Buyers Fear Travel Repercussions of Trump Immigration Ban
More than 250 travel buyers responded to an Association of Corporate Travel Executives survey over the weekend to voice concern about President Trump’s immigration ban on travelers who have citizenship in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The ban, which evolved over the weekend to exclude permanent U.S. residents (green card holders) from the restrictions, put a 90-day stop on travelers from these seven nations entering the U.S. It closed U.S. borders to all refugees from around the world for 120 days and halted immigration of Syrian refugees indefinitely.
Thirty-nine percent of ACTE survey respondents said the travel ban could reduce business travel for their corporations overall, while 20 percent say the ban already is causing problems for their travelers and programs. Among those already experiencing difficulties, 25 percent worry about all the following: traveler harassment in general, harassment of U.S. travelers in the Middle East, uncertainty regarding green card and approved visa credibility to enter the U.S. and limited access to prospective employees. Seventeen percent were concerned about at least one of these outcomes. Source: Business Travel News
United Sets Target Date for Basic Economy Launch
United Airlines is telling its corporate and agency customers to be prepared for the sale of Basic Economy fares by Feb. 21 for travel dates beginning in mid-April. The carrier said the fares at first would be available in select U.S. markets and for short-haul flights to the Caribbean and Latin America. The fare, designed to compete with low-cost carriers, comes with several restrictions, including no seat selection, no flight changes and a carry-on limit to a single personal item. Source: BTN
Airlines’ Instructions For Basic Economy: Suppress Sales Or Divulge Restrictions
As they join Delta Air Lines in selling their own stripped down Basic Economy fares, American Airlines this month and United Airlines last month issued guidance to travel management companies and corporate clients on distributing the new low-cost but heavily restricted options. American and United’s Basic Economy fares mirror Delta’s in name and spirit, and their message to corporate travel practitioners is broadly the same, as well: Since these heavily restricted fares may not be well suited for corporate travelers, agencies and clients should either suppress them in search results or explicitly disclose fare restrictions at the point of sale.
As with Delta’s Basic Economy, these soon-to-launch fares are heavily restricted. Passengers can’t select seats and would generally be among the last to board. Tickets are nonrefundable and ineligible for upgrades. Loyalty program earning is limited. Further, American and United will restrict carry-on bag allowances for ticket holders. Source: The Beat
American Airlines Will Add Sales Staff in 2017
American Airlines plans to beef up its corporate sales force this year in an effort to gain market share, executives said during the carrier’s earnings call. “As we look at the number of contracts we have relative to our primary competitors, we have fewer,” SVP of network planning Andrew Nocella said. “We’re going to close that gap over the next 12 months.” American grew its corporate share in the fourth quarter, as it had the previous three quarters, president Robert Isom said. The sales team, however, has not had the necessary “boots on the ground to deal with corporate contracted revenue,” Nocella said. Source: Travel Procurement
TSA Adds 11 Airlines to Precheck
Eleven additional airlines now are participating in the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s Precheck program, including Avianca, Emirates, Spirit Airlines and Virgin Atlantic, the TSA announced. Other newly added carriers include Aruba Airlines, Boutique Air, Key Lime Air, Miami Air International, Southern Airways Express, Sunwing and Xtra Airways. Thirty airlines now participate in the program, which gives travelers access to expedited screening at more than 180 U.S. airports. Source: BTN
Best Western’s Plans for Newer Brands & White Label Franchise
Just six years ago, Best Western Hotels & Resorts—Best Western International at the time—used a single brand for its entire portfolio. It since has adopted tiers for Best Western brands and launched four new brands. Now, the company is planning a rapid expansion of its new white label franchise model, SureStay Hotel Group.
BW began selling the franchise Dec. 1, SVP and COO Ron Pohl told BTN, and signed 30 hotels in the first 45 days, mostly under the SureStay and SureStay Plus brands. “We’ve had a lot of traction early,” Pohl said. “We have a couple hotels open, but we expect to have 100 hotels open by year-end.” One of the criteria for owners to franchise with SureStay is a property rating of at least 3.5 on TripAdvisor. Source: BTN
News content licensed from Northstar Travel Media.