Travel News: Hurtigruten Going Big in the Arctic in 2019

Hurtigruten Going Big in Arctic in 2019

Hurtigruten has announced an expanded Arctic deployment for 2019, not only sailing from Tromso to Russia, but offering expedition cruises in Svalbard with five ships, and a Northwest Passage transit on the new Roald Amundsen. It will be the first time a hybrid ship has sailed the Northwest Passage. In addition, the company announced that both the Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen will offer expedition sailings along Norway’s coast in 2019. Among new expedition offerings are departures from Tromso calling at Murmansk and Frans Josef Land. “Frans Josefs Land is one of the world’s most spectacular, yet at least visited destinations. The Arctic regions of Russia have enormous potential and are perfect for Hurtigruten expeditions,” added Skjeldam. A 15-day expedition departure on the Spitsbergen will cross into Russian waters and Murmansk before sailing the Barents Sea to Franz Josef Land for five days of expedition landings.

norway-1637436_1280

Some NYC Hotels Turn To Urban Destination Fees

The Independent reports in New York City, hotels have found the perfect solution with the introduction of “urban destination fees,” which are similarly hovering around $25 per night on top of the regular room rate. In many cases, the fee also includes extras like free local telephone calls, an F&B credit and Wi-Fi, but in other cases, it is strictly an add-on to reflect “the hotels’ proximity to a ‘tourist attraction,'” A spokesperson for Marriott Hotels and Resorts told The Independent, “The Destination Fee was created as a way to lift the guest experience by providing added value to a hotel stay. Each hotel may offer a combination of hotel services (such as dry-cleaning, pressing or a food & beverage credit); local experience vouchers for free/discounted events and attractions (such as city tours), and/or access to fitness programs (such as yoga or cycling) in nearby studios.” “All participating hotels will include enhanced internet, as well as local, long distance and international phone calls. The implementation of the Destination Fee gives us the opportunity to test how a bundle of benefits that our research shows are valuable to guests might enhance the stay.

norway-1824165_1280

Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam Celebrates Cruise Ship Milestone

The AP reports a coin ceremony was held Wednesday for Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Italy, taking the new-build one step closer to its November 2018 launch. During the event, a Dutch guilder was welded to the front of the 2,660-passenger, Pinnacle-class ship to mark the line’s Dutch heritage. Anne Marie Bartels, a member of Holland America’s President’s Club loyalty program who’s sailed on more than 79 of the line’s voyages, served as the ship’s madrina, an honorary ceremony guest similar to a godmother. Nieuw Statendam, which officially will be floated out December 21, is the second ship in Holland America’s Pinnacle Class; Koningsdam was first in class when it debuted in April 2016. A third Pinnacle-class ship is scheduled to launch in 2021. Much of the new ship’s design will be similar to Koningsdam, but it will have exclusive public spaces and differentiating style elements created by designer Adam D. Tihany and designer and architect Bjorn Storbraaten. Holland America Line’s first ship to be called Statendam sailed in 1898; this will be the sixth vessel in the company’s history to carry the name.

norway-1250504_1280

Marriott Tops J.D. Power Hotel Loyalty Survey

Marriott International’s loyalty program Marriott Rewards edged out Hyatt Hotels Corp.’s World of Hyatt to win J.D. Power’s 2017 Hotel Loyalty Program Satisfaction Study. Marriott Rewards earned a score of 806 on a 1,000-point scale and World of Hyatt received a score of 805. Hilton’s Hilton Rewards finished third with a score of 793 and InterContinental’s IHG Rewards placed fourth with a score of 789. Finishing at the bottom of the study were Wyndham Worldwide’s Wyndham Rewards, 742, and Choice Hotels International’s Choice Privileges, 743. The annual study, which measures member satisfaction with hotel rewards and loyalty programs, found this year that members who redeemed rewards points for dining, car rentals, product purchases and special events exhibited greater satisfaction than those who redeemed only for hotel stays. That finding could spell trouble for some hoteliers but prove a boon for others as many of the industry’s top players expand their rewards programs offerings to include experiences, as well as a wider array of redemption opportunities. The study is based on 4,682 responses from rewards program members who experienced five or more trips during the past 12 months and was fielded in September and October of 2017.

norway-1621758_1280

Abandoned Air Traffic Control Tower In Denver Becomes A Restaurant

An abandoned air traffic control tower which has lain empty for 22 years has been turned into a trendy restaurant. In addition to a dining venue and bar, the Punch Bowl Social will bring arcade games, karaoke and bowling to the disused building at the long-gone Stapleton International Airport in Denver. The plans were revealed earlier this year, but the “entertainment” establishment, has opened this month, retaining the original tower and using much of the former exterior of the building on the inside. The former airport was used to handle hundreds of flights a day between 1929 and 1995, and its tower now offers sterling views over the city. Stapleton, which at its prime welcomed major airlines including United and Continental to its six runways, was decommissioned in 1995 and replaced by Denver International after suffering from a number of problems including lack of room for new airlines, a lawsuit over noise and inadequate separation between runways. Its last flight was a Continental service to London Gatwick. All of the airport’s infrastructure has been removed except for the control tower. The Punch Bowl Social has been designed with its aviation heritage in mind. The interior’s design is intended to hark back to the “golden age of air travel”, while an aviation-themed cocktail menu will remind visitors of the building’s heritage.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cruises, Europe, Hurtigruten

Travel News: Airlines Ban Christmas Crackers, Party Poppers And Chestnuts From Flights

travel news (1)

Airlines Ban Christmas Crackers, Party Poppers And Chestnuts From Flights

The Independent Online reports the above-mentioned items are flammable and should not be brought on airplanes. Strict rules imposed by airports and airlines mean passengers aren’t always allowed to travel with these seasonal essentials, either in their hand luggage or checked bags. As a result of heightened security measures, the likes of Ryanair, Etihad, Emirates and Norwegian Airlines all have crackers on the no-fly list. Even those using airlines which do allow them can usually only take them on board if they are sealed and in their original packaging. Packing crackers in particular is a bit of minefield, with airlines and airports having their own, sometimes conflicting restrictions. A spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration said: “crackers are flammable and should not be brought on airplanes.” Those airlines banning the carriage of Christmas crackers on their flights: Air France, Air India, Air New Zealand, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Emirates, Etihad, Icelandair, KLM, Norwegian Airlines, RyanAir, SAS Scandinavian, Singapore Airlines, South African Airlines, United Airlines, WestJet, Wow.

Windstar Introduces Signature Expeditions

CruiseIndustryNews reports Windstar Cruises has introduced its Signature Expedition program for Alaska. This includes onboard experts, naturalists, geologists, historians and more, who sails the entire cruise, providing insight, understanding, and commentary on Alaska. A number of Signature Expedition tours are also offered, including kayak tours, starting at $170 per guest, zodiac tours, from $40 per guest, and guided hikes, from $150 per guest. he tours promise to give guests a close-up view of Alaska’s icebergs and calving glaciers, flora and fauna. Windstar will sail the Legend from 11 to 14 days from Vancouver and Seward during the 2018 season.

hawaiian-hula-dancers-377653_640

Southwest Has Big Plans For Hawaii

Airline services to and within the Hawaiian Islands are set for major upheaval as Southwest, which starts services next year, signals that it is looking at more than mainland US flights to the holiday islands. Add to the mix the final withdrawal of ultra-low fare Allegiant which stopped its last Boeing 757 flights in October, and the demise of Island Air. Southwest will use 737 MAX 8s on routes to Hawaii and tickets will go on sale early next year, although no dates have been set yet on when flights might begin, or on what specific routes. The 737-MAX8 has a nonstop range of 3,515 nautical mile / 6,510-kilometer range, which puts cities in the western US as far away as Denver within range of the islands. Before flights can begin, the FAA has to give the go-ahead for Southwest’s LEAP 1B-powered aircraft to ply the long overwater ETOPs (extended operations) routes. On the inter-island services, no final decisions have been made according to CEO Kelly. “Inter-island service has been down our priority list, but we will have serious consideration of that.” Southwest will have plenty of competition from existing carriers. The Big Three legacy carriers, United, America, and Delta, all have well-established service to Hawaii from their hub cities.

Travelers Becoming Increasingly Frustrated With TSA PreCheck As Lines Grow Longer

Longer TSA PreCheck lines at airport security checkpoints are leaving paying members of the program increasingly frustrated as often times the processing for the Trusted Travelers is anything but efficient. The TSA has gotten plenty of bad press in recent months as the agency tries to cope with passenger numbers and balance security with efficiency, barely achieving any of the two. TSA PreCheck is a vetting mechanism that allows enrolled individuals to be designated Trusted Travelers if they pass a background check, brief interview and last but not least pay an $85 fee for the enrollment which is then valid for five years. The advertisement that TSA runs, the PreCheck program, features certain key benefits: Especially the promised wait time as part of expedient processing (the advert promises to wait 5 minutes or less) is a huge pro argument for many to go through the effort and pay the relatively low fee of $17 per year, $85 for all 5 years of the membership. PreCheck lines have been growing and growing with TSA also selecting random travelers for the expedited service who then don’t know how the process actually works. Paying, vetted members are getting frustrated as the key benefit is shrinking. Increasingly, travelers, who paid for their membership and submitted to a background check, are finding that the fast lanes are actually slower than the non-PreCheck lines. And they’re wondering why they even bothered. Virtually all passengers wait less than 30 minutes in standard checkpoint lines, and 99.6% of TSA PreCheck members waited less than 10 minutes in line, according to the agency. In other words, the fast lane is almost always faster and you want to be in that PreCheck line. There are no shoes to remove, no laptops to take out of the bag and best of all, no scanner to radiate your body. It’s just like getting screened, pre-9/11. But some travelers would gladly give up those conveniences if they could get through the line faster. Hence their frustration. 

iceland-1211171_640

Iceland Drafts Emergency Evacuation Plans As Volcano Rumbles After Centuries Of Inactivity

A long-dormant volcano has begun to show signs of activity in Iceland, with authorities fine-tuning evacuation plans in the event it becomes one of the largest eruptions in the country’s history. Öræfajökull, a volcano that last erupted in 1728, is being closely monitored by the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) and Civil Protection Agency, with satellite images showing a kilometer-wide depression in the surface of the ice in the volcano’s mouth. This phenomenon is known as an “ice cauldron.”The IMO reported that geothermal water released from the mouth of the volcano, or ‘caldera,’ has now mixed with meltwater from the glacier, resulting in a smell of sulfur being detected along the nearby Kvia river. There is not yet any sign of a flood risk.

Xi Wants China To Spruce Up Toilets To Boost Tourism, Quality Of Life

Reuters reports China must keep up efforts to “revolutionize” its toilets until the task is completed, state media quoted Chinese President Xi Jinping as saying on Monday, amid efforts to boost the domestic tourist industry and improve the quality of life. Xi launched the “toilet revolution” in 2015 as part of a drive to improve standards of domestic tourism in China, which he said suffers from deep-seated problems of a lack of civility. “The toilet issue is no small thing, it’s an important aspect of building civilized cities and countryside,” Xi said, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Airlines On Track To Nickel And Dime Travelers For Record $82B In Extra Fees In 2017

Forbes reports if you purchased an airline meal or drink, shopped using an airline miles reward credit card or paid to check a carry-on bag, you are responsible in part for helping the world’s airlines have their most lucrative year selling everything except tickets to fly. Ancillary revenue, the money airlines make with each nickel and dime charged for a passenger’s comfort or convenience, will top $82 billion by the end of the year, according to a study of global carriers by IdeaWorks and CarTrawler. Eight years ago, not coincidentally, shortly after airlines began charging for checked bags, Jay Sorensen, president of IdeaWorks, began tracking airline profits from non-ticket sales based on self-reporting from 66 carriers and by extrapolating similar data from a larger number. The $82 billion estimate for 2017 is a 264% increase from the 2010 figure of $22.6 billion. The report says about $20.13 per passenger, up from just $8.42 in 2010. Based on figures from the International Air Transport Association showing global airlines will spend $129 billion on fuel this year, the report predicts the simple act of buying things with an airline credit card or booking hotels or Lyft cars through an airline website might soon result in ancillary revenue being sufficient to pay the industry’s fuel bill.

Leave a comment

Filed under Europe

Hotel Profile Series: Muri Beach Club Hotel in the Cook Islands

We hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend! Is it time to think about a post-Christmas beachfront vacation?

Today we’re taking a closer look at one of our fav destinations, the Cook Islands!

The Cook Islands has been compared to “Hawaii fifty years ago,” with the two main islands Rarotonga and Aitutaki still maintaining their slow island feel. With uncrowded beaches and undeveloped infrastructure, Cook Islands are the perfect island getaway for a honeymoon, wedding, family reunion, or just to kick back and relax on a tropical vacation.

Muri Beach Club Hotel

Muri Beach Club Hotel is an adult-only resort, welcoming couples and singles at the heart of Muri Lagoon on Rarotonga’s east shore. The waters beckon for you to enjoy snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, glass-bottomed boat rides, windsurfing, sailing and other water activities. The offshore islands are just a stone’s throw away, and you can literally walk to them through four feet of water during low tide. (Just be sure to be back before high tide comes, or you’ll be swimming home!)

WIT Agent Nancy and her husband stayed a few years ago on Rarotonga at this location, and speak highly of its spacious rooms and huge verandas. The 30 rooms range from garden rooms with mountain views, pool rooms with easy access to the pool and beach, and deluxe beachfront views of Muri Lagoon.

The attentive and welcoming staff will be happy to organize some fun activities for you, like offroad adventures on a buggy or quad, an afternoon atop a paddleboard, or taking a lagoon cruise with Captain Tamas. At night, relax with live music, island night show and a Polynesian buffet dinner — as you chill out a few steps from the lagoon.

If you want to explore more of the island, or pick up fresh fruits at the Saturday market, simply catch the bus or hire a vehicle—car, scooter, bicycle—from the concierge. Just 30 minutes from airport to the beach, the Cook Islands are incredibly easy to navigate. The bus service goes around the island, one bus going clockwise and one bus going counterclockwise – it’s really a step back in time!

How to Get There: The South Pacific isn’t so tough to get from the West Coast! The flights are uncomplicated, simply fly from Portland to LAX straight to Rarotonga. Prices are cheaper than either Fiji or Tahiti. As a self-governing island country in free association with New Zealand, everyone speaks English and local currency is the New Zealand dollar. PLUS did you know you could easily combine a few days in the Cook Islands with a grand adventure in New Zealand?

Our Past Posts on the Cook Islands: 

Call your agent at Willamette Intl Travel to organize special air + hotel packages for you and yours: 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel. Who knew an offbeat tropical paradise was so within reach?

Leave a comment

Filed under Europe

Thanksgiving Reading List

Copy of china (1).png

Happy Thanksgiving!

For today’s post, we’re featuring a light reading list for you to enjoy over the holiday. There’s nothing like catching a quiet moment after all the hubbub from Thanksgiving has died down. So kick back, with your newfound turkey belly and read some of our favorite handpicked travel and place stories from around the web:

Pakistan’s Martha Stewart. In this crossover feature from Roads & Kingdoms and Slate, find out why Zubaida Tariq is Pakistan’s most famous homemaker / TV star. http://roadsandkingdoms.com/2017/pakistans-martha-stewart/

Surrealist Refugees in the Tropics. Jacqueline Lamba, the scandalously beautiful artist and aquatic burlesque performer who enchanted Frida Kahlo, meets Suzanne Cesaire, known as the Black Panther of Négritude. https://www.guernicamag.com/surrealist-refugees-tropics/

Home is a Cup of Tea. Sketch artist and writer Candace Rose Rardon tells the story of her search for home through the different teas she has discovered while traveling. https://longreads.com/2017/07/03/home-is-a-cup-of-tea/

Life in the Ger. An Inner Adventure in Mongolia. http://www.sidetracked.com/life-in-the-ger/

people-2941951_640

Willamette Intl Travel agency will be closed Thursday and Friday this week for the holidays. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Europe

Hotel Profile Series: Hotel Borg in Reykjavik

Hotel Profile Series

Looking for a Unique Winter Getaway?

Why not catch the Northern Lights in Iceland?

Iceland is beautiful in the winter, with wintry snowscapes and snow-capped mountains. There are ample opportunities for winter activities, like snowboarding, glacier hiking, snowmobiling on a glacier, or ice caving.

Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 2.45.21 PM

In our Hotel Profile Series, we take a closer look at some of the properties that have charmed, bedazzled and delighted our clients for years without end.

Hotel Borg in downtown Reykjavik is a favorite among many of our clients.

hotel_borg_reykjavik_iceland_exterior

Opened by Icelandic adventurer and strongman Jóhannes Jósefsson in 1930, Hotel Borg has been a dignified staple of downtown for decades. Its unique Art Deco style stands out among Icelandic hotels, with a soft, modestly boastful white townhouse exterior, and an interior swirling with glamorous curves. It’s modern, swanky, inviting, and elegant.

hotel-borg-lobby-3

Superbly located in the heart of Reykjavik, Hotel Borg overlooks beautiful Austurvöllur square, so you can step right out and within minutes walk to Reykjavik’s top restaurants, art galleries and specialty shops.

Each of its 99 rooms and suites is equipped with flatscreen TV, telephone, safe deposit box, minibar, complimentary wifi, ensuite bathroom, writing desk and luxury amenities. Ask for a room with a view overlooking the square. If you really want a deluxe experience, the one and only Tower Suite is as fancy as it gets – with two floors, ample lounging area, and luxuriant king bed.

Deluxe Room 1575

At the concierge, you can collect maps of the city and the Ring Road, get Aurora forecasts, or make reservations at the spa or restaurants. Hotel Borg also has an excellent spa with hot tub, steam bath, and sauna—perfect for unwinding after an active day in the elements.

hotel-borg-spa-1

Superior Room 2571Tower Suite 11585

Call Willamette Intl Travel to plan your ideal vacation in Iceland – we have access to all the top guides, accommodation, and tours to tailor a holiday to your specific budget. 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Europe, Iceland

Travel News: Changes for the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and Your Checked Bags

travel news (1)

Rome’s Colosseum Opens Top Levels To Public

Seats on the fifth level of the amphitheatre were once reserved for ancient Roman society’s lowest commoner: the plebeian. The highest level of Rome’s ancient Colosseum opened to the public for the first time in 40 years on November 1. The seats boasted a breathtaking view, not only of the gladiator battles far below, but of the heart of the empire. Far below, tourists peering down into the maze of galleries in the monument’s belly appear as tiny specks, showing just how far away the commoners were from the arena floor, where terrified prisoners were forced to fight wild beasts. Those squeezed together on wooden benches had a long way to climb to get to their seats – but the tickets were free. Once they were there spectators were protected by a large canvas from sudden downpours. Visitors will have to book guided tours, which will take groups of a maximum of 25 people up into the gods level at a time. They will start with an exceptionally well-preserved corridor between the second and third floors, where traces of the lavatories can still be seen. There is also evidence of restorations to the walls following a fire sparked by lightning in 217 AD. The tour will continue to the third floor, where the middle-classes sat, and on to the fourth, where merchants and traders enjoyed the famously grisly shows. The first level was reserved for the emperor and his senators. Completed in 80 AD, the Colosseum was the biggest amphitheater built during the Roman empire. Standing 48.5 meters (159 feet) high, it was capable of hosting 80,000 spectators for feasts of entertainment that encapsulated the brutality, hedonism and engineering genius that were among the defining features of ancient Rome. The first phase of a major makeover of the venue was completed in July 2016, with a number of sections structurally strengthened and most of the remaining walls water-sprayed to remove centuries of encrusted dirt and grime. 

Rome Eyes Trevi Fountain Cash To Bolster City Finances

Rome is going through a budgetary crisis at the moment, and with cash in short supply, officials are now even eyeing the city’s iconic Trevi Fountain. Every year, millions of tourists flock to the former seat of empire to view the city’s many sites. A good deal of them toss coins into the near 300-year-old fountain, the haul of which reportedly hit $1.5 million in 2016 alone, chump change compared to the city’s estimated €12 billion ($14 billion) debt. It’s believed that anyone who turns their back on the baroque masterpiece and tosses a coin into the fountain is destined to return. The cash is usually scooped up and given to Catholic charity Caritas, but not from April 2018, if Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi has her way. It’s not only the Trevi Fountain that is being targeted but all of the city’s monumental fountains. Raggi has reportedly earmarked the coveted cash for projects yet to be decided on by city hall, although il Giornale reports that some of the money will be redirected to “social welfare projects.” The city’s debt essentially consists of financial and commercial debt, with other types affecting the figure to a lesser extent. Basically, and perhaps unsurprisingly, more than half of the debt is in the hands of banks, whereas private debt makes up just over a quarter of the €12 billion.

 

rome-2263638_640

Trevi Fountain

 

TSA PreCheck Program Has Added More Airlines

Five more airlines recently joined TSA PreCheck, bringing the total number of domestic and international carriers to 42. If you still don’t have TSA PreCheck, Its just $85 (covering a five-year membership), your PreCheck will work at more than 180 U.S. airports. and All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Finnair, Korean Air, and charter airline Contour Aviation all agreed to recognize the trusted traveler program, the Transportation Security Administration announced. Etihad Airways was the only foreign airline outside of North America to offer this perk to passengers until September 2016, when German carrier Lufthansa became the first European airline to join the PreCheck program. (A number of other international carriers jumped on the bandwagon shortly thereafter.) And while other airlines are no doubt interested in joining the PreCheck club, the process is far from simple: Carriers have to meet all TSA security requirements and upgrade reservations systems to sync with the U.S. government’s Secure Flight prescreening system; after all, even if you’re an existing TSA PreCheck member, it’s the airline that issues the boarding pass, and it’s that document that displays your PreCheck eligibility to the agent manning the entrance to the checkpoint.

Visa Introduces New Payment Wearables For Fans Attending Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018

ETN reports Visa, the exclusive payment technology partner at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, has introduced three commercially available wearable payment devices. In the spirit of the Olympic Winter Games, Visa created NFC-enabled payment gloves, commemorative stickers and Olympic pins that allow fans and athletes to complete seamless and secure payments with a simple tap at any contactless-enabled terminal. Visa teamed up with Lotte Card, the financial arm of South Korean-based retail giant, Lotte Department Store, to produce and make these new prepaid payment wearables, now available for purchase, in Korea.

  • Commemorative Olympic Pin: Visa is bringing to market four unique lapel pins featuring custom PyeongChang 2018 designs to offer a payment-enabled collectable for fans and athletes to utilize on-site. Cost per pin is KRW5,000 plus desired embedded prepaid amounts valued at KRW30,000 or KRW50,000.
  • Payment-Enabled Gloves: The average temperature in PyeongChang will be – 4.8 degree celsius, so gloves will be a must-have! This payment glove will offer fans a way to pay safely and securely without having to get cold hands. The gloves contain a dual interface chip housed with a contactless antenna capable of completing purchases throughout official Olympic Venues and compatible readers globally. The gloves will come with embedded prepaid amounts valued at KRW30,000 or KRW50,000.

 

ships_vikingstar_lifeonboard_infinity-pool_724x407_tcm13-2384

Viking Ocean

 

Viking Offers Ocean And River Combination Cruises In 2018

Taking advantage of its ocean and river ship fleet, Viking is offering combination cruises where passengers do both types of itineraries in one trip. Called Ocean & River Voyages, the sailings allow passengers to easily go between two cruises by transferring them between ships in a single port. The line also notes that a combo trip means you only have to fly overseas once, yet enjoy two different voyages. Two itineraries are available for 2018. The first combines the traditional Rhine River cruise with Viking Ocean’s popular Norwegian Fjords itinerary; passengers transfer between a Viking Longship and Viking Sun in Amsterdam. The 15-day July trip runs between Basel and Bergen. The second itinerary also begins on the Rhine River, on a Viking Longship, starting in Basel and ending in Amsterdam. Instead of heading north, passengers will take Viking Sky to Le Havre to visit Paris, cross the English Channel to Portsmouth and then sail south to Spain, stopping in Vigo, Granada and Cartagena. The 18-day September 29 cruise ends in Barcelona.

Best Western Rolls Out Systemwide Mobile Platform For Guests

Best Western Hotels & Resorts has launched a mobile platform to enhance guest engagement before, during and after a stay. Previously active at 360 properties and now being rolled out globally, the Best Western Mobile Guest Engagement Platform features a number of capabilities, such as mobile check-in and check-out, including late check-out functions; email or text communication with the system and with property staff; purchasing upgrades and ordering Ubers, and mobile room key capabilities also are coming soon. The technology, which does not require users to download a smartphone app, is provided in partnership with Runtriz. The properties that have tested the platform saw increases in both guest satisfaction and room revenue via upselling and advertising functions, and Medallia Net Promoter Scores, which measure customers’ willingness to recommend products, increased by as much as 18 points among guests using the mobile requests feature.

 

all-inclusive_suites_header_desktop2.jpg

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

 

Regent Names New Ship Seven Seas Splendor

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has announced its 2020 newbuild will be named Seven Seas Splendor and is now scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2020. As part of the naming process, Regent Seven Seas Cruises sought suggestions from its valued travel agents, loyal guests and employees for the ship’s name in a sweepstakes held in September. Seven Seas Splendor was chosen among nearly 2,600 unique names from more than 14,000 submissions, the company said. 

Airlines Ordered To Keep A Much Closer Watch On Your Bags

Airlines have been told to improve the tracking of luggage during flights as figures showed that almost 22 million items went missing last year. Regulations will be introduced next summer in an attempt to cut the number of bags being lost after it emerged that mistakes cost the air industry $2.1 billion in 12 months. A new duty will be introduced by IATA in June next year that requires airlines to track bags at four critical points during a journey. This instantly flags up if bags have been lost, rather than putting the onus on passengers to report losses when luggage fails to turn up on the collection belt. It will also force them to share data on bags between carriers. It is expected that the system will cut baggage losses by up to 30%. At present there are no universal obligations towards tracking and recording bags. More than 21 million pieces of luggage went missing worldwide last year after check-in. Almost half were lost during the transfer process when passengers connected between aircrafts. More than 90 per cent were reunited with their owners, although one in six was damaged or had contents stolen. The remaining unclaimed bags were auctioned by airlines or given to charity. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Cruises, Europe, Regent Seven Seas

Travel2 in Australia & New Zealand

travel2.png

 

Looking to escape the winter snows this holiday? Book a couple weeks in Australia and/or New Zealand.

Travel2 is one of our favorite vendors in the South Pacific. They offer tailored packages for travelers in Australia and New Zealand, and beyond.

Want to hit the adventure and see the highlights of Down Under, but don’t want to figure out the logistics of a car and hotels? The folks over at Travel2 are your backup team — and Willamette Intl Travel’s got you even more covered!

uluru-681140_640

On a sample 11-day Sydney, Melbourne & Reef itinerary:

Take in the sights of Australia’s cities–Sydney and Melbourne. See the Great Barrier Reef, a fast-disappearing natural wonder of the world.

new-zealand-1882703_640

On a sample 14-day New Zealand North Island Explorer Self Drive:

Hit the road and explore Auckland’s City of Sails and the geothermal landscapes of the North Island.

mitre-peak-2278361_640

On an 18-day New Zealand Grandeur Escorted Tour:

Take the Grand Tour of New Zealand, from Christchurch to Auckland. Hike through ancient forests, climb across glacier mountains, admire the historical railway and clear celestial skies.

new-zealand-2666076_640

On a 22-day Explore Australia & New Zealand Escorted Tour:

Why choose between the two? Combine Australia & New Zealand on a Grand Adventure! Head out on red dirt roads in the Outback, enjoy a sunset cruise on a private yacht, witness the unforgettable glowworms illuminating the Waitomo Caves.

For more information on a trip to Australia, New Zealand or the Cook Islands tailored just for you, call Willamette Intl Travel: 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com.

More Reading:

Leave a comment

Filed under Australia, New Zealand