Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Boutique Boom

Uniquely designed hotels with even more creative meeting space combined with superior service and extensive amenities comprise a rapidly expanding lodging segment known as “Boutique Hotels.” Regina McGee of MeetingsNet Magazine published an eloquent article in April’s edition of Corporate Meetings and Incentives detailing the rise of boutique hotels and how they are becoming a big part of corporate meeting planning.

For the full article visit:

Friday, April 22, 2011

Rising Airfare Costs

With the increase in gas prices, airline tickets have inflated as well. As of Monday, April 25, airlines, such as Delta, raised airfare by $10. Delta was quickly followed by Southwest, American Airlines, JetBlue, and United.

This escalation in prices marks the 7th increase this year!

"This higher fare is to offset higher fuel costs that we continue to face in the industry," said Southwest spokeswoman, Laurel Moffat.

Nevertheless, industry employees do not believe these hikes will go too high. Their customers must be willing to pay the extra charge for a plane ticket in order to keep sales up. Thus, airlines have been filling their seats to accommodate the $111 it costs for a barrel of oil. Nowadays, it is unusual if a plane is half empty.

Experts predict that this is not the last price increase flyers will see this year. In fact, between June 9 and August 21 airlines charge an additional summer fee since the demand for tickets is higher during this time.

So be sure to book flights far in advance to avoid extreme prices! To read more visit:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rewards Revamp

Rewards programs have always been a perk for frequent flyer travelers. Although these individuals may be traveling for business, they can still earn rewards for pleasure. Thus, a lot of commotion arose when two major airlines changed their systems recently.

Delta’s new rewards program eliminates expiration dates for points earned. However, this addition only benefits the infrequent flyers, who were most at danger for losing their points. For the business travelers, nothings really changed for them. Delta hopes that without expiration date they will get more customers.
“After discussions with our customers through surveys and focus groups, it was apparent that they view their miles as a form of currency,” Mike Henny, the general manager of Delta’s SkyMiles Medallion program, says. “The breakage of these miles was of minimal gain to Delta, but eliminating expiration was a big win for customers.”

On the other hand, Southwest’s program has created a bit more chatter. The old system based points around every one-way flight and any unused points expired after two years. Now, the system is based around the length and the price of the ticket.
Therefore, the “Wanna Get Away” tickets will receive fewer points than the “Business Select”. Additionally, if you shop or dine, you can earn more points. You can even purchase points in this new program – the minimum is 2,000 points at one time.
While there are disadvantages to this new program, there are several positives as well. Southwest has eliminated blackout dates. Therefore, a flyer can redeem their points for any flight and with no additional fees. There are also no charges for changing flight reservations.

Although some changes have been made to the rewards systems –and there may be more to come, the bottom line is that these airlines want to reward you for your loyalty.

For more information visit:

Friday, April 8, 2011

No More Check-Out

Do you ever find yourself stuck in-between check-in and out times? Perhaps this doesn’t have to be the case anymore. Some hotels are looking into relaxing their rigid policies. Properties, such as Hilton and Hyatt, allow their guests a few more hours after check-out to stick around. Starwood Preferred Guests receive a guaranteed 4PM check-out at nearly 75% of their properties. Even some American Express card holders have the luxury of a 4PM check-out time in AmEx’s Fine Hotels & Resorts program.

Hotels began to notice the inconvenience these inflexible times were causing business travelers. After doing some research, Horst H. Schulze, chief executive and chairman for Capella Hotels & Resorts, and former president of Ritz-Carlton, found that the check-in/out times were travelers’ biggest pet peeve. "Business travelers are very annoyed when they come in the morning and have to go to a meeting and want to put their stuff down and are told check-in time is 3 p.m.," says Schulze.
As a result, Capella Hotels & Resorts have completely gotten rid of set check-in and check-out times. In order to keep track of check-in/ out times, a staff member calls each guest to get their approximate arrival/departure times. With this estimation, the hotel can still plan other guest rooms accordingly.

With this new policy; however, troubles may arise. With a completely booked hotel, the wiggle room minimizes. However, Guenter Richter, the Setai's managing director, says that at his “214-room hotel [they are] able to fulfill guests' desired schedules 95% of the time”.

To read more visit:

Friday, April 1, 2011

Penny Pinchers

Shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash, lotion, toothpaste, and deodorant – the list of in-room amenities goes on. But with the on-going recession, hotels have cut costs and eliminated some of these luxury items. The jokes of stealing hotel toiletries are now outdated. With the high costs of restocking bathroom amenities, hotels have implemented new strategies. For instance, instead of individual shampoo/ conditioner bottles, a hotel may now place a shampoo dispenser on the wall inside the shower. Or, some hotels simply take the more lavish products out of each hotel room, yet carry them in the housekeeping departments. Thus, if a customer were to call for some mouthwash, it is delivered to their room complimentary. On the contrary, products, such as deodorant or hairspray, now come at a price. The development of in-room products has expanded over the years. Joseph McInerney, president and chief executive officer of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, offers a run-down of the past years: After color TV came the TV-plus-remote, then the clock radio. In the 1960s, shampoo became a must. Lotions, mouthwash and more followed. The 1970s saw the introduction of sewing kits, shoe mitts and shoe horns. In the early 1990s, coffeemakers appeared in the room. At the end of the century, irons and ironing boards became mandatory. Nevertheless, with the increase in these complimentary items came the increase of hotel costs. Thus, in-room coffee makers are turning into single serving coffee packets. Turn down service is not always an everyday occurrence. Moreover, mini bars are turning into empty fridge storage. In fact, only 22% of upscale hotels still have mini fridges. Nevertheless, some hotels are getting creative with these empty refrigerators. Some let customers pick and order mini bar options upon check-in. If the customer is not interested, they can simply refuse any products. Other hotels enforce a mandatory mini bar fee, that also includes parking and internet. These fees allow the mini bar items to be “free”, while helping the hotel pay for the acquired costs. The future of in-room amenities is unknown. However, hotels are showing a preference to updated in-room technology over shampoo bottles and hairspray. Therefore, we’ll just have to wait and see what is to come. For more information: