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Weekly round-up of digital travel and tourism news for January 14-20, 2013

January 14, 2013 

Travelocity pioneers free concierge service

Travelocity is the first online travel agency (OTA) to offer complimentary concierge service to the customers booking a flight-hotel package. The service includes restaurant, music attraction tickets and golf course reservations. Book the vacation package.

Launch of timeshareAdvisor

Timeshare Rating, LLC launched timeshareAdvisor, a free comprehensive tool for timeshare resort owners, in the second week of January 2013. The new travel website reviews the resorts and features information about over 5,000 resorts located across the world. Browse through the time share resort advisor.

Uber introduces UberTaxi in District of Columbia

Uber, a technology company based in San Francisco, introduced UberTaxi service in District of Columbia.

Banjarey, new travel photo app for groups

Banjarey, released on January 3, 2013, allows capturing and sharing trip experiences from the perspective of all members of the group. You can download the travel photo application available in English language.

January 15, 2013 

Full version of Wikivoyage

The Wikimedia Foundation unveiled full version of its new online travel guide Wikivoyage. The free guide is available in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish. Browse the new online travel guide.

Travel Media Group purchases 10Best

Travora Media, Inc. is selling off its businesses and planning to close the shop. For instance, Travel Media Group of The USA Today acquired the travel list website, 10Best.com. Travora provides travel publishing solutions. The company represented GuidePal, Let’s Go, Matador, TripWolf, 10Best and many more leading brands.

January 16, 2013 

TourWrist signs license agreements with 18 travel businesses

TourWrist, Inc., a virtual tour platform, entered into an agreement with eighteen travel businesses. As per the terms and conditions of the agreement, the travel companies would integrate technology of TourWrist with their websites and applications. The companies include AlwaysOnVacations, Air New Zealand, All Star Vacation Homes, BeMyGuestTravel, MakeMyTrip and PlaceGuides. Get more information about the virtual tour platform.

Rich quits from the post of CEO and President

Rich Battista quitted from the post of chief executive officer (CEO) and president of LodgeNet Interactive Corporation. LodgeNet develops connectivity services and interactive media for hospitality sector.

Facebook launches Graph Search

Facebook launched beta version of Graph Search that allows searching Facebook for music and restaurants your friends enjoyed. Test the new restaurant searching platform.

Soho TechLabs wound up CasaHop, a social travel website focusing on home-exchange launched in April 2012.

Traveloka, the Indonesian flight search engine launched in 2012, is growing in leaps and bounds.

January 17, 2013 

GateWay with Concur® Expense: all-in-one travel management tool

Hillgate Travel, the leading independent travel management business in the United Kingdom, will launch GateWay with Concur® Expense during Business Travel Show 2013, scheduled for February 5-6, 2013. GateWay with Concur® Expense is an integrated online travel booking, business intelligence and travel expense management solution.  The solution combines Concur Expense and FreeWay online booking platform of Hillgate. Get more information about the travel show and the solution.

Deposit and book travel services

Air Express, a London-based travel agent, unveiled a deposit system for its online customers. They can make a deposit online and book hotels, holidays and flights online. The system would increase the customer base.  Learn more about the holiday scheme.

Independent hotels buy Maestro™

Seven independent hotels selected Maestro™ Enterprise Property Management (PMS) hotel reservation software solution developed by NORTHWIND. The solution enhances revenues and profits of the independent and multi-property hotels and resorts. The new clients include the Inn at Darden (Virginia) and Castle Hill Inn (Rhode Island). Read more about the hotel booking solution.

Travelport and ATC sign agreement

Travelport and ATC Travel Management signed a technology agreement. According to the agreement, Travelport would serve as the principal technology solution provider for ATC. Travelport would transfer the GDS business of ATC to its Apollo platform from Sabre.

Travelport Rooms and More™ features room offers from Huntington

Travelport Rooms and More™, a one-stop hotel booking engine for travel agencies, features room offers from Huntington Travel Group, the award winning Canadian hotel consolidator. The customers of Travelport would thus gain access to 65,000 more hotels.

Google Places API features Place Summaries, curated ratings and reviews based on the feedback from the users.

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January 18, 2013

Bagsup seeks funds

Bagsup, a travel startup using social networks, made presentation in Microsoft Windows Azure Accelerator Fall 2012 attended by venture capitalists and angel investors. The startup, founded by Ben Jackson, helps customers to find the best places while traveling.

Odigeo plans high yield bond

Odigeo, an online travel agency that manages Travellink, Opodo, GO Voyages and eDreams brands, planned to offer 5-year high yield bond worth $433 million. Get more information about the online travel agency.

Include privacy policies in mobile travel applications to avoid legal battles

Online travel companies developing mobile applications should not forget to define privacy policies to avoid legal complications. Last year a lawsuit was filed against Delta Airlines because it did not include a privacy policy in its Smartphone application Fly Delta.  Learn more about privacy policies for mobile travel applications.

Skift unveils SkiftSocial

Skift launched beta version of SkiftSocial, the data dashboard for international travel brands. The new dashboard allows travel companies to learn about the latest trends and patterns in social media. Try the dashboard.

Qunar, the Chinese online travel website, may present its initial public offering (IPO) in 2013.

January 19, 2013 

Online travel fraud

Correspondent. January 2013. Agent dupes travel firm, customers of INR 7.5 lakh. Hinudstan Times

An agent of ibibo.com duped 600 customers. The agent collected INR 7.5 lakh from the customers online, but he never delivered the holiday packages. The case is being investigated. Read the full story.

January 20, 2013 

10 most expensive travel insurance claims

Bourke, Aimee. January 2013. The highest travel insurance claims of 2012. Southern Cross Travel Insurance (S.C.T.I.)

According to the media release of S.C.T.I., three out of ten highest travel claims for evacuation / repatriation and medical bills originated in the United States of America in 2012.  A New Zealander claimed $208,000, the highest online travel claim for the year. The remaining most expensive travel claims originated in Mongolia ($151,000), Samoa ($114,000), Bali, Thailand, Fiji, France and Peru. Browse through the full list released by Southern Cross, an online travel insurer.

Nepalese travel companies are gearing up for online travel market

January 2013. Travel Connections. The Himalayan Times

The article reviews the Nepalese online travel market and the company strategies to meet the demands of new tech-savvy traveler. The author reviewed three travel portals: Go To Mountain, Nepal Sutra and My Trip 2 Nepal.  Nepal Sutra, a one-stop shop for Nepal tours, was set up in April 2012. Free Nepal Sutra travel application is available at Apple Store. My Trip 2 Nepal is the first “real time” travel portal of the country. Read the full article. 

CarGDS for SMBs

Car Rental Bookers, a brainchild of Stathis Katinas and Tristan Mcvean, offers car global distribution system (CarGDS) for small and mid-size car rental operators. The system is almost complete. The profitable website is likely to focus on marketing in 2013. Browse the Car Rental Bookers that offer services in 70 nations.

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