Category Archives: Incentives

Thomas Cook introduces UAE Dirham to its Border Prepaid Card

homas cook

Thomas Cook (India), has launched the United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED) as a key currency to its multi-currency Borderless Prepaid Card, thereby offering customers the convenience and flexibility of loading nine global currencies on a single card. Kailash Gupta, Senior Vice President & Head of Payment Solutions, Thomas Cook (India), said, “The introduction of the AED to our multi-currency Borderless Prepaid Card portfolio intends to capitalise on this growth momentum and offer our UAE bound travellers a simple, smooth and secure payment solution.” “Data reveals that Dubai witnessed a noteworthy 15 per cent YoY increase in 2017 with 2.1 Mn. visitors; India retaining the top spot as its largest source market. In addition, India is equally a leading source market for Abu Dhabi with an 11.4 per cent YoY increase in 2017,” he adds. The new prepaid card will now create a seamless payment experience for its customer base of over 500,000, offering convenience, ease and security in spending while travelling across the UAE. The multi-currency Borderless Prepaid Card’s features include: Global acceptance and access to 2 Mn ATMs, over 34 Mn merchant establishments and e-commerce websites Chip & pin security Comprehensive global support and free emergency cash disbursement & global card replacement Comprehensive fraud protection insurance Mubarak Al Nuaimi, Director of Promotion and Overseas Offices Department at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said: “India has a massive potential to expand the tourism inflow to Abu Dhabi and we are aiming to increase the share of Indian tourists from the overall target number of 5.5 million visitors by the end of 2018. Moving forward, we will keep leveraging our network of partners and stakeholders as to …

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Sabre unveils secure transaction tool for CTM Singapore

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Sabre Corporation has launched Sabre Virtual Payments for Corporate Travel Management (CTM) Singapore, in partnership with virtual card technology provider Conferma. The tool is an innovative solution that offers peace of mind to help make secure, corporate travel-related transactions. “In addition to supporting compliance, Sabre Virtual Payments is a tremendous asset for corporate travel management companies looking to optimise their reporting capabilities. The platform enables rich data capturing, helps to better manage revenue and facilitates compliance for all parties involved in the transaction,” said Eugene Tan, General Manager, Corporate Travel Management Singapore. “We improved our booking efficiency by 30 to 40 percent while driving revenue growth,” he added. Available through Sabre’s corporate booking tool GetThere and the new Sabre Red Workspace, Sabre Virtual Payments provides agents and travel management companies (TMCs) with the capacity to issue single-purpose virtual cards for air, hotel, and agency fee payments. The virtual cards are sent directly to the traveller’s mobile via TripCase and are attributed to a unique transaction. The technology generates a simple, single form of payment which is recorded in a safe, traceable and efficient manner through a protected distribution channel, helping to ensure secure transactions and reducing third party access to sensitive credit details. “With this solution, Sabre delivers an innovative tool that addresses the need for simple, safe and reliable transactions to take place between agents, travellers and suppliers,” said Jason Toothman, Vice President Global Accounts, Sabre Travel Network Asia Pacific. Rapidly adapting to the rise in mobile transactions across Asia Pacific, Sabre Virtual Payments enables agency and corporate subscribers to choose from over 30 banking partners. The solution is currently available to agents and TMCs in Australia, Hong Kong, …

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Kerala Tourism appoints Cleartrip as online booking partner

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Cleartrip has now tied up with the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) as its exclusive online booking partner for local tours and activities. Under the association, KTDC will sell all of its exclusive set of activities through the Cleartrip platform, including both existing and new inventory of conducted tours and boat trips. The partnership is also Cleartrip’s first with a government tourism board, marking a major milestone for the online travel agency. Among the most popular activities offered by KTDC is the boating in Periyar Lake at Thekkady. KTDC operates four boats with a seating capacity of 210 each and completes five trips in a day, with a total daily inventory of 1,050 seats. Despite maintaining 90 per cent occupancy throughout the year, these trips were only available for offline bookings till now. With 700 more seats expected to be added to these boating tours by September 2018, KTDC is looking to make it easier for prospective travellers to access and book its travel inventory through the association with Cleartrip. The government tourism board has also recently launched conducted tours in the historic towns of Trivandrum and Kochi. These activities will also be available for booking on the Cleartrip platform. Commenting on the association, Ankit Rastogi, VP- Experiences and Accommodation, Cleartrip, said, “Kerala holds a significant place in India’s tourism map. We are delighted to be chosen by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation as its online booking partner. The biggest benefit of this tie-up will be to the travellers, who now can access and book all of KTDC’s inventory of tours and activities online on a single platform. We hope that this partnership will spur more such associations where Cleartrip …

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IHG to cut back sales commission for third-party intermediaries

IHG

InterContinental Hotels Group shall cut back its sales commissions from 10 per cent to 7 per cent for all bookings made in the U.S. and Canada as of January 1, 2019.  “This move allows us to balance the needs of our guests and owners by reinvesting the savings into programmes and improvements that will benefit the guest experience,” Derek DeCross, SVP of Global Sales, IHG, said in a statement. He provided further comments on the policy change in a letter sent to third-party intermediaries for meetings and events: “Understanding the complexities of the groups and meetings industry and the nature of the business being booked by our customers is an integral part of our sales strategy and foundation to what we do,” his letter reads. “As part of this, IHG has assessed its group bookings commission structure and will be changing the group travel partner commission structure.” Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, which was acquired by IHG in 2014, will also be included in the policy change. The 10-percent rate will still be in place for IHG properties outside of the U.S. and Canada, including Puerto Rico. The shift in commissions structure is a symptom of the high levels of consolidation currently taking place in the industry. Marriott, Hilton and IHG are three of the largest hotel companies in the world, and they are now using their immense portfolios as tools to cut into commission structures. Meanwhile, last month two other hotel companies actually revealed plans to offer higher commissions for third parties. Warwick Hotels and Resorts is offering an additional 5-percent commission on food & beverage and room rentals for all meetings and incentives groups at its seven properties throughout the U.S. …

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Free WiFi at 400 Indian railway stations: Google

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After launching its first free Wi-Fi service from Mumbai Central station in January 2016, Google has announced the completion of the free service at 400 railway stations across India in collaboration with RailTel, the telecom arm of Indian Railways. Dibrugarh in Assam has become the 400th railway station to get the free WiFi service from Google, the company said. Indian Railways had signed an MoU with Google in December, 2015 to launch the service, which offers thirty minutes of free internet access. The average data consumption per user per session has been recorded around 350MB. The project has succeeded in its mission of bringing connectivity to millions of unconnected Indians, leveraging on the nationwide optic fiber network backbone created by RailTel. Within the first year of the project’s launch, 100 of the busiest railway stations across India were brought online, enabling 15,000 people to experience the internet for the first time every day, it said. “With over 8 million monthly unique users connecting to the network, this is a lighthouse project for India and every growing economy that is looking to bring the benefit of connectivity to everyone in their country,” Google India Director Partnership Next Billion Users, K Suri, said. K Manohar Raja, Executive Director (Enterprise Business) at RailTel, said the endeavour has been to bridge the experience divide by providing one of the fastest public WiFi networks in the world. Source: ET Online

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Elevated customer experiences through Thomas Cook

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Thomas Cook is now focusing on enhancing customer experience. Mahesh Iyer, Executive Director & CEO, Thomas Cook (India), at a media interaction said,  “As a channel we have seen decent growth coming in and we are clocking around 30 per cent CAGR year on year and are quite optimistic on the future of online business. Our focus in the long term is on customer experience. If we look at the current summers we are operating we have packed new experiences like curated food menu by Ranveer Brar, Boman Irani doing a red carpet night for our travellers. We have also launched Japan this year in terms of adding new destinations and have already crossed 1000 passengers.” In terms of forex, Thomas Cook is looking to bring more digital options for the customer. It is working on a premium product and will soon be launching a mobile card which will allow customers to use their prepaid card on the NFC platform. He further added, “There is lot of innovation and product development happening with an underline of technology. We launched our customer self-service app which allows the customer to keep tab on their bookings, visa status, itineraries etc.”

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Newly-opened Holiday Inn Resort Kolkata NH6 to cater to MICE

HI Resort

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has announced a partnership with SDB Developers to bring a second Holiday Inn hotel to Kolkata. As part of the agreement, the 110-room Holiday Inn Resort Kolkata NH6 will have 90 rooms operational by the end of 2018, with 20 additional rooms expected to be operational by 2020. The upcoming Holiday Inn Resort Kolkata NH6 will house impressive meeting and banquet facilities along with beautifully landscaped lawns, especially suited for wedding functions. All rooms will be equipped with modern amenities for guests’ comfort. The resort will also feature a state-of-the-art gymnasium, pool, and a spa for guests to relax and revive. Furthermore, guests staying at the hotel will be spoilt for choice with three dining options offering excellent food and beverage selections. Sprawling across 12 acres of land in Uluberia, a city that comes under the Kolkata Metropolitan Area, Holiday Inn Resort Kolkata NH6 is strategically located to offer excellent connectivity to central Kolkata. Well suited to cater to leisure, business and MiCE guests, the resort will be an hour’s drive from the City Centre and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport. The resort will also be well connected to the National Highway and the Orissa Trunk Road. Commenting on the announcement, Sudeep Jain, Vice President – Development, South West Asia, IHG said, “The signing of Holiday Inn Resort Kolkata NH6 is in line with our strategy to grow our portfolio of midscale hotels in the country, comprising the Holiday Inn brand family. Given the location, facilities and best in class amenities that will be available at the resort, we expect strong demand from various guests’ segments including, leisure, MiCE, social events and weddings.” Pawan Bhimsaria, Director, SDB Developers said, “With IHG’s …

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ITC Kohenur opens in Hyderabad with nine meeting spaces

itc

ITC Hotels has announced the addition of ITC Kohenur in Hyderabad as the 12th hotel to join its luxury hotel portfolio, from June 1, 2018. Located in the heart of Hyderabad’s new business district, overlooking the picturesque Durgam Cheruvu Lake, the hotel features nine versatile meeting, banquet and conference spaces. This includes the pillar-less Deccan State room, which can be divided into two separate halls, each with its own pre-function area. The hotel also boasts of two sprawling outdoor venues, the Pearl Deck & the Golconda greens that are perfect for a range of theme events, corporate functions, celebrations and parties. The hotel’s banqueting and convention facilities endeavour to transform Hyderabad into India’s convention capital. The hotel endeavours to create ‘Rare and Priceless’ experiences through its super-premium offerings; 271 high technology-enabled rooms, suites and service apartments, six culinary brands, meeting and convention spaces, and Kaya Kalp spa. Located in HITEC city, the architecture and design of the hotel mirror the facets of the feted jewel by bringing to life art, culture, cuisine and heritage of the region in a contemporary milieu. Inspirations range from the striking boulders of Hyderabad, to the famous Bidri work, showcase of local arts & crafts to presenting the rich culinary legacy of the region. A stand-out in-room tech feature is the amalgamation of all services through the E-Butler iPad.

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SITE India holds networking evening in Delhi

ANUP NAIR , SITE

The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE), recently held its networking meeting in Delhi for its members, to share knowledge on incentive travel business. Anup Nair, President, SITE, during his address, said, “We aim to introduce SITE and bring the India chapter to the limelight. We have 40 members in India; the idea is to tell people about the value of the membership with SITE. I am hoping there will be more traction.” Shoba Mohan, Founder-Partner, RARE India, informed, “The new hat that I am wearing is the Director Communication for SITE India chapter.  SITE believes in education content, empowering people with knowledge based around incentives. That is something we will be focusing on. There is a schedule charted out for next six months. Every member was asked to bring a potential member with them from the incentive segment to inform them what gains they can reap from becoming members of SITE.” Elucidating on the value of the membership, Nair stated, “Being informed on incentive travel will be what as a member you gain. Incentive travel is a powerful tool for driving business results. India is an enormous market for incentive travel. It’s time that the Indian MiCE industry explored SITE’s platter of offerings, to be more productive for clients. The destination does not matter, it’s the experience of the event that makes it worthwhile.  The world is surrounded with exotic locales and its important how you can create the magic that would drive corporate results.” The SITE India Chapter, founded in 2015, comprises of 40 members including young leaders who represent some of the finest professionals of the Indian Incentive Industry. It is their endeavour to grow the SITE India Chapter to …

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Emirates Skywards gives makeover to its family programme, allows 100% pooling of miles

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Emirates Skywards has revamped its family programme, offering to provide a richer, more rewarding programme called ‘My Family’. Family members can now pool up to 100 per cent of Skywards miles earned on Emirates flights, allowing them to redeem rewards faster than before. Each member can pool up to 100 per cent of their miles earned on Emirates flights and the nominated contribution of miles from each member can be adjusted at any time. Emirates Skywards has a global membership of 20 million and all members are eligible to join ‘My Family’. Each account can have up to 8 family members including a nominated Family Head. “We’re always working to enhance our offerings to ensure our members are given greater value, choice and flexibility at every touchpoint across the Emirates Skywards programme. The new enriched ‘My Family’ programme will provide our members with a better, more intuitive customer experience, allowing them to consolidate up to 100 per cent of Skywards Miles earned on Emirates to reap faster rewards as well as tailor the proposition to meet their travel needs,” said Nejib Ben Khedher, Senior Vice President, Emirates Skywards. The new Emirates Skywards ‘My Family’ programme complements the airline’s exceptional family offering both on board and on the ground. In flight, young travellers can look forward to special toys, activity packs, child-friendly meals and dedicated kids’ content on ice, Emirates’ award-winning inflight entertainment system. On the ground, Emirates provides a dedicated family check-in area and complimentary strollers in Dubai and priority boarding for families across all airports.

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