CNN touts Cape Breton as one of the best places to visit in 2022

SYDNEY, N.S. — Word of mouth may be the most effective marketing tool, but it doesn’t hurt when an international media giant amplifies that message.

Such is the case with Cape Breton tourism. Visitors have been known to rave about their experience on the scenic Nova Scotia island and the meteoric rise of social media over the past decade has only served to megaphone those positive reviews. 

But like other tourist destinations, Cape Breton has suffered during the almost two years of COVID-19-related public health measures and travel restrictions. The dawn of 2022 brings with it the traditional optimism that the coming year will be better than the last.

Local confidence that tourism will rebound this year was recently given a boost when CNN unveiled its list of the best places to go in 2022. The article, written by a team of network journalists, selected 22 must-go places from across the globe.

The only Canadian destination on the list is Cape Breton. And given that the select list of CNN’s “best destinations to go” is in chronological order, the 10,311-square-kilometre island comes up almost immediately as readers embark on their journey down the Atlanta-based media outlet’s catalogue of some of the most exotic, intriguing and compelling places on earth.  

“Appearing near the top of the list is fantastic,” said Terry Smith, chief executive officer of the Destination Cape Breton Association

“It’s just wonderful to be recognized by international media like that. It will create so much more new awareness of us as a premier destination. We’re thrilled with that recognition. It’s a great way to start 2022.”

The image used in the CNN article is an aerial photograph of the village of Meat Cove at the northern tip of Cape Breton. In the story’s digital gallery, the Cape Breton picture follows one of the Bissagos Islands (run by a matriarchal society where women possess all the power) off the west coast of Africa. It was followed by a stunning image of the Andes Mountains in Chile.

Text-wise, the story describes Cape Breton as an island famous for its scenic vistas and historic sites. It specifically mentions the world-famous Cabot Trail, the island’s rugged beaches and the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site.

Segment author Karla Cripps writes that Cape Breton’s rich Indigenous history and culture are up-and-coming reasons why now is the time to visit.

“In recent years, Canada has taken important steps to develop and promote Indigenous tourism and Cape Breton is no exception,” she wrote.

“Visitors can immerse themselves in traditions of Cape Breton’s Mi’kmaq through a variety of offerings from the island’s five First Nations communities.”

Cape Breton is the only Canadian destination on the select list, while the only other North American places to make the elite 22 are Yellowstone National Park and Tulsa, Okla., in the United States and Disko Bay on the west coast of Greenland.

Other destinations profiled include the ancient city of Petra in Jordan, the Italian city of Naples, the U.K.’s Orkney Islands and Lahti, Finland.

Cape Breton’s latest international recognition comes less than three months after the island was crowned as the No. 1 island in North America by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler for the second consecutive year. The same 113-year-old publication also named Cape Breton as the world’s second-best island in a poll of three-quarters of a million travellers.

David Jala is a business reporter at the Cape Breton Post. 

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Travel Stocks Jump After Pfizer Touts Covid Pill’s Effectiveness

Travel stocks from Delta Air Lines (DAL) to Airbnb (ABNB) raced higher on Friday, after Pfizer (PFE) said that its Covid antiviral pill lowered the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% based on an interim analysis.


Delta stock gapped higher, jumping 6% and lifting the stock near its 200-day line. Other airline stocks followed. Airbnb gained 13% to 201.62, extending a breakout from a short flat base and advancing toward a 220.04 buy point of a long cup base.

Among other travel stocks, Expedia (EXPE) gapped up 16% to 182.17, breaking out past a buy area around 175. Booking Holdings (BKNG) leapt 7.5% to 2618.97, clearing a flat base buy point of 2540.10, according to MarketSmith chart analysis. Marriott International (MAR) moved 2.15% higher to 167.61. It’s near the top of a buy range that extends to 168.08 above a long consolidation with a 160.08 buy point.

Pfizer made the announcement as travel stocks got a boost from a rebound in demand this year. But that rebound was muddled by the coronavirus’ delta variant over the summer.

Additionally, the U.S. plans to reopen to fully vaccinated international travelers on Nov. 8. But vaccinations in the U.S. have been slow. The CDC this week recommended Pfizer’s Covid vaccine for children ages 5 through 11.

Markets, broadly, rose on Pfizer’s announcement, as well as a solid October jobs report.

Travel Stocks ‘Increasingly Confident’

Expedia, a day earlier, also reported third-quarter results that beat expectations. Airbnb’s results on Thursday also topped estimates.

“With early positive signs in Q4 and many countries announcing new openings to international travelers, we are feeling increasingly confident about a continued recovery,” Expedia CEO Peter Kern said in a statement.

Pfizer says it based its findings on an interim analysis of nonhospitalized adult patients who had Covid-19 and were at risk of becoming severely ill. The drugmaker said it plans to submit the data to the FDA to request emergency authorization.

Meanwhile, the company said it would stop further enrollment in the study due to “overwhelming efficacy demonstrated in these results.” That decision followed the recommendation of an independent data monitoring committee and came in consultation with the FDA.

Less than 1% of patients who received the oral treatment, Paxlovid, within three days of symptoms appearing were hospitalized by day 28. None of the patients tested died.

However, travel stocks have been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Airlines received billions in government aid and steered many employees toward separation packages. But the travel industry has struggled to find workers.


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Honda touts new light jet models as private travel surges

Participants will take a closer look after the Honda Jet 2600 Concept Plane was unveiled at the Las Vegas Convention Center during the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition on October 12, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. REUTERS / Steve Marcus

October 13, 2021

Las Vegas (Reuters) – On Tuesday, Honda Aircraft Co announced plans for a new light business jet that could fly non-stop across the United States as it seeks to take advantage of the surge in demand for personal travel.

The plane has up to 11 seats and offers up to 20% better fuel efficiency than other jets in this category, the company said. Honda Aircraft unveiled its new design at the National Business Aviation Association show in Las Vegas, the industry’s largest business jet show.We did not guarantee that the plane would be produced or provide a timeline to take orders.

Honda Aircraft Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. in Japan, currently manufactures the 6-seater HondaJet.

Honda’s plans come from the surge in business aviation traffic beyond pre-pandemic levels, for some corporate jet operators to reject new clients. With COVID-19, wealthy travelers consider private flights in small groups to be safer and more convenient than commercial travel.

(Report by Allison Lampert in Las Vegas; edited by Lisa Shumaker and David Gregorio)

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Lola Ceases Operations, Touts ‘Next Phase’

Small-and-midsize-enterprise-focused travel management provider Lola has shuttered its services, according to a notice on its website citing “new things to come” for the company, which less than three years ago made a major splash by inking an exclusive partnership with American Express Global Business Travel. 

With Lola ceasing operations, at least for now, its corporate clients have been transitioned to Amex GBT’s Neo1 SME-centric travel and expense spend management platform, according to GBT. Originally launched in the United Kingdom last year, Neo1 expanded to the U.S. in July. 

In a jointly signed notice on Lola’s website, company CEO Mike Volpe and CTO Paul English touted “exciting news about the next phase” for the company but provided no details as to those future plans. Lola did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Launched in 2016 by Kayak co-founder English, Lola garnered significant attention in its early years, racking up more than $80 million in investment funding along with the landmark 2018 Amex GBT tie-up. But the company was hit hard by the shutdown of corporate travel amid the Covid-19 pandemic, announcing in March 2020 that it would lay off 34 employees—nearly one-third of its workforce. 

In a bid to diversify its offerings amid the slowdown in travel, Lola in October 2020 rolled out a new corporate spending and expense management tool dubbed Lola Spend, which was built on the same platform as its travel management product, but could operate on a standalone basis. 

The shutdown of Lola comes less than a month after another onetime darling of the SME and lightly managed corporate travel segment, Upside Business Travel, also met its demise, citing the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

But as SME-focused travel management startups face challenges stemming from the pandemic, established TMCs remain eager to serve that segment. Amex GBT in particular has been keenly focused on growing its SME business, citing that goal as a key driver of its planned acquisition of Egencia, along with the expansion of the Neo1 platform to the United States. 

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As Buyers Rethink Service Models, SalesTrip Touts Pairing CRM with T&E

SalesTrip’s Manoj Ganapathy discusses: 

  • The value of a subscription pricing model
  • Shifts in travel evaluation due to the pandemic
  • The potential allure of a CRM platform to TMCs

An industrywide re-evaluation of corporate travel and expense management service models could well be among the most transformative long-term effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The sudden outbreak of the virus a year ago laid bare weak spots and inefficiencies in traditional structures, while the subsequent shutdown of travel gave corporate buyers the opportunity to step back and re-evaluate foundational aspects of their T&E programs.

That openness to change could be a ripe opportunity for providers operating outside of the traditional travel management company-centric paradigm. One such model, which had been gaining ground even before the onset of Covid, situates some corporate travel operations within the framework of customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

That’s the foundational principle of SalesTrip, a booking and expense management tool that operates within CRM behemoth Salesforce. Launched in 2019, the London-based company has scored clients on both sides of the Atlantic and in January closed a seed investment funding round. SalesTrip founder and CEO Manoj Ganapathy spoke with BTN payments and tech editor Adam Perrotta about the advantages of uniting T&E with CRM, and his vision for how that model will thrive in the post-pandemic landscape.

BTN: Despite the fact that corporate travel activity largely has been at a standstill for most of the past year, SalesTrip has added new customers over that time. From your perspective, to what extent was that driven by companies taking the opportunity to re‐evaluate their approach to travel and expense during that downtime, when there wasn’t any actual travel to support?

Manoj Ganapathy: For the most part, we have seen demand from companies looking for ways to better understand their employees’ discretionary spend. The significant downturn in travel has allowed them the time to do this, [and] accelerate the consolidation of the data silos still prevalent in corporate travel. And, as part of companywide cost-cutting initiatives, they’re no longer willing to accept [paying for] travel as the cost of doing business, and instead are shifting to understanding what the tangible outcome of travel spend is. They want to know the real impact a trip will have … and exactly what future revenue can be expected as a result of the travel.

BTN: Building travel and expense capabilities within Salesforce offers a value proposition when it comes to tying expenditures to sales and calculating ROI for business travel. Are there any other advantages to that model?

Ganapathy: There are many, including the ability for companies to create a branded user experience {to drive] employee engagement, and the use of dynamic or situational workflows, such as releasing a travel budget when a sales deal reaches a certain stage. But the most important is the ability to predict future travel volumes and spend. As SalesTrip [measures] travel booking and expense management against specific business activities … customers are able to analyze how much travel was required at different stages of the sales lifecycle. It’s then possible to predict the probability of success for future trips. Lastly, given Salesforce is a [software-as-a-service] platform, customers benefit from the predictability of a subscription pricing model. We don’t charge transactional booking fees, so customers aren’t faced with fluctuating costs depending on the volumes of travel. Right now, with business travel grounded, that isn’t such a concern. But when it resumes, the last thing a finance leader needs are high and unpredictable costs.

BTN: What effect has Covid‐19 pandemic had on the needs and wants of your customers when it comes to travel and expense? How are you positioning yourself to meet those new demands?

Ganapathy: The needs of our customers have simplified in that we’re not seeing requests for high-touch travel services. As such, the demand is from very practical buyers who wish to know the why behind spend. … This is really the foundation of SalesTrip, and so we’re well-positioned to meet these demands.

The laser focus on costs forced by the pandemic will shift the future of travel away from that costly [transactional] model and towards the more flexible subscription model.”

BTN: How central of a role can a CRM‐based service model play for a company’s travel operations? Can this model replace a traditional TMC—even for larger companies—by providing the full array of necessary “TMC‐like” services? 

Ganapathy: We’re a licensed travel agency in several countries so [we can] serve as a TMC, meaning there is no need for customers to commission a separate service. We are not, by design, a high-touch TMChowever, so we understand that some customers might want to retain existing relationships with the more traditional TMCs. We’re flexible to these needs, and a small percentage of our larger customers use another agency for their ticketing and offline service. But it’s no secret that the fees these traditional TMCs charge are, for the most part, unjustifiable. Charging online booking fees for something which is by definition self‐service can rub buyers the wrong way. As a result, the laser focus on costs forced by the pandemic will shift the future of travel away from that costly [transactional] model and towards the more flexible subscription model.

BTN: On the other side of that, it seems like the CRM ecosystem/channel also could be an attractive avenue for traditional TMCs to reach clients, including smaller companies that don’t yet have managed travel programs. Have you seen interest from traditional TMCs in this space, and if so, what competitive advantage do you have over those providers in this context?

Ganapathy: Our previous research revealed that 80 percent of travel spend is incurred by [companies’] commercial teams. That same 80 percent live in CRM systems, using them on a daily basis. The potential reach is clear to see, and combined with the scalability of a cloud platform, represents a significant channel. We knew this when founding the company, and the more progressive TMCs see the exact value we provide that can augment their own offerings. Combining the services of a TMC with direct travel booking and expense management via the CRM platform offers clear advantages to the customer, not only for ease of use but also in cost savings. It’s not easy to connect the transaction-built world of the travel industry to a … highly customized modern CRM system, but there was a clear need for it, and is exactly why SalesTrip was founded.

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