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16 posts categorized "Mobile & Business Travel"

August 03, 2009

New York Air Market Continues to Heat Up: American Offering Double Miles

TomBotts
By Tom Botts for Hudson Crossing.

The highly competitive market in New York continues to just get hotter. Today, American launched a new promotion offering New Yorkers double AAdvantage frequent flyer miles for the rest of the year. On all routes, all fares, worldwide.

This is clearly a response to a similar offer that Delta made a few weeks ago for which was broader in some respects (you don't have to live in NY) but also more targeted because you need to be a Delta American Express card holder.

What is interesting is that American felt the only place they needed to match the offer was the NYC market. The New York area has increasingly become a battle ground between Delta, Continental and American. AA and DL (especially DL) have added extensive new flights from JFK, AA has opened a new terminal at JFK. Continental continues to operate the largest operation of any of the carriers, albeit over at Newark - NY's third airport even though it is in New Jersey. (Which simply allows Delta to claim more flights from New York meaning the state rather than the metropolitan area - funny, they dont make the same claim in Cincinnati where the airport (CVG) is actually in Kentucky!) But we digress.

Complicating the story is Continental's impending move from the Skyteam Alliance (of which Delta is part of) to the Star Alliance which has not had a strong New York presence. Many NY travelers split their loyalty between Delta and Continental and credit their miles on both into one program. This is about to change as consumers will no longer be able to credit CO flights to DL and vice-versa. This change, set to happen this fall, raises the stakes for both carriers to hold on to the other's travelers.

Oh, and if you want those double miles on AA, go here and register....

June 06, 2009

WorldMate Itinerary Generator: LateRooms.com and CarRentals.com Now Supported

In our spirit of non-stop progress on the itinerary generation front, we just added two more suppliers to the list of supported itineraries. Our system can now read itineraries from  LateRooms.com and CarRentals.com. What this means is that if you booked a hotel with LateRooms.com or a car with CarRentals.com , all you need to do to get the info for those into your WorldMate itinerary is to forward the confirmation email you got to trips@worldmate.com. The booking info will automatically be extracted from the email. We'd even geo-locate the hotel / rental car office so it's easy for you to navigate to them. From there - the information will flow directly into your BlackBerry, iPhone or Windows Mobile phone, where it will be instantly available for you while travelling.


Crlogo        Laterooms_logo
Learn more about how we automatically build itineraries in our article named Email Us Your Travel Plans.

May 21, 2009

WorldMate Itinerary Generator Now Supports Flybe

We are continuing to grow our parsing support for travel confirmation emails coming from European providers. We've just launched support for Flybe - Europe's largest independent regional airline carrier. Flybe was named 'Regional Airline of the Year 2009' and operates throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe. 

Flybelogo_800

So from now on our Itinerary Generator can automatically add flights booked with this airline directly to our mobile itineraries, so their details are available on your BlackBerry or Windows Mobile phone and they can be automatically tracked for you. Of course, flight schedules and flight status / alerts for Flybe are also available!

To learn more about WorldMate's Itinerary Generator and how it automatically builds your travel plans and puts them on your mobile phone - read this article.     

May 10, 2009

The World's Worst Business Travel Experiences

As you may have guessed - we see it every day. At WorldMate we get to experience all those flight delays and cancellation, lost luggage, mishandled hotel bookings and all sorts of travel mishaps - TWICE. First - because we monitor everyone's flight and itineraries - we send dozens of thousands of flight alerts every day. We track flight and airport delays, and we have users sending us thank-you notes about how we saved them from their trouble... Second - we're out there ourselves... just a few weeks ago I landed in RDU at midnight, rented a dingy Subaru to drive all the way to Pinehurst NC the next day to participate in a conference, then drove to CLT to catch a flight to Toronto... So we share your pain...


And because we do - we are now announcing the "World's Worst Business Traveler Experience" contest. What you have to do to win is very simple. Send us your worst travel horror story. It has to be up to 100 words, and all you have to do is post it as a comment right here (below). On June 1st we will bring all these stories before our esteemed panel of judges hand-picked from our team and our buddies... the best story will be featured in our next WorldMate newsletter, and the lucky winner wins an Amazon Kindle II reader, to keep him entertained on the next long wait at some airport...

So what are you waiting for? Tell it all, WorldMate Listens!

May 02, 2009

The Age of Ancillary Revenue

We recently attended TravelCom and one phrase stood out amongst all others “ancillary revenue”.   This term covers the various ways in which airlines supplement their traditional revenue streams.  Some examples include charging $15-$100 to check in bags, selling sandwiches instead of giving away free snacks, and fuel surcharges.  Basically, it is code for nickel-and-diming passengers with hidden fees.

This hunt for ancillary revenue isn’t unique to airlines.  In fact, travel agencies are on their own mission to find alternative revenue streams.  Expedia, which is the largest online travel agency, just made this revealing announcement to Wall Street:

In 2008, over 60% of our revenue came from transactions involving the booking of hotel reservations, with less than 15% of our worldwide revenue derived from the sale of airline tickets. …… We have been working toward and will continue to work toward increasing the mix of advertising and media revenue from both the expansion of our TripAdvisor Media Network, as well as increasing advertising revenue from our worldwide websites such as Expedia.com and hotels.com, which have historically been focused on transaction revenue. During the first quarter of 2009, advertising and media revenue accounted for approximately 11% of worldwide revenue.

In other words, Expedia now makes almost as much revenue from selling advertising as it does from flight booking commissions.  Incredible!   What’s even more surprising is that Expedia’s TripAdvisor has launched a flight meta-search engine in which it displays the cheapest flights and actually directs you to Expedia’s competitors to book.

What is going on here?         

It started last year when the airlines responded to the oil price hikes by adding fuel surcharges and baggage fees.   It worked.   AirTran announced that it made a $28.7M profit in the first three months of 2009 with $56M in revenues coming from “other” (aka ancillary revenue).  So, even though oil is back down from $140 to $53 a barrel, there’s no sign that the airlines will walk away from this goldmine …especially with the global economic slowdown.

The online travel agencies’ move to advertising revenue has been spurred by other factors.  First, they are losing market share to the airlines’, hotels’ and car rental chains’ own websites.  Also, some of the larger online travel agencies smell blood in the water and are reducing or eliminating flight booking fees to drive out smaller rivals which are completely dependent on that revenue.  And so we get the case outlined above- Expedia is now making almost as much money driving affiliate traffic to the airlines’ sites as it is by selling the flight ticket directly to the traveler.

Is it just me, or is this getting out of control?  I can’t tell you how many times I‘ve heard fellow passengers say, “Why don’t they just raise the ticket price instead of surprising me with these ridiculous fees?”  Wouldn’t the airlines and online travel agencies be better served if they competed on value instead of price?  I’d gladly pay twice as much for the fantastic Virgin America experience, especially if they would throw in snack or two.  And as for the online travel agencies, there’s nothing wrong with a booking fee as long as it is supported by service—i.e. suggesting better flights, hotels, and vacation packages than we would find otherwise.  Come on travel industry players!  Focus on your core value proposition, make it world-class, and then charge a high enough price to earn a profit.  Seems to work for Southwest Airlines.

Check out how much you’ll have to cough up for baggage check-in on your next flight: flyingfees.com.

March 27, 2009

Stomp, Clap, Stomp, Clap

"This is flight 372 on SWA,

The flight attendants on board serving you today

Teresa in the middle, David in the back

My name is David and I'm here to tell you that

Shortly after takeoff, first thing's first

There's soft drinks and coffee to quench your thirst..."


Watch this great clip of a rapping Southwest flight attendant: