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.
Customers now can use U.S. Bank's virtual card product to purchase air tickets,
the bank announced Monday at the Global Business Travel Association's annual conference in Los Angeles. Launched in 2012
and in partnership with global distribution system Sabre and payments technology provider Conferma, U.S. Bank Travel VirtualPay previously could create single-use account numbers only for lodging bookings. U.S. retailer Macy's piloted the service in the United States, according to U.S. Bank. The bank also announced other virtual card enhancements, including the ability to instantly adjust credit limits and reimburse third-party service providers.
Yapta launched a hotel rate tracking system "with early adopter customers" and a couple of travel management companies, including Travizon and Ultramar.
RoomIQ is a companion tool to Yapta's FareIQ corporate airfare tracking system. Yapta's hotel offering, which has been in development
for more than a year, "automatically tracks corporate hotel reservations and sends price drop alerts when room rate savings are available," according to Yapta. Clients can tailor the system "to identify a variety of specific cost-cutting scenarios." In addition to looking for rate drops at a booked property, RoomIQ also can track rebooking opportunities for "comparable room types, non-preferred properties to preferred properties, and like-to-like amenities such as parking, Internet access and breakfast," according to Yapta.
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