• The Art of Pitching: Is it Overrated - or Essential?

    Pitching… that thing we force notoriously introverted geeks to do for funding. The main idea is that an entrepreneur — unless his name is Elon Musk or Tony Stark — has limited resources and needs the financial support of pockets that are substantially deeper than his own.

  • What to Expect: New Changes Coming to Lease Accounting Standards

    The upcoming revision to lease accounting standards was one of the topics discussed by the HFTP Hotel Advisory Council in their February 2018 meeting. The surprising conclusion from the council: The hotel industry in general is not prepared for the changes, and there is no viable off-the-shelf software that any of the members were aware of that would assist with the accounting for the new standard.

  • HFTP GDPR Guidelines: Hospitality Organization Flow Charts

    This document is a set of flow charts illustrating data flow scenarios, involved parties providing hospitality services, steps of the guest journey and more. Four scenarios are presented: independent hotel, independent hotel with third party agreement, branded hotel and branded hotel with independent control.

  • Job Description Template: Club Accounting Positions

    The HFTP Americas Research Center has developed example job descriptions for club accounting positions. The process involved reviewing sample job descriptions, and compiling the information into standardized job descriptions.

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Guesty raises nearly $20M to grow rental property management platform

PhocusWire·25 April 2018
Guesty, a cloud-based system to simplify management of vacation rental properties across multiple distribution channels, has raised $19.75 million in Series B funding. The round was led by TLV Partners, which joined existing investors Magma VC and Buran VC.
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Rocketrip scoops $15M from Google Ventures to expand business travel platform

PhocusWire·25 April 2018
Google Ventures has led a $15 million investment in Rocketrip, the tool that gives employees rewards if they "travel smart". The Series C round brings the total amount of funding in the U.S.-based company to date up to $32 million. Other backers in he round include Bessemer Venture Partners and Canaan Partners, both of which have backed the company with earlier investments.
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Trivago reports increase in qualified referrals, slight drop in revenue in Q1

PhocusWire·25 April 2018
Despite a 7% increase in qualified referrals, hotel metasearch platform Trivago recorded a drop in total revenue in the first quarter of 2018 - though relatively slight at 3% - compared to the same period a year earlier.

How AI is rewriting content creation for travel

PhocusWire·25 April 2018
A few weeks ago we reported on Travel + Leisure’s changes to its A-List platform: a controversial move designed to monetize one of the publication’s most marketable products. This week we have a different tale, but one that comes from the same luxury travel ratings world.
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Marriott enters home-rental market with new trial program

PhocusWire·24 April 2018
Marriott International on Monday debuted a home-rental trial program with UK-based Hostmaker. Marriott launched the six-month program under an initiative called Tribute Portfolio Homes, in reference to its Tribute Portfolio soft brand. Marriott introduced the program with 212 London-area homes, which are accessible through both the TributePortfolioHomes.com website and through a link on Marriott's home page.

Booking.com will find it just as hard in activities as everyone else

PhocusWire·24 April 2018
Last week saw back-to-back acquisitions of two leading reservation systems in the tours and activities sector– FareHarbor in the U.S. by Booking Holdings and Iceland’s Bokun by TripAdvisor. This analysis in PhocusWire by the prolific Alex Bainbridge heralds the development as a “tectonic shift”, as some are calling it, as Booking.com, the global leader in online hotel booking, sets its sights on in-destination experiences.
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Data analytics partnership offers new "holistic" insights for DMOs

PhocusWire·23 April 2018
Travel data co-op ADARA and travel market research firm Longwoods International are collaborating to give destination marketing organizations a deeper understanding of their visitors and the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. ADARA gathers real-time data about more than 750 million monthly unique traveler profiles from more than 190 of the world’s top travel brands. The company’s measurement product, Impact, helps destination marketers understand flight and hotel bookings, revenue brought in by marketing campaigns and the effectiveness of websites.

AI analysis, part 4: Digital marketing

PhocusWire·23 April 2018
The ubiquity of artificial intelligence is evident in the fact that the abbreviation “AI” is now a common and recognizable term. A Google search for “AI” turns up more than 820 million results, with articles from sources as diverse as The Wall Street Journal, the Verge and Vanity Fair and topics such as AI for healthcare, astronomy and human resources. An article in Harvard Business Review calls AI “the most important general-purpose technology of our era…”

PODCAST: Phocuswire PundIT Show #11

PhocusWire·22 April 2018
It's now sinking in to many in the sector that they have probably just been through one of the most important in the history of tours and activities. First out of the blocks was the acquisition by Booking Holdings of technology supplier FareHarbor. Just 24 hours later, TripAdvisor signaled its continued interest in the sector following the acquisition of Viator in 2014 with the purchase of Icelandic startup Bokun. We had an excellent analysis on what the former story holds the market, but given the enormity of the week in which these two developments took place, we thought it was worth giving over the latest episode of the PundIT Show to the subject.

Airbnb makes foray into events with meeting planner tool

PhocusWire·19 April 2018
Airbnb is out to conquer yet another corner of the travel market with the launch of a new tool for meeting and event planners. Airbnb for Events is the first concentrated maneuver from the platform to officially enter the event space – and one that hotels hosting conferences surely aren’t too happy about. With Airbnb for Events, event organizers - ranging from corporate events to concerts - can create an interactive map of Airbnb listings located near their venues.
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Kayak adds flight notifications to Alexa skill

PhocusWire·19 April 2018
As Kayak’s Amazon Alexa skill approaches its two-year anniversary, the company is updating the service with flight notifications. Now users can ask Alexa to send an alert when a flight lands or at a specified interval before arrival – useful when picking someone up from the airport. Kayak’s Alexa skill debuted in May 2016 with the capability to track and search for flights, look for hotels and get answers to exploratory questions such as “Where can I go for $500?”
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Phocuswright Europe 2018 Preview: Q&A with Booking.com's Olivier Gremillion

PhocusWire·19 April 2018
With travel estimated to be a trillion-dollar industry, there are millions of new travelers in both emerging and developed countries, eager to experience the world, and in an increasingly local way. It is our job to create the technology to connect people with new travel opportunities and the experiences they crave.
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Meet the ultra-smart new head of AI at Google

PhocusWire·19 April 2018
Google's heavy investment in artificial intelligence has helped the company’s software write music and beat humans at complex board games. What unlikely feats could be next? The company’s new head of AI, Jeff Dean, says he’d like to see Google move deeper into other areas. He also warns that the company will face some tricky ethical questions over appropriate uses for AI as it expands its use of the technology.
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Can blockchain help a tiny, travel-dependent island reinvent its economy?

PhocusWire·18 April 2018
On the tiny Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba - population just over 100,000 - tourism is the foundation of the economy, contributing about 88% of its gross domestic product and accounting for 90% of its total employment.
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Food experiences platform Eatwith partners with five Chinese travel providers

PhocusWire·18 April 2018
Travelers that use any of China’s five largest online travel sites now have direct access to book food experiences offered by Eatwith in cities around the globe. Eatwith has listings from 25,000 local hosts in more than 130 countries that provide culinary experiences such as a meals in their homes, food tours and cooking classes. The experiences are now bookable on Ctrip, Qyer, Tongcheng, Meituan-Dianping and Mafengwo.
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Marriott ramps up tours and activities, new loyalty program plays a role

PhocusWire·18 April 2018
Plenty of attention on Marriott this week as it introduces a new loyalty package - but other efforts to coincide with the launch illustrate a maturing of another sector. The new program sees the group consolidate benefits for guests across Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest from August 2018. The hotel end of the unified approach will allow guests to book stays and earn or redeem points across 29 brands (6,500 properties in 127 countries).

Traveler insurers eye investment in AI

PhocusWire·17 April 2018
From customer service chatbots to serving up the right mix of trip-specific benefits to the right consumer, technology using artificial intelligence is making its way into the travel insurance sector, and insurers are beginning to invest time and money to harness its power. Compared with other forms of insurance, travel policies lend themselves particularly well to AI for several reasons.
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Pegasus ambitious on its return to the fold

PhocusWire·16 April 2018
Hotel computer reservation and technology provider Pegasus predicts a rosier future ahead after putting a turbulent few years behind it. The company was once synonymous with the mechanics behind the the hotel sector, having overseen one of the first CRSs and considered one of the leading providers for many years alongside the likes of Sabre and Oracle. Following a split in the original business in 2014, when the distribution switch was spun-off to eventually become DHISCO and the main business sold to Regent Equity Partners, Pegasus is attempting to return to its former glories.
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AI analysis, part 3: The brains behind Hopper

PhocusWire·16 April 2018
The ubiquity of artificial intelligence is evident in the fact that the abbreviation “AI” is now a common and recognizable term. A Google search for “AI” turns up more than 820 million results, with articles from sources as diverse as The Wall Street Journal, the Verge and Vanity Fair and topics such as AI for healthcare, astronomy and human resources. An article in Harvard Business Review calls AI “the most important general-purpose technology of our era…”
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Sabre sharpens tools for hoteliers with new guest-focused property hub

PhocusWire·16 April 2018
Sabre’s newly outlined vision to reshape the business of travel includes not only solutions for its airline customers, but also for hoteliers. To that end, at its Technology Exchange event last week, the travel technology company announced updates to its enterprise platform SynXis, including the launch of the brand-new SynXis Property Hub.
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Six trends for travel startups to consider

PhocusWire·16 April 2018
Fifteen startups have joined the popular Welcome City Lab, part of the Paris & Co network of services to support new businesses in France. The addition of the 2018 intake into the program follows the publication of WCL's latest Trend Book, a regular look at some of the emerging areas that travel, tourism and hospitality businesses are focusing on (or should focus on). The latest edition has identified six core trends that give the best opportunity for travel startups entering or already in the industry.
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Banishing the pricing monster that the industry created

PhocusWire·13 April 2018
Creating differentiation and building guest loyalty is more complex than ever for hotel brands. Not only can potential guests engage with your hotel (and your competitors) on an endless variety of booking channels, they’ve become accustomed to the thrill of the low-price hunt as part of today’s travel environment. Rewards programs worked in the past, but over time have become nearly identical and commoditized.
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QOTW: Something about a GDS resurrection

PhocusWire·13 April 2018
A lot of the initial rhetoric around NDC was it’s a GDS killer. Quote from Kathy Morgan, vice president of product management at Sabre Travel Network, in an article on PhocusWire this week. Sabre makes NDC push, launches new airline commercial platform Cast your minds back a few years, to the point when the post-NDC launch mud-slinging was at its worst. The New Distribution Capability peddled by IATA and, behind the scenes, a group of its closest airline friends (namely IAG, American Airlines and Lufthansa) had the, err, capability, to put the future of the global distribution systems into serious doubt. The overhaul of the airline distribution model being fronted by something as (on the face of it) simple as a new technical standard to connect suppliers to end-users was going to ensure that the "old way of doing things" would come to an end. Many rejoiced; many were distraught.
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TripAdvisor reminds the giants: we're still huge and influential

PhocusWire·12 April 2018
The conversation in online travel circles has been dominated this year by new entrants and the age-old battles. These discussions have mostly been around Airbnb deciding it wants to challenge the online travel agencies and ongoing debates about those same intermediaries and the immense power that they hold over the market.

In The Big Chair - Noreen Henry of Wayblazer

PhocusWire·12 April 2018
Hotel brands, travel technology providers, airline vacation packaging groups and other suppliers use WayBlazer’s AI-powered recommendation engine to help travelers find the best destinations and products. Noreen Henry joined WayBlazer as CEO nearly 18 months ago, bringing more than 25 years of experience in leadership roles at DHISCO, Intent Media, Travelocity, Sabre and Netscape.

Amazon's options for disrupting online travel: try or buy

PhocusWire·11 April 2018
Will it or won't it - the subject of Amazon’s potential to disrupt the travel industry is back in vogue once more. This time the focus has been on what the impact of any potential entry might be on online travel agencies, following the publication of a Morgan Stanley report. Many hospitality industry experts chimed in, with opinions ranging from complete dismissal to panicked predictions about doom and gloom for the very harmonious online travel marketplace.

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