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  • Meet Minneapolis: Travel to the Twin Cities this Summer for HITEC 2019

    We all know that travel can be a real hassle. So, what about a trip makes it worth packing up your suitcase, saying goodbye to your family for the next few days, fighting the airport and staying in a.

  • New Global Directors Join the 2018-2019 HFTP Board

    The HFTP 2018-2019 Global Board of Directors was installed during the association's 2018 Annual Convention and introduces new directors Toni Bau, Carson Booth, CHTP and Mark Fancourt. These extensive director profiles give insight into the distinguished professions and personal goals of HFTP's newest association leaders.

  • A Series of Must-Read Articles on Cybersecurity Produced by the HFTP Research Centers

    Data security remains a pressing concern and top priority for the hospitality industry. The HFTP Research Centers are dedicated to producing findings that can significantly aid hospitality businesses in their efforts to protect their guests’ privacy and personal information against potential cyber threats and attacks.

  • HITEC Special: Does EU GDPR Affect U.S. Hospitality Companies?

    By Alvaro Hidalgo. The EU General Data Protection Regulation has set a path towards protecting personal data which many other countries will follow. In a global industry such as hospitality, it should be a primary objective to take the steps towards compliance.

The Guild Launches Tech-driven Hotel Experience ·10 October 2018
Falling somewhere between a boutique hotel experience and an Airbnb, The Guild is launching today with $9 million in funding led by Maveron with participation from Convivialite Ventures and Corigin Ventures to provide travelers with tech-driven hospitality. The startup is also officially expanding into Miami, Cincinnati and Denver. Based in Austin, The Guild has a handful of properties in Austin and Dallas.The Guild works by partnering with building owners to operate hotel accommodations in commercially-zoned or mixed-use buildings. The Guild's room offerings range from a mix of traditional hotel rooms to more apartment-style accommodations (think studio, 1 BR and 2 BR apartments).Right now, The Guild leases the 290 units across its five markets, but the company is open to revenue-share and other types of financing structures down the road. Before launching in a market, The Guild looks at the area's walkability and the prevalence of businesses and conferences. In general, it's paying attention to the potential for marketability. By the end of next year, The Guild expects to operate in 1,000 units across up to 10 markets.

Airbnb quietly launches its own Stories for users to build video montages of their travels - ·25 May 2018
The stories format has been one of the most sticky features of social apps like Snapchat and Instagram, letting users stitch together video, photo and text overlays to convey moods and experiences to friends and followers; even Google has incorporated stories into its services. Now Airbnb is becoming the latest adopter of the format: the travel and accommodations startup has quietly launched a new feature called Travel Stories, a way for guests to create video sequences of their Airbnb experiences to post on the site.The company has sent out invitations for a beta of the service to a pool of users (pictured below, sent to us by reader Matteo Gamba, who runs an Airbnb blog). A FAQ page about the new format says that for now Story making is only available on the latest version of its iPhone app, under the Travel Stories tab of your profile. Video clips are limited to 10 seconds each and are taken from your camera roll and can be edited in the Airbnb app.

The birth of the Universal Digital Profile - ·24 May 2018
It is a well-known fact that Europeans are generally more concerned about privacy than some other countries. Indeed, we've had a history of major privacy breaches that had such catastrophic consequences that it is now part of our culture that personal data should be treated as highly sensitive -- something the U.S. is now catching up to in the wake of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal. The culmination of this is the new EU-wide privacy regulation, the GDPR, which will come into effect on May 25, 2018, and was a hot topic during the recent Zuckerberg testimony.

Airbnb's home-hotel hybrid will open in Florida next year | ·16 October 2017
While Airbnb continues to grow its number of hosts and guests on the platform, sending the hotel industry into a frenzy, landlords and building owners don't share the same enthusiasm for the home-sharing platform as Airbnb users.But the company has a new plan that gets each party on board with home-sharing.The company is collaborating with development firm Newgard Development Group to build a 324-unit building in Kissimmee, FL that will be branded as an Airbnb building. Tenants in the building will be able to rent their apartments or individual rooms (exclusively on Airbnb, of course) for up to 180 days of the year, and will be encouraged to do so. The first building will be called Niido, powered by Airbnb.

The battle between hotels and Airbnb escalates in NYC | ·10 August 2017
The war between Airbnb and the hotel industry rages on, and it's reaching new lows here in New York.A campaign, backed by the Hotel Association of New York City Inc. and the union that represents hotel workers, launched a 10-day, 30-second ad that links Airbnb's short-term rentals to public security threats.The ad sets the stage for fear-mongering, stating that NYC remains the number one target of terror in the world, citing the NYPD police commissioner, and reminding viewers that there are 40,000 Airbnb listings in NYC.The ad even goes so far as to say that Manchester bomber Salman Abedi was staying in a short-term rental apartment when he staged and executed the attack, being sent massive packages.

Airbnb is doubling down on China | ·22 March 2017
Uber may have become the latest in a long line of Western tech firms to have failed in China, but fellow gig economy darling Airbnb is determined to succeed in the Middle Kingdom.Today, the company announced a new brand for its China-based business and the local launch of Trips, its travel services feature. Beyond those launches, the firm pledged to increase its local presence via plans to triple its headcount in China and double its investment in the country.

Airbnb sues San Francisco over new rental legislation | ·28 June 2016
Airbnb is taking its beef with the city of San Francisco to court.The short-term rental company filed suit today over a new law that requires Airbnb to verify that its hosts have registered with the city before showing ads for their homes online. The suit aims to block the law from going into effect as scheduled on August 1.San Francisco legislators passed the law earlier this month in an effort to combat the housing crisis in the city, but Airbnb and technology advocacy groups argue that the new rules violate the Communications Decency Act.

Recharge lets you book a hotel room -- for minutes at a time | ·25 March 2016
Call it on-demand on steroids. A 10-month-old San Francisco company called Recharge has developed an app that enables users to book a stay in hotel for just for 67 cents a minute, or $40 an hour.The offering sounds both brilliant and preposterous, yet it has already attracted some smart investors, including Scott and Cyan Banister and early Google engineer Harry Cheung, who've provided the company with $650,000 in seed funding. It's raising up to $2.5 million altogether.

Korean last-minute hotel booking app DailyHotel launches in 10 new countries | · 1 March 2016
DailyHotel, a Seoul-based app that lets harried travelers quickly find hotel rooms, has launched in 10 new Asian countries. The startup was founded in 2013 by brothers Ryan and Jimmy Shin after Ryan struggled to find a last-minute hotel room in Seoul. It has raised more than $10 million from Sequoia India, but declined to say exactly how much funding it has received so far.

The Savioke Robot Is Headed To A Hotel Near You | ·16 February 2016
When I'm in a hotel room I like absolute privacy. After all, calling upon Baphomet and/or playing Firewatch takes absolute concentration and I don't want humans intruding on my reverie. That's why the folks at Savioke are building the Relay.

Airbnb Acquires Multi-City Trip Planning Service Vamo, Will Shut Down Product | ·14 September 2015
there's a whole additional layer of experiences that sit on top of that, like communication between hosts and guests. And of course, for a team like Steinberg's, the attraction of a company like Airbnb is the opportunity to work in the same field at a much larger scale and with more resources.

The Sharing Economy Is On The Brink Of Disrupting Business Travel | ·30 March 2015
The foundations of the business-travel ecosystem are under more strain than ever before. U.S. companies are projected to spend $310 billion on business travel in 2015 (up 6.2 percent from last year), but how they spend that money has become a source of tension and uncertainty. Sharing-economy startups like Airbnb and Uber are challenging traditional travel vendors - and in the process, they're forcing many businesses to reevaluate travel policies and conventions that are pillars of the current system.

Triptease Raises $2M To Help Hotels Increase Direct Bookings | ·19 February 2015
I'm told that third-party hotel booking sites often employ shady tactics, such as fluctuating and disappearing rates -- it also enables hotels to better own the customer relationship and improve it.

Airbnb CEO: Hotels And Airbnb Are The Same But Different | ·10 September 2014
The conversation about exactly how Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky saw his company seemed a bit confusing during his 20 minute panel on the Disrupt SF stage this afternoon. Chesky was adamant that Airbnb is like a hotel until it isn't. Chesky started off comparing Airbnb to eBay, saying the travel booking service was "like the eBay of space in the early days." He then went on to admit to moderator Ryan Lawler that Airbnb was like a hotel until it wasn't convenient for it to be one, "The big misnomer about hotels is that they own hotels. Their model isn't that different from ours. Hotels are basically like a franchisee - we are but more decentralized."

Aloft's Botlr explained in Interview ·25 August 2014 interviews Savioke's CEO Steve Cousins and Starwood's Global Brand Leader Brian McGuinness. The merry TechCrunch band took a trip to Cupertino last week to kick it with a small robot called Botlr made by robotics startup Savioke. The little android, outfitted with a fancy collar and racing stripes, brings small items from the front desk of the Aloft hotel, to the rooms of customers. The cute R2 can handle elevators on its own, and scoots along at around one to two miles per hour. The Botlr is the first of its fleet, and is still in testing. We put it through its paces, tasking it with the delivery of a little something that hails from the South to room 335.

Bumped From Your Hotel? WalkSource Aims To Find You A Free Room Fast | ·15 August 2014
transfer them to another hotel. When Brett Leonard was working at a hotel in San Francisco, he often spent hours trying to find other hotels to walk customers to. He said they would become disgruntled and angry when it would take him hours to find them alternative hotels, sometimes as far away as Napa and Walnut Creek.

Restaurant Reservation Service LaFourchette Gobbled Up By TripAdvisor For $140M | · 8 May 2014
the so-called OpenTable of France -- has entered into agreement to be acquired by NASDAQ-listed travel site TripAdvisor, with whom it already had a partnership. Terms of the deal are not being disclosed. However, sources tell TechCrunch that the price is actually ~$140 million (EUR100 million) in an all cash deal. The company had previously raised around $15 million in VC.

Google Brings Its Hotel And Restaurant Search To Android ·28 April 2014
Since its acquisition of ITA Travel, Google has been slowly adding travel-related products to its arsenal. There is no faster flight search engine on the market than Google Flights, for example, and its hotel search, which aggregates data from numerous sites, is also fast and highly competitive. Oddly enough, though, few people know about these features and indeed, Google doesn't really advertise them heavily.It's worth noting that Google has already integrated flight search into its voice search.The same kind of queries also now work for restaurants. Just ask Google to "show some restaurants in Portland" and it will do so.

Airbnb Offers To Pay Hotel Taxes In NY, Hotel Lobby Says 'No Thanks' | ·18 April 2014
After years of complaining about how Airbnb doesn't compete on a level playing field, apparently the hotel lobby in New York now wants to ensure that the peer-to-peer hospitality startup isn't held to the same standards, especially as it relates to taxes. Airbnb has taken steps to ensure that it will be able to begin collecting hotel occupancy taxes, possibly as soon as this summer. It's just waiting on legislators and local regulators to give it the green light to do so in markets like San Francisco and New York.

TripAdvisor Ditches Popups, Now Displays Kayak-Style Price Comparisons On Its 100M Hotel Reviews | · 6 June 2013
but its booking capabilities for hotels have notably lagged behind. The site has historically adhered to showing hotel prices in a series of early aughts-style pop-up windows from partner sites, rather than on one page alone a la Kayak hotel search. Launches New Vertical And Theme For Hotels, Inns And B&Bs | ·23 April 2013 now offers hotel, inn and bed and breakfast owners and managers the ability to showcase their properties with the help of a new responsive theme just for hotels. In addition, the service also today launched a special site dedicated to showing hotel owners how they can use the service to promote their properties.

Follow The Money: Why Priceline Bought Kayak | ·23 November 2012
a 29 percent premium, to be exact -- from Priceline considering that, on the day of its acquisition, Kayak closed at roughly $31 a share. That's about 54 percent higher than where Kayak was on IPO day, at $26 a share. This no doubt added to Priceline's impression that Kayak was on the way up and that it was worth paying the big bucks to save it from having to deal with a strong competitor down the road.

Mobile: Native Travel Apps Trump Mobile Web By 95%, Google Maps Top Travel Service By A Mile | ·30 August 2012
specifically on iOS and Android platforms. Mobile web -- and traffic on operating systems that are not Android and iOS, for that matter -- accounts for only 5% of visits.

Want Your iPhone To Sound Like A Hotel Lobby Designed By Philippe Starck? There's An App for That. ·22 September 2009
We've seen free iPhone apps, $1,000 iPhone apps, promotional apps, pointless apps, and offensive apps. Now we have the high-concept app. This is a little like conceptual art, except that it doesn't quite rise to that level.


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