An Exciting New Year For Travel

Dear Valued Clients,

On behalf of all of us at Williamsburg Travel Management, we wish you a Very Happy New Year and a very successful 2011. It will be a very exciting year for the travel industry with many opportunities to travel to new and exotic destinations by air and by sea.

The Allure of the Seas has joined her sister ship, the Oasis of the Seas as the 2 largest cruise ships in the world. Both sail alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean Itineraries from Port Everglades and feature an amazing array of dining and entertainment venues. Azamara Club Cruises is Royal Caribbean’s boutique brand and has just added numerous service enhancements such as complimentary wine with lunch and dinner, a gratuities inclusive pricing structure, and new port intensive itineraries. They feature smaller ships with a more upscale, intimate and relaxed feel. Both ships have a capacity of approximately 700 guests and will sail longer, more exotic journeys to the Mediterranean and to South America.

This year there will be more cruise capacity in the Mediterranean than ever before. Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara will have 12 ships sailing in the Mediterranean and in European waters this year. Cruising is a great way to see Europe since you may pay for the cruise and shore excursions in U. S. Dollars.

Delta Air Lines has continued a major expansion of International routes to new destinations in Africa and across the Pacific. We look forward to their new terminal facilities at New York’s JFK International Airport and the completing of major construction projects at CDG International Airport in Paris.

We greatly appreciate your business and if any of us can ever be of special assistance, please do not hesitate to call.

Sincerely,

Terry W. Brennan
President
Williamsburg Travel Management

2010 Business Travel Forecast

Business travel forcast 2010

Following this weakened demand in 2009, Business Travel expects a pent up need for travel and meetings to be unleashed in 2010. Fuel prices, along with sustained signs of a restarting economy, could also generate slight up-ticks in travel category prices worldwide, particularly in Asia Pacific.

"As the world begins to show signs of emerging from the recession, businesses are adapting to a fundamental shift in thinking focused on proving the value of travel and every employee connection," said Hervé Sedky, vice president and general manager, Business Travel. "Heading into 2010, companies will need to consider the impact of these changes in mindset, particularly as projected rate increases in key travel categories gain momentum."

North America – Air - Hotel - Car Forecast and Trends

Overall, business travel growth is predicted to be up one percent for the U.S. and 15 percent for Canada in 2010. Airline routes and capacity reductions made in the region in an effort to equalize the decrease in demand in 2009 are expected to force prices up in North America in 2010, higher than most other global regions. Hotel rates are expected to remain on the decline in North America as a whole as hoteliers fight to attract both business and consumer travelers back. Car rental rates will likely increase slightly as the cost of vehicles is expected to rise following decreases in capacity in 2009 and car manufacturing consolidation driving up the cost of replacing relatively old fleets.

Europe – Air Hotel Car Forecast and Trends

As companies looked for ways to curb travel costs, many companies in Europe trading down from traditional airlines to low cost carriers. Overall airlines in Europe saw declines in volume and while demand is expected to grow in 2010, fares are expected to decline in the first half of the year as airlines compete for market-share. While hotel rate changes will likely vary by country, it is expected that rates will only increase modestly at best in Europe in 2010. Opposite the trend in the U.S. to unbundle services however, European hotels are giving travelers additional amenities as a means to attract their business and loyalty and retain price levels.

Latin America & Air Hotel Forecast and Trends

In Latin America there has been upward pressure on rates as some carriers reduced the number and size of aircrafts servicing some routes and consolidated others. Increases that may have been possible through these measures are challenged, though, as capacity at less expensive airports increased, online travel agencies entered the market, and business travelers increased usage of car rental or bus. This will likely continue to have an impact in 2010, with projected airfare changes ranging from negative three percent up to two percent. Hotel rates are expected to continue to decline, similar to North America hotels having a more difficult time with managing capacity. “The 2010 Forecast clearly underscores that the complexity of managing business travel and understanding the underlying dynamics of the industry and supply base only becomes more challenging as economic conditions change and business opportunity is global,” said Christa Degnan Manning, director, expert insights research for Business Travel Global Advisory Services. The forecasts and projections provided in this report are based on information gathered from Business Travel believes to be reliable, no representation or warranty is made as to the accuracy of the forecasts or projections made herein. In addition, actual changes in business travel costs could vary significantly from foretasted data, particularly as a result of unforeseen future political, economic and/or environmental events.

Hotel and Car Rental April Update

Hotel Prices Fall 12 Percent Worldwide
 Hotel prices are falling, according to Hotels.com’s Hotel Price Index. Rates for hotels in December 2008 were more than one tenth lower than they had been a year earlier and just one percent above their level in January 2004.

 Empress Hotel
North American rates fell the most, down 12 percent in the fourth quarter of  2008.
(Source: HPI, STR Global press releases).

Omni Hotels Offers Triple Miles with American, United
 Omni Hotels is offering members of its Select Guest program the opportunity to earn unlimited triple miles in the American AAdvantage and United Mileage Plus programs.

Guest Select members also get complimentary Wifi, morning beverages, pressing,  newspapers and online check-in and express checkout. To take advantage of the triple miles offer, visit SelectGuestProgram/ .
(Source: Omni Hotels).

Car Rental

Hertz Offers Summer Specials
 Hertz is offering 50 percent off weekend rentals through June 30 at participating airports in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. It’s also offering a Weekender, that includes an attractive rate, free child’s seat, no drop-off fee for one-way rentals and up to three days of Hertz NeverLost service. (Source: Hertz).

Travel Back Lash

Concerned by public perception of meetings and events as frivolous, some corporations are opting to meet in places that may look like a bargain but actually cost more.

An Association of Corporate Travel Executives survey of business managers found companies are factoring political correctness into their calculations.

  1. Sixty percent would avoid a “resort” destination like Las Vegas even if the resort city were a better deal than a non-leisure destination.
  2. Thirty-eight percent said public perception is now a key factor in choosing a meeting site.
  3. Sixty-two percent said it would take a dramatic increase in their own business or an increase in projects that required meetings for them to increase the number of meetings and conferences they attend.

Source: Association of Corporate Travel Executives press release.

Business Travel Forecast 2009

The beach from the House, Barbados

"Based on foretasted economic conditions for 2009 and the substantial increase in fares already experienced in 2008, it is possible that airfares in 2009 may decrease," said Hervé Sedky, vice president and general manager, Global Advisory Services Business Travel.

Sedky continued, "Considering airfare, car rental and hotel stay, we expect the average domestic trip to increase 2.8 percent, or $31 USD, to a total of approximately $1139 USD. An increase of 4.3 percent, or approximately $147 USD, is expected for international trips to bring the average cost to $3556.

However, if you include the costs of additional travel expenses including baggage fees, dining, airport parking and even package shipping, it can add an estimated $400 to the total trip cost."

Global Airfare Forecast
The proliferation of new fees and a delicate supply and demand balancing act will determine whether airfares remain steady, increase or potentially decrease compared to 2008.

"In response to the record energy prices in 2008, many airlines began charging fees for different services such as checked luggage, in-flight refreshments and aisle seating. To help mitigate the impact of these new charges, which can increase air travel costs up to an additional15 percent per trip, we advise companies to consider increasing their focus on demand management to ensure planned trips meet the guidelines designed to promote the most effective use of their business investment," continued Sedky.

  • Capacity cuts are likely to lead to a shortage of available seats at lower price points, while changes in ticketing and minimum-stay requirements, uncertainty surrounding the future price of jet fuel, movement in airline consolidation and alliances and tighter controls over contract performance measurement are likely to drive price increases.
  • Prices are predicted to experience downward pressure due to a slowing global economy, improved demand management by corporations and stronger traveler compliance. The expansion of low-cost carriers, more efficient aircraft and airline operations and the continued liberalization of the industry are also expected to mitigate increases.

Global Hotel Rate Forecast
Although Business Travel forecasts some rate growth in the global hotel industry, most regions will likely experience declines in occupancy, which will keep rate increases below the level of those seen in 2008.

  • The record oil prices that began in 2008 are expected to continue to impact the hotel industry and airline capacity cuts should drive down demand in some markets
  • As new hotels expand global supply and demand decreases in some markets, travel buyers should have increased bargaining power for 2009 rates.
  • Companies should revisit their travel policies to ensure that travelers have a comprehensive guide to navigate the current travel environment.
  • In addition to a tight travel policy, demand management and an increased focus on traveler compliance can deliver savings.
  • Benchmarking that is based on average segment cost or average ticket price is no longer sufficient due to the expansion of airline fees. Companies should benchmark the entire cost of a trip in an effort to minimize expenditures related to business travel.

Meeting and Event Management Forecast
As economic conditions continue to draw attention to meeting and events as a source for savings, senior business leaders are expected to seek further visibility into meetings spending and aim to measure the return on investment of meetings and events for their companies.

  • Effective demand management tactics and a movement toward shorter events in more local destinations should help corporations achieve the best return on investment
  • Implementing and managing meetings policy is expected to provide companies the ability to drive certain cost-saving behaviors. Based on a recent survey of travel clients, over 70% of companies do not have a stand alone meetings policy
  • Technology developments offer cost-effective ways to supplement meetings and events schedules. Teleconferencing and social networking sites are gaining popularity as tools to strengthen the interpersonal relationships created through traditional meetings.
  • Leveraging transient hotel programs with a meetings hotel program is expected to enable companies to have visibility in both areas and drive savings. Negotiating packages for the preferred properties will likely simplify the process to drive and support compliance.

(Source: Business Travel)

Cost Containment Strategies for 2009
Companies across the globe are seeking new ways to manage their travel investments and maximize the value of their T&E programs.

Hotels and Car Rental Updates for Oct 2008

Hotels

Choice Hotels Offer
Double Rewards for European Stays

Members of Choice Privileges, Choice Hotels International’s loyalty program who use their card when they stay at Choice Hotels International in Europe will earn 10 bonus points per $1 spent, in addition to the base 10 points (a total of 20 points per $1 spent).

The offer is good through Nov. 30 and includes Comfort, Quality and Clarion brand hotels. Travelers can register at choicehotels.com/axp. (Source: Choice press release).

Car and Rail

Dollar, Thrifty Offer Cardholders Special Rates in Florida
Dollar Rent A Car and Thrifty Car Rental, are including Pass24 Prepaid Toll Service with select car rental rates at participating Florida locations when customers use any Ax Card with Promo Code AX13.

This offer is valid at participating location in Florida through Dec. 15. Ordinarily, Pass24 pre-paid toll service costs $5.95 per day or $27.95 per week in Florida.

Enterprise Makes Car Sharing
Program Available Nationwide

WeCar, Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s business-to-business sharing program, is now available nationwide.

It provides hourly car rentals for corporate campuses, government installations, and colleges and universities. After enrolling in the program, members can reserve a vehicle online for all transportation needs, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The cars are strategically placed in designated, easy-to-find parking spaces. (Source: Enterprise press release).

You and your PDA

Eighty-seven percent of workplace professionals take their PDAs to bed, according to a work-life study commissioned by Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, but believe it enables them to spend more time away from the office and with family and friends. lounge. lounge. (Source: Sheraton press release)

  1. 85 percent say technology makes them feel compelled to be connected to work 24/7
  2. 84% check their PDA-s just before going to bed and as soon as they wake up.
  3. 85% say that PDAs and cell phones let them spend more time out of the office
  4. 84% say it gives them more quality time and flexibility with family and friends

Sheraton commissioned the study as part of its launch of its “Link-Sheraton experienced with Microsoft,” lobby lounge that helps travelers stay connected on the road. (Source: Sheraton press release).

Airlines Business Travel for Oct 2008

United, Continental and Frontier Add or Up Baggage Fees
Airlines continue to try to deal with high oil prices by upping or adding baggage fees. United Airlines has doubled the fee for the first checked bag to $50 from $25 one way, unless you’re flying in United First or United Business, have Premier status with United or Star Alliance, or are active duty military personnel traveling on orders.

United estimates that the $50 service fee will apply to one out of seven customers. Customers may pay these service fees at an airport.

Easy Check-In kiosk or with a skycap. Ultimately, United aims to give customers the option of paying these baggage fees online. Continental now charges you $15 for the first checked bag unless you’re traveling First, BusinessFirst or full fare economy. OnePass Elite and SkyTeam Elite First and military personnel are exempt.

Frontier Airlines will begin charging $15 for your first checked bag and $25 for the second, starting Nov. 1. The Department of Transportation estimates that the aviation industry collected $182.6 million in excess baggage fees in the second quarter of 2008, up from $122.3 million in the first quarter and $113.0 million in the second quarter of 2007. (Source: airline, DOT press releases).

Air Canada to Offer Inflight Internet Starting Next Spring
Air Canada will offer inflight internet beginning next spring aboard Airbus A319 aircraft on select flights to the U.S. West Coast and will be accessible by customers with a standard, wi-fi equipped laptop or Personal Electronic Device (PED).

Initially, the Gogo system will be powered by its partner Aircell’s existing network and only available in the U.S. to make Air Canada’s rollout fast, economical and simple. (Source: Air Canada press release).

Delta Introduces Two-Class Shuttle Service
Delta Air Lies will offer two-class Shuttle service with 12 seats in First Class and 128 in Economy, keeping its open-seating policy for each class. Sky Miles Medallion members qualify for upgrades. During November, there may be a mix of one- and two-class Shuttle aircraft as Delta reconfigures its nine MD 88 Shuttle aircraft (Source: Delta news release).

If You Can Afford It,
There’s More Room in the Front of the Plane on International flights. The numbers of international premium class travelers actually dropped in July, according to the International Air Traffic Association.

Some of these travelers have probably moved to the back of the plane, but the sharp decline in premium travel also reflects a fall in business travel due to the increasing weakness of major economies. Most of the drops were in markets connected with Asia, but cross-border European numbers also shrank.

South America and markets connected to the Middle East and Africa did the best. Economy class continued to grow, but even that pace slowed sharply to just 0.9 percent in July, following a 3.4 percent growth in June and 4.6 percent for the first half of the year.

IATA’s August figures shows that international air travel growth overall is continuing to decline. After growing by 5.4 percent in the first half of the year, it slowed to 1.9 percent and July and 1.3 percent in August. (Source: IATA press releases)

Southwest Cabins Go Cashfree
Southwest Airlines has equipped its aircraft with handheld credit card devices and no longer accepts cash. The carrier accepts all major credit and debit cards for payment as well as Southwest Airlines Drink Coupons.

Customers paying with their Rapid Rewards credit card from Chase receive double reward dollars by using their card onboard. (Source: Southwest press release).

Clear FastPass Launches in Atlanta, Boston
Clear, which provides fast access through airport security, has launched at Boston Logan’s Terminal A and at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

The Clear card is now accepted at 20 airports and the Clear lanes have been used more than 1.5 million times at participating airports, including San Francisco, Denver, New York’s JFK and LaGuardia, Washington, DC’s Reagan and Dulles, and Orlando International Airport. (Source: Clear press release).

Hotel Car & Record Airfare Updates for Sept 2008

Hotels

Sheraton Opens at JFK
The Sheraton JFK Hotel, a new build, has opened at New York´s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The 150-room hotel is a full-service hotel with meeting facilities, complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport, a restaurant, indoor pool, business center, fitness center and Club floor. (Source: Starwood Hotels Resorts press release).

Marriott Raleigh City Center Opens The 400-room Raleigh Marriott City Center has opened next to the new 500,000-square-foot Raleigh Convention Center. The 16-story hotel is attached to the convention center and has more than 15,000 square feet of meeting space, a business center, swimming pool and fitness center. It has two Italian restaurants and a 1,400 square foot Starbucks. (Source: Marriott press release).
Cars
Avis and Budget Offer Flicks to Go
Avis Rent A Car and Budget Rent A Car are introducing Flicks-To-Go, portable DVD players that attach
to the back of a car’s headrest. They include a choice of speakers for multiple viewers or two high-quality headphones which customers can keep. (Source: Avis press release).
Record Airfares
If it feels as though you’re paying more for airfare, there´s a reason. The latest Business Travel Monitor reports that domestic and international airfares hit record levels in the second quarter of 2008. The good new is that companies can save money by emphasizing travel policy compliance.

Among the study’s findings:

  • The average one-way domestic fare was $260, up $24 from the same period last year, a 10 percent increase, and up $27 from the first quarter, a 12 percent increase.
  • The average one-way international fare hit its highest level since the inception of the Business Travel Monitor in 1999. These fares increased 11 percent over the same period last year, averaging $1,080.
  • The percentage of international business class tickets dropped to their lowest level since 2004. Increases in the percentage of tickets purchased for the back of the plane indicate that travelers are trading down.

(Source: press release).

June Footnotes for Airlines

Airlines Up Fares Again for 16th Time This Year
Airlines continued to increase fares and search for new revenue streams to help them cope with soaring fuel prices.

United Airlines initiated what was the 16th fare hike to stick since the beginning of the year, with fare increases that ranged from $10 to $60, depending on the route. Other legacy carriers—Continental Airlines, US Airways and Northwest matched.

American Airlines upped some fares and other carriers tacked on increases as well.

Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare.com, an airline comparison website, said that airlines have no choice but to pass on the cost of fuel to consumers and when passengers do begin to push back in significant numbers the airlines have no choice but slash capacity by that same amount. (Source: FareCompare.com.)

American Cuts Flights, Staff, Charges for First Checked Bag, Ups Other
Fees

American Airlines said it would charge its passengers $15 for their first checked bag as well as cut domestic flights by 11 to 12 percent as part of its efforts to cope with fuel costs.

At press time, no other carrier had followed American’s lead in charging for the first checked bag; Southwest Airlines, in fact, pointedly stated that it continues to let its customers check two bags—for free.

American, meanwhile, upped other fees, including those for oversized bags (from $100 to $15); ticket change fees from $100 to $150 for domestic tickets and from $100 to $200 to $150 to $250 for international tickets. It also upped its reservation service fee and AAdvantage Award ticket fees up by $5 each to $20. US Airways took another tactic—it said it would eliminate free snacks, although it will continue to serve free soft drinks.

And Midwest Airlines said it would begin charging $20 to check a second bag.
(Source: American, Southwest, Midwest Airlines press releases).

Major Carriers Continue to Experiment With All-Business Class Flights
The number of air travelers flying first or business class is dropping at increasingly faster rates, according to the International Air Transport Association, an industry group.
And three transatlantic carriers that offered premium seating—MAXJet, Eos and Silverjet—have ceased flying. But major carriers continue to experiment with the oncept. Singapore Airlines has introduced all-business class flights between New York and Singapore.

In October, Lufthansa will introduce all-business class service between Boston and Munich. That’s in addition to the all-business class service it operates between Chicago and Düsseldorf, Newark and Düsseldorf and Frankfurt and Düsseldorf.

Meanwhile, on June 19, OpenSkies, a British Airways-backed carrier that has three classes of service but has allocated nearly two-thirds of the plane to premium seats, will begin to fly between New York and Paris. And L’Avion, the all-business class French carrier, is now code sharing with OpenSkies to offer three flights daily between Paris and JFK (Sources: IATA, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, OpenSkies and L’Avion press releases.)

Network Carriers Add International Flights, Low Cost Carriers Add
Domestic

Some U.S. carriers are adding flights, many focusing on international routes. Northwest Airlines has begun flying between Memphis and Columbia, Mo., and began serving Taipei via Tokyo. Delta Air Lines began flying from New York to Georgetown, Guyana and will start flight from Atlanta to Kuwait in November.

On the domestic front, JetBlue has begun daily service from Boston’s Logan International Airport to Chicago O’Hare and New Orleans. Southwest Airlines is adding flights from Denver to San Francisco and from Denver to Omaha in September.
(Source: Northwest, Delta, JetBlue and Southwest press releases).

New Virgin Atlantic Boston Clubhouse
At last, it’s here – the new Boston Clubhouse has opened its doors and is now accepting Upper Class flyers and Flying Club Gold members for some preflight rest, relaxation and pampering. Boston Clubhouse features a deli counter and bar, dedicated business area with PCs, free WiFi connection, charging facility for mobiles and blackberries, dining, lounge seating, free newspapers and magazines.