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Want to spend a night at Prince’s house or an evening with Kevin Hart? Airbnb plans to list them

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In a wild mixture of game show glamor and marketing brilliance, Airbnb offers customers the possibility to spend the night in a Parisian museum, stay in homes mocked up to appear like movie sets, or sleep surrounded by eight Ferrari race cars.

These and other chimerical offers are a part of a recent, impressive campaign of the short-term rental giant, which wants to present itself as a company selling attractions, not only an alternative to staying in a hotel.

CEO Brian Chesky announced the 11 temporary listings – Airbnb calls them “icons” – at an event on Wednesday in Los Angeles.

The San Francisco-based company got here up with the thought for the promoting campaign after seeing the response to a Barbie-themed house in Malibu, California, that was displayed last 12 months in conjunction with the hit Mattel fashion doll film. The formula is identical: link the promotion to a popular culture product, celebrity or event.

And do not be boring.

“Historically, we are not known for doing anything. We are a platform,” Chesky said in an interview. “I think it’s really great to show what it looks like when suddenly you can step into our vision and our imagination. I think Airbnb will always be in the spotlight.”

Unlike typical properties listed on a rental platform, Airbnb practically gives away its “icons”. Chesky said the corporate will invite people to fill out a profile and explain why they need to be included in certainly one of the listings, and Airbnb will select about 4,000 winners over the course of the 12 months. He said winners will give you the option to book select properties or events without cost or for lower than $100.

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One exotic option is to stay overnight at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. Chesky said Airbnb recruited Mathieu Lehanneur – he designed the torch for this 12 months’s Paris Olympics – to convert the clock room atop the museum into a bedroom.

“The torch is with you in the bedroom, by the way,” Chesky said. “You have the entire museum to yourself. It’s literally a night at the museum. It’s even higher since you exit of the bedroom onto the terrace and have the very best seat within the house for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, which is able to happen on the Seine.

For those preferring an American setting, Airbnb offers a detailed description of a home in New Mexico that is meant to appear like the one from the 2009 Pixar-Disney animated film “Up.” Chesky said Airbnb paid to construct the house from scratch and fasten 8,000 balloons to imitate the helium-filled ones that the film’s essential character uses to make the house fly.

The Airbnb version won’t fly, but Chesky said guests will give you the option to watch the crane lift the New Mexico home 50 feet above the bottom.

“I think we might not have them in the house when we pick it up, just for safety reasons,” he said.

Some of the offers will probably be one-off events, akin to an overnight stay at the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy, an in-show performance by rapper Doja Cat, and an evening with comedian Kevin Hart in his members-only lounge. The “Up” house and New York mansion modeled after the one featured in Marvel’s “X-Men” comics will probably be available for 3 or 4 months. Prince’s Minneapolis home, which appeared within the movie “Purple Rain,” will probably be available for a 12 months, according to Airbnb.

The company would not say how much it spent acquiring the rights, decorating the properties and paying the celebrities involved. Airbnb earned $4.8 billion last 12 months and ended 2023 with nearly $6.9 billion in money. Enough to repeat the “icon” campaign.

“These 11 are a start,” Chesky said. “We have a lot more in the works.”


This article was originally published on : thegrio.com
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Here’s how the U.S. Department of State’s new passport renewal system works

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Passport Renewal, Travel


The US Department of State has has kept its new passport renewal system secret – until now.

The agency quietly launched a new public beta test on June 12 that may allow U.S. residents to renew their passports without having to go to an office or physically mail in documents.

The department unsuccessfully tried to implement the new system in 2022 after attempting to clear an intense renewal backlog that stretched to 13 weeks. Under the new system, a limited number of U.S. residents will probably be eligible to submit license renewal applications every day at 1 p.m. The application will close once the unspecified each day limit has been reached. Once this number is established, the department plans to extend capability each day. However, the number of accepted applications will proceed to be limited over time because of efforts to watch the new system.

According to , the new system is included in President Joe Biden’s 2023 budget, which has been approved $163 million to revamp passport delivery services so the public can do it access essential online services. Funds also went toward customer-facing upgrades at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Social Security Administration.

There will probably be new requirements for passport renewal. For an upgrade, applicants should be not less than 25 years old, have a passport issued between 2009 and 2015, haven’t any plans to vary any demographics, and never travel abroad for not less than 8 weeks from the date of application for extension.

While travelers will now not need to go to an office for the process, processing times will remain roughly six to eight weeks. Expedited services that take two to 3 weeks to finish and require additional costs won’t be eligible for online applications.

It is hoped that the new system will proceed to make data processing easier in order that data isn’t any longer backed up. Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, processing times have decreased dramatically and haven’t been recovered because of travel collections and agency staff reductions, but the department says it has returned to normal work.

Back in 2021, the passport processing time was 18 weeks, and in the summer of 2023 it dropped to 10-13 weeks. As of November 2023, waiting times have been reduced to between seven and ten weeks. The first sign of normality appeared in December 2023, making it the first in the pre-pandemic era since March 2020.

To make matters even easier, the Department of State has approved a 12% staffing increase from December 2022 to January 2024.


This article was originally published on : www.blackenterprise.com
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8 practical travel tips to make your group trips happen this summer

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Make this summer your last summer and also you and your friends can plan your vacation in a group chat. Poor planning and inconvenient timing often leave travelers exhausted before they even start.

Such situations inspired SquadTrip to launch a comprehensive group travel platform. Designed to provide first-time travelers and seasoned explorers alike with the tools for stress-free travel, the free, user-friendly platform has simplified domestic and international travel for groups and solo travelers.

“Being from Brooklyn, my entrepreneurial spirit was ingrained in me and I always saw creators coming up with solutions to everyday problems,” SquadTrip founder Darrien Watson tells BLACK ENTERPRISE.

“SquadTrip responded to issues I noticed after being added to the Birthday Trip group chat. It started with good intentions, but getting everyone on the same page when planning was a nightmare!”

With useful features similar to fast messaging, questionnaires, pre-planned itineraries, reservations and the customarily dreaded payment collection, SquadTrip offers an entire trip planning experience. These features reveal Watson’s skilled experience working with software vendors and natural passion for travel.

“My co-founder and I knew we wanted to provide Black travelers with a marketplace tailored to their needs,” Watson says. “SquadTrip offers experiences curated by Black-owned tour operators and travel agencies, from luxury and cultural trips abroad to arrivals trips

“We wanted to eliminate setbacks that can take away from the enjoyment of group travel to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.”

Launching in Brooklyn, New York in 2022, SquadTrip is a premier travel platform tailored specifically for Black travelers, serving as a platform to discover trips curated by Black tour operators and travel agencies. With a comprehensive software solution, travelers can streamline group travel with features similar to TripBuilder, pre-planned itineraries and automatic monthly payment plans, all accessible through a user-friendly, centralized dashboard.

“Our software is the first online platform that allows you to create booking pages, accept payments, and manage communications and finances in one place,” says Watson.

Additionally, although the corporate was founded in Brooklyn, it has since moved its headquarters to Tulsa, Oklahoma to take part in the Techstar Accelerator Build In Tulsa program for POC founders.

“Now we are part of a growing Black tech sector that is revitalizing Black Wall Street in Tulsa,” Watson says.

Over the past two years, SquadTrip has facilitated lots of of trips in over 50 countries, improving travel experiences and meeting the unique needs of Black travelers all over the world. To help other Black travelers take a group trip this summer or later within the yr, SquadTrip has created an eight-step guide to assist you to organize a successful group trip and create unforgettable memories with your squad.

Rate the group – Find out who you are traveling with, their interests, budgets and travel styles so you’ll be able to effectively guide your planning process.

“Understanding your intentions is crucial for trips outside of specific celebrations, such as weddings or graduations,” Watson says. “To get off to a good start, make sure participants have common interests, whether that’s history in the case of a city tour or musical taste in the case of a festival.”

Democratize decision-making – Involve your group from the start so everyone feels heard. Use SquadTrip to brainstorm destinations, travel dates and budgets.

“SquadTrip empowers users to make decisions by allowing them to create trip-specific questionnaires,” Watson explains. “To ensure that everyone’s preferences are heard and incorporated into the planning process.”

Choose the proper accommodation— Research to find accommodation and transportation convenient for your complete group. Consider flights, trains or automobile rentals when it comes to cost and travel time.

“Consider using room types to accommodate preferences while also checking accurate pricing and floor layouts,” adds Watson. “It’s a good idea to check bed arrangements, occupancy limits and other information in advance to make sure everyone is comfortable.”

Create your travel plan and use “maybe” – Group planning could be difficult and require compromise because preferences vary. SquadTrip helps by creating flexible itineraries that include group activities and free time to ensure everyone enjoys their trip.

“It’s good to go on a journey with a plan, even if it’s not very detailed,” notes Watson. “Having an idea of ​​what each day might look like helps provide structure so you can make the most of your adventures.”

Avoid chasing advances – Avoid awkward conversations by collecting and scheduling payments through SquadTrip and eliminating the necessity for group texting, spreadsheets, or apps like Venmo and PayPal.

“Travel is usually a hindrance when it comes to raising money,” admits Watson. “We have added automatic payments through SquadTrip to avoid uneven amounts and make sure everything is fair.”

“With transparency around individual premiums, total cost and payment progress, there is no need for reconciliation or awkward ‘can you send me one’ conversations when everyone gets home,” he adds.

Update your lineup – Prioritize clear communication when planning. Keep everyone informed about decisions and changes. With SquadTrip you’ll be able to send emails, trip updates and automatic payment reminders to your group.

“There is no such thing as too much communication when planning group trips. But it’s best to keep all critical and core updates
planning in a central location,” says Watson. “By simplifying, everyone will be on the same page without hassle.”

Celebrate differences and acknowledge the inevitable – Group trips bring together diverse personalities. Accept differences to discover hidden interests. Expect the unexpected: flight delays, lost luggage and personality conflicts. Deal with hiccups flexibly and with humor.

“Compromise will be possible in any event that involves many people, especially if group outings do not focus on the celebrant,” Watson explains. “In addition, the flexibility of travel plans allows you to discover new passions, so it is important to keep an open mind.”

Consider a travel agency – For independent group leaders, SquadTrip offers a curated number of travel agencies specializing in group tours Here.

“If your group prefers hands-free planning, don’t hesitate to ask for additional help,” suggests Watson. “SquadTrip travel marketplace features hand-picked Black tour operators and travel agents for seamless management.”

This article was originally published on : www.blackenterprise.com
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Luxury dog ​​airline BARK Air sued by Westchester County for seat limit violations

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BARK Air, Luxury Dog Airline, Westchester County


A brand new airline designed specifically for dogs is currently under fire. BARK Air, which operates flights from Westchester County Airport in New York, was sued by Westchester County for apparently violates county law. The legal motion got here just days after the airline’s first flight.

The latest luxury airline’s inaugural flight from New York to Los Angeles took place on May 24, and the lawsuit was filed on May 30. According to legal documents, Westchester County Airport has a policy that states “the private jet section of the airport may only accommodate jets with nine or fewer passenger seats.” BARK Air uses a Gulfstream Aerospace GV jet with 14 passenger seats.

As a part of the injunction issued against BARK Air, Westchester County’s actions could force the airline to depart the airport entirely or move from the private jet zone to a busier passenger terminal.

The price for BARK Air’s “White Paw Experience” flight from Westchester County Airport to Los Angeles’ Van Nuys Airport on May 24 was $6,000 for one passenger and a dog.

“There was a mix of breeds on board, including a chihuahua, a golden retriever and a dachshund,” said BARK Chief of Staff Katherine Enos. She also described the airline’s first official flight as a “great success.”

“I am happy to report that there was no dog drama; some of the dogs were playing in the aisle while the smaller ones were taking long naps,” she continued.

“All dogs ate BARK cereal dog treats, dog-friendly muffins, chicken-flavored puppuccino and dog champagne (chicken broth),” Enos confirmed. “All the people on board also got along well and felt a bond over their shared obsession with dogs.”

Currently, BARK, which describes itself as “the world’s first air travel experience designed specifically for dogs and, secondarily, their human companions,” currently flies between Los Angeles, New York and London. They are considering adding more cities to their list, reportedly including Paris, Milan, Chicago, Seattle, Florida and Arizona as latest travel destinations.


This article was originally published on : www.blackenterprise.com
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