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.

  • Air Canada selects IBS Software to power its new customer loyalty programme
  • Airbnb hits half a billion guest milestone
  • Ascott’s new Citadines Connect business hotel offer debuts in New York and Sydney
  • Where can you find the best free hotel WiFi in the USA?
  • Travel & Tourism now responsible for one in every five euros of Portugal’s economy
  • Italian bus operator Prestige brings Masabi’s mobile ticketing application to sightseers in Rome
  • Etihad Airways adopts new real time flight tracking technology
  • Choice Hotels hits perfect score in LGBTQ equality

Air Canada selects IBS Software to power its new customer loyalty programme

Air Canada has chosen IBS Software as its technology partner to power the airline’s new loyalty programme. Under a multi-year Software-as-a-Service agreement, Air Canada will use IBS’s iFly Loyalty Suite as the core technology solution for the new programme, launching in 2020. IBS’ iFly Loyalty is a cloud-based loyalty management platform, which uses an advanced rules-engine paired with an extensible data set to design and operate innovative customer engagement propositions. The solution is designed to meet the complex and challenging needs of customer loyalty and customer engagement, and manage multiple program and partner ecosystems.


Airbnb hits half a billion guest milestone

In just over ten years the Airbnb hospitality travel platform has welcomed more than 500 million guests at properties across the globe with hosts earning over USD65 billion on the platform worldwide since it was founded in 2007. Over 75 cities worldwide have now hosted at least one million guest arrivals on Airbnb, with more than a fifth of these cities located in Asia Pacific alone, according to company data. Now, three guests check into an Airbnb listing every half-second; and Airbnb has more than 6 million homes, yurts, treehouses, boats and more, scattered across six continents, as well as over 25,000 experiences available in over 1,000 cities. In fact Airbnb’s global community of guests and hosts today spans over 191 countries and 81,000 cities worldwide.


Ascott’s new Citadines Connect business hotel offer debuts in New York and Sydney

CapitaLand’s wholly owned lodging business unit, The Ascott Limited (Ascott), has launched Citadines Connect, a line of business hotels with selected services, to widen its short-stay offerings as it continues to grow its portfolio. A sub-brand of Ascott’s well-established Citadines serviced residence brand, the properties cater to frequent travellers who are constantly connected, offering a chic living experience in vibrant city destinations. With tech-enabled features such as mobile keys, self check-in kiosks, smart washing machines or laundromats, content streaming-enabled televisions, and Google cloud printers, the hotels offer mostly studio rooms ranging from 18 to 21 square metres. The concept will debut with the Citadines Connect Fifth Avenue New York and Citadines Connect Sydney Airport (currently the Felix Hotel in Mascot, Sydney), but Ascott is also looking to rebrand its properties such as Temple Bar Hotel Dublin in Ireland and The Domain Hotel Sunnyvale in Silicon Valley, California to Citadines Connect. The brand is also expected to be introduced into cities such as Hong Kong, Paris, Seoul and Tokyo as well as popular destinations in Southeast Asia where there is high demand for quality, short-term accommodation.


Where can you find the best free hotel WiFi in the USA?

Access to reliable, high-speed Internet in hotels is an essential requirement for corporate travellers. But, where in the US can you find the best offer. Analysts at HighSpeedInternet.com have created a national report revealing the hotel chains with the best Wi-Fi plans, so Americans can book a hotel with the internet plan they need for their vacation. Rodeway Inn was found to offer the best Wi-Fi deal, with a free Wi-Fi speed of 7.66 Mbps with other top-ranking hotel chains including Americas Best Value Inn, Quality Inn & Suites, Super 8, and Days Inn. The hotel chain offering the fastest purchased Wi-Fi was found to be Econo Lodge, which offered an average of 8.48 Mbps in Wi-Fi speeds.


Travel & Tourism now responsible for one in every five euros of Portugal’s economy

The Travel & Tourism sector in Portugal has grown by one of the highest rates across Europe to contribute one euro in five euros of all jobs in its economy last year demonstrating the importance of the sector to the country. These findings come from the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) annual review of the economic impact and social importance of the sector. It shows the Portuguese sector grew by +8.1% in 2018 to contribute EUR38.4 billion (USD45.5 billion) to the Portuguese economy, 19.1% of total economy activity in the country. This is significantly above the EU average of +3.1%. Looking forward to 2019, WTTC predicts the Portuguese Travel & Tourism sector will grow by 5.3%, more than double the European average of 2.5%.


Italian bus operator Prestige brings Masabi’s mobile ticketing application to sightseers in Rome

Italian tour bus operator Prestige, whose brands include EnjoyBus and GreenLine Tours, has launched a new mobile ticketing application ‘Enjoy Bus Rome’ for its hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus service in Rome, using Masabi’s software-as-a-Service (SaaS) public transport ticketing and payment solution. The app includes the full range of fares including; one run, daily, 24 hours, 48 hours and 72 hours passes, for both adults and children and also removes the need for users to visit a travel shop to purchase a ticket. The application is initially available in English but will soon also be launched in Italian, French, Spanish and Japanese, and it can be downloaded from both the App Store and Google Play. The service uses Masabi’s Justride ticketing platform, along with the Justride Inspect App for ticket checking onboard and the Justride Hub, a secure cloud-based back office providing real-time data, reporting and analytics, as well as customer service tools.


Etihad Airways adopts new real time flight tracking technology

Etihad Airways has successfully implemented the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS) recommendations for flight tracking. This is ahead of both the General Civil Aviation Authority’s (GCAA’s) proposed deadline of 01-Jun-2019 and the ICAO completion date of 08-Nov-2019. The United Arab Emirates (AUE) carrier is working in partnership with SITA to adopt SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM FlightTracker system, which utilises FlightAware data services to provide the precise position, speed and altitude of the airline’s airborne fleet worldwide. FlightAware integrates global aircraft position data from the Aireon space-based automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast (ADS-B) system, hosted on the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation. The Aireon space-based ADS-B system provides universal coverage of ADS-B equipped aircraft, with positions updated at least once per minute globally.


Choice Hotels hits perfect score in LGBTQ equality

Choice Hotels International has earned the distinction as one of the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) ‘Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality for a ninth consecutive year. The company once again achieved a perfect 100 score on the HRC 2019 Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmark that ranks companies on LGBTQ-friendly corporate policies and practices. As part of the Corporate Equality Index, Choice Hotels was rated on a series of criteria involving corporate policies, benefits and practices affecting the LGBTQ workforce and their families and demonstrated equal employment opportunities and benefits, organizational LGBTQ awareness and advocacy, and an overall commitment to equality.