Inside Travel: Understanding the latest technology and industry trend insights

Find it hard to keep track with all the latest insights into business trends, new products and technology advancements in the travel sector? The Blue Swan Daily provides you with an update on some of the key stories from the past week.

  • Best Western grows into the upper upscale and luxury segments with WorldHotels acquisition
  • New SalesTrip systems offers company leaders greater visibility of their travel investment as well as a measure of its returns.
  • Adyen launches new payment method powered by open banking and KLM is first to fly with the new offering
  • Yapta releases next-generation hotel analytics tool for corporate travel buyers
  • DKN Hotels partners with ProfitSword for data management
  • BCD Travel looks to grow its relationship with US federal agencies
  • Expedia Partner Solutions launches Certified Technology Partner Program
  • Lonely Planet acquires ArrivalGuides
  • Louvre, Vatican and Kremlin the ‘most instagrammed’ European museums

Best Western grows into the upper upscale and luxury segments with WorldHotels acquisition

Best Western Hotels & Resorts has acquired renowned global hotel brand WorldHotels representing a collection of approximately 300 unique and special hotels and resorts in premier destinations around the world. With strong synergies between the brands, David Kong, president and CEO of Best Western Hotels & Resorts, says the deal will “create competitive advantages for both companies”. The WorldHotels brand will play a critical role in enhancing Best Western’s portfolio of offerings to include the upper upscale and luxury segments. It will “maintain its distinctive personality and individuality” while benefiting from Best Western’s own e-commerce platform, strong partnerships and loyalty programme.


New SalesTrip systems offers company leaders greater visibility of their travel investment as well as a measure of its returns.

SalesTrip, a new travel booking and expense system, plans to change the way organisations manage, govern, and justify corporate travel and expenses by providing an all-in-one travel booking, ticketing and expense management system for customers using Salesforce. It says it will combine business travel, expense and operational data to “demonstrate travel ROI” and provide “true budgeting visibility and cost justification”. The company was founded by tech entrepreneur Richard Goodall, alongside Manoj Ganapathy, who will act as the company’s CEO. Both have extensive backgrounds in building technology companies, having co-founded and sold InvoiceIT to Steelbrick who were latterly acquired by Salesforce.


Adyen launches new payment method powered by open banking and KLM is first to fly with the new offering

Adyen, the payments platform of choice for many of the world’s leading companies, has today a new payment service powered by open banking and Dutch flag carrier, KLM, has become the first major brand to introduce the new offering. The new service is an alternative to card payments and takes advantage of the European Union’s Payment Service Directive (PSD2) requirement for banks to create APIs for approved third parties to initiate payments on behalf of consumers. Adyen is the one of the early adopters to launch a PSD2 API payment method that provides direct APIs into leading UK banks: delivering access to more than 90% of consumer accounts in the UK. It works in a similar way to most online banking methods. A customer simply selects the payment type during the checkout process, at which point they are redirected to their bank’s online banking environment to securely confirm the payment. It is launching initially in the UK, but with scope to be rolled out into other European markets.


Yapta releases next-generation hotel analytics tool for corporate travel buyers

Yapta, a provider of airfare and hotel price tracking services, has made the general release of its TravelAI hotel analytics, designed to deliver the optimisation of corporate supplier negotiations and policy compliance. The product utilises a combination of real-time hotel availability data and machine learning to identify areas of focus where companies “can create or improve opportunities” to save, providing insights into supplier utilisation and performance, contract rate performance, and travel policy effectiveness. The solution also aggregates anonymous hotel pricing data across the travel itineraries tracked by Yapta, creating benchmarks by spend amount, geography, industry and supplier. In addition to being available to customers 24/7 via web portal access, TravelAI hotel analytics is also available as an app, bundled with the Tableau app currently found in The App Store. Yapta says it plans to roll out commercial availability of TravelAI for airfare in Q2 2019.


DKN Hotels partners with ProfitSword for data management

DKN Hotels, one of California’s leading’s hotel management companies has introduced the ProfitSage operational and financial reporting solution from business intelligence and data integration software specialist ProfitSword to ensure automated and efficient transferal of data from multiple PMS platforms across its multiple properties to proprietary accounting system. The new system allows automated and accurate sharing of performance data from all locations in real time, including details on market segments from reservations and sales, daily revenue and key revenue indicators, daily labour, transactions for expenses and revenue from credit card purchases.


BCD Travel looks to grow its relationship with US federal agencies

BCD Travel has confirmed the rollout of an enhanced government services practice to expand its travel programme offerings tailored to federal agencies within the US. The practice is focused on making travel easier for federal employees and contractors, increasing travel programme transparency for federal travel managers and bolstering savings,” it explains. BCD’s Government Travel already supports the US Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency, as well as companies in the aerospace and defence sectors. The revamped programme provides federal travel managers and their travellers access to curated information and resources aimed at federal agencies. This includes BCD’s proprietary TripSource trip management platform and DecisionSource analytics and reporting platform; federal guidelines; domestic and per diem rates; GSA government-contracted airfares; and General Services Administration-approved hotel rates.


Expedia Partner Solutions launches Certified Technology Partner Program

Over the next year, Expedia Partner Solutions (EPS) will select up to 30 top global technology partners to join its Certified Technology Partner Program. The program will provide increased resource investment from EPS to further expand their technology partners’ business –and become one of EPS’ most trusted tech platforms globally. Certified technology partners will be able to increase brand exposure by working with EPS at industry trade shows, benefit from a listing across a range of EPS channels and support from EPS’ in-house marketing team. In addition, EPS’ partner services team will work closely with the tech partners to ensure they have mapped the right hotels and are offering the right rates for their end travellers. What’s more, certified technology partners have the opportunity to influence EPS’ product roadmap by participating in EPS’ Think Tank events. EPS currently has ten certified technology partners, which have been part of a ‘test and learn’ phase. EPS aims to double this number in 2019 now the program has officially launched.


Lonely Planet acquires ArrivalGuides

Lonely Planet has acquired ArrivalGuides, among the world’s largest distributor of destination content. With 625 destination guides, more than 56,000 POIs in multiple languages and more than 500 officially supplied destination videos, ArrivalGuides works as a hub for destination content, functioning as an all-in-one travel ecosystem that meets all the content, marketing and booking needs of B2B clients. Clients such as AAA Travel, VISA, Hilton, Eurowings, Rentalcars.com and many more currently use ArrivalGuides digital products to integrate travel content to existing platforms.


Louvre, Vatican and Kremlin the ‘most instagrammed’ European museums

The Louvre in Paris, France, is the most popular European museum by Instagram tagging, according to a study by Real Russia, an independent company that specialises in Russian visas and travel services for business people, tourists and independent travellers. After scouring every Instagram photo geo-tagged at over 100 of Europe’s major museums, is discovered the Louvre had more than 4.3 million Instagram posts. This was more than double its closest rival, the Vatican with a still impressive 1.8 million posts, which itself was more than double the level recorded by the Kremlin, in 3rd place with 920,000 photos tagged.