Hilton Worldwide plans to equip nearly all of its hotels globally with digital check-in and room-selection capabilities by the end of this year,
the company announced this week. The technology enables Hilton HHonors members to check in via their mobile devices or computers at 6 a.m. on the day before their stays and choose their rooms from either a floor-plan map or room list. Hilton plans to have the capabilities at U.S. properties in the Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites brands by the end of the summer and at more than 4,000 of its more than 4,100 properties worldwide by the end of 2014. Next year, Hilton also will begin to equip rooms with technology enabling guests to use smartphones as their room keys upon arrival, with most rooms across its portfolio equipped with the technology by the end of 2016, according to Hilton. During that same period, Hilton will expand digital check-out capabilities currently available at U.S. hotels to its properties worldwide.
Virgin America on Monday filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission a registration statement for an initial public offering.
Virgin has yet to determine "the number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering." In the filing the airline indicated it provides "contractual travel discounts for over 175 major corporate customers," but acknowledged, "our smaller point-to-point route network and lack of connecting traffic and marketing alliances puts us at a competitive disadvantage to legacy carriers, particularly with respect to our appeal to higher-fare business travelers." Even so, the airline touts as a strength its blending of legacy airline and low-cost-carrier business models. The privately held company, which for years has publicly filed core financials, reported a $22.4 million net loss for the three months ending March 31, compared with a $46.4 million loss for the same period last year. Meanwhile, 2013 represented the airline's "first full year of profitability
Despite rising client activity, Hogg Robinson Group expects profits to fall during its current fiscal year,
according to an interim management statement. Client activity increased 5 percent year over year during the April-June reporting period while client spending dipped 3 percent (but grew 5 percent at constant currency). HRG's revenues declined 6 percent during the three months (but edged upward 1 percent at constant currency). The company cited several factors for deteriorated financial performance, including slower-than-expected trading activity with the government of Canada, an account it picked up last year
; growing client adoption of self-booking, which incurs lower transaction fees; "strong competitor pricing"; and weakness in Asia and in Continental Europe's SME market. "During the remainder of the year we will address the balance of costs versus revenues," according to a statement from HRG chief executive David Radcliffe. "It is unlikely that the associated benefits will fully offset the fall in first-half earnings, but we expect the full-year earnings impact to be significantly less than in the first half."
High-speed rail operator Eurostar reported a 6 percent increase in business travel bookings during the first half of 2014 versus the prior-year period.
Total passenger numbers rose 2 percent to 5 million while sales revenue edged upward 0.5 percent (or 2 percent at constant currency) to £456 million (US$776 million). Following a second quarter that brought challenges to leisure demand in particular, "we are now beginning to see a more benign trading environment with encouraging signs of economic stability in France as well as the U.K.," according to a statement from Eurostar chief executive Nicolas Petrovic. "These more favorable conditions have helped deliver strong growth in business travel across our markets." He added that "the return to more normal levels of growth" for the company that links the United Kingdom to Continental Europe "reflects signs of greater stability in the Eurozone economies."