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  • Value Added Tax in the GCC

    Details on the new VAT established in the region covered by the GCC, including implementation best practices and documentation requirements. By Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA

  • Members Only: A Room for Robots in Hospitality

    Realistic uses for artificial intelligence are increasing, making way for machine-based assistance in accounting, marketing, customer service and more. This feature details current scenarios where robotics is used in the business environment, such as for accounting tasks.

  • Letter from the HFTP Global President: A New Year Equals New Possibilities

    Written By: Timothy G. Nauss, CHAE - We are officially in the year 2018. Now is the ideal time to reflect on the successes of the old year, and prepare to make this new year the best one ever. Just as we set goals for ourselves to make us healthier, happier and more successful, HFTP as an organization sets goals each year to better meet the needs of our members and the hospitality industry.

  • GDPR in Hospitality: Vendor Compliance Query Template Available to Industry

    As a professional association, Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®) created a group of hospitality industry experts to develop hospitality-specific guidelines to assist with preparation for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance.

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Attendee Experience Goals Drives Changes in Meetings Spaces & Formats

Business Travel News (BTN)·11 January 2018
The meeting professional's role is changing from educator/trainer/promoter to creator of immersive experiences that focus on personal development for delegates, on networking and on creativity. That's according to a survey of 180 corporate, association and third-party meeting planners in Australia, Canada, North America and the U.K. conducted by Meeting Professionals International and the International Association of Conference Centers.
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Omega World Travel Is Ready to Debut AI Duty of Care Tools

Business Travel News (BTN)· 4 January 2018
A month after Amazon launched Alexa for Business, Omega World Travel is ready to debut a pair of tools to help travel managers pull up traveler location information: its chatbot for smartphones and an Alexa-based voice chat. They will go live once Amazon approves the Alexa functionality, and the travel management company expects that to occur this month.
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Hyatt Adopts 48-Hour Cancellation Policy

Business Travel News (BTN)· 2 January 2018
Hyatt Hotels Corp. has enacted a stricter cancellation policy across its system for hotel reservations made or altered after Jan. 1. Bookings canceled within 48 hours of a guest's stay will incur a fee. The move is in line with policies established by Marriott International and Hilton in 2017. Hyatt CEO Mark Hoplamazian said in August that 40 percent of the company's full-service hotels in the Americas already have 48- or 72-hour cancellation policies.

Travel Risk Management Changes in 2017

Business Travel News (BTN)·26 December 2017
Security threats and natural disasters were the biggest reasons decision makers modified travelers' itineraries this year, according to a global survey by ISOS and Ipsos Mori. Why? "The immediate obvious risks, such as the recent hurricanes and unforeseeable security incidents, will see organizations scrutinized in terms of preventative measures and recovery," said ISOS security expert Rob Walker. More findings from the International SOS & Ipsos Mori's Global Business Resilience Trends Watch 2018 survey of 667 business decision makers who manage or influence their organizations' travel and risk mitigation policies, conducted in October 2017.

Northstar Travel Group Acquires HotelsWorld

Business Travel News (BTN)·21 December 2017
Northstar Travel Group [parent company of Business Travel News] has acquired HotelsWorld, a suite of four hotel industry events for senior hotel executives in Australia & New Zealand held over three days in Sydney. Northstar purchased the event suite from Hotels World Australia Pty Ltd., founded by John Smith. The acquisition follows Northstar's purchase of the Burba Hotel Network in May 2017.
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Amex to Eliminate Signature Authorization Requirement for All Card Transactions

Business Travel News (BTN)·15 December 2017
Beginning in April 2018, American Express will no longer require Amex-accepting merchants globally to collect signatures for any purchases at the point of sale. Merchants, however, can continue to ask for signatures if they choose. Merchants must also continue to collect signatures should a law in a particular jurisdiction require them to do so, according to Amex.
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Professional Travel Service International Will Resell Deem Work Fource

Business Travel News (BTN)·13 December 2017
Minneapolis-based Professional Travel Service International Express will resell Deem's business travel management solutions, which include Deem Work Fource travel booking and management tools, the Deem Ground Work transportation booking tool and Deem's integrated Intelligent Attach solution. The agreement is part of a multiyear strategic partnership, according to Deem. Travel service providers Adelman Travel Group, Kintetsu International Express and Duluth Travel each recently struck similar deals with Deem to resell Work Fource.
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The Amadeus Cytric Integration Is Ready for Its Big Entrance

Business Travel News (BTN)·13 December 2017
Amadeus aims to transition its original e-Travel Management corporate booking tool customers to the Amadeus Cytric Travel & Expense platform during 2018. Amadeus bought a majority stake in Cytric owner i:FAO in 2014 and announced in early 2016 that all development work would subsequently be devoted to Cytric.
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U.S. Customs & Border Protection Is Piloting Facial Recognition

Business Travel News (BTN)·13 December 2017
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is investigating whether forthcoming biometric facial scans for departing foreign travelers could speed up other airport processes, like Transportation Security Administration checks, baggage tagging, lounge entry and even duty-free purchases. The agency will introduce facial scanning in 2018 to reduce the need for fingerprinting on arrival. BTN contributing editor Amon Cohen quizzed CBP deputy executive assistant commissioner John Wagner on these developments and the Global Entry expedited entry program.
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Basic Economy Expansion Ushers in Transatlantic Baggage Fees

Business Travel News (BTN)·13 December 2017
Airlines are broadening basic economy fares to international routes, raising the potential for extra fees and inconveniences for unwary travelers. Delta, which led the three largest U.S. carriers in introducing the fare type in 2015, now has Basic Economy fares available on more than half its flights between North America and Europe for service on April 10 or later. As a part of that expansion, Delta also has introduced a $60 first-checked-bag fee specific to transatlantic Basic Economy passengers for travel on or after April 10, though it does not apply to tickets issued on or before Dec. 6. Standard economy passengers will continue to have a free first checked bag on those routes.
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Trump Administration Defers Formal Action in Gulf Carrier Flap

Business Travel News (BTN)·13 December 2017
The Trump administration will not take punitive action against the UAE and Qatar for alleged Open Skies violations, though it is leaving the door open for such actions down the road, according to published reports. U.S. airline representatives sat this week with State Department officials to discuss claims that Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways each benefit from billions in government subsidies, according to The Hill. The carriers consistently refute those claims. The administration is continuing informal talks with the two Gulf nations rather than opening formal consultations on Open Skies agreements, The Hill indicated.
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Expedia Launches Meetings Booking Tech for Direct Hotel Websites

Business Travel News (BTN)·11 December 2017
Small and midsize meetings continue to get attention from technology providers looking to move the booking process online and away from the request for proposal process. While some tech providers are targeting the corporate buyer and travel management company communities with booking tools that bring in content from the global distribution systems and other sources, Expedia has announced a different approach. As part of its "Expedia Powered Technology" solutions, the company will target individual hotels or groups of hotels with a back-end software that integrates into hotel websites.

Corporate Lodge & Virtual Cards Are Exempted from Final European Payment Security Rules, but Challenges Remain for Plastic Cards

Business Travel News (BTN)· 5 December 2017
The European Commission has exempted corporate payments from its finalized requirements for payment security authentication. In so doing, the commission resisted vehement opposition from the European Banking Authority. Travel and payment representatives, though, had campaigned hard to keep the exemption. Without it, they said, lodge cards in particular would have become unworkable. "This is a success resulting from industry lobbying," said AirPlus International CEO Patrick
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BTN Group Hall of Fame Class of 2017

Business Travel News (BTN)· 4 December 2017
The BTN Group inducted four people to its Hall of Fame Monday night: JP Carey (d. 1942), founder of the first national and international limousine service. Carey International president and CEO Gary Kessler inducted him. Barron Hilton, CEO of Hilton Hotels Corp. Senior director of intermediary group sales Linda Hilton inducted him. Susan Lichtenstein, formerly global travel procurement director for Cisco. United Airlines SVP of worldwide sales Dave Hilfman inducted her. David Radcliffe, CEO of Hogg Robinson Group. Travelport president and CEO Gordon Wilson inducted him.
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BTN Reveals 2017's 25 Most Influential in the Business Travel Industry

Business Travel News (BTN)· 4 December 2017
2017 marked a year of regulatory impacts both in the U.S. and in Europe, from U.S. President Donald Trump's travel bans to the EU Commission's final direction on the General Data Privacy Regulation. BTN's 2017 25 Most Influential, announced at BTN Group's Business Travel Trends & Forecasts conference in New York today, recognized those individuals and 23 others. The influences include mergers, as well as dissolving partnerships, that affected not only travel managers but also travelers. BTN also named one individual for something that didn't happen: Outgoing Amtrak CEO Charles "Wick" Moorman distinguished his leadership tenure by avoiding the so-called Summer of Hell that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had predicted as the railroad repaired its track system at Pennsylvania Station from mid-July through Labor Day.
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International Air Travel Demand Increased Across All Regions YOY in October

Business Travel News (BTN)· 4 December 2017
Global air travel demand grew 7.2 percent year over year in October, a quick rebound in growth following a hurricane-related slowdown in September, according to the International Air Transport Association. International air travel demand rose 7.3 percent year over year and was up across all regions as airlines increased international capacity 6 percent. Growth was strongest in the Asia/Pacific region, up 10.3 percent, and weakest in North America, up 3.7 percent. Recent heightening of security measures for inbound U.S. travelers has slowed demand growth, according to IATA. Global domestic air travel demand rose 7.2 percent year over year as capacity rose 6.6 percent. India and China had the highest rates of domestic demand growth, and demand in Brazil rose 7.7 percent, its highest rate of growth in 27 months, according to IATA.
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Alexa for Business Launches with Corporate Travel "Skills"

Business Travel News (BTN)· 1 December 2017
Alexa just landed her first job. Amazon introduced Alexa for Business as an artificial intelligence-powered workplace assistant on Thursday at the Amazon Web Services Reinvent conference in Las Vegas. The move takes workplace AI off smartphones and computer screens and gets it into offices and meeting spaces as a voice-activated office guru.
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Apps for Simple Meetings

Business Travel News (BTN)· 1 December 2017
Small meeting or simple meeting? Complexity rather than size has emerged as the more pressing issue as new meetings tools emerge to fill the gap between unmanaged, ad hoc meetings and more complex events. Each of the providers below offer a different approach through their technologies. Let’s compare.
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Inbound Travel to the U.S. Dropped in First Half of 2017

Business Travel News (BTN)·30 November 2017
International travel to the U.S. declined 3.9 percent year-over-year and overseas travel to the U.S., which excludes Mexico and Canada, fell 5.7 percent year-over-year for the first half of 2017, according to data released by the National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO).March had the steepest decline for overseas travel at 11 percent, while May experienced the most dramatic drop for international travel at 8.5 percent. April was the only the month in the first half of the year that did not experience declines in both measures.  
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Air France-KLM to Deepen Partnership with Jet Airways

Business Travel News (BTN)·30 November 2017
Air France-KLM has signed an "enhanced cooperation agreement" with India-based Jet Airways that will include sales coordination and capacity growth between Amsterdam, Paris and India, the carriers announced.
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Concur & EY Automate Immigration & Tax Compliance

Business Travel News (BTN)·27 November 2017
Concur and EY have teamed up to give travelers a real-time assessment of their potential tax and immigration law liability each time they book a trip through Concur's online travel tool. According to EY People Advisory Services partner Nick Bacon, travelers book in the normal way but also select the purpose of their trip from a drop-down menu. “The information is logged with Concur and shared with EY [via an application programming interface] and we will throw back an instant analysis,” said Bacon.
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GDSs, Surcharges, TMCs, NDC, APIs: What the Heck Is Going On in Europe?

Business Travel News (BTN)·22 November 2017
To start: a primer on the interplay among global distribution systems, airlines and travel management companies. TMCs, on which many corporate travel programs rely, use GDS infrastructure to shop for and book airline tickets. The GDSs, in turn, offer financial incentives to travel agencies for booking through their channels. The GDS operators also charge airlines for each transaction the GDSs

U.S. Hoteliers See Boost in Occupancy but Restrained Pricing Power

Business Travel News (BTN)·21 November 2017
The U.S. hotel industry saw year-over-year gains in both average daily rate and occupancy during October, according to STR. Occupancy increased 1.6 percent to 69.6 percent and ADR rose 2.5 percent to $130.20. STR SVP for lodging insights Jan Freitag said the month's occupancy level was the highest for any October on record. Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, which made landfall in September, fueled increased demand for displaced persons and aid workers in Texas and Florida. Houston reported a 32.6 percent year-over-year spike in occupancy to 83.8 percent, while Miami saw occupancy rise 11.3 percent to 74.6 percent.

First-Quarter Bookings Down At North American Hotels

Business Travel News (BTN)·20 November 2017
Bookings at North American hotels for the first quarter of 2018 are tracking lower than this same time last year for both the group and business transient segments, according to TravelClick. Group bookings are down 2.5 percent, while average daily rate for the segment is up 2.9 percent. Business transient bookings are down 3.5 percent, while ADR is up 3.6 percent. Hoteliers should end 2017 better than they will begin 2018; fourth-quarter group bookings are up 5.5 percent and business transient bookings are up 2.8 percent. The November North American Hospitality Review looks at group sales commitments and individual reservations in the 25 major North American markets for hotel stays booked by Nov. 1 for November 2017 to October 2018.

Morgan Stanley Survey: Buyers Expect Higher Air Volume & Limited Fare Increases in 2018

Business Travel News (BTN)·20 November 2017
More than two-thirds of corporate travel buyers expect air travel volumes to increase in 2018 with an average growth rate of 4.8 percent, according to Morgan Stanley's 2018 Global Corporate Travel Outlook
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International SOS & Control Risks' Revised Travel Risk Map

Business Travel News (BTN)·17 November 2017
International SOS and Control Risks released their 2018 Travel Risk Map, on which countries are assigned colors based on medical risk and given icons based on security risk to travelers. In an update to last year's risk ratings, Eastern European countries like Poland, Hungary and Croatia saw a decrease in their medical risk ratings due to improved standards; some Caribbean countries saw an increase in medical risk due to recent hurricane damage.

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