December 2016

Avis Now features are now available to Avis Preferred Members in the Avis mobile app! Get total control of the car rental experience at your fingertips. View real-time car availability. Exchange or upgrade your rental without stopping by the counter. Access the rental agreement, flash lights to find your car, lock and unlock your doors, return your vehicle and more. Renting a car has never been easier! To learn more, view the Introduction to Avis Now video here.
Concur Data Show Explosion of 
Corporate Airbnb Bookings Airbnb

Airbnb's corporate bookings are surging, fueled largely by technology companies and the academic sector, according to Concur.

Taking data from 320,000 expense filings totaling $77 million during the two years ended June 30, Concur reported that business travelers' second-quarter spending on Airbnb jumped 42% from a year earlier, while the number of organizations participating in Concur's expense-management program with Airbnb rose 32%.

Of the 20 organizations with the most Airbnb expense reports through Concur during the second quarter, eight were technology companies, and six were universities.

San Francisco was the most common Airbnb destination for Concur clients for the two years ending on June 30. San Francisco was followed by London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Austin, and Seattle.

Concur launched its Business Travel on Airbnb service in the fall of 2014. The service enables Concur TripLink customers to reserve Airbnb inventory and capture the booking data.

Travelers should review their individual travel policies to see if Airbnb is part of their company's policy.

Source:  Travel Weekly
Marriott Strives to Set Apart Its Luxury BrandsMarriott

Marriott sales representatives will work more closely with travel professionals to better delineate its Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis luxury brands from each other in the wake of the company's $13 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

Marriott will work with travel agents and other industry professionals at positioning Ritz-Carlton more for guests looking for luxury accommodations as a jumping-off point to explore a destination, while St. Regis, a former Starwood brand, is being positioned more for guests searching for iconic properties that serve as destinations in themselves.

"The Ritz-Carlton truly facilitates the destination experience in extraordinary ways, creating indelible moments for its guests, where we help them discover the best of the locale," said Tina Edmundson, Marriott's global brand officer. "We see our St. Regis guests looking more for status and connoisseurship."

Source: Travel Weekly
Industry Snippetssnippets
In-Flight Calling: DOT Considers Passing New Rules - 
Should U.S. airlines allow passengers to make phone calls at 35,000 feet? And if they do, what rules should they follow to ensure all travelers have a reasonably peaceful journey?

The U.S. Department of Transportation said Thursday it will ask those questions as it considers whether to add new guidelines for the nation's airlines and ticket agents. In a notice of proposed rulemaking, the government said it wants to protect consumers "from being unwillingly exposed to voice calls within the confines of an aircraft." But no matter what it decides, the DOT will not ban calls.

At least for now, the Federal Communications Commission still bars voice calls using cellular communications, but the DOT notes there's no similar prohibition on calls over WiFi. Instead, U.S. airlines set their own policies, and though every U.S. airline now bans calls, there's no assurance that will continue.

Outside of the United States, many airlines permit phone talk,  including Emirates. In addition, some sophisticated U.S. travelers can sometimes get around an airline's controls, forcing flight attendants to enforce policies.

Source: Skift
Travel Buyers Gave Delta Another Overwhelming Victory, but All Carriers Improved - 
For the sixth year in a row, Delta Air Lines soared above its competition in  BTN's  annual Airline Survey, but the results gave all carriers room to boast, as buyer satisfaction levels rose nearly across the board. All four U.S. carriers that had enough corporate use to merit inclusion in the survey improved their overall scores. More impressively, each one improved its score in all 10 categories with only one exception: United Airlines dropped four-hundredths of a point on a five-point scale in buyers' rating of its distribution channels.

With scores up among all carriers, Delta lost only a slight edge in its premium over the other three carriers. Its total score was 0.77 points above its closest competitor, compared with a 0.9-point difference last year.

Mastercard Enables Machine-Learning Transaction Approvals  - 
MasterCard card issuers now have the option to use MasterCard's new machine-learning based transaction-approval tool.

Called Decision Intelligence, it determines whether a transaction is a legit purchase for that card account with "sophisticated algorithms" that evaluate the purchase type, the cardholder's purchasing habits and the transaction location, merchant, date and time, as well as the mobile device if a mobile wallet is used.

Card issuers will pay a fee for the service, but a MasterCard spokesperson did not say whether it will be per transaction.

The tool not only reduces the potential for fraud, but also minimizes false declines, according to MasterCard. Al Pascual-senior vice president, research director and head of fraud and security for Javelin Strategy & Research-said, "We estimate that in the U.S. alone, the value of false declines is more than 13 times the total amount lost to actual card fraud."
United Brings Automated Checkpoints to O'Hare - United Airlines has opened automated security screening lanes at the Terminal 1 TSA Precheck checkpoint at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, a United hub. The lanes allow five travelers to fill bins at the same time, and a conveyer system returns the empty bins. The lanes are designed to speed up the process for travelers. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that, over the last several months, peak-hour security wait times at O'Hare have dropped from 104 minutes to "some of the shortest in the country among major airports." United launched automated lanes in Los Angeles last month and will open lanes at Newark Liberty International Airport within two weeks.  
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