The Travel Corporation has re-affirmed its commitment to its travel agent partners with the creation of a robust new online initiative, My Travel Portal.

An industry first in guided holidays and river cruising, the portal provides agents with a simplified solution for delivering the best service for clients.

From providing the highest duty of care to effortlessly personalising client trips, everything is taken care of within the only cohesive online portal of its kind currently in the industry.

My Travel Portal affords agents extra hours in their lives, knowing there’s a simple go-to place that holds all the necessary information for each client’s travel plans within the family-owned, international travel group.

It also hosts an e documentation portal, saving both time and trees.

My Travel Portal means less hassle for agents and their clients alike.

From having client emergency contact details to hand in the event of unforeseen circumstances to obtaining travellers’ personal preferences to ensure a trip is tailored to specific tastes, My Travel Portal facilitates assistance with holiday plans in one centralised and convenient platform.

Addressing pre-trip, on-trip and post-trip needs, the portal is an invaluable resource for clients wishing to view itineraries on their mobile device rather than in paper format, seamlessly share holiday snaps on social media, take trip notes in their journal and chat with their travel director and fellow travellers, plus providing overall peace of mind.

Commenting on the My Travel Portal launch and implementation across the portfolio, Brett Tollman, chief executive, The Travel Corporation, said: “We are proud to announce our latest innovative initiative, My Travel Portal, which has been carefully crafted with our agent partners in mind.

“At The Travel Corporation, we take immense pride in the trust and valuable relationships we have built across the industry globally and we continually strive to equip agents with the best tools for success.”

For initial launch, the singular platform encompasses Trafalgar, CostSaver, Contiki, Insight Vacations, and Luxury Gold.

U by Uniworld and Uniworld will follow shortly thereafter this year, and then additional brands from The Travel Corporation portfolio will be added to My Travel Portal in due course.

Corporate Traveller is launching Your.CT, a new travel technology platform designed purely to meet the needs of its customer base.

The platform gives bookers, travellers and managers a single access point, via their customised dashboard, to functionality and information that is relevant to their business travel needs.

This includes pre-trip approval, booking options, profile management, traveller tracking, travel alerts, reports, invoice data and travel policy. 

The platform can be accessed via PC, tablet or mobile device.

In addition, Corporate Traveller is launching Your.TC Mobile, a bespoke app fully integrated with Your.TC’s booking platform which gives travellers access to their flight and hotel bookings all in one place while they are on the move.

Travellers can use the app for online check-in, flight status alerts, weather forecasts, currency conversion and destination guides.

Andy Hegley, UK general manager, Corporate Traveller, explained: “We are the only and longest-established travel management companies specialising purely in clients with a small or medium enterprise business travel spend of £50,000 to £2 million per annum, meaning that we understand the nuances of their business travel requirements better than anyone else.

“Our approach to travel management is based around small teams of highly experienced travel consultants providing personal service, support and guidance to clients with a small or medium enterprise spend locally via our 20 offices across the UK.

“Each client is looked after by a dedicated travel consultant within the team who builds a close working relationship with that client and delivers exceptional customer service.”

LAS VEGAS: Underscoring its leadership in environmental sustainability, LG Electronics USA was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the Champion Award, special recognition for demonstrating significant environmental, social and economic outcomes that go above and beyond the requirements of the EPA's Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Electronics Challenge.

The company received the Product Champion Award for LG OLED TVs, which are designed to reduce environmental impact and to be easier to disassemble and recycle. Presented here today on "CES® 2018 Sustainability Day," the Champion Award recognizes LG's "leadership in innovating processes and products that focus on environmentally responsible material use throughout its entire life cycle," according to the EPA.

LG also earned the EPA's Silver Tier Award in recognition of LG's significant contributions to the EPA's SMM Electronics Challenge goals by collecting a significant amount of used electronics for reuse and recycle, sending 100 percent of used electronics to certified third-party recyclers, and publicly sharing detailed information about its electronic management practices.

"Innovative industry leaders like LG – finding new, sustainable methods to reduce electronic waste – are paving the way for the future of manufacturing," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "Through their efforts, our SMM Electronics Challenge exemplifies the ability to promote economic growth while protecting human health and the environment."

Acer on Saturday  launched the world's thinnest laptop1, the new Swift 7 (SF714-51T). At just 8.98 mm thin, the new Swift 7 is an always-connected PC running Windows 10 that's designed for mobility, with an ultraportable design packing a powerful Intel® Core™ i7 processor, all-day battery life and a personal, trusted 4G LTE connection.

"We're extremely proud to make the world's thinnest laptop even thinner with the new Swift 7," said Jerry Kao, President of IT Products Business of Acer Inc. "Building on the engineering breakthroughs from the previous generation, the new Swift 7 steps up the game with an even slimmer chassis, powerful performance and always-on 4G LTE connectivity for professionals on the go."

"The next PC anyone buys should be a great PC – powerful to feed the newest, richest experiences all day long," said Chris Walker, Vice President of Intel Corp. "Acer's Swift 7 delivers on the performance expectation then ups the ante with built-in 4G LTE in an ultra-thin, stunning design. It's the perfect PC for those who have things to do and create anywhere, at any time."

"Acer's new Swift 7 is a great Windows 10 PC for on-the-go professionals or consumers who crave portability and connectivity," said Peter Han, Vice President, Partner Devices and Solutions, Microsoft Corp. "The Swift 7 is thin, light, and perfect for customers to stay connected on the go."

Always-Connected

The Acer Swift 7's unmatched slim design is only the beginning of the new features on offer. Blazing-fast, built-in Intel XMM 4G LTE connectivity keeps users productive and always-connected, especially useful for professionals who wish to eliminate tedious wireless connection problems on the road so they can stay focused on the task at hand. In addition to a Nano SIM card slot, the Swift 7 features eSIM technology, allowing download and activation of eSIM profiles. The Swift 7 ships with a Transatel profile provisioned with up to 1 GB2 of free data valid for one month in 48 countries3 to help users get started immediately, while additional data plans can be easily purchased as needed through the Mobile Plans application while travelling around the world. 802.11ac wireless with 2x2 MIMO provides reliable and fast connections to the office or home network.

Microsoft Corp. will publish fiscal year 2018 second-quarter financial results after the close of the market on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, on the Microsoft Investor Relations website at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/Investor/. A live webcast of the earnings conference call will be made available at 2:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT" @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

 

Booking.com has announced the expansion of the pilot version of its new service and support chatbot, the Booking Assistant, now widely available to English-language bookings worldwide.

As the latest evolution of Booking.com’s messaging platform, the Booking Assistant merges proprietary artificial intelligence technology with the company’s already-robust customer service support.

Available to an increasing number of travellers in advance of the busy end-of-year travel season, the Booking Assistant empowers customers to get first-line support for their upcoming bookings, including timely responses to their most common stay-related requests, all through a single intuitive chat interface.

Built entirely in house, the Booking Assistant seeks to quickly identifying and automatically responding to an increasingly broad range of post-booking related questions from travellers, all via their preferred device and platform.

The Booking Assistant leverages natural language processing technology to identify the most frequently asked questions from customers, including topics such as payment, transportation, arrival and departure times, date changes, cancellation requests, parking information, extra bed requests, pet policies, Wi-Fi and internet availability, as well as a wide variety of greetings and thank-you messages.

“For us, artificial intelligence is not about replacing human interaction, but is instead a vehicle to facilitate an even more personalised, instantaneously gratifying and frictionless travel experience for consumers,” said James Waters, global director of customer service at Booking.com.

“As we operate in an industry that is incredibly personal, emotional and complex, maintaining the right balance between genuine human interaction and efficient automation is something we’re always trying to fine-tune and optimise throughout every stage of the consumer journey, including with the Booking Assistant.”

No matter which device or preferred communication channel travellers use, they can get the answers they need via the Booking Assistant.

The Booking Assistant was built as a mobile-first experience and has been adapted to operate natively within the iOS and Android versions of the Booking.com app, as well as via Facebook Messenger.

It can also be accessed via the Booking.com website on desktop, mobile or tablet.

Norwegian Cruise Line has introduced the next generation of its booked guest mobile application, the Cruise Norwegian app.

Designed to be the ideal travel companion from time of booking to day of disembarkation, the new app features a multitude of functions that help provide a stress-free vacation experience, helping guests make the most of their time on and off the ship as well as stay connected with their friends and family both on board and back home.

“Whether they’re 60 days from their sail date or in the middle of their cruise, the Cruise Norwegian app brings seamless anytime-access to a myriad of onboard offerings, services and activities right into the palms of our guests’ hands,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line.

“Once on board, the Cruise Norwegian app will allow guests to continue customising their ideal cruise experience and view or manage their existing account information, allowing them to maximise their time and spend it on the things they enjoy the most.”

With the Cruise Norwegian app, guests’ dream cruise vacation is right at their fingertips with the capability to preview and book shore excursions, make dining and entertainment reservations, purchase onboard packages such as dining and beverage packages or special occasion packages before they cruise.

Helping provide a stress-free embarkation day, the Cruise Norwegian app provides directions to the port and with mobile online check-in functionality guests can save time at the pier and have a paperless boarding process with mobile e-docs.

Once on board, guests can use the Cruise Norwegian app complimentary by connecting to the ship’s Wi-Fi to stay up-to-date on what’s happening on board.

The app allows guests to make reservations for their favourite Broadway-style shows, snag a seat for a mouth-watering dinner at one of Norwegian’s many Freestyle dining restaurants and book their next in-port adventure on a shore excursion.

Before disembarking the ship, guests using the app can track and review their onboard purchases, as well as view helpful disembarkation information including immigration and Easy Walk-off details.

Those dreaming of their next cruise vacation can view information about Norwegian’s Cruise Next program and review their Latitudes Rewards points and learn about onboard tier benefits.

Wednesday, 06 December 2017 00:00

FCM rolls-out Smart Assistant for Mobile globally

Sam, FCM’s ground-breaking Smart Assistant for Mobile is now globally live on the App Store and Google Play.

Sam blends a powerful mix of artificial intelligence with the expertise of real FCM travel consultants to deliver personalised, relevant information to business travellers’ mobile devices through a chat-based interface.

The highly interactive, travel-savvy app supports business travellers with all aspects of travel via a conversational interface to answer questions, make recommendations and perform actions before, during and post trip.

Two levels of Sam are now available to business travellers: 

  • A basic free version that enables any user to add their trips manually, view weather, traffic and flight alerts, and connects with local ground transport options.
  • A premium version exclusively for FCM customers with additional features that are configured for these customers as part of their tailored rollout. These premium features include auto-synching the traveller’s bookings, integrated self-booking tool, live chat with an FCM consultant to provide service and make or amend bookings on the move; and the option for the user to ‘share location’ as part of a mobile duty of care feature.

Sam was first launched to FCM clients in the USA in September 2016.

Now, as of November 2017, FCM customers in the UK are using the premium version of Sam and a phased roll-out is in progress for FCM clients across the rest of Europe, Asia and Latin America over the course of 2018.

FCM customers in Germany will have access to Sam’s enhanced premium features from mid-2018.

Marcus Eklund, global general manager, FCM Travel Solutions, commented: “As a leading global travel management company, FCM is pioneering game-changing business travel technology and we are delighted to announce that Sam is live and can be downloaded globally.

“Our clients’ travellers in the USA and UK are now using Sam’s ground-breaking interactive and supportive features while they are on the move and Sam will be rolled out across other markets over the course of 2018.

“Most technology solutions in business travel focus on the needs of the corporate buyer and bookers, not the needs of the business traveller and their experience while travelling.

“FCM believes there is a genuine need to support business travellers too, giving them an enjoyable experience on the move,” said Eklund.

“Business travel can be a challenging process for travellers - upheavals caused by change of circumstances, delays, rushing to the airport, packing the night before, all on top of the stresses of actually doing business and the purpose of the trip.

“Our FCM Lab developed Sam to support our client’s individual travellers and make life easier for them.

“Sam aggregates all the information a traveller needs in one place at the point when the user needs it offering a seamless end-to-end experience across all aspects of travel.

“However, Sam doesn’t replace the human touch entirely.

“Business travel is about people and FCM’s approach will still be about blending the latest technology with personal service.

“Users of Sam can call or message their consultant at any time for live assistance on the go,” concluded Eklund.

Trainline has launched a voice app built for the Google Assistant.

The app allows rail travellers to talk to Trainline by asking everyday travel questions about their journey, with real-time updates on details that matter most, like timetables and delays.

The Trainline app for the Google Assistant is now available on eligible Android phones, on the Assistant app on iOS, and on Assistant-enabled devices like Google Home.

Trainline’s voice app combines Trainline’s leading travel technology experience with Google’s conversational platform to make accessing information on the move easier than ever before.

Trainline’s voice app can handle deep conversational complexity, including answering twelve layers of questioning.

 

 

Rail commuters who are in a rush to get to and from work can also teach Trainline’s voice app to recognise their commuting patterns from regular places such as home. 

The app also has smart built-in features: for example, real-time delays and the time required to walk to or from a station are taken into account when providing answers

Trainline’s voice app can help simplify people’s lives - especially for people in a rush to get somewhere like walking between stations through a crowd, or getting ready in the morning.

As people use the app, it will reveal more features over time.

Dave Slocombe, product director, Trainline, said: “Trainline’s mission is to use technology to make travel as smart and simple as possible.

“Trainline’s voice app is the latest in a long line of innovations that make this possible.

“We’re proud to have worked with Google and its powerful new Assistant platform on the creation of voice capabilities that can deliver complex travel information in a quick, simple and personal way.”

Airbus, in cooperation with Japan Airlines and JAL Engineering, has developed a prototype application supporting new training solutions, taking advantage of the world’s most advanced mixed reality technology, Microsoft HoloLens and immersive headsets.

This will enable the airline community to benefit from cost-effective and highly enhanced training and operational solutions, pushing the boundaries of what is currently available.

HoloLens and immersive headsets provide access to aircraft digital data which can be viewed from any angle to run specific aircraft procedures, virtually.

This innovative technology brings key business value as users can learn from anywhere, without the need of the physical aircraft, via a holographic coach or an interactive, shared 3D virtual system.

“Aircraft manufacturer Airbus and airline operator JAL have cooperated together and combined high expertise from the both sides on this innovation, making a step forward into a new training era.

 

 

“The success of this cooperation will set new standards in terms of training for the industry,” said Yuji Akasaka, managing executive officer, engineering and maintenance, president of JAL Engineering.

Airbus recently became one of the rare industrial players to be a member of the Microsoft Mixed Reality Partner Program.

As such, Airbus expertise in mixed reality is not only recognised but certified by Microsoft, meaning the company can build and exploit mixed reality on behalf of Microsoft.

Stéphane Ginoux, president, Airbus Japan, said: “We believe this technology, developed in cooperation with JAL and JAL Engineering, will bring significant value across our business.

“It will change fundamentally the way people interact with our data and work process.”

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