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    Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference

    April 11–13, 2018
    RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre
    Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Travelport proclaims first GDS to reach next NDC level

PhocusWire 14 December 2017
Yesterday Travelport became the first global distribution system to obtain Level 3 status under IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) initiative. The certification - IATA’s highest - puts the GDS ahead of fellow distribution platforms Sabre and Amadeus, which have both stated plans to achieve Level 3 rank in 2018. Travelport will work with airline tech specialist Farelogix to implement the NDC connection with a major global airline, the details surrounding to be revealed soon; Travelport also worked with UK travel agency Meon Valley Travel.
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Augmented reality specs - the race is on

PhocusWire 13 December 2017
Though the Next Big Thing won’t appear for a while, we know pretty much what it will look like. It will be a lightweight, always-on wearable that obliterates the divide between the stuff we see on screens and the stuff we see when we look up from our screens. There have been a litany of disappointments so far: Google Glass’s humiliating stumble; Snapchat’s low-selling Spectacles; Magic Leap’s epically late headset; and the disappointing initial sales of Oculus’s own virtual-reality headsets. But you can write those off as baby steps, because all the big companies are going long on augmented reality. And in 2018, you’ll see the building blocks on your mobile phones.
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Think you're leading the way in AI? Look outside the window

PhocusWire 13 December 2017
Artificial intelligence has been the buzz trend of 2017, with countless travel companies eager to claim their prowess in the field or signify how it's become core to their strategy. Yet the sector is almost nowhere to be seen in a list of the leading 100 private companies applying AI algorithms to their business. CBInsights released its second annual collection of brands this week, based on a variety of factors including patent activity, funding history, valuation, business model, team and innovation.

Chinese web travel brand Mafengwo raises $133M

PhocusWire 12 December 2017
Another major capital-raise heading to a Chinese online travel agency - this time it's $133 million in the pockets of Mafengwo. The Series D round was backed by lead investor General Atlantic, with participation from Ocean Link, Temasek, Yuantai Investment and Hopu. Other participants include Capital Today, Qiming Venture Partners and Hillhouse Capital.
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Video: Next generation on what excites them in travel tech

PhocusWire 12 December 2017
It's usually the people at the top of big companies that get all the attention, both in terms of events and announcements. But there are plenty of others who deserve the attention, especially when they are fairly new to the industry. They are often not prejudiced by what has come before, or see things in a totally different way.
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Hilton unveils first mobile-focused hotel room

PhocusWire 11 December 2017
Much like Marriott’s “hotel room of the future,” Hilton has debuted what it’s billing as the first mobile-centric hotel room with its “Connected Room.” The Connected Room, currently in beta testing and live in one Hilton hotel, will allow guests to personalize and manage all aspects of their stay from their phones. Using the technology through the Hilton Honors app, guests will control everything from temperature and lighting to windows and the television. Further down the line, guests will be able to use voice commands to set controls, as well as customize individual preferences from their Hilton Honors app.
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Tech rental ecosystem grows: MyVR lands $6.1M

PhocusWire 6 December 2017
MyVR is the latest company to capitalize on the emerging sub-network of services around providing services to private accommodation sellers. The U.S.-based startup has secured a $6.1 million funding round from True Ventures, alongside a number of existing, unnamed backers.
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Why airports need to invest in IT solutions

PhocusWire 5 December 2017
As airports struggle to appease various stakeholders – from airlines to customers - a new study says investment in IT solutions will build stronger airport value propositions. According to a report from Amadeus and Frost & Sullivan called “Strengthening the Airport Value Proposition,” modern technology is key in improving both operational efficiency and passenger experience. Viewing the passenger, in particular, as the “ultimate customer” in these endeavors will improve the dialogue between all stakeholders, the report finds.
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In The Big Chair - Aidan Brogan of Datalex

PhocusWire 5 December 2017
I am very proud to be the CEO, leading the team at Datalex with every day presenting a new challenge. We are very privileged in Datalex as we combine the excitement of the global airline industry with best in class digital technology. The airline industry is going through a digital transformation and the pace of change is getting faster and faster. Our focus is on scaling the business, which we have more than doubled in the last three years. To position Datalex as a global leader in airline digital commerce we have defined a clear strategy and vision and have aligned the leadership team to execute this at pace.
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One job in hospitality that technology cannot replace

PhocusWire 3 December 2017
Even with the most advanced technology, there's still one role no good luxury or upscale hotel can do without: its concierge. Sure, technology can help make service faster and more targeted. But will an app dive into a dumpster, witness your wedding or help you pick out a four-legged friend?
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Travel startup investments rise (but low level deals fall)

PhocusWire 30 November 2017
Travel technology and online startups have raised a massive $15 billion since 2013 across 1,300 deals - yet the climate for investment is changing. Data released by CBInsights shows that 2017 is likely to be the fifth year in a row that the number of individual deals has climbed.
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Appliance of data science: Hopper declares Tuesday as Travel Deal day

PhocusWire 28 November 2017
Hopper crunches data - lots of it. So much of it that it has determined when, precisely, is the best day and time to "buy and fly". According to Patrick Surry, Hopper's chief data scientist, the company is basing the idea of Travel Deal Tuesday on the historical price data that they've accumulated over several years.
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In The Big Chair - Luis Maroto of Amadeus

PhocusWire 27 November 2017
Amadeus has become a giant of travel technology, with its business covering distribution, IT services for suppliers and intermediaries. Almost 20 years - the last six as global leader - have seen the former-Bertelsmann exec push the company into new areas and list on the public markets. He tells Kevin May how the company views the changes in the sector and how it is positioned to capitalize.
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Zoomaway's new cryptocurrency strategies

PhocusWire 27 November 2017
The use of cryptocurrencies - such as Bitcoin - is on the rise, as is the use of blockchain in travel tech. Recognizing this, hospitality and technology group Zoomaway announced that it will use both in upcoming strategies. In a press release, the company says that "blockchain technologies" will be implemented into its existing platforms in the coming months. At least five different providers will be available through Zoomaway, so that the company can begin accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as payment.

VIDEO: State of the digital travel world

PhocusWire 24 November 2017
From the power of (some) online travel agencies, to who wins in the world of mobile travel services. Throw in some details about (re)emerging segments such as tours and activities or the apparent demise of the startup era.You then have a robust overview of the digital segment in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. There are plenty of winners, inevitably some losers, but this is a sector that continues to grow and reshape itself as the latest twists and turns in distribution and technology take hold. Douglas Quinby gives the umbrella view of the marketplace from Phocuswright.

Tech giants enlisted for hotel room of the future

PhocusWire 24 November 2017
Marriott has teamed up with Samsung and Legrand to launch what it's calling "the hotel room of the future." The hotel chain has launched what it's calling the Internet of Things (IoT) hotel room in partnership with the two tech companies. Claiming the room is part of the company's global sustainability efforts and goals, Marriott's IoT Guestroom Lab "allows multiple responsive IoT systems, devices and applications to communicate with one another to serve guests and optimize hotel operations."

VIDEO: What the heck happened to online travel stocks?

PhocusWire 22 November 2017
It was obvious to anyone who was there that the mood changed considerably about half way through the event. After what had been fairly upbeat day and a half, with an extremely good cross-section of startups and established companies showing off their new tools, discussions shifted markedly as the stock market reacted to something.

Best Western says only smart tech will do

PhocusWire 21 November 2017
Best Western's digital guru is not interested in updating the hotel franchise's technology merely for the sake of doing so. "I believe in intelligent updates," chief digital officer Greg Adams tells PhocusWire. "We sometimes fall prey to great marketing, rather than great and implementable technology. We shouldn't merely update technology for technology's sake."
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VIDEO: PhocusWire PundIT Show - Episode 6

PhocusWire 20 November 2017
Redeam was the talk of the show - at least the first half of it - at The Phocuswright Conference 2017. Up until the point when online travel agency stocks starting tanking at the end of the second day, Redeam had caught the attention of delegates (and judges) after winning a string of awards for its "plumbing" behind the scenes with ticketing for tours and attractions.
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VIDEO: Media on what excites them about travel tech

PhocusWire 17 November 2017
Journalists spend hours thinking and talking (and often tweeting) about the industry that they cover... obviously. PhocusWire thought it would be fun to get a group of fellow colleagues together from its sister brands at The Phocuswright Conference to discuss the industry, some of the issues that are worth following (and some that aren't), and lots more.
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Sojern acquires Adphorus to grow Facebook reach

PhocusWire 16 November 2017
Digital marketing company Sojern announced today it has acquired Adphorus, a Facebook and Instagram Marketing Partner (FMP) specializing in ad solutions for the travel industry. The deal will allow Sojern – whose high-profile clients include Hyatt, Fairmont and Singapore Airlines – to grow its opportunities on Facebook.

Blockchain and airlines: how transformational is the technology?

PhocusWire 16 November 2017
There’s an interesting conundrum present in the airline industry called a “flight data problem.” Put simply, there’s no one true source of flight data, and the data that exists isn’t available to all parties. Blockchain technology, which is touted as a “transformational” technology in the travel tech world, is posing as the potential solution to this ongoing flight data problem.

How digital assistants are transforming the travel experience

PhocusWire 15 November 2017
What seems straight out of Hollywood – a 100% AI-driven flight travel assistant that “talks” to users in real time – is actually a real-life product called TARA that helps people change their travel plans if needed without having to talk to an actual person. Presented by Rajnish Kumar, the CTO of ixigo, at the Launch during last week’s Phocuswright Conference, TARA is touted as a “fast, hyper-personalized, unbiased and available 24/7” travel agent of the future. Its premise is simple: provide real-time support to people in their native language (a challenge with offshore customer service) and have all of the travelers’ information at its virtual fingertips.

The rise of the robots: How AI is being used for content creation on travel sites

PhocusWire 15 November 2017
Get this: do away with of all of the content creators for the various travel and leisure websites and replace them with robots that generate content in “real life” language – complete with local and regional dialects. This was the view of Kevin Ashbridge, vice president for global travel and leisure solutions at translation technology company SDL, when he made the proposition at The Phocuswright Conference last week. According to Ashbridge – who admitted that while the technology wasn’t perfect, it could be perfected “if given time” – automating the creation of content would be able to bridge the challenge of delivering personally and contextually relevant content at the rate of technology adoption.

Royal Caribbean eyes new technology, virtual and real

PhocusWire 15 November 2017
On the cruise of the future, check-in counters, guest services desks and in-room phones will be relics, replaced by facial recognition, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCCL) last week showcased the various ways that passengers on its three brands -- Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises -- will experience technological innovations going forward, some much sooner than others. Passengers on some Royal Caribbean cruises this year (the Oasis and the Allure of the Seas) will be able to check in, order drinks and reserve shore excursions and dinner reservations on their smartphones, using the cruise company's new app, which will debut this year on 13% of the line's ships, half of the fleet in 2018 and on 100% of its ships by 2019.

VIDEO: PhocusWire PundIT Show - Episode 4

PhocusWire 14 November 2017
Deep breath. After a day of pitches from startups, PhocusWire's PundIT Show returns to take the temperature of three delegates at The Phocuswright Conference. The fourth outing features Simon Lenoir (Rezdy), Nathan Bobbins (Travelport) and Fraser Ellacott (RentalCars Connect). This episode was recorded on Wednesday 8 November 2017.

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