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The federal Government of Canada announced the investment of a minimum of $50M from the Tourism Relief Fund (TRF) in Indigenous tourism projects. The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) is very pleased with this renewed commitment from the government to support the recovery of the Indigenous tourism industry across the country.

"The Government of Canada demonstrated their commitment to the importance of investing in Indigenous tourism in Canada,” said Keith Henry, president and CEO of the ITAC. “This is a very significant direct commitment for Indigenous tourism businesses, Indigenous Tourism Provincial/Territorial Partners and the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada. We are working out the two-year implementation details and will be moving quickly to support our Indigenous tourism industry recover and rebuild."

The aforementioned investment is part of a total commitment of $500M in the TRF to support the tourism industry overall, of which $485 million will be delivered by Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) directly to tourism businesses and organizations to help aid in the creation of new tourism experiences, or enhance existing ones. Of this $500 million, a minimum of 10% will be invested in Indigenous tourism projects ($50M). Additionally, $15M has been allocated in part to support national ITAC projects.

Individual businesses and Provincial/Territorial Indigenous Tourism Organizations will need to apply for repayable or non-repayable funding directly through their respective RDAs. Contributions to Indigenous entities (not generating profits) will normally be non-repayable. Indigenous applicants are invited to apply through the process described below.:

Though Canadian domestic travel restrictions have begun easing, this funding has come at a crucial time as international borders remain closed and operators have nearly lost their second full summer season of business. While many businesses received initial non-repayable grants through ITAC in fall 2020, without a further influx of funding to offset these compounded losses, and the fact that ITAC was only allocated $2.4M of the requested $68.3M in the 2021 federal budget – meaning they could not provide further financial support to their members – their viability to survive the third wave was uncertain. After months of advocacy efforts by ITAC to secure the future of their operators, experiences and community members, this financial commitment by the Government specifically for Indigenous tourism businesses is welcomed by ITAC and showcases their recognition of Indigenous tourism as a vital part of the economy and the culture of the country.

 
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SIHOT, one of the leading modular hotel management software systems, has launched SIHOT.KIOSK to provide guests with a seamless, fully digitalised check-in experience while automating hotel operations.

The new check-in terminal provides hotels with a secure and efficient check-in point for guests, designed to bring greater efficiencies while capturing all essential guest information. The SIHOT.KIOSK software, connected to SIHOT’s Property Management System, is accompanied by the Stellar TK-2130, a modular kiosk system that can be customised to the hotel’s brand and lobby interior.

Guests can use their booking confirmation details including reservation number, GDS or QR codes to complete the data requirements for check-in registration and confirm the hotel’s terms and conditions. SIHOT.KIOSK also features an AdriaScan ID reader for the immediate, automatic transfer of text-data from personal IDs and passports into the hotel management system. On completion of the registration process, the terminal generates a room key card for the guest. 

Hotels can also earn ancillary revenue by offering upgrade options, presenting the guest with room details including images and descriptions in various categories, while integrating other services, like breakfast or hotel transportation. 

Carsten Wernet, Executive Board Member at SIHOT, said: “Guests are more digital savvy than ever before, and hotels need to ensure data is compliant and accessible. We’ve developed the kiosk system and terminal so hotels can tailor the check-in experience to each specific property to provide a full brand experience. We are continuously evolving our platforms to bring greater efficiencies to hotel operations so staff can focus on serving their guests rather than fulfilling processes. Hotels can benefit from our wide range of integrations to connect applications to elevate the guest experience.” 

SIHOT.KIOSK is designed for easy and quick servicing and maintenance, and features a touch-screen monitor fitted with an antibacterial nano-coating with bacteriostatic and sterilising components to maintain hygiene and cleanliness.

The terminal has also been built to handle the check out process, taking prepayment by credit or debit card, automatically booked and billed via SIHOT.KIOSK with the guest receiving an invoice to their nominated email address. The kiosk system was specially developed by SIHOT for self-service applications with additional integration options to connect peripheral devices for hotel operations.

 
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    • Total value of world’s top 50 most valuable hotel brands has declined by 33% (US$22.8 billion) as sector negotiates fallout from COVID-19 pandemic
    • Hilton retains title of world’s most valuable hotel brand, despite recording 30% brand value decrease to US$7.6 billion
    • Hyatt is fastest growing brand in top 10 and one of only two brands to record brand value growth in top 50, up 4%
    • New entrant Taj is sector’s strongest, with AAA strength rating
    • Leisure & tourism brands also take hit, cumulative brand value down 40%

    As holidays are cancelled and people are instructed to work from home, the hospitality sector has reached an almost complete standstill both from tourism, as well as corporate travel. As a result, the total value of the top 50 most valuable hotel brands has decreased 33% year-on-year, down from US$70.2 billion in 2020 to US$47.4 billion in 2021, according to the latest Brand Finance Hotels 50 2021 report.

    Savio D’Souza, Valuation Director, Brand Finance, commented:

    “The hotels sector has completely ground to a halt over the previous year, the repercussions of which are demonstrated by the sharp brand value declines for almost all of the top 50 most valuable hotel brands. The sector is a resilient one, however. As the world begins to open back up again, we are already witnessing a strong improvement in bookings and occupancy levels across the board, showcasing the strength of brands despite the turmoil of the last year.”

    Hilton retains top spot

    Hilton once again is the world’s most valuable hotel brands, despite recording a 30% drop in brand value to US$7.6 billion. While Hilton’s revenue has taken a significant hit since the outbreak of the pandemic, the brand is showing confidence in its growth strategy, announcing a further 17,400 rooms to its pipeline, bringing the total to over 400,000 new rooms planned – an uplift of 8% on the previous year. Hilton also boasts the most valuable hotel portfolio, with its seven brands that feature in the ranking reaching a total brand value of US$13.8 billion.

    Hilton’s rival, Marriott (down 60% to US$2.4 billion), has dropped down to 5th spot from 2nd, after losing more than half of its brand value. Last year, the brand’s worldwide revenue available per room was down 60% from 2019 and global occupancy was just 36% for the year.

    Hyatt checks into 2nd spot

    Bucking the sector trend as one of only two brands in the ranking to record brand value growth is Hyatt (up 4% to US$4.7 billion)Despite the pandemic impacting its performance greatly, Hyatt’s net rooms growth has been strong, opening 72 hotels and entering 27 new markets. Furthermore, the brand has continued to execute new signings to maintain its pipeline, which represent over 40% growth of existing hotel rooms in the future.

    Taj is sector’s strongest

    In addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance also evaluates the relative strength of brands, based on factors such as marketing investment, customer familiarity, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation. According to these criteria, Taj (brand value US$296 million) is the world’s strongest hotel brand, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 89.3 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA brand strength rating.

    Renowned for its world-class customer service, the luxury hotel chain scores very well in our Global Brand Equity Monitor for consideration, familiarity, recommendation, and reputation especially across its home market of India.

    Taj’s successful implementation of its 5-year plan - which focuses on selling non-core assets, becoming less ownership driven and reducing dependence on the luxury space – followed by the speedy adoption of its new R.E.S.E.T 2020 strategy, which provides a transformative framework to help the brand overcome the challenge of the pandemic, has contributed to the brand’s re-entrance into the ranking for the first time since 2016 in 38th spot.

    Brand Finance Leisure & Tourism 10 2021

    Alongside analysing the world’s most valuable hotel brands, Brand Finance also ranks the top 10 most valuable brands in the wider leisure & tourism industry.This year, the total value of the world’s top 10 most valuable leisure & tourism brands has declined by 40%.

    Despite booking.com recording a 19% brand value loss to US$8.3 billion, it has overtaken Airbnb (down 67% to US$3.4 billion) and Trip.com Group (down 38% to US$3.5 billion)to become the most valuable leisure & tourism brand in the world. The fastest falling brand this year, Airbnb, cut a quarter of its workforce last year, and was forced to scale back on new initiatives that it had in the pipeline, including luxury resorts and flights.

    Happy Valley (down 37% to US$1.2 billion)is the sector’s strongest brand, with a BSI score of 84.1 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA- brand strength rating.

    Three new entrants in ranking

    There are three new entrants into the ranking this year, AMC Theatres (brand value US$1.8 billion) in 7thPriceline (brand value US$1.5 billion) in 8th, and Shenzhen Overseas Chinese Town (brand value to US$1.3 billion) in 9th.

    The world’s largest cinema chain, AMC, has struggled as cinemas were shut amid global lockdowns. The brand will be hoping their fortunes will reverse as customers slowly start to return to the big screen and blockbusters that have been delayed are finally released. 

    The three new entrants have pushed out three cruise brands, which have dropped out the ranking this year: Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise, and Carnival Cruise Lines.


 
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The Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a Division of ISSA, today announced that it is collaborating with Global Healthcare Accreditation® (GHA) to support hotels seeking formal accreditation for their cleaning programs, as well as guest safety and satisfaction for medical and wellness travelers. The GBAC STAR™ / GHA WellHotel® Program, which provides assurance and external validation of a property’s risk mitigation protocols and guest experience, includes two remote accreditation options: GBAC STAR / GHA WellHotel for Medical Travel and GBAC STAR / GHA WellHotel for Well-being.

“Before the pandemic, global wellness and medical travel generated over US$700 billion of revenue annually, making it an important focus for many hospitality properties,” said GHA CEO Karen Timmons. “In the wake of the pandemic, there is a growing consensus that consumers will turn to trusted sources as safety increasingly becomes a brand differentiator. GBAC STAR / GHA WellHotel Accreditation ensures hotels comply with recognized industry-wide hotel cleaning and sanitation standards required by COVID-19, as well as customer experience and safety protocols specific to the needs and expectations of medical travel and wellness guests. GHA is proud to partner with GBAC to align the WellHotel programs with GBAC STAR and build trust and confidence on the part of guests traveling for medical care and well-being.”

GBAC STAR / GHA WellHotel for Medical Travel helps hospitality properties of all types, such as luxury, boutique, extended-stay, and airport hotels, put the appropriate safety protocols in place to care for medical travel guests. Meanwhile, GBAC STAR / GHA WellHotel for Well-being is a framework that enables hotels to meet the needs of wellness-minded tourists. Properties can also achieve both accreditations at once through a combined application process.

The program is based on 38 elements, 20 associated with GBAC STAR and 18 for GHA WellHotel. Each have specific performance and guidance criteria that hotels must fulfill.Accredited hotels will receive a co-branded GBAC/GHA STAR seal to display in guest and employee areas to further build trust and confidence.

“Both GBAC STAR and GHA WellHotel Accreditation are built upon a strong commitment to cleaning, disinfection, infection prevention, and guest experience, in order to protect facility visitors and employees,” said GBAC Executive Director Patricia Olinger. “By aligning our programs with one another, we’re able to offer hotels a comprehensive approach to accreditation and give both medical and wellness travelers greater peace of mind that these properties are safe and focused on their unique needs.”

GBAC STAR is the cleaning industry’s only outbreak prevention, response, and recovery accreditation for facilities. The performance-based program is designed to help facilities of all sizes establish a comprehensive system of cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention for biohazard situations like the novel coronavirus.

For more information, visit wellhotel.org/gbac.

 
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The travel industry can boost global recovery by addressing consumer trust gaps in price transparency, COVID-19 health and safety measures, data privacy and information credibility, according to new independent research commissioned by worldwide leader in travel retail, Travelport.

“The travel industry needs to sharpen its focus on trust”, said Greg Webb, Chief Executive Officer at Travelport. “This study has shown, as an industry, we are not as trusted as we would like. The good news, however, is that we now know what the issues are, and we also have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hit reset, as countries re-open and travelers eagerly get back on airplanes. If we move quickly to address these issues, we can accelerate industry recovery as well as the modernization of travel retailing.”

The Four Trust Gaps

  1. Price Transparency

The study of 11,000 travelers across 10 countries, including 1,000 in Canada, was conducted by Edelman Data & Intelligence (DxI), the research and analytics arm of Edelman, which has studied trust for over 20 years through the Edelman Trust Barometer. In Canada, it revealed the two most important factors in building consumer trust in travel agencies and travel suppliers, such as airlines, are having ‘no hidden costs’ (70%) and ‘fully flexible or refundable products’ (53%). Unfortunately, most travelers currently deem industry performance in both of these factors to be poor (68% and 70% respectively)[1]. Travelers in Canada were among the world’s most disappointed, with a significant 38 and 23 percentage point gap between importance and performance on those two points respectively.

“The importance of price transparency can’t be overstated”, continued Webb. “To put it into context, having no hidden costs is a full 27% more influential on trust than an airline’s long-term safety record. The request from consumers here is clear; the time has come to eliminate hidden fees and improve the overall transparency of pricing and communication.”

  1. COVID-19 Health & Safety

While the nearly half (46%) of Canadian travelers that participated in the study said the industry has done well in implementing COVID-19 health and safety measures, many still shared lingering concerns when it comes to how robustly some measures are being enforced. Improved air filtration was shown to engender the least confidence among travelers, with only 36% in Canada (compared to 46% globally) saying they trust it to be effectively implemented. Social distancing (40%) and managed boarding and queuing (47%) were also perceived weak points[2].

Webb added: “The travel industry should be proud of how quickly and effectively it responded to COVID-19. What we learned from the study, however, is that travel suppliers and agencies will benefit from being clearer in their communication on certain measures, like social distancing.”

  1. Data Privacy

Data privacy was another key issue highlighted by the research. Only one third of travelers in Canada (33%, compared to 40% globally) reported that they currently trust travel companies to use their personal information in the right way. Globally, this was especially apparent among Baby Boomers (33%) and Gen Z (36%) respondents.

When it comes to using information to personalize experiences, travelers in Canada said they are most comfortable with companies using data that they have actively shared with them through one-to-one conversations (45%), past booking behavior (43%) and loyalty activity (42%). They are less comfortable, however, when information is sourced indirectly, for example, through social media activity (24%), public records like credit scores (27%) and past shopping, search and booking behavior with other companies (31%).

  1. Information Credibility

According to the research, the most trusted source of travel-related information that travelers in Canada use when researching a trip are those perceived to have aligned interests: friends and family (68%), with the next-most trusted source of official tourism boards coming in far behind (47%). In contrast, the least trusted are those with a clear vested interest in selling, such as social media influencers (18%) and celebrities (16%). Once again, Gen Z was revealed to be the least trusting in almost every category globally[3].

A similar story played out when examining trust in different types of travel-related information[4]. Customer ratings (48%) and written customer reviews (48%) are among the most trusted amongst travellers in Canada. However, third-party certification (32%), third-party ratings such as hotel star systems (39%), and photos of products such as hotel rooms provided by travel companies (36%) were revealed to be the least trusted. 

Enabling Retail

In addition to identifying gaps in trust, the research also uncovered evidence that trust directly influences purchasing behavior. Due to COVID-19, almost half (44%) of Canadian travelers today, for example, were shown to prioritize trust over all other factors when choosing a travel supplier. Many travelers also stated, when trust is in place, they will consider purchasing multiple travel-related items (45%), upgrading their package (34%) and buying non-travel-related items such as credit cards (23%).

“Trusted companies make better retailers”, Webb concluded. “When trust is combined with cutting-edge technology and effective sales, it becomes a powerful proposition. At Travelport, we will continue to invest in each of these areas in a bid to not only help the industry rebound from the pandemic, but come out the other side more agile and stronger.”  

For additional trust in travel insights from Travelport, please visit travelport.com/trust

 

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