Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday's Travel InsideOut

Orbitz Worldwide shuffled the deck a bit in the wake of Dean Sivley’s exit a couple of months ago from Orbitz for Business and his appointment as president and CEO of Travel Guard. The OWW chief operating officer post will not be filled, the company said, as its previous occupant, Mike Nelson, takes over as president of OWW’s Partner Services Group. Nelson will bring along some of Sivley’s alliance marketing/media-business duties in the expanded PSG.

Securities and Exchange Commission/Orbitz Worldwide: DEPARTURE OF DIRECTORS OR CERTAIN OFFICERS: On July 8, 2009, Orbitz Worldwide, Inc. (the “Company”) announced certain organizational changes in the way that it aligns its business, product and technology teams with its major areas of strategic focus. As part of those changes, Michael Nelson will transition from Chief Operating Officer to President, Partner Services Group and will have responsibility for partner services and customer operations on a global basis. The Company does not currently intend to appoint a new Chief Operating Officer. Read More


In increasing the Star Alliance’s antitrust immunity, the DOT disregarded much of the advice of the Dept. of Justice and gave short shrift to the concerns of online travel agencies. The decision means Continental, United, Air Canada and Lufthansa can coordinate the way they market to travel agents, wholesalers and corporations.

Travel Weekly: STAR ALLIANCE GETS CONTINENTAL AND ANTITRUST IMMUNITY: The Transportation Department on Friday approved the Star Alliance’s request for expanded antitrust immunity that would bring Continental into the group as part of a four-carrier joint venture with Air Canada, Lufthansa and United.

In so doing, the DOT rejected most of the advice of the Justice Department, though it accepted some suggestions to limit immunity in certain markets dominated by Star members. The grant of immunity extends to 10 of the alliance’s 22 members: Air Canada, Austrian, BMI, LOT Polish, Lufthansa, SAS, Swiss, TAP Air Portugal, United and, now, Continental. Read more


We’re waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak, on United Airlines’ new credit-card policy for travel agencies. Will a global distribution system (GDS) bias United’s flight displays out of the stratosphere so they will be impossible to find? Will some of the online travel agencies take similar steps? Expedia, for one, hinted at its displeasure.

Dennis Schaal Blog: EXPEDIA NOT SO HAPPY ABOUT UNITED’S CREDIT-CARD PLAN: Major online travel agencies have been missing-in-action about their take on United Airlines' plan to make some travel agencies foot the airline's credit card fees, beginning July 20.

Expedia recently broke the silence, if you read between the lines. Read more


ICANN – not to be confused with Carl Icahn – is feeling the heat on its travel spend. Turns out that the power behind Web-domain management feels that personal navigation in the form of global travel is a worthwhile endeavor. (We believe Carl Icahn probably travels a lot, too.)

ComputerWorld: ICANN's $12M TRAVEL BUDGET: GOODWILL MOVE OR INFLUENCE BUYING?: ICANN now spends 22% of its budget on travel and meetings in far-flung locales worldwide. Is it looking to build grass-roots support for its decisions or using its growing financial resources to influence various power players in the domain name community?

The group responsible for managing the Web's domain name system, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), has grown in the 11 years since its inception to become a powerful organization with a nearly $55 million budget built on the domain registration fees it receives. Read more


United, American and US Airways are in the cross-hairs amidst new speculation about “the most vulnerable airlines," although one analyst says they likely will dodge the bullet again.

Wall Street Journal: U.S. AIRLINES FLY INTO CREDIT SQUEEZE: The recession, plunging travel demand and a tough lending environment are battering U.S. airlines, raising the prospect of a liquidity squeeze that could lead to bankruptcy filings by winter if conditions don't improve.

The five largest hub-and-spoke carriers are expected to report second-quarter losses, starting with AMR Corp.'s American Airlines on Wednesday and followed by Delta Air Lines Inc., UAL Corp.'s United Airlines, Continental Airlines Inc. and US Airways Group Inc. next week. Read more


Key Hilton decision-makers and the investor crowd got together on Mexico expansion. The Hilton Garden Inn brand finds Mexico ripe for development.

TravelAgent Central: HILTON REINFORCES EXPANSION PLANS THROUGHOUT MEXICO: Hilton Hotels Corporation hosted a development forum in Mexico City this week to reinforce the company’s plans to expand throughout Mexico. The event, held at the Hampton Inn & Suites Mexico City – Centro Historico, came following the recent announcement of the company’s plan for the first Hilton Garden Inn management agreement in Chiapas, Mexico. The forum brought together executives from Hilton’s development team, representatives from three of the company’s brands (Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, and Hampton Inn by Hilton), and key decision makers from Mexico’s hotel investor and development community. Read more


Travel InsideOut is a Dennis Schaal Blog daily feature. Get a thorough-going look at the day's travel industry top and tangentially interesting stories. Feel free to comment on them below.

Travel InsideOut is Copyright (c) 2009 by Dennis Schaal. All rights reserved.

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