Travel News Update: Hotel Cancellation Fees

Here at Willamette Intl Travel, our agents stay up to date with all the recent travel industry news. Read on for an important update:

Hilton World Cancellation Fee

Hilton World is currently testing out a new “practice cancellation fee” in certain hotels within Hilton, Doubletree and Embassy Suites brands. The fee is a firm $50 penalty for cancellation anytime after reservation. This means that the moment you put your card down to book the room, you’re guaranteed out $50, even if you cancel.

Willamette Intl Travel is part of the Results/Travel Leaders Consortium, which has a great relationship with Hilton Worldwide. Our contracts enable us to avoid special cancellation fees such as the one above. This means you can book with us without worrying about the $50 nonrefundable!

In Other News…

Paris Hotels Suffer After Terrorist Attacks
Paris hotels are facing a tough challenge trying to attract visitors back to the capital following the terrorist attacks in November. Families staying away and visitors are staying for a shorter time. The leisure sector is the most affected as business travelers are continuing to come. A wholesale hotel room buyer, which fills 250,000 bed nights a year in Paris, says bookings are down for this normally busy time.

Muslim Family Refused Permission To Board LA Flight At Gatwick
The family was denied permission to board a Norwegian Airlines flight from London to Los Angeles. Mohammed Zahid Mahmood, eight members of his family and two other children were turned away at the departure gate at Gatwick. The family had all been granted travel authorisation under the US visa waiver programme more than a month ago. They had been planning to fly to LA to see Mr Mahmood’s brother and were taking two of his children with them. The family claims it was singled out by Border Control when boarding started.

Changes In Visa Waiver Program Rides On Budget Bill
The House will vote on the bill which would allow DHS and the State Department to kick countries out of the program if they determine those nations aren’t sharing enough information about terrorist threats or that the countries present “a high risk” to U.S. national security. The bill would bar visa-free access through the program for travelers who have been to Iraq or Syria since March 2011 or anyone who is a national of Iraq or Syria in addition to being a national of a partner country.

US, Cuba Agree To Restore Commercial Flights
The Associated Press reports the United States and Cuba have reached “an understanding” on restoring commercial airline flights. A US State Department official said the two countries were making progress but still negotiating. An agreement has been expected before the end of the year. The AP report comes on the eve of the first anniversary of the countries’ historic decision to normalize relations after half a century of confrontation. The news will pave the way for US airlines to sell tickets to Cuba on their websites directly to travellers. However, only certain US citizens will be able to take up the offer because a ban on general tourism to Cuba remains in place. Call your Wittravel agent to learn more.

Hilton Creates All Suites Division
Hilton Worldwide has announced the creation of an All Suites brand category that will include Embassy Suites by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton. Hilton said it was transforming the All Suites category to provide a more intuitive offering for owners, as well as guests from around the world who look to Hilton as their home away from home. 

Air India Preparing To Start Direct Service To Washington

Air India has begun the process to start its fifth non-stop flight to the US by the end of 2016, making Washington the national carrier’s next destination after successfully launching direct flight to San Francisco. 

Star Alliance To Start Using Budget Carriers As Connecting Partners

Star Alliance is expanding its network to include some low-cost airlines that are “friends of the family” of its 28 current members. Mango Airlines, a South African carrier, will be the first that will join the group under its newly established Connecting Partner Model. Although it has not specifically outlined which other carriers might be asked to join its ranks, or when, it has suggested that the other Connecting Partners will be pulled from the family trees of its existing members, like Singapore Airlines’ low-cost sibling Scoot or Lufthansa’s Eurowings. 

Palace Resorts Has Opened Moon Palace Jamaica Grande
Palace Resorts recently celebrated the grand opening of Moon Palace Jamaica Grande, the brand’s first property outside of Mexico. Moon Palace Jamaica Grande features an array of luxurious amenities including Jamaica’s largest spa, Awe Spa, a FlowRider Double-Wave simulator, the Noir nightclub and much more. The resort is strategically situated on the north coast of Jamaica, accessible from the Montego Bay airport.

Hogwarts Coming To Hollywood
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will open at Universal Studios Hollywood on April 7, 2016, marking the highly anticipated arrival of the Hogworts. More than five years in the making, and inspired by J.K. Rowling’s stories and characters that were brought to life in the Warner Bros. films, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” is being masterfully recreated with detail as a real-world interpretation at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Windstar Initiates Its First San Juan Series
Windstar Cruises has just completed its inaugural voyage from San Juan, Puerto Rico, marking the first time in recent history the line has embarked passengers at a US port.

Robots To Interact With Guests On Costa And Aida Cruises
A robot called Pepper was trialed on the AIDAstelia and has now completed the trial. The robot is said to be able to read human emotions and has delighted passengers. Pepper is built to interact with humans by French company Aldebaran under an exclusive contract. The first robots will join the crews of AIDAprima and Costa Diadema in the spring. They will be used to help passengers by providing recommendations and tips on restaurants, events and excursions and during embarkation.

Crystal To Deploy Ship In North America For First Time
For the first time, luxury line Crystal Cruises will base a cruise ship in North America for an extended sailing season. Crystal Serenity will spend most of 2017, following its world cruise, sailing itineraries to Alaska, Canada/New England, the Caribbean and both U.S. coasts.

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