May 19, 2020

Airbnb is set to enter the luxury rental market

Luxury Retreats Founder and CEO Joe Poulin
Brian Chesky Airbnb
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre
Catherine Rowell
2 min
Airbnb is set to enter the luxury rental market

It has recently been announced that Airbnb has won the acquisition for Montreal-based company Luxury Retreats for an undisclosed figure, beating competitors such as Expedia and Accor. The acquisition will help diversify Airbnb’s services and movement into the luxury rental sector and target base, with wealthy clientele accessing its services.

In a recent press release, Airbnb have stated that “Luxury Retreats offers high-quality listings, world class concierge service and a range of amenities and the acquisition will complement Airbnb’s work to provide a variety of homes and experiences to travelers, particularly those visiting traditional vacation destinations.”

The move will see CEO of Luxury Retreats Joe Poulin join Airbnb and will lead the company’s luxury division. The company will remain in Montreal, as its property listings appear on Airbnb’s website. Luxury Retreats has over 4,000 property listings worldwide to add to Airbnb’s 3 million options in over 60,000 cities, perfect for travel seekers who wish to go to a number of up-market destinations. Poulin said, “Brian’s vision, values and approach mirror what Luxury Retreats has been focused on in the luxury market since 1999.  We are thrilled to join the Airbnb family with a continued commitment of delivering quality, luxury travel experiences.”

With a similar background of building their businesses up from scratch, the merger will provide vital experience and expertise within the holiday rental sector and will secure their position within the market, with plans for future expansion. Long-term planning will diversify their services and invest in talent both in Canada and in the US. It will also encourage further entrepreneurs to build on their growing business models.

“Montreal is known as an innovative city that is looking forward,” said Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre. “I’m pleased that a large company like Airbnb has chosen to invest in Montreal by their investment in Luxury Retreats and that its activities will continue to be based here. This proves that Montreal, as a large metropolis, is open to the sharing economy when it is done correctly. Having recently met Brian Chesky and Joe Poulin, I am convinced that they will find in Montreal an ideal place to invest and continue their activities.”

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Jun 18, 2021

Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR

NASCAR
Microsoft
3 min
Racing fans can expect the ultimate virtual experience as a result of the partnership with Microsoft and NASCAR

Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).

These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack. 

“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”

“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”

“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR

  • Empower employees productivity and collaboration
  • Improve fan engagement and experience
  • Improve environment security and IT productivity
  • Improve racing operations

 

Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.

“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”

“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives. 

“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.

Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”

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