$1.95B in Hotel Fees • Class Action Hotel Pricing Lawsuit • Authenticity of Travel Reviews • Hotel Lock Fixes • Low/No FF Miles • Hertz to buy Dollar Thrifty • Happy Birthday Rollaboard • Travel News in Brief • Travel Aspirations: Waterfalls and Balloon Rides
$1.95B: Hotels, Like Airlines, are Increasing Revenue Through Ancillary Charges
Hotels are increasing profitability through a wide variety of ancillary charges, which yield incremental profits of 80 to 90 percent or more. From the linked report:
Examples of fees and surcharges include: resort or amenity fees, early departure fees, early reservation cancellation fees, internet fees, telephone call surcharges, business center fees (i.e. charges for receiving faxes and sending/receiving overnight packages), room service delivery surcharges, mini-bar restocking fees, charges for in-room safes, and automatic gratuities and surcharges.
Skift makes the case that Hotels should not leave out mandatory fees when advertising room rates. The FTC should crack down.
Consumer Impacts and Strategies for dealing with Fees
Class Action Lawsuit Claims that Major US OTAs and Hotel Chains Engaged in Price Fixing
Seattle Law Firm Hagens Berman has filed a class action that alleges that major U.S. hotel chains and OTAs engaged in price fixing. Since I work for Expedia, one of the defendants named in a lawsuit, I don’t intend to comment on the case myself. Travel law attorney Al Anolik wrote a Tnooz guest article on the likely impact of the lawsuit:
Academic Study Examines Authenticity of Online Travel Reviews
The authors of this working paper estimated the frequency and characteristics of fake online travel reviews by comparing reviews from TripAdvisor and Expedia. Tripadvisor lets anyone post a review but Expedia only allows reviews from people who have actually made a booking and completed a stay.
Tnooz has a thoughtful response to the study.
Hotel Lock Manufacturer Onity Announces Fixes
Last month, I reported that security researcher Cody Brocious had demonstrated a simple technique to crack Onity Hotel locks. Onity has now release a couple of fixes. Fix one features a simple mechanical plug and Torx screws—hardly high security. Fix two is a proper crypto-electronic fix, but in a move that won’t help Onity’s reputation, it will cost hotels.
Unpublished fares can mean Low or No Frequent Flyer Miles
Travelers looking to maximize their frequent flyer miles should be wary of booking unpublished fares, offered through channels such as consolidators, group tours and others. Delta is reducing mileage for some unpublished fare categories and some airlines don’t offer any miles at all. The article notes that United Airlines precludes earning mileage on “unpublished fares, such as on Priceline.com and Hotwire.”’
Hertz to Acquire Dollar Thrifty
If the deal is approved, Enterprise, Hertz and Avis Budget will together control 60% of the U.S. car rental market, continuing a decade-long consolidation trend in the industry. This mirrors the consolidation that has been occurring in the airline industry.
Happy Birthday Rollaboard! 25 Years of Wheeled Luggage
We should all pause for a moment this month and thank Bob Plath. 25 years ago, the Northwest airlines pilot changed the world when he screwed a portable luggage carrier to a small suitcase and invented wheeled luggage, thus lightening the burdens of hundreds of millions of travelers.
Travel News in Brief
- Infographic on How Technology can Solve Travelers’ Frustration
- Top 10 Hotel Brands for Online Chinese Travel Shoppers
USA Today Travel
- Airline Consolidation and Failures will Dramatically Change the European Airline Industry
- Using unreformed communistic verbiage, Russian Deputy Prime Minister says Russian airlines should commit to buy Russian-made aircraft.
- 7 Ways to Get the Best Plane Seat
Wall Street Journal Marketwatch
- AvGeeks Attend Flight Attendant Fantasy Day Camp
- United Flight Attendant Retires after 63 Years on the Job
- Not All Hotel Rates are the Same
- Where Not to Stay: The 10 Worst Hotels in America
The Fiscal Times
- Top Free Attractions in Paris