The open-border-policy that's shaping African travel

Jumia Travel - 10 November 2017
According to Dr. Wouter Geerts, Senior Travel Analyst at Euromonitor International, as opposed to the US and Europe where there are increasing calls for stronger border controls and barring certain travelers from entry, African leaders are seeing and using travel and tourism as an avenue for boosting the continent's economic prosperity."While there is a very long and hard road ahead, the intention of making travel easier for Africans is a very positive one. With strong increases in population numbers and disposable incomes expected over the coming decades, it is important for African governments and tourism boards to stop focusing solely on attracting long-haul travelers from the US and Europe, and instead look at their closer neighbors," adds Dr. Wouter.Research by the African Development Bank 'Africa Visa Openness Report 2016' shows that Africans still need visas to travel to 55% of other African countries. However, some countries have made good progress. For instance, Ghana is one of the countries fully supporting the Agenda 2063, having started to offer visas upon arrival for all AU member states in 2016, and visa-free travel for 17 countries, mostly fellow Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) members. Reports such as Jumia Travel's Hospitality highlights indicate that the adoption of visa liberalization policies could increase Africa's tourism by 5 to 25%.In fast-tracking the continent's integration, other aligned projects include infrastructural development and air connectivity. IATA predicts a stronger growth of 4.8% in passenger numbers in the next 5 years starting 2017, from the current 3% Africa's contribution to the world's air traffic.While attempts to open air traffic between African countries has been significantly slow, the World Travel and Tourism Council notes that opening air markets; which includes reducing or eliminating the existing lengthy government-to-government negotiations for every new airline or route, is a significant driver of travel and tourism. Regular review of airport capacity and infrastructure by states will further shape African travel, and support economic development.

Wyoming lawmakers consider tax increase for tourism - 10 November 2017
The Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee on Tuesday is drafting a bill that would impose a 1 percent tax at hotels, restaurants, bars and other leisure and hospitality establishments around the state. The tax would raise an estimated $17.8 million annually. Most of the money from the tax would go to fund the state Tourism Office, which spends millions of dollars around the world promoting Wyoming’s tourist attractions.

Study: Tax Reform Could Boost Hotel Industry by $131.7 Billion

Lodging Magazine - 9 November 2017
As tax reform legislation moves through Congress, a new economic impact study found that tax cuts could generate $131.7 billion in economic activity for hotels and related industries over the next 10 years. On behalf of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), Oxford Economics analyzed the impact of tax policy changes that would result in a tax cut of $1.5 trillion over 10 years, which they believe will cause real GDP growth to accelerate to 3.0 percent in 2018.

Asset-Managing the 2018 Budget Story

Hotel Online - 9 November 2017
As summer tumbles into fall, hotel asset managers grapple with the annual challenge of reviewing and approving budgets for their hotel or hotels. As they leaf through page after page of a budget submitted by management and cobbled together with input from all facets of hotel operations—from housekeeping and food and beverage to maintenance and marketing—asset managers ought to look beyond the spreadsheets and revenue projections to conclude whether they are reading a great story.

Hotels want it both ways but that's impossible Featured Articles - 9 November 2017
Hilton just announced it will roll out a “flexible pricing approach” that likely mimics airlines. Hotels may want to price like airlines, but are they ready for the related customer satisfaction nightmares? About two weeks ago after Hilton’s Q3 earnings call with investors, people picked up on what President and CEO Chris Nassetta said about the four brand launches in the works, and that news was the talk of the town for the next few days. We’re “taking it from 48 or 72 hours (cancellation windows) to seven days, and then seven days and beyond, with a flexible or semi-flexible pricing approach,” he said. “I think it’s going to … help us deal with this issue (of short-term cancellations) in a more meaningful way and a way that drives higher RevPAR growth.”

The Phocuswright Conference Announces the Next Generation of Groundbreaking Travel Innovators

Phocuswright - 9 November 2017
Travel industry research authority Phocuswright announced the winners of Summit and Launch, held Nov. 7 and 8, during The Phocuswright Conference currently underway in Hollywood, Fla. During Summit, 24 innovative startup and emerging companies and the winners of Battleground: The Americas, APAC and EMEA demonstrated groundbreaking applications and solutions set to change the travel industry. Launch featured nine established companies unveiling their travel innovations. "We created the Phocuswright Innovation Platform to identify and recognize the entrepreneurs and ideas who are shaping the future of the travel industry," said Michael Coletta, Phocuswright's manager, research and innovation. "We are proud to have once again brought to the stage a world-class group of startups and established companies who are leveraging the latest technology to create breakthrough value across all travel industry segments." Winners were determined by the Summit Dragons, a panel comprised of travel and technology experts. Winners represent the top innovation in two categories: Startup and Emerging. Additional awards include the Brand USA Award for Travel Marketing Innovation, the General Catalyst Award for Travel Innovation - which comes with a $100,000 convertible note, the OAG Award for AI Innovation, and People's Choice. AWARD FOR TRAVEL INNOVATION - EMERGING CATEGORY Winner: UpLift Runner-Up: Mezi AWARD FOR TRAVEL INNOVATION - STARTUP CATEGORY Winner: Redeam Runner-Up: conichi BRAND USA MARKETING INNOVATION AWARD Winner: THE GENERAL CATALYST AWARD FOR TRAVEL INNOVATION Winner: Redeam OAG AWARD FOR AI INNOVATION Winner: Mezi SUMMIT PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD FOR INNOVATION Winner: Redeam Runner-Up: TWIP and Wanup LAUNCH PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD FOR INNOVATION Winner: ixigo Runner-Up: Sift Science LEARN MORE ABOUT THE COMPANIES Free access to streaming and on-demand video of Phocuswright Conference sessions - Summit and Launch demonstrations, and Center Stage presentations - is available. On-demand content is available through March 31, 2018.

Treasure Island Las Vegas Deploys B4checkin's Cutting Edge Technology To Further Protect Consumer Credit Card Data

B4checkin - 9 November 2017
b4easypost, developed by b4checkin, works by first providing an online platform for guests and meeting planners to make deposits and payments to a hotel, then automatically and securely posting those payments to the property's management system. This eliminates the need for paper credit card authorization forms, which, aside from their inconvenience, are prone to human error and contrary to PCI compliance standards. Additionally, this end-to-end electronic solution significantly reduces credit card chargebacks to the hotel. Overall, by facilitating protected e-commerce transactions, there is a significant cost reduction for hotels as well.Treasure Island Las Vegas is a 2,884 room casino hotel located on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip that uses Agilysys' industry-leading Lodging Management System (LMS) as its property management system (PMS). Following the launch of b4easypost at Treasure Island Las Vegas in late September 2017, the software has already processed and successfully posted an incredible volume of over 800 transactions totaling over 400K in the first 30 days of operation."The deployment of b4easypost is a tremendous enhancement for our hotel. It not only provides a seamless online payment portal for our customers with a great user experience but it also drastically reduces the number of hours required to process those transactions," said Careme Casanova-Dapra, Executive Director, Resort Services at Treasure Island Las Vegas. "We're excited to gain the benefits of b4easypost and integration into LMS, which allows our guests to feel more protected knowing their highly sensitive personal data, most important of which is their credit card information, is being transferred via the b4easypost advanced and secure automated payment portal.""b4easypost's implementation at Treasure Island Las Vegas is a continuation of the success we've had with this product" said Saar Fabrikant, President and CEO of b4checkin. "In an age where hotels - or any company for that matter - is still dealing with paper-based credit card forms, or having to manually post transactions into their systems, our software as the only integrated solution, has emerged as a powerful tool for any property to deploy to protect their customers' personal data and themselves. As guests now expect every form of payment to be available to them online, there is no reason why all properties shouldn't do their best to uphold strict data security standards without manual work."About b4checkinb4checkin develops and provides an innovative suite of cloud-based software solutions for the hospitality industry. Designed to help hotels better manage online reservations and measure guest satisfaction, core products include: chameleon, the industry's first online booking engine with multiple design options;b4feedback, a state-of-the-art guest satisfaction tracking and management tool; b4arrival, an online check-in system that maximizes convenience for mobile-friendly guests; b4easypost, a fully automated payment and posting solution; b4GDS, a GDS interface for properties offering a 'one-stop-shop' for hoteliers; b4golf, a golf tee time reservation solution; b4spa, a spa appointment booking solution; and b4ubet, an application that allows hotel casino players to book their hotel offers online. b4checkin is headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, with installations serving customers in North America, the Caribbean, Asia and Europe. For more information, visit AgilysysAgilysys is a leading technology company that provides innovative software and services for point-of-sale (POS), reservation and table management, property management (PMS), inventory and procurement, workforce management, analytics, document management, and mobile and wireless solutions exclusively to the hospitality industry. Our products and services allow operators to streamline operations, improve efficiency and understand customer needs across their properties to deliver a superior overall guest experience. The result is improved guest loyalty, growth in wallet share and increased revenue as they connect and transact with their guests based upon a single integrated view of individual preferences and interactions. We serve four major market sectors: Gaming, both corporate and tribal; Hotels, Resorts and Cruise; Corporate Foodservice Management; and Restaurants, Universities, Stadia and Healthcare.Agilysys operates across North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and India with corporate services located in Alpharetta, GA. For more information, visit

Tourism Boom: How Spain's Hotels Are Capitalizing by Owning Their Supply

Hotel Online - 8 November 2017
“In today’s world, either you change or you will be changed. So, either you act and then you make some hard decisions and take some risk … or somebody is going to be acting for you – that’s somebody called, Expedia, Airbnb, Google, Amazon, Facebook.” They’re the words of Sébastien Bazin, CEO of AccorHotels, who spoke at this year’s South America Hotel Investment Conference on the need for hotels to take control – or risk losing their place in the driver’s seat.

Belief In The Big Picture

Hotel Interactive - 8 November 2017
The outlook for the lodging industry from a macroeconomic perspective, large brands’ efforts to differentiate through experiences and the impact of Airbnb were among some of the more noteworthy topics of discussion during “The View From The Top II” session at last week’s Lodging Conference. Liam Brown, president, franchising, owner services and MxM select brands, North America, provided some cause for optimism. “We’ve had 3 percent GDP growth over the last quarter. GDP growth is strongly correlated to our business. The macro view from a world perspective is over a billion trips were taken last year,” he said.

Transactions, franchising headline ESA's third quarter Featured Articles - 8 November 2017
The third quarter brought Extended Stay America one step closer to its first major property sale and its goal of shifting focus to its franchise business. During Tuesday’s conference call with analysts to discuss Q3 2017 earnings, Extended Stay America CEO Gerry Lopez revealed the company has engaged in talks to sell 25 hotels to one buyer in a deal that could close “in the next few months.” Lopez described the hotels as located in secondary and tertiary markets with revenue-per-available-room levels 20% lower than the company’s portfolio average.

Hotel Industry Is Increasingly Impacted by Shifting Political Winds - Hotels - 8 November 2017
Hotels used to be gauged by the campaign strategy that won the presidency for Bill Clinton: it’s the economy, stupid. Nowadays, politics may determine their future. The latest upheaval came with the arrest over the weekend of billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, whose Kingdom Holding Co. is co-owner of Four Seasons Hotels Ltd. and New York’s Plaza Hotel. Here are some hotel companies caught up in shifting political winds globally:

5 Ways to Design Products Customers Love - 8 November 2017
As a teenager, Mike Pfotenhauer loved to hike, but he hated how uncomfortable he felt carrying the backpacks then on the market. So, at age 16, he created his own, sewing all the pieces together himself. He went on to design and deliver customized outdoor equipment to clients who’d heard of him through the grapevine, and eventually he founded Osprey, a company that designs and manufactures all kinds of specialty bags and packs, with user-friendly features such as body-hugging contours, a top “lid” flap that converts into a spacious day pack, and a magnetic connector to secure the drinking tube from the built-in water reservoir.

U.S. Issues Regulations Making It Harder for Americans to Visit Cuba - Destinations - 8 November 2017
The Trump administration is imposing travel and commerce restrictions on Cuba that will make it harder for Americans to visit the island nation. New rules are coming out Wednesday that put in place President Donald Trump’s partial rollback of the Obama administration’s diplomatic opening with Cuba.

Many Strategies Fail Because They're Not Actually Strategies - 8 November 2017
Many strategy execution processes fail because the firm does not have something worth executing.

Asset managing the 2018 budget story Featured Articles - 8 November 2017
As summer tumbles into fall, hotel asset managers grapple with the annual challenge of reviewing and approving budgets for their hotel or hotels. As they leaf through page after page of a budget submitted by management and cobbled together with input from all facets of hotel operations—from housekeeping and food and beverage to maintenance and marketing—asset managers ought to look beyond the spreadsheets and revenue projections to conclude whether they are reading a great story.

Avoid These Four Marketing Budget-Planning Mistakes This Season

MarketingProfs·Requires Registration - 8 November 2017
It's early November. The air is crisp, leaves are falling, and sweater weather is back. For B2B marketers, that can only mean one thing: planning season.

OPEC Sees Minimal EV Impact on Oil Demand

CFO Magazine - 8 November 2017
Even if one in four passenger vehicles is electric by 2040, up from less than 0.2% last year, OPEC does not expect global oil demand will drop “meaningfully” over the next 23 years. In its 2017 World Oil Outlook, OPEC predicts consumption will rise from 95.4 million barrels per day in 2016 to 111.1m bpd by 2040. That forecast assumes the number of electric vehicles will reach 235 million in 2040 , representing 12% of the expected global passenger car fleet.

Marriott International reports third quarter 2017 results highlights - 8 November 2017
On September 23, 2016, Marriott completed its acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (Starwood). The discussion in the first section below reflects reported results for the third quarter in accordance with the US generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). To further assist investors, the company is also providing (a) adjusted results that exclude merger-related adjustments; and (b) combined financials and selected performance information for 2016 that assume Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood and Starwood’s sale of its timeshare business had been completed on January 1, 2015, but use the estimated fair value of assets and liabilities as of the actual closing date of the acquisition. Combined results also reflect other adjustments as described below. Throughout this press release, the business associated with brands that were in Marriott’s portfolio before the Starwood acquisition is referred to as “Legacy-Marriott”, while the Starwood business and brands that the company acquired are referred to as “Legacy-Starwood.”

How shifting laws on tip-pooling could affect hotels Featured Articles - 7 November 2017
U.S. Department of Labor regulations currently prohibit employers from setting up tip-pooling arrangements for employees who are not customarily tipped, such as back-of-the-house staff. But that could change. If you have a restaurant at your hotel property, you are likely quite aware of the ongoing controversies regarding “tip pooling,” a common practice in many eating and drinking establishments in which tips are pooled and split among employees. Under federal law, mandatory tip pools are permitted. However, if an employer is taking advantage of the “tip credit,” tips can only be redistributed to other employees who work in an occupation that customarily and regularly receives tips. According to the regulations, such positions would include other servers, bartenders, service bartenders, counter personnel and bus persons.

Build a better budget painlessly

Global Golf Advisors - Insights - 7 November 2017
Don’t put off creating next years budget any longer. Let’s dive into some strategies and tactics that can help break the budgeting process into manageable chunks and reduce the accompanying fear. Standards of Excellence. Standards-setting must precede budgeting to ensure that club leaders and management are aligned in communicating expectations. At the highest levels, the standards should be affirmative, simply stated and realistic. These statements serve as Magnetic North to give departmental managers a clear-cut understanding of the desired destinations.

HFTP's 2017-2018 Global Executive Committee and Board of Directors Begin Term

HFTP - 7 November 2017
The 2017-2018 Global Executive Committee and Board of Directors for Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) have officially begun their term. The association leaders represent a wide variety of segments within the hospitality industry, including: clubs, consulting, hotels, finance, technology and more. The HFTP Global Board volunteers its time and professional expertise to help guide and progress the association to the forefront of the industry as it carries out its strategic plan.The HFTP Global Board is the primary decision-making body of the association. Under its Board's vision, HFTP is able to expand its international reach and address the needs of the hospitality industry at large. The Board ensures the continuity of the association by planning for the future, establishing and reviewing major policies and programs that support the mission of the association, and by ensuring that the association is fiscally sound."The HFTP Global Board is focused on upcoming events including HITEC Dubai, Amsterdam and Houston, the new Club Summit and a new lineup of Prolinks webinars to further the education of our membership," said HFTP Global President Timothy G. Nauss, CHAE. "In my new role as president, I will be working with the executive committee to fill assignments for several key advisory councils for the association, as well as the establishment of the Young Professionals Council, which was recently approved by the board."Upcoming this year, HFTP will continue its international expansion of the world's largest Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC) with its inaugural HITEC Dubai at the end of this month, and its second HITEC Amsterdam in April 2018. HFTP will produce its Club Summit in March 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana USA. The association recently announced its strategic partnership with industry ally Open Travel Alliance (OpenTravel), and will continue the corporate co-location. The association will continue to promote its newsworthy, resourceful web series: HITEC Bytes, HFTP Club Bytes, HFTP Finance Bytes and HFTP News - as well as its hospitality-specific search engine,"HFTP is filled with top hospitality industry leaders from around the world," said HFTP CEO Frank I. Wolfe. "Thanks to these passionate and proactive educators, HFTP was able to celebrate 65 years of success as an association this year. HFTP will continue to work hard, break barriers and create a better industry for hospitality professionals across the globe."HFTP 2017-2018 Global Executive Committee members:President: Timothy G. Nauss, CHAE, CFO, Macao Studio CityVice President: Scot Campbell, CHTP, CTO, North American Concerts - Live NationTreasurer: Michael Levie, CHTP, COO, citizenM HotelsSecretary: Mark Pate Sr., CHAE, CHTP, MBA, assistant controller and IT director, Highpointe Hotel CorporationImmediate Past President: Lyle Worthington, CHTP, CIO, The Student HotelExecutive Advisor: Jill Burnett, CHAE, CPA, controller, Medalist Golf ClubHFTP 2017-2018 Global Board of Directors:Director Stephanie Anderson, CHAE, CPA, CGMA, CFO, River Bend Golf & Country ClubDirector Cindy Braak, SVP finance business partner, Marriott InternationalDirector Cindy Estis Green, co-founder and CEO, Kalibri Labs, LLCDirector Md Amirul Islam, assistant manager of income audit, Marriott Autograph CollectionDirector Sherry Marek, co-founder and VP, Datavision TechnologiesDirector Martha Mazzitelli, CAM, CHAE+, CHTP+, CFO, Bay Colony Shared ServicesDirector Nick Price, CEO, NetSys Technology LimitedDirector Laurie Rozeski, CHAE, MBA, CFO, Wildcat Run Golf & Country ClubDirector Kaeko Shirasu-Bailey, CPA, assurance senior manager, RSM US LLPDirector Justin Taillon, MBA, PHD, professor and department head, Highline CollegeDirector Derek Wood, managing director, Derek Wood Associates LTDEx Officio Frank I. Wolfe, CEO, HFTPFor more information on HFTP leadership and leadership opportunities, contact HFTP Executive Services Administrator Millicent Gustafson at or +1 (512) 220-6449.Annual Convention 2018 is slated for October 24-26 at the new Omni Louisville Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky USA. For more information about HFTP's Annual Convention and other global activities, contact the HFTP Meetings & Special Events Department at or visit For the latest news, follow HFTP/HITEC on HITEC Bytes, PineappleSearch, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter (@HFTP), Instagram (HFTP_HITEC), Flickr and YouTube.About HFTP Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) established in 1952, is an international, nonprofit association, headquartered in Austin, Texas, USA, with offices in Hong Kong, United Kingdom and the Netherlands. HFTP is recognized as the spokes group for the finance and technology segments of the hospitality industry with members and stakeholders spanning across the globe. HFTP uniquely understands the industry's pressing issues and assists its stakeholders in finding solutions to their challenges more efficiently than any organization. It does this via its expert networks, research, certification programs, information resources and conferences/events such as HITEC. HFTP also owns the world's only hospitality-specific search engine, For more information about HFTP, email or download the HFTP/HITEC media kit via the HFTP website. Read industry updates on the suite of HFTP hospitality news sites: HITEC Bytes, Club Bytes, Finance Bytes and HFTP News.

Hotel price disparity types, identifying and correcting them - 7 November 2017
All price disparities are damaging and you must identify them, correct them and create a structure so that they don’t appear again in the future.

Article: In Europe, 74% of Mobile App Marketers See Ad Fraud as a Problem

- 7 November 2017
Ad fraud’s tendrils have snaked their way into pretty much every corner of the online world. Research from InMobi found that even in Europe, nearly three-quarters of app marketers polled in July 2017 believe ad fraud presents a serious problem to their operations.

Tax Proposal Could Cut MBS Issuance by $30 Billion, Analysts Say

National Real Estate Investor (NREI) - 6 November 2017
U.S. agency mortgage bond supply could shrink by $30 billion under the proposed House Republican tax bill, which cuts into consumers’ deductions of interest for housing loans and could raise the cost of home buying, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. analysts.

Park officials set yearlong timetable for asset sales Featured Articles - 6 November 2017
Officials with Park Hotels & Resorts are now projecting a portfolio of “noncore” properties could be sold in a little more than a year as the company looks to zero in on upper-upscale and luxury hotels in top 25 markets and resort destinations. Speaking Friday morning on the company’s third-quarter call with investors, CEO and President Tom Baltimore said he “fully expects to have the first phase of recycling capital done before the end of next year.”
Article by David Lund

The Four Things My Hospitality Financial Leadership Workshop Taught Me

The Hotel Financial Coach - 6 November 2017
By creating and delivering my hospitality financial leadership workshops I learned 4 very important lessons. The lessons center around how this workshop helps leaders change and become financially engaged.


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