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Passenger Bumping Incidents Decline to Historic Levels in Q3

Business Travel News (BTN) - 16 November 2017
Passenger bumping by U.S. airlines reached a record quarterly low of 0.15 per 10,000 passengers in the third quarter, according to the Department of Transportation. The rate is down from 0.69 in the third quarter of 2016 and from 0.44 in the second quarter of this year, which had been the lowest dating back to 1995. U.S. carriers altered their approaches to involuntary denied boarding policies this year after a passenger was injured and forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight earlier this year. United reported that the number of passengers bumped from its flights declined 92 percent year over year in the third quarter.
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Airline Traffic & Airfares Increased in October

Business Travel News (BTN) - 16 November 2017
Higher sales volumes and airfares pushed the dollar value of airline tickets sold by U.S.-based travel agencies in October up 7 percent year over year to $7.4 billion, Airlines Reporting Corp. reported. The average U.S. round-trip ticket price increased 0.7 percent to $484, and the number of trips settled by ARC rose 5.2 percent. The number of U.S. domestic trips rose 2.1 percent, and international trips jumped 12.3 percent.

Best Western's Plans for Loyalty, Tech & Expansion

Business Travel News (BTN) - 14 November 2017
Best Western Hotels & Resorts intends to grow its existing presence in the industry and embrace updated and new technologies, both consumer facing and on the back end. Executives outlined plans at the company's recent annual North American convention.

Airbnb Adoption Growth Has Plateaued, According to Morgan Stanley

Business Travel News (BTN) - 13 November 2017
New research from Morgan Stanley suggests the pace of growth of Airbnb use is slowing in the U.S. and Europe. In its third annual AlphaWise survey, the firm found that the share of travelers who used Airbnb during the past 12 months rose to 25 percent, an increase of 300 basis points, which is lower than the prior year's growth of 800 basis
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The Travel Companies Among Deloitte's Fastest Growing Tech Companies

Business Travel News (BTN) - 10 November 2017
A variety of travel software companies scored spots on Deloitte's 2017 list of the fastest 500 growing technology companies. Deloitte evaluated revenue growth from 2013 to 2016 of companies that have been in business for those four years, are headquartered in Canada or the U.S., own proprietary technology that contributes to the majority of operating revenue, had a 2013 base-year operating revenue of at least $50,000 and had 2016 operating revenue of at least $5 million.
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Turkey & U.S. Embassies Resume Limited Visa Services

Business Travel News (BTN) - 10 November 2017
Turkish diplomatic and consular missions have begun accepting visa applications from U.S. citizens "on a limited basis," according to a statement from the Turkish Embassy. Border visas, for which one applies upon arrival, and electronic visas remain suspended. Visas have been suspended since early October after Turkey arrested a U.S. consulate employee under suspicion of links to a failed coup. The arrest sparked a diplomatic row. Similarly, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Turkey have resumed visa services on a limited basis, according to an embassy statement, after assurances from the Turkish government that no additional employees are under
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Alitalia Exec Says There Are No Distribution Charges in the Near Future

Business Travel News (BTN) - 9 November 2017
Alitalia says introducing a surcharge for global distribution system bookings, as its partner Air France-KLM has done, is "on the table." Still, the carrier does not plan any action on the matter in the near future, chief commercial officer Fabio Maria Lazzerini said.
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WoodSpring Hotels Sees Rise in Development Deals

Business Travel News (BTN) - 9 November 2017
WoodSpring Hotels is on track to open 21 hotels during 2017, which will bring the company's portfolio to 235 properties across the U.S. The extended-stay brand refreshed its system and switched its name from Value Place in 2015, a move that has enhanced its dealmaking ability. WoodSpring expects to open an additional 45 hotels in 2018 and has 25 deals in its sales pipeline. Markets in which WoodSpring is opening properties in 2017 include Seattle, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Nashville, Miami and Boston.
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Spirit Airlines' Surprise Appearance Atop On-Time Performance List

Business Travel News (BTN) - 9 November 2017
Spirit Airlines—no, that was not a typo—was the most on-time major North American carrier in October, getting 87.8 percent of flights to the gate within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival times, according to FlightStats. While Spirit perennially has struggled with on-time performance, the carrier has cut down on delays in recent years through route planning and new aircraft, CEO Robert Fornaro said in Spirit's third-quarter earnings call. Excluding the impact of hurricanes, on-time performance in the third quarter would have been up 2.2 percentage points year over year, he said. "We used to be on the bottom every day," Fornaro said. "Now we're in the middle and sometimes on top, which is where we want to be." Delta, which had been the most on-time major North American carrier the two previous months, was the second most punctual carrier, followed by Alaska and United.
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American Express Expands vPayment to Canada

Business Travel News (BTN) - 8 November 2017
American Express has made its vPayment virtual card offering available in Canada. It also is available in Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the U.S. and the U.K. Because Amex partners with Conferma, the payment network has access to Conferma's network of travel management companies and global distribution systems.

Extended Stay America Occupancy Dipped in Q3

Business Travel News (BTN) - 7 November 2017
Extended Stay America reported a year-over-year gain in average daily rate but a slight drop in occupancy during the third quarter. ADR increased 0.2 percent to $69.01, while occupancy dipped 40 basis points to 79 percent. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma slightly lifted results, according to CEO Gerry Lopez, but business demand remained soft. The company's plan to franchise new and existing ESA properties is on track, and the company is closing a deal to sell 25 hotels. However, Lopez said it's too soon to share additional details. Revenue decreased 1 percent year over year to $350.9 million, while net income increased 16 percent to $66.3
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Choice Hotels ADR & Occupancy Grew in Q3

Business Travel News (BTN) - 6 November 2017
Choice Hotels International reported year-over-year growth in both occupancy and average daily rate during the third quarter. Occupancy increased 70 basis points to 69.2 percent, and ADR rose 1.2 percent to $89.78. CEO Pat Pacious said the company had approximately 350 hotels within the impact area of hurricanes Irma and Harvey. About a dozen are still closed. However, the influx of first responders requiring lodging benefitted Choice's performance. Choice reported 2.1 percent year-over-year growth in its portfolio of domestic rooms and 2.3 percent for international rooms. Revenue increased 10 percent to $295 million, while net income remained flat at $47.6 million.
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Air France Joins the GDS Surcharge Club

Business Travel News (BTN) - 3 November 2017
In April, Air France-KLM will begin charging an 11 euro fee on global distribution bookings, becoming the last of the Big Three European carriers to introduce such a charge, executives said during an earnings call.
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Natural Disasters Further Hurt Hyatt Q3 Results

Business Travel News (BTN) - 2 November 2017
Natural disasters and Rosh Hashana's and Yom Kippur's shifts into late September dragged on Hyatt Hotels Corp.'s third-quarter results. Systemwide revenue per available room increased 1.6 percent year over year, but excluding the impact of those two factors, RevPAR increased 2.6 percent. Even prior to hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey and the 7.1-magnitude earthquake in Mexico in September, CEO Mark Hoplamazian said, the company had expected the third quarter to be its weakest of the year. The RevPAR growth Hyatt experienced was driven by occupancy, which rose 1.1 percentage points year over year to 77.9 percent. Average daily rate increased 0.3 percent to $197.71.
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Global Load Factor Hit a September Record Despite Hurricanes' Impact

Business Travel News (BTN) - 2 November 2017
Global airline passenger demand growth slowed to 5.7 percent year over year in September, its slowest year-over-year rate of growth since February, according to the International Air Transport Association. Hurricanes Irma and Maria bore the brunt of the blame.
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Crowne Plaza Makes Flexible Meetings Spaces Part of Brand Standard

Business Travel News (BTN) - 1 November 2017
In June 2018, InterContinental Hotels Group's Crowne Plaza brand will make its Plaza Workspace flexible meeting solution a brand standard for hotels to implement during renovation. The news comes after Crowne Plaza wrapped a conference with owners and general managers last week. The conference highlighted new programs and initiatives that grew out of the hotel company's three-year, $200 million Crowne Plaza Accelerate program, which launched in June 2016. The decision to make the meeting spaces a brand standard came after a pilot that delivered an ROI for property owners within two years, according to the company.
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Bob Brindley Moves to Startup TripActions

Business Travel News (BTN) - 30 October 2017
Twenty-one year BCD Travel/Advito executive Bob Brindley has left the mega travel management company and consultancy to join artificial intelligence-driven travel app provider TripActions. He will broker supply-side relationships for the startup, both with content partners and product licensing with agency partners. Currently, TripActions aggregates content from Sabre, Expedia and Priceline and overlays AI to deliver corporate policy-compliant travel itineraries that also account for traveler loyalty and historical behavior. At the same time, the app delivers a trip-specific cost to beat, based on real-time content options, and it rewards travelers in a points-based system for booking under that target. BTN editor-in-chief Elizabeth West caught up with Brindley.
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IAG Revenue Rose Slightly in Q3

Business Travel News (BTN) - 28 October 2017
British Airways parent company International Airlines Group reported a 0.8 percent increase in passenger revenue to 15.5 billion euros in the third quarter, and British Airways reported strength in premium bookings. Traffic increased 1.6 percent as capacity increased 0.9 percent, pushing load factor up 0.6 percentage points to 86.2 percent. IAG reported an after-tax profit of 1.1 billion euros for the quarter, compared with 970 million euros in the third quarter of 2016.
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Lufthansa Group Revenue Rises in Q3

Business Travel News (BTN) - 27 October 2017
Lufthansa Group's air traffic revenue increased 14.6 percent year over year to 8.1 billion euros during the third quarter. Traffic increased 13.2 percent, and capacity rose 11.8 percent, pushing load factor up a percentage point to 85.4 percent. The company reported a net profit of 1.2 billion euros for the quarter, down from 1.4 billion euros in the third quarter of 2013.
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Air Canada Business Cabin Revenue Increases in Q3

Business Travel News (BTN) - 27 October 2017
Air Canada's passenger revenue increased 9.1 percent year over year in the third quarter to 4.5 billion Canadian dollars, a quarterly record for the carrier. Revenue for business class travel rose C$90 million, or 13.7 percent, Air Canada passenger airlines president Benjamin Smith said. Traffic rose 11.7 percent, and Air Canada increased capacity 12.3 percent. Its load factor dropped 0.2 percentage points to 85.3 percent. Yield increased 0.4 percent. Air Canada reported a net income of C$1.8 billion for the quarter, compared with C$768 million in the third quarter of 2016. This year's net income included a C$793 million net income tax recovery.
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American Airlines Sees Third Consecutive Quarter of Corporate Market Share Growth

Business Travel News (BTN) - 27 October 2017
American Airlines has added 16,000 small and midsize corporate accounts since the beginning of the year, growing the segment by 50 percent, SVP of revenue management Don Casey said during the carrier's third-quarter earnings call. The quarter was the third in a row during which the carrier's corporate market share improved, and the average ticket value for corporate customers also rose year over year, Casey said. The carrier additionally has renewed a focus on group sales, which is "seeing good progress," president Robert Isom said.
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Omni Adopts Conferma Connect, Eliminates Virtual Card Fax & Form Headache

Business Travel News (BTN) - 27 October 2017
Omni Hotels has integrated with Conferma Connect, which enables virtual card authorizations via secure email rather than fax. Conferma Connect launched last September. This new partnership with Omni took the integration a step further, eliminating the duplicate effort required from clients to fill out an online form to capture virtual card details. Conferma head of integrations and communications David Wood told BTN: "Omni has opened up [the application programming interface] of the Web form to enable Conferma to automate completion of that form."

Big Plans from IHG's New CEO

Business Travel News (BTN) - 24 October 2017
nterContinental Hotels Group CEO Keith Barr assumed his new role as head executive on July 1, stepping up from his prior position as chief commercial officer. But already Barr has ambitious plans for IHG. He spoke with BTN lodging editor Julie Sickel.
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Lyft Gains on Uber Dominance in Q3

Business Travel News (BTN) - 24 October 2017
Lyft gained market share in the third quarter as Uber saw its first recorded share decline, according to Certify. While Uber still dominated ground transportation, accounting for 54 percent of the ground transportation expenses Certify processed during the third quarter, Uber's share was a percentage point lower than the previous quarter, the first time it has declined since Certify began measuring the ride-hailing industry. Lyft, meanwhile, grew its share 3 percentage points quarter over quarter to 11 percent, its highest gain in Certify's data history. Its biggest gain was in San Francisco, where it increased its share by 9 percentage points as Uber declined 8 percentage points. Car rental companies and taxis each also lost 1 percentage point of share quarter over quarter, accounting for 28 percent and 7 percent, respectively, of ground transportation expenses processed in the third quarter.
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Alitalia Prepares to Judge Suitors to Lead It Out of Bankruptcy

Business Travel News (BTN) - 23 October 2017
The proposal process to determine the future of Alitalia is winding down, but executives insist the carrier will not accept a marriage of desperation. New chief commercial officer Fabio Maria Lazzerini said Alitalia's financial situation has improved since it began bankruptcy proceedings this year. Saying things are "business as usual," Lazzerini spoke with BTN transportation editor Michael B. Baker about Alitalia's outlook and how the proceedings are affecting its relationships with corporate partners.
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United Makes Changes to PassPlus Program to Grow Enrollment

Business Travel News (BTN) - 20 October 2017
United Airlines hopes to increase participation among small and midmarket travel programs in the prepaid program. Among changes that began in September, companies can use PassPlus with a United corporate contract, as opposed to choosing one or the other, Americas VP of sales Jake Cefolia said. With that, companies can use a corporate agreement to cover their general travel population and a PassPlus account for executives and road warriors, he said.

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