Hotel rewards and Car Rentals news

Riu Resort Cancun Mexico
Hotel Occupancy Rates Drop, Putting Pressure on Room rates
There’s more room at the inn for U.S. travelers, with the U.S. hotel industry finishing 2009 with an occupancy rate that was 4.2 percent lower than at the end of 2007, according to hotel consulting company STR.

The industry saw a decent start to the year, but became extremely negative during the past four months. Although occupancies fell, average daily room rtes actually increased by 2.4 percent. STR says the hotel industry will stay at this level for the next few months, but will see some improvements in the second half of the year.

Only two cities saw occupancy go up—New Orleans 8.6% and Houston 2.6%. Rates actually went up in many major cities, including Houston 9.4%, Denver (6.3 percent), San Francisco (5.4 percent). Ultimately, however, declining occupancies are going to put considerable pressure on hotels to lower their room rates, according to Lodging Econometrics, which covers hotels.
(Source: STR Global press, Lodging Econometrics press release)

Starwood, Hilton Add Bonuses to Loyalty Programs
Starwood is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its Starwood Preferred Guest
program and Hilton is kicking off the 22nd year of Hilton’s HHonors loyalty program. Both are offering bonuses until spring. Starwood is offering members 10,000 bonus Starpoints for every 10 nights stayed now through April 30. Hilton HHonors, whose members can earn points and miles for the same say is offering double base points at the more than 2,400 participating Hilton family hotels through April 6. Register for the program at
(Source: Hilton, Starwood press releases).

Car Rental Avis Budget Introduces Satellite TV in cars You can keep backseat drivers occupied with ATT CruiseCast, a new satellite television service that brings news, family, sports, comedy and music channels to the back seat of your car. Starting later this year, the service will cost $8.95 per day or $62.65 per week. It stores p to there minutes of content so obstructions such as overpasses or tall buildings will not interrupt a program. Channels include MSNBC, CNN Mobile Live, the Disney Channel, Comedy Central and many others.
(Source: Avis Budget press release)

Expense Management in Tough Times

A recent travel study of Fortune 500 companies and their expense management practices found one of the most effective strategies—and the least expensive to implement—was holding employees accountable for their corporate spending. There were three simple ways,

  1. Communicate: make sure employees know what a company’s spending policies are.
  2. Educate: tell employees the financial implications, for both employees and the company, for disregarding those policies.
  3. Enforce: offer carrots and sticks to encourage employees to adhere to policy.

Source: press release