Tag Archives: Chief Operating Officer

India’s millennial business travellers demand booking info through human advice: Travelport

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Millennial business travellers in India are changing the landscape of corporate travel by demanding both cutting-edge digital support throughout their trips and on-demand advice from human consultants, according to a recent independent global study commissioned by Travelport. For the research, 11,000 travellers were surveyed in 19 countries who took at least one return flight in the last year. The results showed that half (47 per cent) of India’s millennial business travellers now count being unable to access booking information across their devices 24/7 as one of their biggest gripes, compared to two fifths (40 per cent) of Gen X2 travellers and one third (35 per cent) baby boomers. The research also revealed that three fifths (56 per cent) say they get frustrated when companies don’t use data analytics to provide highly personalised travel recommendations based on their past preferences, compared to two fifths of both Gen X (43 per cent) and baby boomer (41 per cent) travellers. Two fifths (43 per cent) say not being able to get expert advice from human consultants during the booking process is a major pain point. Sandeep Dwivedi, Chief Operating Officer, InterGlobe Technology Quotient, said, “The findings demonstrate the digital shift among Indian business travellers before and during their journeys. And the necessity of $7.6 trillion global travel and hospitality industry to adapt continually to provide responsive, relevant and timely services for customers. More importantly, in an age where Gen X and Millennials are increasingly becoming tech savvy, they want relevant and timely content at their fingertips, at the very moment, from the time they search to their return from the trip.”  

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CKGS opens Thai Visa Application Centre in Chennai

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Cox & Kings Global Services (CKGS) has opened a new Thai Visa Application Centre (VAC) in Chennai last week. The centre located at Wellingdon Estate Building will serve as the Hub VAC for its South India operations. The centre will cater to all categories of visas such as tourist, transit, non-Immigrant, business, work, crew and medical visa. The new centre in Chennai was inaugurated by Her Excellency Krongkanit Rakcharoen, the Consul- General, Royal Thai Consulate-General, Chennai on May 2, 2018 in presence of the senior CKGS officials. Speaking on the occasion, Her Excellency Krongkanit Rakcharoen said, “Thailand has emerged as one of the most favourite destinations for Indians with the number of travellers crossing a million mark. Chennai also contributes significantly with improved air connectivity and increased number of direct flights to Thailand. Considering the growing number of travellers from Chennai, it was essential to start the visa application service centre for this region. With CKGS, we aim to continue hassle-free visa processing for Indian travellers and maintain high professional standards.” Commenting on the opening, Venku Murthi, Chief Operating Officer, CKGS, said, “We are expanding out footprints in south India with the commitment to ensure excellent visa services to applicants who want to travel to Thailand.’’ The visa application form can be filled online but the applicants would have to visit the VAC to submit printout of the duly signed application form along with other required documents and collect them once the visa has been issued. The centre is open between Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 17:30 pm. Embassy takes minimum three working days for issuance of visa on receipt of application. CKGS has already opened Thai VACs …

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CKGS opens Morocco visa application centre in Mumbai

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Cox & Kings Global Services (CKGS) has unveiled a new Morocco Visa Application and Information Centre (MVAIC) in Mumbai, which was inaugurated by His Excellency Mohamed Maliki, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco, who is based in New Delhi. The new centre is located at Nariman Point and it takes the total of such centres to nine. It currently has centres in Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Pune, Goa, Indore and Bengaluru. CKGS is set to open a new MVAIC in Hyderabad in June 2018. Speaking on the occasion, His Excellency said, “The ties between Morocco and India go back over several centuries and both the counties have enjoyed cordial bilateral relations over the years. The Government of India and Morocco have agreed on a newly revised air service agreement which will have certainly a positive impact on facilitating and boosting tourist movement between the two countries. Foreseeing the growth in the number of Indians travelling to Morocco, we needed to create a seamless experience for Indian travellers in applying for visas.  The Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco is glad to entrust the responsibility to CKGS by appointing them as our representatives to open visa application centres in India.” All centres are open from Monday to Friday between 08:00 – 17:00 hours. He further added. “We want to encourage more and more Indians to consider travelling to Morocco and at the same time provide a faster and reliable experience in applying for visas. To promote Morocco in India, we also have plans to open a full-fledged Moroccan National Tourism Office in Delhi. To invite Indian filmmakers to shoot in Morroco, Moroccan government offers important incentives such as reimbursement of …

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Fairmont Austin opens with 140,000 sqft of meeting and event space

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Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has announced the launch of Fairmont Austin. The hotel boasts 1,048 guestrooms, the largest outdoor pool and full service spa in Downtown Austin, nearly 140,000 square feet of event space, and direct access to the Austin Convention Center via the Red River Canopy Walk. Fairmont Austin debuts as the largest Fairmont property in the United States, as well as the second largest Fairmont hotel globally, in both number of rooms and total meeting and event space. “A strategic opening for AccorHotels, Fairmont Austin is the first in a series of high-profile luxury developments marking a time of significant growth for the Group and its brands in North and Central America,” said Kevin Frid, Chief Operating Officer, North & Central America, AccorHotels. “Other notable openings anticipated in the next 18 to 24 months include the iconic Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles, Sofitel Mexico Reforma in Mexico City, Fairmont Costa Canuva in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, Fairmont Saint Lucia at Sunset Bay in the Caribbean, and several soon-to-be-announced projects with the potential to introduce new brands into the region.” “Fairmont Austin will give the city the opportunity to host larger conferences and conventions, bringing more tourists and business travellers to the city, and employing more than 900 staff, continuing to bolster the Austin economy,”  he adds.

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Crowne Plaza Riyadh – RDC Hotel and Convention Center offers new MICE space

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InterContinental Hotels Group has announced the opening of Crowne Plaza Riyadh – RDC Hotel and Convention Center. The 326-room hotel is located in the Al Ra’idah Digital City (RDC). The Crowne Plaza Riyadh – RDC Hotel and Convention Center offers a comprehensive range of facilities to meet the needs of corporate and MICE guests. The hotel features over 12,000 m2 of exhibition and conference space including a three-level circular conference center, a ballroom, large pre-function areas and 12 daylight meeting rooms equipped with modern digital technology. Pascal Gauvin, Managing Director, India, Middle East & Africa, IHG, said: “We are delighted to announce the opening of the Crowne Plaza Riyadh – RDC Hotel and Convention Center. The hotel is located in the new information technology area of Riyadh, that will be developed as the IT and Communications hub in the city, and is expected to attract business travellers from across the world. We are observing an increased demand for guests who would like to have access to world-class business amenities. This hotel and the overall master development are perfectly suited to cater to this demand. The IHG brand has built an excellent reputation in the Kingdom and we are proud to add the Crowne Plaza – RDC Hotel and Convention Center to our growing portfolio in the Middle East region.” Waleed Al Eisa, Chief Operating Officer, Al Raidah Investment Company, said: “The Crowne Plaza Riyadh – RDC Hotel and Convention Center reflects our commitment to bring a full range of amenities to our tenants and to business travellers who are looking for a high quality hospitality experience.” Additionally, Crowne Plaza Riyadh – RDC Hotel is in close proximity to the new …

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AccorHotels’ twin property opens in Chennai

AccorHotels has announced the opening of Novotel and ibis OMR Chennai. Being termed as the first combo property in Chennai, the hotel has the advantage of being strategically located in the centre of the IT Expressway (OMR). The 342 (combined) room property is AccorHotels’ first joint development in the city. Featuring midscale and economy brands under the same complex, the 153- room Novotel and 189-room ibis Chennai OMR gives travellers a choice of offerings across different price points. The inauguration and the ribbon cutting ceremony on November 9 saw an august presence of some illustrious guests such as Catherine Suard, Consul General of the Republic of France for Puducherry & Chennai; Jean-Michel Cassé, Chief Operating Officer, India & South Asia, AccorHotels; Daniel Chao, General Manager, Novotel ibis Chennai OMR and General Manager Delegate for AccorHotels Chennai and Kapil Bhatia, Executive Chairman, InterGlobe Enterprises. At the press conference, Cassé said, “The Novotel and ibis Chennai OMR joint development is one of our significant openings based on the success of co-locating the most relevant brands for different market needs. AccorHotels has a network of 53 hotels with India, especially with Chennai being a key market for us.” Chao expressed, “Chennai is India’s fourth largest city and a leading business and leisure hub in South India. This winning combination of the Novotel and ibis properties offers guests a unique value proposition and a distinctive choice where they can make themselves comfortable, relax, work and relish a delicious meal under one roof.”

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Dusit International opens Global Sales Office in India

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Dusit International, Thailand’s hotel and property development company, has opened a new Global Sales Office (GSO) in Mumbai, to promote Dusit Hotels & Resorts in India. The new office will manage sales across all market segments including leisure, MICE and corporate business. Primarily, the team will focus on Tier I cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru but will also cover smaller cities. Keshwar Bhagat, Director of Sales – GSO India, will head the India office. Lim Boon Kwee, Chief Operating Officer, Dusit International, says, “With the volume of outbound travel increasing by about 25 per cent a year, India is now one of the fastest growing outbound travel markets in the world. When you consider that the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has predicted the number of outbound Indian travellers will reach 50 million by 2020, now is the perfect time for us to open a GSO in the country. This comes in tandem with our own growth, which will see our current tally of 29 hotels and resorts top 80 worldwide within the next three-to-four years.”

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IHG signs two new properties in Dubai

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InterContinental Hotels Group has announced signing two new properties in Dubai: Crowne Plaza Dubai Business Bay and InterContinental Residence Suites Dubai Business Bay. Both properties are in partnership with API Hotels & Resorts. Expected to open in 2019, Crowne Plaza Dubai Business Bay will be situated on the Business Bay Canal, near the Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall, as well as other developing commercial and residential communities. With 290 rooms and suites, the hotel will offer guests all day dining options, as well as a gym and an outdoor infinity pool. As a major draw for business bookers and travellers, Crowne Plaza Dubai Business Bay will include a ballroom as well as several meeting rooms to host conferences and events. Pascal Gauvin, Chief Operating Officer, India, Middle East & Africa, IHG, commented: “In the Middle East, we are currently engaged in the strategic expansion of the Crowne Plaza brand, as well as growing the footprint of our InterContinental Residence Suites. In support of these goals, we are delighted to be working with API Hotels & Resorts, an eminent partner with a proven track record in high quality hotel developments across the UAE.” Jassim Al Ali, CEO of API Hotels & Resorts, added: “In order to maximise further growth opportunities in the Middle East, we believe that we need to add a global operator with an internationally recognized brand to our portfolio and IHG, as a market leader with over 5,000 hotels worldwide fits this profile perfectly.”

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Gulf Air joins hands with VFS Global to provide visa for Bahrain

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Gulf Air has partnered with VFS Global to facilitate visa issuance for passengers flying to the Kingdom of Bahrain. The online visa facility will launch this summer on gulfair.com. Signing the agreement with VFS Global, Gulf Air Chief Commercial Officer, Ahmed Janahi, said, “Soon, Gulf Air passengers will be able to easily obtain short term visit visas to Bahrain via our website gulfair.com – allowing them to come to Bahrain and experience all that our Kingdom has to offer in terms of tourism, business opportunities and more.” Zubin Karkaria, Chief Executive Officer, VFS Global Group, says, “We believe the online e-visa platform will make visa application much more convenient for Gulf Air customers, providing them with greater speed and transparency in the process, thereby enhancing their overall experience.” Vinay Malhotra, Chief Operating Officer, Middle East & South Asia, VFS Global, added, “Applying for an eVisa through our dedicated online platform, designed exclusively for Gulf Air passengers, will transform the visa application experience for passengers, offering more customer-centric services. Quicker turnaround times, 24X7 accessibility, and online tracking, amongst other advantages, will make applying for a visa to Bahrain easier than ever before.”

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AccorHotels likely to open convention and exhibition centre in Jaipur

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AccorHotels is slated to open a convention and exhibition centre in Jaipur shortly. The hotel group recently opened an Ibis in Kochi which goes to show its strong focus on tier II cities as well. In terms of development, AccorHotels is looking at densification in the cities it is already present in. Jean-Michel Casse, Chief Operating Officer, (India and South Asia), AccorHotels, says, “A major chunk of our business is the corporate segment followed by MICE which we have been really focussing on with the opening of Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre and Novotel Vishakhapatnam which is a big MICE hotel. We are also operating the convention centre in Lavasa, Pune.” Casse, also reveals, “This year we plan to open around 10 hotels which will be a key milestone for us. This will take our current inventory of 8,700 rooms to more than 10,000 rooms this year and get to 55 hotels by end of 2017.”

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