acation.com is continuing
to shed another couple of thousand "nonproducing" agencies and
expects its membership to level off at about 6,000 agencies at the
end of the year. It dropped 1,300 agencies and added 480 in the
first nine months of the year, netting out at 8,000 in early
The strategy is working, Vacation.com president Dick
Knodt tells us: "We actually gained 4% in
preferred-supplier revenue overall via this effort."
He also said he expects Vacation.com's overall market share to
see a slight uptick by year's end, as well.
• • •
Look for Cendant Corp. to have an "exciting"
announcement about NeatAgent, the
dynamic-packaging application that enables agents to set their own
markups and fees, in the "near future."
• • •
Being a multinational, multilingual company,
Amadeus is careful about words that may mean
nothing in one language but something ghastly in another.
And it's a darned good thing. The new moniker for its Airline IT
Services group is Altea, a rather pretty name that
doesn't seem to mean much beyond an adorable little town on Spain's
Costa Blanca (Althea, on the other hand, means "rose of
But Amadeus' first selection for a nifty new name quickly turned
to a rejection when research determined that in the Mandarin
language, the first syllable translated as "vomit" and the second
as another out-of-control bodily function that TC is much too
delicate to name.
• • •
A former employee of defunct Hotel Distribution
Network (HDN) told TC that anything of value at HDN's
Sanford, Fla., headquarters, including computer servers, was
shipped to Brazil, where at least one of the company's principals
is operating a Portuguese-language version of the online hotel
So even if HDN, which told Florida's division of
consumer services -- the agency that administers the
Florida Sellers of Travel Act -- that it had shut down on June 18
but continued its sales efforts after that date, files for
bankruptcy in the U.S., there will be slim pickings for ripped-off
consumers, travel agents and hotels.
HDN employees, who have dealt with bouncing paychecks and
unreimbursed travel expenses, also appear to be out of luck.
Meanwhile, we hear that former HDN president George
Demakos wants to resume his former career as a
stockbroker, the gall of which so amazes TC that she is temporarily
devoid of wisecracks.
• • •
TC is bemused by the new poster tacked up at Lambert-St.
Louis Airport: the photograph and name of the
Transportation Security Administration's "Baggage Screener of the
Is this to provide passengers with the name and face of the guy
who rummages through their clothing behind the scenes?
• • •
The Bed Wars are rearing their heads -- or pillows? --
Sir Richard Branson, who is allergic to seeing
any day go by without getting any press, challenged British
Airways chairman Lord Marshall to go "bed
to bed," which could be a scary thought for guys of their age.
Branson proposed that an independent research firm manage a
contest in which passengers "and their partners" test each
carrier's business-class beds to determine which is better.
"Better for what?" a British Airways guy blurted when he saw the
bit about "partners."
E-mail Michele McDonald at [email protected].