Thursday, June 17, 2010

news travel needs end here
Company helps agents capitalize on wellness-travel market
The American Marketing Group has launched a firm called Well-Being Travel, which is designed as a medical-travel resource for the travel-agency distribution channel. Anne Marie Moebes, executive vice president of Well-Being Travel, said the firm provides agents with the relationships, marketing, networking, technology and educational opportunities to tap the quickly growing niche. "The time is right for the medical and travel industries to work together to provide consumers with a consulting service that expertly manages all of their medical travel needs around the world from one source," Moebes said. (6/14)
Hotels start to plot strategies as outlook turns positive
Hotel executives are starting to plan for a more positive future amid signs the industry is rebounding from a couple of tough years. But the strategies differ depending on the type of hotels. Marriott, Starwood and other major hotel chains are looking at international expansion plans and some are experimenting with partnerships with independent hoteliers. The New York Times (free registration) (6/14)
U.K. airline offers passengers private-jet service in the U.S.
British Airways, reeling from weeks of cabin-crew strikes, has teamed with CitationAir to offer its passengers flying within North America and the Caribbean an exclusive private-jet service. Members of the airline's executive club program can use a credit card to "pay and go" as British Airways has streamlined the process. "Now we can offer our customers a seamless service to fly when they want and where they want, to almost any destination within the U.S., Caribbean, southern Canada and Mexico," said Robert Boyle, director of strategy and business units at BA. Telegraph (London) (6/14)
Other News
Spirit cancels more flights as pilots' strike continues
USA TODAY (6/14)
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Trends and Technology
Holland America executive offers 10 marketing suggestions
Dave Stockert, director of sales training at Holland America, offered travel agents at a recent industry conference 10 marketing tips for bolstering their businesses. For example, Stockert suggests asking medical professionals such as dentists and gynecologists if they would allow a travel-related poster to be mounted on the wall of their exam rooms. (6/14)
Study delves into consumers' expectations for travel sites
A survey of 2,763 travelers looked into their expectations about travel websites and found site performance is critical. For example, travelers expect pages to load quickly, with younger Internet users being more impatient than their older counterparts, according to the "Consumer Response to Travel Site Performance" study. Travel Agent (6/14)
Column: Americans emerge from downturn seeking a richer life
Columnist Arnie Weissmann explains how the past decade has been devastating for the U.S. economy, starting with the 9/11 terrorist attacks to the global-financial crisis. But consumers largely have managed to adjust. People have become increasingly interested in a richer life over a life of riches, according to Madelyn Hochstein, head of a research firm. "All of this strikes me as very good news for the travel industry," Weissmann writes. "We have been trending toward experiential and multigenerational travel steadily through the decade and are in position to fulfill the desires of those seeking a richer life." Travel Weekly (6/14)
Home-Based Agent Update

Column: Agents must watch their tone in all communications
Chuck Flagg, independent owner/operator of Cruise Holidays in Canton, Ga., offers a couple of examples of when he failed to watch his tone in communications to clients. He offers agents suggestions about when different forms of communication -- in person, telephone and e-mail -- are appropriate and reminds readers to consider how the message will be received. Travel Research Online (6/11)
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Consumer Travel News
20 of Europe's leading seaside villas are for rent
Spain, Italy, Greece and other European countries feature seaside villas available for rent. In Lanzarote, Spain, for example, the Eco Fisherman's Cottage is a solar-powered villa located on the seafront. The Roman Villa is a Dalmatian-style property on the Croatian island of Brac. The Times (London) (6/12)
Regulatory and Legislative
Travel group focuses on Cuba, oil spill, partnerships
Stephen Richer, public-affairs advocate for the National Tour Association, said he expects the year ahead to be a tough one for realizing the group's legislative priorities, which include lifting travel restrictions for Cuba and resolving the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. "One positive sign is that the administration and Congress are more aware of the often overlooked economic contribution that the travel and tourism industry offers," he said. The NTA also is focused on building partnerships with other industry groups, including ASTA. Travel Agent (6/14)
Some experts question the security value of full-body scanners
After months of seeking to allay public fears over privacy, the Transportation Security Administration finds itself increasingly answering another criticism of full-body scanners: Some experts say the machines don't work. Critics -- including the Government Accountability Office and private-security consultants -- say advanced imaging technology can miss too many threats because it relies on human judgment in interpreting the vague, chalky images. Chicago Tribune (6/12)
Best Practices
12 questions for vetting your great idea
Not all great ideas make for great businesses, Christopher Steiner writes. To separate the neat ideas from the genuine business opportunities, Steiner offers 12 questions you should ask, starting with "Are you filling a void?" and concluding with "Can you pitch your idea as a business in 20 seconds or less?" Forbes (6/11)
Join ASTA and Expand Your Global Contacts
Strengthening your global business is a challenge. As the world's largest association of travel professionals, ASTA provides international members with powerful resources to capture new business and enhance your company's image. Displaying ASTA's logo shows you are a leading international firm that provides reliable travel services—join today!
Featured Content

6 Ways to Keep Your Rising Stars on Track Lynn Truong
If Smaller VC Funds are Better, Why Aren't More VC Funds Small? Scott Shane
5 Useful iPhone Apps for Business Networking Erica Swallow
6 Hot Growth Industries for Small Business: Growth Versus Taxes Anita Campbell
The Simple Secret to Being Strategic with Your Marketing Rohit Bhargava

ASTA Spotlight
ASTA U.S. chapter elections petitioning open
Qualified members interested in becoming a chapter officer candidate in the 2010 elections must return their Petition Forms to ASTA Election Services before 5 p.m. EDT June 30. To request a Petition Forms, e-mail Balloting will be conducted online. Voters will receive their voting instructions by e-mail on July 7. Polls close July 21.
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Fort Lauderdale could take "cruise capital" title from Miami
Miami has been the indisputable "cruise capital of the world" since 1972, when Carnival Cruise Lines was launched by Ted Arison. But over the years, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has been attracting the newest and largest cruise ships from Miami. Royal Caribbean International, for example, chose Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades for the home port of the Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. Travel Weekly (6/15)
Rising demand helps bolster outlook for airlines
American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and other carriers are forecasting significant gains in the second quarter as demand increases, buoying airfares. Airlines cut capacity and fares in response to a decline in the number of business fliers caused by the economic downturn but are now charging more and flying fuller planes. "The industry appears to be turning a corner," US Airways Group President Scott Kirby told investors. "We've seen a dramatic recovery in business travel." Bloomberg (6/15)
Experts doubt demand for Registered Traveler program
At least 10 airports reportedly are considering a resurrected Registered Traveler program, but experts say the future of expedited security remains very much in doubt. When TSA stopped conducting passenger background checks in 2008, Registered Traveler became little more than a pass to the front of the security line -- something airlines already provide for their elite members. Frequent fliers also note that airport security in general has greatly improved, reducing the need for a special pass, and some say the expensive program is hard to justify when international airports do not participate. USA TODAY (6/15)
Other News
Pilots' strike prompts Spirit to cancel another day of flights
CNN (6/15)
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Trends and Technology

Sabre improves technology platform for travel agents
Sabre Travel Network's updated travel-agent platform features graphic displays making it easier for agents to shop and book. Agents no longer need to type codes into the traditional blue screens of the global-distribution system. Greg Webb, president at STN, said Sabre Red, as the new solution is called, would enable corporate clients to bolster cost efficiencies and improve quality control. (6/15)
Column: Get ready for a summer of scanning
New York Times travel columnist Joe Sharkey has reported extensively on the security and privacy issues raised by full-body scanners, but a recent trip to the Southwest gave him the chance to report first-hand on how it feels to actually use the machines. His first impression: "It took a long time and felt invasive. And I did not like being ordered around by the security screener." The New York Times (free registration) (6/14)
California travel group CEO discusses group's goals
John Severini, the new president and CEO at the California Travel Industry Association, discusses the group's focus, which includes education, advocacy and collaboration. "First and foremost, we represent tourism interests to make sure legislation does not negatively impact travel and tourism," Severini said. "We have a presence in Sacramento to ensure a healthy economic climate for travel-related interests." Travel Weekly (6/14)
Other News
Travelport signs multiyear content deal with Marriott (6/15)
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Consumer Travel News
Whitewater rafting experiences become more eclectic
Whitewater rafting trips are filled with excitement as participants barrel down scenic rivers, taking in the fresh air, boulder gardens and big waves. In an effort to diversify and cater to various interest groups, rafting outfitters have started adding activities and other options such as yoga, wildlife photography and archaeology. Los Angeles Times (6/13)
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Regulatory and Legislative

Change to EU's tax rules could benefit meeting buyers
The European Union rules on its value-added tax change on Jan. 1, 2011, and could be beneficial to meeting buyers. Travelers based outside the EU no longer will be charged VAT for meetings in Europe. VAT specialist Meridian Global Services said the change will mean travelers and meeting planners no longer will have to recover VAT, but that it could lead to other issues. (6/15)
Commentary: Travel agents should be wary of proposed airline merger
George Dooley of Travel Agent explains why travel agents should be concerned about the proposed merger between Continental and United airlines. Dooley advises agents to join the debate that is taking place in Congress, in the media and within the travel industry. "Travel agents and travel management firms should care and let their voice be heard -- if only as a demonstration of their concern and commitment to their clients," Dooley writes. Travel Agent (6/15)
Other News
FTC seeks more information about Dollar Thrifty takeover bid by Avis
Travel Weekly (6/15)
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Best Practices
Why "shocked" e-mails could be a big mistake
Your words can come back to haunt you -- just ask Lehman Bros. Lawyers looking for wrongdoing at the banking giant have set up filters to search through old e-mails, and some of the search terms they use may be things you've typed yourself, including "stupid," "shocked," "big mistake" and "highly sensitive." National Public Radio/Planet Money blog (6/14)
Featured Content

Conceive, Believe & Achieve: Visualize Your Business Cameron Herold
The Art of Gifting (in Business!) Jean Aw
Get Inside Your Head: How Knowledge of Your Brain Can Make You a Better Leader Bruna Martinuzzi
How Much Pro Bono Work is Too Much? Michelle Goodman
Can the iPad Replace Your Laptop for Business Travel? Shira Levine

ASTA Spotlight
Free webinar: Cruise trends and issues
Join Vicki Freed, senior vice president of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Joni Rein, vice president of Carnival Cruise Lines, and Wayne Nelson, ASTA's senior manager of Industry Affairs, at 2 p.m. EDT July 7 for this candid discussion of trends and issues affecting travel agents. Topics that will be discussed include: cruise industry trends; destinations: which markets are offering the best value?; hot topics important to travel agents; tips for marketing and selling; and more. Register to attend this webinar today.
Credit card data-security update
Do you collect and store customer credit card numbers and/or credit card security codes electronically or on paper to use when purchasing travel online for your customers? ASTA members can access a white paper on that explains your obligation to comply with the credit card industry's Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards and related state laws. Did you know these standards require merchants to encrypt credit card numbers and not store "authentication data" after a credit card has been processed? For complete details, check out
Learn more about ASTA -> Resources | Conferences | Consumer Travel Information | Join ASTA

The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get."
--Jim Rohn,
American entrepreneur

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