Crystal Hospitality Holdings recently
contracted Valorem Group to develop its marketing and
communications turnaround strategies in their bid to acquire
SunTrips. Crystal is in the process of purchasing the
California-based SunTrips, which over the last year has encountered
issues with the travel agent community.
“We are excited about the opportunity to relaunch the SunTrips
brand, and to spearhead the re-establishment of its relationship
with the travel community,” said Victor Bao, president and CEO
Valorem Group North America. “We are going to be very aggressive in
our efforts to regain SunTrips’ footing in their market space as
well as re-establishing it as one of the premier operators in the
Several travel agents recently told TravelAge West that SunTrips
has continued to delay payments on agent commissions and hotels
have refused or canceled SunTrips’ reservations, causing some
agents to lose faith in the company.
Miami-based Valorem is a hotel representation, communications and
marketing firm of international hospitality clients in the U.S.
Airlines Rethink Cancun Routes
Many U.S. airlines are postponing plans for new service to resort
destinations in Mexico because of hurricane-related damage. Some
carriers plan to sit out an entire year on certain routes.
USA 3000, citing hurricane-related damage in Cancun and Cozumel and
the “resulting scarcity of available hotel rooms,” told the
Department of Transportation it is postponing the relaunch of
seasonal service from Detroit and St. Louis to Cozumel until Dec.
USA 3000 also told the DOT it no longer plans to operate service
from Baltimore and St. Louis to Puerto Vallarta, which were markets
it had planned to debut this winter; and from Washington Dulles to
Cancun, which was a market slated for launch this summer.
Cancun is a big market for the airline, and officials said the
airline has not abandoned it. USA 3000 is still flying into Cancun
from most of its markets, although at a slightly reduced level.
But Cancun still has a lot of rebuilding to do. At best, half of
Cancun’s hotel rooms are open, airline officials said.
USA 3000 isn’t the only airline forced to cut back. Spirit told the
DOT it plans to start Tampa-Cancun service around June 30, more
than seven months later than it originally planned. Similarly, the
Orlando-Cancun service Spirit had planned to start last December
and the Dallas-Cancun service it had hoped to start in February
have both been pushed back to the end of the year.
American’s seasonal St. Louis-Cancun and Boston-Cancun service will
wait for next season, starting sometime around Dec. 1.
AirTran had planned to start Atlanta-Cancun service last December
and Tampa-Cancun this March. Now it is pushing the start dates for
both routes to Dec. 15.
US Airways said it plans to resume Pittsburgh-Cancun service in
late May or in June and Philadelphia-Cozumel in December. Its Fort
Lauderdale-Cancun service resumed Jan. 31.
Family Vacation Savings
Whether it’s spring break with the kids or a summer trip with
extended family, travelers can now book with
Globus to save money on their next family
Those who book a 2006 Globus Family Vacation to Europe, North
America and Costa Rica from Feb. 1-March 31, will receive $100 off
per person on travel before Dec. 3.
Packages include Essential Europe, Italy’s Great Cities, Hawaiian
Splendor, America’s Historic East and Natural Wonders of Costa
Prices start at $1,099 per person for land only and $2,025 per
person for all-inclusive trips.
The Preferred Hotel Group
has launched Boutique a
preferred hotel group partner. The Boutique collection of hotels
promises exceptional service, distinctive style and 150 rooms or
less in each property.
“Our goal is to create a significant increase in a property’s
revenue and visibility,” said managing director Lindsey Ueberroth.
“We believe that the combination of the right properties in the
right destinations is crucial to the success of Boutique,
establishing lasting trust with both hoteliers and consumers.”
The Boutique collection currently features 50 properties located
mainly in the U.S. with goals to grow to 100 properties
Asta Survey: Top Travel Destinations
The American Society of Travel Agents
recently announced the results of a survey conducted on the “best
value” travel destinations. In addition, agents identified popular
up-and-coming destinations as well as agents’ favorite domestic and
Ranking first on the top 10 list of “best value” destinations is
Mexico, with Mayan Riviera accounting for one-third of the votes.
Orlando helped boost Florida’s percentage, coming in at number
three. The additional top 10 destinations, in order, were Las
Vegas, cruises, Dominican Republic, Hawaii, Jamaica, Canada, the
Caribbean, Costa Rica and China.
The top three up-and-coming destinations were Costa Rica, followed
by Dominican Republic. China and South America were a close
ShowtimeThe Incentive Show
one of the East Coast’s top
gathering for incentives, meetings and promotional products will be
held May 3-4 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York
City. Attendees can hear former general Colin L. Powell’s keynote
address and experience a range of incentive products and programs,
network with industry leaders and attend more than 15 free
Record CommissionsMarriott International
broke its record for
commissions paid to agents in 2005 by paying over $177 million.
“We celebrated our 100,000 Hotel Excellence graduate and now this
milestone in commissions,” said spokesman Fred Miller.www.marriott.com
Luxury travel operator Travcoa
to the structure of its sales department. Travcoa and its sister
company, TCS Expeditions, are combining their agency sales force to
expand their sales support. The newly created departments will be
organized under western, southern and northern regions each
reporting to the newly appointed director of sales and business
development, Timo Shaw.www.travcoa.com