Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday's Travel InsideOut

Is Orbitz CEO Barney Harford rolling a rock up a hill in the face of recessionary headwinds or is he finally making good on the company’s oft-promised, but never delivered effort to build a viable hotel business?

Travel Weekly: Orbitz on new track under Harford: Barney Harford, who had helped craft Expedia’s Asia-Pacific hotel business and served as a consultant to Kayak, walked into the perfect storm in early January when he signed on to replace Steve Barnhart as president and CEO of Orbitz Worldwide. Read more


Separately, and using different tactics, Delta and United are doing everything they can to retain the allegiances of their most loyal, if sometimes fickle, customers.

Wall Street Journal: Delta Woos Elite Travelers: Delta Air Lines Inc. is expected to change its frequent-flier program to let travelers roll over extra elite-qualifying miles and credits from one year to the next. By allowing customers to roll over miles and credits that aren’t needed to reach a status level, the airline hopes to discourage travelers from splitting their loyalty among multiple airlines. Read more

Hudson Crossing Travel Industry Insight: United Actually Reduces a Fee. Yes, You Read that Correctly: Today, United Airlines announced they were dropping last-minute fees for Mileage Plus frequent-flyer award ticket redemption. Yes, this is not a misprint but a case of an airline actually dropping an irksome fee. Currently, non-elite Mileage Plus members are charged $100 to redeem within six days of travel and $75 within seven to twenty days. Read more


Starwood understands that even Luxury Collection guests, known to romp from “magnificent desert retreats to breathtaking seaside villas,” can benefit from some social media love. That’s why Starwood is unveiling a “private community” platform for this jet-set guest segment.

Travolution: Starwood brand unveils online community service: The Luxury Collection, part of Starwood, has teamed up with private community ASMALLWORLD to unveil a travel community platform. Read more


The hotel tax issue continues to hound online travel companies, as evidenced by developments in San Francisco, and now New York City’s looming hotel remarketer law has drawn the ire of traditional travel agents and wholesalers, as well.

Dennis Schaal Blog: Travelocity Pays $2.7 Million Hotel Tax to San Francisco: Travelocity paid $2.7 million to the City of San Francisco on July 23 as part of its obligation to "pay first" before being able to appeal the city's hotel tax assessment. Read more

Travel Weekly: New York City enacts tax on all resellers of hotel rooms: Opponents of a recently enacted hotel reseller tax in New York predicted last week that the measure would discourage travel sellers from booking rooms in the city and thus exacerbate the deep slump the Big Apple is seeing in its hospitality sector. Read more


There’s momentum in Congress to ensure that certain meetings’ destinations don’t become victims of AIG-backlash syndrome.

MercuryNews.com: Reid tells agencies to end travel 'blacklist': LAS VEGAS—Nevada Sen. Harry Reid wrote to cabinet secretaries and the heads of all federal agencies on Monday to ask them to not rule out cost-effective destinations for meetings just because they are popular spots for tourists. Read more


Through disparate offerings ranging from pool parties to its meetings business, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Vegas has notched remarkable occupancy numbers as it makes a splash with its Paradise Tower expansion at the height of this recession.

UpTake Travel Industry Blog: Hard Rock Hotel Gambles all it’s Chips on Paradise Tower: The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas is placing a massive bet on the successful opening of the 490-room Paradise Tower expansion. And surprisingly enough, it looks like their gamble might just pay off. 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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