Aussies hitting the slopes overseas

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Aussies are choosing to take on the snow season overseas, according to new research that found 49 percent of Australians who went skiing in December last year chose an international destination.This figure compared to 34 percent in December 2010 and 21 percent for December 2001, Roy Morgan Research found.The Group’s international director of tourism, travel and leisure Jane Ianniello explained the high Aussie dollar was pushing more Australians overseas, particularly during the colder seasons.She said local operators could compete with the international destinations with a better approach in terms of marketing and advertising.“With the strong Australian dollar, Australian ski destinations are finding it hard to compete with overseas ones,” Ms Ianniello noted.“It is important to understand the demographic, attitudinal and behavioural profile of people who go snow skiing or snowboarding on holidays and to tailor an appropriate communication message.”Among the most popular destinations included Japan, the US and New Zealand.last_img read more

Virgin Atlantic considering SkyTeam membership

first_imgCarrier mulling over alliance options. Image: Virgin Atlantic is said to be weighing in on airline alliances, with intentions to follow its new partner, Delta Air Lines into SkyTeam.Late last year, Delta confirmed it would purchase Singapore Airlines’ 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic and launch coordinated schedules and operations on flights between the UK and North America.Now in an interview with the Financial Times, Virgin Atlantic chief operating officer Julie Southern hinted at the airline’s move towards SkyTeam, stating it would “probably make sense”.“We will look at SkyTeam, and I suspect in due course you may see us joining SkyTeam, but we’ll only do it if it makes economic sense to the business,” she explained.Ms Southern stressed a final decision had not been made. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J.last_img read more

Amadeus and Worldpay new partnership

first_imgAmadeus and Worldpay announced at the Eighth annual Airline & Travel Payments Summit (ATPS) event, a global agreement to integrate Worldpay’s extensive payment services into the Amadeus Payment Platform (APP).Amadeus’ travel customers will be able to offer more payment choice to their travellers, and they can now accept more payments in more countries and in more currencies through Worldpay’s range of payment solutions.The APP offers travel tailored functionalities that provide a secure payment environment to both travellers and travel providers.A single connection to the APP gives access to a multitude of payment options, streamlining the payment process as it eliminates the need to integrate additional payment providers.Amadeus head of travel payments Celia Pereiro, said that Amadeus is pleased with the new partnership.“We are pleased to partner with one of Europe’s largest payment services providers. Worldpay will help us to fulfil our customers’ payment needs across the globe through a simple payment experience offered to their travelers,” Ms Pereiro said.Amadeus and Worldpay are also working together to optimise the payment process, enhance the consumer experience and maximise transaction acceptance.Worldpay chief product and marketing officer Kevin Dallas, said that the travel industry is global by its nature and travel providers should have the payment options to match this global scope.“Emerging markets represent a huge growth opportunity for Amadeus. We are really excited to work together to provide a streamlined payment process suited for Amadeus’ wide customer base as they look to expand,” Mr Dallas said.Worldpay’s portfolio covers over 120 local currencies and that will allow Amadeus customers to have a greater reach from where they are able to pay for travel.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

LATAM Airlines unveils new look at Oceania launch

first_imgLATAM Airlines celebrated its new look in Sydney on Tuesday night with the Oceania launch event with VIP guests from Australia and New Zealand.Following a series of launch events in South America last week, it was Sydney’s turn to take the limelight with the airline presenting its new designs for aircraft, airport and uniforms as the next millstone in their consolidation under one unified brand.Honouring its heritage, LATAM Airlines entertained guests with a South American themed evening at Studio in Sydney Tower, complete with a Latin jazz trio.Guests were greeted with a Pisco infused signature cocktail on arrival, and the menu for the evening was inspired by the diverse flavours of the region including beef empanadas, kingfish ceviche, crispy plantain, chorizo & tomato salsa and Chilean goats cheese tortilla.Patricio Aylwin, Managing Director Asia Pacific, LATAM Airlines Group spoke of the importance of the occasion, “We are celebrating a unique moment. We are celebrating the dream of two leading airlines – LAN and TAM, coming together as one for an incredible new journey as LATAM Airlines. Oceania continues to be an important market for us and we look forward to seeing our new brand here before the end of the year.” The new aircraft livery design represents the best of Latin America, and incorporates the elements that symbolise and represent the region under a global brand. The new LATAM uniforms were created by the celebrated Brazilian fashion designer, Pedro Lourenço, featuring the signature indigo and coral of the LATAM logo and were designed to express the diversity and beauty of Latin America.It was also a special night for LATAM Airlines in Brazil, with the airline delivering the Olympic torch from Geneva to Brasília for the start of the Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay. The flight arrived in Brasilia at 6:30 a.m. (local time) on Tuesday, 3 May.To mark the arrival of the flame in Brazil, the flight was escorted by two fighter jets of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB). LATAM Airlines in Brazil, is the official airline supporter of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, is also the official supporter of the Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay.Yesterday, the first commercial aircraft sporting with the new LATAM image took to the skies with a Boeing 767 service departing São Paulo at 09:05 local time bound for Santiago.Additionally, the new look will also become visible in 13 airports where the group’s airlines operate including their hub in Santiago, where Australian and New Zealander passengers fly into.More than 50 aircraft are anticipated to be rebranded before the end of 2016 and the fleet-wide process is expected to be finalised in 2018.  Australian and New Zealand passengers will have the opportunity to fly on a newly branded aircraft before the end of the year.Enhancements to the passenger experience will start from this month, with a soon to launch integrated website which allows passengers to seamlessly purchase tickets, check-in, review real-time flight status, set-up alerts and access other useful travel information.LATAM Airlines offers daily flights from Sydney to Santiago, Chile, the gateway to South America, on board its next-generation fleet of 787-9 aircraft, with onward connections to over 137 destinations in Latin America including favourites such as Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador and Bolivia. Learn more hereSource = LATAM Airlines Grouplast_img read more

PTM helps stranger in Atlanta and is rewarded with a Client for

first_imgPTM helps stranger in Atlanta and is rewarded with a Client for Life Personal Travel Manager – Sarah BirdPTM helps stranger in Atlanta and is rewarded with a Client for LifeFor TravelManagers’ personal travel manager Sarah Bird representative for Casino in New South Wales, going the extra mile comes naturally. Without hesitation Bird recently assisted her client who was stranded at Atlanta Airport due to severe storms and pending tornado warnings, with getting back home to Australia. What is worthier of mention however, is that Bird also ended up helping a stranger and with it, obtained a new client for life.It was a chance conversation that Bird’s client had with another passenger, Abby Moore who was travelling with her father also affected by the delays at Atlanta Airport that led to the call to Bird.“Abby and her father had booked their airfares with an online travel agent (OTA) and they were not receiving any meaningful assistance from the airline staff on the ground or their OTA which they had booked with. It was while my clients were waiting for an update on their flight that they started talking to other Australian’s who were also stranded and my client suggested Abby contact me, which she did.”Bird’s desire to assist a stranger in need was without question.“The situation was not entirely straight forward as the original arrangements I had spent time working on got cancelled again by the airline. It took most the weekend with many emails and phone calls to finally resolve Abby and her father’s travel.”For Moore, the professionalism she received from Bird and her genuine desire to help someone half way across the world was overwhelming.“I was recommended to contact Sarah by a fellow passenger at the Airport after our flight was cancelled and I was left with no idea with what to do. Sarah worked tirelessly and rebooked my father’s and my flights home within an hour and continued to check up on me during the weekend. Sarah provided excellent service with very short notice.”Thanks to Bird, Moore and her father returned home to Cairns safe and sound. From this experience, Bird has obtained a new client in Moore and significant word of mouth referrals.“I will never book another overseas trip without Sarah. I thought it would be fine to book my arrangements without a travel professional, but after experiencing Sarah’s incredible skills and expertise I realize just how great it is to have someone to answer your questions, and solve any hiccups in record time. Ten out of ten I will recommend Sarah. She saved my holiday from the other side of the world, I can’t thank her enough,” says Moore.TravelManagers is an example of a company utilizing technology to its fullest extent and clearly demonstrates the personal travel manager model, with its blend of online presence and personal service, is the future of the travel industry.“Emergencies, natural disasters and flight cancellations do not always happen conveniently between 9am and 5pm weekdays as this situation shows. The ability to work anytime, day or night truly shows that our personal travel managers really offer a superior level of personal service and flexibility to any client,” says TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal.Gazal commends Bird’s instantaneous willingness to assist as resonating perfectly with the TravelManagers family based values.“Sarah certainly delivers on TravelManagers’ philosophy of providing personal, consistent and exceptional client service. This example shows Sarah really cares and will go above and beyond no matter what the circumstances – even when these newly introduced clients had booked services with another provider, she was happy to provide assistance. This type of personal service is invaluable and is indicative of our 500 personal travel managers across Australia.”For Bird, it was just another day.“Another happy client experience, all in a day’s work.”For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.About TravelManagers TravelManagers operates in all Australian States and is a wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $1.5 billion for 2017. TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel, and has more than 500 personal travel managers throughout Australia with a dedicated support team at the company’s national partnership office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer money in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are only used for client purchases. Source = TravelManagerslast_img read more

Singapore crowned Aussies top holiday destination for 2017

first_imgSingapore crowned Aussies’ top holiday destination for 2017Singapore crowned Aussies’ top holiday destination for, global leader in connecting travellers with the widest choice of incredible places to stay, has today revealed Australia’s top booked destinations both domestically and internationally in 2017.Based on international bookings from Australian travellers, Asian locations feature in six of the top ten top booked destinations, with Singapore holding the number one spot as many flock to the city for its renowned culture and shopping while it also remains a leading gateway to Europe. Victoria and South Australia are the only states where their most popular international destination of choice falls outside Asia-Pacific with London being each state’s most popular top booked destination. England’s capital also ranks as the second most popular international destination for Aussies overall.Bali remains a popular choice for Aussie holidaymakers, picking up two spots in the international top ten list, proving particularly popular with Western Australians and Northern Territory residents.Meanwhile, New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmanian travellers are particularly in favour of visiting their Antipodean neighbours in New Zealand with Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown all featuring amongst their states’ ten most popular choices for international travel.For domestic travel, Queenslanders prefer to explore their own backyards more than any other state, with eight out of their top ten domestic travel choices, kept within the state as travellers seek to explore gems close to home. At the other end of the spectrum, South Australians are deserting their state more than any other, with only two South Australian locations ranking in the top ten most booked domestic destinations by the state’s travellers.Luke Wilson, Area Manager for Australia said: “2017 was another big year for travel for Australians both in and outside the country. Asia’s diverse tourism options represent increasingly attractive propositions for international travellers while London remains the top European destination for many, which may continue in 2018, especially with the first direct flight routes from Perth slated to start later this year.“Aussies are also exploring more of what is on their doorstep and the rise of holiday rental properties has made it easier and more convenient for them to enjoy a weekend staycation or short road trips away. Recent research has also revealed Brisbane as an emerging travel destination in 2018, so we look forward to seeing the impact this has in bookings this year.”Source = Booking.comlast_img read more

Anzac traditions honored at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort and Castaway I

first_imgAnzac traditions honored at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort and Castaway Island FijiAnzac traditions honored at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort and Castaway Island FijiHundreds of guests gathered at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort and Castaway Island on April 25 for Anzac Day memorial services.Outrigger Fiji General Manager Peter Hopgood said it was the eighth year the ceremony had been held and that each year it proved more popular with guests.A wreath laying ceremony was followed by the playing of The Last Post and by a minute’s silence. The singing of the national anthems of Australia, New Zealand and Fiji by the Outrigger choir was followed by a recitation of the poem In Flanders Fields.Castaway Island Fiji General Manager Steven Andrews said it was the first time an Anzac Day service had been held at the resort and its popularity with guests ensured it will become an annual event.“The highlight of our program was the floating of the wreaths into the ocean. One wreath was laid by guests Richard Dihmans and Sandra Viol representing Australia and another by Esther Turley and Sophie Tripp representing New Zealand.“We also were very fortunate to have a bugler from the Royal Fiji Military Force Band to play The Last Post,” Mr. Andrews said.Mr. Hopgood said that Anzac Day was a time to reflect on the qualities of past generations of Australians and New Zealanders who in hardship displayed courage, discipline, self-sacrifice, self-reliance, resourcefulness and friendship.“Today we remember those who paid the supreme sacrifice so that we, and the people of other nations, can live in peace.“We remember those who continue to suffer through their physical or mental scars, including those next of kin whose grief and sense of loss can never be eased.“This is also a day of thanks and quiet reflection on what wonderful nations in which we live,” said Mr. Hopgood.Source = Outrigger Hotels and Resortslast_img read more

Hotel Cozzi Unveils Cartoon Network branded Experience

first_imgSource = Hotel Cozzi Hotel Cozzi Unveils Cartoon Network branded ExperienceHotel Cozzi Unveils Cartoon Network branded Experience in TaiwanHOTEL COZZI Ximen Tainan, a Cathay Hospitality Management property, has partnered with global entertainment brand Cartoon Network to theme rooms and facilities. Opening officially today, stars from Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, The Powerpuff Girls and We Bare Bears welcome guests on five floors of the hotel, which is located in Tainan – a popular tourist destination in southwest Taiwan.The branded experience begins at the entrance, where there is an eye-opening 3.5-metre-tall sculpture of Finn and Jake from Adventure Time. Never seen before in Taiwan, the theming continues in 54 rooms, in the Cartoon Network Party Café, at the hotel’s indoor recreation area and outdoor Funky Field playground.“Together with millions of Cartoon Network fans across this region, including here in Taiwan, we are thrilled to be partnering with Cathay Hospitality Management to create the very first Cartoon Network-themed family accommodation experience in Asia. HOTEL COZZI is a unique concept that will delight the many fans who love our hugely popular franchises The Powerpuff Girls, We Bare Bears and Adventure Time. Guests will be able to relax, eat and play surrounded by their favourite shows and characters,” said Vikram Sharma, Vice President of Cartoon Network Enterprises – Asia Pacific.More about HOTEL COZZI Ximen TainanSince its opening in 2015, HOTEL COZZI Ximen Tainan has become the go-to establishment for independent travellers. The vast 1,650-square-metre outdoor Funky Field playground, convenient location and attentive service are some of its key draws for families with children.Together with Cartoon Network, the hotel has added a local touch to its corridor walls by integrating cartoon characters into scenes of Tainan’s historical Shennong Old Street. These specially customized wall designs are exclusive to Taiwan and are the perfect backdrop for family selfies and wefies.As a family-friendly establishment, HOTEL COZZI Ximen Tainan is known for its indoor and outdoor leisure facilities. In the rebranding, one entire floor has been converted to a new indoor recreation area with two main zones. “Adventure Time Candy Kingdom”, is filled with fun attractions such as a Bubble Ball Pit, Candy Library and Bubblegum Game Wall. In “We Bare Bears Fun Land,” guests arrive at a farmers’ market to have an awesome time with Grizzly, Panda and Ice Bear.The hotel’s signature Funky Field playground blends Cartoon Network elements to up its fun levels. Every attraction is now a photo spot. Build a sand castle with Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup at “The Powerpuff Girls Sandbox”, ride on the COZZI mini train and greet Grizzly, Panda and Ice Bear at “We Bare Bears Station”, and drop by the “Adventure Time Playhouse” to enjoy to a music concert held by Finn, Jake, Princess Bubblegum, Ice King and Marceline the Vampire Queen.last_img read more

Goa to be the 11th city in TTF network

first_imgDr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium, Panjim 9, 10, 11 October, 2015 Goa, the latest addition in the TTF and OTM series is the richest state in India, with a per capita income that is two and a half times that of the national average.Goa is a top travel market for inbound, and has an equally strong potential for outbound and domestic tourism, that the TTF Goa is committed to help you connect to.TTF Goa will be organised at the plush Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium in Panjim. Goa Tourism is supporting the event in a big way as Host State. Besides this, Goa Tourism has already confirmed their participation at TTF 2015-2016 series at all locations.Western India is undisputedly the most lucrative tourism market in the country, both for domestic and outbound tourism. The addition of TTF Goa further strengthens the TTF and OTM portfolio in this region, which already covered Mumbai (two events), Ahmedabad, Surat and Pune.last_img read more

Marriott Hotels to offer Netflix on guest room televisions

first_imgMarriott Hotels, the flagship brand of Marriott International Inc, and Netflix announced a groundbreaking partnership to revolutionise the guest room entertainment experience. Guests staying at select Marriott Hotels will be able to subscribe to Netflix or sign into their existing accounts simply by using the Netflix app on the hotel’s internet-connected guest room televisions.For Marriott guests who increasingly want to view streaming content on the road, the enhanced entertainment option means Netflix members can set aside their mobile devices and watch Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Marvel’s Daredevil and a growing library of originals, kids titles, movies and TV shows on wide-screen HDTVs for the first time in hotels.“Our collaboration with Netflix responds to changing consumer preferences in the way our guests access and watch content, while recognising the leading role Netflix is playing in driving this transformation,” said Matthew Carroll, Vice President Brand Management, Marriott Hotels. “Because consumers are choosing to take their streaming content with them when they travel, Marriott Hotels is making the industry’s first rollout of Netflix a priority.”With this agreement, Marriott Hotels is the first hotel brand authorised to offer guests direct access to their Netflix accounts as part of its guest room entertainment offering. Netflix is currently available at six properties, with six more launching this summer. The brand plans to expand Netflix to 100 of its properties by the end of 2015, and to nearly all of its more than 300 properties in the U.S. by the end of 2016.“Our members tell us they want to watch Netflix anytime, in any place where they have an Internet connection,” said Bill Holmes, Global Head of Business Development, Netflix. “Through our partnership with Marriott, they will get to watch their favourite movies, TV shows and Netflix originals on big screens just like they do at home.”last_img read more

IndiGo strengthens Mumbai as a key travel hub with daily nonstop flights

first_imgWilliam Boulter, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo said, “We are strengthening Mumbai as a key travel hub for domestic and international connectivity from India. We are pleased to announce Jeddah and Dammam as our 17th and 18th international destinations effective June 5, 2019 and July 5, 2019 respectively. Jeddah being the commercial capital and the gateway for Haj, Dammam being the growth centre in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi being a major cultural and commercial centre in UAE, are critical markets for strengthening our presence in the Middle-East. Mumbai is the commercial hub of India and we see great potential connecting the Middle-East with this city, further bolstering the extensive cultural, business and tourism links between India and the Middle East.”The new flights are designed to cater to business and leisure travellers who are constantly on the lookout for new and affordable flying options.Boulter further added, “With the addition of these new international flights and enhanced domestic frequency, we are committed to expanding our network to meet the requirements of both business and leisure travellers. It is our constant endeavour to provide the flexibility of choice to our customers as IndiGo continues to offer on-time, affordable, courteous and hassle-free flying experience consistently.”Given the rush in summer traffic and the shortfall in industry capacity, IndiGo has temporarily added around 20 new departures each from Mumbai and Delhi in a phased manner from April 15, 2019. This is an effort to make it easier for customers to find affordable fares during the busy season. IndiGo has announced Jeddah and Dammam as its 17th and 18th international destinations. Mumbai will also be connected to Abu Dhabi, which is already an existing IndiGo destination. Effective June 5, the airline will operate daily non-stop flights between Mumbai-Jeddah and Mumbai-Abu Dhabi. Effective July 5, 2019, the airline will operate daily non-stop flights between Mumbai-Dammam.last_img read more

Dubai Business Events sees growth in destination weddings focuses on the crucial

first_imgDubai in recent years has grown to become a cosmopolitan yet charming MICE destination. Dubai’s range of world-renowned hotels, venues and suppliers as well as the city’s ease of access for global markets has proven to be one of the key reasons why this city has become a popular host destination for business meetings and events.Steen Jakobsen, Assistant Vice President, Dubai Business Events spoke exclusively with Travel News Digest regarding how Dubai Business Events is aiming to tap the booming the Indian market.How important is the India market for Dubai Business Events?The Indian market is of significant strategic importance to us, thanks to its contribution of business visitors to the city. India has been the top source market in terms of overall visitation to Dubai since 2015, building on historic ties with the country, its proximity, as well as the city’s ease of access.The importance of the market is emphasised by the fact that Dubai Business Events (DBE), the city’s official convention bureau, has a dedicated office in the market, through which it continuously communicating the evolution of our city’s proposition to planners and meetings industry professionals across the country.What are your promotional and marketing strategies for the Indian market?In addition to the efforts of our permanent office in India, Dubai Business Events embarks on a number of activities and initiatives to reach meetings planners and buyers in India and drive growth from the market. This includes sales missions across key cities, where our team are joined by stakeholders from Dubai to present some of the latest offerings, as well as inbound study missions which allow planners and buyers to see first-hand the possibilities for their events here. In terms of our wider strategy, we focus on not only highlighting the hygiene factors which make Dubai the ideal city to host events in, but also the growing knowledge clusters that businesses and organisations can tap into, as well as the activities, culture and heritage on offer here.Which are your top three markets in India?The key segments for us in terms of groups coming from India are incentives, corporate meetings and destination weddings. For incentives and corporate meetings, sectors that we see particularly strong inflows from include pharmaceuticals, automotive, financial services and FMCG.What are the new and upcoming facilities for the MICE segment that DBE is offering?Dubai is home to an increasing number of unique and attractive business events facilities. Among these is the Coca-Cola arena, one of the most recent additions to the city’s portfolio of event venues. The 17,000 seats indoor arena is located in the heart of Dubai at City Walk, a mixed-use destination with different hospitality, food and beverage, entertainment and retail options for attendees to enjoy before and after events. Coca-Cola Arena is capable of holding international sporting events as well as large scale business events.Another major events venue is the E2 Dubai South Event & Exhibition Center. Located in Dubai South district, E2 is a short drive from the world’s largest airport in the making – Dubai World Central. With more than 40,000 sq m of exhibition space, it has been developed with a specialised understanding of the requirements of international business events.Dubai is also prepping one of the most awaited venues the Dubai Exhibition Centre (DEC) located at the Expo 2020 site, DECoffers a flexible and configurable space to accommodate all types of conferences, exhibitions and entertainment events with seamless access to the entire Dubai Expo 2020 site and 15-minute ride from a variety of hotels as well as its adjacent to Expo 2020 metro link.One important recent development to note in Dubai has been the growth of the mid-market hotel segment, which has diversified the range of accommodation available to meetings planners. We know that planners are always looking for rooms across multiple price points and while Dubai’s luxury properties remain popular for groups, recently-opened hotels under brands such as Rove and Zabeel House by Jumeirah are examples of attractive options that can meet other budget requirements.How many visitors did you receive from India in 2019 so far?During the first five months of 2019, India retained its position as the largest source market with approximately 846,000 visitors from the country.How many events from India did DBE organise this year from January to May?DBE has worked towards and organised two study missions from India in the first half of 2019 – one in January with a group of wedding planners and the other in April for a group of corporate buyers. These were part of a wider calendar of inbound study missions from key source markets.What are your promotional and marketing strategies for Expo 2020? How has the response been so far?Under the theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, Expo 2020 Dubai is expected to welcome 25 million visits, with 70% anticipated to come from outside the UAE, all between October 2020 and April 2021.We are working closely with the team at Expo to promote the business events opportunities during the six months of the event, ensuring that planners and meetings industry professionals are made aware of the Expo offerings. In addition to being able to bring their groups to visit the Expo site and explore the various national and thematic pavilions there, planners will have the unique opportunity to host events at the site itself in the Dubai Exhibition Centre.Are you looking at tapping into any new markets in the near future?We are always exploring new markets that are of interest to the overall tourism and business events strategy, tapping into all possible opportunities to drive further visitor growth. Considering we have a strong presence in India, we are agile enough to identify and tap into the latest trends and demands of other markets as well. One particular segment we have already identified as one with potential for significant growth is destination weddings and India is, of course, a crucial outbound market for this.last_img read more

Norcom Recruits New VP of Business Development

first_imgNew,Norcom Recruits New VP of Business Development in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2013-03-12 Tory Barringer Sharecenter_img Avon, Connecticut’s “”Norcom Mortgage””: welcomed Frank Haran to the team as VP of business development.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]Haran has worked in the industry for more than 30 years and served most recently as first EVP for McCue Mortgage in New Britain, Connecticut. During his tenure there, he facilitated 100 percent of all mortgage products utilizing automated underwriting while increasing wholesale product and establishing the company’s secondary market department.Haran is also a founding officer and member of the board of directors for the Connecticut Mortgage Bankers Association, where he works with the Connecticut Department of Banking and Legislature on Industry issues.At Norcom, he will assist with the company’s launch of its new loan origination software (LOS) system, develop and grow recruitment efforts, and work alongside the wholesale team to facilitate a training program.””I am very excited to be given the opportunity to join and participate with such a dynamic, innovative and rapidly growing mortgage company in such a difficult era,”” Haran said. March 12, 2013 431 Views last_img read more

Stearns Lending Recognized as 2012 Top 20 Residential Lender

first_img Santa Ana’s “”Stearns Lending, Inc.””:, a nationwide mortgage lending institution, announced its inclusion on “”’s””: list of the 2012 Top 20 Residential Lenders Ranked by Volume.[IMAGE]According to’s 2012 rankings, Stearns increased its production volume by 107 percent year-over-year, making it one of four of the nation’s Top 20 Lenders to double funding volumes during the year. Stearns’ loan volume was more than $11.8 billion last year compared to $5.7 billion in 2011.””We are seeing excellent results from our nimble, customer-centric approach,”” said Stearns CEO Brian S. Hale. “”At a time when larger competitors such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase and others are either losing market share or experiencing slower rates of growth, the Stearns organization is flourishing and gaining momentum in the marketplace thanks in large part to our focus on adding and expanding our origination channels, onboarding targeted key personnel and delivering customer-driven solutions that reflect today’s lending environment.””In addition to earning honors for its loan volume, Stearns also ranked No. 14 for Federal Housing Administration/Veterans Affairs (FHA/VA) volume; No. 15 for FHA/VA loans; No. 4 for Wholesale Volume; No. 18 for Correspondent Volume; and No. 49 for Retail Volume.Based on loan production figures, Stearns estimates its year-over-year origination volume increased 61 percent in the first quarter of 2013.””We are extremely pleased to be recognized as one of 2012’s Top 20 Residential Lenders,”” said Stearns president Katherine Le. “”Indicators clearly show that opportunities for growth are increasing. Stearns has made the commitments to infrastructure and, as a result, has benefited in retail, wholesale and correspondent lending channels.”” Stearns Lending Recognized as 2012 Top 20 Residential Lender April 29, 2013 508 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicingcenter_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-04-29 Tory Barringer Sharelast_img read more

Consumer Sentiment Rebounds as Stagnant Outlook Emerges

first_imgConsumer Sentiment Rebounds as Stagnant Outlook Emerges in Data December 2, 2013 406 Views Sharecenter_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Confidence Consumer spending Investors Lenders & Servicers Politics Service Providers 2013-12-02 Tory Barringer Consumer sentiment rebounded in November, though Americans haven’t yet forgotten the government shutdown that brought confidence down in October.[IMAGE]The Index of Consumer Sentiment, a joint measure tracked by the “”University of Michigan””: and “”Thomson Reuters””:, rose to 75.1 for the final November tally, making up some of the ground lost in October, when it dropped to 73.2. Last year, the index was measured at 82.7.The release came one day after the “”Conference Board””: put out its own index of November confidence, which showed continuing declines to 70.4.According to UMich/Thomson Reuters’ “”Surveys of Consumers””: group, November’s increase was due to an improved economic outlook, particularly among upper-income households ($75,000 or higher), which reported recent improvements in their finances. Those living in the bottom third of incomes ($35,000 or lower) reported “”virtually unchanged finances,”” meanwhile.While November’s improvement made up somewhat for October’s shutdown-related losses, consumers still feel stung by the government’s economic debate. According to Surveys of Consumers, spontaneous negative references to the government’s economic policies were made by 32 percent of Americans in November, just below the all-time peak of 37 percent in October. When asked for their views of those policies, half of all consumers gave unfavorable ratings, nearly equal to the “”worst level ever recorded in the past half century.””””Consumers expressed lingering concerns over the upcoming Congressional deadline for reaching a settlement on the federal budget and debt ceiling,”” said Richard Curtin, chief economist for Surveys of Consumers. “”While a grand bargain covering both entitlements and taxes could reduce policy uncertainty, it seems far more likely that the only agreement will be to delay a settlement until after the 2014 elections.””Breaking down the index into its subcomponents, Surveys of Consumers recorded the Current Conditions Index at 88.0 as of the end of November, just below October’s 89.9 and not far short of last November’s 90.6. At the same time, the Index of Consumer Expectations strengthened, rising to 66.8 from 62.5 in October but falling short of 77.7 in November 2012.””Consumers expect the growth rate in 2014 will be far short of the economy’s potential,”” Curtin explained. “”The term that best fits the outlook of consumers is stagnation. Consumers’ overall assessment of economic prospects is not bad and not good. Economic stagnation is like purgatory, it is neither heaven nor hell.””last_img read more

Mortgage Applications Rise in Latest Index

first_img Mortgage Applications Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Rates Purchase Loans Refinances 2014-12-24 Tory Barringer in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Applications for home mortgages in the United States edged up slightly last week as mortgage rates fell further.The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) seasonally adjusted mortgage application index ticked up 0.9 percent for the week ending December 19, the trade group reported Wednesday. Unadjusted, the index rose 0.4 percent.Refinance volumes climbed 1 percent over the week, accounting for 67 percent of total applications, MBA reported. Refinance activity got a boost from declining mortgage rates, which averaged 4.02 percent for 30-year fixed-rate loans—down from 4.06 percent and the lowest rate since May 2013.The group’s seasonally adjusted gauge of purchase applications also increased 1 percent. Unadjusted, purchase application volumes were down 1 percent week-over-week, falling short of last year’s figure by about the same amount. December 24, 2014 482 Views center_img Mortgage Applications Rise in Latest Index Sharelast_img read more

CFPB Will Not Extend New Mortgage Disclosure Deadline

first_img March 25, 2015 526 Views Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Deputy Director Steven Antonakes hinted at possibly extending the August 1 implementation deadline for new mortgage disclosure if vendors weren’t ready, in a speech he gave today, sending industry talks into frenzy. But according to Sam Gilford, spokesman for the CFPB, the deadline will not be extended.“We have no plans to delay the deadline on the new mortgage disclosure forms. The industry should be prepared to begin using the new forms for loans with an initial application submitted on or after August 1,” Gilford said. “The Deputy Director was pointing out that the Bureau is open to considering new information from stakeholders, not to delaying the deadline.”In a speech to the Consumer Bankers Association Antonakes implied the deadline would be extended. “To the extent there is new information or we’re hearing directly from vendors that folks aren’t going to be ready . . . we should continue to talk about that,” he said. “I can’t promise you [changes] but to the extent we will have a better understanding of the concerns, that is something we will consider.”The CFPB recently introduced a new rule that allows consumers to post public detailed complaint narratives, something that has received industry criticism. Antonakes also said the CFPB is open to hearing suggested changes to the complaint portal.”We’re still open to taking feedback on appropriateness and relevance of those drop-down [response options] and we will go forward and see how it goes. But again, a partnership and relationship is very important to us,” he said. “While we have decided to go forward with the narratives, it is a very open process and we will continue improving that process over time.”The deputy director ended his speech by urging people to apply to work at the CFPB.”With that said, I will offer, without apology, that if you are passionate about consumer finance, the best place to work is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” he said. “I cannot promise you that the experience will be without challenge or frustration, but I can promise you that it will be the most fulfilling work of your career.” CFPB Consumer Bankers Association Sam Gilford Steven Antonakes 2015-03-25 Samantha Guzman CFPB Will Not Extend New Mortgage Disclosure Deadlinecenter_img in Daily Dose, Featured, Government Sharelast_img read more

First Mortgage Settles SEC RMBS Fraud Charges

first_img June 1, 2016 523 Views First Mortgage Corporation RMBS Fraud U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission 2016-06-01 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News, Secondary Market Sharecenter_img California-based First Mortgage Corporation, a lender that issued Ginnie Mae residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) backed by loans it originated, has agreed to pay $12.7 million to settle fraud charges brought on by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).The SEC announced that the company and six senior executives will pay to settle charges that they “orchestrated a scheme to defraud investors” in the sale of residential mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by Ginnie Mae.“FMC and its senior executives abused their privileged access to Ginnie Mae’s securitization program by allowing greed to corrupt their business practices,” said Andrew Ceresney, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “It is critical that we hold senior management fully accountable for this kind of misconduct, which we were able to accomplish here quickly due to the cooperation of company insiders.”From March 2011 to March 2015, First Mortgage and the six senior executives pulled current, performing loans out of Ginnie Mae RMBS by falsely claiming they were delinquent in order to sell them at a profit into newly-issued RMBS, the SEC alleges. In addition, First Mortgage caused its Ginnie Mae RMBS prospectuses to be “false and misleading” by improperly and deceptively using a Ginnie Mae rule that gave issuers the option to repurchase loans that were delinquent by three or more months, the SEC said.First Mortgage was not immediately available for comment.The executives charged with fraud in the SEC’s complaint agreed to the following settlements:Chairman and CEO Clement Ziroli Sr. agreed to a $100,000 penalty.Company President Clement Ziroli Jr. agreed to pay 411,421.98 plus $27,203.92 in interest and a $200,000 penalty.CFO Pac W. Dong agreed to pay a $100,000 penalty.SVP Ronald T. Vargas, who headed FMC’s capital markets department, agreed to pay a $60,000 penalty.SVP Scott Lehrer agreed to pay a $50,000 penalty.Managing Director of the servicing department Edward Joseph Sanders agreed to pay disgorgement of $51,576.51 plus $6,811.19 in interest.  Sanders cooperated in the SEC’s investigation. First Mortgage Settles SEC RMBS Fraud Chargeslast_img read more

The Youth Movement Among FirstTime Homebuyers

first_imgThe Youth Movement Among First-Time Homebuyers Share in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News First-Time Homebuyers 2016-10-21 Seth Welborncenter_img October 21, 2016 661 Views According to TransUnion, as many as 17 million consumers could buy homes for the first time over the next five years. And if recent data is any indication of how things will go in the future, these first-time buyers will get younger and younger.Since the year 2000, consumers between the ages of 20 and 29 have made up an increasingly larger percentage of first-time homebuyers. In Q4 2000, just 17 percent of first-time homebuyers were in their 20s; by Q4 2015, the percentage had increased to 28 percent, according to TransUnion.A similar large increase among first-time homebuyers was seen for consumers ages 20 to 39 during that same time period. In the fourth quarter of 2015, approximately 60 percent of first-time homebuyers were in this age group; this number is up considerably from 15 years earlier, when it was just 44 percent in Q4 2000.“First-time homebuyers are valuable prospects in the eyes of many mortgage lenders, as that time in a borrower’s life often corresponds to additional financial needs,” said Joe Mellman, VP and Mortgage Business leader for TransUnion. “It is evident from trended data that first-time homebuyers show distinct credit characteristics that distinguish them from non-buyers. They often have higher credit scores than non-buyers; yet even within the same credit risk band, they are often more credit active and exhibit more credit responsible behavior. First-time homebuyers also can positively impact the economy as a whole. While they themselves can build wealth through gains in equity, along with mortgage interest and real estate tax deductions, local communities benefit from economic activity as a result of construction, remodeling and home improvement activities.”TransUnion estimates that between 13.8 and 17.1 million first-time buyers will enter the housing market over the next five years, based on consumers who currently do not have a mortgage combined with long-term mortgage purchase market growth and the percentage of first-time buyers in the agency and government purchase market.By comparison, almost half of the 6.2 million consumers who bought a home in 2015 (3 million) were first-time buyers. The share of first-time homebuyers comprising agency and government loan purchases in 2015 was 55 percent; 15 years earlier, as the new millennium began, the share was less than half.“It’s clear that there should be many new homebuyers in the market in the next few years,” said Steve Chaouki, EVP and head of TransUnion’s financial services business unit. “Our hope is that, with the use of trended data, mortgage lenders can better serve these consumers. We anticipate the benefits of trended data will continue to expand to other lenders, as we believe this is the future of credit scoring.”last_img read more

Predicting the Housing Industry

first_img Housing Industry 2017-08-02 Brianna Gilpin in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News There are a number of factors that go into the overall outlook of the residential economy, such as unemployment rates and housing starts. Metrostudy, a provider of primary and secondary market information to the housing and residential construction industry, recently came out with its 2017 Q2 National Residential Economic Report. It’s predicting housing starts will continue to increase until 2019, when it will then plateau, but take a look at what else is predicted in the Video Spotlight. Sharecenter_img Predicting the Housing Industry August 2, 2017 576 Views last_img read more