Friday Briefing: USTOA Adds Consumer Reviews, Disney Launches Marvel Day at Sea

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The USTOA’s plan to add consumer reviews to its website, Disney Cruise Line’s new Marvel Day at Sea and AccorHotels’ new Business Check powered by LinkedIn are the top headlines to watch in the travel industry today. 

USTOA Adds Consumer Reviews to Website

Terry Dale, president and CEO of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) has announced plans for a new dedicated tour review platform with consumer testimonials on the organization’s newly redesigned website. 

In a statement announcing the decision Dale pointed to the important role online reviews play in travelers’ decision-making process, and said that there was a need for more tour operator representation in this space. 


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“USTOA developed a third-party review platform for our Active Members as a resource for travel agents and consumers to find direct, verified and unbiased feedback on various tour product,” Dale said. 

The new tour-specific review platform has star ratings and comments from travelers who have taken a tour with a USTOA member. Developed via a partnership with Tripwing, the reviews can be found via the USTOA website’s search tool on the homepage. Using the search function, travel agents and consumers can search USTOA member itineraries and packages, with the available traveler reviews populated as part of the destination search results. There will be stars listed another the trip itinerary name, with complete testimonials and additional ratings available by clicking “reviews” on the results page. 

In addition to the new reviews, USTOA’s new mobile responsive website also offers clear paths for consumers and travel agents to areas of interest from the home page, including the “Find Your Dream Vacation” search tool, find a USTOA certified travel agent nearby, inspirational blogs posts and destination videos, details on USTOA’s $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program, and more. The new design also offers agents direct access from the home page to the USTOA Business Resource and newsletter sign-up, training, webinars and active member directory. USTOA’s new website was developed by Nooton, Inc., a technology consulting, mobile application and web design firm.


disney marvel day at sea

Disney Cruise Line to Launch New Marvel Day at Sea

In cruise news, Disney Cruise Line is bringing onboard popular Marvel characters with the line’s new Marvel Day at Sea, available on select Disney Magic sailings from New York in fall 2017. 

On one sea day on each select sailing, guests will have a chance to take part in interactions with Marvel characters, a deck party, Marvel-themed youth actives, special merchandise and unique food and beverage offerings. 

Guests will also have a chance to check out exclusive at-sea screenings of films from the Marvel universe, as well as viewings of the Disney XD shows Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

The Marvel Day at Sea will be available on seven- and eight-night Disney Magic Bahamian cruises departing from New York on October 6, 14, 28 and November 11 and 18, 2017. All sailings will include a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, and Port Canaveral, FL, with a day at the Walt Disney World Resort. The Marvel Day at Sea will also be on one seven-night Canadian Coast cruise departing from New York on October 21, 2017, with stops at Charlottetown, Sydney and Halifax

AccorHotels and Linkedin Partner on Business Check In

Finally, in hotel news, AccorHotels and LinkedIn have partnered on a few feature, Business Check powered by LinkedIn, that aims to create and facilitate business opportunities for guests staying at AccorHotels properties. 

The new feature, which is now available on the AccorHotels mobile app, helps travelers identify people in their professional network who are based in the city they are in and suggest relevant profiles to connect with. Business travelers can connect to their LinkedIn account and share their next business trip destination with their network, as well as find out which of their LInkedIn contacts reside in the city they are staying in, allowing the traveler to contact them directly using either a personal email or Inmail. Additionally, Business Check powered by LinkedIn will suggest a list of relevant profiles resident in the traveler’s destination. 

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