worldwide is proud to participate in Marriott Bonvoy, the global travel program from Marriott International. The program offers members an extraordinary portfolio of global brands, exclusive experiences on Marriott Bonvoy Moments and unparalleled benefits including free nights and Elite status recognition. To enroll for free or for more information about the program, visit MarriottBonvoy.marriott.com.

About Marriott International
Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 7,800 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 138 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company offers Marriott Bonvoy™, its highly-awarded travel program. For more information, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com. In addition, connect with us on Facebook and @MarriottIntl on Twitter and Instagram.

Read original article at Marriott Hotels

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

Expanded EPCOT France Pavilion is a Feast for the Senses

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Expanded EPCOT France Pavilion is a Feast for the Senses - TOURISMAMERICA - TRAVELINDEXLake Buena Vista, Florida, United States, September 20, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Remy, the “Little Chef” from Disney and Pixar’s award-winning “Ratatouille” film, has a passion for food that goes well beyond good taste – he’s on a continual quest of creativity and innovation. This makes Chef Remy the ideal inspiration for a new mini-land in EPCOT, the Walt Disney World Resort theme park that invites guests to explore the magic of possibility. Theme park’s historic transformation continues with addition of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure attraction, La Crêperie de Paris restaurant.

On Oct. 1, 2021, EPCOT will officially open an expansion to its France pavilion in World Showcase, the park’s latest example of imagination blending with authenticity to create new stories for guests. Anchoring this expansion is Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, a new family-friendly attraction inviting guests into the larger-than-life world of “Ratatouille.” Joining the attraction is La Crêperie de Paris, a new restaurant offering authentic French cuisine in both table- and quick-service options and a menu from celebrity chef Jérôme Bocuse.

These scrumptious new experiences help kick off “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” an 18-month event beginning Oct. 1 to honor the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort. They also mark a milestone in the multi-year transformation of EPCOT, serving up a new generation of immersive storytelling at the park.

Expansion Blends Real-World France with Whimsical Paris from ‘Ratatouille’  

The France expansion more than doubles the size of the existing pavilion, with a seamless transition between the original and new sections. In a scene reminiscent of the Seine River of Paris, guests begin their journey to this new area of the park with a stroll down a waterside pathway near the EPCOT International Gateway, with Disney Skyliner gondolas gliding majestically nearby. They’ll walk under an art nouveau-style archway evoking a Paris Metro station before rounding a corner and entering a French market street called Alleé des Marchands (“Alley of the Merchants”).

After passing La Crêperie de Paris, guests walk under an ornate, cast-iron arcade that serves as the transition from real-world France to the fantastical vision of Paris from “Ratatouille.” Pixar artists coined the term “crookedology” to describe the fanciful interpretation of the “City of Light” in their film, and Disney Imagineers applied this aesthetic to Remy’s Paris at EPCOT. Imagineers worked with Pixar to design buildings in the pavilion that evoke the whimsical, handmade architectural style seen in “Ratatouille,” where lines become a bit less straight, colors are bolder, and other exaggerated details create the feel of an animated film.

The theme continues with a “Ratatouille”-inspired fountain as the focal point of this fanciful area of the pavilion; the three-basin structure features rats holding bottles and flutes of champagne as water shoots out of the bottles toward the top basin. There Remy stands atop the fountain wearing his classic French toque (hat) and holding a cooking spoon.

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure Is a Culinary Journey for the Whole Family

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is a family-friendly attraction where guests feel as if they shrink to the size of a rat and race through Gusteau’s restaurant, joining the “Little Chef” in creating a culinary masterpiece. The attraction’s entrance, located at the end of the pavilion’s new plaza, looks like a Parisian theater and features a classic marquee with hand-laid golf leaf and nearly 200 lights.

After entering the theater, guests eventually find themselves on the rooftops of Paris where Gusteau invites them to join Remy for a special meal the “Little Chef” is creating. They board colorful rat-shaped vehicles and then don 3D glasses to begin their adventure, seeing everything from a “rat’s-eye view.” Imagineers worked with Pixar artists to create animated 3D scenes that feel as if the film has come to life right before guests’ eyes, blending with oversized sets to provide an immersive environment full of sights, sounds, smells and other effects celebrating “Ratatouille.”

From falling through a skylight to scurrying through Gusteau’s kitchen to hiding out in the restaurant’s pantry, guests feel as if they’re right alongside Chef Remy. At times they may dodge a mop, avoid being trampled by giant feet or marvel at massive pieces of food all around them.

The trackless vehicles travel in groups of three and move forward and backward while spinning, tilting and bouncing along as the rats scamper from one scene to the next. Depending on which vehicle guests board, they may take a slightly different path through the attraction and notice new details if they experience Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure multiple times. Characters speak in a blend of English and French, adding to the overall authenticity of the France pavilion.

La Crêperie de Paris Serves Up a Traditional French Dining Experience

La Crêperie de Paris is a traditional creperie with a menu from renowned chef Jérôme Bocuse inspired by the Brittany region of France, home to countless creperies. The table-service restaurant serves savory galettes and sweet dessert crepes, along with some of Brittany’s famous hard ciders.

As is tradition in Brittany, La Crêperie de Paris offers thin galettes cooked at a high temperature to allow the outside to crisp while warming the various fillings. The gluten-friendly galettes are made with buckwheat imported from France and feature classic fillings with special twists. Perhaps the best-known combination is the Classique, which includes ham, eggs and Swiss cheese. The Ratatouille, inspired by the “Little Chef” down the street, features tomato, zucchini and eggplant.

The sweet crepes are similarly thin and made from scratch. They include the traditional Gourmande – filled with house-made hazelnut chocolate spread – to the Pomme, which offers caramelized apples and caramel beurre salé. House-made ice cream is available for delicious dessert combinations.

La Crêperie de Paris completes its authentic French dining experience with traditional Brittany hard ciders that pair with both savory and sweet crepes. From the sweet doux to the less sweet brut and demi sec, these ciders are imported from France and made with apples from the Brittany region. The restaurant also offers a prix fixe menu featuring a choice of soup or salad, one savory galette, one dessert crepe and a glass of hard cider, soda or juice.

Crêpes A Emporter at La Crêperie de Paris is a quick-service location at the front of the restaurant, located along the new plaza’s promenade. The walk-up window serves three savory galettes, four sweet crepes, soft-serve ice cream and an assortment of ciders and wines.

Bring the ‘Little Chef’ Home with New Remy-Inspired Merchandise

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure inspires a new line of merchandise available at the newsstand in the new France pavilion expansion and other select retail locations at EPCOT. From apparel to accessories, guests can purchase fashionable finds perfect for Remy-inspired looks and the “Little Chef” in everyone. Highlighting this collection is a new Interactive Chef Hat that looks as if Chef Remy is cooking alongside the wearer just as he did with Linguini in the film.

Tasty Tidbits: Plenty of New Morsels to Savor for ‘Ratatouille’ Fans

The France pavilion expansion and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure offer a veritable feast of “Ratatouille”-related details fans of the film are sure to devour:

  • The Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure marquee is 10 feet tall and more than 14 feet wide, featuring nearly 200 lights, hand-applied gold leaf and a sculpture of Chef Remy.
  • The iconic Gusteau’s restaurant sign hangs in the distance past the Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure theater, hinting at the fun awaiting within the attraction. When guests enter the queue, they see the sign up close and receive a special magical message from Gusteau reminding them “anyone can cook.”
  • Also in the queue, guests enter a French artist’s loft created especially for the EPCOT attraction, modeled after the art studio seen briefly in the film. As they pass through the room, guests see French-inspired paintings, cupboards filled with art supplies and two magical canvases that come to life.
  • The attraction finds inspiration in several scenes from the film, including Remy’s first view of Paris, his fall through a skylight into Gusteau’s kitchen, the pantry where he hides from Chef Skinner, and the leafy restaurant Remy creates for himself and his family and friends.
  • A number of the oversized products seen throughout the attraction call back to the film, including olive oil named for Linguini and sparkling wine named for Gusteau.
  • The massive ham hanging from the ceiling in the pantry weighs 2.7 tons; the fish in the same scene is 26 feet long.
  • Inside the attraction entrance, large posters depict Remy, Linguini and Chef Skinner.
  • Outside the theater are Chef Skinner’s scooter and Chef Colette’s motorbike, which make for fun photo opportunities for fans of the film.
  • Guests can peer into La Cave D’Ego, a wine shop owned by famed food critic Anton Ego; the vintages of wine bottles on display hold special significance to the “Ratatouille” story in both the film and Disney parks.
  • The health inspector who plays an important role in the film has an office located along the Alleé des Marchands.
  • A Remy motif runs throughout the pavilion expansion, with his image incorporated into a manhole cover, park benches, iron railings, a newsstand and a fountain.
  • The waterside pathway leading to the France pavilion expansion is called Rue Auguste Gusteau, an homage to the famous chef.

For more information on Walt Disney World Resort and the historic transformation of EPCOT, visit WDWNews.com

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

A PLAN TO FOIL FIRE: World’s largest tree at risk

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California wildfires have burned into at least four groves of gigantic ancient sequoias in national parks and forests, though cooler weather on Friday helped crews trying to keep the flames away from a famous cluster containing the world’s largest tree.

The fires lapped into the groves with trees that can be up to 61 m. tall and 2,000 years old, including Oriole Lake Grove in Sequoia National Park and Peyrone North and South groves in the neighbouring Sequoia National Forest.

The fire also had reached the forest’s Long Meadow Grove, where then-President Bill Clinton signed a proclamation two decades ago establishing a national monument. Fire officials haven’t yet been able to determine how much damage was done to the groves, which are in remote, hard-to-reach areas.

“These groves are just as impressive and just as ecologically important to the forest. They just aren’t as well-known,” Tim Borden, sequoia restoration and stewardship manager for the Save the Redwoods League, said. “My heart sinks when I think about it.”

With flames nearing the famed Giant Forest, where some 2,000 massive sequoias grow on a plateau high in the mountains of the national park, firefighters placed special aluminum wrapping around the base of the General Sherman Tree, the world’s largest by volume at 1,487 cubic metres, as well as some other sequoias and buildings.

The material can withstand intensive heat for short periods and has been used in national parks and forests for several years throughout the West to protect sensitive structures from flames.

Lower temperatures and a layer of smoke blanketing the area have been a benefit by helping suppress the flames. “It’s been slow growth,” fire information officer Katy Hooper said.

A major element of the groves’ defense is decades of prescribed burns — fires intentionally set to clear the forest floor of vegetation that could feed bigger blazes – and thinning projects to remove small trees that could become ladders carrying fire up to the crowns of the giants.

The tactic was no match for a fire in the region last year that killed thousands of sequoias, which grow as tall as high-rises at certain elevations on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada.

A historic drought tied to climate change is making wildfires harder to fight. Scientists say climate change has made the West much warmer and drier in the past 30 years and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.

Lightning ignited two fires in the park on Sept. 9, officials said. The Colony Fire, closest to the Giant Forest, has grown to just under 13 sq. km. The Paradise Fire has scorched nearly 34 sq. km.

More than 400 firefighters were assigned to the blazes, which are being collectively managed as the KNP Complex. More resources have been requested, Hooper said.

To the south, the Windy Fire grew to nearly 28 sq. km. on the Tule River Indian Reservation and in Giant Sequoia National Monument, where it has burned into one grove of sequoias and threatens others. Difficult terrain has prevented officials from assessing damage to the big trees.

Sequoia National Park is the second natural jewel to be threatened by wildfires in less than a month. Lake Tahoe, the blue alpine lake perched high in the mountains on the California-Nevada line, was threatened by the explosive Caldor Fire until firefighters stopped its destructive march. Containment there has reached 71%.

Meanwhile, a big change in weather was taking shape in parts of the drought-stricken, fire-scarred West.

Forecasters expected that a storm heading in from the Pacific would bring rain to the Pacific Northwest and parts of Northern California over the weekend, though the rain was not expected to come as far south as Sequoia National Park.

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

ROUND-UP:Sept. 13-17, 2021

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Last week’s highlights include news of new leadership at WestJet; Red Label Vacations testing US waters; Transat resuming UK and Portugal flights, a new assurance program from Sandals; and Globus extending its vaccine policy for guests through 2022.

NEWS

WestJet Airlines Ltd. has named Harry Taylor its interim president and chief executive. Taylor has been WestJet’s chief financial officer since 2015. He will assume the interim CEO role between late November and mid-December 2021.
Taylor will replace current WestJet chief executive Ed Sims, who announced in June his plans to retire at the end of this year. Jennifer Bue, WestJet’s current VP of finance planning and analysis, has been named interim CFO.

Toronto-based H.I.S.-Red Label Vacations is expanding to the US with a new sustainable online travel agency that promises to allow clients to offset their carbon emissions while booking. Copolo is designed to be simple one-stop site for travellers to plan and book their trip, including airline tickets, hotel reservations, car rentals, and more. Travellers will also have the option to offset the carbon emissions produced from their trip by partnering with CHOOOSE, a leading climate-focused technology company in Oslo, Norway.

Effective Nov. 15, Cuba will relax entry requirements and open all tourism destinations. The move will reflect an over 90% vaccination rate in the country, says the tourism board. Fully vaccinated Canadians can enter without undergoing a COVID test upon entry or quarantine, though subject to temperature screening and random tests. Not fully vaxxed visitors must provide a PCR test taken with 72 hours of arrival. COVID tests for the return home will be provided at hotels for only US$30 (visa or debit).

BY THE NUMBERS

Chinese health officials say more than 1 billion people have been fully vaccinated in the world’s most populous country. That represents 72% of its 1.4 billion people. China’s National Health Commission says 2.16 billion doses have been administered and 1.01 billion people have been fully vaccinated.

AIR

Starting Nov. 20 and Dec. 4 respectively, Swoop will introduce new service from Edmonton and Toronto to Los Cabos, Mexico. Non-stop flights will operate weekly from the Alberta city and twice weekly from T.O.

Flair Airlines is extending its flight schedule through Summer 2022 in core Canadian and US markets. The ultra low-cost carrier says many year-round and seasonal routes will see an increase in service including departures from Edmonton (YEG), Kelowna (YLW), Halifax (YHZ), Kitchener (YKF), Abbotsford (YXX), Winnipeg (YWG), Toronto (YYZ), Saint John (YSJ), Vancouver (YVR), Calgary (YYC), Victoria (YYJ), Charlottetown (YYG), Thunder Bay (YQT), and Montreal (YUL).

RE-OPENING/RE-START

Sunwing is set to resume service to Cuba with weekly flights to Varadero and Cayo Coco starting Oct. 8 and into November from Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and Edmonton. As the winter progresses, more gateways and destinations are expected to be added to reflect evolving consumer demand, says the tour company.

The first flights between Canada and the UK from Transat transpired last week after several months of inactivity due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. The airline will initially be flying three times weekly from Toronto to London Gatwick. In response to strong demand, the airline also announced it would be resuming its flights from Toronto to Manchester Oct. 19, earlier than originally planned. And direct flights from Toronto to Glasgow are set to resume on Dec. 15. The airline also resumed service to Portugal – Montreal-Lisbon and Toronto-Porto – last week.

Air Transat also resumed flights between Canada and Portugal last week after many months of temporary suspension due to COVID-19. The company operated its first two round-trip flights this week, connecting Montreal to Lisbon and Toronto to Porto. Air Transat now offers two direct flights per week from Montreal to Lisbon and from Toronto to Porto. Direct flights from Toronto to Faro are set to begin on January 18.

Porter Airlines officially returned to Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ) last week with service to Ottawa, Montreal and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB) also returned with service to Billy Bishop.

DEALS

The 20th Anniversary Sale by AMR Collection is offering savings plus additional perks for guests at Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts, Secrets, Breathless, Dreams, Now, and Sunscape Resorts & Spas by AMR Collection when booking by Nov. 22 for travel through April 9, 2022. The offer includes $200 in resort coupons, $20 spa treatment at adult-oriented properties, $20 kids at select family-friendly properties, and a free night return stay when celebrating a 20th birthday or 20th anniversary during original stay, as well as savings up to half off.

TruTravels welcomed its first travellers back on the road recently after more than 500 days as the youth-travel and social adventure specialist kicked off its relaunched European tours with an 11-day sailing and land adventure in Croatia. The G Adventures brand is offering 30% off October departures to help fill remaining tours for the late-summer season.

TOURS

The Globus family of brands – consisting of Globus, Cosmos, Avalon Waterways and Monograms – says it will require all travellers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to join any vacation in its portfolio through 2022. Last month, the GFOB extended vaccination policies into 2022; with this announcement, it’s now committing to that policy for the full year.

In conjunction with the launch of its Caribbean cruise program, Tradewind Voyages has appointed Toronto-based Discover the World as its general sales agent (GSA) in charge of sales and marketing in the US and Canada. The world’s largest tall ship, Golden Horizon, will make her inaugural voyage in the region from Barbados with the first of 21 round trips departing on Nov. 11 through March 31 March, featuring smaller ports of call and undiscovered gems in the islands.

HOTELS

Bill Gates’ investment firm Cascades has purchased a controlling stake in Four Seasons Hotels from Saudi Arabia-based Kingdom Holding. The price – an incredible US$2.21 billion. The deal, which is expected to close in January 2022, has Cascades buying half of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s stake in the hotel chain.

In November, Montreal will welcome the new 351-room Hyatt Place Montreal Downtown, located at 1415 Saint-Hubert St. close to the gay village and Quartier des Spectacles, along with numerous downtown attractions.

RESORTS

Guests impacted by COVID-19-related travel interruptions will now receive a free replacement vacation (including airfare) from Sandals and Beaches resorts, in what the company says is an industry-first guarantee designed to promote worry-free travel amongst guests. The new no-charge Sandals Vacation Assurance Program, which is included in all current and new reservations made through Dec. 31, 2021, for travel until Dec. 31, 2022.

The all-inclusive Viva Wyndham Dominicus Palace in La Romana, Dominican Republic, will re-open on Oct. 1 after extensive renovations. Known for its secluded pristine beaches and turquoise waters, the resort is offering a special inaugural “Endless Summer” promotion granting guests a third night free, with rooms from US$85 per person, per night. Guests will also get free access to all the sporting activities and amenities of the resort’s sister property, Dominicus Beach.

CRUISE

Cruise Control columnist Wallace Immen reports that “just when it seemed cruising was starting to get more predictable, cruise lines have once again tightened the testing rules for getting on ships.” Immen says the new two-day testing deadline means Canadians may need to have two sets of negative COVID tests, one to fly to a cruise and another to get on board.

AmaWaterways celebrated the launch of its newest ship, AmaDahlia, on the Nile River on Sept. 6, sailing the “Secrets of Egypt & The Nile” itinerary. Company co-founders Rudi Schreiner and Kristin Karst were on hand for to meet guests in Cairo before the ship’s launch in Luxor, which featured local musicians and an Egyptian whirling dervish performance.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

After a pandemic-related absence of almost two years, Halloween Horror Nights has kicked off at Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood. The annual horror extravaganza continues on select nights until Oct. 31. This year’s haunted houses are inspired by the movies “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “The Haunting of Hill House,” “Beetlejuice,” and “The Bride of Frankenstein.”

Air Canada is celebrating Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th anniversary celebration with an Aeroplan contest that gives members a chance to win up to 50 prizes, including one of five Air Canada Vacations packages to the Orlando, Florida, theme park destination. The contest is effect through Sept. 29, ahead of the launch of WDW’s 18-month milestone event, which starts Oct. 1. Air Canada is also adding Disney merchandise and Disney Gift Cards that can be redeemed using Aeroplan points on the Aeroplan eStore. For details, visit Air Canada’s web site.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

Air Canada’s Global Sales team, in partnership with Switzerland Tourism, recently hosted a group of travel agents at the latest edition of the Air Canada Race in Basel, Switzerland. The event was held to show Canadian travel professionals what it’s like to get back to travelling “in a safe and responsible manner…” The airline produced a video of the Aug. 27-Sept. 2 event, check it out HERE.

EVENTS

Sept. 30-Oct. 1: ACTA has released details about some of the panel topics that will be covered at its Virtual Summit, Sept. 30-Oct. 1: ACTA President, Wendy Paradis will facilitate a panel discussion with travel industry leaders to focus on anticipated trends and challenges; Flemming Friisdahl, President and Founder at The Travel Agent Next Door, will lead a panel of travel agents to explore why there has “never been a better time for travel agents to stand proud”; and Keith Lane of Celebrity Cruises and Gary Murphy of Ama Waterways will discuss the continued efforts towards cruise recovery. For info and registration click HERE.

The Antigua & Barbuda Hotels and Tourism Association, in collaboration with island’s tourism authority, are preparing to conduct the seventh installment of the travel trade business to business destination event, Showcase Antigua Barbuda. And notably, the Oct. 13-14 event will take place face to face. Registration details are to come.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

The Travel Agent Next Door’s Jeffrey Cohen has been recognized again by Celebrity Cruises as an Iconic Advisor winner for 2021 for the second quarter of 2021 in the ‘Most Engaged Year over Year’ category. Cohen was one of only five Canadian travel advisors to receive the award for Q2 2021.

Air France – KLM has appointed Eric Caron Sr. VP and GM for North America, a new role. Based in New York, he will oversee Air France and KLM passenger activities within Canada, French Polynesia, Mexico, and the United States. Caron was most recently based in Paris, France serving as Executive Vice President In-flight Services and a member of the Air France Executive Committee.

DESTINATIONS

Originally scheduled to open last year, but delayed due to the pandemic, Athens’ new Olympic Museum is now open. Located within walking distance of the 2004 Olympic stadium, the state-of-the-art venue is housed over a 3,500-sq.-m. light-flooded floor of the Golden shopping mall in northern Athens and linked via a pedestrian bridge to the main Olympic arena, known as OAKA. The spacious new cultural landmark traces the legendary history of the Olympic Games through the three main chapters of its evolution: Birth (Ancient Olympia), Revival (Athens 1896) and Return (the 2004 Athens Olympics); using rich audiovisual props such as videos, animations, interviews, and augmented reality applications that will flash visitors back in time to ancient Greece.

Two stars of the dinosaur world will take centre stage in Raleigh, North Carolina, in fall 2022 with the opening of “Dueling Dinosaurs,” a permanent exhibit at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences. The most complete fossils of a Tyrannosaurus rex and a Triceratops ever unearthed will be displayed as they were found: locked together as if dueling at the time of their death. The museum is building a state-of-the-art research centre, called SECU Dinolab, where the public can get a close-up view and meet scientists seeking to uncover secrets that were buried for 67 million years. The museum announced the acquisition of the T. rex and Triceratops in May 2020, 14 years after they were excavated at a Montana ranch.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

Hyatt Regency Cairo West Officially Opens

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Hyatt Regency Cairo West Officially Opens - TRAVELINDEXCairo, Egypt, September 20, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Hyatt Hotels Corporation announced today the opening of Hyatt Regency Cairo West. The 250-room hotel marks Hyatt’s return to Cairo and strengthens its growing brand footprint in North Africa. As part of the Hyatt Regency brand, the hotel is designed with productivity in mind to deliver seamless experiences and an energizing hub for both business and leisure travelers alike.

Hyatt Regency Cairo West is conveniently located within the well-established Pyramid Heights Business Park. Its closeness to business hubs, mega malls, and some of Egypt’s top tourist attractions such as the Pyramids of Giza and the Grand Egyptian Museum make it a premier destination for meetings, events, and travelers.

“We are proud to be opening our doors today and we look forward to welcoming guests to our contemporary spaces and versatile venues,” said Tarek El Masry, general manager at Hyatt Regency Cairo West. “Hyatt Regency Cairo West is situated on a high hill that overlooks the city and the Great Pyramids of Giza, providing the perfect setting for business meetings, relaxing stays and everything in between.”

Contemporary Guestrooms

Featuring 250 contemporary guestrooms that include 26 suites, for the first time in Cairo, Hyatt Regency Cairo West introduces Spa Rooms that offer in-room massage and amenities such as an in-room hot tub, a sauna and a massage table. The interior of each room is inspired by Egyptian culture with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the Pyramids of Giza or the hotel’s beautiful pool and gardens. Equipped with the latest technology and amenities, every room has smart mirrors and sensor LED lighting controls. Guests can also book a Regency Club room and upgrade their stay by gaining exclusive access to the Regency Club Lounge. At the Regency Club Lounge, guests can enjoy daily complimentary breakfast, all-day refreshments and evening cocktails and canapés.

Sophisticated Dining

The new ultra-modern city hotel, Hyatt Regency Cairo West, also boasts a first-class dining experience. The eight dining outlets offer everything from locally inspired dishes to flavors from countries afar. For those seeking a unique culinary experience, Barranco invites guests and locals to a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian high-end cuisine, serving timeless and contemporary regional dishes to upbeat lounge music. Park Food Hall, serves traditional European food-market specialties. The Market offers fresh and balanced meals 24 hours a day, as well as refreshing beverages on the go. Hyatt Regency Cairo West is the first hotel in Egypt to feature a Starbucks, serving guests their favorite specialty coffees, teas, snacks, and more. At the two swimming pools the Pool Bar serves quick snacks and refreshing drinks. Meanwhile, The Lounge Bar is the perfect destination for small gatherings, business meetings, or relaxing pre-dinner drinks. The Plaza and Shisha Bar is an outdoor area that serves Egyptian Oriental dinner in a serene atmosphere that overlooks the city. Served fresh on the spot, Hive Bar is located by the gym, making Poké bowls, protein shakes, and nourishing pre/post-workout smoothies. City Lounge is a contemporary rooftop lounge on the 5th floor that has the highest view of the shimmering city; it is a casual bar that offers finger food, snacks, cocktails, and entertainment.

Recreation and Wellness

Hyatt Regency Cairo West is ideal for guests seeking a peaceful and productive stay. The hotel boasts a state-of-the-art fitness center and cardio equipment as well as a year-round outdoor heated swimming pool to swim laps and relax. At the Raa Spa guests can enjoy the sauna or steam room, a relaxing treatment in one of the seven treatment rooms, as well as take a dip into the whirlpool.

Stress-Free Meetings & Events

Hyatt Regency Cairo West offers the latest 360° projection technology in high definition at the Grand Ballroom that can accommodate up to 500 guests in 4,606 square feet (428 square meters) of banquet space. With Hyatt’s expansive technology-enabled facilities for meetings and events, a professional team is always one step ahead, anticipating every detail of a guest’s stay. Multifunctional meeting rooms and event spaces provide a total of 8,900 square feet. Hyatt Regency Cairo West boasts one of Cairo’s largest five-star outdoor venues ­– The Arena. Featuring a view of the Giza Pyramids and with a capacity that accommodates up to 3,000 guests it is the perfect location for big-sized social events and weddings.

Read original article at Hyatt Newsroom

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

Rising Demand for Agricultural Products Pressure on Tropical Forest

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Rising Demand for Agricultural Products Pressure on Tropical Forest

Geneva, Switzerland, September 19, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Annual consumption of food and agriculture products rose by 48% between 2001 and 2018 – more than twice the rate of increase in human population – as reported in a new analysis published by the Tropical Forest Alliance at the World Economic Forum entitled Forests, food systems and livelihoods: Trends, forecasts and solutions to reframe approaches to protecting forests.

The report, which tracks the relationship between the rising demand for food and agricultural products and deforestation, paints a picture of increasing competing demands on tropical forest landscapes. Since 2001, 160 million people have been lifted out of poverty and undernourishment increasing the per capita food consumption, particularly protein which has risen 45% since 2000.

In producer countries, these trends are often linked to economic development and rural livelihoods that creates a set of complex trade-offs for decision makers. For example, soybeans are now the most valuable export product for Brazil, and around 16.3 million people (12% of the total workforce) are employed in the palm oil industry in Indonesia.

The report also highlights the significant loss of primary forests, which are rich stores of carbon and biodiversity. An area exceeding 60 million hectares of primary tropical forests have been lost since 2002 – almost the size of France. The loss was 12% higher in 2020 than the previous year, despite all the efforts by governments, businesses and civil society. More than 80% of this deforestation happened in landscapes where agriculture is the dominant driver and much of this is linked to the production of globally traded commodities including soy, palm oil, cattle, cocoa, coffee and wood pulp.

In the face of this reality, the report concludes that those working to reverse deforestation need to deploy systemic solutions that take into account the multiple competing demands on these landscapes. For example, incentives can be provided for farmers to conserve more while producing food, with potential sources coming from both carbon finance and domestic finance for rural credit. More effort needs to be applied to boost productivity sustainably, particularly for smallholder farmers in the face of greater climatic stress. Improved technical assistance and new plant material to help increase yields, as well as support with the diversification of income streams, are essential.

Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Ghana says: “The time for action is now. We will pursue progressive policies with the overarching view to restoring the forest cover of Ghana, thereby contributing to the global effort against climate change.”

Justin Adams, Executive Director, Tropical Forest Alliance, says: “No single policy or solution can resolve this. Commodity-driven deforestation must not be treated in isolation – either as a purely environmental issue or a supply-chain problem. Keeping forests standing is linked directly to sustaining rural livelihoods, ensuring food security for a growing global population and supporting economic development. Crucially, the community of action working on this issue must broaden beyond those engaged at the forest frontier and environmental issues to include actors in the food system more broadly, such as farmers, local communities, local businesses and local governments.”

There is some evidence that private sector supply-chain strategies are helping to reduce deforestation. For example, Nestlé has assessed that 90% of key ingredients – including palm oil, sugar, soy and meat – are deforestation-free as of last year, and has committed to 100% deforestation-free products by 2025. Magdi Batato, the Executive Vice President and Head of Operations of Nestlé says: “A forest positive future is possible if the private sector collectively moves its focus on achieving a positive impact in the critical landscapes that underpin our food systems, and if we work hand-in-hand with farmers and local communities, and governments to form wider solutions across local, regional and global levels. The benefits are numerous: more resilient communities and livelihoods, more sustainable food systems, and a healthier planet.”

While many companies are committing to ambitious efforts in their own supply chains, it is also critical that this is done in conjunction with a broader sector-wide transformation to reduce net deforestation. Landscape-scale or jurisdictional approaches, which promote sustainable practices by rooting them in local governance systems, offer a practical way for both companies and governments to collaborate.

Christine Montenegro McGrath, Vice President and Chief Global Impact and Sustainability, Mondelēz International and Co-Chair, Consumer Goods Forum Forest Positive Coalition of Action says: “Important shifts are taking place – and as we look ahead to the UN Food Systems Summit and COP26 this year – we need to integrate food production as a critical part of the collective action required to meet both the Paris Agreement and goals on biodiversity. This report shows that landscape-scale initiatives provide a crucial piece of that puzzle for businesses who are on the journey to becoming forest-positive.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last month provided alarming evidence about the irreversible changes to the climate including for forests, and has also established that climate change is already having an adverse impact on food security and terrestrial ecosystems, with the tropics among the most vulnerable regions in terms of crop yields. This report predicts a shrinking agricultural labour force, posing even further risks for agricultural production.

President of the World Economic Forum Borge Brende says: “This combination of risks from climate change and demographic shifts suggests that the rural development models that have underpinned the expansion of tropical agriculture in the first two decades of the century are coming under increasing pressure from several angles. This underpins the need for a multistakeholder approach to find systemic solutions exemplified by the work of the Tropical Forest Alliance and the FACT Dialogue that will be presenting its findings at COP26 in Glasgow.”

Finally, the report points to the need to tackle data gaps that can enhance transparency in supply chains. There have been a number of promising innovations in recent years in improving transparency and data quality, especially the use of satellite imagery. However, despite this progress, gaps remain, including concession boundary maps, trade and export data, distinguishing between tree cover loss and deforestation, spatial data on crop production, incorporating information on time lags (between deforestation and associated production) and improving the rigour by which drivers of deforestation are understood.

First published at TravelCommunication.net – Global Travel News

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

Restore Body and Soul at Italy’s Argentario Golf Resort

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Restore Body and Soul at Italy’s Argentario Golf Resort

Tuscany, Italy, September 19, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / With a degree of normality and the opportunity to travel again returning, Italy’s Argentario Resort is the ideal place to enjoy a restorative holiday in the unspoiled outdoors of south west Tuscany whilst at the same time offering excellent working conditions away from home.

So for anyone who needs to keep working but doesn’t want to give up a much-needed break, Argentario can provide a ‘work smart’ option in a luxurious suite with a workstation, a coffee station, plenty of desk space and all the necessary business services at your fingertips.

Then when the working day is over, it’s time to relax and recharge the batteries by taking part in your preferred sporting activity in the 77 hectares of nature reserve that surround this tranquil private resort. And with Autumn temperatures still in the 20s and the Tuscan sun still shining, it’s a glorious time to visit the Maremma.

As part of Argentario’s ‘Smart Working & Wellness’ package, there is the choice of a one-hour fitness session with a Personal Trainer or a Pirellli e-Bike rental or, if you prefer, a round of golf over the Resort’s PGA National Italy championship golf course overlooking the picturesque Orbetello Lagoon and the Tyrrenhian Sea.

Whilst this exclusive, five star retreat is probably best known for its golf course, the property also boasts two tennis courts, two padel courts, a mini football pitch as well as jogging paths that are all available for guests to use throughout their stay. A brand new outdoor fitness station has also just been created for those who like to work out in the fresh air surrounded by nature.

Argentario also boasts a 2,700 sq m² Espace Wellness Centre  that houses a fitness centre with Technogym equipment, bio-sauna, Kneipp circuit, heated indoor swimming pool, massage cabins and tanning beds and a host of beauty and wellness treatments.

Meanwhile for those who would prefer to wander further afield, there are the peninsula’s charming fishing ports, local villages and the Tuscan terrain to explore on foot as well as the nearby Monte Argentario hills to trek up to and take in the panoramic views over the Tyrrhenian Sea and beyond.

In all, the ‘Smart Working & Wellness’ package offers a great work/life balance for a week or so now that travel is back on the agenda and we seek to restore our minds and bodies after months of lockdown.

Argentario Golf Resort & Spa, one of Italy’s most luxurious destinations, is easily accessed from Rome Fiumicino airport in just 90 minutes by car.

The ‘Smart Working & Wellness’ package includes:

  • Stay in a Suite with terrace and panoramic view
  • Served daily buffet breakfast
  • Workstation equipped with Wi-Fi printer
  • Coffee station in the room with a selection of energy snacks
  • Daily sports activity: one hour of your choice between Fitness with a Personal Trainer or E-Bike rental or a Green Fee per person
  • Use of tennis and padel courts, jogging paths and golf driving range
  • Early check-in
  • Late check-out
  • Garage and outdoor parking
  • Internet wi-fi

About Argentario Golf Resort & Spa
The luxurious Argentario Golf Resort & Spa, located in the Maremma region of Tuscany, is an ideal destination for those looking for relaxing holiday that combines golf, wellness and gastronomy. Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the Monte Argentario promontory, the resort is home to an eco-friendly golf course that meanders through cork-oak woods and olive groves. In 2019, it was awarded the status of PGA National Italy by The PGA.

The five-star hotel is a triumph of design and comfort throughout; a majestic entrance, a dramatic central stairway and huge windows are in stunning contrast to the intense blue Tuscan sky and Mediterranean landscapes whilst the 73 rooms and suites offer sleek, modern interiors that are beautifully appointed, all with private decked terraces. The Resort also offers a comprehensive spa and wellness centre and a range of sporting activities whilst the Dama Dama Restaurant and Club House serve delicious, healthy local cuisine prepared from locally-sourced produce.

Nearby the Argentario Golf Villas, an exclusive collection of bespoke luxury villas, boast ground-breaking design and views of the lagoon, sea and golf course that blend seamlessly into the landscape. Owners benefit from a range of amenities and services offered by Argentario Golf Resort & Spa, including 24-hour security, property management and a rental programme. Outside the Resort, the Monte Argentario promontory offers a variety of outdoor spaces and services that guarantee social distancing with its 50km of coast with wide, sandy beaches of the Silver Coast, nature trails that can be explored on foot or by bike and extremely-safe yacht and boat rental services.

 

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

The Art of Upselling

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The Art of Upselling - TRAVELINDEXHung Hom, Hong Kong SAR, September 18, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Online upselling is an ever more popular way for hotel companies to bring in revenue. However, it remains unclear whether online upselling complements or replaces in-person strategies such as front-desk upselling. In an important exploratory study, Professor Basak Denizci Guillet of the School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM) at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University sought to answer this question. Her findings generate crucial insights for hotels in volatile and challenging times, while also providing an “upselling model for the industry that considers the complexities of today’s multifaceted ecommerce environment”.

Hotels can increase their revenue in various ways – most obviously by attracting new customers. However, this can be costly and time-consuming. An increasingly popular alternative is upselling, whereby existing customers are persuaded to spend more on an already agreed transaction, such as by upgrading to a superior hotel room.

Upselling helps hotels to “sell higher room categories, such as club and suite rooms, which would otherwise be empty or used for free upgrades”, says the researcher. The customer also benefits from upselling by getting a superior room at a reduced price. Upselling can take place at “any point during the customer cycle”, such as during the booking process, between booking and arrival, during check-in, or even at check-out with an offer for the next stay.

Traditionally, a hotel’s front desk staff would upsell to guests during check-in. In today’s digital era, however, more and more hotels are introducing online upselling systems. These systems send personalised upselling messages at various points in the booking cycle, give guests the opportunity to “bid for a better room”, and allow customers to select upselling options through the online portal.

However, as little research has been done on this topic, it is unclear whether online and offline upselling channels are complementary, offering customers a choice of the most convenient channel, or whether online upselling has had a negative effect on offline upselling. Dr Guillet aimed to explore this issue and also to investigate whether hotel customers’ profiles and sociodemographic backgrounds influence their likelihood of bidding for superior rooms in the upselling process.

A mixed methods approach, involving the collection of both qualitative and quantitative data, was chosen for the study, which the researcher described as “exploratory”. The qualitative data were collected in 2018 during 16 in-depth interviews with “hotel industry professionals familiar with online upselling”. The interviewees included revenue directors, consultants, front office managers and marketing directors working in hotels in the US, Europe and Asia. During the interviews, the hotel professionals were asked about their online upselling systems, why and how they used them, and how the hotels benefited from them.

In the second part of the study, conducted in the same year, the researcher partnered with an independent hotel company in Hong Kong to compare online and front-desk upselling. The hotel has 262 rooms, ranging from standard rooms to suites. For online upselling, the hotel uses a system called UpsellGuru, which offers customers with a reservation “a chance to bid for one or several different room types” by moving a slider to indicate the price they are willing to pay. The hotel can then decide “whether to accept or deny the upgrade offer within 24h”.

The industry professionals who participated in the interviews identified a number of customer and hotel-related factors that influence upselling. They all agreed that only customers who book directly or through an online travel agency are contacted for upselling offers, because an email address is essential. Otherwise, the professionals did not differentiate between customer characteristics for online and offline selling.

They did, however, identify a few customer characteristics that influence whether they might be contacted for upselling. For example, it seems easiest to upsell to customers who are staying for leisure rather than business, celebrating a special occasion, or travelling from abroad. However, as one respondent mentioned, sometimes the hotel receives more than 50 upselling bids a day. Therefore, when deciding whom to choose for upselling, it is difficult to take other factors into account apart from the potential increase in revenue.

The professionals also tended to focus on customers who booked the most basic rooms, because this makes it easier to find options for upselling, such as a larger room, a sea or harbour view, or club access with free breakfast, tea, and cocktails. Indeed, data from the second study showed that the “most popular upsells” were from a standard city view room to a standard harbour view room, and from standard city and harbour view rooms to club city and harbour view rooms.

There was a general consensus among the industry professionals that online and offline upselling “go hand in hand”, as there are advantages and disadvantages of both approaches. Front-desk upselling has the advantage of offering a larger customer base, but it is only possible to sell un-booked rooms on a single day, whereas online upselling can take place a few days before arrival. Online upselling offers greater involvement for customers because they select the price they are willing to pay rather than the hotel setting the price, as is the case with offline upselling.

The industry professionals were divided in their opinions on whether online upselling affects front-desk upselling. However, as one respondent pointed out, overall, only 30-40% of customers book directly or through an online travel agency, leaving many customers whom “front office staff can approach for upselling during check-in”. This suggests that online upselling will not replace front-desk upselling in the near future.

The findings of the second study, in which data were collected from UpsellGuru, confirmed that online upselling was not a substitute for front-desk upselling. In terms of the revenue brought in by the two channels, revenue from online upselling was greater overall than from offline upselling, yet during several months of the study this trend was reversed. In general, upselling revenue increased considerably after the introduction of UpsellGuru, partly because the change prompted the hotel to make its front-desk offers “more attractive to customers” by making the room prices more comparable with those offered online.

Hence, online upselling has certainly not had a negative effect and both channels help to increase revenue. As the researcher explains, it is likely that “the type of customers that choose to bid for upselling” differ from those who “respond positively to front-desk upselling offers”.

Of all the practical implications of the study, writes the researcher, “perhaps the most important one is the need to move away from treating each upselling channel as independent”. The two channels are complementary rather than substitutive, yet currently they “are not streamlined and aligned”. By taking a “more unified view” of customers, hotels can align their marketing efforts to maximise upselling across both online and front-desk channels. The key to achieving this “omni-channel approach to upselling” is to understand customers’ preferences better by collecting data that “go beyond the strategies hotels implement now”. An omni-channel approach also enables an “integrated, seamless experience across multiple devices and touchpoints”.

Overall, the researcher advises hotels to continue to invest in front-desk upselling. To ensure its success she suggests that employees such as front-desk staff should be “trained on the methods and importance” of data collection, and should receive “specialised, regular training in upselling”.

This exploratory study provides an interesting overview of current upselling approaches in the hotel industry. It clearly shows that there is room for both online and offline upselling channels, as long as they are aligned and streamlined. Nevertheless, as the researcher concludes, the study “opens up more questions than it actually answers about upselling in the hospitality industry” and further research is needed to better understand how to achieve the omni-channel approach and improve data collection to “generate a single view of the customer from all distribution channels”.

Basak Denizci Guillet (2020). Online Upselling: Moving Beyond Offline Upselling in the Hotel Industry. International Journal of Hospitality Management, Vol. 84, 102322.

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News