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  • Next Event


    Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference

    December 5–6, 2018
    Dubai, UAE

  • Upcoming Event


    Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference

    April 10–11, 2019
    Palau de Congressos
    Palma, Mallorca - Spain

  • Upcoming Event


    Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference

    Minneapolis Convention Center

    June 17-20, 2019

STR, TE lower U.S. hotel growth projections in final forecast of 2018

STR 15 November 2018
STR and Tourism Economics' final U.S. hotel forecast revision of this year projects a lower level of performance growth for 2018 and 2019. "Our last forecast update in August had RevPAR growth at 3.2% and 2.6% for 2018 and 2019, respectively," said Amanda Hite, STR's president and CEO. "We knew the third quarter of this year would be tough because of comparisons with the post-hurricane demand period of 2017, but demand still came in lower than expected. Regardless, industry performance is still growing. There are issues such as rising labor costs, but the macroeconomic environment remains favorable overall, and the industry's record-breaking run should continue through at least 2019 even with softening in overall growth."2018For the total year, the U.S. hotel industry is projected to report a 0.4% increase in occupancy to 66.2%, a 2.6% rise in average daily rate (ADR) to US$129.99 and a 3.0% lift in revenue per available room (RevPAR) to US$86.00. RevPAR has grown at least 3.0% for each year since 2010. The Luxury, Economy and Independent chain scale segments are likely to match for the largest increase in occupancy (+0.7%). Luxury is expected to post the highest growth rates in ADR (+3.5%) and RevPAR (+4.2%). While all segments should report RevPAR increases for 2018, the lowest rate of RevPAR growth is projected in the Upper Midscale segment (+1.7%). Twenty-three of the Top 25 Markets are projected to report RevPAR growth for the year. While most markets are projected in the 0% to +5.0% range, five are expected to see growth in the range of +5% and +10%: Chicago, Illinois; Miami/Hialeah, Florida;Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota-Wisconsin; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-New Jersey; and San Francisco/San Mateo, California. The two markets expected to show a decrease in RevPAR, each between -5% and 0%, are Houston, Texas, and Washington, D.C.-Maryland-Virginia. 2019For 2019, STR and Tourism Economics project the U.S. hotel industry to report a 0.1% increase in occupancy to 66.2%, a 2.3% lift in ADR to US$133.04 and a 2.4% rise in RevPAR to US$88.07.The highest overall rate of RevPAR growth (+2.3%) is expected in the Luxury, Midscale and Independent segments, while the lowest (+1.9%) is projected among Upscale and Upper Midscale chains. Different from 2018, Minneapolis is the lone Top 25 Market projected to report a negative RevPAR percent change for the year--this is due largely to the difficult-to-match comparison with the Super Bowl year. The remaining 24 markets are expected to post growth between 0% and 5%.

Winners of the Phocuswright Innovation Platform

Phocuswright 15 November 2018
Phocuswright Innovation Platform events showcase the most innovative companies in travel across the globe. At The Phocuswright Conference, currently underway in Los Angeles, CA, a total of 36 companies - 22 at - demonstrated groundbreaking applications and solutions poised to change the travel landscape, competing under the bright lights of Center Stage for the most coveted innovation awards in travel.The companies who presented at Summit and Launch represent the cream of the crop from a large pool of applicants, and Summit showcased the winners of Phocuswright's 2018 regional events: Battleground: EMEA and Battleground: The Americas.Sleepbox, which builds micro-hotels that can be installed anywhere for 1/10 the cost of traditional hotels, became the third company to claim three awards for the third year in a row, winning the Award For Travel Innovation - Emerging Category, The General Catalyst Award For Travel Innovation, and the Summit People's Choice Award, indicating a strong perceived need in the marketplace for more affordable and flexible lodging options. ConnexPay, which integrates both acceptance of credit cards and requesting of payments to travel providers into a single solution, won the Award For Travel Innovation - Startup Category, validating that there is plenty of room for financial innovation in travel. AirHelp, which uses advanced machine learning to process airline claims, won the Launch People's Choice Award.Summit winners were chosen by a panel of Dragons comprised of travel and technology experts. The General Catalyst Award for Travel Innovation, which comes with a $100,000 convertible bridge loan, was determined by the Dragons with an increased emphasis on whether the company's innovation has the potential to create breakthrough value in the travel industry. Brand USA Award selected the winner for their Travel Marketing Innovation award, and OAG selected the winner for their AI Innovation award. Phocuswright Conference attendees voted to determine the People's Choice Awards for both Summit and Launch."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 were thrilled to bring a more diverse group of companies to the stage than we have in years, featuring many solutions and technologies beyond air, hotel and ground transportation in areas such as identity, safety, luxury, advertising, security, cruise and virtual interlining.Over 400 innovators have now taken the stages at Phocuswright's innovation events since the first Travel Innovation Summit in 2008. This esteemed group of companies has brought countless innovations to the market and collectively raised over $3.2B in the process.2018 Phocuswright Innovation Platform Winners AWARD FOR TRAVEL INNOVATION - STARTUP CATEGORYWinner: ConnexPayRunner-Up: Airside MobileTHE GENERAL CATALYST AWARD FOR TRAVEL INNOVATIONWinner: SleepboxAWARD FOR TRAVEL INNOVATION - EMERGING CATEGORYWinner: SleepboxRunner-Up: Perfect PriceBRAND USA MARKETING INNOVATION AWARDWinner: Vivere.travelOAG AWARD FOR AI INNOVATIONWinner: BaarbSUMMIT PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD FOR INNOVATIONWinner: SleepboxRunner-Up: Rentals UnitedLAUNCH PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD FOR INNOVATIONWinner: AirHelpRunner-Up: TinyCluesLearn more about the winners and all of the innovators here: double check these numbers [CM1]

Dubai Tourism to Inaugurate 'HITEC Dubai 2018'

HFTP 15 November 2018
HITEC Dubai 2018, the Middle East's largest hospitality technology exhibition and conference, will be inaugurated by Dubai Tourism on 5th December 2018. The annual business-to-business (B2B) exhibition will give Middle East buyers, currently worth over USD 75 billion, access to the world's leading technology solution providers and experts in the hospitality sector.Commenting on the critical role technology is playing in driving tourism, Issam Kazim, CEO, Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM)stated, "Dubai is a global hub of innovation with the ongoing development of technology at the centre of our strategy. Disruptive technologies are creating new opportunities for our industry while reengineering the marketplace, and Dubai is at the forefront of capitalising on these emerging technologies to optimise travellers' journey. We will continue our focus on harnessing the power of data to redefine the customer journey whilst strengthening developments of advanced technology solutions as we invest in entrepreneurship and environmental sustainability that sets a new benchmark for global travel. As such, we are delighted to support HITEC Dubai as the tourism sector continues to lead the way when it comes to evolving technology."Dubai Tourism is the destination partner for HITEC Dubai 2018 that will feature regional and international case studies, thought provoking panel discussions and technology demonstrations from 70+ solution and service providers. Co-produced by Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) and Naseba, the two-day trade show will be held on 5th and 6th December 2018 at the Madinat Jumeirah Dubai.Frank Wolfe CAE, CEO of HFTP, said: "It's an honour to receive DTCM's endorsement to HITEC Dubai for the second consecutive year and have their CEO Mr. Issam Kazim lead the show's official opening ceremony. DTCM's support reemphasizes the government's commitment to transform the hospitality industry through proactive adoption of innovative and intuitive technology, and further position the UAE as a regional driver of innovation."Few industries have felt the impact of enabling technology like hospitality. HITEC Dubai's Advisory Council Chairperson Laurent A. Voivenel, Senior Vice President, Operations and Development for the Middle East, Africa and India for Swiss-Belhotel International, said, "Technology holds the key to a more advanced, sustainable and smart future which is revolutionising the hospitality sector like every other industry. Tech-savvy tourists are demanding more from hotels and therefore it is essential to give them the enhanced experiences they crave. Internet of Things, Cloud Technology, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Blockchain, etc are all paving the way for the future of technology in the hospitality sector and HITEC Dubai will give be a great platform to see the latest developments transforming our industry."For more information or to register for HITEC Dubai 2018 visit NASEBANaseba offers global business facilitation services. The company creates growth opportunities by bringing together people, partners and ideas. It helps clients raise capital, enter new markets, secure partners, close sales and educate workforces. Naseba's goal is to create opportunity and add economic value at every stage of its client's journey. It does this through three key areas: investor services, commercial services and leadership services. Since inception in 2002, Naseba has facilitated deals totalling billions of dollars for its clients. The company has connected over 100,000 global executives through more than 1,000 proprietary business platforms and is an expert in growth markets.About Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism)With the ultimate vision of positioning Dubai as the world's leading tourism destination and commercial hub, Dubai Tourism's mission is to increase the awareness of Dubai among global audiences and to attract tourists and inward investment into the emirate. Dubai Tourism is the principal authority for the planning, supervision, development and marketing of Dubai's tourism sector. It markets and promotes the Emirate's commerce sector, and is responsible for the licensing and classification of all tourism services, including hotels, tour operators and travel agents. Brands and departments within the Dubai Tourism portfolio include Dubai Business Events, Dubai Calendar, and Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment.

Hoteliers Blend Tech and an Authentic Experience in 3 Guest Segments

Softscribe 14 November 2018
Softscribe Inc., a leading hotel tech PR firm, shows how hoteliers can blend technology and an authentic guest experience to increase loyalty among Millennials, Baby Boomers and Business Travelers."'What do Millennials want?' is top-of-mind for hoteliers who want to create loyalty and repeat business with that segment," said Julie Keyser Squires, Softscribe Inc. CEO. "But there are two other equally important traveler types: Baby Boomers and the Business Travel market."Squires noted that while an estimated 83.5 million Millennials are the largest generation in the United States, second to 76 million American Baby Boomers, there were 462 million U.S. domestic business trips in 2017.Millennials, Baby Boomers, Business Travelers Use Tech Differently."Each of these demographics uses technology differently," said Squires. "Millennials want an authentic experience, and they seem to be going retro. They like Polaroid cameras and are turning off their phones. Baby Boomers want a place to land that meets their needs, not an experience. And Business Travelers want quick service, comfort and a fast in-and-out instead of face-to-face service. They want to go straight to their rooms."How are hoteliers meeting this demographic challenge? For answers, Softscribe Inc. turned to some of its best-in-class technology clients and their customers.Baby Boomers, Millennials, and Business Travelers all value being recognized and having their preferences known before check-in. "Maestro's Loyalty System is at the heart of our EveryStay program. Our agents use Maestro PMS to identify preferences including room types, food and beverage favorites, and special requests to make their stay more enjoyable. Our success is based on recognizing each guest, providing the experience they value, and rewarding their loyalty." - Mike Robertson, Marketing Manager for Rodd Hotels & Resorts. "Our management style is performance-driven. We look at guest feedback, revenue, and expense trends every day. We set specific goals through budgeting, market share strategies, and guest experience initiatives for each key result area. Aptech's PVNG accounting system and Execuvue allow us the opportunity to optimize performance and maximize profitability." - Ed Ghanami, president of Panache Management, LLC."A growing number of properties are implementing mobile access guest room locking systems and the apps that support them. Mobile access integrates the lock process with numerous property and chain departments. Mobile access door locks play an important role in chain marketing, loyalty programs, and the overall guest experience. The original purpose of improving guest door locks was exclusively loss prevention and security. Today, mobile access expands the door lock role to include enhancing the guest experience, hotel marketing, and loyalty program participation." - Alastair Cush, former Head of Lodging Global Business Development for dormakaba. Currently Senior Vice President Skyfold, dormakaba Group"At most hotels, air conditioning or heating is the first issue guests complain about. Honeywell delivers a perfect guest experience at our property. We installed Honeywell's INNCOM INNcontrol3 solution suite and Deep Mesh Network specifically to monitor guestroom environmental equipment to enable optimum performance and an ideal guest experience. INNCOM continuously measures and records performance of each room's heating and air conditioning unit and fan output. I rely on INNcontrol3 every day. With Honeywell I know more about what is happening in a guestroom environment than our guests, and this really helps our guest satisfaction scores." - Wes Shirley, Director of Engineering, Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead."The Aloft Dublin-Pleasanton's guests are mostly tech-savvy millennials who understand and enjoy using our new technology. In our rooms guests can simply ask Alexa to change the temperature in the INNCOM by Honeywell e7 Thermostat settings without having to get out of bed. This technology sets our property apart from the competition by providing cutting edge experiences for travelers. We picked Honeywell for its robust integration capabilities with other software, its energy savings, and because the e7 Thermostat's flat panel controls are perfect for the exceptional Aloft guest experience we wanted to create." - Rupesh Patel, president of Zenique Hotels.Tech Companies, do you want to increase sales and influence? Call or email Michael Squires, president of Softscribe Inc., at 404-256-5512 or mbs(at) to set up a discovery meeting and brainstorm a few PR and marketing ideas.SOURCES:"Just how many Millennials are there?" "Baby Boomers" "Number of domestic business and leisure trips in the United States from 2008 to 2022" About Softscribe Inc. Achieves Significant Business Growth for Tech Clients in the Hospitality Industry.Softscribe Inc. is an award-winning Hotel Tech PR agency that specializes in B2B public relations, branding and market consulting. We are the best in the industry at achieving significant business growth for technology companies. Our clients deliver enterprise solutions to the global hotel market and related industries Generates the Right Client Messages 100% of the Time.Our focus is marketing content, search, and social media. We generate the right messages for client audiences 100% of the time. This is essential to close sales.Softscribe Inc.'s professional team surpasses expectations with an average 19 years industry experience in branding, marketing communications and technology PR.We are proud of our best-in-class clients and are ready to help you, too. Please give us a shout now, or visit

Community Involvement Needed in Cultural Tourism's Digital Transformation, says UNWTO Seminar

UNWTO 14 November 2018
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)'s International Seminar on Harnessing Cultural Tourism through Innovation and Technology and 40th Affiliate Members Plenary Session concluded with a renewed call for community participation in development of cultural tourism using cutting-edge technologies (12-14 November 2018, Hamedan, Islamic Republic of Iran).Cultural and heritage attractions are key to tourism development in many countries around the world, and innovation and technology can make these attractions more accessible while preserving their essence, the seminar concluded. It also stressed that innovation and technology should empower, rather than disenfranchise, host populations and communities and can assist them in retaining their authenticity, while cultural heritage development and preservation should be a part of local and national plans for socioeconomic development through tourism and technology."Technology and innovation, including ICT, can improve the quality of the tourist experience. It can improve governance, profits and the wellbeing of residents. And it can preserve intangible and tangible heritage resources for the sustainable development of cultural tourism," said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili opening the event."The world's diverse range of culture and heritage form the best means and ways to connect peoples of the world - but only if the rights and privileges of both host and guest populations are respected and responded to. And innovation and technology can help", added Iranian Vice-President Ali Asghar Mounesan, who also heads the Iran Cultural Heritage, Handcraft and Tourism Organization (ICHTO).The seminar agreed that informed governance and policies surrounding uptake of new technologies and innovative practices can guide tourism development and open doors for the sector, with conservation and revitalization of cultural heritage one of its main benefits. It also highlighted that for tourism authorities, participation of, and collaboration with, the host community should be a driver for technology-driven change. It was urged that tourism development not only maximize benefits and minimize costs for greater competitiveness, but also respond to the expectations and needs of hosts and guests alike.The seminar was organized by UNWTO, ICHTO and Alisadr Tourism Company. Alongside it, Hamedan played host to the UNWTO Affiliate Members' 40th plenary, in which active discussions were held as UNWTO's Affiliate Members voiced their opinions and suggestions on the Affiliate Members Department's Programme of Work for 2019.Useful links:Conference websiteUNWTO Affiliate Members

Hotel Yountville Upgrades With Entrava + OpenKey

Entrava 12 November 2018
Hotel Yountville Upgrades With Entrava + OpenKeyMobile Optimized Locks Provide Seamless Digital Key for Guests DALLAS, TEXAS (November 12, 2018) - The famous luxury boutique Hotel Yountville has upgraded their guest rooms and on-property experience with the combination of Entrava digital locks and OpenKey mobile keyless entry. Rooted in Yountville history, the Hotel Yountville is located in the picturesque Napa Valley and anchored by a Heritage Valley Oak. Entrava locks are the world's first mobile optimized locks in the hospitality industry and OpenKey is the industry standard for universal mobile key in hotels.Featuring 80 guestrooms in buildings constructed of stacked Napa river rocks, heavy timber beams and copper accents the Hotel Yountville creates a vintage Yountville escape for wine country lovers. Hotel amenities include The Spa, nearly 4,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space and farm-to-table cuisine at the Heritage Oak Cafe."Our guests expect the best of everything, from luxury accomodations to exquisite cuisine and the very latest in hotel technology" stated Sean Gazey, Hotel Yountville General Manager. "The Entrava digital locks provide us with a design aesthetic that blends seamlessly with our property while providing the best guestroom security and convenience of mobile keyless entry. The combination of Entrava locks with OpenKey mobile key gives us the kind of digital guest experience that sets us apart."As travelers increasingly rely on their smartphones to facilitate every part of their journey, hotels worldwide are upgrading guestroom locks from decades-old magstripe technology to modern BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) digital locks that offer increased encryption security as well as keyless entry capability. The plastic keycard is rapidly becoming a relic of the past as digital locks eliminate the need to use physical keys any longer. Guest reaction to mobile keyless entry has proven the trend towards digital key has now become a global movement.The world's first mobile optimized lock in the hospitality industry, Entrava locks offer innovative Touch technology that allow guests to leave their smartphone in their purse or pocket and simply touch the lock to gain access to their room. The lock reads the encrypted key token on the mobile device to grant access, providing a unique level of guest convenience."Our focus on mobile technology has made Entrava one of the fastest growing lock brands in the U.S." commented Entrava National Sales Director Scott Bennett. "Sleek design, sturdy construction, simple installation a great warranty has made the Entrava brand an overnight success with hotel installs nationwide. We're proud to count the prestigious Hotel Yountville among those client hotels." About Entrava As the world's first mobile optimized lock company, Entrava is focused on utility ahead of hardware. The Entrava mobile lock management app allows hotels to easily set up and manage all locks from an Android device. Every Entrava lock includes BLE mobile key capability and comes preconfigured for OpenKey's leading mobile key service. Entrava supports 30+ property management systems providing a seamless mobile key experience for hotel staff and guests. Entrava - give guests what they want.Media Contact for EntravaMadison PlassmanMadison.Plassman@entrava.comAbout OpenKey Founded in 2014, OpenKey is reinventing the hospitality experience through its mobile access solution. The OpenKey app is the industry standard for universal mobile key technology and works with the majority of digital hotel locks. Hotels and their guests benefit from OpenKey's platform providing efficiency, convenience and cost savings. OpenKey is a privately held company located in Plano, Texas. The company has been funded by several of the largest hotel ownership and management companies in the world. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices. For more information, please visit Media Contact for OpenKeyJuana Velizmedia@openkey.co469.661.0841

Tencent & Shangri-La Group Announce Strategic Partnership

Shangri-La 9 November 2018
Tencent and Shangri-La Group announced the signing of a strategic partnership today. The cooperation will be focused on developing and deploying Smart Hotel solutions to power the transformation of hotel operations and services for Shangri-La, and will expand to more future collaborations across various businesses within the Shangri-La Group worldwide. Ms. Hui Kuok, Chairman of Shangri-La Asia Limited and Mr. Dowson Tong, Senior Executive Vice President of Tencent attended the signing ceremony at Futian Shangri-La Hotel, Shenzhen. By leveraging Tencent's strength in technology and connectivity, and by incorporating Shangri-La's hotel experience and business resources, the partnership will help drive technology innovation and business transformation of traditional industry models and enhance service quality and guest experience for hotel operators.The Tencent and Shangri-La partnership is an example of collaboration between traditional hotel industry and the internet and technology sector. Tencent's leading technology in Cloud computing, AI, social communications and payment platforms will help support Shangri-La's business transformation of its services and operations. With Smart Hotel solutions, Shangri-La will be able to deliver greater convenience and personalised experience for its customers. At the same time, Tencent will be able to leverage Shangri-La hotels as testbed to continuously enhance and promote its Smart Hotel technologies.In addition to Smart Hotel, Tencent and Shangri-La have plans to bring the strategic partnership to cover a much wider scope and scale in the future. Shangri-La will utilise its worldwide hotel network and business resources to support Tencent in promoting its cutting-edge technology to the world. The two companies will also explore the application of digital solutions and smart technologies beyond hotels to include Shangri-La's real estate business in shopping malls, service apartments, office buildings, as well as in over 500 hotel restaurants and other catering business.Ms. Hui Kuok, Chairman of Shangri-La Asia Limited said, "We share the same vision with Tencent that technology is people-oriented. People and service are at the core of our business. The value of technology is not to replace the warmth of human contact and personal interaction. We will strive to work with Tencent and integrate hardware with heartware, and to continue to deliver innovative products and excellent customer service."Mr. Dowson Tong, Senior Executive Vice President of Tencent said, "As one of the world's premier hotel companies, Shangri-La has nearly five decades of experience in hotel operations. By incorporating Tencent's technology expertise in the internet sector, we can achieve greater success together. Our partnership can help Shangri-La enhance its capability in providing services and greater operational efficiency, as well as provide best practices for the transformation of the hotel industry."About TencentTencent uses technology to enrich the lives of Internet users. Our social products WeChat and QQ link our users to a rich digital content catalogue including games, video, music and books. Our proprietary targeting technology helps advertisers reach out to hundreds of millions of consumers in China. Our infrastructure services including payment, security, cloud and artificial intelligence create differentiated offerings and support our partners' business growth. Tencent invests heavily in people and innovation, enabling us to evolve with the Internet.

Participate in the HFTP Entrepreneur 20X Start-up Pitch Competitions in 2019

HFTP 8 November 2018
Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP), producers of Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC), is currently accepting applications for participants and mentors for its Entrepreneur 20X (E20X) competitions in 2019. The start-up pitch competition for the most innovative, breakout hospitality technologies will be held twice next year: at HITEC Europe on April 9 and at HITEC Minneapolis on June 17. Those interested in either competing or volunteering as a mentor can apply via the E20X website.E20X competing companies will be selected from the field of applicants, who will then pitch their business concepts to a panel of expert judges as well as an audience of HITEC attendees and exhibitors. Prior to the pitching portion of the competition, participants will have the opportunity to meet with a team of mentors who will lend insights, expertise and guidance. The E20X judges' panel will determine the winner of the grand prize, the E20X Judges' Choice Award. Winners will be awarded EUR2,500 EUR at HITEC Europe and $5,000 USD at HITEC Minneapolis.Following the pitch competition, participating companies are able to meet with HITEC attendees to demonstrate their technology in a specially appointed area at the event. Attendees are given a chance to vote for their favorite and select their preferred pitcher to receive the People's Choice award, presented at the conclusion of HITEC.E20X mentor opportunities are available to industry professionals who would like to volunteer and share their knowledge with participants the day of the competition. Day-of mentors will meet face-to-face with participants in a series of pre-booked meetups hours before the E20X competition takes place sharing their experience, answering questions and making invaluable connections."Being an entrepreneur, running your own business, can be challenging in the sense that you are solely making decisions without the guidance of feedback," said HFTP CEO Frank Wolfe. "HFTP's Entrepreneur 20X event gives startups the opportunity to showcase their products, services and ideas in front of a global network of industry peers including investors, c-level experts and a judges' panel that is guaranteed to serve as a steppingstone on your path to success."The presenter application deadline for E20X Europe is February 9, 2019 with a EUR150 fee. The presenter application deadline for E20X Minneapolis is April 1, 2019 with a $250 USD fee.Coming next month is the third of three HITECs in 2018: HITEC Dubai on December 5-6, 2018 at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai, UAE. HITEC Europe is April 9-11, 2019 at the Palau de Congressos in Palma, Mallorca, Spain. HITEC Minneapolis is June 17-20, 2019 at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota USA. For more information about HFTP's international events, visit and or contact the HFTP Meetings & Special Events Department at

Bumble and Moxy Hotels Partner to Launch 'BumbleSpot #attheMoxy' to Empower Meaningful Connections

Marriott 8 November 2018
Bumble, the female-first networking app, and Moxy Hotels, Marriott International's playful experiential brand, have teamed up to launch 'BumbleSpot #attheMoxy' - fun, empowered locations at select Moxy Hotels nationwide where Bumble users can bring their connection from the digital sphere to real life. BumbleSpots are places that have been verified by Bumble as inclusive environments to meet your Bumble connections - across dating, friendship and professional networking. Moxy Hotels is Bumble's first nationwide partner to be designated as a BumbleSpot, and more BumbleSpot locations will launch across the United States and Canada over the next year.BumbleSpot #attheMoxy will officially launch in New York at the new Moxy Hotel in the Financial District on November 13th. The evening will be hosted by actress, philanthropist, and entrepreneur Jaime King with music by sisters and DJ duo Coco & Breezy. Events will follow in Chicago on November 15th with DJ and founder of Style Native Brandi Cyrus and Wells Adams, who will host their "Your Favorite Thing" podcast live onsite. The Denver event will be held on November 29th with model, activist, and founder of the "No Wrong Way Movement" Denise Bidot. Guests at the launch events, which are open to Bumble users, will have access to Bumble's famous Profile Doctors, who will help them get the Bumble profile seal of approval, inclusive of professional headshots taken onsite, and improv workshops with Moxy partner Upright Citizens Brigade to learn skills to break the ice on a Bumble connection. Five additional Moxy locations will participate in BumbleSpot offerings through the end of the year, including hotels in Seattle, New Orleans, Tempe, New York Times Square, and Minneapolis."At Bumble, we're more than just a dating app - we're a mission-driven platform that connects people across the most important relationships in their lives in love, friendship and business. We've worked so hard to cultivate a safe and empowering community online and we're always looking for opportunities to help our users bring those connections to life," said Andee Olson, director of partnerships at Bumble. "The idea for BumbleSpot is to create a network of physical locations across the US and Canada that support our mission to end misogyny and empower women in their relationships across all aspects of life. We're excited to launch BumbleSpot in partnership with Moxy Hotels and we're excited for the future of this program."Bumble users and Moxy guests visiting BumbleSpots through the end of the year will experience a number of fun offerings and benefits, including food discounts and a custom drink menu of 2-for-1 specialty cocktails from "My Fair Lady" to the "Stinger," for those who show the Bumble app upon ordering. Moxy's complimentary work spaces will also be available for Bumble Bizz users to empower the entrepreneur on the go. Additionally, there will be fun twists on some of Moxy's regular bar programming, such as giant Jenga with Truth or Dare quotes on Jenga bricks to break the ice."Moxy is a hotel centered around play. We believe you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation. What a better place to put down your phone and meet a connection face to face?" said Toni Stoeckl, Global Brand Leader, Moxy Hotels and Vice President, Distinctive Select Service Brands, Marriott International. "Many of us are connected to our phones and technology 24/7, so we wanted to work with Bumble to encourage people to feel empowered to take the plunge and reap the benefits of meeting a connection in real life. Moxy lobbies are designed to provoke you to play, providing the perfect setting to break the ice, whether it's a date, meeting a new friend or business connection."Bumble was first founded to challenge the antiquated rules of dating. Similarly, Moxy threw out the hospitality rulebook and challenged the status quo. Together, these two brands are a perfect match to encourage people to come out from behind their screens and take their digital connections into real life - whether that be a date, a friend or a business connection.Bumble is free and available to download in the App Store and Google Play.About Bumble:Since its launch in 2014, Bumble has grown to become one of the most relevant social networks worldwide. Today, Bumble, the "female first" app with over 42 million users, connects people across dating, friendship and professional networking. No matter the type of relationship, women make the first move on Bumble. Bumble recognizes the importance of relationships and how crucial they are to a healthy, happy life. They've built their platform around kindness, respect, and equality - and their users play an important part in that. Bumble holds its users accountable for their actions and has zero tolerance for hate, aggression or bullying. Bumble is available in 160 countries. Since 2014, Bumble has facilitated over half a billion women-led first moves and over five billion messages sent. Bumble is free and available in the App Store and Google Play.

Emma, the World's First Digital Mountain Assistant, Kicks Off the 2018-19 Winter Season in Beta at Keystone Ski Resort

Vail Resorts 8 November 2018
- Emma, a first generation technology, offers guests real-time information on everything from snow conditions and parking to rentals and personal performance stats- Designed to get smarter the more she interacts with guests, Emma is launching first at Keystone to take advantage of the early ski season- To interact with Emma, guests at Keystone can text her at 77477 Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN) announced today that Emma, the world's first digital mountain assistant, has begun her inaugural winter season, launching in beta at Keystone Ski Resort in Colorado, which opened ahead of schedule this week. Emma is using the early season to better understand how guests ask questions while at the resort and will launch at eight additional ski resorts later this season: Vail, Beaver Creekand Breckenridge in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Tahoe; and Whistler Blackcomb in Canada.Through simple text messaging, Emma (your Epic Mountain Assistant) offers guests real-time information on everything from snow conditions, parking and personal performance stats to recommendations on rentals, lessons and dining options. This first generation technology uses artificial intelligence (AI) through natural language processing (NLP) to answer questions, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through short message service (SMS) text. As Emma interacts with guests, she will get smarter, expanding her knowledge base and insight throughout the season."We are excited for Emma to launch in beta at Keystone. The earlier Emma can interact with guests on a variety of topics, the faster she will learn and adjust to guest preferences," said Kirsten Lynch, chief marketing officer for Vail Resorts. "Emma is the world's first digital mountain assistant and continues a decade of pioneering technological firsts from Vail Resorts to enhance the guest experience."Among Emma's many capabilities is her connection to EpicMix, a ground-breaking technology from Vail Resorts, originally launched in 2010, which allows skiers and snowboarders to track their days and vertical feet. Guests can retrieve their EpicMix stats by texting Emma simple questions like "How much did I ski today?" or "What are my stats?"Additionally, Emma can answer questions on weather conditions, grooming, lift line wait times, parking, ski school, lift tickets, equipment rental options, dining recommendations and more, serving as a one-stop source for the information guests need, when they need it. If Emma cannot answer a question, she will connect guests to a live agent for further assistance. In an effort to continuously improve Emma's capabilities, guests can text "feedback" to share their open-ended ideas and comments for Emma.Emma is the latest innovation from Vail Resorts. Since developing the industry-leading season pass, the Epic Pass, 10 years ago, the Company has introduced RFID technologies in passes and lift tickets to enable the "Easy Scan" process and power EpicMix; launched the EpicDay Express Lift Tickets program, which allows guests to skip the ticket line completely; and last year introduced EpicMix Time Insights, a website that gives guests a historical look at lift line wait times for any day throughout the season, using data collected from its real-time lift line feature, EpicMix Time.Guests headed to Keystone can reach Emma by texting 77477. Find more information on Emma at

Generator, Design-driven Disruptor Of Hospitality Travel, Debuts Genfriends, New Mobile App Designed For The Modern Traveler

Generator Hostels Ltd. 8 November 2018
Generator, whose design-driven affordable luxury has disrupted hospitality across Europe and most recently the U.S. earlier this month, is continuing to break boundaries with the debut of GenFriends, a new mobile app that will revolutionize the travel industry. The app will offer exciting features such as exclusive deals and discounts on accommodation and F&B across all 14 Generator properties, room access capabilities, as well as a new social networking platform for like-minded guests to connect with while staying at Generator properties.The groundbreaking app will meet the specific needs of both the solo traveler and group travelers. GenFriends can act as a convenient bookings app to help guests seamlessly plan their travels, as well as a global social network for those looking to discover a new city with fellow globetrotters. Since 2015, Generator saw a 17% increase in solo travelers across their properties, with its Berlin Mitte property reporting a dramatic 35% rise. In the past year, more than half of reservations were made by solo travelers at destinations such as Venice, Stockholm, Paris, and London. With this in mind, Generator created GenFriends, making solo travel easier and more exciting than ever.Similar to other location-based mobile social apps, GenFriends offers a "swipe" feature to "match" with like-minded solo travelers. Guests traveling with friends or partners will also be able to "match" with groups of travelers with similar cultural interests or travel itineraries to explore the best a city has to offer. In addition, those looking to fully immerse themselves with the local culture will also be able to "match" with local residents, who can provide recommendations, offer personal tours, and more.An adrenalizing blend of high design, low price points, and magnetic social environments, Generator has created destinations in 14 cities across Europe and the U.S., where locals blend with guests from around the world for a buzzing mix of ages, backgrounds, languages, and orientations. Known for designing environments appealing to solo travelers, Generator offers a variety of entertainment programming and community-oriented public spaces to help guests immerse themselves in a new city. Through GenFriends, the brand can offer more opportunities to personalize each travel experience through various modes of social networking."With the rise of mobile apps, social media, and solo travelers, GenFriends is an important new addition to the Generator brand. Providing the most immersive travel experiences and connecting guests in our social spaces have always been at the heart of what we do, and being able to utilize technology to further connect travelers is the natural next step in the rapidly changing hospitality market," said Jason Rieff, CMO of Generator.In addition to the social networking feature, guests will be able to browse exclusive deals, flash discounts, and activities, like special tours unique to each property hosted by Generator. By booking directly within GenFriends, travelers can take advantage of the best rates available at all Generator properties. By presenting the GenFriends app, guests can also receive 10% discounts at all on-property F&B outlets, including acclaimed restaurants and bars such as Hilma in Stockholm. Additional features in the future will include a "mobile key", with which guests can access their rooms through their mobile device, access to music playlists in public spaces at each property, digital schedules for any on-property programming and events, and an in-app payment system.Presenting a fresh perspective on world travel, the mobile app will provide opportunities for guests to connect with local residents and fellow travelers. Whether swapping unique travel stories, exploring the best Amsterdam coffee shops, visiting the famous Pusher Street in Copenhagen, or relaxing by the canals in Venice, GenFriends will give guests the opportunity to personalize their travel experience while making the most of their budget.GenFriends is compatible for both Android and iOS users, and now available for download on the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store. For more information, please visit

Governments and Investors Share Knowledge on Tourism Technology at UNWTO/WTM Ministers' Summit

UNWTO 7 November 2018
The UNWTO/WTM Ministers' Summit, held yesterday by World Travel Market and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), was well received by participants from government and the private sector for its more dynamic new format leading to more concrete takeaways around this year's theme: Investment in Tourism Technology.This year, the UNWTO/WTM Ministers' Summit held at World Travel Market, one of the world's biggest tourism trade show (6 November 2018), focused on investment in tourism technology with a novel format. For the first time the summit featured a panel of private sector leaders alongside a panel of ministers, sparking an open and useful exchange of ideas and opinions on how to channel private capital into innovative tourism technologies.This meant that tourism ministers and high-level representatives from countries including Bahrain, Bulgaria, Egypt, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Uganda, Uruguay and the UK were able to directly reflect on and respond to the opinions voiced by the leading tourism and technology investment funds involved in the panel, such as Alibaba Capital Partners, Atomico and Vynn Capital."Without the support of the key tourism stakeholders, notably governments, corporations and investors, development and implementation of innovative products is not possible. Today's discussions shed light on the influential role of both sectors as well as the need for stronger public-private partnerships", said UNWTO Deputy Secretary-General Jaime Cabal opening the event.A common sentiment amongst the panel of private sector entrepreneurs was that disruption leads change in the tourism sector, but regulation can be preventative to obtaining the attractive investment conditions needed to support disruptive new business ventures. It was suggested that regulation should be fixed in order to give clear guidelines to investors who wish to put private capital into new technology.Several technology investors highlighted the need to narrow the opportunity cost and clear up the governance barriers for innovation in tourism. "It needs to be easy for start-ups to grow and expand - if rules change too quickly, investors will hesitate to invest," Katherine Grass of Thayer Ventures told ministers.Lio Chen, Managing Director at the Travel & Hospitality Center of Innovation at venture capital firm Plug and Play, called for larger technology companies to engage with start-ups to boost ideas, human resources and investment. "I ask ministers to incentivize the top five corporations in their country to work with start-ups and foster innovation," he said.On the subject of regulation, Michael Ellis, UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, said: "It's a question of balance, and it's a challenge to get that right, especially in technology." He also urged ministers to boost sustainability and help tackle the world's climate-related problems, such as rising carbon emissions.Education was also highlighted as an element making investments more attractive. "Education allows technology to root into societies and contribute to making tourism more inclusive for communities," said Benjamin Liberoff, Vice-Minister of Tourism of Uruguay."We have brought the public and private sector together in a unique format, and hope it will deliver real change in the sector. As tourism grows, then technology will play a key role," said Simon Press, Senior Exhibitions Director of WTM London.Moderated by Richard Quest of CNN International, the summit contributed to UNWTO's ongoing priority to place tourism at the centre of the global innovation agenda.

WTM London: Travel Tech is Driving Consumer Change

Reed 6 November 2018
Travel Forward is the exciting new event co-located with WTM London, launched to inspire the travel and hospitality industry with the next generation of technologyMike Croucher, Head of Technical Strategy and Chief Architect for Travelport, opened the event with a presentation explaining how the travel industry was forcing consumers to behave in a way which suits travel industry systems, rather than reflecting how and what they want to buy.He argued that the backbone of the industry has traditionally been "systems of record", and that today's consumers expect be serviced by "systems of intelligence and systems of engagement"."Systems of intelligence" are new ways to connect supply and demand, and have artificial intelligence capabilities integrated in the platform. He referenced Hopper, the US-based recent recipient of a $100 million funding round. Hopper has developed algorithms which track historic flights pricing data and advices cost-conscious travellers on "the best time to buy"."It is reverse engineering the revenue management systems of airlines," he said."Systems of engagement" is about channels. Instagram was the point of reference, with Croucher saying "70% of the content on Instagram is travel-related". Travelport and easyJet have jointly developed a way to connect images on Instagram with easyJet's booking engine."Why come out of the channel you are in?" he suggested.Croucher's angle that the industry is "designed around silo-ed processes and not the customer" was repeated later in the day by Olaf Slater, Senior Director International Strategy & Innovation, Sabre Hospitality. He talked about "history...hindering a great customer experience".He plotted the order of the hotel industry's engagement with guests as "rates, room, amenities, destination and experience". He believes that, Millennials in particular, would expect the conversation to begin with the experience that the hotel can offer.Millennials were a recurring theme throughout the day. Dr. Kris Naudts, founder & CEO of Culture Trip, talked about the dominance of that generation within its 300-or-so staff members. He said that Millennials were a positive force and their presence was creating a positive workspace for all staff, irrespective of age.But a more prevalent theme was artificial intelligence and machine learning, two phrases which are rapidly becoming interchangeable. Finnbar Cornwall, Industry Head - Travel, Google, kicked off his presentation with a quotation from Google CEO Sundar Pichai:"Machine learning is a core, transformative way by which we're rethinking how we're doing everything. We are thoughtfully applying it across all our products."Cornwall's presentation explained how the search giant was embedding AI at the production level into a number of Google products and services, and that many of the automated features of its Ad product portfolio were powered by AI.His session referenced Google's AI business Deep Mind, which learnt how to play the world's most complicated game - Go - and ended up beating the world champion. Cornwall said that the number of possible moves within a game of Go was comparable with "the number of atoms in the universe."In a travel context, he argued that the permutations - moments, messages, feeds, formats and bids - was relatively modest and "AI and ML could get us closer to every marketers dream of achieving relevance at scale".Elsewhere, blockchain was explained to the audience by Dave Montali, CIO, Winding Treea not-for-profit Swiss organisation developing a blockchain-powered decentralized travel ecosystem. Blockchain, he said, is a database which can do the work of a GDS or bedbank but without the costs, although there are different costs when running a blockchain.He also talked about the ability of blockchain to integrate with legacy systems or other technologies.The integratability of blockchain tapped into another recurring theme of the day - partnerships. Tim Hentschel, CEO of group booking technology specialist HotelPlanner, said that any business with a strong technology or supply proposition would find similar businesses willing to work with them. "The idea is to make inventory as consumable by as many people as possible," he said.Virtual, artificial and mixed reality were also present throughout the day. Dr Ashok Maharaj, XR Lab, Tata Consultancy Services, shared some insights into how this part of the tech landscape is evolving. He admitted that the technology is currently "clunky" but is confident this will change. "The first mobile phones to have GPS needed an antenna. Now it is built in," he said.One trend which Expedia is particularly attuned to is the impatience of the modern-day traveller. Hari Nair, Global Senior Vice President at Expedia Group Media Solutions, said that the business was "pivoting to an infrastructure" which loads a page within two seconds. The reason, quite simply, is that if a web page takes longer to load, conversion rates drop immediately.Jon Collins, Programme and Content Director, Travel Forward said; "The very first day of the very first Travel Forward captured exactly what we wanted - intelligent business-critical conversations from travel brands and suppliers, presented to an engaged audience. We are confident that every attendee came away with actionable insights to help drive their travel business forward.

UNWTO Calls for Tech and Investment in Tourism at World Travel Market 2018

UNWTO 5 November 2018
Following the official celebration of World Tourism Day 2018 (27 September) in Budapest, Hungary under the theme of 'Tourism and the Digital Transformation', and the 'Tourism Tech Adventure: Big Data Solutions' forum held in Manama, Bahrain on 1 November, UNWTO will host this year's UNWTO/WTM Minister's Summit on 6 November on the topic 'Investment in Tourism Technology'.The Summit will continue the conversation on innovation and digital transformation, a UNWTO priority designed to give tourism its deserved prominence on the digital agenda. It will debut a disruptive new format, involving private sector leaders for the first time. A panel of investors will discuss investment in tourism technology, followed by the ministerial segment that this year will link both public and private sectors to set the agenda for ensuring the sector's digital transformation enhances its inclusion, sustainability and competitiveness.Both panels will be moderated by CNN's foremost international business correspondent Richard Quest, anchor of Quest Means Business, with focus on creating innovative ideas and partnerships that can boost investment. Developing an innovation ecosystem, data-driven decision making, digital destination branding, and the role of government and policy in smart tourism management are among the topics to be addressed.UNWTO, Procolombia and Sound Diplomacy launch first report dedicated to music and tourismUNWTO's presence at WTM will also encompass the launch of a new white paper, produced in partnership with Procolombia and Sound Diplomacy, examining the role of music in tourism development, marketing and experiences, and the economic benefits of music and tourism sector partnerships. The launch of 'Music is the New Gastronomy' on 6 November will accompany a panel exploring the value of music tourism in depth.Useful links:2018 UNWTO & WTM Ministers' Summit: Investment in Tourism TechnologyNews release on the launch of Music is the New GastronomyPress conference on the launch of Music is the New GastronomyWorld Travel Market websiteUNWTO World Tourism Day website

Alibaba Group has unveiled its first "future hotel" in Zhejiang

Alibaba Group 5 November 2018
Alibaba Group, China's e-commerce giant, has unveiled its first "future hotel", also known as "Flyzoo Hotel", in Hangzhou city, Zhejiang province.It is equipped with the latest leading technology, many futuristic features are enabled at the hotel, guests can check into the hotel without talking to anyone. They can walk straight to their rooms and get their faces scanned at the door to gain entry.The robots can be found everywhere in the hotel, and they would guide the guests by providing recorded voice messages and accompany them during their stay.The guests can also control indoor temperatures, lighting intensity, household appliances through their voices. A very notable device that the hotel is equipped with is called "Tmall Genie", which is an AI management system.The system will take orders from guests, including buying groceries. Wang Qun, CEO of the Flyzoo Hotel said that the new AI system will help to improve the management efficiency of the hotel, by reducing more than half of the labor forces. It is said that the furniture and many other items in the hotel can be bought merely by taking photos through a designated APP.It's also said that the Flyzoo Hotel provided 7 theme-rooms, which will create a better living experience for the guests.

New HTNG White Paper: CBRS for Hospitality

HTNG 2 November 2018
HTNG's Citizen's Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) Workgroup developed a white paper to help educate hospitality IT personnel on the underlying technology, application of the technology and major use cases of CBRS.Hospitality properties need a comprehensive wireless network solution that supports the demands of guests, staff, work flow, applications, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). The CBRS band has the potential to provide a secure private network with mobility interfaces to the MNOs, while remaining under control of the property owner or manager.CBRS is a new set of frequency bands that can be shared or lightly licensed for private communications or public cellular coverage. CBRS provides 150 MHz of new spectrum that is desperately needed for industries that lack adequate cellular coverage or have the desire for more control of their networks.HTNG's CBRS for Hospitality Workgroup was formed to help corporate hoteliers adequately advise ownership, management, and other stakeholders on the value of CBRS deployments in their properties. The group was led by Chairs Juan Santiago of Ruckus Networks and Russell Vest of ExteNet Systems.Download the white paper here!

Introducing Envoy by Four Seasons: A Partnership with the World's Most Passionate Travellers and Creative Storytellers

Four Seasons 1 November 2018
In the face of an increasingly cluttered and homogenized online experience, Four Seasons, the world's leading luxury hospitality company, is launching Envoy by Four Seasons, a new program to engage creative storytellers and artists across all mediums. The program's goal is to invite world-class creators to share their perspective and stories about the unique and curated experiences that only Four Seasons can offer."We believe that content quality is the new measure of value in the realm of influencer marketing," says Peter Nowlan, Chief Marketing Officer at Four Seasons. "Numbers still matter, so of course we will continue to engage top influencers whose breadth and depth of reach aligns with our goals. However, we are also keen to work with storytellers whose original, high quality content can immerse our audiences in the world of Four Seasons in new and compelling ways."To ensure that Envoys are able to remain focused on their experience and their work, Four Seasons is collaborating with Muse Storytelling, a five-time Emmy Award winning storytelling and film studio, to capture and share the experiences of Four Seasons Envoys with the world.As influencer marketing has evolved over the years, there has been a natural bias toward those with the largest number of followers, as well as those who can demonstrate an engaged following that comments, likes, shares and clicks through their social media posts.At Four Seasons, there is continued emphasis on creative content that encourages people to be fully present in their lives. With a clear and discerning brand point of view, Four Seasons content celebrates world-class craftsmanship and inspires purposeful connection to people and place. Ultimately, the company seeks to meaningfully engage with its nearly 10 million global followers and beyond in order to bring the Four Seasons experience to life through words, pictures, videos and other forms of compelling storytelling."Our hope is that beyond the beautiful beach shots and picture perfect foodie images, we will uncover fresh points of view and new ways to tell authentic stories - through video, photography, art, music, poetry, prose or whatever artistic expression our Envoy partners are inspired to use," notes Sarah Tuite, Senior Director, Corporate Public Relations at Four Seasons. "We are excited to continue to work with those influencers who are already Four Seasons enthusiasts, as well as discover an untapped pool of talented storytellers through Envoy".To launch the program, Four Seasons worked with spoken word artist Marshall Davis Jones, who created a spoken word poem, (which can also be viewed in the gallery above) inspired by a stay in Hawaii at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai."During his stay at Hualalai, Marshall eloquently spoke about how artists "lead the way" when it comes to transformative creative content. And we are excited to discover where our storytellers and artists will lead us through this new program. Passionate storytellers, fervent cultural explorers, intrepid travellers, the curious and the creative are all encouraged to apply to be a Four Seasons Envoy," says Tuite.How It WorksEnvoy by Four Seasons is accepting applications now and will begin its selection process in December 2018. Through the program, Four Seasons will work with four to six Envoys annually. Those selected will receive a personalised, immersive welcome that provides an in-depth look into the world of Four Seasons. They will then work with Four Seasons to choose a destination as well as Four Seasons experiences that bring that destination to life. Four Seasons will fund the entire journey and creative process, allowing the Envoys to focus on their craft.As part of the program, Envoys will share their Four Seasons experiences via their preferred forms of creative expression and across their own social media channels, as well as Four Seasons brand channels. Envoys will also be among the first considered for global brand events and property familiarisation trips, and be at the top of the list for future collaboration opportunities. Following the initial selection process, Four Seasons will announce the first Envoy in early 2019.Interested social media influencers, artists and creative storytellers are invited to contact Four Seasons via the Envoy application form to learn more about the application process.Follow the hashtag #FSEnvoy on social media for the latest news and updates about the program, and to experience the creative journeys of our Envoys.

The City Of Lausanne And EHL Group To Create The First Innovation Hub Dedicated To Hospitality In Europe

EHL 1 November 2018
The City of Lausanne and EHL Group sign a convention for the development and rehabilitation of the Lausanne neighborhood of Chalet-a-Gobet, to create the first Innovation Hub dedicated to hospitality in Europe.Signed for an initial period of 50 years by Natacha Litzistorf, Municipal Councilor and Director of Lodging, Environment and Architecture of the City of Lausanne, Andre Witschi, Chairman of the Board of Governors of EHL Foundation, Michel Rochat, CEO, and Maxime Medina, Chief Asset Management Officer of EHL Group, the agreement will allow EHL to extend its academic ecosystem to construct a hub dedicated to research and innovation, and in support of entrepreneurship.On the site of the old Chalet-a-Gobet farm, currently being rehabilitated following a fire in 2007, a hostel as well as other surrounding buildings, this new Innovation Hub will host an incubator and several research projects that combine academic research with the flexibility and audacity of young entrepreneurs. This pivotal meeting place, with a restaurant open to the public, reflects EHL's position as one of the global centers for technological research, innovation and competitiveness.Formerly a fragmented neighborhood that also included a post office, an equestrian center and a cafe, the project will be implemented in several phases over a period of two to three years to transform it into a coherent, stimulating and dynamic center. The Innovation Hub already includes six start-ups and will also host Lausanne Hospitality Consulting (LHC), the advisory branch of EHL Group. With an initial renovation investment of CHF 25 Mio over the first five years, many synergies are expected to make this hub the reference for innovation in the hospitality and wider services industries.<< Our vision of this new Innovation Hub is to build a place where researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, students, artists and visionaries will come together, exchange and create the future of hospitality. We are creating a new micro-culture that will mirror our University. Flexible and dynamic, this new hub will stimulate creativity." explained Remi Walbaum, Chief Innovation Officer of EHL Group.Michel Rochat, CEO of EHL Group, explained as well that "EHL Group, in addition to its University, has a responsibility to maintain open channels between the various actors that will forge the future of hospitality. Lausanne has a long history of interdisciplinary collaboration, breaking down the barriers that often divide academic institutions and economic actors. That is the spirit of the new Innovations Hub."The Lausanne Municipality looks forward to the development of EHL's Innovation Hub at the Chalet-a-Gobet site which will add a new component to the Research and Innovation performed at Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne.

UNWTO Agenda Receives Strong Support at Executive Council and Introduces Technology Forum

UNWTO 1 November 2018
he World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) concluded its 109th Executive Council session in Manama, Bahrain today, with Members showing appreciation both for progress made under the 2018 institutional priorities and for the Organization's financial stability and restructuring process. Tomorrow UNWTO will also introduce a forum named 'Tourism Tech Adventure: Big Data Solutions, bringing together the 'ecosystem' of tourism innovation and raising the sector's role in the digital agenda.A successful 109th session of the UNWTO Executive Council brought with it much appreciation of the Organization's efforts in 2018. A number of Member States expressed great support for UNWTO's efforts to prioritize tourism in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The executive management team was praised for creating a cleaner structure more equipped to effectively respond to Members' requests, as well as the clear management priorities and sharp focus placed on UNWTO's work areas of education and digital transformation.A mere ten months into the new mandate, UNWTO was able to communicate showing a financial surplus. At this point in the year, the Organization has received higher contributions than in the last three years and the highest percentage of budgetary income since 2014, with expenditure also on target.UNWTO's Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili gave thanks to Bahrain, the host country for the proceedings. "Being hosted in Bahrain is very relevant. Here you can see how innovation and being a smart destination can be positioned high on the political and economic agenda, and how supporting tourism education and capacity building is a sound investment", he said.On the margins of the Council UNWTO held a high-level workshop on data-driven tourism management. The Organization has introduced a new forum, 'Tourism Tech Adventure: Big Data Solutions', where panellists debate how open data platforms are revolutionizing tourism, along with how to stimulate venture capital and greater gender equality in tourism and technology.'Tourism Tech Adventure: Big Data Solutions' will also welcome another round of pitches for finalists of the 1st UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition in Collaboration with Globalia, launched in June 2018 to identify companies that can foster the sector's digital transformation. The finalists' projects will be presented at the next International Tourism Fair of Madrid (Fitur) in January 2019.The forum serves as a follow-up to the official World Tourism Day 2018 celebrations on 27 September in Budapest, Hungary, under the theme of 'Tourism and the Digital Transformation', and a precursor to the upcoming UNWTO and World Travel Market ministerial summit in London, UK (6 November) on investment in tourism technology. All are part of UNWTO's ongoing strategy to give tourism its deserved prominence on the digital agenda. Secretary-General Pololikashvili signed cooperation agreements during the Executive Council with the tourism authorities of Argentina and Portugal to strengthen UNWTO's cooperation agenda on innovation in tourism.Mr. Pololikashvili announced during the Council that UNWTO governing bodies' meetings will have a specific overarching thematic focus each year. After 2018's focus on digital transformation, 2019 will look at employment and education in line with the theme of World Tourism Day 2019: 'Tourism and Jobs: a better future for all'.Useful links:109th session of the UNWTO Executive CouncilUNWTO & WTM Ministers' Summit 2018World Tourism Day 20181st UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition

NH Hotel Group Launches Fastpass To Offer Guests Complete Control Over Their Stay

NH Hoteles 31 October 2018
FASTPASS will be available in 29 of the 30 markets where the NH Hotel Group is present30 October 2018Category: Products and servicesNH Hotel Group is the first urban hotel chain in Europe to offer Online check-in, Choose your room and Online check-out services thanks to FASTPASSFASTPASS will be available through any device completely free of charge for all guestsThe implementation process is going ahead in two phases and by 2019 it will be available in 330 of the Group's hotelsNH Hotel Group is launching FASTPASS, combining three innovative services -Online Check-in, Choose Your Room and Online Check-out- that put give complete control over their stay in customers hands. With this programme, the Company leads the way once again in the use of technological innovation in the hotel sector, as the first European urban hotel chain to offer all three services at once.Under the claim Get the power of your stay, the Group goes a step further in its commitment to offer an excellent service to its customers who, with FASTPASS, will now be able to customize their experience in NH hotels, saving as much time as possible. Not only members of the NH Rewards loyalty programme will benefit from these services, but all NH customers in the vast majority of the Company's hotels in Europe and the Americas, where more than 42,000 rooms have been digitalized.How does FASTPASS work?48 hours before arriving at the hotel, the guest will receive an e-mail to access Online Check-in where the guest can provide all his or her details up to 12 noon on the arrival date, so that on arriving at the hotel all he or she has to do is pick up the room key. During the Online Check-in process, the guest will benefit from the Choose your room service which lets guests consult all the available rooms and choose the one best suited to their tastes and needs according to their own criteria (facing, views, bathroom, type of bed, etc.). From 6.00 pm on the day before departure, guests can pay for any expense incurred and complete Online Check-out and leave the hotel without having to go to reception.According to the Company's estimates, after the first year of implementation of FASTPASS, more than 12,000 people will have left the hotel without having to check out at reception, saving 42,000 minutes which they can take advantage of to do much more enjoyable things than stand in a queue at the reception desk. Furthermore, the digitalization of check-in and check-out represents a great benefit for the environment in the reduction of paper, estimated at more than 24,000 sheets per year, which is the equivalent of 460Kg of CO2e.As far as customer preferences are concerned, which will no doubt establish the trend in the Choose your room service, guests usually pick rooms on the higher floors, located on the corners and far from the lifts. Now, in addition to these general preferences, they will have many more factors to consider in choosing their room, such as views, the type of bed, the direction the room is facing or the bathroom.FASTPASS will also be available through the de NH Hotel Group app. For customers in the NH Rewards loyalty programme, it will be even easier to use FASTPASS services as their data will be stored and will not have to be re-entered."We are aware the customers are becoming increasingly independent thanks to technology and so we wanted to go further by combining these three innovative services to facilitate as much as possible and constantly improve their NH experience. We want guests go in and out of our hotels as if they were at home and is able to choose the room according to their preferences" notes Isidoro Martinez de la Escalera, Chief Marketing Officer at NH Hotel Group. Martinez de la Escalera. For his part, Rufino Perez, Chief Operations Officer & Global Transformation Leader added that "being the first urban hotel chain in Europe to offer the three services at the same time to all its customers places us at the leading edge of next-generation hotel technology".NH Hotel Group has thus reached another milestone in its quest for constant technological innovation that characterizes the Company. Other milestones such as being the first hotel chain to offer 3D holographic technology, permanently, or services such as the Instant Booking Tool - the first tool that permits immediately online booking of and payment for meeting areas and rooms for meetings and events - have consolidated its commitment to new technologies as a great differentiating element.All the information on FASTPASS is available at -

Millennium Hotels And Resorts Deploys Robotic Solutions To Its Singapore Properties

Millennium 31 October 2018
Following the highly successful launch of 'AUSCA', the world's first Autonomous Service Chef Associate, at M Social Singapore in 2017, Millennium Hotels and Resorts (MHR), the hotel arm of property giant City Developments Limited (CDL), is pleased to deploy AUSCA to the group's five other Singapore properties--Orchard Hotel Singapore, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel Singapore, M Hotel Singapore, Studio M Hotel Singapore and Copthorne King's Hotel Singapore--by end November 2018.AUSCA was first introduced to the hospitality industry in November 2017 as the world's first robot chef prototype, where he prepared eggs for guests of M Social Singapore as part of the hotel's breakfast offering. AUSCA was launched with the support from Singapore Productivity Centre's Hotel Productivity Centre Applied Research initiative, and was developed by Kurve Automation with industry guidance from Republic Polytechnic, School of Hospitality.AUSCA has since gone through six upgrades over the last 12 months, with enhancements made to the speed and variation of eggs he can prepare. The first AUSCA prototype could prepare eggs--either sunny-side up or omelette style--at an average time of 2 minutes 30 seconds. The current version offers guests the choice of sunny-side up and omelette at an improved time of slightly more than a minute, and allows guests to choose from a selection of toppings for their omelette.The latest version of AUSCA is currently deployed at M Social Singapore, Studio M Hotel Singapore, Copthorne King's Hotel Singapore and M Hotel Singapore. He will be launched at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel Singapore on 12 November 2018, and Orchard Hotel Singapore by end November 2018. This exciting deployment comes after the rollout of AURA, the group's front-of-house Autonomous Service Delivery Robot, to the group's properties in Singapore, including M Social Singapore, Orchard Hotel Singapore, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel Singapore, M Hotel Singapore and Studio M Hotel Singapore.Commenting on this move, Mr Tan Kian Seng, Interim Group Chief Executive Officer at Millennium Hotels and Resorts, says, "As a group, we saw robotic solutions like AUSCA and AURA as a way to increase productivity, help optimise operations, and elevate guest experiences to a new level. Given M Social Singapore's size and millennial demographic, it was well-suited for such a new technology to exist first. The intention is now to incorporate these innovative robotic solutions into the rest of our Singapore properties before a global roll out."

OpenTravel Alliance Makes Strategic Changes

HTNG 24 October 2018
The OpenTravel Alliance, the travel industry non-profit trade association responsible for developing and maintaining interoperability for all travel verticals, announces strategic organizational changes that will enable the association to continue to serve its members and the travel industry as a whole.OpenTravel will transition its association management relationship to Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG) at the beginning of the 2019 calendar year.For 19 years, OpenTravel has maintained and continues to provide new avenues for travel industry connectivity. OpenTravel messaging is the standard that has enabled omni-channel booking. The association constantly seeks to improve both travel experience and supplier information flow. Support from HTNG positions the association to respond to growing industry trends and improves OpenTravel's ability to evaluate and collaborate with other messaging initiatives and the trend toward the use of APIs.Joint management of the organizations with one staff will improve efficiency and effectiveness for both OpenTravel Alliance and HTNG, as both organizations utilize some of the same resources and share a similar mission to foster the development of next-generation solutions through collaboration.The members of OpenTravel Alliance will benefit due to the common activities of both organizations, and the robust workgroup management infrastructure and history that HTNG offers. HTNG's COO, David Sjolander, will serve as Executive Director of OpenTravel along with maintaining his current role at HTNG."The OpenTravel Alliance has been, and continues to be, a key enabler in the travel distribution ecosystem," said David Sjolander. "I am thrilled to become the Executive Director and partner with the board and staff to continue the important work the organization has been doing for almost twenty years."As the foundation for consumer direct bookings, OpenTravel supports all travel-related verticals, including hotel, rail, car rental, air, golf and leisure. This transition benefits HTNG as it serves as an extension of the work HTNG currently does and supports its recent strategy to expand beyond its traditional core activity in hotels. This expansion will support HTNG members who already operate in these businesses or wish to do so."HTNG and OpenTravel have worked hand-in-hand since HTNG was formed in 2002," said Michael Blake, CEO of HTNG. "Managing the two organizations with common staff while allowing each to retain its identity and governance is a perfect next step.""HTNG's involvement will help accelerate OpenTravel's industry contributions to the next level," noted Susanne Auinger, OpenTravel Board Chairperson. "OpenTravel is responsible for tens of millions of messages between travel partners on a daily basis today, and that number continues to increase with the adoption of OpenTravel's 2.0 Object Model, our next generation of open-source messaging for travel technology."The OpenTravel Alliance and HTNG signed an agreement and made the announcement onsite at the 2018 HTNG European Conference in Lisbon, Portugal. HFTP has managed OpenTravel since June 2017, and since has helped it establish a monthly newsletter and produce a European conference and Hackathon. HFTP will continue to actively work throughout year-end to ensure a successful management transition to HTNG."HFTP is very pleased to have helped OpenTravel through its transition phase," said Frank Wolfe, CEO of HFTP. "We support the sharing of resources to manage HTNG and OpenTravel, and believe this is a great outcome for these organizations and our industry as a whole."About OpenTravel AllianceOpenTravel Alliance is passionate about solving the problems inherent with connecting multiple systems within the complex travel distribution arena. Our mission is to enable the future of travel by driving the evolving digital experience for consumers. OpenTravel Alliance creates, expands and drives adoption of open specifications, including but not limited to the use of XML and JSON, for the electronic exchange of business information among all sectors of the travel industry.OpenTravel Alliance is comprised of companies representing airlines, car rental firms, hotels, cruise lines, railways, leisure suppliers, service providers, tour operators, travel agencies, solutions providers, technology companies and distributors. Tens of thousands of OpenTravel Alliance message structures are in use, carrying tens of millions of messages between trading partners every day.OpenTravel Alliance is a not-for-profit trade association, founded in 1999 by travel companies, with a primary focus on the creation of electronic message structures to facilitate communication between the disparate systems in the global travel industry. For more information on OpenTravel Alliance membership, new products, or projects, please visit or email HFTPHospitality 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, the Netherlands and Dubai. 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.

Northstar Travel Group acquires Tnooz to supercharge its PhocusWire media brand

NORTHSTAR Travel Group 19 October 2018
Northstar Travel Group has acquired Tnooz and its related assets as part of a plan to further accelerate development of Phocuswright's fast-growing PhocusWire media property. Tnooz will be merged with PhocusWire over the course of the remaining months of 2018, with its content archive, many of its signature products and long-standing editorial focus on online travel and travel technology being retained by the PhocusWire team. The acquisition is another signal of the rapid impact on the travel, tourism and hospitality sector that PhocusWire has achieved in the twelve months since its launch at The Phocuswright Conference 2017, the premier conference for senior executives across the travel technology industry. Pete Comeau, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Phocuswright, said: "Over the past nine years, Tnooz has developed a large following of travel leaders through strong and consistent editorial coverage of the most important topics impacting the travel technology ecosystem. We are excited to welcome the Tnooz readers and commercial partners to PhocusWire as we build the strongest and most targeted audience eager to understand how technology impacts all facets of today's travel industry."U.S.-based Tnooz was founded in 2009 and became an important leader of in-depth coverage of the online travel business, including the pioneering of early industry hackathons and the profiling of hundreds of industry startups.Bob Sullivan, president of the travel group at NTG, added: "We are very excited to merge Tnooz into PhocusWire under the leadership of our editor-in-chief, Kevin May. We are confident that the loyal audience and partners of both brands will be very pleased with the results as these two leading travel news brands join forces."About Phocuswright Inc.Phocuswright Inc. is the travel industry research authority on how travelers, suppliers and intermediaries connect. Independent, rigorous and unbiased, Phocuswright Research fosters smart strategic planning, tactical decision-making and organizational effectiveness.Phocuswright delivers qualitative and quantitative research on the evolving dynamics that influence travel, tourism and hospitality distribution. Our marketplace intelligence is the industry standard for segmentation, sizing, forecasting, trends, analysis and consumer travel planning behavior. Every day around the world, senior executives, marketers, strategists and research professionals from all segments of the industry value chain use Phocuswright research for competitive advantage.To complement its primary research in North and Latin America, Europe and Asia, Phocuswright produces several high-profile conferences in the United States and Europe, and partners with conferences in China, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. Industry leaders and company analysts bring this intelligence to life by debating issues, sharing ideas and defining the ever-evolving reality of travel commerce.Phocuswright also operates PhocusWire, a media service that covers the travel ecosystem 365 days a year with a range of news, analysis, commentary and opinion from across the travel, tourism and hospitality sector.The company is headquartered in the New York with Asia Pacific operations based in India and local analysts on five continents. Phocuswright is a wholly owned subsidiary of Northstar Travel Group.

New HTNG White Paper: Blockchain for Hospitality

HTNG 19 October 2018
Over the past 12 months, HTNG's Blockchain for Hospitality Workgroup has created a white paper to establish a practical knowledge framework for hospitality business leaders and the technology vendor community, as well as to assess where blockchain can be applicable in hospitality.Sections of this white paper discuss:What is blockchain and why does it matterThe difference between private and public blockchainsHow blockchain worksTechnical limitations and challenges to overcome before blockchain can be widely adoptedPotential general use cases and use cases specific to the hospitality industryNext Steps: HTNG's Blockchain for Hospitality Workgroup will host a webinar series from November 2018 - January 2019 to provide additional relevant educational materials to help the industry stay current on blockchain developments.

New Online Experience Makes It Easier to Plan Events at 5,400 IHG Hotels Worldwide

IHG 18 October 2018
IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) has collaborated with Social Tables to launch the company's new groups and meetings 'Shop & RFP' digital experience. Using cutting-edge search technology powered by Social Tables, this new global platform is designed to bring together groups, meeting and event planners, with the 5,400+ IHG hotels around the globe, making it simple to source and compare venues.The platform makes it easier for those planning events to choose the space that is right for them and will ensure their next meeting, event, or celebration is unforgettable. The new site has already seen users submit over 15,000 RFPs to IHG hotels around the world.The new platform contains a suite of important information including hotel and meeting room details, such as room capacities, floor plans and interactive maps, along with image galleries and nearby attractions. With this information, anyone from a corporate travel planner to an executive booking their child's next sports trip can find exactly what they are looking for based on location, capacities and amenities across IHG's 15 leading brands, including InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and Holiday Inn Hotels.Derek DeCross, SVP Global Sales, IHG, said: "We have hotels with meeting space in more locations around the world than anyone else, so it's critical we make it easy to access all the information our meeting planners and customers need to select and book the right location. With each event being unique, meeting and event planners need real-time access to capacity information and robust content that will help make their decision - and that's what we set out to do.""We're investing in our groups and meetings experience with programs such as this one to enhance the experience for all customers. With our new online platform, we can truly showcase our portfolio of leading brands and give meeting planners, from occasional to professional, the ability to find the best hotel to fit their needs and requirements. As we learn more about the needs and buying behaviors of customers through this site we'll build a richer experience and ongoing enhanced features and functionality."Dan Berger, CEO and Founder of Social Tables added "Social Tables is honored to be selected as the architect and technology provider powering the new IHG groups and meetings 'Shop & RFP' digital experience. Working alongside IHG - a leader in this space - has been a proud moment for Social Tables and we look forward to making the IHG groups and meetings Shop & RFP digital experience even better in the coming years."Customers who make bookings on behalf of others can also take advantage of IHG Business Rewards and earn themselves points every time they book accommodation, meetings or an event at participating IHG hotels worldwide. From board meetings and conferences to weddings and social events, each booking is rewarded no matter the size.

Mobile Learning Technology Firm, Boost, Receives Significant Investment From Ecole Hoteliere De Lausanne

EHL 18 October 2018
"Since our founding in 1893, EHL have set the international standard for tertiary education in hospitality, with over 25,000 alumni going on to take leadership positions throughout the industry" says Remi Walbaum, Chief Innovation Officer, adding "Innovation is one of our core values, and today in 2018 we see technology as a key means of learning both in schools and universities, and in the workplace, that is why we have decided to invest in Boost.The needs of the industry are changing at an ever-greater pace, as are the language skills required by hotel employees, many of whom are more used to reading and learning from a screen than from a book. By developing our mobile learning capabilities we remain the forefront of hospitality, driving education, upskilling and learning, and helping talented students around the world build a successful and fulfilling hospitality career"EHL is the world's first hospitality management school and was founded in 1893 to meet demand for more professionalised hospitality employees who could cater to the growing sophistication of hotel guests at that time. The school pioneered hospitality education, mixing classroom-based teaching with hands-on learning in real hotels, all the while ensuring their curriculum met the demands of the industry at the time. The resulting graduates were thus able to leave the school equipped with the knowledge and skills to take leadership positions in the industry and drive innovation.EHL's presence in the mobile learning space will allow them to address many of the challenges faced by hotels today and in the future, namely the change in the way hospitality employees, many of whom are young, consume information and learn, and the need to meet the demands of guests whose expectations have risen in the age of social media and instant reviews."Boost's suite of mobile learning solutions are tailor made for the hospitality industry, not only allowing individual hotel employees to learn new languages and other skills, but enabling management to organise their teams, recruit new team members and communicate better" says Allan Taylor, Managing Director and Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of Boost, adding "20,000 hotel employees are already using our mobile learning solutions, we have seen them learn Mandarin allowing them to communicate with their Chinese guests, we have seen them learn how to upsell improving hotel revenues, and we have seen them learn many more skills vital to improving service and thus their hotel's bottom line. Unlike traditional classroom-based teaching, mobile learning allows hotel employees to learn at a time and place of their choosing. Importantly, it is measurable and scalable, and available at an enterprise level allowing for group and team organisation, HR and recruitment functions and inter-team communication"The investment from EHL will allow Boost to continue developing its existing mobile learning solutions and develop new solutions to address the needs of the hospitality industry. Lastly, Boost will be able to tap the knowledge and expertise of some of the world's leading thinkers, thought leaders and academics in the hospitality field, ensuring their mobile solutions are tailored to the unique and ever-changing needs of the industry.

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