JetBlue to woo transcon warriors
JetBlue next year plans to roll out a "premium" product for business travelers in the "core" daylight transcontinental markets, where the carrier believes it is underperforming relative to the legacy network carriers. Part of the problem, according to chief commercial officer Robin Hayes, is that "we don't have a WiFi offering." In a presentation to analysts, Hayes also said the carrier plans to continue its capacity buildup in Boston, where it is focusing on business markets.
Avis brings Zipcar to NYC airports
Avis introduced its recently acquired Zipcar service at New York's Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports, offering a selection of four or five E-ZPass-equipped compact cars at each airport's Avis pickup facility. Prices start at $12 per hour. Avis earlier this month closed on its $500 million acquisition of Zipcar, billed as the industry's largest car-share network.
Holland America sets 2014 slate
Holland America Line published its plans for the 2014 Alaska cruise season, offering seven ships on various seven- or 14-day itineraries. The line said it will boost capacity in the Gulf of Alaska by moving the 1,916-passenger Oosterdam to the Glacier Discovery itinerary between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Seward, Alaska, along with the 1,260-passenger Statendam. The two ships will also offer seven-day Inside Passage routes along with Volendam, Zaandam and Zuiderdam. The Amsterdam and Westerdam will cruise various itineraries from Seattle.
I-94 arrival forms to be discontinued
Customs and Border Protection plans to do away with paper I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) forms for foreign visitors arriving by air or sea, effective in about 30 days. The forms are typically filled out en route by those traveling on a U.S.-issued visa, but they request information that Customs can now obtain electronically. (The form is not required for visitors from visa-waiver countries.) Customs said eliminating the form should "streamline the admission process" while saving the agency an estimated $15.5 million a year.
Wyndham project adds Margaritaville
Wyndham Worldwide's timeshare division is teaming with Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Hospitality Group to convert the former Renaissance Grand Beach Palace Resort on St. Thomas into a 262-unit timeshare resort, branded as Wyndham St. Thomas, a Margaritaville Vacation Club resort. A three-year renovation is to begin this summer, with an opening in late 2014. Wyndham acquired the 25-acre property in 2007.
Houston building is Marriott hat trick
Marriott plans to bring a third hotel to the Humble Oil Building in Houston, which already houses a 191-room Courtyard by Marriott and a 171-room Residence Inn. The site's 82 apartments are slated to be converted into a 166-room SpringHill Suites hotel opening in 2015. The building was recently acquired by RLJ Lodging Trust.
Friends & Colleagues
Chris Dane has been named president of Hickory Global Partners, formalizing his role after the corporate travel agency consortium hired him last summer as a consultant to lead the organization. Dane's industry experience includes executive positions at American Airlines, Hogg Robinson Group and Sabre. He also has served as president of Hickory Travel Systems, a Hickory entity, "but left that post over differences with ownership," according to a company statement. Hickory since has been acquired by InTravel, a holding company of the Traina Cos. • • • Sabre has appointed Rick Simonson executive vice president and CFO, and Deborah Kerr was named chief product and technology officer. Simonson most recently served as CFO and president of business operations at Rearden Commerce. He replaces Mark Miller, who is leaving to explore opportunities with TPG or Silver Lake, the two private-equity firms that own Sabre. Kerr joins Sabre from Fair Isaac Corp., where she was executive vice president and chief product and technology officer. • • • Fiona Jeffery has stepped down as World Travel Market chairwoman after 26 years to pursue other interests in the global travel and tourism industry. Jeffery, who as executive director launched WTM's Environmental Awareness Day in 1997, will continue her role as chair of Just a Drop, the water charity she founded in 1998.