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Skift Travel News Blog

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

Business Travel

Navan Moves Beyond Its Own Smart Card in Link-Up With Visa and Mastercard

9 months ago

Navan, the corporate travel agency previously called TripActions, rolled out a feature that enables companies to retain the benefits of their Visa and Mastercard corporate cards and still gain access to Navan’s automated expense management features.

Source: Navan

The new patent-pending feature, Navan Connect, saves enterprise clients and smaller companies, if applicable, from having to transition away from their corporate cards and their benefits to access Navan’s expense management features, the company said. “With the swipe of an enrolled card, expenses are automatically checked against company policy, categorized, and reconciled,” Navan states.

Previously, clients had to use a Navan Card to gain access to these features, launched three years ago, and this may have been a roadblock to Navan signing up more enterprise accounts. 

“With Navan Connect, we’re expanding this convenience and efficiency to the corporate cardsthat our customers prefer, harmonizing personal choice with corporate needs,” said Navan co-founder and CEO Ariel Cohen in a statement. “It’s not just a product; it’s our pledge to simplify expense management while enhancing flexibility and control for businesses.”

Navan stated it intends to add other corporate cards to Navan Connect.



IDEAS: dnata Looks to Robotics for the Future of Airline Catering

9 months ago

At the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) in Hamburg this week, dnata – one of the world’s largest air services providers – offered attendees a glimpse into the future of its catering capabilities with a demonstration of its new AI-powered cooking robot.

Credit: dnata/Moley Robotics

Developed by Moley Robotics, the cooking-machine utilizes AI technology to follow pre-recorded chef instructions, and is equipped with ‘multiple sensors and machine learning capabilities, enabling it to precisely measure ingredients and execute complex cooking techniques’.

You can take a look at one of Moley Robotics’ cooking machines in action below:

“We are excited to showcase a revolutionary cooking robot alongside our world-class culinary and retail offering at the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo,” Said Robin Padgett, CEO of dnata Catering & Retail.

“We are constantly looking for ways to further improve quality and efficiency by leveraging the latest technologies, including artificial intelligence and automation, across our global network. In recent years we have implemented a number of sophisticated solutions to optimise various aspects of our operations, ranging from consumption analysis to ingredient sourcing, inventory and waste management. We will continue to closely monitor trends and further integrate AI into our operations to harness the power of innovation.”

Credit: dnata/Moley Robotics

The cooking robot is the latest addition to dnata’s robotic line-up, with ‘Bella’ the hospitality robot already in operation in the UAE at Sharjah Airport’s (SHJ) lounge along with its partner, ‘Kitty’. 

At the 2023 Skift IDEA Awards, we are looking to the future of travel by highlighting the creative designs, technologies, and innovations that are driving the future of travel.

If you have an exciting initiative or innovation that deserves to be celebrated, head over to the Skift IDEA Awards and start your application today. The deadline for submissions is June 20, 2023.


IDEAS: Evoking Nostaglia With Samsonite’s Latest Campaign

9 months ago

Samsonite are aiming to reignite the spirit of adventure and celebrate the golden age of travel with their latest campaign

Created in partnership with global advertising agency Iris, ‘Travel Like Your Parents’ evokes a sense of nostalgia inspired by the genuine escapades undertaken by those who came before us.

Credit: Samsonite/Iris

Set against the sunny backdrop of Southern California, the wanderlust-inducing campaign urges today’s travelers to disconnect from our fast-paced digital world and ‘discover the magic of travel as our parents once did’. 

You can take a look at the newly released campaign video on the Samsonite YouTube channel.

“Traveling has always been a transformative experience, and we believe that the journeys our parents took were filled with a sense of wonder and discovery,” said Nicole Adriance, senior director of brand marketing at Samsonite. 

Credit: Samsonite/Iris

“Through our summer campaign, we aim to inspire travelers to tap into that same spirit and create their own remarkable memories. As a brand with over 100 years of history, we understand what made travel so special in the past and we can help our audiences understand it, too. That’s what “Travel Like Your Parents” is all about: the idea that travel is better when you take time to connect with the places you visit and the people you visit them with.”

At the 2023 Skift IDEA Awards, we are looking to highlight advertising campaigns that have been created with the intent to drive action. 

If you have an exciting marketing initiative that deserves to be celebrated, head over to the Skift IDEA Awards and start your application today.


IDEAS: Penelope Cruz is Spoilt For Choice in Latest Emirates Campaign

9 months ago

Academy Award winning actor Penelope Cruz is set to take to the skies in the latest global ad campaign for Emirates, having been announced as the airlines newest brand ambassador.

Scheduled to launch in the Summer of 2023, the Fly Better campaign will be showcased in both English and Penelope’s native language of Spanish, having been brought to life by double Oscar-winning director Robert Stromberg.

Focussing in on the campaigns key message that travel is not just about the end destination; ​it’s also about how you get there, Cruz was quoted to be ‘thrilled to partner with Emirates after years of traveling with them on some of the most special trips in my life.

Following in the footsteps of Jennifer Aniston, the campaign sees Cruz taking advantage of all that flying with Emirates has to offer, from taking a shower in the clouds to staying up to date with her favourite football team.

Credit: Emirates

“Emirates is all about Flying Better, where the journey to your destination matters as much as the place itself,” said Richard Billington, Emirates’ senior vice president of brand and advertising.

“We take care of every detail in the Emirates experience and wanted a brand ambassador who reflects the Emirates brand – it needed to be someone classy, stylish, and having modern global appeal. Penelope was the perfect fit.”

At the 2023 Skift IDEA Awards, we are looking to highlight advertising campaigns that have been created with the intent to drive action. 

If you have an exciting marketing initiative that deserves to be celebrated, head over to the Skift IDEA Awards and start your application today.


IDEAS: Exploring Alcohol-Free Travel in the Dominican Republic

9 months ago

Alcohol has traditionally dominated travel, however, the growing ‘sober curious’ movement is continuing to embrace non-drinking travelers.

A new alcohol-free retreat designed for aspiring and sober travelers is set to open its doors at Melia Punta Cana Beach in the Dominican Republic in October 2023.

The retreat has been designed by Alcohol Free Life Coach and Certified Professional Recovery Coach Megan Wilcox, the founder and CEO of SobahSistahs Sobriety.

Dream and Discover the Dry Life in Punta Cana, is a five-day, four-night retreat designed to enable guests to ‘connect, restore and rediscover’ through a number of wellness initiatives, including a guided yoga class, sunset meditations, sound bath therapies and more.

In 2022, the no and low-alcohol market reached an almost US$10 Billion in value according to an IWSR report, as more and more consumers show an interest in an alcohol free (or moderated) lifestyle.

Dream and Discover the Dry Life is by no means a new concept, with an array of alcohol free retreats, hotels and customer offerings already in place for sober traveler’s, including:

  • Hooked on Travel: Alcohol free trips infused with opportunities for self discovery.
  • Sober Vacations: Helping 12-steppers expand their comfort zone in safe and beautiful environments since 1987.
  • Lifotel: A “no alcohol” hotel concept designed to bring one closer to living life the natural way.
  • “Drinking Well” by Wynn Resorts: Offering guests non-alcoholic beverages throughout their Las Vegas resort.
  • We Love Lucid: Connecting like-minded solo travellers in pursuit of enriching and invigorating travel experiences minus the booze.
  • Zero Proof, Zero Judgment by Hyatt: A sophisticated spirit-free beverage offering at many Hyatt hotels around the U.S.

At the Skift IDEA Awards, we are looking for the projects that are focussing on people and community, that are leading to social change or benefiting communities.

If you have an exciting project to share, head to the Skift IDEA Awards today and start your submission. The final deadline for entries is June 20, 2023.


IDEAS: APEX Greener Aims to Make Air Travel More Sustainable

9 months ago

A new program designed to reduce the carbon footprint of air travel has been launched under a new partnership between the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and SimpliFlying.

APEX Greener powered by SimpliFlying aims to lesson the impact of air travel on the environment by empowering airlines to choose more sustainable products.

Credit: Apex Greener Powered by SimpliFlying

By providing a shared airline industry database of in-flight airline products and their APEX Greener rating – by utilizing the Finch technology platform – the project will provide insights into the green credentials of in-flight products throughout their complete lifecycle, from sustainable sourcing, to production emissions, the amount of recycled material used, and end-of-life disposal.

“Aviation is not green, but we all have a responsibility to make it greener,” said APEX/IFSA CEO, Dr. Joe Leader.

“APEX Greener powered by SimpliFlying is a step in the right direction by focusing our airlines on in-flight products that are better for both our industry and our world. APEX Greener eliminates redundant airline sustainability verification expenses by fully leveraging our ability to openly share information as a trade association.”

At the Skift IDEA Awards, we are looking for the organizations elevating the travel industry’s role as a force for good by affecting meaningful change, including the projects that focus on sustainability and creating a positive impact for the planet.

If you have an exciting project to share, head to the Skift IDEA Awards today and start your submission. The final deadline for entries is June 20, 2023.


Sonesta Debuts Two Soft Brands

9 months ago

Sonesta International Hotel Corporation announced the debut of two soft brands within its expanding portfolio, Classico, A Sonesta Collection, and MOD, A Sonesta Collection. These two new brands offer independent hotel owners the opportunity to affiliate with Sonesta’s network while retaining their iconic hotel names, identities, designs, and established styles.

Marketed by Sonesta’s Luxury and Lifestyle Lodging Development Team, each Classico property will have a distinct identity and offer signature local cuisine, traditional high-touch service, and refined interiors.

The first Sonesta Classico brand property is the 40-room Z Ocean Hotel in Miami, Florida’s South Beach neighborhood, which opened on May 1, 2023. Each MOD, positioned within Sonesta’s upscale portfolio, will feature eclectic interior designs and amenities, such as curated food and beverage options. The first MOD property will launch as Hotel 11 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 

From Daily Lodging Report by Alan Woinski for Skift


IDEAS: Riyadh Air Unveils Striking New Livery

9 months ago

Riyadh Air, Saudi Arabia’s newest airline, has unveiled the first of two new livery designs set to be featured on its aircraft when it commences operation in 2025 on its social media channels.

Credit: Riyadh Air

The striking purple livery, which the airline calls a perfect blend of “cutting-edge technology and timeless elegance,” is being showcased on a Boeing 787-9 following a confirmed order for 39 of the aircrafts with Boeing in March.

Operating from Riyadh as its hub, the airline aims to connect to more than 100 destinations by the end of the decade.

You can take a look at the full video released by Riyadh Air below:

At the Skift IDEA Awards, we are looking for the airline projects that are defining the defining the future of aviation, airlines, and the traveler experience.

If you have an exciting project to share, head to the Skift IDEA Awards today and start your submission. The final deadline for entries is June 20, 2023.


IDEAS: Mews and Saira Hospitality Look to Transform Learning in Hospitality

9 months ago

Hospitality technology company Mews is partnering with Saira Hospitality on a new staff training initiative aimed at transforming learning within the hospitality industry.

Credit: Mews/Saira Hospitality

The new partnership will see five new hospitality schools created around the world, with the first school set to open in London in June 2023, followed by a pop-up in Amsterdam towards the end of the year. 

Mews will also work with Saira on integrating the key curriculum offering into their University platform, utilizing the industry-leading experience of both brands to offer access to learnings in essential hospitality skills including leadership, communication and emotional intelligence.

“Hospitality isn’t just about business; it also has a key role to play in education and building local communities,” said Paul Mooney, chief customer officer at Mews. 

“What’s so exciting about this partnership is that it can make a real difference to individuals while also helping our industry to create a new, enthused talent pool,” he continued.

Skift featured Saira Hospitality’s work and founder Harsha L’Acqua’s mission during our Skift Global Forum in 2019.

At the Skift IDEA Awards, we are looking for the projects that are defining the future of operations and other business outcomes, including those that create a positive impact for communities.

If you have an exciting project to share, head to the Skift IDEA Awards today and start your submission. The final deadline for entries is June 20, 2023.

Travel Agents

Travel Agents Could Have a Say in New Rules For Passengers

9 months ago

Travel agents could bring a real-world perspective to complex rules shaping the protection of air travel passengers, as part of a modernization proposal for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) watchdog for aviation consumer protection.

The Modernization Act (H.R. 3780) would see the Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee (ACPAC) membership include a dedicated travel agency seat to the advisory body. The bipartisan bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Dina Titus (D-NV), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), John Garamendi (D-CA), Marc Molinaro (R-NY) and Julia Brownley (D-CA) on Thursday, 1 June. 

The five most recent ACPAC meetings, starting in December 2021, have centered around two major DOT regulatory proposals on ticket refunds and transparency in airline fees – crucial to business operations of travel agencies, whatever their final forms take. 

“Roughly half of all airline tickets in the U.S. are sold through the agency channel. Giving these small business owners, 70 percent of whom are women, an elevated voice in the DOT regulatory process will help the Department meet its consumer protection mission,” said Zane Kerby, CEO and president of the American Association of Travel Advisors (ASTA). 

Travel agents provide valuable insights through real-world impacts of complex proposals pending before DOT, currently missing from ACPAC’s process, added Eben Peck, ASTA’s executive vice president.

In its current form, ACPAC membership consists of one representative each of U.S. airlines, consumer groups, airports and state or local governments.