Hotels & Car Rental News

Hotel and car rental press releases for
business travelers from American Express.

Here is the latest Hotel and car rental news on new room charges, wifi internet services and other fees. These include the latest news releases on hotel rates and new taxes that are being applied to the travel industry.

Business travel increases, Amtrak asks for Money

Corporations Kick Off 2013 By Booking More Travel

Corporations started off the new year by booking more travel, according to Pegasus Solutions, a major processor of electronic hotel transactions.

January booking gains surged nearly 8% for the global hotel market, according to Pegasus. Rates increased 2.1% over the year before. In North America, corporate bookings increased 5.4% over 2012 and rates grew 2.3%.

Cayman Marriott

Business travel showed its biggest improvements outside North America; reservations for all other regions combined passed 2012 by 11.2%, according to Pegasus. (Source: Pegasus press release).

Hotels Should See Strong Revenues and Profits This Year

Despite fears about sequestration, the U.S. hotel industry should continue to see strong gains in both revenue and profits, according to the monthly edition of Hotel Horizons, produced by PKF Hospitality Research.

It projects a 6.1% increase in revenue per available room and a 10.2% boost on bottom-line net operating income. Although uncertainty about sequestration has tempered economic growth, it has not shut down lodging demand, according to R. Mark Woodworth, president of PKF-HR. It expects occupancy rates to increase by 1% and average daily rates to rise by 5%. (Source: PKF-HR press release).

Car and Rail

Amtrak Seeks More Federal Money for Investment, 17% Less for Operating Support

Amtrak is asking for more federal capital investment to improve and expand inter city passenger rail for fiscal year 2014, but is asking for 17% less in federal operating support.

Last year it covered 88% of its operating costs with ticket sales and other non-federal sources of income, up from 85% the preceding year. It is asking for more federal capital investment just over $2 billion to improve and expand inter city passenger rail. (Source: Amtrak press release).

Spotlight On…
Business Travel Sentiment

The Global Business Travel Association’s 2013 Industry Pulse for U.S. business travel buyers finds buyers are optimistic about travel in 2013 but bracing themselves for higher costs.

  • They expect prices to increase from 4.6% for domestic economy airfare to $492 per trip to 8.3% for international economy fares to $1,318 per trip.
  • They expect hotel rates to rise 3.7 % or $161 for domestic hotels and 8% or $297 for international hotels per night.
  • Most travel managers expect higher rates (65%) and airline fees (60%) will drive higher spending.
  • Two in five (42%) expect more trips to drive increased spending and 33% expect to spend more because they’re putting more travelers on the road.

Source: GBTA press release

Hotel Revenue growing and Amtrak looking at 220 mph

Hotel lobby at Palace resort in Mexico

Hotel Revenue and Occupancy Keep Growing

Hotel consulting group TravelClick says that North American hotels should continue to see occupancy and rates grow, although rates are going up faster than occupancy levels. Occupancies are up 2% over a year ago, while average daily rate (ADR) is up nearly 5%.

Group travel is driving occupancy increases; it is up 2%. Leisure demand is up 3.9%, while business demand is down 2.5%

Separately, Pegasus Solutions, the biggest processor of hotel electronic transactions, said that leisure travel continued to outpace 2011 in the fourth quarter of 2012. And corporate bookings rose to match those of December 2011, something that happened in only three other months in 2012, according to Pegasus.

It projects continued growth in both leisure and business bookings.
(Source: Travel Click, Pegasus press releases)

Amtrak Looking 220 mph Trains in Northeast, California

Amtrak and the California High-Speed Rail Authority are looking for proven High Speed Rail trains that are in service now that could travel at speeds of up to 220 mph. It would operate these trains in the Northeast Corridor and in California’s developing High Speed Rail corridor.

California has set a goal of three-hour train trips between Los Angeles and San Francisco by 2029. The system would eventually extend to Sacramento and San Diego, covering 800 miles.

Amtrak wants to add to its high-speed Acela service on the Northeast Corridor, which has seen record-setting ridership over the last decade.
(Source: Amtrak press release)

Spotlight On…
Rosier Business Travel Outlook

Business travel spending slowed at the end of 2012, mostly because companies postponed investment decisions while they awaited the outcome of the presidential elections and resolution of the fiscal cliff crisis, according to the Global Business Travel Association’s BTI Index, a business travel index.

But the forecast for this year is more positive, with one caveat: that economic and political uncertainty continue to ease.

  • U.S. business travel spending is expected to increase 4.6% to $266.7 billion in 2013
  • Trip volume will decrease slightly by 1.1% to 431.8 million person trips
  • International outbound travel spending will increase 5.9%
  • Group travel spending will increase 5.2%
  • Price inflation will be modest, meaning companies will spend more real dollars on business trips.

In 2012, the GBTA estimated that U.S. business travel spending grew 1.6% to $254.9 billion, while trips decreased 1.9% to 436.5 million person trips.
(Source: Global Business Travel Association BTI Outlook)

Business travel News: Hotel Outlook Avis, Amtrak Survey

Business travel for hotels car Avis Amtrak survey.

First Quarter Outlook for Hotels is Bullish

The hotel industry should see a strong first quarter, according to the Hotel Industry Leading Indicators. Seven of the forward looking indicators of business activity that comprise the HIL were positive in November. They included hotel worker hours, hotel profitability, foreign demand, yield curve, oil prices, housing activity and vacation travel.

Two indicators were negative or zero: the jobs market and new orders. "Although we are still in an unhealthy jobs market, US consumers, lower energy costs and a reviving housing sector are working together to build strength back to the demand for hotels," said Ms. Simos Sogard, CEO of, an economic research and consulting firm which produces the HIL. (Source: e-forecasting press release).

Avis Gets Into the Car-Sharing Market

Avis will buy Zipcar, the top car-sharing business. It has more than 760,000 members and operates in 20 cities and in more than 300 college campuses in North America and the U.K. Other car rental companies are already in the car-sharing business: Hertz with its OnDemand division and Enterprise´s CarShare unit. (Source: industry press releases).

Amtrak Introduces New Tier to Loyalty Program

Amtrak has introduced a new tier, Select Executive, to Amtrak Guest Rewards, its loyalty program. It is for members who earn 20,000 or more tier qualifying points in a calendar year. It´s designed to give higher recognition to Amtrak´s most frequent travelers with bonus points, special offers and special perks and services. (Source: Amtrak press release).

Spotlight On…
CFOs Business Travel Outlook

A Survey of 200 US CFOS and senior finance executives finds them optimistic about their own prospects but concerned about sluggish economic growth in the U.S. and in key regions around the world, including the U.K. and Europe. Three in five senior finance executives are prioritizing investments in growth and that includes business travel.

  • 61% anticipate spending the same or more on business travel
  • The most important reason for travel is to build new business, 37% and to retain current business 35%.
  • At the same time, most senior finance executives 64% do not expect corporate travel policies to loosen this year as companies continue to maintain a disciplined approach to controlling spending.

Source: press release

Business travel news, hotel rates, bookings and spending

Business travel news, mixing business with pleasure.

Mixing Business With Pleasure

Individual business and leisure travelers are making hotel bookings farther in advance, showing not only that they&re planning farther ahead but that they have a higher price tolerance, according to the September TravelClick Hospitality Review, the latest available.

TravelClick found that from July 2012 through August 2013, both group occupancies, which are for events, and transient bookings for both business and leisure travelers were up 3.5% and 4.4% respectively. Business demand is up 4.1% and leisure demand is up 4.3%.

During the third quarter, from July through September, the hotel industry saw a 1.2% increase in occupancy and a 3.8% increase in average daily rates. For the fourth quarter, committed occupant's were up 7.2%, with group-committed occupancy up 5.3% and transient demand increasing 11.7%. ADR continues to strengthen as well, up 4.5% (Source: TravelClick press release).

Hotels in the Americas See Rates, Occupancies Rise, Bucking Global Trends

Hotels in the Americas saw both average hotel rates and occupancies rise year over year in September, the latest numbers from STR Global, a hospitality consulting company. It found that hotel performance throughout the world was mixed.

Average daily rates in the Americas were up 3.6% year over year; occupancies increased by .4% to 63.4%. In the U.S., the average daily rate increased 3 to 4%. San Francisco registered the biggest average daily rate increases with a 14.3% increase.

Occupancies in Europe dipped .4% to 76.6%. The Asia-Pacific region saw rates up 3.7% and occupancies down 1.1% to 67.5%. In the Middle East and Africa, ADR decreased by 1.7% but occupancies increased by 5.4% to 60.7%. (Source: STR Global).

Spotlight On…
Business Travel Growth

Economic turmoil in Europe, slower growth in China and U.S. unemployment are expected to curb business travel growth in the U.S. throughout the rest of the year, according to the latest GBTA BTI Outlook-United States. The outlook said that business was taking a cautious approach to investing in travel, waiting for greater economic certainty.

  • The GBTA is forecasting the total U.S. business travel spending will grow 2.6% this year to a total of $257 billion by the end of the year, with rising business travel costs driving most of that increase.
  • Total business trip volume is expected to reach 438.1 million in 2012, down 1.6% fro 2011.
  • The GBTA forecasts that business travel spending will grow 4.9% to $270 billion in 2013, slightly more than it forecast in the last quarter.
  • It expects total trip volume to fall by 1.1% in 2013.

Business travel spending is often a leading economic indicator—but the job composition in this recovery is in retail, restaurant and manufacturing, fields that typically generate less travel than other industries—so business travel is getting less of a bounce than it usually would in a recovery. (Source: GBTA).

Hotel booking demands, Internet charges and Business travel growth

Maritim Park Hotel in Mannheim

More Hotels Charge for Internet Access
More hotels are charging guests for Internet access and to use the gym, but more are offering free breakfasts, according to a survey conducted by the American Hotel & Lodging Association with hospitality research company STR. 23% of properties now charge for in room Internet service, up 8% from 2008.

Luxury and upper upscale are more likely to charge for Internet service. 25% of hotels now charge to use the gym, up from 21% in 2010.

However, 79% of hotels now offer free breakfast. Most mid-tier and midscale hotels offer free breakfast, as do about half of upscale U.S. hotels. (Source: AHLA press release).

US Hotels See Strong Demand for Fall
Hotels in the Americas are doing better than those in other parts of the world, according to STR Global. In the U.S. the average daily rate increased by 3.8% in July with more hotel rooms being sold than in any other month since STR began tracking this data in 1987.

Hotel occupancy in the Americas in general rose to 70%, with rates increasing 3.3%. That made the Americas the only part of the world to show growth for both rates and occupancies. The fall months are strong for meetings and convention business and that is going to stimulate demand, according to Brad Garner, STR´s COO. He predicted a shift towards a seller´s market in 2013.

Separately, PKF Hospitality Research forecast that on an average night this year, nearly 3 million of the nation´s 4.8 million hotel rooms will be occupied, a figure six percent higher than in 2007, the last peak year before the recession hit. (Source: STR, PKF press releases.)

Spotlight On…
      The Fed´s Take on Business Travel

The Federal Reserve Beige Book, published eight times a year and covering current economic conditions throughout the country, finds that business travel growth in some parts of the country is slowing. It’s based on reports from the Fed itself and interviews with key players in each district.

In Boston, the Fed’s tourism contacts said that business travel has fueled travel´s rebound. They expect 2012 will be strong, but will weaken in the second half of the year. Europe´s economic problems could have a negative impact.

  • The Atlanta and Florida districts have seen European business decline, but increases from Central and South America have helped off set those declines.
  • Hotels reported occupancy and rate increases throughout the nation, although that was slowing in some regions. Outside of
  • Washington, D.C., for example, some hotels said that federal budget cuts were having a chilling effect on business.

Travel News: Hotels turning eco Green

Hotel Turning eco Green

Hotels Standardize Green Rating System
Wondering what the carbon footprint is of your hotel stay? Until now, the hospitality industry hasn´t had a consistent way of measuring a hotel or resort´s carbon footprint. A resort in Hawaii or the Colorado mountains may well have a bigger carbon footprint than a New York or Los Angeles hotel, because providing energy to those locations may require burning more fossil fuel. But you can´t generalize by location, since energy use can vary hotel by hotel.

Now, there´s a new methodology for calculating the carbon footprint for hotel stays and meetings in a consistent and transparent way. The new methodology was formulated through the collaboration of the International Tourism Partnership, the World Travel & Tourism Council and 23 major hotel companies.

The group, the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative Working Group, was formed in 2011 to address inconsistencies in measuring a property’s carbon footprint. It launched the new methodology, which has been tested at a variety of hotel types in many different locations, earlier this summer. (Source: HCMI press release)

Analyst Company is Bullish on Hotel Outlook for Later in the Year
PKF Hospitality Research expects the hotel industry to stay strong, forecasting the revenue per available room (Rev PAR) will gain 4.9% in the second half of the year. It’s a little less than the 6.9% growth the industry saw during the first six months of the year.

Demand for lodging has grown since 2010 and there have been limited increases in hotel supply. The fact that it is a presidential election years does have a chilling effect. Nonetheless, PKF expects hotels in 29 of the 50 major markets to hit occupancy levels above their long-term averages. (Source: press release)

Spotlight On…

    Traveling Green

Sustainable travel is becoming increasingly important when it comes to managing travel, according to new research by the Global Business Travel Association Foundation. It surveyed travel buyers in the United States, Europe and Australia for their opinion on sustainable or green efforts.

Companies see focusing on sustainability as a way to save money and influence traveler behavior. It found major regional differences:

  • 56% of European and Australian managers and buyers already participate in one travel-related sustainability initiative compared to 41% of American companies.
  • 59% of European and Australian managers expect to use environmental sourcing criteria compared to 34% of American managers.
  • More than a third of European travel buyers expect to change suppliers in the next two years to comply with sustainable travel policies.

Source: GBTA press release

Travel News: Hotels and Travel Management program survey

Business travel

What You Want From Your Hotel
You´re back on the road and checking into hotels—but they have to deliver the experience that you want, according to consulting company PwC U.S. and its Experience Radar 2012.

What´s most important to you: fixing things when they go wrong and room amenities. Style, decor, flexible cancellation policies and rewards for frequent stays are important, too, but resolving issues that arise is paramount, whether you’re a business traveler or a leisure traveler. And, expect hoteliers to pay attention to these findings the study also shows that 95% of guests talk about their hotel experiences, both good and bad. Hotels know you can be their brand ambassador.

If You’re Traveling More, You´re Not Alone
Americans intend to travel more this summer than last summer—and not just on vacation. The latest D.K. Shifflet & Associates quarterly travel intentions survey finds that fewer than 20% plan to travel less or spend less than they did last year.

Among those planning summer trips, both business and leisure travelers say they will travel more days and spend more money this year than they did last year. This bodes well for travel in general but particularly leisure travel, which has been growing steadily but still lags behind leisure travel, according to Cheryl Schutz, vice president of the company.

Spotlight On…
Management Travel Programs vs. UN-managed

Business Travelers in management travel programs are less successful on the road than those who are not managed at all or lightly managed, according to the new The Global Business Traveler Study 2012 released by the Global Business Travel Association.

The study found that travelers in management programs work hard to stay in budget and be compliant. But they do so at the price of their personal life and comfort and can be exhausted from the travel and in-transit hassles.

The study says more needs to be done to help these travelers plan and have travel choices that don´t overburden them. Among the study´s findings:

  • 21% of U.S. business travelers are in management programs; a third are un-managed, with no guidelines; and 47% have guidelines but are only encouraged to use preferred providers or follow policy.
  • U.S. road warriors work hard and more needs to be done to help them plan and reduce stress while they’re in transit.
  • More needs to be done to make sure travelers have choices that don’t overburden them.
  • Travelers need to be able to change their itineraries while traveling to avoid hassles.

Companies need to provide the technology, support and education to make business travelers more comfortable and productive so they can stay focused on business-critical goals says Rajeev Singh, president and COO of Concur, which sponsored the study.

Hotel rates Hospitality Amtrak carbon footprint


Marriott Resorts On Grand Cayman Island

PKF Hospitality Predicts Hotel Rates Will Rise
PKF Hospitality Research predicts that hotel room rates for U.S. hotels will increase 4.6% this year, a healthy development for the industry because it will push room revenue up 5.8%.

A 1.6% increase in occupancy is also helping. Improved profitability means a better guest experience because hotels can afford to invest in their properties. Ever since the first quarter of 2010, growth in hotel demand has exceeded the increase in supply, according to R. Mark Woodworth, president of PKF HR.

According to Smith Travel Research, U.S. hotels last year rented out more guest rooms than ever before. And on a local level, PKF said that 30 out of 50 markets PKF covers in its Hotel Horizons industry reports set new records in metro-level lodging demand. (PKF press release).

Rail and Car Rental

Amtrak Measures Carbon Footprint
Amtrak has achieved Climate Registered status by measuring its carbon footprint. This is a major first step in Amtrak´s efforts to reduce its energy consumption and spending and carbon emissions. It is working with the Climate Registry, a non-profit that sets standards for government and business.

Amtrak’s goal is to attract more auto and airline passengers, improve its own efficiency and reduce fossil fuel consumption. (Amtrak press release).

Enterprise Revamps Enterprise Plus Loyalty Program
Enterprise Rent A Car, which has more locations than any other car rental company, has revamped its Enterprise Plus loyalty program. Members can redeem their points at any North American locations. As long as you rent at least once every two years, points do not expire.

Frequent renters qualify for Silver, Gold or Platinum status. Each level comes with its own set of benefits, such as bonus points and upgrades. (Enterprise press release).

Spotlight On…
Airline Quality

Flying is becoming a more pleasant experience, according to the latest Air Quality Rating survey, a joint research project by Wichita State University and Purdue University. The 22nd annual national survey found that flyers are paying more, but having a better experience.

Data from the last 12 years show that whenever there are more planes in the sky and ore passengers, airline performance suffers. Today, airlines have increasing demand, limited capacity and are managing themselves more carefully. The results of the survey:

  • Bumping decreased by 30 percent in 2011
  • AirTran, Hawaiian and JetBlue were the three best-performing carriers for the second year in a row.
  • It´s not perfect; a third of customer complains continue to be for things like schedule changes, delays and cancellations.

Source: AQR press release.

PKF is Bullish On Hotels, news report on High Speed Rail

Bar at the Maritim Park Hotel, Mannheim Germany

Bar at the Maritim Park Hotel

PKF is Bullish On Hotels Despite Economic Gloom
Hotel demand growth over the past two years has been surprisingly strong, according to PKF Hospitality Reseach, which is forecasting that room revenue for hotels will grow 7.2 percent this year, more optimisitc than forecasts earlier in the year.

The reason for this optimism, PKF says, is that 91 percent of the people in the workforce have jobs, the unemployment rate among educated workers, who make up the largest majority of the travelling public, is under 5 percent and corporate profits are soaring to new highs. All these factors are why the hotel inudstry has seen a growth in demand despite the weak economy.

Demand is growing faster than the supply of hotel rooms is growing. PKF says this means hoteliers can start to raise rates—average daily rates thus far have lagged other major indicators for hotels. (Source: PKF press release).


New Try to Expand High-Speed Rail
A new report says that high-speed rail can work in the U.S. but that it will take a fresh appraoch that focuses on public-private partnerships that supplement state and federal funding with private funding. It woud mean prioritizing high-speed rail in areas such as California, where work on a high-speed line is moving forward, and the northeast, where the Acela already competes well with airlines.

The recommendations are in a report by the Lincoln Institute, which has worked on high-speed rail internationally for decades. It points to the example set by Asian and European countries whose trains go 185 mph or faster.

It recommends putting high speed stations in city centers with lots of connections to buses, subways and commuter rail. (Source: Lincoln Institute press release).

Global corporate travel booking grew by more than 10.2% in August 2011 over August 2010, accroding to Pegasus Solutions, a global hotel reservation processing company. August improved over July, when the pace of growth flagged in the face of mounting financial market tensions.

Pegasus noted other trends showing that companies are trying shave travel costs but not eliminate travel.

  • Length of stay is growing very slowly, increasing from 2.2 nights in August 2010 to 2.21 nights in August 2011.
  • Booking lead times are increasing gradually, from 17.44 days out in 2010 to 17.79 in 2011.
  • South America showed the greatest revenue growth—30.3% year over year.
  • North American and Europe reported 13.6% and 15.2% revenue growth, as those markets grappled with the impact of Hurricane Irene and concerns about the debt crisis in Greece and other European countries.

Source: The Pegasus View report

Business Travel Hotel Rates & Occupancies Are Up

Hotel Revenue, Rates and Occupancies Are Up
The hotel industry´s recovery is continuing, according to Smith Travel Research, which studies the hotel industry. Occupancies increased .5% to 63.4%, average daily rates rose 3.5% to $101.44 and room revenue was up 8.1% to $64.28.

The growth in average daily rate remains sluggish. Among the top 25 markets, Detroit and Houston reported the largest occupancy increases for the quarter, 10.1 percent each. New York City reported the largest occupancy decrease, falling 1.1% to 85%, followed by Washington, D.C., with a 0.9-% decrease to 76.4%.

Two markets reported double-digit daily rates increases, San Francisco San Mateo, Calif. 13.6% and Oahu 11.3%. (Source: STR press release).

Occupancy Gains Continue to Outpace Room Rates Increases
PKF Hospitality Research is forecasting that demand for U.S. hotel rooms in 2011 will increase a solid 4.9%, while the average daily room rate paid by guests will rise a modest 2.4%.

The 4.9% rise in occupied rooms forecast for 2011 compares to the 7.6% increase in lodging demand for 2010 reported by Smith Travel Research (STR). Both growth rates are well above the STR long-term average annual demand growth rate of 1.5 percent. The increase in demand is surprising, given stagnant employment and continued weakness in housing markets, according to PKF-HR. (Source: PKF-HR press release).

Business Travel …
Smart and Liking it

Business travelers today are increasingly using technology to travel smarter and to adapt to life on the road, according to a new study by the Global Business Travel Foundation and Concur, which provides travel and expense management tools. Among some of the study´s major findings:

  • Most say there´s no substitute for being there in person 78% and an equal number enjoy traveling for work
  • Nearly half 46%, say staying in touch with family and friends and staying safe while traveling are the most important goals of their trip
  • At least two-thirds travel with laptops, wireless broadband, portable GPS and smartphones
  • Nearly half, 46% have to work with tight budgets
  • The average trip lasts four days and costs $1,837
  • Business travelers tend to be college educated 71%, 38 years old on average, and male 59%

The study identified five types of business travelers: the Veteran 33%, the Road Weary (25%), Wide-eyed and anxious 21%, Passionate High-Tech 14% and New Recruits 7%. (Source: GBTA press release)