News Briefs, Week of May 2, 2011

Travel Channel buys stake in Oyster.com


The Travel Channel invested in the hotel review and booking site Oyster.com, launching itself into online travel sales. Travel Channel said that the network and TravelChannel.com will have access to exclusive Oyster.com content. Travel Channel President Laureen Ong said the deal "greatly broadens our position as a trusted source for information and allows us to go beyond the inspiration and entertainment we offer on television." Oyster.com, launched in 2009, publishes hotel reviews written by staff journalists.

Website pays fine, faults GDS 'in part'
The operator of Vayama.com, an online agency that is a unit of BCD Holdings, agreed to pay a $50,000 penalty to the Transportation Department to settle allegations that its flight displays failed to identify codeshare flights during 2010. Half the fine will be waived if the site remains in compliance for one year. The company attributed the lapse "in part" to a failure by a GDS provider, which was not named.

AMResorts debuts two D.R. properties
AMResorts introduced the 373-room Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana, formerly the NH Royal Beach, and the 642-room Now Larimar Punta Cana, formerly the NH Real Arena, in the Dominican Republic. The debut of Now Larimar represents the brand's entry into the Caribbean. Under the recent strategic partnership with Spain's NH Hoteles, AMResorts oversees sales and marketing initiatives for both inclusive resorts, while NH Hoteles continues operational control.

Oceania signs up for ARC's Helix
Oceania Cruises became the 36th preferred supplier with ARC's Helix program for independent agents. ARC said that Helix would stop at 40 preferred suppliers. "Forty is the number we have in mind, given our strategy to partner with suppliers that add value for the membership," said Lauri Reishus, ARC vice president.

Court solicits bids for Windstar
The bankruptcy court for Ambassadors International set a May 18 deadline for bidders to submit "higher and better offers" for the firm's Windstar Cruises unit. The line, which continues to operate, is slated to be sold May 23 to Whippoorwill Associates, a private investment firm and Ambassadors' largest creditor.

Greyhound Express comes to Northeast
Partners Greyhound and Peter Pan Bus Lines launched premium Express service in the Northeast, using New York as a hub for service to Boston and to Philadelphia (starting May 4), Baltimore and Washington (both starting May 10). The carriers offer fares as low as $1. Greyhound's Express service, with WiFi, leather seats and power outlets, launched in Midwest markets in December.

Anantara resort opening in Vietnam
Bangkok-based Anantara Hotels plans a fall opening date for its first property in Vietnam, the 89-unit Anantara Mui Ne Resort & Spa on the southeast coast, about 120 miles northeast of Ho Chi Minh City. The resort features rooms, suites and pool villas plus banquet and event facilities.

Friends & Colleagues

Mark Meader has been named vice president of business development for ARC as part of the company's upcoming governance transition. Meader is replacing Mike Premo, who will become ARC's new president and CEO upon David Collins' retirement on June 9. Meader spent more than 20 years at Sabre Holdings and at American Airlines, Sabre's parent before its spinoff. He most recently has consulted for United in connection with its technology integration plan for the merger with Continental. • • • The new vice president of acquisitions and development at the Ian Schrager Co. is Ana Nekhamkin. Based in New York, she reports directly to Ian Schrager, the CEO. Prior to joining Ian Schrager, Nekhamkin spent five years with Morgans Hotel Group, where she held a variety of roles, most recently director of development. Prior to that, she served as an analyst for Morgan Stanley's Real Estate Group. • • • Anne-Laure Tuncer has been appointed USA director of Atout France, the country's tourism development agency. Tuncer will replace Jean-Philippe Perol, who will head the Atout France office in Brazil while remaining director of the Americas. Tuncer's previous positions include deputy director of the U.K. office and stints in the New York and Paris offices. • • • Carnival Corp. named Robert "Jerry" Montgomery senior vice president of global human resources. He replaces Wayne Byers, who is retiring after 28 years in the travel industry. Prior to joining Carnival, Montgomery spent 30 years at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, holding a number of senior-level positions, including vice president of employee relations, casting and health services. In other Carnival Corp. news, Lourdes Pineda-Garcia, a 12-year veteran of the cruise industry, was named vice president and controller for Carnival Cruise Lines. Pineda-Garcia has been the acting controller for the line since mid-January and prior to that was CFO for Seabourn. Carnival Cruise Lines also named Kevin Richeson vice president of shipboard human resources. Richeson joined the line after a 21-year career with Ritz-Carlton.

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