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Taj recently unveiled its special festive offer. Guests will receive complimentary Taj Experiences Gift cards while doubling Taj InnerCircle loyalty points when booking directly tajhotels.com. The offer includes daily breakfast, a meal of choice, a spa treatment and a host of other benefits.
One can choose from world-renowned landmarks to modern city hotels, beach resorts, to authentic Grand Palaces with each Taj hotel offering an unrivalled fusion of warm Indian hospitality and world-class service.
Urban Oasis– Experience the colonial charm of the city of Chennai at Taj Connemara or take a heritage walk and be awed by the 115 year journey of The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai. Discover the tranquil tropical paradise in the heart of Bengaluru at Taj West End, set in a lush 20-acre garden.
Serene Sojourns – Guests can choose from night kayaking at Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Andamans to the authentic Ketuvallam houseboat cruise down the backwaters of Kerala at Taj Bekal Resort & Spa or spend their days amidst the misty hills of Coorg at Taj Madikeri Resort & Spa.
Royal Escapes – Indulge in the lifestyle of kings and queens when you stay at the living Palaces of the Taj. Go vintage at Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur where the royal collection of classic cars will take you down memory lane. Wake up to admire the white marble reflecting in the pristine waters of Lake Pichola at Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur. Discover secret recipes from the glorious past as you dine at Rambagh Palace in Jaipur. Uplift your spirit perched 2000 ft above the historic city of Hyderabad at Taj Falaknuma Palace.
Ginger opened its first prototype hotel with a complete new brand identity at Panjim, Goa after an intensive repositioning exercise. The current portfolio of the other 45 plus hotels will be repositioned reflecting the new brand identity and brand promise. Ginger will introduce the lean luxe segment, the first of its kind in India.
Puneet Chhatwal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, The Indian Hotels Company Limited said, “The Ginger brand journey is aligned to Aspiration 2022 that defines a brandscape that addresses diverse customer segments and price points. It will be an important growth vehicle for the company and we are looking at quickly scaling up the brand to a large number of hotels across India.”
The new identity of Ginger presents a co-existence of contrasts through re-imagined spaces blurring the lines of work and play, bringing about a fusion of global and local and create experiences that are vibrant, quirky, intuitive and smart.
Deepika Rao, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Ginger said, “The brand is slated to appeal to an on-the-go lifestyle and is anchored in the idea of seamlessness, facilitating a ‘never stop’ lifestyle. Ginger will now be an aspirational hotel chain that is also surprisingly affordable.”
The redesigned spaces will bring together attractive public areas as well as spots designed for solitude, allowing the smooth transition from one to the other. They come alive with vivacious high energy glocal music and unique artwork installations. The all-day diner Café Et Cetera offers comfort food and doubles up as a personal workstation.
The service style is designed around the on-the-go lifestyle of the target audience enabling them to do more whether it is on-the-go breakfast, express laundry service or quick munch snack bars.
The company has received overwhelming interest from the hotel development community and has signed 6 new hotels already in this financial year taking the portfolio to 56 hotels, the highest in its competition set. The new openings in the next two quarters will be in Madgaon in Goa, Patna, Sanand, Surat, and Visakhapatnam.
Travelport has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by affiliates of Siris Capital Group and Evergreen Coast Capital Corp., in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately US$4.4 billion. Evergreen is the private equity affiliate of Elliott Management Corporation.
Under the terms of the agreement, Siris and Evergreen will acquire all the outstanding common shares of Travelport for US$15.75 per share in cash.
The Board of Directors of Travelport unanimously approved the agreement and recommended that shareholders vote in favour of the transaction. Elliott and its affiliates have agreed to vote the common shares owned by them in favour of the transaction.
Frank Baker, Co-Founder of Siris Capital said, “Travelport has an impressive track record of developing and bringing to market best-in-class distribution capabilities, technology services, innovative payment solutions and other value-add digital tools for the global travel industry. We have been impressed by the company’s industry-leading GDS technology platform, which supports mission-critical transactions for both travel providers and agents. At the same time, Travelport is redefining the travel payments industry through eNett, a disruptive and fast-growing leader in secure, virtual travel payments. Siris looks forward to partnering with the company’s management team and Evergreen in this next phase of Travelport’s evolution and growth as a private company.”
The proposed transaction is currently expected to close in the second quarter of 2019 and is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by Travelport shareholders and receipt of required regulatory approvals. The transaction is not subject to any financing condition.
Upon the completion of the transaction, Travelport will become a privately held company and Travelport common shares will no longer be listed on any public market. Travelport’s headquarters will remain in Langley, U.K.
Gordon Wilson, President and CEO, Travelport said, “Travelport welcomes this proposed transaction with Siris and Evergreen, who are specialist technology platform investors. Throughout the process, Siris and Evergreen have demonstrated their deep technology expertise together with a strong commitment to the success of our customers, employees and partners. We will continue to develop and invest in our platform to serve the changing needs of our customers in the travel industry. It is very much business as usual at Travelport and we look forward to this new era in the company’s development.”
Travelport says it can still actively solicit alternative acquisition proposals from third parties during a "go-shop" period from the date of the agreement through 23 January 2019. Travelport will then have the right to terminate the agreement to enter into a superior proposal subject to the terms and conditions of the agreement.
Thomas Cook (India) strengthened its presence in Surat with the inauguration of its second outlet in Vesu, Surat, inaugurated by Romil Pant, Sr. Vice President, Thomas Cook (India). This expansion augments Thomas Cook India’s distribution and reach in Gujarat to 11 consumer access centres: five owned branches and six Gold Circle Partner (franchise) outlets.
Thomas Cook India’s internal data had highlighted Surat, Gujarat as a high potential source market for its holiday business. Hence, in an initiative to harness this opportunity, the company has identified Vesu, Surat to set up its new Gold Circle Partner franchise outlet.
The Thomas Cook Gold Circle Partner programme is an exclusive franchise partner initiative that increases the brand’s presence-reach across the country, giving consumers access to the company’s products & services in metros/mini-metros and strongly emerging Tier II & III markets. The Gold Circle Partner benefits via brand association with the leading travel company in India, along with knowledge sharing/training and expertise to manage a travel business. In addition, a Gold Circle Partner is equipped with sales & marketing support to further business development and acquisition of a wider customer base.
Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head Leisure Travel & M.I.C.E, Thomas Cook (India) said, “Gujarat has been identified as a prime growth driver and continues to deliver strong growth of 35 per cent YoY for our Leisure Travel business. Surat offers us significant potential and we have selected one of the prime localities of the city for our new branch. Shop No. 8 – 9 Agam Emporio, University Road, Vesu is a key locality in Surat, providing us with a viable catchment of consumers across families, business professionals, senior citizens and NRIs.”
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), recently hosted a wedding showcase at InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort from December 5 – 7, 2018. The event exhibited IHG’s exclusive wedding offerings in India, across brands including InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, Crowne Plaza and the Holiday Inn brand family, featuring sessions and discussions around the wedding business in India, with industry experts such as Parthip Thyagarajan, CEO, Wedding Sutra, Sushil Wadhwa, Founders- Platinum Worldwide and Weddings, Darshan Shroff, Co-founder- Momente, Arti Mattoo, CEO- Momentum Worldwide, Siddharth Ganeriwala, CEO- Aura Integrated Solutions, Swathi Sabharwal, Founder- BigBash Entertainment, Chitvan Jaipuria, CJ Events and Snehal Modi Lakshya Events amongst others. The exclusive soiree was attended by some top wedding planners, designers, and celebrities from across the country, including Arti Surendranath, Vivek Karunakaran and Ash Chandler, Shraddha Salla.
During the event, IHG’s international hotels focused on the Indian wedding segment, hosted a raffle draw and gave out exciting offers for weekend staycations to winners at some of their renowned properties such as, InterContinental Regency Bahrain, InterContinental Singapore, Crowne Plaza Amman, Crowne Plaza Bahrain, InterContinental Doha, Crowne Plaza Doha, InterContinental Fujairah.
The wedding industry in India is a burgeoning sector, estimated to be worth over US$40 billion. Tapping into this sector, last year, IHG introduced customised offerings, with a vision to curate and execute dream weddings for guests with different requirements and preferences. The offering includes thoughtfully designed wedding packages inclusive of exquisite indoor and outdoor venues and customized wedding services ranging from bespoke food menus to exclusive event decors, across IHG hotels and brands in the country.
Vivek Bhalla, Regional Vice President, SWA, IHG said, “Over the years, IHG has established itself as a formidable player within the Indian wedding segment and we continue to focus on this growing category by strengthening our guest offerings. Indian weddings have become more elaborate with a lot more customisation expected by the guests. At IHG, we are focused on providing the best facilities and personalised services to our guests, which makes wedding planning for the couple and their families a convenient and an enjoyable experience.”
Hilton signed a management agreement with Kalyani Hospitality, to develop a DoubleTree by Hilton in Bangalore. Scheduled to open in Q1 2021, DoubleTree by Hilton will be located at the commercial micro-market of the city – Whitefield. The hotel will be ideally located to serve as the central hub for business functions as well as host business travellers and guests from within the city.
The hotel currently under construction will have 183 rooms & suites and offer guests world class Double Tree by Hilton Hospitality to cater to the needs of both business and leisure travellers, including multiple meeting and banquet spaces, fitness amenities, outdoor swimming pool, restaurant, a bar and a roof-top lounge.
Navjit Ahluwalia, Senior Vice President and Country Head, Hilton India said, “We are happy to mark our presence in Whitefield, which is an important commercial hub of the city. Our partnership with Kalyani Group reinforces our promise to expand our portfolio in India and offer Hilton guests more opportunities to experience the warmth of Hilton hospitality across multiple locations.”
Announcing the project, A Mohan Raju, Chairman and Managing Director, Kalyani Group said, “We are delighted to partner with Hilton to provide world-renowned hospitality within a business‐friendly environment. Owing to its location within the fastest growing commercial micro market in Bengaluru, the hotel will become a preferred choice of travellers with diverse requirements. We have strong plans to replicate our success in the commercial office segment into the hospitality sector.”
Guy Phillips, Senior Vice President, Development, Asia and Australasia, Hilton said, “The signing of this agreement reiterates our long-term commitment to India as a strategically important market. DoubleTree by Hilton is rapidly scaling its presence across the APAC region and we are delighted to partner with Kalyani Group to continue with this momentum in India.”
Singapore Airlines has acquired a minority stake in Australia-founded Data Republic. The stake in Data Republic was acquired through a placement of new shares. Senate, Data Republic’s governance platform, enables organisations to safely collaborate on shared data projects in a secured environment, leveraging technology to protect privacy, provide audit trails and ensure data security.
George Wang, Senior Vice President Information Technology, Singapore Airlines said, “Singapore Airlines recognises the increasing importance that data plays in allowing organisations to have an enriched understanding of customers’ preferences. Our investment in Data Republic highlights our commitment to data innovation through a platform which leverages technology to ensure data security and privacy and further enhance our digital capabilities.”
SIA has been significantly enhancing its digital capabilities through a multi-phased programme which encompasses company-wide training programmes and participation by staff in innovation projects across the SIA Group; building digital capabilities through extensive IT-related recruitment and a shift to agile delivery of IT projects; large-scale investment in IT infrastructure; and increased collaboration with global tech leaders, start-ups and research institutes.
GoAir, who had recently announced the commencement of its international operations from Bengaluru, commences its direct flight to Phuket and Male from Bengaluru.
The flight to Phuket and Male from Bengaluru was initiated with the customary ribbon cutting followed by cake cutting. Passengers were surprised with gifts and a personal reception by GoAir at the Bengaluru airport. In sync with the aviation tradition to mark key milestones, the flight to Phuket and Male were welcomed with a grand water cannon salute upon its arrival at the Phuket International Airport and Velana International Airport respectively.
GoAir’s international service is operated by Airbus A320 Neo aircraft and with immediate effect, it will mark the commencement of a direct service three times a week between Bengaluru – Phuket –Bengaluru sector and direct service of two times a week between Bengaluru – Male – Bengaluru sector.
Cornelis Vrieswijk, Chief Executive Officer, GoAir said, “Bengaluru is a key market for us and this is the third strategic launch after Mumbai and New Delhi to have commenced international operations on GoAir’s network. We are certain that leisure travellers from Bengaluru and neighbouring cities will be delighted by our convenient connections to Phuket and Male.”
OYO Hotels and Homes has announced the launch of OYO B Direct, an extension of its existing corporate solution OYO B. With OYO B Direct, OYO opens up their corporate hotel booking solution OYO B to every corporate traveller looking for OYO’s quality-assured accommodation options for business purposes.
OYO B is an app-based hotel booking solution for corporates in India. The latest extension is primarily aimed at employees of organizations, where the company is not involved in setting up travel partners and authorizes a traveller to make bookings and claim reimbursements as per company policies directly. However, the traveller is often required to get a GST invoice for reimbursement, which sometimes can be a hassle when dealing directly with hotels. Under OYO B Direct, the traveller just needs to provide the PAN of the organization once at the time of the registration, and going forward the system automatically gets the correct GSTIN and the billing address for every booking.
Speaking on this new development, Anil Goel, Chief Technology Officer of OYO Hotels & Homes, said, “After launching OYO B, we have constantly been looking for opportunities to enhance our customer experience further and the launch of OYO B Direct is a step towards that. OYO has always looked for innovative ways to enhance customer experience. With OYO B Direct, we bring a more comprehensive set of choices to our corporate customers to create a booking as per their needs. Through these facilities, we aim to make the business travel in India more rewarding and hassle-free”.
Amadeus and Vistara have renewed a multi-year distribution agreement that guarantees Vistara’s travel agency partners continued access to the airline’s full range of fares and prices through Amadeus.
This partnership will enable Vistara to further grow its customer base by continuing to connect to travelers globally through the world’s largest community of travel sellers and buyers. By connecting to Amadeus’ innovative travel platform, Vistara is able to define and deliver enhanced offers, including rich content, to travel agents and travelers.
Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Strategy & Commercial Officer, Vistara, commented, “We are pleased to continue our successful partnership with Amadeus. Travel agencies are a key part of our strategy to serve our customers through the channel of their choice, both in India and internationally. With the new agreement, we will have access to Amadeus’ global travel agency network which has the widest reach of travellers globally and this is a significant agreement in our growth strategy.”
Cyril Tetaz, Executive Vice President, Airlines, Amadeus, Asia Pacific said, “We’re very proud to be able to support Vistara’s growth ever since the start of their operations. With our partnership now including Amadeus Airline Fare Families capabilities, Vistara will be able to differentiate its offers, enabling travel agencies to become better advisors, and empower travelers with the transparency and customization they deserve. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
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