December 1, 2023

News in brief: Singapore, Ascott, Virgin Hotels, HTS, Finnair and more

Singapore has further eased its Covid-19 travel requirements so that all fully-vaccinated travellers (and non-fully vaccinated children aged 12 and under) will no longer be required to take a pre-departure test prior to arrival in Singapore. All non-fully vaccinated travellers are required to take a pre-departure test within two days before departure for Singapore, undergo a seven-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN), and take a PCR test at the end of their SHN period.

Expedia Group and Qtech Software, a travel technology software provider, have announced an expanded collaboration to deliver access to Expedia Group’s travel supply to travel businesses globally through Qtech’s flagship technology platform, OTRAMS GO. It means travel businesses of all sizes will have greater accessibility to premium hotel content and technology via the OTRAMS GO platform, helping generate higher revenue, grow their businesses and improve efficiency in the travel ecosystem.

The Ascott Limited has launched the ‘lyf Innovation Lab’ to power up its digital-enabled offerings at its co-living lyf properties. The lab will develop immersive virtual reality and augmented reality technologies to deliver cutting-edge experiences to guests. Ascott currently has 17 lyf co-living properties with over 3,200 units in 14 cities and nine countries. In Europe, lyf Gambetta Paris – Ascott’s first lyf-branded property in Europe – is slated to open in 2023.

Hotel and Travel Solutions (HTS) has secured five new members of staff on the back of the UK Government’s Kickstart Scheme. The scheme, which provided funding for employers offering new job roles for 16–24-year-olds who received Universal Credit, was aimed at preventing young people from facing long-term unemployment. Working in collaboration with local job centres in the Bromsgrove area, HTS successfully employed five people on the scheme after they had completed six-month Reservation Agent placements.

Preferred Hotels & Resorts has signed an agreement with Virgin Hotels that encompasses Virgin Hotels properties in key US cities. With immediate effect, Virgin Hotels Chicago, Virgin Hotels Dallas, Virgin Hotels New Orleans and Virgin Hotels Nashville will join the Preferred Hotels & Resorts L.V.X. Collection. As Virgin Hotels continues to grow, more properties will join the brand portfolio.

Finnair has lifted the requirement to wear a face mask on board select flights. This comes as many countries continue to remove Covid-19-related restrictions due to increasing vaccination rates and the mild form of recent virus variants. Customers and crew will no longer be required to wear a face mask onboard, unless it is specifically required by the authorities of the destination or origin country. Customers wishing to continue wearing a mask when travelling are welcome to do so.

UK event agency Parallel Blue is investing significantly in its venue search technology by partnering with to use its exclusive end-to-end venue finding software, GRATIS. The booking module allows users to enquire, book, track, invoice, report and make commission claims dynamically. Using GRATIS, the team can significantly support the venue finding process, creating proposals quickly and with a more speedy RFP turnaround.