Red Lion Hotels Corp. Wednesday launched Hotel RL,
a new lifestyle brand that is part of a plan announced this summer aggressively to grow its portfolio outside the West Coast. The brand features The Steps, an open pavilion-style lobby where complimentary Wi-Fi and coffee service will be available, according to RLHC president and CEO Greg Mount. RLHC anticipates the first addition to Hotel RL this year and the opening or conversion of more properties in 2015.
The average daily rate at U.S. hotels in September increased 5.3 percent year over year to $117.17,
according to STR. ADR increased in all but one of the nation's top 25 markets. Four markets reported double-digit percentage ADR increases: Seattle (up 14 percent to $150.71), Boston (up 12.1 percent to $201.84), Nashville (up 12.1 percent to $119.50) and Denver (up 11.9 percent to $121.33). Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Va. fell 0.6 percent to $85.16, posting the only ADR decrease. U.S. hotel occupancy for September increased 3.9 percent to 65.7 percent and hotel demand for the month was up 8.6 percent, the second-highest increase of the year, fueled by group business, according to STR Analytics director Carter Wilson.
Hickory Global Partners named Grasp Technologies as its preferred tech provider,
noting that Grasp's "automation, reporting and business intelligence solutions" will be made available to member agencies at a discount. The two companies intend to collaborate on new, tailored solutions and announced that Hickory would be "the first" organization to pilot the forthcoming Grasp-tripBam integration. Announced this month
, Grasp-TB Sync will provide Hickory agencies automated back-office data transmission for tripBam's hotel shopping service.
Eurostar reported a 6 percent year-over-year increase in third-quarter business-class bookings,
resulting from "growing economic confidence [in the United Kingdom] that … continued to gather momentum." Overall, the high-speed rail service provider linking the United Kingdom and mainland Europe said third-quarter passenger volume and sales revenue grew 3 percent and 2 percent, respectively, versus the year-earlier period. With its 20-year anniversary coming next month, Eurostar now claims 10 consecutive years of growing passenger counts and sales volumes. The company is planning network expansion in the coming years, including new service in 2016 between London and Amsterdam
Competing carriers have matched a U.S. domestic airfare hike initiated last week by Delta Air Lines,
according to analysis by airfare comparison shopping site FareCompare. The carrier on Oct. 16 raised domestic roundtrip fares by up to $10, and Southwest, American, US Airways and United all matched the hike by the next day, FareCompare reported. This marks the first successful systemwide domestic fare increase since April, an increase also spurred by a Delta initiative, and it happened despite falling fuel prices, according to a research note from JPMorgan North America Equity Research.
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.