09/22/2022, by Ian Jarrett, in Artificial Intelligence, Featured, Fintech, Hospitality, Marketing, Regions, Startups, Technology, Tours and Activities
Wolfgang Emperger, senior vice president for Europe, Africa and the UK & Ireland at the Shiji Group, has been talking about the steps companies need to take as Japan carefully opens its borders to travel. Shiji Group provides technological solutions for the hotel, retail, food service and entertainment industries.
“As countries have started to reopen again, especially those that have been closed for longer than most, we are seeing them face several challenges at a tech level as they try and reactivate systems and processes that have evolved whilst they’ve been deactivated,” said Emperger.
“Whether that be payment platforms, software updates, changes in providers or protocols there’s much that Japanese sellers of international travel will need to consider when trying to make and then service international bookings. There’s no one easy ‘press here’ button, sadly. “Hotels in Europe and America keen to capture Japanese guests should also consider those challenges in reverse. Certainly, they should be reaching out to their Japanese tour operator and travel agent counter parts to discuss what these changes mean, at both the sales/distribution level as well as the tech
Emperger added, “Whilst the recovery is likely to be slow, not least as the yen is quite weak right now, nonetheless Japanese tourists will be welcoming guests for many western hotels as they tend to be high value guests that book further in advance, stay For longer, cancel less, take higher room categories and spend more in the property on services like room service or buying in-destination experiences via the concierge.”
Hotels are making it easier for self-service check-in by travelers wishing to avoid a queue at the hospitality desk. But can the hotel be sure that the guest who is booked to stay is the one remotely checking in?
Cue secure identity company, Clear, which has entered the hotel segment through a partnership with Texas-based hospitality start-up Virdee. Clear uses face, eyes and fingerprints to verify who a person is. When checking in, Clear members can verify their identity by presenting a photo of themselves at a hotel kiosk. Virdee’s technology powers the hotel kiosks as well as mobile apps (including the Virdee app and branded client apps), where guests can process payment, customize their stay and receive a mobile or physical key without stopping at the front desk.
Clear hinted at its arrival in the hospitality space in February of last year when it raised $100 million to expand beyond its core aviation business. Founded in 2010, Clear counts more than 13 million members and hundreds of partners around the world including airports and stadiums. Virdee, founded in 2020, helps hospitality brands automate front-of-house workflows via its mobile app and in-lobby experiences.
A new non-profit association plans to integrate the “incredibly fragmented” technology and distribution landscape in the tours and attractions space. OCTO – it stands for Open Connectivity for Tours, Activities & Attractions – comprises a consortium of leading reservation and ticketing system providers, distributors, experience operators and other companies in the tours, activities and attractions sector.
Key to OCTO’s establishment is a desire to advance technical connectivity standards for travel’s third-largest sector by maintaining an open-source technical specification and documentation for the industry. The OCTO Spec will enable reservation and ticketing system providers and tour, activity and attraction ticket resellers to connect their systems for more efficient distribution. Currently, OCTO has 32 member companies with expectations that more
companies will join. “The technology and distribution landscape in tours and attractions is incredibly fragmented, with hundreds of technology providers, in-house technologies and many hundreds of resellers,” said Carrie Keplinger, EVP of Go City and vice president, OCTO. “This has required each company to invest in new API development every time they want to connect to a new partner. A standard specification would significantly reduce the cost for many companies in our industry to connect to more partners and grow the industry.”
OCTO does not provide an API, channel manager or connectivity infrastructure or services, nor does it charge for any services. The specification and documentation are freely available on the OCTO website. OCTO is also seeking representatives from participating tour and activity operators and visitor attractions to join and join on the Operator Advisory Committee and working groups, to ensure that operators have direct input on the direction of the specification.
The first meeting of OCTO members will be held on 10 October from 12:30- 2:30pm at Paris Hotel in Las Vegas at the Arival Las Vegas conference.
Misterfly Group – the parent and owner of France’s hybrid flight OTA, Misterfly is no more. The company is rebranding as Digitrips “to reflect the evolution of its business as a leading B2B and B2B2C multi-product travel platform”.
Since the company was founded in 2015 Misterfly has grown to include seven travel technology B2B sub-brands with 90% of revenues for the group generated through B2B sales to over 5,000 B2B clients. Digitrips builds products, services and technologies used by B2B clients to source, book, sell and service travel in a more accessible, simpler and cost-effective way – offering white label solutions, API connectivity, dedicated agent booking tools, and SaaS solutions for hotel distribution, travel agencies and TMCs.
The ‘beyond air’ nature of the business selling accommodation, cars, transfers, packages, and other services such as insurance, flexibility options and payment solutions like buy-now-pay-later to more than 500 airlines, 1.2
million hotels and 170 car rental companies, packages and ancillaries available. Emilie Dumont, managing director of Digitrips, said, “France remains our core market, but we have grown beyond the borders of France in recent years and
have ambitious plans for further international growth.” TripAdvisor launches Wanderlab TripAdvisor has gone into the media business, launching Wanderlab, a content provider of sponsored brand and editorial content on the TripAdvisor platform, influencer and social-first activations, interactive video and voice experiences.
Christine Maguire, vice president and general manager, media at TripAdvisor, said, “No one knows the world’s experience seekers like we do. We see an opportunity to create a more efficient media marketplace where we connect
the right advertisers with the right consumers through inspiring and relevant creative, powered by global insights.”
FLYR Labs, the pioneer of The Revenue Operating System for airlines, has acquired Pace Revenue, the UK-based SaaS provider of revenue optimization and commercial decision intelligence for hotel and lodging companies. The companies’ combined technologies will extend the capabilities of FLYR’s Revenue Operating System to hotels