HotelPlanner, a travel technology company based in West Palm Beach, FL recently announced plans to go public on NASDAQ. (HotelPlanner’s SPAC sponsor, Astrea Acquisition Corp., is currently listed as ASAX on NASDAQ.)
To celebrate a return to travel and their exciting news of their upcoming IPO, HotelPlanner also announced the grand return of their annual black tie charity gala, the American Group Travel Awards, which will take place on Sunday evening, December 5 at the Nobu Hotel South Beach in Miami, to coincide with the end of Art Basel. AGTA is now in its 7thyear and celebrates the best of the best in group travel. This year’s theme is “Reimagining Group Travel.” HotelPlanner believes this is a time to encourage travel, recognize organizations that create special moments in the group travel space, and to provide another year of financial support to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
More than 200 guests are expected to attend, including senior executives from HotelPlanner and their new Board nominees, the hotel brand community, and the world’s largest online travel agencies. And a few celebrity VIPs, media and sports stars as well, including professional tennis player John Isner. Many high net worth individuals from the investor community will also be in attendance to support this philanthropic event.
Impact Wealth recently sat down with Tim Hentschel to discuss the travel outlook for 2022. Here are some of Tim’s latest insights for the industry’s recovery.
We as humans have an innate desire to explore and discover. Despite a challenging global pandemic, what hasn’t changed is people’s desire to travel to see friends and family, to conduct business, and to explore new horizons.
As we enter a post-pandemic world, there is now unprecedented demand for travel and hotel stays. In fact, the industry anticipates a recovery of individual and group leisure travel in 2022. And business travel is also expected to recover as corporate events return and as more ‘digital nomads,’ who want to work and play from anywhere, are booking extended hotel stays, a phenomenon we think will stick.
There are now more than 110 countries welcoming vaccinated Americans to their shores. This summer witnessed the return of the ‘Great American Road Trip’ as millions visited National Parks and other popular destinations with their friends and family. And many hotels are already reporting full occupancy for the upcoming holiday season. We believe the global tide has turned from a ‘wait and see’ approach to a ‘living and traveling with Covid’ mindset. Simply put, we feel travel is back.
Importantly, the U.S. recently lifted travel restrictions from 33 countries, which accounted for about 53% of 2019 inbound tourism. The recovery is expected to be led by tech-savvy leisure travelers with more disposable income who prefer to book on a mobile device, which we anticipate will drive higher occupancy rates, higher daily room rates and higher revenue per available room.
We believe these positive tailwinds represent a lasting change for the travel and hospitality industry, and HotelPlanner is already taking advantage of this market opportunity through well-timed innovations.
For example, in May 2020, at the height of the pandemic, HotelPlanner employed a 24/7 global gig-economy based travel concierge model, where travel agents provide localized and personalized advice, something no other Online Travel Agency offers. For example, if you’re traveling to Boston, HotelPlanner’s AI-enabled VOIP system will immediately connect you to a gig travel agent who lives in Boston. If you’re traveling to Paris, the system will connect you to a French speaker. And HotelPlanner recently enabled voice-enabled bookings through the Alexa device and app, so booking a hotel stay is now as simple as saying “Alexa – connect me to HotelPlanner.”
These are just two examples of how HotelPlanner made well-timed pivots during a time of challenge and came out even stronger with unique products and services.
For tickets to the black tie American Group Travel Awards Gala on December 5 please visit: