As part of the simplified fare
structure rolled out by Delta Air Lines last week, the carrier
terminated the Delta Meeting Network program, which offered group
fare discounts of up to 10 percent. Delta's new low fares were
quickly matched by the other legacy airlines -- American,
Continental, Northwest, United and US Airways -- on competing
routes. To date, American Airlines has been the most aggressive in
mirroring Delta's across-the-board price restructuring. "It's an
opportunity to help the business traveler come back to the major
airlines they've been avoiding for the last couple of years," said
Helane Becker, airline analyst with the Benchmark Co., a
consultancy in New York City. "But it will herald more bankruptcies
in the short term. There are a number of carriers that may not make
it, like US Airways."
Passkey, the online group-housing
company, has launched a companion product called GroupLink to
further integrate the online reservations it takes with hotels'
property management systems. Before now, Passkey-enabled properties
had to schedule a download of reservations into their systems,
usually at the cutoff date. "You just did it once," said Bruce
Small, director of sales information systems for Hyatt Hotels
Corp., which is testing GroupLink at its New Orleans property. Now,
reservations can be downloaded on an ongoing basis, whether on a
regular schedule or in real time. GroupLink will allow hotels to
bypass paid distribution systems such as Pegasus, said Greg Pesik,
president and CEO of Passkey, depending on where a property's main
base of information resides.
Meeting Professionals International and
the Professional Convention Management Association introduced a new
Multicultural Toolkit for their chapters during PCMA's Annual
Meeting this week in Hawaii. The Conference in San Diego later this
month, was created by members of MPIÕs Multicultural Initiative
Committee and the Joint PCMA/Foundation Diversity Task Force. "It's
an important issue that was on the plate at both organizations,"
said David Kushner, CMP, CAE, president and CEO of PCMA.
The 25-acre, $1 billion Grand Ko Olina
Resort, Hotel & Spa will be built on the Hawaiian island of
Oahu, the Oahu Visitors Bureau announced Jan. 7. Part of the
642-acre Ko Olina Resort & Marina, which already includes the
387-room JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa, the property will
break ground at the end of this year. It will have approximately
1,000 rooms, as well as an entertainment area of restaurants and
shops, numerous pools, lagoons and meeting space. No opening date
has been announced.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts announced
on Jan. 5 that it will open its first resort in Taiwan. The
180-room Sheraton Yilan Resort will break ground soon and will open
in June 2006 with eight restaurants, a spa, 14,000 square feet of
meeting space, eight dining outlets and mountain views.
Hyatt Hotels Corp. and Woodbine
Development Corp. have finalized plans for the 491-room Hyatt
Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa, to be built adjacent to the
1,100-acre McKinney Roughs Nature Park, just 20 minutes from the
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas. The property, to
open in 2006, will have more than 50,000 square feet of meeting
space, a golf course and a full-service spa, and will offer
recreation such as canoeing, kayaking, rafting, fishing, hiking and
Reed Travel Exhibitions has named
Debbie Jackson, formerly the company's global meetings industry
director, as exhibition director for the Luxury Travel Market
(ILTM). Reed has acquired 100 percent of ILTM, the international
trade show for the luxury travel sector held each December in
Cannes, France. ILTM was launched in 2001 by three former employees
of RTE with Reed owning 25 percent.