Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio August
By Paul Grimes
MONEY TALKS... NEW MUSIC MACHINES
BizTravel.com tells customers flights will be on time or
they’ll get their money back
F light delay? They’ll pay. In May,
BizTravel.com (www.biztravel.com) made some bold
promises, putting its money where its mouth is. Customers who buy
tickets from the online service receive varied refunds when flights
are delayed or canceled, their seat assignments are not honored,
their baggage is lost or they don’t get their entrées of choice in
first or business class.
Examples of the policy include a refund of $100 for any flight
arriving at the gate more than 30 minutes late; an hour late, $200;
more than two hours late, full refund. Canceled flights also result
in a complete refund. The guarantees apply only on tickets
purchased for American Airlines, Continental Airlines, US Airways,
British Airways and Air France flights.
“We see it as putting money into a customer service program,
when many companies would put that money into advertising,” says
Jodie Lapin, a spokesperson for the Internet service. Guarantees
are also in place for travelers who don’t get prompt service from
BizTravel.com’s customer service department, but all the money that
has been paid out so far has been for flight-related
Lapin says the Web site has seen a five- to tenfold increase in
registrants and bookings since the policy was announced.
Music to guests' ears. Forget trying to find a
decent station on the bedside clock radios found at most hotels.
The Digital Jukebox is among the new choices available at
properties offering movies and more from Sioux Falls, S.D.-based
LodgeNet Entertainment Corp. Guests have access to music from
hundreds of CDs; using the remote control, they can jump from song
to song or from one CD to another.
Adding to its movie offerings, LodgeNet has introduced a new Web
Cinema option for viewing over the in-room TV, showcasing short
films created for the Internet. The shorts’ run times range from 30
seconds to 30 minutes. Another entertainment choice is “Now That’s
Comedy,” hour-long performances by well-known stand-up acts.
Pricing for the various options had not been finalized as of press
time. LodgeNet has exclusive contracts with Omni Hotels,
Ritz-Carlton Hotels, all corporate Sheratons and many franchised
properties, representing 760,000 rooms in the United States and
Step Lightly. A study released by the Surface
Transportation Policy Project (www.transact.org/Reports/ms2000/default.htm)
in Washington, D.C., lists the most dangerous cities for
pedestrians. The report studied federal data from 1997 and 1998,
calculating results based on pedestrian fatalities relative to
census information on the number of people who walk to work.
Starting with the most dangerous, the top 10 places to watch
where you walk are Tampa, Fla.; Atlanta; Miami; Orlando;
Jacksonville, Fla.; Phoenix; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Memphis, Tenn.;
Dallas, and New Orleans.
What to read. Even while sitting on a plane,
many travelers like to read about voyages others have taken. Tomes
like Love & Romance: True Stories of Passion on the Road,
edited by Judith Babcock Wylie (Travelers’ Tales Inc., San
Francisco, $17.95) are excerpted and reviewed at Travelers’ Tales
(www.travelerstales.com). The archive allows new visitors to read
up on old insights. All the books for sale from the site are
published by Travelers’ Tales.
Do you have a tale to tell? Under “guidelines,” intrepid
voyagers will find rules for submitting stories to be considered
for publication in one of the company’s upcoming collections. Three
titles for which Travelers’ Tales is currently soliciting anecdotes
are Gift of Gardens, gardens seen through the eyes of travelers;
Holy Men & Women, relating interactions, pilgrimages and
unexpected encounters on the road; and Soul of Service, tales of
volunteerism on the road.
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