Total U.S. travel agency air transactions processed through ARC in September increased 5.4 percent from the year-earlier period.
Mega travel management companies (listed by ARC as American Express, BCD Travel, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Expedia's Egencia, Hogg Robinson Group and Omega World Travel) as a group posted a 4.7 percent increase, higher than their aggregate 2.2 percent year-to-date growth rate. For the online agency segment, transactions in September were marginally higher but still down 2.3 percent on the year. All those categorized as "other" combined for 10.2 percent transaction growth, above their 7.9 percent year-to-date increase. Meanwhile, the average roundtrip airfares (excluding taxes) purchased through ARC generally were flat versus September 2013 levels. That included $731 transacted through megas, $629 among those in the "other" category and $390 among online travel agencies. In the zero-to-six-day advance-purchase category, average September fares declined in each agency segment.
Former Ikea global travel purchaser Yves Galimidi has joined TCG Consulting as European engagement manager,
according to TCG. Galimidi will lead "TCG multi-category client engagements—strategy, air, hotel, agency, payment and expense, outsourced management, meetings—for both European-based corporate leaders as well as managing European components for global projects spanning up to 100-plus countries," according to the consultancy. Galimidi, based in Brussels, has more than 20 years of experience at retail giant Ikea in travel management and procurement.
Best Western International on Thursday announced two new brands: an urban "lifestyle" hotel and a soft brand of upper-tier properties.
The first, Vib (pronounced "vibe"), is a prototype for urban markets and will feature "large, interactive lobbies that incorporate the local flavor of their individual markets as well as comfortable and chic guest rooms," according to Best Western. The second, the BW Premier Collection, will be a group of hotels with ratings of at least three diamonds by AAA and CAA and TripAdvisor ratings of at least four. Though hotels in the collection will not be official members of the Best Western portfolio, they will be listed for booking on Best Western's website, participate in the Best Western Rewards program and have the option of buying sales support from the hotel chain.
Etihad Airways this week announced a partnership network with five other carriers.
Members of Etihad Airways Partners will share sales teams in certain destinations, pilot and cabin-crew training at Etihad's facilities in Abu Dhabi and standardized mileage and benefits across a frequent-flyer program. Besides Etihad, initial members include Airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Mumbai-based Jet Airways and Lugano-based Darwin Airline. Future members could include airlines already in global alliances, as Airberlin already is a Oneworld member, according to Etihad.
GlobalStar Travel Management added as a partner Singapore's Corporate Travel Services.
GlobalStar indicated that as a "Tier 1 partner," CTS would play a "steering role" in the organization, including a global board seat for CTS general sales and operations manager Audrey Ng. GlobalStar also noted that CTS has annual revenue above US$110 million, a staff of about 100 and a connection to the Amadeus global distribution system. The multinational travel management network, which already had a Singapore presence with founding partner Global Travel, added that "the rapidly growing business travel industry" in the market warranted the addition of a second partner.
JetBlue Airways and Canada's Porter Airlines announced an interline agreement.
Boston Logan International Airport, where JetBlue offers about 125 daily departures, serves as the connecting point for interline flights; Porter flies up to eight times daily to Logan from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. Interline sales through global distribution systems are available immediately, according to Porter, while bookings through Porter's website for interline flights from Toronto will be introduced throughout October and November, with JetBlue's international service available in 2015. The agreement is Porter's first with a U.S. carrier.