Slow Hotel Recovery Keeps Rates Flat in U.S.
The U.S. hotel industry ended 2010 with occupancy increasing, but with average daily rates staying flat, the latter being good news for budget-conscious business travelers.
While the number of people booking hotel rooms matched or sometimes even exceeded pre-recession levels, rates stayed flat because people were booking later and group business has yet to return. However, that probably will change in the second half of 2011, according to STR, a major hotel research company. (Source: STR press release).
Car Rental and Rail
Amtrak Offers Free Wi-Fi on Cascades Trains
Passengers on Amtrak Cascades routes traveling between Vancouver, B.C., and Eugene, Ore., can now use Amtrak Connect Wi-Fi Service. More than 838,000 travelers rode Amtrak Cascades in 2010.
Wi-Fi service on Amtrak Cascades trains is during the introductory period, after which the policy will be reviewed based on customer demand and system performance. Amtrak also offers free Wi-Fi on all Acela trains and is considering adding it on other routes. (Source: Amtrak press release).
Enterprise, Hertz Add Volts to Fleets
Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Hertz have added Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicles to their fleets. Hertz rented its first Volt in Manhattan; Enterprise rented its first Volt in southern California. Enterprise has been installing charger stations at select locations in Southern California. (Source: Enterprise, Hertz press releases).
Business travel spending, a key indicator for the overall health of the U.S. economy, is expected to grow this year, according to the latest Business Travel Quarterly Outlook - U.S., according to the National Business Travel Association Foundation.
- Overall business travel spending should increase by 5% in 2011
- It grew an estimated 2.3% in 2010, after plummeting 14.1% in 2009
- International travel should surge by 16.9%, driven by exports
- Group business spending, which is recovering slowly, should increase 3.2 percent
- Total trips for 2011 are projected to be 109.9 million, 8.6 percent higher than in 2010.