Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday's Travel InsideOut

Twitter, the social media site with the nebulous business model, apparently is getting set to make good on its pledge to start charging for premium services, including business accounts. In a move widely interpreted as a step in that direction, every Twitter page now has a Business link on the bottom, leading to Twitter 101, a business guide to Twitter. The business guide includes case studies, including the following one tracing the evolution of JetBlue’s use of Twitter.

Twitter: @JetBlue: It's Fun, But Does it Scale?: When JetBlue joined Twitter in the spring of 2007, it was one of the first major brands to do so. Today, the company has nearly a million of followers, and its account is often cited as an example of smart corporate twittering. But the company started out on Twitter with modest goals. It wanted to help customers. Read more

-----’s unpublished hotel discounts over the phone sound like a great idea so I dialed for dollars, so to speak, and put its value proposition to the test.

Dennis Schaal Blog:'s Phone Rates and Manner Fall Flat: I briefly and unscientifically tested the call center experience and wasn't impressed with its unpublished rates over the phone and its customer-service style.

Hotwire offered much steeper discounts for properties with the same star ratings and city areas in two instances, while's phone rate bested Hotwire's opaque rate by a few bucks in a third test. Read more


With their Star Alliance collaboration given the green light, United and Continental plan to get very cozy in their technology relationship.

Travel Weekly: Continental, United to seek shared technology platform: Continental and United plan to forge a common information technology system as part of their new relationship as Star Alliance partners, Continental CEO Larry Kellner said. Read more


Yahoo and Microsoft reportedly are moving closer to a search deal, an alliance that could positively impact Bing Travel if the partnership makes Bing a stronger competitor against Google.

Advertising Age: Do You Bing? Yahooers May Soon Search With Microsoft: NEW YORK ( -- Yahoo is close to making Microsoft's Bing its search provider. The deal, which would make Microsoft a more credible competitor to Google, is likely to be announced this week, and seems likely to be based on a revenue share, not on a big fat check upfront, as some at Yahoo had hoped. Read more


Times are tough for the airline industry. But is it prudent to gouge your customers a bit more during the height of a recession by increasing checked bag fees?

Yahoo Finance/Reuters: AMR raises bag check fees for domestic flights: CHICAGO (Reuters) - AMR Corp (NYSE:AMR - News), parent of American Airlines, said on Friday it would raise by $5 the fee it charges to check a first or second bag on domestic flights. Read more


Global distribution systems have their developer agreements, enabling third parties to build applications to their systems. But Farelogix, in making its Hawkeye point of sale application available for public download, did something completely different -- it released the application’s source code. Here's an update.

Dennis Schaal Blog: Open Source Experiment in Travel Industry a Modest Success: I was reading about open source Mozilla's challenges now that Google has entered the browser market with Google Chrome, and that reminded me that it was time to get an update about the travel industry's own open-source experiment. Read more


In some quarters, swine flu concerns have subsided, but the problem promises still to be a thorn in the travel industry’s side. Britain recorded “a huge rise” in cases and started screening cruise passengers.

Times Online: Swine flu screening at UK airports amid fear that NHS could be overwhelmed: NHS intensive care services could be overwhelmed by a huge rise in swine flu cases, researchers have warned, as Britain’s port authorities started screening incoming passengers for the first time. 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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