DigiTravel and partners launch hotel programme analysis tool


DigiTravel Consulting, Business Travel Performance
Automation and About Partners Luxury Brands Collection have joined forces to
create a new tool to assess corporate hotel programmes and improve upon the
annual hotel request-for-proposal process, DigiTravel announced.

Dubbed Hotel Program Opportunity Analysis, the service is
available for free globally.

“The Opportunity Analysis has been carefully designed
by real industry experience to outline value and savings for companies and
hotels without going through the cumbersome RFP process every year, driving
continuous improvement, innovative services and smarter sourcing,” said
DigiTravel managing partner Susan Lichtenstein in a statement.

Lichtenstein explained in an email how it works; after a
company fills out a questionnaire on the DigiTravel website, the three partners
use their expertise along with technology, including the BTP Index, to review
the data and present back to the company opportunities in the area of savings,
cost to manage, booking channels, sourcing, benchmarking, process optimisation
and procurement.

“There’s a lot of confusion in hotel procurement right
now,” said BTP CEO Bruce Yoxsimer in a statement. “Unless you really
have your arms around your position as a buyer, it’s very difficult to build a
programme that supports your goals as an organisation. Our goal as partners is
to provide a clear path forward for companies as travel ramps back up.
Data-driven analytics, automation of manual processes and continuous sourcing
is the key.”

DigiTravel specialises in the business travel market.
Newcomer BTP partnered with Traxo earlier in 2021 to create a hotel programme
automation and performance platform to analyse both in-channel and off-channel
hotel bookings. About Partners represents independent hotels and serviced
apartments and formed an alliance with DigiTravel in November 2020.



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Air Belgium begins Airbus fleet renewal programme | News


Air Belgium has taken delivery of the first of two A330-900.

The aircraft is configured with 286 seats in a three-class layout – 30 comfortable lie-flat business class, 21 premium-class,  and 235 economy-class seats.

The aircraft is furnished with the Airbus Airspace cabin.

All seats are equipped with the latest-generation, in-flight entertainment system, on-board Wi-Fi and mood lighting.

Air Belgium will deploy the aircraft on routes connecting Brussels to long-haul destinations.

The Belgian carrier currently operates an all-Airbus widebody fleet comprising A330-200F and A340-300; the A340s will be gradually replaced by the A330neos.

The A330neo family is the new-generation A330; it builds on the proven economics, versatility and reliability of the A330 family, while reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by about 25 per cent-per-seat compared to previous-generation.

With an order book of more than 1,800 aircraft from 126 customers at the end of September, the A330 remains the most popular widebody family aircraft of all time.

Air Belgium is a full-service international destination carrier headquartered in Mont-Saint-Guibert.





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Expo 2020 Public Art Programme welcomes new works | News


With Expo 2020 Dubai readying to open its doors to the world on Friday, four Emirati artists from different generations are finalising the installation of their permanent public artworks on the site.

The artworks by Emirati artists Afra Al Dhaheri, Abdallah Al Saadi, Asma Belhamar and Shaikha Al Mazrou will be exhibited alongside other works by leading colleagues from the region and the world.

The hope is they will create a space for creativity across the Expo site, not only during the six-month duration of one of the world’s most anticipated events, but also for many years to come.

The Public Art Programme is curated by Tarek Abou El Fetouh and designed in alignment with the ambitious urban plans that will transform the Expo 2020 site into the future city of District 2020.

The programme is curated as a platform for contemporary art in the neighbourhood, with 11 permanent substantial public artworks interwoven within its urban fabric and offering the possibility for many more artworks in the future.

Al Saadi’s work, Terhal, is a permanent public intervention in a seating area, and embodies the result of his immersion in the unique natural surroundings of Wadi Tayyibah in the emirate of Fujairah.

In this work, the artist’s map-like paintings are inspired by different orientations on stones from the Wadi Tayyibah region.

The stones are organised according to his own symbolic code, in an invitation to discover a kind of poetic archaeological language.

The Plinth by Shaikha Al Mazrou embodies her aesthetic language, which diverts materiality and creates dynamic forms with an interplay of tension and balance, demonstrating the artist’s intuitive, keenly felt understanding of materials and their physical properties.

The work conceptually and formally references plinths, and its form allows the possibility of other artists to create artworks that can be exhibited in relation to it.

Al Mazrou intends the sculpture to function as a tool for future dialogue with other artists, whom she might not know or meet.

A special part of the Public Art Programme is curated by Muneera Al Sayegh and Mohammed Al Olama and includes two works that explore the role of monuments in the local landscape and their connection with memory, architecture and nature.

One work is a large-scale marble sculpture by artist Afra Al Dhaheri entitled Pillow Fort, which is inspired by the tikkay, traditional Emirati floor pillows, revisiting childhood moments of impromptu play when building a pillow tower or a fort with them.

These childhood forts existed within our rooms within our homes, as a space within a space within a space.

The viewer’s presence and interaction are essential in activating this work, which becomes a tool that connects society in a mass recollection of memory.

The other work titled Distorted Familiarities by artist Asma Belhamar confronts perspectives of nature and the built environment, marrying the two realities.

Belhamar speaks to the visual distortion experienced when commuting from mountainscapes into cityscapes, where the change from landscape to architecture and from topography to iconography feels like a journey through shifting scales and times.

More Information

Expo 2020 will run from October 1st to March next year, inviting visitors from every corner of the globe to discover a wide range of cultural and artistic initiatives dedicated to broadening horizons and bringing people, communities and nations together.





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British Airways launches sustainability programme


British
Airways has announced a partnership with energy firm bp to source sustainable aviation
fuels (SAFs) as part of BA Better World, its new sustainability programme.

As
part of the programme, the airline will source SAFs from bp with respect to all its flights
between London, Glasgow and Edinburgh during the UK’s COP26 climate change
summit being held in Glasgow later this year. BA
said the SAF sourced for the COP26 period provides a lifecycle carbon reduction
of up to 80 per cent compared to traditional jet fuel.

BA
has also announced that customers can now purchase SAFs to reduce their
carbon footprint via the not-for-profit organisation Pure Leapfrog. This is in
addition to the existing option for customers to offset their emissions.

The
new programme was launched at an event at Heathrow at which an A320neo in new sustainability livery was unveiled.

At
the event, the airline showcased some of the initiatives it has introduced to
improve sustainability in the air and on the
ground, including switching from diesel to renewably powered electric
pushback vehicles and removing weight from its aircraft by introducing lighter
seats and trollies, inflight magazines and paper flight manuals. It also
outlined its efforts to remove single-use plastic and source more products made
from recycled materials, including its First Class duvet and World Traveller
Plus amenity kits.

The
airline’s parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG), announced in April it would invest $400m over the next 20 years into the development of SAF, with
British Airways forming partnerships with a number of technology and fuel
companies to develop SAF plants and purchase the fuel, including Velocys
in the UK and LanzaJet in the US.

British
Airways CEO and chairman Sean Doyle said: “We’re clear that we have a
responsibility to reduce our impact on the planet and have a detailed plan
to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, including investing in more
fuel-efficient aircraft, improving our operational efficiency and
investing in the development of sustainable aviation fuel and zero emissions
aircraft.” 

Martin
Thomsen, CEO of bp’s aviation division added: “Our companies have a
long-standing relationship and will continue to work together on sustainable
aviation fuel supply initiatives on an on-going basis.”



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Expo 2020 Dubai unveils Programme for People and Planet | News


Expo 2020 Dubai has revealed the calendar for its Programme for People and Planet.

It is composed of a schedule of events, experiences, thought-leadership and public conversations that aim to find solutions for some of the most pressing problems facing the world.

Designed with and for the global community, the Programme for People and Planet will harness the connecting power of World Expos to catalyse a legacy of transformative change.

The Programme for People and Planet will run across the entire six months of Expo 2020, anchored by ten Theme weeks and 18 international days, each of which explore key issues of global significance.

Through the theme weeks, participants will investigate solutions to critical global challenges, ranging from mitigating climate change and biodiversity loss and making human habitats more sustainable, to bridging the digital divide and ensuring equal access to education and healthcare.

More than 220 events will take place as part of the programme, from large forums and public conventions, to seminars and workshops.

Underpinned by the themes of technology and innovation, youth and women and girls’ empowerment, the Programme for People and Planet will assemble an unparalleled array of perspectives, fostering exchanges of impactful ideas between leading experts.

Nadia Verjee, chief of staff, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Sitting at the heart of our World Expo, and taking place at a moment in time that could not be more urgent or opportune, the Programme for People and Planet is the manifestation of our theme and purpose, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating The Future’.

“It will not only form an essential part of our event-time activities, but will also catalyse a one-of-a-kind movement to shape the legacy that Expo 2020 leaves the world, long after we close our doors, resulting in a meaningful and measurable impact for generations to come.”

The Programme for People and Planet reflects challenges and opportunities facing not just the decision-makers of today, but all 7.8 billion people living on this planet.

Visitors to Expo 2020 will also be able to explore the topics raised in the Programme for People and Planet by embarking on a curated visitor journey.





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UK’s Johnson to Set Out Travel Plans After Vaccine Programme Takes Off | World News


LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will set out plans to reopen the economy and eventually relaunch international travel on Monday when he updates the coronavirus roadmap, aided by one of the fastest vaccine rollouts in the world.

As much of Europe enters new lockdowns to tackle surging cases, Johnson will give an update on his staggered plan to ease restrictions in the coming months, a huge boost for one of the worst-hit countries during the pandemic.

Johnson is expected to confirm that non-essential retail, outdoor hospitality and hairdressers can reopen on April 12 in England, while he will also give more details on vaccine passports and international travel.

Airlines are fighting for survival after a year of nearly no travel, and the government’s plan to use a traffic-light system for countries based on infection and vaccination levels gives a glimmer of hope that some form of holidays could take place.

Under the current plan international travel will not resume until May 17 at the earliest. The Financial Times said Johnson was not expected to set out a specific timeframe.

The gradual relaxation of rules will also be aided by an increase in testing availability, with everyone in England entitled to take a rapid COVID-19 test twice a week to prevent outbreaks and find those people not displaying symptoms.

“As we continue to make good progress on our vaccine programme and with our roadmap to cautiously easing restrictions underway, regular rapid testing is even more important to make sure those efforts are not wasted,” Johnson said in a statement.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are following their own, similar paths out of a strict lockdown that was imposed at the beginning of this year.

Britain is able to pursue a recovery after it gave AstraZeneca and Pfizer shots to more than half the adult population. A reopening of schools in March has also not yet led to a spike in cases, despite a ramp-up in more testing.

But the United Kingdom has been badly hit by the pandemic. With almost 127,000 deaths, it has the fifth highest toll in the world behind the United States, Brazil, Russia and India.

In 2020 its gross domestic product fell by 9.8%, the most in more than three centuries and one of the deepest contractions in the world. Households have saved however, and sterling has gained against the euro ahead of the reopening.

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.



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Celebrity Cruises unveils digital support programme for agents


Celebrity Cruises has launched the first in a series of digital initiatives to support agents and update them about developments at the brand.

On Wednesday (February 17), the cruise line unveiled its first digital ‘Selling Guide’, which it says will act as an ‘online encyclopaedia’ for agents.

The guide will help the trade to sell Celebrity’s new 2022-23 luxury cruises, with information presented in a flipbook format.

It features selling tips and videos, along with interactive links to access other support tools, such as flyers and digital brochures.

Agents can learn about the refurbished Celebrity Silhouette (pictured) which will cruise from Southampton next year.

The cruise line has also launched a new ‘Power Up Points’ scheme, which will allow agents to earn Celebrity Rewards points by connecting with the brand through interactive activities and on social media, as well as through sales.


More: Celebrity Cruises unveils no-fly sailings for Silhouette


The more agents participate in activities on social media, the more points they can earn.

To start the four-week reward scheme, Celebrity Cruises is asking agents to share their favourite sales tip from the Selling Guide by commenting on its UK or Ireland agent Facebook pages.

Five winners will be selected and given £10/€12 worth of Rewards points.

Claire Stirrup, sales director at Celebrity Cruises, said: “With many agents continuing to work from home, we are continuously looking at new ways we can embrace technology to be there for our partners and give back to them.

“We know many guests are looking for inspiration and planning their next holiday, so our Selling Guide is an incredibly useful resource to help agents sell a well-deserved, luxury holiday.”

The Selling Guide is now accessible to all agents on the Celebrity Central trade website, www.celebritycentral.co.uk. Terms and conditions of the Power Up points scheme can be found on the Celebrity Rewards website, accessed via Celebrity Central.

Further announcements about the Celebrity Cruises digital support programme will be announced in the coming weeks.

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