With the plethora of restrictions and rules involved in travel right now, luxury vacation planner Richard Turen worries that "freedom-loving" Americans may balk if travel advisors don't intervene. He recommends offering a menu of choices to let them customize their trips so they feel they have more control.
An upswing in bookings from travelers wishing to stay close to home has helped carry Choice Hotels through the pandemic with a fraction of the losses absorbed by its competitors, according to CEO Patrick Pacious. Some 25% of Choice's revenue in June came from guests who drove less than 25 miles to properties, much higher than the "high single-digits" of sales share usually seen by locally-based travelers, he said.
Hilton Hotels Corp. CEO Christopher Nassetta offered optimism in the form of increasing occupancy in reporting a second-quarter loss of $432 million. Global occupancy has risen to about 45% from 13% in April and "[w]hile those are still terrible numbers, that is a lot of improvement over a relatively short period of time," he said.
Las Vegas hotel rooms are being marketed as white-collar workspaces, in a new effort to revive business devastated by the pandemic. MGM Resorts' Viva Las Office package features nightly room rates as low as $100, discounted jet service and even executive assistants.
The US State Department has lifted its blanket advisory urging Americans to reconsider all international travel due to the coronavirus and returned to country-specific warnings. "With health and safety conditions improving in some countries and potentially deteriorating in others, the Department is returning to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice," the agency said.
Citing a need to recruit more workers at a time when delivery demand is surging, UPS is increasing its starting wage from $14 to $14.50 per hour. "Our average daily volume, the number of packages that we handle on a given day, in the last quarter increased 23% compared to the same time in 2019," said Public Relations Specialist Jim Mayer.
American Airlines will reintroduce complimentary hot food as well as some for-sale items at its Admirals Club lounges this month. Team members wearing gloves and masks will serve food in disposable containers, including breakfast items, regional favorites such as slices of deep dish pizza in Chicago and classic items such as macaroni and cheese.
At Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, passenger volume stands at 70% of 2019 levels, with JetBlue adding service from Boston and new routes due to start next year on American, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines. Montana is viewed as a desirable place to ride out the coronavirus pandemic for individuals with the ability to telework, and national parks are a vacation option less seriously affected by related restrictions.
The service organization 100 Black Men of America has distributed a major grant from Southwest Airlines to five local chapters that will use them for youth initiatives. The chapters will develop youth programs that focus on business-oriented training, fund college scholarships, bring students on tours of historically black colleges and provide equipment to students who lack the technology to access online learning.
The coronavirus epidemic is expected to accelerate technology development in airports that minimize personal contact, from automated check-in and baggage screening to biometric scans. New software may soon advise travelers on which areas of a terminal are congested, and for the long term, airport design is likely to focus on ways to put space and barriers between passengers.