Qantas Frequent Flyers Club members to benefit

first_imgQantas has announced that from October it will be making enhancements across the end-to-end customer experience.“Along with these enhancements, we are making a variety of changes to the Qantas Frequent Flyer and Qantas Club Programs,” the airline said Tuesday.“Information about these changes will be sent directly to our Frequent Flyer and Qantas Club members.”Some of these benefits include: easier start-up membership, preferential access to rewards, Next Generation check-in, and domestic complimentary checked baggage. The national carrier also announced that from 1 December 2010, “some program fees are reducing or being removed and others are increasing. Other fees are changing from 4 May 2011 and some new fees are being introduced from this date.” For specifics on the benefits, Qantas advised members to go to their news site: http://www.qantas.com.au/fflyer/dyn/program/news Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Clast_img read more

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Virtuoso Virtuoso Life Magazine Reveal Recipients of the 2012

first_imgSource = Virtuoso L to R: Rebecca Soloff, Director of Sales & Marketing at The Lowell hotel, New York with Fay Cohen, Principal of Sydney-based travel agency TravelPhase World’s Most Prestigious Hotels and Hospitality rofessionals Honored at Virtuoso’s 24th Annual Conference Leading luxury travel network, Virtuoso®, proudly announced this year’s winners of the prestigious “Best of the Best” hotel awards last week at its 2012 ‘Virtuoso Travel Week’ conference, taking place at the Bellagio in Las Vegas from August 12–17. The awards drew a record crowd of 1,450 people, including some of the biggest names in hospitality as well as the travel agency community. On hand to reveal the recipients during the Hotels & Resorts Dinner  were Virtuoso Chairman and CEO, Matthew D. Upchurch; Virtuoso President and COO Kristi Jones; and, Virtuoso Vice President of Hotels, Destinations & Tours, Albert Herrera. In addition to being feted for the evening, “Best of the Best” award winners will be featured in the September/October 2012 issue of VIRTUOSO LIFE magazine (www.virtuosolife.com), reaching 200,000 upscale, world travellers. This year marks a significant achievement for Virtuoso, which is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its renowned Hotels & Resorts Program. The first of its kind, this program was created to further serve the needs of Virtuoso’s member agencies and their clientele, now ranking as the most prestigious and longest-running hotel program in the industry. Twenty years later, the group possesses an amazing portfolio of 975 hotels, resorts, villas and private island retreats in 90 countries, all reinforcing its status as an industry trailblazer and trusted innovator. For six years running, Virtuoso has reviewed its collection of world-class properties and hospitality professionals, both continuously setting new standards within the luxury travel industry.“This year celebrates a truly exceptional milestone for Virtuoso’s Hotels & Resorts Program,” said Herrera. “As the network has continued to progress and grow to accommodate the changing needs of the affluent traveler, our Hotel Program has continued to evolve over the past 20 years to better serve our membership and adapt to consumer demand.  What started as a means of supporting our cruise products has turned into the industry’s most respected and most experiential hotel program.  More than half the hotels in our portfolio consist of 100 rooms or less, ensuring a more intimate feel for travelers, and we have the most robust amenity program in the industry, offering Virtuoso guests up to $450 in value per each stay.”Herrera continued, “With a portfolio this varied and impressive, it creates a highly competitive landscape. Those recognized with a ‘Best of the Best’ award by our talented and well-versed travel advisors represent the finest hotels and professionals within this esteemed group and truly define the highest level of luxury hospitality.”Editors of VIRTUOSO LIFE, the Virtuoso network’s multi-award-winning flagship magazine, initially determined the nominees in ten categories that ranged from most innovative guest experience to top hotel and hotelier of the year. Ultimately, it was the network’s elite travel advisors who carefully selected the winners.  Award categories and recipients follow:Best Achievement in Design: Park Hyatt Sydney, AustraliaSetting a new benchmark in contemporary luxury, the iconic Park Hyatt Sydney recently underwent the largest and most comprehensive renovation in its 21-year history. The outcome of this dramatic transformation includes architecturally designed guests rooms that feature floor-to-ceiling glass that open onto private balconies overlooking the property’s coveted harbor-front location, luxurious new interiors and furnishings, designer lighting, as well as the latest technology throughout. The revamped hotel also introduces a variety of renowned Australian artists’ work that was created especially for the space.Best Culinary Experience: Sur Mesure at Mandarin Oriental, Paris, FranceAward-winning chef, Thierry Marx, presents a complete sensory experience for gourmands. White interiors dominate the space and acts as a blank canvas for a true culinary experience involving sight, sound and taste. With each dish he aims for a profound personal response, with menu highlights including soy and oyster black truffle risotto and sweet bento and Ylang-ylang.Best Bar: £10 at Montage Beverly Hills, CaliforniaAt £10, guests will enjoy the finest spirits, complemented by handcrafted cocktails composed of the freshest ingredients. Tucked discreetly above the property’s restaurant, Scarpetta, £10 welcomes experienced connoisseurs to an intimate but convivial social atmosphere. The lounge specializes in the world’s most precious whiskey, The Macallan Single Malt, and offers its guests an authentic and charming bar experience with its dark woods, fine art and one of the most extensive collections of Lalique crystal.Best Family Program: Four Seasons Resort, Punta Mita, MexicoAn ideal destination for families of all sizes and generations, Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita offers many experiences that will make the vacation truly memorable for the whole crew. In addition to boasting some of the best snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, surfing and golf in the world, the resort also offers activities that range everywhere from horseback riding, tie-dye and t-shirt painting, to salsa dancing. Little ones will be entertained for hours at the ‘Kids for All Seasons’ program facilities, which include a playroom as well as an outdoor playground.Best Spa: Spa My Blend by Clarins, Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris, France The Spa My Blend by Clarins at Le Royal Monceau is a unique site of luxury and well-being, spread over a 16,145-square-foot space that was conceived by well-known French designer, Philippe Starck. Rest areas include a hammam, laconium room and sauna, all creating a temple of individualized luxury and well-being.Most Innovative Guest Experience: Las Ventanas al Paraiso, a Rosewood Resort, San Jose del Cabo, Mexico With a wide assortment of activities, Las Ventanas al Paraiso can tailor an itinerary fit for any traveler. For cooking enthusiasts, the resort’s ‘Challenge the Chef’ culinary program gives guests the opportunity to prepare an original dish for Executive Chef Fabrice Guisset, who then judges their talent. If the meal is a success, the winner is honored by having his or her dish added to the resort menu – with full credit as the star chef.Most Socially Responsible: Lefay Resort and SPA Lago di Garda, Gargnano, Italy Lefay Resort and SPA Lago di Garda is the flagship property of the Lefay Resorts Collection. Located in Gargnano, Northern Italy, one of the most picturesque villages on Lake Garda, the property’s philosophy is that personal wellness is strictly connected to environmental wellness. The resort has been designed and created in order to implement environmentally sustainable practices using the latest technologies and renewable alternative energies.One to Watch: Amanruya, Bodrum, TurkeyLocated in Turkey on the Aegean coast, Amanruya is inspired by the region’s traditional architecture and creates the intimate ambience of a village while still providing a sense of space and luxury. The property offers a true escape with its 36 elegant Pool Terrace Cottages, each with a private garden and pool.Hotelier of the Year: Danilo Zucchetti, Villa d’Este, Cernobbio, ItalyDanilo Zucchetti brings many decades of experience in hospitality, both in Italy and internationally. Prior to joining Villa d’Este, he was Director of the Hotel Bauer and Il Palazzo in Venice. He also collaborated in the openings of Four Seasons’ Berlin and Tokyo properties. Danilo’s professional philosophy as a hotelier is to always see the property from the perspective of the guest in order to meet and exceed their expectations. Hotel of the Year: The Beverly Hills Hotel, The Dorchester Collection, California Beloved by entertainment royalty, a haven for the world’s famous, and now a century-old landmark, Dorchester Collection’s Beverly Hills Hotel opened before the city of Beverly Hills was officially incorporated and signaled the birth of the community. From the iconic Polo Lounge, recognized as the place to see-and-be-seen by the city’s power dining elite, to the historic bungalows that have welcomed Hollywood royalty, the “Pink Palace” has become a cherished second home to generations of entertainment elite.Virtuoso Travel Week brings together more than 1,800 travel advisors from Virtuoso’s elite travel agency members in 20 countries, as well as executives from the network’s more than 1,250 preferred travel providers – hotels/resorts/spas, private islands, villas, cruise lines & private yacht companies, tour operators, airlines and private jet companies, tourism boards and many specialty operators. Approximately 4,000 of the most prominent players in luxury travel attend.last_img read more

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Flying Fashion the most stylish airline cabin crew is…

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J China Eastern’s cabin staff have been votedas Asia Pacific’s most stylish crew. They’ve got style and they’ve got class and now China Eastern’s cabin staff have been voted as Asia Pacific’s most stylish crew.Scoring 4.15 out of five in a Skyscanner poll, the Shanghai-based carrier wooed flyers with its navy blue suits teamed with white shirts and red scarves.Following China Eastern as the second most stylish cabin crew in the APAC region is Korea’s Asiana Airlines, scoring 4.14 out of five.Meanwhile, ordering staff to take etiquette and posture lessons has paid off for Virgin Australia, with the carrier scoring 4.03 out of five and ranking in at third most stylish.Although no other Australian carriers made the top ten, China’s – Air China and China Southern Airlines ranked in at fourth and fifth on the list followed by Air Asia, Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, Philippine Airlines and Jeju Air.Tipping airlines to take more care with staff presentation, Skyscanner general manager for Greatr China Yi Bao said the poll showed passengers “have a keen eye on fashion”.Agree with the poll? Tell us which airline you think has the most stylish wardrobe in aviation. last_img read more

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Deputy PM Sydney needs 24hour airport

first_imgSource = ETB News: P.T. As the federal government edges closer to a decision regarding the location of Sydney’s second airport, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss has suggested it may need to operate 24 hours a day. While a decision regarding construction at Badgery’s Creek will have to wait until the New Year, Mr Truss said that a second major aviation hub in Sydney should be ready before the 2027 target date. “There’s no doubt that Sydney loses a lot of the economic benefit of its airport because it is only operating limited hours… there are a number of movements out of Melbourne and Brisbane that happen in hours when there is no airport open in Sydney,” Mr Truss said on ABC1’s 7.30. Image: The Travel Channelcenter_img Sydney Airports Corporation has presented the government with the final version of its master plan for the future of the city’s existing major airport at Mascot, which, combined with a joint federal-state government report released last year, will help guide the forthcoming national deliberations. Mr Truss said the new airport would need to accommodate overnight flights, given the current curfew (11pm to 6am) imposed at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport in Mascot. “That is an issue that clearly has to be addressed if Sydney is to be a world-class city… a city that is going to be able to compete internationally, then it will have to have airport services that are available 24 hours.”last_img read more

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Online advantage for helloworlds independent agents

first_imgOnline advantage for helloworld’s independent agentsWith Australians forecast to increase spending on mobile devices by 43 percent this year to $8.8 billion, a ground-breaking managed website solution will put helloworld’s Independent agents in the mobile e-commerce box-seat.The tailored managed website solution will deliver device optimisation, dynamic and curated content including automatic updates of helloworld campaigns and deals and provides a professional, optimised framework for customised content. The solution is currently being rolled out to helloworld Associate agents but will be available to all of helloworld’s Independent agents including helloworld for business, Affiliate and Concorde Agency Network. It complements the online support offering for helloworld’s branded agents through helloworld.com.au.The solution will deliver greater profile, productivity and will continue to evolve, David Padman, Head of Associate and Affiliate Networks said. Mr Padman has just completed a national roadshow meeting.“Mobile commerce is growing at about three times the pace of ecommerce overall and our managed website solution not only delivers a professional and dynamic online solution for our Associate agents, it also puts them in the best possible position to take advantage of the e-commerce revolution,” Mr Padman said.Phase 2 of the white label website rollout has focused on widening agents’ ability to connect with their customers by sharing their travel and booking experiences as well as increasing the overall look, feel and functionality of the websites. Stores will eventually have the opportunity to incorporate a blog, image gallery and live chat. Agents will also have the option to self-manage their own websites with new and relevant content should they choose.“Our Independent agents love the fact that we’re solving the online content challenge for them in such a dynamic way while also providing them with the customisation they need as independent businesses,” Mr Padman said.“It’s device-responsive and optimised to deliver maximum visibility across Desktop, Tablet and Mobile. It also provides an intuitive user interface design which seamlessly integrates with marketing communications. This is a platform which will be continually enhanced so that our Independent agents can choose the functionality they need to meet the needs of their consumers. We’re determined to make it as easy as possible for consumers to find our agents and shop with them.”helloworld’s independent agents cite increased enquiries, enhanced communication, and the balance between maintaining an individual online presence with the comprehensive support of the helloworld team as key benefits.Source = helloworldlast_img read more

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TravelManagers Turkish Campaign

first_img become a Personal Travel Manager here For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599. Source = Barry Mayo Image Captions:Goreme Valley – TravelManagers’ exclusive Turkey famil gave eight personal travel managers the chance to experience natural wonders like the Goreme Valley. From left to right, Front Row – Kellie Browning, Zoe Hemming, Antonella Damiano, Natasha Schurink. Back row – Jo Geary, Fran Codispoti (On The Go Tours), Kristina Acevski, Tracey Cosgriff, Maria Pandalai, and Leanne JohnstonAnzac Cove – TravelManagers visited Anzac Cove during the build up to the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign. From left to right – Tracey Cosgriff, Antonella Damiano, Kristina Acevski, Zoe Hemming, Natasha Schurink, Maria Pandalai, Leanne Johnston, Jo Geary and Kellie Browning.Hot air ballooning – Wrapped up warm against the snowy weather, TravelManagers’ personal travel managers prepare to experience Turkey’s magical Cappadocia region from a hot air balloon. From left to right – (front) Tracey Cosgriff, Kellie Browning, Leanne Johnston, Jo Geary, Zoe Hemming, Kristina Acevski, Antonella Damiano, and Natasha SchurinkPergamum – The Roman ruins of Pergamum and Ephesus were two highlights on the TravelManagers’ exclusive Turkey famil. From left to right, Back Row – Fran Codispoti (On The Go Tours), Zoe Hemming, Jo Geary, Leanne Johnston, Kellie Browning, Kristina Acevski, Natasha Schurink, Antonella Damiano. Front Row – Tracey Cosgriff, Maria Pandalai TravelManagers’ Turkish Campaign2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign, making Turkey a firm favourite on the bucket list of more Australians than ever before. But the eight personal travel managers (PTMs) who were lucky enough to be hosted on an exclusive ten-day TravelManagers famil to Turkey discovered that this beautiful country has so much more to offer besides the well-known Gallipoli and Istanbul.Maria Pandalai, representative for Townsville, Queensland, was one of those selected to take part. As a first-time visitor to Turkey, she says the famil has boosted her confidence in selling the destination to her clients.“Turkey was amazing! To actually see the monuments of Istanbul, such as the Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar: the magnificence of these attractions can now be relayed to my clients in graphic detail.”The group of personal travel managers was escorted by On the Go Tours and Kellie Browning from TravelManagers’ National Partnership Office (NPO).“We spent ten amazing days visiting Istanbul, Gallipoli, Troy, Ephesus and much more. We saw traditional carpet weaving and one of our group helped out the Turkish economy by purchasing a beautiful handmade Turkish carpet”, Browning says.TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, says the success of this famil reinforces the importance the company places on investing in first-hand product knowledge.“We encourage any opportunity for our PTMs to experience new destinations for themselves. More Australians are interested in Turkey as a tourist destination than ever before; by giving our PTMs the chance to gain first-hand experience of the destination, we are ensuring that they are giving their clients the best possible advice.”The group were flown to Istanbul by Emirates, while On The Go Tours provided the land content. According to Browning, the tour company was a perfect fit for TravelManagers.“Like us, they focus on delivering an authentic experience to clients. They seek out English-speaking local guides who are passionate about sharing their country so our PTMs were able to really experience Turkey from a local’s perspective – and pass on that newfound expertise to their clients.”For Browning, Cappadocia was one of the main highlights of the famil.“It was snowing in the morning, which made it seem like something out of a fairytale. In the afternoon the weather cleared and we went hot air ballooning in the afternoon. One of our PTMs had to face her fears of heights to join us, but she absolutely loved it.”Pandalai says the chance to visit attractions like the thermal pools at Pamukkale and the fairy chimneys of the Cappadocia region changed her perception of the country as a whole.“My time in Turkey made me realise just what an incredible and varied country it is. I would love to spend more time in Istanbul as we barely were able to scratch the surface, but I now know how much more there is on offer, especially if you have a local guide like we did”.last_img read more

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The Association of Australian Convention Bureaux sets future direction

first_imgThe Association of Australian Convention Bureaux sets future directionThe Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) held its Annual General Meeting last week where achievements were highlighted and the strategic plan for 2015-18 set.Lyn Lewis-Smith, CEO of Business Events Sydney, was re-elected as President of the AACB with the full support of the board. Ms Lewis-Smith thanked the AACB board and management for their efforts and ongoing commitment to the business events industry over the past 12 months.“The AACB has had an extremely productive year. Our activities, strongly aligned to the Association’s strategic direction, have resulted in some great wins and progress on a number fronts,” said Ms Lewis-Smith. “Importantly, the AACB has been a unified and powerful voice for its 16 members on the key issues for the business events industry.”Key initiatives delivered in 2014/15 include:·       delivery of the research project with Deloitte Access Economics, Australia’s Business Events Sector: The Economic and Strategic Value Proposition·       implementation of AACB’s advocacy platform, Business Events: Delivering Economic Prosperity for Australia·       collaboration with the Office of the Federal Minister for Trade and Investment, Tourism Australia, Austrade and industry to achieve the new framework, Attracting Business Events to Australia: The Role of Government Agencies·       formal responses to two Productivity Commission inquiries: Australia’s International Tourism Industry; and Barriers to Services Exports, and·       formal submission to the 2015 Review of the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) Scheme.The next 12 months will focus on the implementation of the AACB’s recently updated and renewed Strategic Action Plan, including:·       continued leadership in raising the profile of the business events industry by promoting the economic contribution and social impact of business events to Australia·       delivery of an industry-wide advocacy campaign that unites the sector·       influence and leverage our partnership with the Australian Government to drive policy and investment decisions for the business events sector·       leverage the Federal Government’s framework, Attracting Business Events to Australia: The Role of Government Agencies·       ensure sustainability and relevance through stakeholder engagement and delivery of an industry-wide advocacy agenda and strategy.“The business events industry offers high and strong yielding results for the Australian economy,“ commented Ms Lewis-Smith. “The AACB will continue to lead and offer a strong voice to help raise the profile of business events, influence government and remain relevant to its members and key stakeholders.”Source = The Association of Australian Convention Bureauxlast_img read more

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An exciting expedition to the remote Sub Antarctic Islands

first_imgAn exciting expedition to the remote Sub Antarctic IslandsAn exciting expedition to the remote Sub Antarctic IslandsImagine wandering black volcanic sand beaches on Macquarie Island, mingling with 800,000 Royal Penguins totally unconcerned by your presence. As interested in you as you are in them. Or visiting Snares Island, boasting more birdlife than that found in the entire British Isles. This is a bird watcher’s (and photographer’s) nirvana!Far flung these islands may be, yet far from barren. Often referred to as ‘The Galapagos of the Southern Ocean’ these UNESCO World Heritage Sub Antarctic Islands throb with life. Protected by their remoteness they are breeding grounds for vast colonies of penguins, home to pods of orcas, fur seals and sea lions. “Almost half the world’s albatross and penguin species reside here in a pristine environment where tourism, frankly, does not exist” observes Mick Fogg who will be heading the Expedition Team in 2019.Along with Macquarie Island and Fiordland National Park, the Sub Antarctic Islands represent the best of the world’s natural heritage, rating alongside the Great Barrier Reef, Grand Canyon, Galapagos and Mount Everest – with far fewer visitors.Lance Mumby, Owner Manager of CruiseAlong, announcing the sales opening for the one-off 2019 voyage added “Following the 2018 sell-out voyage, I am pleased to announce that in 2019 CruiseAlong will again provide the opportunity to visit these extraordinary Sub Antarctic Islands. CruiseAlong is offering a convenient all-inclusive 17 night expedition voyage that includes flights from Australia and overnight accommodation in addition to the voyage itself.”“Departing  Dunedin 22 February 2019, explore New Zealand’s fiords and the Sub Antarctic Islands onboard PONANT’s brand new purpose-built luxury expedition ship Le Laperouse. To be launched in mid 2018 this small ship, with just 92 suites and staterooms, all with balconies, will provide an exceptional ‘base camp’ for daily activities as we explore with the specialist expedition team.”“This is no expedition ‘in extremis’” continues Lance. “Luxury and creature comforts abound onboard, including an infinity-edge swimming pool, spa, lecture theatre, boutique, open bar, 24 hour room service and a world-first underwater lounge with glass windows looking out to the marine environment. Underwater microphones will pick up the sounds of dolphins and whales talking …. Imagine, having a cocktail while listening to the marine world surrounding you and seeing fish just outside.”This expedition has been designed for those to whom the essence of travel means being rewarded with rare experiences. By Zodiac, land on remote, hard to reach areas, and to observe wildlife. Enjoy each day’s adventures with family, friends and other like-minded curious travellers – with the stimulation of mixing with informed, passionate speakers and knowledgeable Expedition Team members.…. all the while travelling in luxury.Enjoy French luxury and ambiance onboard one of the world’s youngest and eco-responsible fleet of ships afloat, and experience the difference modern small ship luxury expedition cruising offers.Sub Antarctic expedition overview: 16 nights CruiseAlong Sub Antarctic Islands voyage departs Dunedin, New Zealand, 22 February 2019 bound for the famous Milford, Doubtful and Dusky Sounds and then on to The Snares and Auckland Islands and Australia’s own Macquarie Island. This expedition includes Campbell, Antipodes and Bounty Islands en-route returning to Dunedin.Pricing exampleFares from $14,990 per person twin share in a Prestige stateroom Deck 4 with a Private Balcony for the 16 night voyage Dunedin / Dunedin 22 February 2019, Le Laperouse.Fare includes return economy class flight from Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane to Dunedin, private transfer airport to Distinction Dunedin Hotel, overnight accommodation, transfer to Le Laperouse, accommodation onboard, all meals on board, Open Bar, 24 hour room service, expedition parka, free boot hire, outings in Zodiacs with the expedition team, onboard presentations.Please note: This is a limited offer.Information & ReservationsContact Lance Mumby directly at Cruise Along Pty Ltd / lance@cruisealong.com.au or 1300 662 022  to request more information or assistance.Source = CruiseAlonglast_img read more

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Westin Hotels Resorts to debut in South Australia

first_imgThe Westin AdelaideWestin Hotels & Resorts to debut in South AustraliaScheduled to open in 2022, The Westin Adelaide joins the rapidly growing portfolio of Westin Hotels & Resorts in AustraliaMarriott International Inc. today announced it has signed an agreement with Greaton Group, to debut Westin Hotels & Resorts in South Australia. The Westin Adelaide is set to open in 2022 as part of a redevelopment of the iconic Adelaide General Post Office (GPO) building.  The hotel will join the Westin brand’s rapidly growing portfolio in Australia, where its footprint will double in the next five years with hotels opened in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth and forthcoming in Brisbane, Darwin and Coolum on the Sunshine Coast. “We’re delighted to collaborate with our longstanding partner Greaton to expand the Westin brand in South Australia,” said Richard Crawford, Senior Director Development, Australia, New Zealand and Pacific, Marriott International. “The brand is enjoying phenomenal growth across Australia, where it has developed a loyal following thanks to its unique positioning around wellness. The Westin Adelaide joins Marriott International’s growing presence in the Pacific, where we’re on track to have 50 open hotels by 2020.” Located at the corner of King William and Flinders Streets, in the heart of Adelaide’s Central Business District, The Westin Adelaide will be housed in the Adelaide GPO. The hotel will be housed in a 15-storey tower, with all 285 guestrooms offering sweeping views of the city skyline and Victoria Square. Guests will also enjoy signature Westin programs and amenities, such as the world-renowned Heavenly® Bed and invigorating Heavenly® Bath experience. Three inspiring dining venues will provide a variety of culinary options, including an all-day dining restaurant, a tearoom and specialty bar. Guests will also enjoy the hotel’s extensive leisure facilities, including the brand’s signature Westin WORKOUT® fitness studio, a resort-style outdoor swimming pool and the Heavenly® Spa by Westin. An ideal setting for functions, the hotel will boast more than 310 square meters of meeting and event space, as well as a 24-hour business center.   “Expanding the Westin brand into Adelaide is important strategically, as the city is enjoying great growth and development, which isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Visitor numbers are at a record high and are on track to increase by 5.1 percent in the next ten years1, as people seek out the beautiful beaches, world-renowned wineries and beautiful scenery South Australia is famed for,” said Sean Hunt, Area Vice President, Marriott International, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. “We are thrilled to partner with Marriott International to deliver a five-star wellness experience to the city of Adelaide. The Westin brand’s reputation precedes itself and we’re certain the growing number of tourists and locals will welcome the hotel when it opens in 2022,” said Nicho Teng, Managing Director, Greaton. For more information please visit www.westin.comSource = Westin Hotels & Resortslast_img read more

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Tajikistan highlights Dushanbe as an upcoming tourist destination

first_imgThe Ambassador of Tajikistan to India, His Excellency Mirzosharif Jalolov, recently spoke about Dushanbe, Tajikistan, as an upcoming tourist destination and interacted with travel industry leaders at a cocktail and dinner evening hosted at Crystal Room, The Suryaa Hotel in New Delhi.“I’m very happy to invite you all to my country. It’s, even more, easier to travel to Tajikistan, now that Tajik Air has introduced bi-weekly flights to Dushanbe, our capital city,” the Ambassador said while speaking about the possibilities of adventure sports, historical tourism, medical tourism and wildlife of Tajikistan.“This has been further facilitated as we have now introduced Electronic Visa for Indians to visit Tajikistan and it can be issued in a short duration of three days,” he added.Sanuj Birla, Director, Aerotrek International GSA said, “Tajik Air in India has launched their second scheduled flight on Friday to make it a bi-weekly flights to Dushanbe.”The event was hosted by Aerotrek International, Tajik Air and Sheraton Hotel, which is a brand new five-star property in Dushanbe.last_img read more

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Mortgage Applications Spike Continuing Trends

first_img Mortgage applications jumped by 4.1 percent this week, up from one week earlier, reflecting rock bottom for 15-year fixed-rate loans and unsure homebuyers still eager to refinance. Meanwhile, home purchases fell, according to a weekly survey made public by the “”Mortgage Bankers Association””:http://www.mortgagebankers.org/default.htm (MBA). Good for mortgage rates, the low numbers persist in driving few homebuyers back to a jumpy and uncertain market.[IMAGE]According to the survey, the Market Composite Index, which denotes mortgage loan application volume, went skyward by 4.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous week, while it jumped by 3.6 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis for the same period ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô still staying 16.3 percent lower than the same week from the past year. Meanwhile, the Refinance Index went up by 8.0 percent, 16.3 percent below figures from the same week last year.On a seasonally adjusted basis, the Purchase Index fell 9.1 percent from a week earlier, with nearly comparable rates for the seasonally unadjusted side of things, with declines by 10.1 percent ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô a few percentage points below rates for the same week from a year before.According to the survey, the Market Index revealed a four-week moving average that climbed by 6.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis. The Purchase Index showed a 2.2-percent dip on a seasonally adjusted basis, even as the average leapt 10.1 percent for the Refinance Index. Meanwhile, refinance activity for mortgages among total applications bounded upward by 78.8 percent, up from 75.6 percent from the week before. [COLUMN_BREAK]These skyward numbers portrayed a share of refinance activity that hit a stride since November from a year ago. Adjustable-rate mortgages dipped to 5.8 percent from 6.1 percent of total applications from the week before.””Unprecedented volatility in the stock market last week amid additional signs that the economy has slowed led to further drops in mortgage rates, with the 15-year rate reaching a new low for the MBA survey,”” Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s VP of research and economics, said in a “”statement””:http://www.mortgagebankers.org/NewsandMedia/PressCenter/77635.htm. “”Purchase application activity fell sharply over the previous week, likely the result of potential homebuyers hesitant to purchase in this highly volatile and uncertain environment.””Commenting further, he said that “”[r]efinance application volume increased substantially for the week, although there was substantial variation across the market. In September MBA’s Weekly Applications Survey will transition to an expanded sample that covers 75% of the retail market rather than the current sample that covers roughly 50% of the retail market. “”That expanded sample showed a significantly larger increase in refinance applications than the current sample, with some lenders reporting increases in refinance applications in excess of 50 percent for the week,”” he added. “”The big differences in refinance volumes were likely driven by the decisions of some lenders not to drop rates last week, largely due to the need to manage their pipelines.””For 30-year loans, contract interest rates fell a few percentage points on average, waxing from 4.37 percent to 4.32 percent, alongside declines in origination points for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio mortgages. Declines for the 30-year loan dropped over three straight weeks, hitting a new bottom for 2011.At the same time, 15-year loans plunged from 3.52 percent to 3.47 percent, hitting absolute rock bottom for the first time in the history of the MBA’s survey. Eighty-percent LTV mortgages saw their origination points raise from 0.96 to 1.08 as the effective rate declined from the previous week. August 17, 2011 406 Views in Data, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Mortgage Applications Spike, Continuing Trendscenter_img Adjustable-Rate Mortgage Agents & Brokers Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Mortgage Bankers Association Processing Service Providers 2011-08-17 Ryan Schuette Sharelast_img read more

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Economy Picks Up Steam With 200K Jobs in December

first_imgEconomy Picks Up Steam With 200K Jobs in December The U.S. economy soldiered ahead by adding 200,000 jobs over December, lowering the unemployment rate to 8.5 percent as more employers picked up seasonal staff members for the holidays.[IMAGE]The “”Labor Department””:http://www.dol.gov/ reported Friday that total private-sector employment reached 212,000 last month, alongside fewer jobs for local and state governments, marginal declines in real estate services, and a notable pickup in residential construction around the country.The report follows a tide of higher expectations for job growth. “”ADP””:http://www.adp.com/ released estimates that the U.S. economy may have added more than 300,000 jobs. [COLUMN_BREAK]Real estate, rental and leasing services lost jobs by 1.3 percent on average in December, while real estate as an industry slashed its employment figures by 1 percent.Construction served up Friday’s biggest numbers, with a 17-percent surge overall last month. Residential construction job figures climbed by 2.5 percent, as specialty contractors added 17.3 percent on the whole.””Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to heal from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression,”” “”Alan Krueger””:http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cea/about/members, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said in a statement.””It is critical that we continue the economic policies that are helping us to dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the recession that began at the end of 2007,”” he added.The other side of the aisle rebuffed any attribution of the improvement to the Obama administration. “”I think our economy is overcoming what Barack Obama is pushing in its place,”” “”_The Wall Street Journal_””:http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2012/01/06/santorum-applauds-jobs-growth-not-obama/ quoted GOP presidential candidate and former Sen. “”Rick Santorum””:http://www.ricksantorum.com/ (R-Pennsylvania) as saying in response to questions. Agents & Brokers Barack Obama Housing Affordability Investors Jobs Labor Department Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers Unemployment 2012-01-06 Ryan Schuette in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicingcenter_img January 6, 2012 387 Views Sharelast_img read more

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Nationwide Title Clearing Contributes to Ongoing Conversation at MPact

first_img Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Nationwide Title Clearing Processing Service Providers 2013-04-18 Tory Barringer “”Nationwide Title Clearing, Inc.””:http://www.nwtc.com/index.html (NTC), a Florida-based mortgage industry service provider, joined other firms in Las Colinas, Texas, late March at the Five Star Institute’s second annual “”MPact””:http://www.thefivestar.com/mpact/index.html conference.[IMAGE]As a long-time player in the mortgage industry, NTC attended the event to keep up on important issues and to add the company’s voice in open discussions focused on the changes and challenges facing the mortgage landscape today.[COLUMN_BREAK]Representing NTC at MPact were Debbie Lastoria and Joellen Raiti, both VPs. Their topics of concern dealt largely with compliance, regulation, and risk management.””We are obsessed with quality control and compliance, so attending the conference gave us an invaluable opportunity to listen to the issues that the industry is facing directly from industry leaders,”” Raiti said. “”Our process for compliance has always been a collaborative effort with fellow industry leaders, governmental entities and our clients–we seek out feedback in order to streamline our procedures.””Out of NTC’s client base, eight are listed among the top 10 largest residential mortgage servicers in the country, and the company has worked closely with them for years to help standardize industry document processes and procedures. These ongoing efforts have helped contribute to NTC’s success and earned the firm recognition from business publications such as Inc.*_Editor’s note: The Five Star Institute is the parent company of The MReport._*center_img Nationwide Title Clearing Contributes to Ongoing Conversation at MPact April 18, 2013 439 Views last_img read more

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ProLender Expands Integration with QuestSoft Compliance Platform

first_img in Technology ProLender Expands Integration with QuestSoft Compliance Platform “”ProLender Solutions, Inc.””:http://www.prolender.com/Home/Home.aspx, a provider of paperless mortgage lending software, announced it has added flood, fraud, and Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) services to its existing interface with “”QuestSoft’s””:http://www.questsoft.com/ Compliance EAGLE platform.[IMAGE]With the expanded services, ProLender users have a simpler method to verify flood certifications, fraud compliance, and NMLS license information prior to closing loans.””The addition of Fraud, Flood and NMLS services, our existing integration gives our clients a robust set of [COLUMN_BREAK]compliance tools previously not available,”” said Kevin Roczey, ProLender Solutions president. “”With the overwhelming number of changes in regulations, compliance is more important than ever and now our clients have an easy and verifiable way to ensure compliance is being adhered to correctly.””Now, ProLender users can choose the services they wish to order from a simple screen within the company’s loan management system. After being pulled from the loan record, the data is sent to Compliance EAGLE for evaluation against compliance regulations and standards at the federal, state, and local levels, giving audit results within seconds.ProLender also tracks the status, date, time, and information of the user who ordered each service, giving an accurate record of the compliance review on every loan. When a document is returned, a copy is automatically archived within ImageCenter, with key information going into the loan record.””In today’s highly regulated mortgage market, automated compliance tools are no longer an option–they’re a must,”” said Steve Butler, SVP at QuestSoft. “”ProLender is adding our complete suite of compliance reviews to reduce lender risk and exposure, and ensure the sustainability of every client.”” December 4, 2013 477 Views center_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Compliance Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2013-12-04 Tory Barringer Sharelast_img read more

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41 of Homes Unaffordable on Two Median Incomes

first_img Home Prices Housing Affordability Income Redfin Zillow 2014-04-06 Krista Franks Brock Share April 6, 2014 446 Views In the nation’s largest cities, a median income is not sufficient to purchase a median-priced home. In fact, even households with two median incomes cannot afford median-priced homes in the 40 largest cities in the United States, according to a Redfin survey released last week.National home prices have experienced double-digit increases for the past two years, and prices continue to rise. In contrast, inflation-adjusted median household income is nearly the same as it was about 25 years ago, according to Redfin.A median salary can afford only 10 percent of homes currently for sale in the nation’s 40 largest cities, according to Redfin. Even households with two median salaries cannot afford more than half of homes on the market today. With two median incomes, about 41 percent of homes become affordable, according to Redfin.Redfin reviewed non-distressed homes currently on Multiple Listing Services and income information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of 2012. Redfin considers a home “affordable” if a monthly mortgage payment is no more than 28 percent of a household’s gross monthly income.In Los Angeles; San Diego; and Santa Ana, California; just 1 percent of homes are affordable on a median salary. Households with two median incomes can afford 12 percent of homes in Los Angeles and 9 and 7 percent of homes in San Diego and Santa Ana, respectively, according to Redfin.A typical doctor’s salary can afford more than 90 percent of homes in 21 of the 40 cities Redfin observed. However, even doctors struggle to afford homes in San Francisco. Just 23 percent of homes are affordable on a doctor’s salary in San Francisco.Of the large metros observed, the city where the greatest percentage of homes is available on one median income is Philadelphia, where a median income brings 26 percent of homes into the affordable range. Two median incomes in Philadelphia bring 61 percent of homes into the affordable range.In Hartford, households with two median incomes fare even better. They can afford 78 percent of homes on the market.Redfin’s findings concur with recent data from Zillow revealing median-income earners in Southern California; the Bay Area; Portland, Oregon; Denver; and Miami cannot afford more than half of homes for sale in their market.center_img 41% of Homes Unaffordable on Two Median Incomes in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, Newslast_img read more

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March New Home Sales Dive to EightMonth Low

first_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Government, Headlines, News April 23, 2014 460 Views Census Bureau Home Sales HUD Mortgage Bankers Association National Association of Home Builders New Home Sales 2014-04-23 Tory Barringer March New Home Sales Dive to Eight-Month Lowcenter_img The pace of new home sales plunged in March to their lowest level in eight months, driving down hopes of a seasonal renewal in housing activity.Monthly data released Wednesday by HUD and the Census Bureau shows sales of new homes last month plummeting 14.5 percent from February to an estimated seasonally adjusted yearly rate of 384,000. The last time transactions ran so low was last July, when they came to 383,000.Based on applications for new home purchases recorded in March, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) had predicted an adjusted sales rate of 479,000 for the month. Meanwhile, a consensus forecast offered in a survey of economists done by Bloomberg predicted a rate of 455,000.The latest news is sure to disappoint market analysts who had hoped sales would improve following the end of a harsh winter and the beginning of the year’s busy season for housing. It also puts a large hole in arguments earlier this year that housing experienced a slowdown largely due to icy conditions.“[I]t’s not out of the question that this is the hit from the severe weather earlier this year,” said Paul Diggle, property economist for research firm Capital Economics. “But the drop feel[s] too late and too large to sit comfortably with such explanations.”Rather, March’s huge decline likely stems from a stringent credit environment that’s “had a detrimental effect on modest-priced markets and … hit first-time home buyers particularly hard,” said David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).As a result, most sales right now are coming from a small pool of buyers who have an established credit history and who are able to purchase higher-priced homes, Crowe added.The group’s builder confidence index for the new, single-family home market shows a slight majority of builders continue to see housing in a negative light, with traffic of prospective buyers particularly low.Regionally, the Commerce Department reported sales were down in the Midwest (-21.5 percent on a monthly basis), the South (-14.4 percent), and the West (-16.7 percent). Sales in the Northeast bucked the trend, rising 12.5 percent. Sharelast_img read more

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Major Players Make Waves in FinTech

first_img D+H FinTech HOUSING misys Morgan Stanley mortgage 2017-06-14 Aly J. Yale June 14, 2017 707 Views The digital evolution continues, as not one but three major financial players make moves toward a more FinTech-driven future. In a two-day span, Morgan Stanley, Misys, and D+H all announced initiatives that could shape the trajectory of the industry.First up to bat was Morgan Stanley, a financial services, wealth management, and investment firm with offices worldwide. Though the company hasn’t been big on the mortgage scene, it seems that’s all poised to change:  the company announced it will launch a digital mortgage platform in 2018.Though Morgan Stanley does currently offer mortgage loans, according to a presentation by Naureen Hassan, the company’s Chief Digital Officer, 98 percent of the firm’s customers don’t have a Morgan Stanley mortgage. The new digitized platform is designed to change all that.According to Hassan’s presentation, which was part of Tuesday’s Morgan Stanley U.S. Financials Conference in San Diego, the platform will allow borrowers to apply, get dynamic rate estimates, and submit application documents completely online. The firm will also digitize its branch system, enabling eAuthorization for wires, mobile equity trading, online debit card and check ordering, digital person-to-person payments, and more.The goal, Hassan’s presentation stated, is to “maximize time spent on advice, versus client servicing.”On the heels of Morgan Stanley’s news, two other players—Misys, a financial software provider, and D+H, a financial technology distributor—announced a merger. As a press release stated, the two “have joined forces to create a diversified global financial software provider, unmatched in terms of depth and breadth of solutions.”The merged companies will operate under the name Finastra and, by combining the workforce and clientele of both D+H and Misys, will boast more than 10,000 employees and 9,000 customers, creating “the third largest financial services technology company in the world,” according to the press release. The company will offer retail banking, transaction banking, lending, treasury, and capital markets software.”We firmly believe that Finastra is greater than the sum of its parts,” said Robert Smith, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Vista Equity Partner. “The combination of scale, efficiency, and market leading service and technology will create a powerhouse in the FinTech sector and uniquely position the company to meet the demands of its global customers and their clients.” Sharecenter_img Major Players Make Waves in FinTech in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News, Technologylast_img read more

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Veros Real Estate Solutions Announces Enhancements to VeroSELECT API

first_img in News, Servicing, Technology Veros 2017-07-14 Staff Writer Veros Real Estate Solutions (Veros), a mortgage technology company that specializes in enterprise risk management, collateral valuation, and predictive analytics services, announced recently it has made enhancements to their VeroSELECT API. By expanding the capabilities of the platform, Vero’s clients can now integrate their valuation services with their back-office systems for more seamless and scalable valuation management.Now, VeroSELECT partners are enabled through their single gateway to access open, industry-standard REST Application Programming Interface (API). This now allows them to integrate, customize, and extend volume ordering of AVMs, Broker Price Opinions (BPOs), and Property Condition reports (PCRs) quickly and easily.”VeroSELECT, considered one of the most stable and versatile valuation management platforms available in the market, extends this enhanced API capability to our clients—providing the ability to easily integrate and handle high-volume transactions with ease,” said David Rasmussen, SVP of Operations for Veros. “The API enhancement streamlines both the ordering and processing of AVMs with PCR and BPO valuations for power users to not only save time, but also to strengthen the risk decisions through complex, cascading logic and real-time data access.” Veros Real Estate Solutions Announces Enhancements to VeroSELECT APIcenter_img July 14, 2017 555 Views Sharelast_img read more

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A Look Into September Housing Data

first_img Bright MLS 2017-10-10 Brianna Gilpin in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, News October 10, 2017 599 Views A Look Into September Housing Datacenter_img The September Housing Market Update data provided by MarketStats by ShowingTime based on listing activity from Bright MLS for the D.C. Metro and Baltimore Metro was released Tuesday revealing the status of the metros.Washington, D.C., showed an increase in sales price of 1.3 percent, or $5,100 compared to last year, but was down 5.8 percent or $25,000 compared to last month—the highest September price of the last decade.Baltimore, on the other hand, was down in both month-over-month and year-over-year, with a decline of 0.3 percent or $670 from last year and 4.5 percent or $12,000 from last month. This is an interesting trend considering the widely discussed lack of housing inventory inflating home prices.Sales volume across the D.C. metro was down 2.2 percent at nearly $2 billion from last year, while Baltimore was over $917 million, up 0.2 percent from last year. Median days on the market for D.C. were 20 days, four days lower than last year. Baltimore was down from 36 days in 2016 to 29 days in 2017.Another decade high came in the form of the average percentage of original list price received at sale in Baltimore. In September, this percent was up from 94.9 percent last month to 95.5 percent and up from 2016’s 95.5 percent.In Baltimore, “active listings declined by 11.4 percent to 11,025, the 25th consecutive month of declining year-over-year inventory levels and the lowest September levels in a decade,” according to the report. Sharelast_img read more

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AfricaairlinesSerengeti

first_imgAfricaairlinesSerengeti Tanzanian airline, Precision Air, will soon become the only IATA member airline to operate scheduled flights to Serengeti National Park, effective 1 October 2017.The airline has previously been operating charter flights through the Seronera airstrip and the new announcement will see four flights per week between Dar es Salaam-Seronera and Zanzibar on Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, offering travellers an alternative to the several hours’ drive to and from the Serengeti.last_img read more

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