WATCH: Mark Murphy on 737 Max Grounding, Cruising and Travel Agents

travelpulse | May 28, 2019

There are a ton of hot topics in travel heading into this summer but perhaps none more captivating among American travelers than the ongoing grounding of the troubled Boeing 737 Max aircraft.On Tuesday, travel expert Mark Murphy appeared on Fox News to discuss the grounding's potential impact on summer travel in addition to the value of a cruise vacation and using a travel agent in 2019."I think it's been way overblown. The reality is the airline that flies the most [737 Maxs] is Southwest Airlines with 34 planes, followed by American Airlines with 14 and United Airlines has 14 of the Max 9s. If you're flying Miami to New York, that's the heaviest traffic route for that plane. Other than that, it's less than five percent of any airline's total flights. It should have no impact on any travelers because the airlines have had plenty of warning to bring in other planes to backfill," said Murphy. "They've also increased capacity this summer because demand is way up."

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DESTINATION AND TOURISM

Taconic Capital Advisors and HEI Hotels & Resorts Jointly Acquire Hyatt Regency Jersey City

Taconic Capital Advisors LP and HEI Hotels & Resorts | December 05, 2022

Taconic Capital Advisors LP (“Taconic”) and HEI Hotels & Resorts (“HEI”), announced that they have jointly acquired Hyatt Regency Jersey City from affiliates of Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE: H) and Veris Residential Inc. (NYSE: VRE). The property is a full-service, 351-key hotel located adjacent to Exchange Place situated on a pier extending over the Hudson River in Jersey City, NJ.In conjunction with the purchase, Taconic and HEI were successful in assuming a $100 million fixed-rate CMBS mortgage with ample remaining term. The hotel was completed in 2002 and more than $15 million in subsequent upgrades have been performed since 2010. Major enhancements to the guestrooms, food and beverage outlets and event spaces are expected to commence under the new ownership. Hyatt Regency Jersey City occupies fee simple real estate with unmatched and undisturbed views of the Manhattan Skyline. The property features well-appointed guestrooms, a state-of-the-art gym and indoor heated pool, a restaurant and lounge and 20,000 square feet of meeting space that has long served as a popular venue for corporate retreats, weddings, and social gatherings. The hotel is centrally positioned amongst 28 million SF of office space within a one-mile radius and is conveniently located near world-famous attractions, including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, One World Trade and the 9/11 Memorial. “We are pleased to further our partnership with HEI and begin an exciting relationship with Hyatt. Hyatt Regency Jersey City was a compelling opportunity to acquire a world-class hotel with a strong segmentation mix and a diverse set of revenue contributors, The highly accretive assumable financing allowed us to continue our thesis for well-located urban, upscale hotels in an otherwise prohibitive financing environment.” -Andrew Lam, a Director in Taconic Capital Advisors’ Commercial Real Estate Group Hyatt Regency Jersey City is a wonderful property with a rich legacy that has greatly benefitted from Jersey City’s rapidly expanding corporate base as well as the revitalization of Hudson Yards and Lower Manhattan, said Clark Hanrattie, Partner at HEI. We are proud to team with Taconic on this important transaction and we are looking forward to making the hotel the very best it can be. The joint acquisition of Hyatt Regency Jersey City follows Taconic and HEI’s March 2022 purchase of the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown, NY, a 15-acre property that offers 444 guestrooms and 21 event rooms for a total of 26,700 SF of conference and meeting space, including a 9,000 SF ballroom. Over the past two years, Taconic has been involved in hotel transactions throughout the capital structure, spanning over 20 properties totaling more than 5,000 keys. About Taconic Capital Advisors Taconic Capital Advisors (“Taconic”) is a global institutional investment firm that pursues an event-driven, multi-strategy investment approach designed to generate strong, risk-adjusted returns over multiple market cycles. Taconic was founded in 1999 by former Goldman Sachs partners Frank Brosens and Ken Brody. The firm has approximately $8 billion of total assets under management with offices in New York, London and Hong Kong and more than 100 employees worldwide. Taconic’s full-service commercial real estate platform invests in all asset classes and across the capital structure in both public and private markets. The strategy’s brand mandate offers flexibility to capitalize on shifting market opportunities, creating uncorrelated risk-adjusted return profiles for investors. Rooted in distressed and opportunistic investing, the team applies high-touch asset management capabilities to drive strong asset-level performance and capital market executions. Well-established relationships drive Taconic’s unique and diverse transaction sourcing channels which include local operating partners, investor partners, and a broad network of lenders, CMBC special servicers, trading desks, and brokerage houses. Taconic’s series of closed-ended real estate funds are fully discretionary and have received over $1 billion in capital commitments. Investments to date across all Taconic funds total over $3 billion of gross asset value across approximately 175 distinct transactions. About HEI Hotels & Resorts Founded in 1985, HEI is an established expert on Luxury, Upper-Upscale, and Upscale hotels in Urban, Super-Suburban, and destination Resort locations across branded, soft-branded and independent lifestyle categories. The company’s portfolio currently includes 90-plus assets, representing more than 28,000 keys across approximately 30 different capital partners. HEI continues to be one of the most active investors in, and managers of, institutional-quality hotel assets across the US.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,AIRLINES AND AIRPORTS

Alaska Airlines launches first U.S. electronic bag tag program

Alaska Airlines | December 01, 2022

Alaska Airlines became the first U.S. airline to launch an electronic bag tag program, which enables guests to tag their luggage through the airline's mobile app before they even reach the airport. This week, 2,500 Alaska Mileage Plan members will begin receiving their electronic bag tag. Those elite status members included in the first wave of the program are guests who have traveled in the last 12 months, checked-in at least one bag and were among the first to register to use the device."The last thing our guests want to do is stand in line," said Charu Jain, senior vice-president of merchandising and innovation for Alaska. "With the addition of the Alaska Airlines electronic bag tag, our guests can complete almost all of their check-in tasks – from the comfort of their home, at work or on the way to catching their flight." The three-by-five-inch devices are updated with a guest's flight information through the Alaska Airlines mobile app during check-in; essentially allowing travelers to head straight to the bag drop area once they arrive at the airport. The Alaska Airlines electronic bag tag is estimated to reduce the time guests spend in airport lobbies by about 40%, including reducing lines and the use of paper bag tags. In addition to the device's impressive lifespan and durability (Alaska Airlines employees tested it by running it over with a truck), the devices don't require charging or batteries. "We've tested our electronic bag tags on countless flights across the country, including international routes where Alaska Airlines flies, and the devices have performed exactly as they're meant to," said Jain. "We'll collect feedback from our first wave of users before the devices become available to purchase to all our guests early next year." The Alaska Airlines electronic bag tag will be available for purchase to all guests starting in 2023 and will operate on all Alaska Airlines marketed flights operated by Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air and SkyWest Airlines. Along with the hardware, the software for the device is provided by BAGTAG, a Dutch company that is a pioneer in the field of baggage technology solutions. "Alaska Airlines is an excellent example of a carrier on a mission to improve all aspects of their passenger's experience, This vision is leading their choices for innovation such as electronic bag tags and we are very proud to assist them in this project." -Jaspar Quak, BAGTAG managing director Click here to check out how the Alaska Airlines electronic bag tag works and join the notification list when the devices become available for purchase. About BAGTAG BAGTAG was founded in 2014 in the Netherlands, with the purpose of introducing the world's first flexible and secure electronic bag tag solution. Having developed in close cooperation with the world's leading airlines, the company launched its hardware solution in 2018 and is now leading the market for electronic bag tags. About Alaska Airlines Alaska Airlines and our regional partners serve more than 120 destinations across the United States, Belize, Canada, Costa Rica and Mexico. We emphasize low fares and award-winning customer service. Alaska is a member of the oneworld global alliance. With the alliance and our additional airline partners, our guests can travel to more than 900 destinations on more than 20 airlines while earning and redeeming miles on flights to locations around the world. Learn more about Alaska at news.alaskaair.com and follow @alaskaairnews for latest news. Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air are subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

SUNRATE Partners With Visa for Virtual Corporate Cards to Boost Travel Solution

SUNRATE | January 10, 2023

SUNRATE, recognized as a leading financial solutions provider, collaborated with Visa, a world leader in digital payments. The partnership is to enhance the travel solutions offered by SUNRATE. In the past, SUNRATE's stakeholders had only one way to pay for travel-related expenses with their travel partners. Now with the partnership, they will have a virtual corporate card that makes this process much easier and more streamlined. SUNRATE, at the end of last year, shared news of a strategic alliance with Agoda, the world's largest online travel agency. In 2021, the company was accepted into the Visa network as a primary participant. SUNRATE’S corporate cards will help its travel partners to have control over spending track and allocations. In addition, a corporate card will ensure the security of the transactions and the data for the users. Technologies like Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have made it difficult for shared card information to be misused by imposing a time limit on each transaction. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) Level 1 is an international standard for financial data security. SUNRATE has been certified to meet this standard. "The launch of Visa virtual corporate cards is a monumental step for SUNRATE as we cement our leadership as a one-stop B2B payment partner, especially for the travel industry. Since our partnership announcement with Agoda, we have worked with many other travel stakeholders, including other OTAs and we take pride in being able to solve their overall business needs. The Visa virtual corporate card will be a key solution for our customers and beyond," -Shawn Qin, Head of Card Business, SUNRATE. (Source: Cision) About SUNRATE SUNRATE is an advanced global payment and treasury management platform for international businesses. Having global headquarters in Singapore and offices in China, Indonesia, Japan, and the United Kingdom, SUNRATE collaborates with Citibank, Standard Chartered, and Barclays and is the leading member of MasterCard and Visa. The company has facilitated local and global growth for over 130 firms since its establishment in 2016.

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