February 1, 2023

News in brief: Choice Hotels, Agiito, Sabre, Supercity and more

Choice Hotels is to bring its Sleep Inn brand to the EMEA region. The design-led lifestyle brand is designed to appeal to the growing number of travellers seeking hotels where they can “escape the hectic urban environment to relax, recharge and reset”. The launch reflects the results of the hotel group’s research into the preferences of travellers in the EMEA region, plus scientific evidence on optimal nutrition to achieve the best work-life balance.

Agiito has rolled out its live availability technology for meetings bookers as part of a pilot with its client, Royal Mail Group. It allows bookers to view rates and venue availability in real-time, before submitting their enquiry, through proprietary technology, Meetingspro. Eloise Ferrara-Neched, Procurement Manager for Royal Mail Group, said: “I look forward to working with the team as they continue to develop their meetings technology, such as instant book, which will be a game changer for not only my company, but the industry too.”

Sabre and Conferma Pay have announced a new partnership with Mastercard to accelerate the use of virtual cards for business-to-business (B2B) travel payments. Sabre said this means travel buyers and suppliers are able to more easily track and reconcile payments, as well as benefit from flexible pricing, financing options, and enhanced security through card payment guarantees. The move builds on Sabre’s August 2022 acquisition of Conferma Pay. 

All of Supercity Aparthotels’ UK properties have received ISAAP’s Secure Serviced Accommodation Accreditation. The certification shows the property provider has met the necessary standards for quality and comfort, health and safety and security and signifies to corporate buyers and travel managers that the accommodation is compliant with ISO 31030, the global standard for travel risk management. Supercity Aparthotels is amongst the first batch to receive this new accreditation.

Heathrow Express has appointed Daniel Edwards as its new Business Lead and Director. He rejoins the Heathrow Express team from Heathrow Airport, where he led the Heathrow VIP commercial team before becoming Head of Retail Categories. Edwards previously worked at Heathrow Express from 2018-2019 as the company’s Commercial Customer Service Manager, where he oversaw the start of the transformation of the Heathrow Express turn-up-and-go sales channel which included onboarding over 100 new frontline colleagues, the roll out of new ticketing and Gateline facilities and growth of commercial revenues in the channel.

The number of small meetings has returned to pre-pandemic levels despite the growth of online meetings in 2020 and 2021, according to the latest figures from venuedirectory.com. It found small meetings accounted for 82% of bookings going through the venuedirectory.com in the last 12 months, a year when volumes have exceeded 2019 levels.

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