Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio October
By Lisa Grimaldi
LEAVE THE SCHLEPPING TO THEM
Four companies pick up and deliver luggage&Starwood
pampers guests’ dogs
Fly without baggage. With airport check-in
lines getting longer, security rules making it impossible to lock
luggage, and airlines upping the fees for extra and overweight
bags, it makes more sense than ever to ship bags separately.
Four U.S. firms specialize in the field. They’ll pick up luggage
and sports equipment like skis, golf bags and bikes from the
customer’s home or office. Travelers retrieve their bags when they
arrive at the hotel or resort.
All four companies use freight carriers such as Federal Express
and UPS to transport the goods, and all have tracking systems to
keep tabs on bags during each step of the journey. Services can be
purchased on a one-way, roundtrip or multileg basis.
• Luggage Express (866-744-7224; www.usxpluggageexpress.com) offers next-day, two-day and
three- to five-day service for domestic shipments. For
international shipments, five- to 10-day service is the only
All shipments are automatically insured for up to $1,000 at no
extra cost. Additional insurance is available for $6.50 per each
$1,000 of declared value.
Pick-ups and deliveries are on weekdays only.
Rates are based on four basic parameters: total number of
pieces, total weight of shipment, distance traveled from pick-up
spot to final destination, and the level of service (next day,
• Virtual Bellhop (877-235-5467; www.virtualbellhop.com) offers domestic next-day or
second-day service. Economy-deferred service (three to five days)
is available in some instances on a case-by-case basis. Insurance
can be purchased at a cost of $.50 per $100 of declared value.
• SkyCap International (877-775-9227; www.skycapinternational.com) offers both domestic and
international service via Federal Express. The company picks up and
makes deliveries on weekdays and Saturdays.
In addition to home pick-ups, customers can drop luggage off at
any Federal Express location.
• Sports Express (800-357-4174; www.sportsexpress.com) ships luggage and sporting
equipment domestically and to some international locations.
Prices are based on actual weight or, for items like bicycles
and kayaks, dimensional weight (length multiplied by twice the
width and twice the height), whichever is greater.
Domestic options are early and late overnight, and two- and
three-day delivery. Internationally, three- or five-day delivery is
available. One-day notice is required domestically, and a week for
Items are picked up from the traveler’s home or office on
weekdays or Saturdays for a $10 surcharge. All items are
automatically insured for $500 each.
Pooch perks. As of August, all Sheraton, W and Westin properties
in the United States and Canada welcome guests of the four-legged
Not only do dogs get to share their masters’ rooms, but they get
their own dog beds specially designed pet pillows. Every property
offers food and water bowls, temporary ID badges with hotel contact
information and, for owners, a card with tips for traveling with
At Westin properties, pooches are presented with plush doggie
robes, leashes and collars. W hotels provide check-in amenities of
pet toy, dog treat and bone, plus nightly turndown treats on Fido’s
At Westin and Sheraton properties, there is no charge for pups
in guest rooms, while W properties add $25 per night to the bill. A
spokesperson for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, the
parent company for the three brands, said each property has
designated pet guest rooms and practices “stringent cleaning
Dogs weighing up to 80 pounds are accepted at W and Sheraton
properties; Westin’s size limit is 40 pounds.
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