The average daily rate at U.S. hotels in October increased 4.6 percent year over year to $118.87
as demand continues to shatter records, according to STR. U.S. hotel occupancy in October increased 5.3 percent to 68 percent, and demand increased 6.3 percent, the largest monthly growth since December 2010, according to STR senior vice president of strategic development Jan Freitag. Hotels during the month sold 104 million room nights and revenue per available room increased 10.1 percent, both October records, he added. Average daily rate increased in all top 25 markets, most strongly in Nashville (13.9 percent to $126.34), Denver (12.4 percent to $123.03) and San Francisco (12.3 percent to $244.24).
Basic Wi-Fi access now is free across the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces portfolio,
the company announced this week. Guests at Taj properties are able to connect on up to three devices at no charge, while guests at Vivanta by Taj and Gateway Hotels can connect on up to two devices, according to the policy. The hotels will offer higher-bandwidth connections for a fee. The Taj group consists of 93 hotels, largely in India as well as 16 properties around the globe, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, the Middle East and Africa.
Total revenue for Serko increased 50 percent year over year for the six months ending Sept. 30,
the New Zealand-based online booking and expense software provider announced Thursday. Revenue increased to NZ$4.7 million (US$3.7 million), with revenue from travel bookings, Serko's "core revenue growth engine," up 36 percent year over year. Online transaction volume rose 32 percent. Serko's net loss widened to NZ$3.6 million (US$2.8 million) from NZ$347,000 (US$272,000) for the prior-year period, which CFO Tim Bluett attributed to "the planned investment we have made in growing our organization and operational capacity to support the pipeline of growth for the business."
Virgin Atlantic as of Friday will require a $40 fee for advance seat reservations on all long-haul flights besides Tokyo routes,
though many corporate bookings will be exempt from the fee, the carrier announced this week. Among those exempt from the seat-selection fee are corporate travelers using negotiated corporate fares, premium and premium-economy passengers, tickets in the B and Y economy-fare codes and Delta SkyMiles or Virgin Flying Club members with at least gold status. The carrier also noted that travel agents will be able to assign seats in global distribution systems for travelers in the premium and premium-economy cabins and Y and B classes, but that all other exempt categories would have to request specific seats through the Virgin Atlantic website. All travelers still will be able to pick their seats without charge when checking in within 24 hours of their flight.