Tech in Travel: Trees for travellers, Metaverse for airlines, a solution to eliminate margin-eating intermediaries and Uber drives deeper into travel, sort of.

Adventure travel specialist G Adventures digs deep into the jungle by making a significant financial investment in restorative travel technology startup Reforest. Brisbane-based Reforest is a digital platform that connects travelers with local communities who are actively restoring their ecosystems using reforestation.

Travelers can plant their own trees where community tourism relies heavily on preserving the local environment. The platform will then provide passengers with visible, scientific data that measures the positive impact of trees planted on their behalf.

Reforest says its platform is innovative in that it turns the hard science of climate action into simple yet engaging personalized interactive experiences for customers of companies that can then continue to plant trees.

A metaverse vacation may never replace the real thing, but some experts believe its implementation in travel can have many benefits beyond just inspiring at the booking stage.

“For example, airlines are looking for ways to put earplugs on passengers to make their journeys more enjoyable by appearing to be in a larger space. We’re just at the beginning of that,” says Emilie Dumont, managing director of Digitrips Group, one of the B2B travel brands that includes France’s leading OTA Misterfly.

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For an agent or supplier selling on dot com, “the metadata pool will quickly become not just another selling point, but also a steroid point of sale,” says Alex Barros, chief marketing and innovation officer at revenue manager Beonprice.

“Imagine allowing a potential customer not only to examine every aspect of a hotel room from every angle, visit the destination that connects it to the hotel and surrounding areas, or look at experiences (like a boat that can be chartered and visited virtually), but also testing the mattress or mini to look at the bar?

“All of this gives sellers the opportunity to cross-sell to customers on a much wider range of ancillary services, and even sell rooms or rates in higher classes,” says Barros.

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“For example, by creating a metaverse store, they can have luxury boutiques selling high-end items to their guests at high margins. This gives hotels more direct access to their guests’ wallet share.”

Global platform Nium has launched Nium Airline Payments (NAP), a solution powered by the Universal Air Travel Plan (UATP).

NAP provides airlines, travel agents, and online travel agents (OTAs) with a “closed-loop” payment model that “closes the door to the damaging surcharges and business-restricting no-acceptance policies that have inflated the cost of B2B travel payments for decades.” .

The technology for the solution came to Nium by acquiring travel payments optimization leader Ixaris in 2021.

Nium says the closed-loop solution “removes margin-eating intermediaries from the payment flow, giving airlines the flexibility and control to design transparent incentives for their OTA partners based on routes, seasonality, business volumes and more.

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Nium says airlines will benefit from significantly reduced cost-per-payment savings, faster checkout times, and flexible incentives for merchants – all without requiring any additional technical integrations.

This week I received an invitation to sign up for Uber Travel. Curious, I discovered that Uber Travel has a new feature of the Uber app that allows you to connect Gmail, Outlook or Hotmail accounts to import flight and hotel details and create an itinerary with all the travel information in one view.

Trips can be booked between airports and hotels up to 30 days before a trip at a fixed price in advance.

Reassuringly, the flight tracking feature will automatically adjust the passenger’s pickup reservation time in case the airline cancels or delays their flight.


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