TRAVEL ROUND-UP: JetBlue, Hilton, Navis, LIC Hotel, and More…

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A summary of the most exciting recent news in travel marketing and media in the U.S., U.S.-Hispanic and Latin American markets. If you're trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

U.S./U.S.-HISPANIC MARKET

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JETBLUE TECHNOLOGY VENTURES, the new venture capital subsidiary of JetBlue Airways, decided to make its first investment in FLYR, a data and science company based in Silicon Valley. FLYR leverages machine learning and predictive analytics to create price forecasts that offer travel customers flexibility when looking at constantly changing airfares. It also gives travel providers insights and opportunities to increase their revenue.

“In just a few short weeks, we have heard from hundreds of startups with incredible ideas about the future of travel,” said Bonny Simi, president of JetBlue Technology Ventures. “We choose FLYR as our first investment because they share our belief that predictive analytics can provide value to travelers and will change the travel experience in ways we have yet to imagine.”

LIC Hotel announced its grand opening in New York City. In a combination of modern chic and affordable comfort, the hotel's location provides guests with the convenience of being just one train station away from midtown Manhattan, along with the opportunity to explore the thriving Long Island City neighborhood.

The hotel’s concept is modern and chic. All 68 guestrooms have a flat screen TV, free high-speed wireless Internet access, and a design that reflects a clean, minimalist style. And it also offers great views of the city.

LIC Hotel is currently running a Grand Opening special during the month of April for a flat rate of $99/night.

Ken BarrettWHITE LODGING announced Ken Barrett as its new Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer of the management division. Barrett brings over 24 years of hospitality experience to his new role. Barrett has a diverse background with more than 24 years of hospitality industry experience. Most recently, Barrett was Senior Vice President of Asset Management for Chicago based Strategic Hotels where he worked for the past 10 years. Prior to that, Barrett worked with IHG as Regional Controller and Director of Accounting for the Americas and with Interstate Hotels as a Regional Controller in their Crossroads Hospitality division.

"It was the people of White Lodging who sold me on this position, and I think that's important to be successful in an executive role," said Ken Barrett. "All goals we have set for White Lodging will be achieved through the people. I thought they were great before, I think they're greater now that I've met them since beginning my position. All value from an asset comes from within."

The Travel Marketing Forum, part of #PortadaLat on June 8-9 in Miami's Hyatt Regency Hotel is going to bring together all the big players in travel marketing from the Americas, including Volaris, Grupo Posadas, Best Western, Royal Caribbean, Hyatt, Sojern and many more. Get your early bird tix!

LATIN AMERICAN MARKET

HOMEWOOD SUITES by Hilton signed its Cabo San Lucas 75-room complex. Currently under construction and owned by Posada Cabo San Lucas, S.A., the hotel is set to open doors during this year’s fourth quarter. With the launch, the Hilton family will maintain its growth plan in the Caribbean and in Latin America. This is Homewood Suites’ third opening in the region and its second in Mexico.

“With a strong economical forecast and as a popular destination for both business and pleasure travellers, Mexico is a priority market for our brand’s expansion,” said Ted Middleton, senior VP for Latin American development from Hilton Worldwide. “We are planning on expanding this brand throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.”

NAVIS announced that it would increase its presence to amplify its reach in LATAM, with Mexico as its main focus. During the last three decades, NAVIS has innovated high-performance hospitality sales and marketing solutions that create and convert more demand across all channels, resulting in dramatic growth in revenue and profit for hotels, resorts and vacation rental companies. NAVIS has already signed on several new properties in the area, including Hotel El Ganzo and Casa del Mar Golf and Spa Resort. These five-star independents are part of the Questro Group, and will join a growing list of NAVIS clients in Mexico.

"We are delighted to have the opportunity to bring our experience and capabilities to Latin America. Hotels and lodging groups of all sizes are looking for ways to increase direct bookings, make better sales and marketing decisions based on accurate, real-time data and uncover previously hidden profit sources, and it’s the perfect time for NAVIS to fill a long-standing void for these solutions in LATAM,” said Kyle Buehner, NAVIS CEO.

AMRESORTS is planning on opening its first all-inclusive hotel in Puerto Rico during late 2018. Under of its brands, Dreams, the hotel company is building a 250-room complex. The building will be located in the city of Guanica, 73 miles southeast of San Juan and 21 miles from Ponce. According to Alex Zozaya, AMResorts’ CEO, “today there are no real all-inclusive hotels on the island, just a few that offer packages that include food, drinks and some activities with an additional cost.”

WESTIN Hotels & Resorts will expand its presence in Latin America with the development of the brand new Westin Monterrey set to open in 2019. The signing is part of Starwood’s aggressive growth strategy in Latin America and Mexico, and marks the debut of the Westin brand in Mexico’s second largest city. Developed by Desarrollos Missouri and managed by Starwood, The Westin Monterrey will join the brand’s portfolio located in key markets, including Mexico City, Guadalajara, Los Cabos, Cancun and Puerto Vallarta.

“We are thrilled to bring the Westin brand to Monterrey, another vibrant, bustling city in Mexico that continues to be our top-performing market in Latin America,” said Jorge Giannattasio, Senior Vice President and Chief of Latin American Operations for Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

 


Ximena Cassab @xcassab

Ximena is a Swiss-Mexican journalist based in Mexico City where she specialized in business, and travel topics. Graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), she has worked as an editor at the magazines Expansión , Aire and Accent, from Expansion Group. Currently she is working with different media in Spanish and English independently. She is a passionate traveler who does not miss the opportunity to see a new place in the world.

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