Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio October
By Sarah J.F.Braley
AIR-FRIENDLY CARS... E-TICKET NEWS
Two California rental outposts offer late-model cars that
Did you unplug the car? Ecologically minded
travelers now can test-drive the future by renting an electricity-
or natural gas-powered car from Budget EV Rental Cars at Los
Angeles International Airport or Sacramento Airport.
More than 1,000 people have opted for the innovative cars since
December, when the joint venture between Budget Rental Car Corp.
and EV Rental Cars opened shop at LAX. The combined fleet of 20
cars, which rent from $44 a day, includes the Ford Ranger EV, GM's
EV1, Honda Civic GX (it runs on natural gas, which burns much
cleaner than gasoline) and Toyota RAV4-EV.
Key to the success of the venture, of course, is the need for
places to power up electric cars, which travel 50 to 100 miles
before needing more juice. According to the Los Angeles Department
of Water and Power, there are more than 220 plug-in sites in
Southern California, and it costs about $1 to charge up overnight.
Natural gas is available at about 300 stations across
EV Rental Cars wants to expand nationwide. "We will be in about
eight locations in California by the end of the year, and into
Phoenix and Las Vegas in the first quarter of next year," says
Terry O'Day, director of planning and operations for the L.A.-based
company. "We plan to head east by the end of 2000."
Interactive e-tickets. In an effort to expand
the use of electronic tickets throughout the travel industry, IBM
has joined the International Air Transport Association to develop a
way to link the e-ticket systems of hundreds of airlines. IATA and
Big Blue want to create a system linking carriers to a centralized
service for the processing and exchanging of e-tickets.
Expiration expires. In early August, American
Airlines announced its frequent flyer miles no longer would expire,
leaving United as the only major U.S. airline still hanging on to
the policy. A week later, United also eliminated expiration dates,
provided members earn or redeem miles at least once every 36
months. The carrier then offered to return miles that had gone sour
in 1998 to members who register and take either two paid domestic
roundtrips or one paid international roundtrip on flights operated
by United, United Shuttle or United Express. Go to
offers.mileageplus.com/ mpw049 to register.
Stuck on the runway? American Airlines now
allows the use of wireless phones and two-way pagers while its
planes are delayed on the tarmac. However, passengers should not
turn on the phone until the pilot says it is OK.
Lose weight and fly free. Travelers who use the
LifeCycles and StairMasters at The Houstonian in Houston, the MGM
Grand in Las Vegas or the San Francisco Hyatt can earn one
frequent-flyer mile per sweaty minute. The program is offered by
San Francisco-based Netpulse, which makes entertainment systems for
the machines. Users just log on and start panting. Participating
airlines are American, United, Delta, Northwest and America West.
"We plan on greatly expanding our reach into the hotel industry,"
says a Netpulse spokesperson.
Built-in access. As Choice Hotels joins the
ranks of companies offering Internet services to guests, the Silver
Springs, Md.-based company has announced it is designing a special
in-room station for users. A 15-inch display panel will be mounted
on the wall above a desk equipped with a keyboard. The high-speed
Web service, called SuiteLink, is provided by GuesTech, a
Baltimore-based Internet company. Use of the system and surfing the
Web will be free; guests will pay $9.95 to use one of the
applications on the system, like Microsoft Word or PowerPoint.
Those who want to log on with their own laptops instead of the
in-room PC will pay $9 to get on the system.
Back to Current Issue indexM&C
| Events Calendar
| Incentive News
| Meetings Market
| CVB Links
| Reader Survey
| Hot Dates
| Contact M&C