Airport management revolution. AeroCloud just raised a massive $12.6 million in Series A funding to bring their AI and machine learning airport management platform to new heights. With lightning-fast passenger processing, improved self-service options, and better stakeholder communication, AeroCloud is flying high above the competition. It’s no wonder they’re quickly becoming the go-to solution for airport efficiency, customer satisfaction, and juicy operating margins.
Electric bus network for Indian cities.Ixigo, the Indian online travel app, is investing $3.1 million in FreshBus, an electric bus startup. FreshBus is set to launch an inter-city electric bus service across India with 24 e-buses, expanding to 1,000 over the next couple of years. This move is a huge win for the environment and all parts involved!
Rise of robotic automation in hospitality. They’re already the number 1 robot manufacturer in the industry, with exports to over 60 countries and shipments of over 53,000 robots in 2022. With major hotel brands like Marriott and Hilton on board, Pudu is also taking over the service industry. With labor shortages causing all kinds of headaches, businesses are turning to Pudu’s solutions to automate their workflows and lighten the load. Pudu scored $15 million in fresh funding to expand its production capacity and develop commercial cleaning robots. Seems like hotels will see more robots around their halls.
Strategic acquisition targets nomadic workers.Blueground, the globetrotter’s favorite furnished rental company, is joining forces with Travelers Haven, the on-demand rental service for nomadic workers in 20,000 US cities. This acquisition, whose details are being kept under wraps, is set to make the combined organization a major player with over 1,200 employees and projected revenue of $600 million in 2023. This deal follows Blueground’s second acquisition in just three months.
Anticipated developments in hospitality. Andreas Scriven, Deloitte’s top hotel consultant and industry insider, spoke with Skift and shared his predictions for a flurry of asset sales in the latter half of 2023. Scriven discusses the outlook for Europe, what it will take to boost the hotel asset market, why major players are not prioritizing consolidation, and why Amsterdam is currently the hottest city for hotel investors. He also shares insights on where hotel development is most innovative, which includes the Middle East and scrappy startups. Hospitality industry professionals seeking insights on what to expect this year won’t want to miss all the juicy details.
New partnerships to boost competitive advantage. The UK’s consortium for independent TMCs, Focus Travel Partnership, has welcomed a new partner: TakeTwo Travel Solutions. TakeTwo is an innovative global boutique TMC specializing in bespoke services for high-net-worth individuals, VIPs, and groups. The partnership brings the total number of TMC partners in Focus Travel to 52, and the consortium now boasts a group buying power of £1.3 billion. Not bad, huh?
Game-changing AI for the travel industry. While many companies are still trying to figure out how to incorporate AI into their businesses, Trip.com has already launched a game-changing chatbot within its app. Dubbed TripGen, this innovative tool is built on an API from OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT. It offers users real-time travel tips, inspiration, and itinerary suggestions through a conversational interface. Trip.com says users can ask complex or vague questions and instantly receive tailored itineraries and advice for flights, hotels, transportation, and tours. And that’s not all – TripGen also provides personalized travel routes, itineraries, and booking advice in multiple languages. Trip.com has truly set itself to become the ultimate travel companion, thanks to its fresh and cutting-edge AI technology.
Taxis will be flying around Osaka. Flying taxis are coming to the World Expo 2025 Osaka, and visitors may get to be the first to experience them. Joby Aviation and ANA Holdings have been selected to showcase their electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, hoping to connect the Expo to other locations in the Osaka area. Joby’s four-seater eVTOLs are all-electric and have already been certified in Japan, with plans for a future Japanese rollout. With 28 million visitors expected at the Expo, this could be a flying start to the future of transportation! Exciting!