Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Hotels

IDEAS: Iberostar Looks to AI Solution to Reduce Food Waste

7 months ago

Iberostar Hotels & Resorts have cut food waste by 28% in the first half of 2023, thanks to an on-going partnership with Winnow and its artificial intelligence technology.

The partnership, which was announced in 2022, forms part of Iberostar’s Wave of Change program.

Credit: Iberostar

The Winnow technology has now been installed in 48 Iberostar hotels globally, achieving significant progress in Iberostar’s journey towards a waste-free future by 2025 and carbon neutral by 2030. 

Thanks to AI Technology, Iberostar has stated that it has saved 735,000 meals since January 2023 in its food waste journey, which equates to an 11% reduction in waste weight and 1,264 tons of CO2 saved.

“Our partnership with Winnow is a testament to our commitment towards a waste-free future. It is truly inspiring to see our chefs embrace the program and create tangible change. This achievement reinforces Iberostar’s position as a leader in creating a sustainable travel industry,” said Megan Morikawa, global sustainability director at Iberostar.


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Hotels

IDEAS: One Night Standard App Returns After Pandemic Hiatus

7 months ago

The Standard has announced the return of its last minute booking app, One Night Standard.

Having originally launched in 2015, the return of One Night Standard sees the hotel chain once again offering spontaneous reservations for same-day bookings at the lowest available rates across The Standard portfolio, following a hiatus during the Covid-19 pandemic

Credit: The Standard

Users of the app are given access to the best possible price for a room at Standard Hotels from 3pm daily, with the latest version of the app building in a new partnership with the dating app, Feeld.

“Guests are not only enthusiastically returning to travel, but are dropping inhibitions and allowing themselves to live spontaneously once again,” said Standard International CEO, Amber Asher. 

“It feels great to bring One Night Standard back for all those who missed it during the past few years and lobbied for its return. It is particularly gratifying because we have added some stunning new locations like Ibiza and Bangkok that are just perfect for impromptu late-night fun.”

According to a release from The Standard, the app is the only one of its kind developed by a hotel brand.

One Night Standard is available to download at the App Store or on Google Play via this link.


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Travel Technology

Yanolja Cloud Acquires U.S. Hotel Tech Company Innsoft

11 months ago

Yanolja Cloud has acquired Innsoft, an Oregon-based provider of hotel management software, for $8.3 million.  

Yanolja Cloud is the hotel tech arm of South Korea-based booking platform Yanolja.

The acquisition is part of an effort to expand its hospitality services in North America, the company said Thursday. 

Yanolja Cloud plans to leverage Innsoft’s resources to release a series of hospitality management solutions for the North American market as well as a new self check-in kiosk this year.

Innsoft offers various hotel management software solutions to booking platform companies including Booking.com and Expedia Group. 

Yanolja Cloud said previously that it has big plans for hotel software sales, fueled by Softbank’s $1.7 billion investment in its parent company in 2021. 

The company’s chief strategy officer last year said that it’s the company’s goal to overtake Oracle Hospitality as the global market leader in hotel operational software sales. At that time, the goal was that hoteliers would eventually be able to view Yanolja Cloud as a one-stop-shop for technology to run their operations, including bookings, distribution, and revenue management. 

Travel Technology

India’s TBO.com Fully Acquires Accommodation Wholesaler BookaBed

1 year ago

Tek Travels, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Indian travel distribution platform TBO.com, has fully acquired BookaBed, a business-to-business (B2B) accommodation wholesaler for an undisclosed amount.

Last year in April, Tek Travels had acquired a 51 percent stake in BookaBed.

Headquartered in Switzerland’s Zug, Bookabed is said to be one of the largest online business-to-business booking engine in Ireland.

With this acquisition, TBO further deepens its European footprint into Ireland and UK, the company said in a statement.

BookABed now becomes TBO Ireland & UK and Karl Tyrell, the CEO of BookaBed, will continue in his role.

Over the course of the year, the breadth and depth of BookaBed will be fully integrated into the TBO platform which today lists over one million properties worldwide, a statement read.

BookaBed had said last year that it would increase its market share in Ireland and the UK by leveraging TBO’s global application programming interfaces (API) business, and TBO Academy that trains and educates travel agents and travel trade partners.

“Since integrating with TBO, we’ve had greater ability to engage the Irish and UK markets stronger and deliver increased value to our customers. We will continue to service our customers and will advise our customers on how the new brand will roll out over the coming months,” Tyrell said.

TBO said the development reflects the aggressive growth plans it has set globally. The company said it would continue to step up investments and look at partnerships to expand, hire and improve customer experience in an effort to simplify and empower the travel ecosystem.

In 2021, TBO had submitted draft papers with the Indian market regulator to raise $253 million through an initial public offering (IPO) of shares and has received the go ahead to raise funds.

Hotels

Oyo Plans to Double Premium Hotel Count in Indonesia to 400

1 year ago

Oyo, the India-based budget hotel chain and booking platform, plans to double its premium segment hotel count in Indonesia from around 200 properties to over 400 by the end of 2023.

Announcing its plans to double its portfolio, Oyo on Friday said the demand for premium accommodation options is expected to grow significantly in Indonesia in 2023.

The hospitality operator said it is targeting a mix of business and leisure destination such as Jabodebek, Java and Bali, Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Sulawesi.

Currently, Oyo offers accommodation in the mid-premium segment through Townhouse Oak, Townhouse, Collection O and Capital O.

Indonesia is one of the most mature markets for Oyo in terms of scale and unit economics, according to Ankit Tandon, global chief business officer and CEO, Southeast Asia and Middle East.

Indicating a steady rebound in business travel after pandemic induced travel restrictions ebbed in Indonesia, Tandon in his blog last month noted that Oyo has served 253 corporates in 2022 compared to only 75 corporates in 2021 recording a 237 percent year-on-year growth. 

Oyo said it has intensified its efforts to identify premium properties across all key regions and efforts are in full steam to onboard and equip them with latest technological tools, increase their visibility and in turn improve their revenue.

“We will identify premium properties and equip them with the latest tech tools to improve their revenue and visibility,” Founder and Group CEO Ritesh Agarwal said in a social media post.

In 2022, Indonesia saw around 633 million to 703 million domestic tourist trips while the tourism ministry said it is targeting up to 7.4 million international tourist arrivals and 1.2-1.4 billion domestic tourist movements in 2023.

“Our focus on expanding the premium hotel portfolios in line with the government’s plans to strengthen hotel industry to meet the requirements of the growing number of inbound and corporate tourists looking for well-priced mid-segment and premium hotels,” Tandon said.

A report by property consultancy firm JLL noted that green shoots are emerging for the hotel sector with occupancy levels expected to reach above 50 percent this year.

JLL also predicts an investment of $300 million in 2023 in this sector, which is the highest since 2013.

Oyo said it plans to play the role of a catalyst in this growth with a three-pronged strategy – maximising local market potential, technological innovation to address market pain points and strong collaboration with industry stakeholders.

Having entered Indonesia in 2018, Oyo has since recorded 15 times growth and its bookings from May-November 2022 rose 90 percent compared to same period in 2021. 

The hospitality tech company that looks to go public in the Indian stock market with its long-anticipated initial public offering (IPO), has set a deadline of mid-February to refile its draft red herring prospectus with the Indian stock market regulator.

Business Travel

Business Travel Poses Biggest Challenge Globally for Hoteliers — Survey

1 year ago

Hotels have mixed feelings about business travel in 2023.

On one hand the corporate travel and groups segment is the main area of focus for hotel revenue teams this year.

But rather than staffing issues, business travel also represents their biggest challenge, according to a new Outlook & Trends 2023 Survey from revenue management software company Duetto.

When hoteliers were asked how they planned to optimize business mix in 2023, the top responses were group business (59.5 percent) followed by corporate business (51.9 percent).

Channel management (48.1 percent), online travel agencies (38 percent), then tour operator, wholesale and fully independent travelers (30.4 percent) followed.

Business travel is returning this year, but Duetto believes the fact it’s unlikely to return 2019 levels weighs heavily. for example, only half of companies located in North America are seeing international bookings recover to their pre-pandemic levels according to the Global Business Travel Association.

When it comes to the challenges hotels face in 2023, business travel came top at 60.8 percent.

Staffing followed at 55.7 percent, ahead of increased costs, government restrictions, lead times and cancellations.

As expected, seeking out sales digitally is a priority when it comes to channel management efforts — but revenue execs could be focusing on the wrong channel if they want to boost their business travel bottom line.

Their top focus for channel management in 2023 are metasearch websites such as Google, TripAdvisor or Kayak. This came out highest at 75.9 percent.

Other areas including loyalty (57 percent); online agency (55.7 percent); “own website” (54.4 percent); and global distribution systems (53.2 percent). Yet it’s these global distribution systems that are commonly used by corporate travel agencies.

Duetto’s survey was carried out from Dec. 1, 2022, to Jan. 16, 2023.

Respondents worked in leisure hotels, business hotels, casino resorts and hostels. Geographically they came from North America (39.5 percent), Europe (21.1 percent), Latin America (21.1 percent), Asia Pacific (14.5 percent), and the Middle East & Africa (3.9 percent).

Online Travel

India’s EaseMyTrip Acquires Majority Stake in Hotel Booking Marketplace CheQin

1 year ago

Indian online travel agency EaseMyTrip announced this week that it has acquired a 55 percent stake in hotel booking marketplace cheQin, owned by Gleego Innovations, for around $370,000.

The online travel agency said the acquisition would help strengthen its hotel channel.

“With this, EaseMyTrip is in a great position to give its customers a wide range of innovative hotel booking options at the most competitive prices,” the company said.

In a stock exchange filing, EaseMyTrip called cheQin a marketplace which connects travellers and hoteliers in real time and empowers hoteliers to have an access to live booking requests and manage bookings.

Speaking to Skift earlier, Prashant Pitti, the co-founder of EaseMyTrip, had said that the company is now looking to grow its non-air business by acquiring companies that are profitable, tech driven, asset-light and disruptive.

EaseMyTrip will diversify its hotel booking experience through technology support, said Nishant Pitti, CEO and co-Founder of EaseMyTrip. “cheQin provides unparalleled options in all segments and has the potential to scale and strengthen cross-selling.”

In December, the company had acquired a 75 percent stake in Nutana Aviation Capital for around $185,000.

Nutana Aviation Capital leases charter aircraft and provides charter services both within India and outside .

While the company has not yet shared its earnings for the October-December quarter, in the July-September quarter, EaseMyTrip posted gross booking revenue of $243 million, which the company said was its highest-ever in any quarter.

The company posted a profit before tax of $5 million.

This week, EaseMyTrip also announced the launch of its franchise business through which it aims to provide a retail store experience to its customers.

With EaseMyTrip Franchise, the company is tapping a new set of offline customers to expand its reach.

The business model will allow customers to have an in-store retail experience, the company said in a statement.

Travel Technology

South Korean Hospitality Tech Firm Onda Raises $10 Million

1 year ago

South Korean hospitality tech company Onda, announced on Thursday that it has raised $10 million in its Series-B funding round.

Led by South Korea-based private equity firm TS Investment, the investors in this round included Industrial Bank of Korea as well as other South Korean investment companies like NAU IB Capital, Square Ventures, K Bridge Ventures, and Breeze Investment.

We confirmed on the ground that the domestic tourism industry was rebounding, and made our decision to invest in Onda, said TS Investment in a statement.

Specializing in online booking solution, global distribution system and property management, Onda has so far raised a total of $25.5 million.

In its pre-series B funding round, the company had raised $8 million.

With the Series B funding, Onda plans to accelerate its efforts on the digital transformation of the domestic hospitality industry, and develop a system to attract inbound travel, the company said in a statement.

The company recently launched Dive — a hotel property management system that it had been developing for the past two years.

Onda is now gearing up for its overseas expansion with a launch in the Southeast Asian hotel market. “Onda plans to provide a variety of solutions to assist outbound Korean tourists finding local hotels,” the company said.

“We plan to support the growth of Korea’s tourism industry in this post-Covid stage, both domestically and abroad,” Hyun-seok Oh, CEO of Onda said.

In its last earnings report, Onda had reported a gross merchandise value of $81 million in the first half of 2022, compared to $40.5 million in the first half of 2021.

The company has also said that it plans to directly operate residences and hotels, after successful trial operations in 2021.

Online Travel

Oyo Still Keen to Pursue IPO Setting Mid-February Deadline for Refiling

1 year ago

Keen to pursue its long-anticipated initial public offering (IPO), hospitality tech company Oyo has said it would be refiling its draft red herring prospectus with the Indian stock market regulator Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) by mid-February.

While the company refused to offer any estimation of the time it expects SEBI to take for the approval, a source close to the company said Oyo hopes to get the approval by April 2023.

“After the approval comes in, Oyo will gauge market conditions and the path to profitability and then decide on launching the IPO,” the source said speaking to Skift.

Asked to hint at a timeline for the launch of the Oyo IPO, the source said it would well be within this year.

The market regulator had on December 30 asked Oyo to refile the draft prospectus, updating all the relevant sections such as risk factors, key performing indicators, outstanding litigations and basis for offer.

The company had earlier indicated that the process of refiling the document could take up to 2-3 months.

Oyo’s last submission to SEBI was the updated financial results of the first half of financial year 2022-23.

Updating its draft red herring prospectus with results for the first half of the 2023 financial year in November, Oyo had reported that its adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization for the second quarter grew eight times from $860,000 in the first quarter to $7 million primarily driven by a 23 percent quarter-on-quarter rise in gross booking value per hotel.

The letter from the market regulator to Oyo read, “The disclosures contained in the present draft red herring prospectus do not take into account the material changes/disclosures arising from updated financial statements as filed through
addendums leading to revised period for disclosures which in turn leads to necessities to make material updates in risk factors, basis of offer price, outstanding litigations and update other relevant sections of the prospectus.”

Sharing the progress on the refiling exercise, an Oyo spokesperson said, “We are working on updating all key sections simultaneously. Responsibilities have been divided among different teams,
with senior company leaders driving the collaboration with the book running lead managers, essentially the initial public offering bankers, the lawyers and the auditors. We are keen on refiling the draft prospectus by mid February if not earlier.”

The Indian market regulator’s move seems to be in line with its expectation of higher levels of transparency in the initial public offering process.

Lately, it has asked companies to share additional key performing indicators and the basis for pricing of IPOs. In its meeting with bankers in December 2022, SEBI had also shared steps it is taking to reduce the IPO processing time which has increased to 113 days.

Travel Technology

Private Equity-Backed Cendyn Names New CEO to Lead Hotel Tech Company

1 year ago

Cendyn, a software company that offers customer relationship management, digital marketing, and operations tools to hotels, has hired a new chief executive. 

The company said Monday that Jack Blaha has taken the role for the Florida-based company. He replaces Tim Sullivan, who had started as CEO in June 2020, a year after the company gained new ownership.

Accel-KKR, a technology-focused private equity firm based in Silicon Valley, became the majority owner of Cendyn in June 2019 through an undisclosed investment. 

Cendyn acquired Rainmaker, a hotel revenue management service, shortly after with that financial support. It acquired NextGuest, a long-time rival, in February 2021. Cendyn also in the last year merged with Pegasus, a central reservation system that had merged in 2019 with Travel Tripper with backing from Accel-KKR

And Cendyn acquired DigitalHotelier last year to expand its distribution and eCommerce capabilities. 

In addition to those business deals over the past couple of years, Cendyn said it has expanded in India and Asia Pacific. Cendyn said it has tens of thousands of customers in 143 countries

Blaha has previously worked for tech companies including Khoros, Lone Wolf Technologies, PeopleAdmin, and Aptean.

Cendyn said that Blaha will lead plans for continued strategic growth as hotels, resorts, and casinos invest in integrated technology and digitization.