Wednesday Briefing: Travel Leaders Network Launches, Carnival Corp.’s Big New Tech Push

From the official launch of Travel Leaders Network to Carnival Corporation’s big CES announcement, here are today’s top travel industry headlines. 

Travel Leaders Network Officially Launches

It’s official: Travel Leaders Franchise Group, which includes Travel Leaders Associates and Results! Travel, and Vacation.com have combined to become the new Travel Leaders Network

Travel Leaders had originally announced the merger back in August 2016. The newly combined organization will have nearly 7,000 locations in the U.S. and Canada, offering both franchise (Associate) and consortium (Affiliate) solutions for travel agencies. Together, combined Travel Leaders Network agencies enjoy nearly $17 billion in annual sales volume. 

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In an interview with Travel Agent shortly after the original announcement, John Lovell, president of Travel Leaders Network and Leisure Group, Roger Block, president of Travel Leaders Network, and Steve McGillivray, chief marketing officer of Travel Leaders Group, said that working as three separate agency groups had ceased to make sense. The newly combined organization would also create more clout with suppliers, in some instances producing up to 60 percent of a given supplier’s business. Travel Leaders Network will be headquartered in Alexandria, VA, and Plymouth, MN

Carnival Corp. Unveils New Tech Amenities at CES

As it had promised, Carnival Corporation has unveiled a new, tech-forward guest experience concept at this year’s CES in Las Vegas

As part of the concept guests in the new Ocean Medallion Class onboard the company’s 10 cruise brands will receive an Ocean Medallion, a wearable device that is meant to act as a personal concierge, offering way finding, food and beverage ordering, gaming, entertainment, and other functions. The quarter-sized, 1.8-ounce disc can also be accessorized with jewelry, clips, key chains and bands or simply carried in a pocket or pocketbook. 

The Medallion is powered by proprietary Carnival Corp. technology and uses the Internet of Things (IoT) to carry out its functions. Proposed benefits include streamlined embarkation and disembarkation, allowing guests to access their staterooms as they approach the door with no keycard required, and locating friends and family around the cruise ship. Additionally, guests will be able to purchase merchandise without using cash or a card, take advantage of enhanced dining experiences based on their food and beverage preferences and enjoy interactive gaming and entertainment experiences. 

The Ocean Medallion pairs with an optional personalized digital concierge called the Ocean Compass, a digital experience portal available online, on smart devices, on kiosks in home ports, on stateroom TVs, on interactive surfaces located throughout the cruise ship and on devices carried by all guest service hosts, Carnival Corp. said. Both the Ocean Medallion and Ocean Compass combine with a network of proprietary sensors and computing devices embedded throughout the ship, home ports and destinations that the company calls the “Experience Innovation Operating System” – xiOS. The xiOS keeps track of guest experiences and preferences in real time, allowing for a personalized cruise experience. 

The new guest experience platform will debut on Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess in November 2017, followed by Royal Princess and Caribbean Princess in 2018. The new Medallion Class on Princess Cruises will be rolled out over multiple years on the entire Princess Cruises fleet.

Carnival Corp. also said the new platform is part of the company’s O·C·E·A·N, or One Cruise Experience Access Network, effort to expand the cruise vacation market through new guest experiences, the development of original media content such as new TV programs, and expanding its portfolio of destinations. 

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And keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for the latest travel industry news, trends and updates. 

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