Avis Business Travel News

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 e-forecasting.com, 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

November Business Travel News Updates

Williamsburg Travel Management

Business Travel News Updates


Secure Flight information is now official: Make sure your airline has your full name as it is on your government ID, as well as your address, date of birth, gender and, if applicable, your redress number.

  • More information on the TSA Secure Flight Program
  • To update your profile…please visit Secure Flight Updates.

 International passenger traffic was up 10% year over year in September, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Domestic airfares are up to an average of $341, a 3.8% increase for the second quarter, the fourth quarter in a row that they’ve increased, according to the Department of Transportation.


Hotel & Car Rental

The Hotel Industry Pulse Index, a sort of GDP indicator for the hotel industry, dropped in September by 2.2 % after inching up 1.6% in August, bringing the the index to a reading of 87.9.

Avis: Avis Rent A Car customers with an Avis Wizard number who rent twice from Avis by Jan 31, will receive a rental certificate for one free day of time-and-mileage charges on an Avis rental.

The Global Business Travel Forecasts predicts that the improving economy will drive hotel rates and airfares up in 2011....




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Williamsburg Travel Management
1830 Water Place Suite 100
Atlanta, Ga 30339
770 261-8605 / 800 541-9075

Hotel business travel forecast

Riu Resort Cancun Mexico

U.S. Hotel Recovery Appears to Falter
The Hotel Industry Pulse Index, a sort of GDP indicator for the hotel industry, dropped in September by 2.2 % after inching up 1.6% in August, bringing the the index to a reading of 87.9.

The index was set to equal 100 in 2000.  This points to the uncertainty of the sustainability of the recovery of the U.S. hotel industry, according to Evangelos Simos, chief economist of e-forecasting.com, which produces the report with STR, a major hospitality consulting and forecasting company. (Source: STR).

Work and Personal Life Blend on the Road
Work and personal life meld both at home and on the road, according to a study by Homewood Suites. While 83 percent of extended-stay travelers interviewed for the study, 67 percent have either frequently or “sometimes combined a leisure vacation with a work trip in the past year. Half have done it three times or more. (Source: Homewood Suites).

Car Rental and Rail

Rent Twice From Avis, Get A Free Getaway
Until Jan. 31, Avis Rent A Car customers with an Avis Wizard number who rent twice from Avis Rent A Car will get a rental reward day through the new Avis Free to Get Away promotion.

Customers who complete two qualifying rentals of at least two days by Jan. 31 will receive rental certificate for one free day of time-and-mileage charges on an Avis rental. Issued electronically, Free to Get Away reward certificates can be used toward a weekday, weekend, weekly or monthly rental of a subcompact vehicle through a full-size, four-door car. You can get up to three reward certificates. (Source: Avis).

2011 Business Travel Cost Increases

The Global Business Travel Forecasts predicts that the improving economy will drive hotel rates and airfares up in 2011, while car rental costs will stay flat in most parts of the world. Here are some key findings:

  • Travel as a whole has not kept up with the rate of inflation in the U.S.
  • Base airfares are 16 percent less than they were in 2000.
  • Airlines are making up for that with ancillary fees.
  • Oil costs have increased at four times the rate of inflation in the past decade; this will affect travel.
  • Domestic economy airfares in North America will increase 2 to 6 percent.
  • International business class fares out of North American will increase 3 to 7 percent.
  • Midrange hotels will increase 1 to 5 percent, upper range hotels will increase 2 to 6 percent.
Source: press release

Lodging Forecast and Car Rental

travel forecast


Demand May Be Up, But Hotel Rates Stay Low
Hotels occupancy rates are improving, according to PKF Hospitality Research, which says rates will increase 3.4 percent this year. Despite the increase, PKF expects average daily room rates to drop 1.6 percent—on average, you’ll be spending less on your rooms.

When the hotel business emerges from a recession, price increases lag growth in demand, according to PKF. However, PricewatershouseCoopers projects that room rates will start to increase in 2011, after two years of declines. (Source: PKF Hotel Horizons, PCW Lodging Forecast).

Car Rental

Hertz, Avis Continue Vying to Acquire Dollar Thrifty
Hertz and Avis, who are vying with each other to buy Dollar Thrifty, are both seeking antitrust approval for their proposed deals. Avis said that acquiring Dollar Thrifty would help it compete more effectively against Enterprise, the biggest player in the industry.

Hertz saying that it should face fewer hurdles than rival Avis, because Avis’ low-cost brand, Budget Rent A Car, competes directly with Dollar Thrifty. Hertz has also filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission on the matter. (Source: Hertz and Avis).

Avis Promotes Its EPA Certified Green Fleet
Avis said that its 2010 line-up is 62 percent SmartWay Certified, that is, they meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) environmental standards for air pollution and green house gas emission.

Nearly 100 percent of its subcompact, compact and intermediate vehicles are SmartWay certified. (Source: Avis press release).

Consumer satisfaction with hotels and car rental companies is up slightly, but down sharply for airlines, according to the quarterly Market Metrix Hospitality Index.

  • Guest satisfaction with hotels is up .4 to 83.3
  • Consumer satisfaction with car rental companies is up .8 to 79.2
  • Passenger satisfaction is down three points to 75.7, the biggest fall since 9/11.
  • Top companies were JetBlue, Enterprise, Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt Place, Red Lion and Microtel

Source: Market Metrix press release

Hotel Industry Recovery Looks Stronger

Hilton Garden Inn Hotel

Volcano´s Impact on Hotels Balances Out
The Iceland volcano´s impact on European hotels wasn´t all bad, according to Trust International, a major hotel reservations company.

Cancellations increased to a peak on Monday, April 19, to reach more than 50 percent over normal levels. But new reservations also curved upward by more than 25 percent, suggesting travelers were postponing rather than canceling trips altogether.

Hotels witnessed increased levels of guests extending their stays and walk-in bookings as travelers booked hotels after their flights were cancelled, which helped mitigate the effect of the cancellations.

Richard Wiegmann, manager director of Trust International, said that the international hotel industry is in recovery and the outlook for the rest of the year remains promising. (Source Travel Trust press release).

U.S. Hotel Industry Recovery Looks Stronger Than expected
The U.S. hotel industry should do better than initially expected this year, with occupancy increasing by 1.9 percent to 55.8 percent, according to Smith Travel Research.

Next year, STR says occupancy will increase 1.9 percent to a still relatively low 56.8 percent and average daily rates will increase 3.5 percent. The industry won´t be back to levels of 2007 or 2008, but the industry should see 2 good years in a row, said Mark Lomanno, President of STR. (Source: STR press release).

Car & Rail

Avis Tries to Block Hertz-Thrifty Deal
A suitor may throw a wrench into Hertz´ plans to buy Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group.

Avis Budget Group told the Dollar Thrifty board that it is prepared to make a substantially higher offer, saying that Avis had several times expressed interest in acquiring Thrifty.

Avis said that the heads of the two companies had had a date to discuss the matter, but Thrifty canceled it when it announced the Hertz deal.

Acquiring Thrifty would move up Hertz by about 300 domestic corporate locations and 1,250 international franchises. (Source: Hertz and Avis press releases).

Airline Security Vs. Privacy

A recent study found Americans are willing to put up with some loss of privacy in return for greater air security.

  • 93 percent said they are willing to sacrifice some privacy.
  • 65 percent said they would put with full electronic scans
  • 57 percent would go through biometric security checks such as iris scans or fingerprints
  • 72 percent said they would provide personal data in advance

Source: Unisys Security Index press release.

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 HiltonHHonors.com/globaldoublepoints.com
(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

Travel reviews by JD Power and IBM


Hospitality Industry Confronts Impact of Economic Downturn
Occupancy and revPAR levels for U.S. hotels continue to decline through the first week of November (latest available data) though ten top markets posted brisk growth in occupancy levels, room rates and revPAR through October.

Hotels in the United Kingdom as well as in Europe overall registered revPAR declines based on sliding occupancy levels.

The hotel construction pipeline grew 28% worldwide at the mid-year point (latest available data) although signs point to a developing fall-off and in the U.S., the number of guestrooms under
construction decreased by 5% in October.
Car Rental
Car Rental Customer Satisfaction Continues to Decline Customer satisfaction with renting cars at airports has declined considerably for a second consecutive year, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Rental Car Satisfaction Study.
Avis rent a car
The study looks at six factors: costs and fees, pick-up process, rental car, return process, reservation process and shuttle bus/van.

Overall satisfaction declines significantly from 750 points on a 1,000-point scale in 2007 to 734 in 2008. Staffing and operational cuts are hurting service, according to the study. Enterprise ranked highest for the fifth year in a row, followed by Hertz and Alamo. (Source: J.D. Power press release).

Avis Budget Ups Rates $3 Per Day
Avis Budget Group said it is upping its retail car rental rates by $3 per day and $20 per week at all airport and selected off-airport locations.

The company said the rate increase was a response to escalating costs affecting the car rental industry. Hertz raised its rates in the U.S. and Europe at the end of October. (Source: Avis Budget Press release)

High Lights

Airline baggage fees bug air travelers the most, but many consider general cabin ticket prices and fuel surcharge reasonable, according to a survey by the IBM Institute of Business Value.

  • Seventy-eight percent of travelers consider airline baggage fees the biggest rip-off.
  • Seventy-six percent considered additional charges to redeem miles another major rip-off.
  • But 70 percent called general cabin ticket prices reasonable.
  • Half considered fuel surcharges valid.
  • Fifty-eight percent prefer to pay the lowest possible ticket price, sacrificing all amenities, including food.

(Source: IBM press release)

Hotel Car & Record Airfare Updates for Sept 2008


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).
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).

Hotel & Car Rental Updates, January part 2


New Hyatt Regency Dallas to Open Next Month
The 342-room Hyatt Regency North Dallas/Richardson in Richardson’s telecom corridor will open in North Dallas in February.

Formerly the Richardson hotel, the property recently underwent an $8 million renovation and is getting another $6.4 million in enhancements before it opens. The 17-story hotel has state-of-the-art technology and sophisticated business and leisure facilities. It has 13,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space, including the 7,800-square-foot Texas Ballroom. (Source: Hyatt press release)

Hotel Indigo in Brooklyn in 2010
One of the first Hotel Indigos in New York will is scheduled to open in Brooklyn in 2010.

The 164-room hotel, which will also have more than 15,000 square feet of retail space, will be n the Downtown Brooklyn area, which includes the New Fulton Mall and the Atlantic Yards projects, as well as a host of new construction and development in the residential, commercial and retail sectors. (Source: InterContinental Hotels press release).

Car Rental

Avis Launches Online Tools for Business Travelers
Avis Rent A Car has added a new function to its Where2 portable GPS navigation system.

Before picking up your rental car, you can go to myWhere2.com and save destination information found there, or anywhere else on the Web onto a memory card that can be transferred to the Where2 unit when you pick up their rental vehicle.

To use this, you must first download a plug-in available at Avis myWhere2 and create a bookmark to send addresses of places you want to visit to their personal SD card. Then you can use any Web site or tool to find an address or point of interest and save the addresses directly to your SD memory card, and then transfer that to your Where2 unit.

The Where2 site also features “Avis Quick City Guides.” (Source: Avis press release)

What 2008 Holds for Air Travel

Airline expert Terry Trippler has made his New Year’s predictions for air travel.

  • There will be fewer fare increases, but airlines will reduce the number of seats they offer at lower fares, meaning you’ll pay more.
  • A la carte ticketing will increase. That is, more airlines will charge for items such as soft drinks, checking bags, seat assignments and more.
  • More airlines will offer special coach seating, a la Northwest Airlines’ and United Airlines’s Premium Plus, which give better seats and more choice, for more money.
  • More airlines will experiment with in-flight internet service, for a fee.

(Source: Terry Trippler)

Car Rental: January 2007

Golfing in Italy

Avis Reportedly to Introduce WiFi
Autonet Mobile is reportedly going to supply Avis Rent-A-Car with WiFi hotspot technology for rental vehicles that will cost customers $10.95 a day to use. Avis has not yet officially announced the agreement but says it will issue a statement soon.

The technology is a portable router device that will retail for $399 plus $49 a month for those who buy it outright, Autonet Mobile said.

The company unveiled its system at the CES International 2007 conference in Las Vegas this week, calling it “the first always-on broadband Internet service for cars.

It plugs into a vehicle’s power supply and hooks up notebook computers and PDAs to high-speed Internet. Autonet’s WiFi is expected to work in all major cities and 95 percent of the rest of the United States, the company said.

It added that the service is meant for passengers to use, not drivers, unless they’re parked.

Hertz Expands PlatePass
Hertz has expanded PlatePass, an electronic toll payment system that allows renters to bypass back-ups at cash toll lanes, first introduced in the New York metropolitan area, Boston, Atlantic City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

The PlatePass program enables customers to utilize “E-Z Pass” lanes through rentals of E-Z Pass toll tags.

E-Z Pass is accepted on major toll roads throughout the Northeast corridor, from Virginia to Maine, including the Chesapeake Expressway in Virginia, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, New Jersey’s Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike; the New York State Thruway, all toll bridges and tunnels into Manhattan, the Massachusetts Turnpike, the Maine Turnpike and the Illinois Tollway.