Rosewood appoints former Google exec to head global sales


Lucy Werner
Lucy Werner

Rosewood Hotel Group has appointed Google executive Lucy
Werner to the newly created role of SVP of commercial, overseeing global sales
and marketing, revenue management and digital performance marketing across all
regions of the company’s five brands, Rosewood announced.

Werner has more than 20 years of global experience in
business development, digital, sales and operations. She previously served as
head of cloud for Google Hong Kong, and held senior leadership positions at
Spruce Media, adBrite and JP Morgan. She assumes her new role on 1 November
2021.

In addition, Caroline MacDonald will transfer from her
position as group VP of sales and marketing, distribution and business
performance to SVP of operations for the Americas. She begins her new role in
January 2022.



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Google Flights will show carbon emissions in flight results : NPR


Google Flights will now show users what the carbon emissions of their prospective trips will be when they search for flight options.

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Google Flights will now show users what the carbon emissions of their prospective trips will be when they search for flight options.

Anton Petrus/Getty Images

Now you can fly and take into account the environmental cost of your trip a little easier.

Starting Wednesday, search results on Google Flights will show users what the carbon emissions of their prospective trips will be so that a buyer can consider their environmental footprint in the same way they would price and duration, Google explained in announcing the new feature.

The company went with a color-coded system, with green signifying the most environmentally friendly flights, and with sorting options that allow users to prioritize carbon emissions when booking their trips.

Google lands on their final numbers by integrating third-party information from airlines and the European Environmental Agency. Numerous factors go into the carbon cost of a flight, including the type of plane being used, the route being taken, and even the number of seats on the aircraft, according to Google’s Help Center.

Emissions from air travel are expected to triple

Google says the move is just part of its overall efforts to address climate change and make it easier for customers to choose sustainability. Last month, it joined the Travalyst Coalition, a group of brands committed to making sustainability the standard in the travel industry. Among other participants are popular travel websites like Booking.com and Tripadvisor.

“It’s critical that people can find consistent and accurate carbon emissions estimates no matter where they want to research or book their trip,” Google said.

Greenhouse gas emissions from commercial flights make up around 2% of the world’s total carbon emissions, and are expected to triple by 2050, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation.

Some people are now shunning air travel

Amid growing concerns about climate change and ever-worsening natural disasters, some travelers have begun taking matters into their own hands. Groups like Flight Free are comprised of people who have committed not to use air travel, both as a means of reducing carbon emissions and as a way of sending a message to those in power that climate change is a priority, according to their website.

But the onus on making change isn’t primarily on individual consumers; government officials are beginning to look to manufacturers to bear at least some of the burden.

Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency announced plans to make aircraft manufacturers in the U.S. match international emissions standards by 2028. The move was applauded by some as a step in the right direction, but others were less impressed; a coalition of 11 states and Washington, D.C., argued that the new rules would not actually substantially decrease emissions, according to Reuters.



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Google Reveals Key Trends, Insights for Marketing Holiday Travel


As another uncertain holiday travel season approaches amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Google has revealed some helpful insights for marketing to holiday travelers.

According to Google, more than one-third of people around the world (36 percent) are currently traveling in some form or fashion. That improvement since the start of the pandemic has been driven by a decline in the perceived risk of taking a vacation (down 17 percent since January 2021). Nonetheless, marketing travel successfully in the coming months will hinge on being able to craft a message for the cautious.

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Google reports that, on average, only 45 percent of travelers said they planned to travel within their own countries in the early fall and just 8 percent planned to travel internationally. As for holiday travel, 30-40 percent will plan trips a month or more in advance while the majority will make plans less than a month ahead of travel. Therefore, travel businesses will need to highlight flexible booking and cancellation options. In the U.S. and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), booking and cancellation flexibility ranks as the second most important factor influencing consumer holiday travel decisions, trailing only price, deals and discounts, according to Google.

Meanwhile, health and safety procedures are the top priority for travelers in Asia-Pacific (APAC) countries.

In addition to knowing what travelers are prioritizing in the time of COVID-19, it helps to know where they’re headed. With health and travel advisories and pandemic-related travel restrictions ever-changing, most travelers will be sticking closer to home this holiday season. APAC leads the way in terms of traveling domestically this season (55 percent), followed by Latin America (42 percent) and North America (40 percent) and EMEA (40 percent). Google also points out that, of those expecting to travel within the next three months, 55 percent plan to travel outside of their state or province but remain within their own country while 53 percent plan to remain within their state or province.

Travel businesses also stand to benefit from understanding the experiences that will drive travel this holiday season.

“As marketers look to make the most of domestic travel, 50 percent expect travelers to prioritize socially distanced options during the remainder of 2021. In turn, the travel industry will need to prioritize sanitation, masking, social-distancing protocols and crowd minimization to meet the expectations of holiday travelers,” writes Susie Vowinkel, Industry Director, Travel at Google.

Visiting friends and family is the top reason to travel this holiday season, with 50 percent of travelers in North America planning to spend time with loved ones over the remainder of 2021. Travelers in EMEA (30 percent), Latin America (29 percent) and APAC (27 percent) are also being inspired by the prospect of visiting with friends and family for the holidays. However, travelers are also seeking sustainable travel options more than 18 months into the pandemic. Citing Booking.com’s 2021 Sustainable Travel Report published back in June, Google points out that nearly three quarters of travelers (72 percent) think that travel companies should offer sustainable travel choices.

“People are eager to start exploring again, priming the industry for a comeback,” concludes Vowinkel. “While many marketers feel unprepared to meet the surge in demand, these insights show a focus on safe, flexible and meaningful domestic options can help meet customer expectations.”





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UNWTO partners with Google to drive tourism recovery | News


The United Nation World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and Google have signed a new agreement to work together and lead global recovery of tourism through innovation, education and market intelligence.

The new memorandum of understanding builds on past cooperation between the UN agency for tourism and Google.

Notably, the pair will host trainings for destination management organisations, using a new capacity building curriculum developed by Google.

These sessions will empower destinations to switch to digital, with the training adapted to reflect their specific circumstances and the unique challenges every destination currently faces.

The new curriculum will also complement existing joint initiatives, and a data sharing agreement for Google’s Travel Insights to power a portion of the UNWTO’s tourism recovery tracker.

Alongside this, the Tourism Accelerator Program, designed by Google in partnership with UNWTO, will also be scaled up globally.

A pilot program launched across Europe, Middle East and Africa in 2020 showed the value of working with policymakers to put digital at the heart of their tourism recovery plans and the benefits of upskilling destination management companies so they can make effective use of data and market intelligence.

The partnership will go beyond empowering destinations and businesses during the immediate recovery phase.

Under the agreement, Google will provide ongoing support for a number of UNWTO’s leading initiatives, including Start-up Competitions designed to promote and support innovation across the sector.

UNWTO secretary general, Zurab Pololikashvili, said: “The strong partnership between UNWTO and Google will help put innovation and digital at the centre of tourism’s recovery.

“By working together, UNWTO and Google will empower destinations, businesses and tourism workers to realise the power of data and market intelligence, both increasingly important as global tourism looks to restart and recover.”

Looking ahead, UNWTO and Google will also collaborate on joint research projects related to tourism.

The results will further establish both parties as thought leaders and provide governments, destinations and businesses with the trusted data and insights they need to guide tourism towards recovery.

Google managing director for travel partnerships, Gianni Marostica, said: “We’re honoured to be working alongside UNWTO in this vital effort to support the global tourism sector on its path toward broader economic recovery.

“It’s critical that both policymakers and businesses have the tools and insights they need to reconnect with travellers in a digital environment.”





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Google Maps Street View: ‘Flying man’ leaves Reddit users confused | Travel News | Travel


Google Maps Street View is traditionally used to help people navigate their way around the world. However, thanks to its use of 3D cameras, the online application often uncovered some rather unexpected moments taking place in all corners of the globe.

Of course, while it may be fun to imagine this gardener has suddenly acquired magical talents, there is an alternative explanation.

It is much more likely he is jumping in the air.

One Reddit user suggested he is “celebrating”.

His outstretched arms could be a sign he is punching the air for joy.

Another commended the man’s ability to jump so high.

“Our boy has some serious ups,” they wrote.

Sadly, the actual back story of the scene may forever remain a mystery.

The man has a pair of dark sunglasses on which conceal most of his face, making him unrecognisable.





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Google adds new travel tools as travel rebounds






Google adds new travel tools as travel rebounds






















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Google can now email you about COVID-19 travel advisory changes


Bloomberg

Mideast Petrostates Ramp Up Oil-Asset Sales to Raise Billions

(Bloomberg) — Time was when the Middle East’s petrostates recoiled from using their crown jewels to raise money from foreign investors.Not any more. In the space of a few weeks, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait have all accelerated multi-billion-dollar plans to sell energy assets or issue bonds off the back of them. Capping that trend, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Tuesday the kingdom is in talks with an unidentified “global energy company” to sell a stake worth about $20 billion in state oil firm Aramco.The shift underscores how countries in a region that’s home to almost half the world’s oil reserves are taking advantage of the recovery in energy prices following last year’s coronavirus-triggered crash to bolster their ailing finances. The global transition to greener energy is only adding to the urgency, with governments requiring fresh funds to invest in new sectors and diversify their economies. And investors, hobbled by record low interest rates, are grabbing the opportunity.“It makes sense for these countries to sell stakes when valuations are good,” said Justin Alexander, chief economist at MENA Advisors, a U.K.-based consultancy. “Some of it’s fiscal. Some of it’s a growing recognition of the speed of the energy transition and the need to realize value from these assets.”Oil exporters in the Middle East last year saw their budget deficits balloon to 10.8% of gross domestic product from barely 3%, according to the International Monetary Fund. GDP in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar shrunk the most in about three decades.Aramco and AdnocSaudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, and Adnoc, which pumps almost all the UAE’s oil and gas, have been the most active of the region’s state companies. Both started privatizations before the pandemic, with Aramco listing on Riyadh’s stock market in 2019 and Adnoc selling part of fuel-distribution business in late 2017, also through an initial public offering.The deals have since increased in number and sophistication — as has the focus on foreign money. On April 10, Aramco said a U.S.-led group would invest $12.4 billion in its oil pipelines. Its next deal may be an offering of a stake in its natural-gas network. For its part, Adnoc is planning IPOs of its drilling and fertilizer units. These would follow a string of transactions from June 2020 that saw the likes of Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and Apollo Global Management Inc. invest about $15 billion in the Abu Dhabi-based firm’s gas pipelines and real estate.Prince Mohammed, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, sees Aramco as a key part of his Vision 2030, the grand project designed to boost everything from tourism to investments in solar parks and pharmaceuticals. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed of the UAE has similar ideas for Adnoc, and in March gave himself more control over a firm he’s shaking up to wring more cash out of its assets.Keeping ControlAmid the flurry of activity, the companies have been careful to structure the transactions such that they don’t lose sway over marquee assets. When subsidiaries are sold down, they keep hold of the bulk of the shares. In the pipeline deals, Aramco and Adnoc offered decades-long leasing rights rather than direct equity. Boutique Wall Street firm Moelis & Co. is acting as adviser to both companies.“The Gulf national oil companies have realized they can sell bits and pieces of their empire, raising cash without giving up control,” said Ben Cahill, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “For the companies and governments, it is a pretty good combination.”Elsewhere in the Gulf, Qatar Petroleum and Omani state companies such as OQ SAOC are planning to tap the dollar-bond market for the first time. Qatar Petroleum is seeking as much as $10 billion to increase its capacity to export liquefied natural gas.In the past, a country like Qatar, among the world’s richest per capita, may have simply paid for the $29 billion project itself. But the government is trying to reduce a debt load that swelled last year, Fitch Ratings Ltd. said in a report on Monday. Raising money via state-owned firms allows the government to protect its own balance sheet.Oman’s PushOman’s OQ opened books Wednesday for a sale of at least $500 million of seven-year Eurobonds. Energy Development Oman, another state firm, may follow later this year as it seeks to sell $3 billion of debt. The plans are part of a broad shake-up of the oil sector since Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq came to power little more than a year ago and sought ways to attract foreign funding and rejuvenate the battered economy.Meanwhile, state-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corp. is considering its first international bond. It would be part of a strategy to raise as much as $20 billion over the next five years to make up for an expected shortfall in revenue.More to ComeAsset and debt sales are likely to account for the lion’s share of future deals, according to Hasnain Malik, head of equity research at Tellimer, a London-based firm that provides analysis on emerging markets.“Securitizing future cash flows and raising bonds, as well as private equity sales, appear a far less onerous method of raising finance from international investors than selling equity via an IPO,” said Malik, who’s covered Middle Eastern markets for more than 20 years. “They are rightly recognizing the fixed-income and private-equity investor base is bigger than the regional equity one.”For now, foreign investors, who’ve rarely had such an array of options to put their money into Middle East oil and gas, seem happy to stump up the cash.“There’s definitely more to come,” said Cahill. “The national oil companies are watching each other and picking up some new tricks.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.



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Google Maps To Show Routes With Lowest Carbon Footprint


When you’re planning to drive somewhere, it’s important to know if you want the fastest route or one that avoids tolls. Soon there will be another option as well. Google Maps announced that later this year, the app will show users the most eco-friendly driving routes.

“Google Maps will default to the route with the lowest carbon footprint when it has approximately the same ETA as the fastest route,” Dane Glasgow, vice president of product at Google Maps, wrote in a blog post. “In cases where the eco-friendly route could significantly increase your ETA, we’ll let you compare the relative CO2 impact between routes so you can choose.”

The Eco-Friendly Option

The news that Google Maps will default to the route with the lowest carbon emissions really doesn’t come as a surprise. After all, Google, an Alphabet Inc. unit, announced last year that it pledged to have carbon-free operations by 2030 — and would likewise nudge its users to make eco-friendly choices.

Okay, but will users have a choice? The answer is yes. When alternate routes are significantly faster, Google Maps will offer choices and let users decide which route to take. On the other hand, if users always want to see the fastest route, they can do so by adjusting their preferences in the app’s Settings, Glasgow explains.

How Eco-Friendly Routes Are Calculated

About now, you may be wondering how — exactly — Google Maps will determine which route generates the lowest carbon emissions. That’s possible because Google Maps is building a routing model using information from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab, Glasgow explains. That insight accounts for possible fuel consumption based on a number of factors, such as road incline and traffic congestion.

“What we are seeing, is that for around half of routes, we are able to find an option more eco-friendly with minimal or no time-cost tradeoff,” Russell Dicker, a director of product at Google, told reporters, a Reuters article reports.

Reducing Carbon Emissions

In the U.S., the largest source of carbon emissions is transportation, Elizabeth Irvin, a senior transportation analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, says in a CBS News article. That means if carbon emissions are to be lowered in the U.S., drivers’ behavior will have to change — especially the behavior of those who drive most, she said.

“The amount of fuel and greenhouse gas emissions you’ll save is going to really depend on how much driving you’re doing,” Irvin said. “This could be really useful for people doing ride-hailing driving, like Uber, Lyft, or delivery drivers.”

An Added Benefit

An increasing number of cities around the world — especially in Europe — have begun to restrict vehicle emissions. Some have even implemented low-emission zones that ban heavily polluting vehicles such as some diesel cars. Google Maps will also be able to help drivers in those areas.

“To support these efforts, we’re working on alerts to help drivers better understand when they’ll be navigating through one of these zones,” Glasgow wrote. Drivers in those areas will “quickly know if [their] vehicle is allowed in the area,” or if they will need to “choose an alternative mode of transportation or take another route.”

The low emission zone alerts functionality will launch in June for drivers in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain, and the UK — on Android and iOS operating systems, Glasgow explains. More countries will be added after that. Interested in road-tripping and sustainable travel? Consider



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Online Travel Update: Google once again embraces organic search and eliminates hotel listing fees; Kayak plans to open hotel in Miami Beach; Certares is on the road to become travel powerhouse | Foster Garvey PC


This week’s Update features several stories on the big online travel newsmakers of last week – Google and Kayak. Enjoy.

Google Once Again Embraces Organic Search and Eliminates Hotel Listing Fees
(“Tripadvisor’s New Subscription Service Edges the Company Toward Online Travel Agency Status,” March 7, 2021 via Skift Travel News) (subscription may be required)
(“Google eliminates fees for hotel booking links”, March 8, 2021 via Phocus Wire)
(“Google Drops Costs for Hotels and Resellers to List Rates in Price-Comparison Search”, March 8, 2021 via Skift Travel News) (subscription may be reqired)
(“VIDEO: What Google’s overhaul of hotel booking ads really means”, March 9, 2021 via Phocus Wire)
Was it a response to Tripadvisor’s recently announced roll out of its “free” subscription program, Tripadvisor Plus? Perhaps it was a response to the many antitrust claims filed against Google late last year by the U.S. Department of Justice and state attorneys general. Or is it simply Google’s next step toward total world domination (or at least domination of hotel metasearch)? Regardless of the reasons behind its change, Google’s recent announcement came as a surprise to many. While the industry continues to analyze the significance of the change (see our multiple stories linked above), here’s what we know: Google is adding two new organic slots/links (underneath four paid slots) to users’ search results when they search for accommodations in a particular location. The two new slots will be available to participating hotels, online travel agents or other booking sites without charge. According to Google, the ranking of these free slots will be based on an algorithm that considers price, click-through rates and the landing page experience, but not on any existing commercial relationship with or payment to Google. The links themselves will continue to be provided via feeds from partners, including hotels, online travel agents and integration partners. Who said search engine optimization (SEO) was dead?

Kayak Partners With Life House to Enter the Brick and Mortar Hotel Business
(“KAYAK to Open Its Own Hotel in Miami Beach,” March 9, 2021 via Booking Holdings)
For some time, industry analysts have debated whether an online travel platform would ever venture into brick and mortar ownership or operations. Airbnb toyed with the idea back in 2017 (anyone remember “Niddo powered by Airbnb”?), but ultimately abandoned it. Last week saw Booking Holdings’ metasearch brand Kayak announcing a partnership with management company newcomer, Life House, to apply Kayak’s user base and technology to traditional lodging operations. The Kayak Miami Beach (www.kayakmb.com), the first hotel to come out of the partnership, is expected to open on April 11, 2021. While Life House will manage the hotel’s operations and on-property guest experience, Kayak is contributing the hotel’s back-of-house systems, including integrations with cloud-based property management systems, wireless locks and distribution channel management. According to Kayak, the hotel will serve as a “design lab” that allows Kayak to develop and refine its accommodation technology for independent hotels.

If You Don’t Know Certares Yet, You Should
(“Is Investor Certares on the Road to Becoming a Next-Gen Travel Powerhouse?” March 9, 2021 via Skift Travel News) (subscription may be required)
Why you may ask? Consider the following recent headlines involving the private equity firm:

Certares invests $325 million in Tripadvisor’s parent company (March 2020).

Certares participates in the debut of a $500 million travel-oriented blank check company (SPAC) (December 2020).

Certares co-sponsors pending $4.2 billion re-organization of Hertz (March 2021).

Certares invests $47.6 million in convertible bonds issued by the controlling shareholder of a French travel agency (last Wednesday, March 10, 2021).

This is on top of Certares’ existing investment in American Express Global Business Travel (joint venture partner) and ownership of Travel Leaders Group. More information about Certares’ many travel-related investments is available on the Certares website. And for those of you who read our recent mid-week Update on Tripadvisor’s recently launched subscription model, TripAdvisor Plus, Certares-owned travel agencies and aggregators provide discounted wholesale inventory to power Tripadvisor Plus.


Other news:

VIDEO: Health Passports and Next Steps for COVID-19 Travel Solutions
March 10, 2021 via Phocus Wire
Daon Vice President Clive Bourke spoke with us during PhocusWire’s Pulse: Safer & Seamless event to discuss the Verifly health passport product and how the broader travel industry can create solutions to make it easy for consumers to travel again.

Hotels Want To Capitalize on the Direct Trend – but for How Long?
March 8, 2021 via Phocus Wire
Hotel giants are looking to push their loyalty schemes to continue any advantage in direct bookings built up over the pandemic.

Booking Holdings CEO’s Complicated Messaging in Light of EU Scrutiny
March 12, 2021 via Skift Travel News (subscription may be required)
Consider the complicated message that Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel has to deliver: He tells a hotel industry in crisis, come to us, “we are the largest platform for demand and travel,” and he advises regulators, “we’re still extremely small in Europe.” A contradictory narrative? Depends on how you look at it.

One Year on From COVID, Italian Hoteliers Recognize Booking.com Is Not the Enemy
March 12, 2021 via Phocus Wire
Last year at this time, the COVID-19 pandemic was crushing Italy. Lockdown measures began in the northern municipalities in late February and extended nationwide by March 9 of 2020. Around that period PhocusWire spoke to Florence-based hotel manager Giancarlo Carniani, who is also President of Confindustria Alberghi Firenze, the region’s hotel association, and Phocuswright’s analyst for Italy. At the time, Carniani said he and other hoteliers in Italy were outraged with Booking.com for offering refunds for hotel reservations, even to guests that had already agreed to accept future stay credits in lieu of cash.



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Google Maps Street View: Viral photo shows young boy holding ‘impressive’ handstand | Travel News






Google Maps Street View: Viral photo shows young boy holding ‘impressive’ handstand | Travel News | Travel » TechnoCodex




















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