April hotel bookings through global distribution system channels increased 8.8 percent year over year,
the highest increase on record for the month of April and the largest year-over-year increase for any month in almost two years, according to Pegasus Solutions. For the first four months of 2012, GDS channel bookings were up 4 percent, and the average daily rate on those bookings were up 0.1 percent. For the next few months, Pegasus projected corporate booking volumes will be in line with last year's levels, with rates up by "a modest margin."
The International Air Transport Association's outlook for premium airline traffic on North Atlantic and intra-Europe routes is "bleak."
Reporting a 0.6 percent year-over-year decline in the number of passengers flying in premium seats on North Atlantic routes during March, and a 1 percent increase on routes within Europe, IATA noted the effects of "recession throughout the eurozone and slow growth in the United States," including the impact of U.S. government spending cuts. "The weakness in developed economies, particularly in Europe, has caused international trade of developed countries to decline overall," IATA added. "By contrast, international trade in emerging economies—such as Asia, the Middle East and South America—has been increasing at a stronger rate, helping sustain the growth we are seeing in business-related premium travel." March premium traffic within the "Far East" region grew 12 percent year over year, accounting for about one-third of the overall 4.4 percent global increase. "Although China's GDP growth did not meet forecast expectations in Q1, there is no sign of any resulting weakness in business travel demand in the region," IATA wrote. "Emerging markets continue to be the major source of growth in international premium travel."
American Express established a membership rewards program for smaller businesses that pools company points
rather than providing them to individual employees. Clients can apply those points when purchasing travel, office furniture and gift cards, donating to charities and in other ways. Launched about a year ago, the program is being marketed through Amex's proprietary channels and, according to a spokesperson, is targeted mostly at "the smaller end of the midmarket." The company declined to disclose the number of companies currently enrolled in the program.
Travel and Transport and its Ultramar subsidiary opted for an affiliation with Radius,
of which T&T is a
founder and one of three "major" owners, according to a T&T
announcement. When acquiring Ultramar Travel Management
2012, T&T said it would either stick with Radius, shift to GlobalStar
Travel Management (Ultramar's previous global network) or build its own global
network. According to T&T, GlobalStar recently confirmed that its partners
would continue to serve Ultramar Travel Management clients "under existing
agreements for as long as those clients so choose." T&T also noted
that "any new global business signed by Travel and Transport or Ultramar
Travel Management (effective October 1st) will be serviced by the Radius
Sabre-connected agencies in France, the Netherlands and United Kingdom now can book and fulfill Air France-KLM bag fees,
according to Sabre Travel Network. That functionality is available in
the "classic view" of the Sabre Red Workspace while the newer
graphical view in the agency desktop system currently accommodates only
shopping for Air France-KLM prepaid bags, according to a Sabre spokesperson who
noted that "work is in underway to make pre-paid bags bookable in
graphical view." Sabre in September 2012 announced a new content deal with Air France-KLM
that called for the sale of KLM's premium-economy seating. The
spokesperson confirmed that "pre-paid seats are available in graphical
view today for shopping and booking," adding that Sabre receives the seat
and bag content from the Airline Tariff Publishing Co.'s Optional Services
GBTA named travel buyers Donna Kelliher of Dominion and Pamela McTeer of First Data Corp. as nominees for its president and CEO post.
The winner will serve a two-year term starting at the conclusion of the Global Business Travel Association's convention in San Diego in August, where members will vote. Christie Johnson, director of business services at Johnson Downie, is running unopposed for vice president. The ballot also includes three nominees for two Direct member-at-large positions on the board of directors: Denise Truso, global travel director at St. Jude Medical; Rita Visser, director of global travel GPO/executive travel services at Oracle; and Karoline Mayr, director of global travel procurement at Deltek. The open Allied member-at-large board seat will be contested by Altour senior vice president of sales Doug Payne and Christopher Juneau, Concur senior marketing director for Australia and Asia/Pacific.
Privately held Virgin Atlantic Airways reported a £93 million pre-tax loss for its fiscal year ending Feb. 28.
Virgin Atlantic Ltd., a group that includes the passenger airline business as well as Virgin Holidays and an air cargo business, posted a pre-tax loss of £69.9 million, which included positive special items. Group revenue for the 12-month period increased 5 percent year over year, with a modest increase in total passenger counts and a passenger load factor improvement of 1.3 percent. The carrier reported a 9.2 percent increase in passengers traveling in Premium Economy and Upper Class. Virgin Atlantic CEO Craig Kreeger, a former American Airlines executive appointed this year, expected an improved financial performance for this year and has established a plan to "return the business to profitability within a two-year time frame," according to a statement. The path to profitability includes the carrier's new U.K. domestic business
, its pending joint venture with Delta Air Lines
, the impacts of a more fuel-efficient fleet and other initiatives, including a cost-savings program that calls for "£45 million in financial improvements in the current fiscal year."
Concur announced preferred seat tracking and alerts for TripIt Pro users,
although users still must contact the carrier or booking agent to actually change seats. Users can set tracking preferences for classes of service, window or aisle seats and those in the front or back of the cabin. Alerts on openings in exit rows and bulkheads also are available as part of the service, currently offered on the web but coming soon to mobile, Concur announced.