While travelers have relinquished everything from toothpaste to
hair gel from their carry-on bags to comply with the tighter
airport security measures banning most liquid substances in
aircraft cabins, hotel chains have stepped up to replenish guests’
personal care items.
On Aug. 11, Omni hotels across the country began offering an array
of complimentary items. Guests who need them are provided with
facial skin-care products, women’s cosmetics, hair-care products,
contact lens solution and toothpaste.
“Taking care of our guests is fundamental,” said Mike Deitemeyer,
president of Omni Hotels in a statement. “We know our guests will
be inconvenienced by today’s unexpected security changes, and we
want to do whatever it takes to make their travel experiences less
Omni said it would also provide guests with a list of nearby
pharmacies, their telephone numbers and hours of operation to
refill prescriptions or other over-the-counter medications.
In addition, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts expanded its We Remember
What You Forgot program, whereby the hotel chain began supplying
travelers on Aug. 13 with an array of sundry items, such as bottled
water, contact lens solution, hair spray, hair gel, toothpaste,
toothbrushes, deodorant and other products.
“No one knows better than Wyndham hotels how to respond to
travelers’ needs,” said Peter Strebel, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts
president. “We pioneered the concept with our Wyndham ByRequest
program, which welcomes frequent travelers with the amenities,
services and refreshments they specify.”
The new airline restrictions, prohibiting passengers from carrying
on most liquid substances, were put in place on Aug. 10, after
British law enforcement authorities arrested at least 24 people in
an alleged terrorist plot to use liquid explosives to blow up
aircraft on flights from the U.K. to the U.S.
As a result, the Department of Homeland Security raised the terror
alert warning for the aviation sector in the U.S. to orange (or
high) for all commercial aviation operating in or heading for the
U.S., and placed new security restrictions at airports. In
addition, the terror alert warning for the aviation sector in the
U.S. was raised to red (or severe) for all flights to the U.S.
originating in the U.K. The terror alert warning for the rest of
the U.S. remains at yellow (or elevated) as of press time.
Playing ‘A Game of Chicken’
Many agencies were consulting lawyers and accountants as
GDS vendors circulated contract amendments, conducted negotiating
sessions and conference calls with agencies and pressed them to
decide about participation in optional programs to access “full
Walter Gay, of Travel Automation Consultants, characterized the
interaction as “a game of chicken.”
“Nobody is signing anything at this point,” said Gay, who has
Apollo- and Sabre-using clients. “The GDSs are all getting nervous
that they are going to have an influx of agencies signing up at the
last minute. We’ll see if they extend the Sept. 1 deadline. I hope
The discussions about optional programs were taking place as major
questions still loomed about GDS program implementation, airline
content in non-preferred channels and lack of new inventory
agreements between American and Sabre, as well as between Delta and
In a switch of positioning, Sabre came around to Galileo’s way of
thinking, offering contract amendments for participation in its
Efficient Access Solution (EAS) that calls for a “program fee”
instead of an incentive reduction. However, the economics remain
the same regardless of terminology. Agencies in EAS and this varies
from agency to agency agree to pay Sabre a program fee of up to 80
cents per segment.
EAS still takes a huge chunk out of agency incentives, although
agencies will receive a minimum 20 cent incentive per segment.
Galileo’s Content Continuity Program (CCP) employs similar
economics, although apparently there is no 20-cent floor.
Sabre apparently is taking more of a hardball approach to
participation in EAS, informing agencies that if they are
non-participants on Sept. 1, then entry into EAS will be at Sabre’s
Travelport’s David Falter, president of Galileo in the Americas,
said the CCP was “not related to the incentives we pay our
customers” and was instead about content and protecting agencies
from airline service fees.
Galileo was telling some agencies that a program fee would appear
as a line item in monthly invoices and that the fee would be
reflected when agencies received their incentive checks. Some
agencies were “appalled” at the prospect that they would have to
send Galileo checks instead of the converse because of the
The Worldspan Super Access Product, meanwhile, is believed to come
with zero incentives as a base, although the company negotiates the
program’s terms individually with agencies.
Worldspan recently requested that its agency customers decide by
Aug. 18 although this isn’t a fixed deadline if they want to
participate in the Super Access Product or Subscription Access
Passport Requirements Delayed Until ’08
The U.S. Homeland Security Office recently announced that
international ferry routes will be included with land border
crossings with respect to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.
The rule requires citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico and
Bermuda to present a passport to enter the U.S., effective Jan. 1,
2008. Originally, passengers traveling by sea had been designated
for implementation of this new rule by January 2007.
Disney’s All-Star Music Resort at Disney World’s Animal
Kingdom resort area has changed 400 of its guestrooms into 214
suites, becoming the first value-category property at Walt Disney
World Resort to offer two-bedroom suite accommodations. The new
lodging option sleeps up to six and includes amenities, like a
master bedroom, kitchenette, two full baths, two flat-screen TVs,
lounge chairs, pack-and-play cribs, high-speed Internet, Extra
Magic Hours and Disney’s Magical Express and Central Billing an ID
card that automatically charges food and beverage purchases to a
guest resort account. The initial phase of the makeover is open to
guests, and final completion of all suites should be completed by
Dollars From Dollar
Dollar Rent A Car is offering a new Dollar Dividends
program that’s free to join. Agents earn points based on bookings;
each point equals $1. An American Express rewards card, which can
be used anywhere American Express is accepted, will be issued after
an agent earns 25 points.
America’s Vacation Center Expands
America’s Vacation Center (AVC), an American Express
Travel Representative and leading host agency, recently announced
that they have more than twice as many independent contractors as
they did at the beginning of the year. “At AVC, we’ve grown 100
percent in just over six months, while still signing agents who
make much more than the national average,” said Brad Anderson,
co-president of AVC. In addition, AVC has grown its support staff
and is expanding their headquarters into another building.