Marriott Rewards Debuts Tool to Preload Points Balances When Shopping at Retail Sites

Marriott Rewards Debuts Tool to Preload Points Balances When Shopping at Retail Sites

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Marriott

Marriott Rewards is making it easier for members to convert points’ balances into retail purchases on sites such as Amazon and Ralph Lauren. Marriott

Skift Take: Marriott More now allows shoppers in the U.S., UK, and Canada to earn and spend Rewards points on retail purchases. And while the value proposition for spending points is a bit fuzzy, it may be a good tool for some with stray point balances.

— Grant Martin

Big-name brands such as Marriott, Hilton and United are taking their respective loyalty programs into the retail space as they explore a broader use for point balances beyond free hotel rooms or airline tickets.

Much of this industry movement is driven by data that suggests the next generation of travelers want to see more flexibility and redemption options out of a loyalty program rather than the same old big-ticket items.

But a big part of the recent loyalty program trends is also driven by profit. By setting the conversion ratio between points and retail dollars beneficially, airlines and hotels can make substantial sums of money by converting points to consumer goods — and cutting the liability of unused points at the same time.

What Marriott is Doing

Marriott is expanding its loyalty program, Marriott Rewards, to allow members to earn and spend points on everyday, online purchases. The functionality comes through a new tool called More, which comes both as a desktop browser extension and a mobile application.

Through the tool, Marriott Rewards members will be able to load their loyalty credentials prior to shopping online and then either pay for the purchase with points or elect to earn points when paying with cash.

For now, the program is open for U.S., UK, and Canadian retailers with 29, 27 and 25 partners on board in each region respectively. Amazon, Apple, Best Buy and Banana Republic, among others, headline the partner lineup.

Each relationship differs in terms of the reward returned per purchase; at Amazon, for example, shoppers can earn two points for every dollar spent on the site. Shoppers at RalphLauren.com, however, can earn six points for every dollar.

Free rooms typically booked through Marriott Rewards cost between 10,000 and 70,000 points per night, so a $1,667 purchase at RalphLauren.com would roughly translate to a free Tuesday night at the Courtyard Marriott in Battle Creek, Michigan.

If consumers want to shop with points, by contrast, Marriott appears to roughly equate 270 points to $1 worth of goods on a site, irrespective of whether that’s at Amazon, Ralph Lauren or Sunglass Hut.

Points as a currency

Earlier this year, Hilton launched a new tool with its HHonors rewards program that allowed customers to pay for rooms partially with points on a sliding scale, effectively turning them into an indirect type of currency. Purchases at Amazon, as well, are also now available through the Hilton portal.

United launched a similar tool to Marriot’s More program built to earn points in 2014 called MileagePlus X, though its integration with retailers isn’t as clean as Marriott’s.

Value

With these new changes, Marriott Rewards is effectively turning into a bank where people can store miles to use for either free rooms or retail purchases. By setting the exchange rate — 270 points per dollar in this case —Marriott is assigning a value to each point. And by flipping the currency back into a room purchase, it’s easy to illustrate where Marriott is making money.

By charging 10,000 points for that room at the Battle Creek Marriott Courtyard, for example, Marriott is effectively saying that the room could cost $37 — or 270 points per dollar. Booked with cash through Marriott.com, however, the room costs $185/night, leaving a $148 margin.

Put another way, that $185 room would hypothetically cost 49,950 points using Marriott’s exchange rate for consumers. But booked with points, the room is only 10,000.

Whether that’s a clever or an advantageous way to work with points is up to the person booking the room — after all, many Marriott Rewards members have only tiny account balances that can’t be used for large-scale room purchases. But Marriott clearly is keeping the value of its rewards points in the category of booking free hotel rooms rather than translating them to retail purchases.

On the other side of the transaction, earning points with purchases is a great advantage built into Marriott More, allowing everyday consumers to earn a kickback on daily purchases at Amazon and a handful of other retailers. For that utility alone, More brings great value to Marriott Rewards customers. In other areas, the value is slightly blurred.

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November 1, 2017 at 01:09PM

Creative review of airline ancillaries looks to Allegiant, easyJet and Amazon

Creative review of airline ancillaries looks to Allegiant, easyJet and Amazon

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IdeaWorks has been banging the drum for ancillary revenues for a decade or so, and its latest contribution highlights innovation over earnings.

Its 2017 Top Merchandising Innovations to Delight Passengers and Boost Profits report,  sponsored by CarTrawler, looks at specific products and services introduced by cross-section of airlines which “reinforce the need to include creativity in the pursuit of ancillary revenue.”

Allegiant Air is credited with having updated a concept which has its roots in the “Pan-Am era” by getting into property development, building its own resort in Florida.

The masterplan for the 20-acre Sunseeker Resorts site includes “a resort hotel and up to nine condominium towers and an array of restaurant, bars and retail concepts.”

Allegiant’s press release announcing the project says it “marks an important step in Allegiant’s evolution as a travel company, offering customers more opportunity for leisure experiences”. IdeaWorks’ take is “the airline is developing Sunseeker Resorts from the ground up as a massive ancillary revenue generator”.

The site is close to Punta Gorda airport, from where Allegiant serves 39 different cities. IdeaWorks thinks that condo owners and hotel guests will use the airport, bringing in additional flight revenues for the carrier.

The scale of this innovation is different from the other merchandising initiatives highlighted easyjet gets a mention for its recently launched “worldwide by easyjet” which allows passengers to book connecting flights at Gatwick on partner airlines – currently Norwegian and Westjet but with others to come.

easyjet adds a £34.50 fee onto the cost of the booking. IdeaWorks uses this fee to extrapolate what ancillary revenues it thinks this will generate – $200,000 a week. If easyJet expands the Gatwick strategy to its other bases around Europe, “it’s easy to understand how Worldwide by easyJet could eventually produce revenue in the millions.”

Elsewhere, Delta’s repositioning of how it markets the products and services around bags – RFID chips so passengers can track their bags around the airport, loyalty points if the bag doesn’t get from the hold to the baggage carousel within twenty minutes of landing, self-service bag drops – is framed by IdeaWorks as a sign that it is moving “from a fee-based mentality to value-oriented retailing.”

The report also looks outside of travel and highlights some comparable initiatives where businesses are getting creative in order to generate revenues outside of their core activities, winning new customers or upselling to existing ones.

Amazon’s Smart Home Consultation service is not even a drop in the ocean for a business which recorded net sales of $43.7 billion in the three months to end-Sept17.  But, as IdeaWorks points out, “humans still fill a role in selling stuff to each other” and suggests that, for airlines, “there are initiatives where employing sales people might be very helpful.”

Related reading from tnooz:
Airlines mix and match their relationship with GDSs and fare families (Sept17)

Image by Sunseeker Resort’s gallery.

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November 1, 2017 at 01:03PM

Australia Bans Climbing on Uluru, a Popular Site Sacred to Indigenous People

Australia Bans Climbing on Uluru, a Popular Site Sacred to Indigenous People

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Climbing the 1,141-foot-tall rock in Australia’s Northern Territory will be banned as of Oct. 26, 2019, a historically significant date for the site. On that day in 1985, the government returned ownership of Uluru to the Anangu people. As part of that agreement, the Anangu lease the site back to the government, and the two parties jointly manage it.

Uluru has, for many in Australia, come to symbolize the struggle for Indigenous rights. Mr. Wilson said some people in the government wanted to keep the rock open to hikers, but “it’s not their law that lies in this land.”

Traditional owners do not climb Uluru out of respect, and they worry that hiking will damage the stone. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

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Tourists climbing Uluru in 2004. Fewer than 20 percent of visitors now climb the rock, according to the government.

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Tim Wimborne/Reuters

There has been opposition to the climbing ban. Last year, Adam Giles, a politician with an Indigenous heritage who was then the Northern Territory chief minister, called the idea “ludicrous.”

But Sally Barnes, Australia’s director of national parks, said it was a “significant moment for all Australians” that “marks a new chapter in our history.”

“It clearly says we put country and culture first when managing this place for all Australians and our visitors from around the world,” she said on Wednesday.

About 250,000 people visit Uluru every year, according to the park’s website. In recent years, the number of visitors wishing to climb the rock has dropped significantly, to less than 20 percent, according to Ms. Barnes. Tour operators now offer alternatives to climbing Uluru, including camel tours around its base.

“The best view of Uluru is from the bottom,” one social media user said on Wednesday.

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November 1, 2017 at 01:00PM

Road Trip: How I Rolled on the Crescent: New York to New Orleans by Rail

Road Trip: How I Rolled on the Crescent: New York to New Orleans by Rail

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I admit to being a romantic. I also admit to being a cynic. This means I am suspicious of my romantic tendencies. I’ve sentimentalized train travel all my life. Yet, after three decades of Amtrak trips, I still genuinely enjoyed it, so I concluded that my romanticism wasn’t entirely self-delusion.

I had previously embarked on only one journey of the duration I was now contemplating. Shortly after college, I took the California Zephyr from Chicago to San Francisco, and the Empire Builder, across Montana and the Dakotas, back. I was 23 then and slept sitting up in my seat. That would not cut it this time. I was older and required comfort. A private room fit in with my train-travel dreams, but I had always assumed such luxury prohibitively expensive. I was pleased, then, to find a fare of $280 one-way. The fare included a “roomette,” the smallest private compartment on offer. (I booked way ahead of time. By my departure date, that number had more than doubled.)

We arrived at Penn Station with an hour to spare. There were no obvious signs of hell, except that we were put on the Silver Meteor, which goes to Miami. Normally, the Crescent makes the entire trip from NYC to NOLA, but construction at Penn Station allowed it no further north than D.C.

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At the station in Wilmington, Del.

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Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

A porter directed us to our car. We boarded and were immediately funneled into those narrow hallways that remind you of old movies.

The room was as “-ette” as advertised — 3’6” by 6’8” — but well-organized, like one of those multipurpose pocket gadgets advertised on late night TV. There was a place to hang my garment bag in one corner. Opposite was a toilet; above that a sink that folded into the wall. There were towels and soap and a paper-cup dispenser on top of the sink. A cavity in the wall so high you would easily miss it swallowed up the luggage. Between the two facing, and rather commodious, seats, there was a retractable table with a checkerboard pattern on it. Switches above each seat controlled three lights: ceiling, wall and reading.

This was all fine by me. My height (6’1”) notwithstanding, I have always felt most comfortable in snug spaces. One-bedroom apartments relax me; McMansions give me the jitters.

Once we pulled out of the station, it became apparent that we not only had one long window but a second upper window, slightly hidden by the upper berth. The roomette was flooded with light.

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Seating in the roomette.

Credit
Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

A woman name Brenda came by and offered us bottled water. We tipped her, figuring we would need to rely on her in the future.

Train travel presents certain immediate advantages over air travel. It forces you to relax, as you have time on your hands. Even in a roomette, you’re afforded more space than on a plane. Furthermore, you can stock your quarters with items the airlines would never permit, including well-stuffed suitcases; snacks (in case the onboard fare wasn’t up to par — a safe bet); and the makings of cocktail hour.

We called Brenda for ice. Once 5 o’clock hit, out came a bottle of Pimm’s, a half-liter of ginger ale, a cucumber and a knife. Pimm’s Cups were built and enjoyed, under the glow of the coming sunset. I read some Fitzgerald and smiled, thinking of all the suckers shoehorned into seats on United or American.

The train was full, so meal seatings were staggered. We were called at 5:45. The dining car was bustling and had an appealing, quasi-art deco feel to it. There was no selecting of tables. We were slipped into booths like files. “Side by side,” instructed the waiter when we tried to sit opposite each other. “Side by side.”

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A roomette can transform into sleeping quarters.

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Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

The menu had a section titled “ACAT Inspired Special.” ACAT stood for Amtrak Culinary Advisory Team. Only one such item, a “vegetarian Asian noodle bowl,” was available. I opted for the “Field & Sea Combo” instead, based on the waiter’s recommendation. It was composed of steak, seared shrimp, baked potato and mixed vegetables. It came quickly and wasn’t bad, though it wasn’t good, either; about on par with what you might find at Ponderosa.

At Washington’s Union Station, we changed trains. The Crescent was right across the platform. Our new roomette looked exactly like the old one.

We asked Pat, our new attendant, for more ice, and I poured out pre-mixed martinis I had smuggled aboard in a flask. We sipped contentedly. “The only problem with this train is not enough martinis,” my companion said.

As darkness fell on northern Virginia, Pat set up the berths. The limited machinery that effected the change was too much for us. Pat, stout and short, did it in a second. She bid us a good night and added, “Let’s see if we get through the Carolinas.” Why wouldn’t we?, I wondered.

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The snack bar in the lounge car.

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Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

The bottom berth, amazingly, accommodated my long frame. Sleeping on the upper, said my companion, felt like getting an M.R.I. But we both slept well. My expectation that the train’s motion would rock us to slumber had not been bunk (as it were).

We woke in South Carolina. Red clay lined the tracks. The rising sun made the pine trees look burnt yellow. Mobile homes and country lanes drifted by. Washing up and shaving in the shower down the hall required agility. The lurching train threw my body from wall to wall. I felt vaguely like an Army recruit.

In Atlanta, I detrained for the first time. Raised on the train stations of the northeast, I expected something as grand. But the station was a remarkably meager affair. There was a small waiting room with wooden benches and a few vending machines. An older Amtrak employee discoursed to some customers about past civil rights achievements of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.

At lunch, we were seated opposite a Birmingham family returning from a jaunt to New York. We ordered one of those ACAT culinary specials, a “Thai-spiced pulled coconut pork slider.” The Boston-based chef Jamie Bissonette was the supposed author. The table quieted when the dish arrived. For a slider, it was as big as a burger. The gray meat inside resembled dog food. A few bites were all that were needed for us to plead for the Hebrew National hot dog my companion had spotted on the kids’ menu. The frankfurter was split open, grilled and served with relish. It was delicious, easily the best thing we ate on the trip.

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The dining car menu on the Crescent.

Credit
Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Outside the window, I saw thick foliage, small country post offices and handmade signs advertising boiled peanuts. Mmm, I thought, boiled peanuts.

Shortly after lunch, the train stopped outside of Birmingham. I had been napping off and on, so I didn’t notice until an hour had passed. It was then that Pat communicated the cruel secret of the Crescent. Beyond the northeast corridor, Amtrak doesn’t own the tracks it runs on. By law, Amtrak trains must be given priority. But, in practice, it doesn’t always work out that way, resulting in regular delays. In this case, a freight had stalled. We sat still for three hours. (“Let’s see if we get through the Carolinas,” Pat had said.)

The charm of train travel lies in constant motion, minute-by-minute adventure. When that motion ceases, the charm evaporates. Alabama was the longest state. There were two more delays, as we played less-precious cargo to loads of grain, chemicals and coal. I no longer felt smarter than plane people.

Around Tuscaloosa, we had dinner. The dining car didn’t have the style of that on the Silver Meteor. Nothing on the Crescent did. However, the Field & Sea Combo was strangely better, the steak juicier, the shrimp well grilled. Our waitress, Ashley, said they had a good chef on board. I found the idea of an Amtrak chef being good or bad, or even existent, highly suspect. But maybe there were differences from train to train.

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The Crescent dining car.

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Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

We finally crossed into Mississippi, then crawled to Louisiana. I lost track of the delays — none were announced — and of Pat. Many of the passengers had disembarked at Birmingham. The Crescent felt like a ghost train. Were we the only ones foolish enough to pay full passage?

The train had been due at 9 p.m. We arrived in New Orleans at 2 a.m. I stumbled, nearly hallucinating from exhaustion, onto the platform and into a taxi. We told the driver our tale of woe. He was not moved. “Last night, it got in at 4.”

People were still impressed when we told them how we got to New Orleans. When pressed for details, I demurred and muttered darkly about Birmingham.

Would I do it again? Maybe. My romanticism hadn’t been entirely crushed. But I’d try another line. And check beforehand who owned the tracks. And smuggle in more martinis.

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November 1, 2017 at 01:00PM

Q&A: Frank Stella’s Favorite Cities for Art

Q&A: Frank Stella’s Favorite Cities for Art

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Which cities do you think have the most exciting emerging arts scenes right now?

Among the art circles, the talk is about Abu Dhabi and Doha and the museums opening there. I haven’t been to either city, but for me, Amsterdam, Shanghai, Berlin, New York City, Los Angeles and Paris always showcase new artists in galleries. In Manhattan’s Lower East Side, for example, there are lots of galleries showing up and comers, and the Whitney is an example of a museum that’s good about showcasing works by newer artists.

Do you have a favorite city to travel to for art?

I find many cities in Europe compelling for art including Munich, Berlin and Madrid, but Rome truly overwhelms me. The city has great museums, including the Galleria Borghese and the Vatican Museums, but the art inside the churches — the frescoes and paintings dating back to the Renaissance — is stunning. I have been to at least 50 churches in Rome for the art, but I keep going back to Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo, which has two great Baroque canvases by Caravaggio.

You live in New York City, a destination known for its fantastic museums. Which ones do especially enjoy visiting?

The Frick Collection, on the Upper East Side, is lovable. It doesn’t get a lot of crowds, but the collection of European art is fantastic, the building is beautiful, and it’s small enough that you can do it all in one day. And the Brooklyn Museum does some amazing exhibitions, including the one this summer of works by Georgia O’Keeffe.

Can you explain further how travel influences you as an artist?

If you’re a practicing artist, you have to see some of the great art in the world, whether that art is by recent artists or by ones from past centuries. It’s not enough to just look at pictures of art because that will only take you so far. You won’t feel the breadth of the Sistine Chapel unless you see the Sistine Chapel in person. I learn a lot from traveling and looking at as much art as I possibly can.

How do you capture memories from your travels? Do you sketch or take pictures?

I never do either. The experiences from my travels either stay with me or they don’t, and if they do, that memory is captured in my mind. That’s good enough for me.

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November 1, 2017 at 01:00PM

Tip: Earn Up to 50,000 Points per Year for Referring Friends to Marriott

Tip: Earn Up to 50,000 Points per Year for Referring Friends to Marriott

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Are you a fan of Marriott hotels? Well, make sure that you’re getting points for telling the world about your favorite hotel brand. Marriott Rewards has an ongoing “Reward a Friend” referral program which allows members to earn up to 50,000 points per calendar year for referring new members to stay with Marriott.

The only catch is that the referral points are awarded based on the number of stays by those you refer to the program. You’ll get 2,000 per stay per member that you refer, up to five stays per referred member for up to five new members. In addition, the person you refer will also get 2,000 per stay for their first five stays within the first 365 days of enrolling.

Marriott Reward a Friend programThis means you’re going to want to be a bit strategic about your referrals. If you get 10 people to sign up and each completes two stays, you’re only going to end up with 20,000 points. Instead, you’re going to want to find five new members that have the potential to stay at least five times each. It seems that Marriott will only count your first five referrals of the calendar year.

To get started, click here to load the invite page. Enter the email addresses for those that you want to refer as well as your first name, last name, email address and Marriott Rewards number. Complete the Recaptcha challenge and click “Send Invites.” You’ll get a confirmation message when the invitations have been successfully sent.

Marriott Reward a Friend invites

A few terms and conditions to keep in mind:

  • Stays your referrals make at any participating Marriott hotel qualify, and must be made within 365 days of enrollment.
  • New members must sign up through the Reward a Friend channels and provide their sponsor’s name and Marriott Rewards account number. Channels include http://ift.tt/2yivNGl or by calling Customer Support at 800-450-4442 in the US and Canada and referencing the Reward a Friend program.
  • New members who join through the Reward a Friend program must designate Marriott Rewards points as their earning preference. Miles earning preference is not an option with the Reward a Friend program.

Based on current TPG valuations, the 50,000 maximum points you can earn per calendar year from this promotion are worth $450. Not shabby. So, this program is certainly worth looking into how you can maximize it.

Featured image by Marriott Bangkok.

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November 1, 2017 at 12:39PM

Via.com sold to financial services specialist for $75 million

Via.com sold to financial services specialist for $75 million

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Ebix, a Nasdaq-listed software and services provider, has bought India-based via.com in a deal valuing the omnichannel travel, fintech and retail business at $75 million.

The deal was conducted by Ebix’s Singaporean subsidiary Ebix Cash, which sells various financial services through offline and online channels across APAC. Via has also been growing its presence across APAC and the Middle East.

The release talks about cross-selling between each party’s existing online and offline networks. As well as selling travel, via.com distributes other services such as mobile phone recharges, money transfers, insurance, prepaid gift cards and other retail product.

Via.com claims to be “the only profitable travel exchange out of all its peers” having seen a compound annual growth rate of 45% over the past three years. Ebix says that the deal will be “accretive to Ebix earnings immediately…” and will “generate around $33 million in GAAP revenues in 2018 with approximately 30% operating margins.”

Via.com handles 24.5 million transactions a year. Via.com’s offline network comprises 85,000 agents in India, 14,700 in Indonesia, 9,900 in Philippines, 600 in Singapore and 350 in the UAE and Oman. It also has 8000 corporate clients while B2C operations in Thailand, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia are “gaining traction.”

The move by Ebix into travel is positioned as part of its vision for financial exchanges across APAC. Robin Raina, chief executive officer at Ebix Inc said:

“This allows us tremendous cross-selling opportunities through each other’s distribution networks as our product portfolio is complementary and a perfect fit for each of our distribution outlets and corporate clients.”

Via sees itself as omnichannel, and its approach to mobile for India and other markets factors in both its B2B and B2C operations. tnooz talked to Himanshu Garg, its vice-president of mobile, and Ashu Gupta, its head of international technology, just under a year ago. It had just launched a B2C mobile brand ViaLite as a progressive web app to give consumers in areas with weak connectivity access to its products. Via was also making sure that its B2B platform was mobile-friendly for agents.

 

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November 1, 2017 at 12:22PM

New York City Attack Suspect Was an Uber Driver, Passed Background Check

New York City Attack Suspect Was an Uber Driver, Passed Background Check

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The suspect who drove a pickup truck down a crowded bike path in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon, killing eight people and injuring 11, was an Uber driver. According to CNN, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov began driving for the popular ride-sharing service Uber in New Jersey just over six months ago.

“We are aggressively and quickly reviewing this partner’s history with Uber, and at this time we have not identified any related concerning safety reports,” said an Uber official. The company said that it hasn’t yet identified any rider-submitted complaints about his driving.

Uber said that it’s in contact with the FBI and working with the agency to offer assistance in the investigation. Since the incident on Tuesday afternoon, the Uzbekistan native has been banned from the platform.

The ride-share company said that Saipov passed a background check in order to be able to drive in Paterson, New Jersey, and the surrounding areas. However, records indicate that Saipov received multiple traffic citations in the past, such as in 2015, when he was charged with failing to equip a motor vehicle carrier with or maintain a required brake system in Platte, Missouri. He missed his court appearance in 2016 and the court entered a guilty plea for him.

The incident has raised questions about Uber’s background check process. New Jersey state law requires that potential drivers of all ride-share services must complete a criminal background check. The background check process is usually contracted out to third-party companies, and a conviction for something like reckless driving automatically rules out the applicant. Aside from convictions like reckless driving, it’s unclear what Uber looks for in its driver background checks.

Saipov reportedly drove a pickup truck down a bike path on Manhattan’s West Side before being shot by a police officer. Officials are calling the incident the deadliest terrorist attack on New York City since September 11, 2001.

This isn’t the first time an Uber driver has been linked to a crime. In 2016, a man killed six people in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in between picking up and dropping off passengers for Uber.

Featured image by Anadolu Agency / Getty Images.

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November 1, 2017 at 12:15PM

Alibaba founder invests in China home-sharing service Xiaozhu

Alibaba founder invests in China home-sharing service Xiaozhu

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This is an article from China Travel News.It appears as part of the tnooz sponsored content initiative.

Xiaozhu, a rival to Airbnb in China, has raised $120 million in its latest financing round, bringing it to unicorn status.

The funding round is led by Yunfeng Capital which was founded in early 2010 and named after Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma and Target Media founder Yu Feng.

Existing investors including Joy Capital, Morningside Ventures, and Capital Today also participated.

The round came after another Chinese rival Tujia, announced last month that its online platform has closed $300 million in funding, backed by Ctrip.

Xiaozhu has now raised almost $270 million. The company received $65 million in C+ and D rounds last November.

The company has been trading for five years and has been part of China’s online home-sharing industry explosion.

Since its last round of funding in 2016, Xiaozhu has grown rapidly and become the absolute leader in market share, service system and other areas.

Kelvin Chen Chi, co-founder and CEO says:

“After five years of exploration, Xiaozhu pioneered house-sharing business model in China and created a new bilateral market from ground up by building an entire service system that consists of cleaning and photography services.”

Home sharing was pioneered and has thrived in western countries but it has not been easy for overseas home-sharing companies to develop in China.

Chen Chi adds:

“Only local companies with a sense of mission and commitment to the domestic market can stand a chance in gaining leadership in the Chinese market.”

Li Na, managing director of Yunfeng Capital, says:

“Xiaozhu has developed a proven successful model for house sharing to develop in China.

“Yunfeng Capital is looking forward to witnessing and helping it grow rapidly and drive the upgrading and transformation of Chinese accommodation industry, providing better accommodation experiences to more users.”

Li Xiao, founding partner of Joy Capital says:

“Joy Capital is very optimistic about sharing economy. Now that the entire market is rapidly maturing, we believe that Xiaozhu will continue to lead the house sharing industry.”

Cheng Yu, a partner of Morningside Ventures claims the Xiaozhu team took a seemingly slow but right way to cultivate this market from ground up and create value for users.

Xu Xin, president of Capital Today, says:

“Believing in the sharing economy, we invested in Xiaozhu three years ago and have waited for the Spring to come. And now, the Spring has come.”

Founded in 2012, Xiaozhu now has listings in more than 400 destinations in and outside of China.

As home-sharing becomes popular, people are focusing more on the security element of it.

Chen Chi says:

“Xiaozhu will invest more resources to introduce technologies further enhancing security of house-sharing and building a sustainable platform ecosystem for the whole industry.”

Related reading:

Millennials are the future for Airbnb China

This is an article from China Travel News.It appears as part of the tnooz sponsored content initiative.

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November 1, 2017 at 11:44AM

News: United Airlines offers passengers chance to manage flights through new app

News: United Airlines offers passengers chance to manage flights through new app

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United Airlines offers passengers chance to manage flights through new app

United Airlines has debuted enhancements to its mobile app that add even more convenience for customers to manage their reservations on-the-go.

With the newest version of the United app, customers will be able to change and cancel flights in the app, add their MileagePlus and United Club cards to the Apple Wallet and access other helpful travel tools.

These updates build on the airline’s recent announcement to allow customers to access boarding passes for 19 other carriers through its mobile app.

“Every day 800,000 customers rely on our mobile app to book reservations, view flight statuses, check-in and access a variety of other handy travel tools we’ve made available through our app,” said Linda Jojo, chief digital officer at United.

“We’re constantly making updates to the app that help our customers manage their travel with us at the touch of a finger and access even more information about their flights as quickly and conveniently as possible.”

United continues to add convenience to the app, providing customers with more time saving tools to make changes or cancel flights directly in the app.

App users will select the option to either cancel or change flights under reservations details, and follow the steps to confirmation.

As this new feature debuts, certain reservations, such as reservations purchased through third parties, will continue to united.com to allow customers to make changes.

Support for more reservations to be completed in the app will continue to expand in the coming weeks.

United will also now allow customers to store their United Club card and MileagePlus card in the Apple Wallet.

Adding these cards to the wallet will ensure customers always have their information handy when making reservations and checking into United Clubs.

United Club members will still scan their boarding passes to access United Club locations before their flight.

Members who do not have their MileagePlus number tied to their boarding pass will be able to show their electronic card, along with a same-day boarding pass for United Club access.

United recently launched a Track my bags beta in its app to allow customers to follow their bags throughout all the critical points of their journey.

With this new capability, customers will be able to see real-time updates of when the bag has been loaded onto a flight, unloaded from the flight and when it is available at baggage claim.

The carrier is also introducing a new feature for users whose devices are compatible with Apple’s 3D touch capability.

Customers will now be able to utilize Apple’s 3D touch to instantly navigate from their iPhone’s home screen to book a flight, check-in and view their flight status in the app.

Travel

via Breaking Travel News http://ift.tt/QS6xbI

November 1, 2017 at 11:23AM