09/22/2022, by Ian Jarrett, in Artificial Intelligence, Featured, Fintech, Hospitality, Marketing, Regions, Startups, Technology, Tours and Activities
Wolfgang Emperger, Shiji Group’s senior vice president for Europe, Africa and the UK and Ireland, spoke about the steps companies need to take as Japan cautiously opens its borders to travel. Shiji Group provides technological solutions for the hotel, retail, hospitality and entertainment industries.
“As countries have started to reopen, particularly those that have been closed longer than most, we see they face multiple challenges at a technical level as they attempt to reactivate systems and processes that have evolved while they were deactivated.” Emperger said.
“Be it payment platforms, software updates, changes in providers or protocols, there are many things that Japanese international travel sellers need to consider when attempting to make and then serve international bookings. Unfortunately, there is no simple “press here” button. “Hotels in Europe and America that would like to attract Japanese guests should also consider these challenges in the opposite direction. Surely they should reach out to their counterparts at Japanese tour operators and travel agencies to discuss what these changes mean on both a sales/distribution level and a technical level
Emperger added: “While the recovery is likely to be slow, not least because the yen is quite weak at the moment, Japanese tourists will still be welcome guests for many Western hotels as they tend to be high-value guests who book well in advance and are staying longer, canceling less, booking higher room categories, and spending more at the property on services like room service or purchasing experiences on-site through the concierge.”
Hotels are facilitating self-service check-in for travelers who want to avoid queuing at the hospitality counter. But can the hotel be sure that the booked guest is the one checking in remotely?
Secure identity cue company Clear has entered the hotel segment through a partnership with Texas-based hospitality start-up Virdee. Clear uses face, eyes and fingerprints to verify who a person is. At check-in, Clear members can verify their identity by submitting a photo of themselves at a hotel kiosk. Virdee’s technology powers the hotel’s kiosks and mobile apps (including the Virdee app and branded apps) that allow guests to process payments, personalize their stay and receive a mobile or physical key without having to stop at the front desk.
Clear hinted at its arrival in hospitality in February last year when it raised $100 million to expand beyond its core aviation business. Founded in 2010, Clear has more than 13 million members and hundreds of partners around the world, including airports and stadiums. Founded in 2020, Virdee helps hospitality brands automate front-of-house workflows through its mobile app and lobby experiences.
A new nonprofit plans to integrate the “incredibly fragmented” technology and distribution landscape into tours and attractions. OCTO – which stands for Open Connectivity for Tours, Activities & Attractions – comprises a consortium of leading providers of reservation and ticketing systems, retailers, experience operators and other companies in the field of tours, activities and attractions.
Key to the creation of OCTO is the desire to advance technical connectivity standards for the third largest travel sector by maintaining an open-source technical specification and documentation for the industry. The OCTO specification will allow reservation and ticketing system providers, as well as resellers of tour, activity and attraction tickets, to connect their systems for more efficient distribution. Currently OCTO has 32 member companies with even more expectations
companies will join. “The technology and distribution landscape for tours and attractions is incredibly fragmented, with hundreds of technology providers, in-house technologies and many hundreds of resellers,” said Carrie Keplinger, EVP of Go City and vice president of OCTO. “As a result, every company had to invest in developing new APIs every time they wanted to connect with a new partner. A standard specification would significantly reduce the cost for many companies in our industry to connect with more partners and grow the industry.”
OCTO does not provide any API, channel manager, or connectivity infrastructure or services, nor does it charge for services. The specification and documentation are freely available on the OCTO website. OCTO is also looking for representatives from tour and activity operators and visitor attractions to join and participate in the Operator Advisory Committee and working groups to ensure operators have a direct impact on the direction of the specification.
The first meeting of OCTO members will be held on October 10th from 12:30pm to 2:30pm at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas at the Arival Las Vegas conference.
Misterfly Group – the parent company and owner of France’s hybrid flight OTA Misterfly no longer exists. The company will be renamed Digitrips “to reflect the evolution of its business as a leading B2B and B2B2C multi-product travel platform.”
Since the company’s inception in 2015, Misterfly has grown to seven B2B travel technology sub-brands, with 90% of the group’s revenue coming from B2B sales to over 5,000 B2B customers. Digitrips develops products, services and technology used by B2B customers to source, book, sell and serve travel in a more accessible, simple and cost-effective way – offering white-label solutions, API connectivity, special Booking tools for agents and SaaS solutions for hotel distributors, travel agencies and TMCs.
The “Beyond Air” nature of the business includes selling accommodation, cars, transfers, packages and other services such as insurance, flexibility options and payment solutions such as “buy now, pay later” to more than 500 airlines, 1.2
Million hotels and 170 car rental companies, packages and additional services available. Emilie Dumont, Managing Director of Digitrips, said: “France remains our core market, but we have grown beyond France’s borders in recent years
have ambitious plans for further international growth.” TripAdvisor Launches Wanderlab TripAdvisor has entered the media business, launching Wanderlab, a content provider of sponsored brand and editorial content on the TripAdvisor platform, influencer and social-first enablements, interactive video and Language experiences introduced.
Christine Maguire, vice president and general manager, media at TripAdvisor, said: “Nobody knows the world’s experience seekers like we do. We see an opportunity to create a more efficient media marketplace where we connect
the right advertisers with the right consumers through inspiring and relevant creatives, supported by global insights.”
FLYR Labs, the pioneer of revenue operating systems for airlines, has acquired Pace Revenue, the UK-based SaaS provider of revenue optimization and commercial decision intelligence for hotel and lodging companies. The companies’ combined technologies will extend the capabilities of FLYR’s Revenue Operating System to hotels