September 01, 1999
Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio September 1999 Current Issue
September 1999 On TravelPLANNER'S PORTFOLIO:

On Travel

By Sarah J.F.Braley


Let a "virtual bellhop" carry your bags from point of origin to destination

Better than curbside check-in. Wouldn't it be great to travel without bags at all? Let Grayslake, Ill.-based TraveLite's Virtual Bellhop (877-BELLHOP; send your bags on ahead. Virtual Bellhop comes to your door, picks up your luggage and delivers it to your destination, promising same-day, next-day or two-day delivery to 150 U.S. cities. Prices start at $65, and corporate discounts are available. The service carries the same amount of lost-luggage protection as the airlines; extra insurance is available for a nominal fee.

Businesswomen prefer Marriott. Women traveling on business look for conveniences, small luxuries and safety in a hotel, and Marriott is the chain that best provides those amenities, according to a study from the Businesswomen's Research Institute.

The group, the research arm of Houston-based MacDonald Communications Corp., which publishes Working Woman and Working Mother, also found 70 percent of the 500 women surveyed add vacation days to trips and/or bring their families along.

Women most enjoy business travel for the chance to experience a different city and escape office routines, yet they dislike how business travel disrupts family life and cuts into their free time (95 percent of those surveyed are away a median of 10 nights a year on business). More than 60 percent of the respondents personally select the hotels they stay in.

Access approved. Expect to see more high-speed Internet access in hotels. New on the scene from Austin, Texas, is Wayport's Everywire system, which can be installed without rewiring the facility. The only thing users need is an Ethernet card and cable. For those who travel to the Hershey (Pa.) Lodge and Convention Center where the meeting rooms, exhibit space and guest rooms are all Everywired the gift shop carries Ethernet accessories right next to the Kisses and Hugs.

Mmm-mmm good. Legendary chef Jacques Pépin has come on board with United Airlines to bring good taste to the friendly skies.

Beginning Oct. 1, first- and business-class passengers on select domestic flights will dine on the results of Pépin's collaboration with United executive chef Gerry Gulli and his culinary team.

Among the gourmet dishes are rack of lamb Provençal, sea bass in potato crust, pork loin with port and prunes and braised short ribs in red wine sauce.

All news, anywhere. News junkies who like to hold the daily paper in their hands can now get hometown updates delivered to their hotels. New York City-based PressPoint ( digitally sends global editions to Xerox centers around the world that print and deliver the 32-page papers. The service is available at Renaissance, Starwood Luxury Collection, Hilton International and Le Méridien hotels, as well as select properties in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, London and Washington, D.C.

Among the papers that come in abbreviated versions are The New York Daily News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, as well as such international papers as Brazil's Jornal do Brasil, France's Libération and Spain's El Mundo.

European strolls. Walking tours on the Continent can be led by a tape from Sound Travel (800-748-5804), a San Francisco audio-publishing company that previously specialized in museum tours. The RomeWalks, ParisWalks, LondonWalks, VeniceWalks and FlorenceWalks tapes steer listeners off the beaten track and away from crowded tourist traps.

Each package costs $18 and comes with four different itineraries on two tapes. Maps for each walk also are included.

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