Monthly Archives: April 2022
Listed as a National Natural Landmark, the iconic Lē‘ahi – Diamond Head State Monument (DHSM), is the third park unit in the Hawai‘i State Park system to require advanced reservations for out-of-state visitors, beginning on May 12, 2022. Hawai‘i residents continue to enjoy free access without reservations, but entry may depend on parking availability.
On Kaua‘i, at Hā‘ena State Park, and on Maui at Waiʻānapanapa State Park, reservation systems are already in place.
Diamond Head is one of the most sought-after and visited attractions in Hawai‘i. Prior to the pandemic, during the 2019 winter holiday period, the park had a record visitation day of over 6,000 people. The new reservation system is intended to reduce hiker congestion along the narrow and winding trail to the summit, reduce the load on the comfort station and reduce vehicle congestion entering and exiting the sole access tunnel at Diamond Head. The DLNR Division of State Parks (DSP) hopes to also reduce parking issues in urban neighborhoods outside of Diamond Head.
The DSP goal is to improve the quality of the experience by reducing access during the more popular and currently congested morning time period and have patrons select the less crowded afternoon slots if they must hike on a particular day. Otherwise, as with any capacity-based reservation system, they must select another day. Visitors will need to plan their hikes in advance.
In 2020, DSP increased fees from one dollar for walk-ins and five dollars for vehicles to ten dollars for parking and five dollars per person for entry.
The system will rely upon QR codes to confirm reservations and will eliminate the exchange of cash at the entrance, reducing the time it takes to enter Diamond Head. When activated on April 28, the system will allow for reservations beginning 14 days into the future. After May 12, out-of-state visitors will not be allowed to enter without an advanced reservation. In addition, commercial tour and trolley patrons will have to have reservations.
With 33 states now allowing some form of medical marijuana, and recreational marijuana legal in 18 states and Washington, DC, you may assume traveling with medical marijuana is easy. However, the difference between the various state and federal governments increases the risk and could lead to an arrest or other complication.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration classifies cannabis as a Schedule I type of drug which declares the plant as a substance with currently no accepted medical usage, lacks accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and has a high potential for abuse.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) maintains that since marijuana is illegal under federal law it is prohibited and will be confiscated if found. The TSA is lenient in terms of marijuana searches indicating its screening procedures are designed to identify potential threats to passengers and aviation and focused on security their officers are not actively looking for marijuana or other drugs. Though technically required to inform law enforcement, the TSA tends to be somewhat lenient in their procedures and, particularly if the passenger is carrying a medical marijuana card, will sometimes merely throw the confiscated items away or even return it. Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines and American Airlines ban medical marijuana from their aircraft, even if you have a medical card. Amtrak’s policy indicates “The use or transportation of marijuana in any form for any purpose is prohibited, even in states or countries where recreational use is legal or permitted medically.”
Although traveling with cannabis via a plane or boat is illegal under U.S. law, there is still another way to travel within the United States without being penalized through the medical cannabis reciprocity program. The program allows a patient to purchase, possess, and use medical marijuana in another state if he has a valid medical cannabis card issued by the state where he is a resident.
Some states require non-residents to sign up for medical cannabis program and pay a fee beforehand. States like Oregon limit the amount of cannabis non-residents can bring. Lastly, remember that the program is solely applicable to medical marijuana only. Carrying official documents demonstrating the medical nature of the marijuana you are carrying is a necessity. When traveling to a state with reciprocity, travelers should be certain their medical marijuana card is not expired.
It is illegal to carry medical marijuana in a state where medical use is not permitted. Likewise, traveling internationally with medical marijuana risks very harsh penalties.
The U.S. Department of Transportation today released its Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR) on airline operational data compiled for the month of February 2022 for on-time performance, mishandled baggage, mishandled wheelchairs and scooters, complaints received, and oversales.
The ATCR is designed to assist consumers with information on the quality of services provided by airlines. It also contains information on complaints involving passenger and baggage security screening received by the Transportation Security Administration.
In February, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to result in significant changes to airline schedules and operations. The 496,531 flights operated in February 2022 were 87.9% of the 564,614 flights operated in pre-pandemic February 2019. Operated flights in February 2022 were up 50.5% year-over-year from the 329,969 flights operated in February 2021 and down 6.0% month-over-month from the 528,070 flights operated in January 2022.
In February 2022, the 10 marketing network carriers reported 519,952 scheduled domestic flights, 23,421 (4.5 %) of which were canceled. In February 2021, the same airlines reported 350,170 scheduled domestic flights, 20,201 (5.8%) of which were canceled. In January 2022, airlines scheduled 563,737 domestic flights, of which 35,667 (6.3%) were canceled.
February 2022 On-Time Arrival
In February 2022, reporting marketing carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 76.6%, up from 75.3% in January 2022 and 73.8% in pre-pandemic February 2019. The year-to-date on-time arrival rate for 2022 is 75.9%.
Highest Marketing Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates February 2022 (ATCR Table 1)
1. Hawaiian Airlines – 87.1%
2. Delta Air Lines Network – 82.8%
3. Alaska Airlines Network– 82.8%
Lowest Marketing Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates February 2022 (ATCR Table 1)
1. JetBlue Airways – 61.8%
2. Allegiant Air – 65.1%
3. Frontier Airlines – 68.0%
February 2022 Flight Cancellations
In February 2022, reporting marketing carriers canceled 4.5% of their scheduled domestic flights, lower than the rate of 6.3% in January 2022 and 3.1% in pre-pandemic February 2019.
Lowest Marketing Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights February 2022 (ATCR Table 6)
1. Hawaiian Airlines – 0.2%
2. Alaska Airlines Network – 1.5%
3. Delta Air Lines Network– 2.4%
Highest Marketing Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights February 2022 (ATCR Table 6)
1. American Airlines Network – 7.2%
2. Allegiant Air – 5.7%
3. JetBlue Airways – 5.1%
In February 2022, reporting marketing carriers handled 32.0 million bags and posted a mishandled baggage rate of 0.60, a lower rate than the January 2022 rate of 0.81% and the pre-pandemic February 2019 rate of 0.63%.
In the previous three calendar year reports (2019 to 2022), the Department calculated the mishandled baggage rate based on the number of mishandled bags per 1,000 checked bags. The Department is now displaying the mishandled baggage data as a percentage (i.e., per 100 bags enplaned). This is consistent with the manner that the mishandled wheelchairs and scooters rate is calculated and displayed.
Bumping/oversales data, unlike other air carrier data, are reported quarterly rather than monthly.
For the fourth quarter of 2021, the 10 U.S. reporting marketing carriers posted an involuntary denied boarding, or bumping, rate of 0.23 per 10,000 passengers, higher than the rate of 0.16 in the third quarter of 2021 and the rate of 0.03 in the fourth quarter of 2020.
The full report can be found here: https://www.transportation.gov/briefing-room/air-travel-consumer-report-february-2022-numbers
Posted In: The Rosen Report
Part 1 of 2 on what travel advisors say is the biggest issue in the industry. Follow us next week for Part 2, as suppliers respond.
Angela Hughes is feeling lucky that her $2 million in personal annual sales allows her to hire a team of assistants. She uses them to hold the phone for her—often for hours at a clip—when she needs to call a supplier.
“Right now I’m trying to close a group of 50 for 2023—but I can’t get any space, and we have four-hour wait times to boot,” she says. “So I pay an assistant to sit on hold all day every day. It helps me earn a lot more revenue. But I can’t get over the inefficiency of the tour companies that makes it necessary.”
Hughes is passionate on the subject these days, she says. “I’m only using suppliers who help us—and if that means I have to move away from preferred suppliers, so be it. I’m moving all my tour clients over to Globus because they answer quickly. I dread that I ever booked a group to Club Med—I waited six hours on the phone one day, and then my client Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Deck Plans
For those who enjoy the marvels of the natural world, few locales compare with Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands. Happily, for those who wish to have this experience on an ultra-luxury, truly all-inclusive ship, Silversea’s newest expedition ship, the destination-specific Silver Origin is just the ticket.
I was on board the Silver Origin in late February when it was officially christened by Bishop Patricio Bonillo, and esteemed conservationist and Galápagos Islands permanent resident Johanna Carrión named as the ship’s Godmother. (The Silver Origin first started welcoming guests in June 2021, but the Omicron variant had postponed the naming festivities. Since its first voyage last June there have been 36 weekly voyages with eastern or western itineraries and not a single case of COVID.)
Built in 2020, the 5,800 ton Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Ex Fida Bona
Your prospect said YES! They are ready to work with you. You’ve successfully turned a lead into a prospect, and that prospect is now a new client. Woo-hoo!
So, what’s next? Now that the customer is excited to work with you and is ready to sign on the dotted line, how do you get them on board and well-positioned to become a loyal, long-term client?
Do you have in place a process to welcome him to your business? After you’ve booked his trip, do you have a way to manage how you communicate with him, to make the most of your time, and to get the most from this new relationship? If you don’t, or if you think your existing process could be improved, coming across this article is, indeed, a lucky find! Read the rest of this entry »
Delta has announced that it will begin paying them while they board flights in the face of a growing union movement among its flight attendants.
Delta Airlines will be the first airline in the United States to pay flight attendants as they are boarding. With more than 20,000 flight attendants who are not unionized, Delta is the only major American airline with non-unionized flight attendants. A unionization effort has been underway for several months, and this latest concession from the company is seen as a significant victory.
Historically, flight attendants’ pay begins when the plane’s doors close. Flight attendants in the union movement have been demanding better working conditions and pay and hope that this move by Delta will inspire other airlines to do the same. The Association of Flight Attendants has attempted to organize Delta flight attendants three times over the last 20 years.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for flight attendants was $61,640 in May 2021.
Looking for a new short vacation option with a brand consumers already know and love? Margaritaville at Sea has just the thing to sell this summer and all year round: 4- and 6-day sea-and land escapes that sail from West Palm Beach to Grand Bahamas.
At Seatrade in Miami, chief commercial officer Francis Riley told TRO the new ship “is going to include all the things you’d get in a Margaritaville resort” – the elevated room, pillows, and mattresses; the 5:00 Bar; the elevated dining with JWB Prime steak house; the valet service; the bands and music throughout the ship; the kids club; “plus of course what you’d expect in terms of entertainment, including the new show we launched today written by Jimmy Buffett.”
The new ship, which begins sailing May 14, gives the company—and the travel advisors who sell it—the opportunity “to talk to a lot of customers who have experienced the land-based resort who might enjoy an elevated cruise experience,” be it just a two-night jaunt out of Florida or with an extended stay on Grand Bahama Island.
As a sign of its commitment to travel advisors, Margaritaville at Sea is setting aside “a minimum of one cabin per sailing” on every single ship starting at a $149 agent rate including taxes and fees.
Tell them Cheryl sent you!
More than 15 years after it was enacted, the number of Americans with driver’s licenses or identification cards that are REAL ID-compliant remains low.
The enforcement deadline for the REAL ID Act is drawing near. Starting May 3, 2023, the Transportation Security Admission (TSA) will require travelers ages 18 years old and above to present either the new REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or valid compliant identification cards, to fly domestically. Yet, the number of Americans with Real ID-compliant identification is low. A passport is an acceptable form of identification and may be used in lieu of a REAL ID Drivers License or ID to board domestic flights and visit federal facilities.
The U.S. Congress passed into law the REAL ID Act in 2005, a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission asking the federal government to set standards in terms of the issuance of sources of identification. The Act sets “minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards as well as prohibits federal agencies from accepting licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards for official purposes, such as getting through the airport security checkpoint to board a plane.”
Soon after it was enacted, the TSA announced the REAL ID Act as the new identification system to travel domestically. Fast forward to 2020, after more than 15 years of repeated delays and extensions, the number of state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards that are REAL ID-compliant was only 34%.
Survey data released in 2020 by the U.S. Travel Association showed a lack of awareness regarding the REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and cards among Americans, the majority of whom do not have one or are confused about how to get one. As a response, the DHS announced a new implementation date, which was October 21 of the same year. A month after, however, the deadline was pushed back again and was moved to May 3, 2023, due to “circumstances” created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The agency also launched an awareness campaign in January of last year to encourage Americans to comply. Still, the number of REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards remains low, with 43% having compliant ID at the end of 2021.
The slow adoption seems to revolve around disparities in application procedures among the 50 states, which varies from one state to another.
To know more about the process, visit TSA’s official webpage at REAL ID | Transportation Security Administration
United has announced that it will be increasing the number of flights it offers between the United States and Europe in response to increased demand for travel between the two continents with the resurgence in travel.
The airline is planning to raise trans-Atlantic capacity by 25 % this summer compared with 2019 despite rising fuel prices and the Ukraine crisis. According to Patrick Quayle, United’s senior vice president of the international network, it was the airline’s largest single transatlantic increase in history.
Bergen, Norway; Amman, Jordan; the Canary Islands, and Portugal’s Azores are among the new destinations announced by United Airlines. United is adding to its network of flights, including to London, Zurich, Munich, Milan, and Nice, France.
Also, United delayed three new routes — because of a pilot shortage. The airline has been in a protracted contract dispute with its pilots. The pilots have been working without a contract since their last one expired at the end of 2012. The union has been in contract negotiations with the airline for more than two years and has been without a contract since the last one expired at the end of 2012.
Residual effects of the Covid-19 pandemic continue to create some reluctance for international travelers. The US now requires a negative Covid test for all passengers traveling from Europe. “We are still in the midst of a pandemic, which has resulted in significant travel restrictions and reduced demand,” Quayle said. But as more people are vaccinated and case numbers fall in the US and Europe, the airline sees a “pent-up demand for travel.” “We are encouraged by the progress being made in the vaccination efforts in the U.S. and Europe,” Quayle said, “and we are hopeful that travel will continue to rebound as we approach the summer.”
Given these difficulties, Quayle says there has been no decrease in demand. However, he noted that there could impact demand for United’s partner Lufthansa’s flights to towns further east in nations like Poland and Romania. United is also seeing “strong” demand for more expensive products like its Polaris business class and premium economy class for trans-Atlantic flights.
In celebration of the movie’s premiere, the cruise line unveiled new cruise extension programs that allow its guests to experience English country life, including the Hampshire’s Highclere Castle, the setting for the fictional “Downton Abbey.”
Viking Cruises announced its enhanced partnership following the London premiere of the series’ full-length film “Downton Abbey: New Era” last week. The film is the continuation of the story of the fictional aristocratic Crawley family, their servants, and their lives in the English estate.
This is not Viking’s first such foray. Viking sponsored MASTERPIECE—a series of period dramas produced by PBS’ flagship station when Downton Abbey first aired on PBS. The strong association between the television series and the cruise line led to a partnership. Viking has offered exclusive tours of Highclere Castle since 2013.
“Many of our guests were introduced to both Viking and Highclere Castle while watching the Downton Abbey series. For this reason, we are linked in the minds of many Downton Abbey fans,” Karine Hagen, the executive vice president of Viking, explained.
Viking’s New Cruise Extensions
Viking’s Privileged Access tour of Highclere Castle allows guests to explore the estate’s grounds. To celebrate the movie’s premiere, Viking has introduced “Great Homes, Gardens and Gins” as its new cruise extension program. Guests are offered an exclusive tour at several country estates that served as shooting locations in some of the period dramas produced by PBS and MASTERPIECE.
Through June 30, 2022 Viking is offering two sweepstakes for U.S. and Canadian residents for a chance to win grand prize trips for two on Viking’s 8-day river voyage, Paris & the Heart of Normandy and 3-night Privileged Access land extension program, Oxford & Highclere Castle.
Posted In: Point-to-Point
The best evidence that the cruise market is in flux and subject to wild changes is that Douglas Ward’s Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships hasn’t been updated since 2020. The Berlitz Guide used to sit on most travel agents’ desks. For 35 years, it could be counted on to give clients a two-page summary of every vessel promoted to clients by American travel advisors. It was more than a mere directory. The 754-pages of the 2020 edition rated the accommodations, cuisine, and service on each ship. It was the final word on ship statistics, so that passenger space ratios, passenger crew ratios, and tonnage could be reliably compared.
In my 2019 Amazon book, How to Plan Your Next & BEST Cruise: Secrets of Selecting Cruises, Ships & Destinations, I used Douglas Ward’s data in every chapter to show readers how to move beyond the ads and hype, and to make viable comparisons among cruise ships they were considering. Read the rest of this entry »
SATA Azores Airlines has announced exclusive offers for agents for New York (JFK) to the Azores. The Azores is One of Europe’s Most Popular Island Destinations.
Earn 12% commission on this package through May 6!
If you want an unforgettable trip, which you will never forget, the Azores are the place. The Azores islands located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean offer idyllic landscapes. Isolated until the 20th century, the archipelago with the different cultures and nationalities of its settlers, the Azores Islands have a rich cultural diversity, which makes each island a new world waiting to be explored. In the Azores you will find landscapes of unparalleled beauty, monuments carved in stone from volcanoes, museums that will take you back in time, animals unique in all the world, a cuisine stuffed of intense flavors and people who will welcome you with arms wide open. All the necessary ingredients for a perfect trip.
Formerly known as SATA International, Azores Airlines (S4) is a subsidiary of SATA Air Açores that is based in Ponta Delgada, São Miguel, Azores, Portugal. Founded in 1990, the airline operates from a hub at João Paulo II Airport (PDL). Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS) is a focus city. SATA connects over 80 destinations in the North Atlantic, with flights between continents, archipelagos, and islands.
Exceptional Demand Leads Luxury River Cruise Line to Add Additional Opportunities for Guests to Experience the Beauty of Portugal
Luxury river cruise line AmaWaterways today announced that it has extended its 2022 and 2023 Portugal river cruising season with 14 additional sailings round trip from Porto onboard AmaDouro. With cruises available through the end of December, guests now have the opportunity to experience the joys of this popular destination in the early winter season with temperate weather, fewer crowds, and charming Christmas markets, complemented by stunning landscape and delectable food and wine tasting experiences.
“Full of rich culture, inspiring architecture, and enticing cuisine, our Portugal sailings have always been extremely popular. This demand inspired us to extend both our 2022 and 2023 season until the end of December, giving guests another reason to travel and experience all that Portugal has to offer during this special time of year,” said Kristin Karst, co-founder and executive vice president of AmaWaterways. “The extended season opens up a new opportunity for our travel partners to reserve groups to visit Portugal’s festive Christmas markets, delightful vineyards, and historic sites during this quieter period!”
Sailing onboard the spectacular AmaDouro, the extension of the 2022 and 2023 season in Portugal includes additional dates for AmaWaterways’ Enticing Douro itinerary – a seven-night roundtrip from Porto river cruise along the Douro River Valley. Throughout the itinerary, guests will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in authentic cultural experiences with a variety of included small-group shore excursions, such as:
- A visit to the tranquil village of Entre-os-Rios where they will enjoy a traditional Portuguese lunch at a local Quinta (a country estate)
- A step back in time as they stroll through the historical city of Salamanca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- A guided hike of Porto, followed by a tasting of Port, Portugal’s most renowned contribution to the world of wine
Portugal is known for its mild winters that make it a magical destination during the pre-Christmas period. Those wishing to extend their time in the destination can add three nights in Lisbon pre-cruise, including a tour of the city and a morning excursion to Serra de Sintra, one of the loveliest mountain villages in Portugal. Guests will enjoy the temperate climate as they stroll through Lisbon and Porto’s intimate Christmas markets, where they will find charming handmade gifts and festive treats.
Travelers interested in experiencing AmaWaterways’ extended Portugal season from November 12 to December 31 during the 2022 season can take advantage of the More to Love sale. Guests who book their Portugal sailings for this year by June 30, 2022 will enjoy a comprehensive package complete with a 7-night river cruise in a French balcony stateroom, round-trip airfare, transfers, a 3-night pre-cruise land package in Lisbon, port charges, and Travel Waiver Plus starting at $5,999 USD* per person. With this special sale, guests can enjoy extended time in Portugal with a comprehensive, peace-of-mind package.
For more information or to book an AmaWaterways river cruise for a client, visit AmaWaterways.com or call 1.800.626.0126. Follow AmaWaterways on Facebook at Facebook.com/AmaWaterways, Instagram @AmaWaterways, Twitter @AmaWaterways, and YouTube at YouTube.com/AmaWaterways.
Rental Escapes, a full-service luxury villa company that provides customized villa experiences, today released its Summer Travel Forecast, revealing its top five most popular summer travel destinations.
Based on booking demand for luxury villa rentals from June through September, Rental Escapes has identified that luxury travelers are increasingly eyeing the Caribbean and close-to-home domestic destinations for their summer 2022 getaways.
“Summer travel bookings are up over 30 percent across the board and as the temperatures are heating up, so is demand for close-to-home luxury vacations that feel a world away,” said Willie Fernandez, chief marketing officer of Rental Escapes. “In addition to seeing an uptick in bookings for domestic villa rentals and Caribbean island destinations, we are seeing a surge in large group bookings.”
According to Rental Escapes, the top 5 most sought-after spots for luxury villa rentals this summer include:
As one of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean, Jamaica has something to offer every type of traveler. With ocean views, gorgeous sunsets, reggae music, and complete relaxation—it’s not hard to see why this destination made the list. With its many mountains and rivers, this nature-lover’s paradise is the perfect location for adventure seekers. Luxury villa rentals, which are all fully staffed, can be found beachfront amid white sands, seaside, cliffside or on the bay. With a variety of villa sizes and price ranges to choose from, the options are endless for travelers that are ready to enjoy some “island time.” View Jamaica Luxury Villas
The Dominican Republic is known as one of the most geographically diverse countries in the Caribbean. The towns and cities of the modern-day Dominican Republic are a clear testament to times past, and today people gather to celebrate among their historical remains. On the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic, travelers will find La Romana, a 16th-century artisan’s village and one of the island’s best places to shop for quality crafts and gifts. With magnificent mountain scenery, desert scrublands and stunning beaches, there is never a lack of choice for those seeking adventure. Whether it’s the peaceful refuge from the hustle and bustle of life or the inviting Dominican culture travelers are chasing, Rental Escapes’ luxury villa rentals will provide everything they need to enjoy this destination to the fullest View Dominican Republic Luxury Villas
Florida is full of fun-in-the-sun activities and a wide variety of attractions. Home to Walt Disney Worldâ, this destination is a year-round favorite for families looking to experience the wonders of the Magic Kingdom. Beachgoers can enjoy not one—but two beautiful coasts, with the Atlantic side on the east and the Gulf Coast on the west. For fashion and nightlife lovers, Miami provides the perfect destination with world-class shopping, eclectic dining and a thriving arts and culture scene. Florida travelers can choose quiet condos on the beach, or free-standing homes perfect for larger groups. Luxury villa rentals in Florida will cater to every need, whether travelers are seeking convenient theme park access in Orlando or the animated scenes of Miami Beach, among many other city choices. View Florida Luxury Villas
From the Riviera Maya on the Caribbean coast to Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta or Punta Mita, Mexico provides the perfect getaway for any traveler. While some seek the simplicity of a cold drink in the warm sand, others look to Mexico for an adventure-driven getaway. This destination offers an impressive range of activities, excursions and adventures for any risk-taker or explorer. Whether it be a fun-filled family vacation, a romantic getaway, or a tropical wedding, Rental Escapes’ exquisite luxury villa rentals in Mexico will provide a relaxing home-away-from-home with magnificent views. View Mexico Luxury Villas
Turks and Caicos
For those looking for a beachfront paradise, Turks and Caicos is the perfect spot to book a luxury villa. Whether one’s ideal vacation includes basking in the sun or parasailing over the turquoise-blue surf, this destination is sure to meet every need. There are a number of incredible things to see and do in the Turks and Caicos. The island boasts some of the world’s best snorkeling and diving, as there is a huge variety of marine life in addition to the beautiful coral reefs. Travelers will find the perfect balance of relaxation, excitement and entertainment by booking a luxury villa at this breathtaking destination. View Turks and Caicos Luxury Villas
For more information on Rental Escapes, visit RentalEscapes.com. Stay up-to-date on the latest news by following Rental Escapes on Facebook Facebook.com/RentalEscapes, Instagram @RentalEscapes, Twitter @RentalEscapes and LinkedIn.
About Rental Escapes
Rental Escapes is a full-service luxury villa company that prides itself in providing top-notch personalized service and unforgettable villa experiences. The company offers a hand-picked selection of more than 5,000 carefully vetted and curated luxury villa rentals in 70 destinations across the Caribbean, Mexico, Europe, the United States and beyond. Its team of highly trained villa specialists assist guests and travel advisors in planning and booking the ideal villa stay. In addition, every reservation is provided with a concierge service to take care of arranging everything from private chefs to boat charters.
The unprecedented lack of staffing in the hospital industry is creating ongoing service issues for travelers.
The impact of COVID-19 isolation, workers moving to other professions and the mass lay-offs that occurred early in the pandemic have wreaked havoc, creating an ongoing chaotic matrix of cancellations, delays, and service interruptions. Industry leaders are expecting the situation to continue for at least a year and advised travelers who are flying both abroad and domestically to prepare.
Flight tracker FlightAware indicates that in early April, more than 10,000 U.S. flights were canceled or delayed and the situation has continued throughout the month over Easter weekend. Almost all airlines were affected by staff shortages, technology glitches, and resulting logistical issues. Southwest, JetBlue, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Frontier, and Spirit all suffered service interruptions, exacerbated by severe weather disturbances across the country at major airports.
It is unclear whether the airlines have adequately anticipated the sudden surge in demand precipitated by the public’s perception, real or not, that the pandemic is at an end. Consulting firm Oliver Wyman indicates a pilot shortage exceeding 12,000 by 2023 as the pilot population ages into retirement. Because of the necessity for security and background checks, the recruitment period for airline and airport staffing has a much longer cycle than in many other hospitality industry segments.
Like the airlines, hotels and restaurants struggle to meet the surge. Hotels have cut back on housekeeping services and restaurants are struggling to employ enough staff, even as pay for new hires has dramatically increased. There are currently 1.7 million fewer positions filled in the restaurant industry than before the pandemic as many workers moved on to other professions. Combined with labor issues, consumers are facing higher prices for their vacations and business travel as industry segments try to improve their balance sheets and adjust pricing to meet the sudden increase in demand.
The situation extends beyond US borders. British Airways canceled more than 200 flights over the Easter weekend affecting an estimated 20,000 passengers and flights with routes to the Far East and the U.S. until September. EasyJet also postponed hundreds of flights over Easter.
Experts recommend travelers anticipate delays and service interruptions and have alternative plans in the event of cancellations, leaving additional time for arriving at any destination for a scheduled event or other travel.
Posted In: Mike's Monday Cup of Mo-Joe
I am not sure if this can be considered my “signature story,” but it’s true that I have been sharing this particular point for over 30-years in my public speaking business.
It involves a single PowerPoint slide where I ask the audience to count the number of times they spot a particular letter, clearly printed on the slide. It is not a trick. It calls for a single answer.
The result has been the same for over 30 years? I get four different answers to the question where there is just one correct one.
The message then addresses the necessary skill of spotting opportunities when they appear right in front of you. In fact, they are everywhere. In fact, very few spot them. As a result, very few people take advantage of them.
This leads me to today’s message Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Editorial Musings
Unfortunately, every industry has some shady businesses practices. And believe me, travel is no exception. And one permeates all industries it seems. Yes, email. Are you above board and ethical? Or do your clients simply delete your emails? Or are they even being delivered? Do you know?
Believe it or not, you could be a spammer without even knowing it. Here is some food for thought. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted In: Publishers Corner
As business people, it behooves us to think cautiously about any business strategy focusing on price as a way of attracting attention to our services. We are a “deal” obsessed culture, and the “lowest price” mentality seems to be predominant everywhere. Not only are we training our clients to hone in on exactly the wrong issues, we also deeply damage the integrity of our own brands in the process.
As late as 1986, coal miners in the UK still carried canaries to detect carbon monoxide fumes in the mines.
If the canary died, trouble was afoot. These days, the World Wildlife Federation publishes a “species directory” – a list of endangered, vulnerable, and threatened animals and I find it ironic that the list has not been expanded to include humans. Perhaps it would be wrong to list humans under both threatened species and causation because no doubt there is a self-destructive gene somewhere in the human DNA spiral, and it seems to be expressing itself with increasing regularity.
So what has this to do with the travel industry?
The long-term health of our industry depends on what amounts in many cases to self-regulation. Tour operators and cruise lines operate without a great deal of oversight, even in the face of legal regulation and social pressure. Too often, a bit of excess oil is intentionally dumped overboard in our oceans or fragile environmental systems face the consequences of increasing numbers of affluent tourists. Climate change now hangs heavy over many destinations as ocean levels rise and glaciers melt. The ivory trade threatens the very existence of the planet’s largest mammals as thousands of elephants and rhinos are slaughtered for trinkets and pseudo medicines. There are still porters in Peru and Tanzania who continue to work under inhumane conditions. Men from the United States travel to Thailand, Guatemala, and central Europe for encounters with underage victims of the sex trade.
As a travel professional, you can ensure your clients are informed of these problems, are aware of the issues involved, the countermeasures, and the travel industry’s responsibility for negating each.
In many cases, the real cost of the environmental impact is “off-balance-sheet” – absorbed by the environment rather than by the traveler. The cumulative effects often show in places where we least want to observe the impact of humanity. But it is not only the environment per se that bears the brunt of tourism’s numbers. Trafficking in human slavery, the exploitation of animals, and of cheap labor are all intersected at some point by our profession.
These are not esoteric causes, but problems at the heart of some of the planet’s most correctable pathologies. Some of the key points worth noting:
- While consumers believe travel service suppliers should be good stewards of their environment, over half (54%) also believe that individuals themselves have the greatest responsibility for preserving and protecting the environment.
- Six out of ten (58%) travelers say they believe that environmental programs by travel service suppliers could have a positive effect on the environment.
- The majority (51%) of consumers will continue to patronize “green” travel service suppliers regardless of an economic downturn. In fact, nearly half (48%) of travelers say that continuing to support environmentally-responsible travel service suppliers is a necessity, even in an economic downturn.
- Less than one-third (29%) say it is easy to find out about environmental policies and initiatives of travel service suppliers
These key findings hold the promise of gradual evolution to a more sustainable travel industry. Travel professionals can be an important catalyst in the transformation of our industry from a 19th-century model to a 21st-century ideal. If fewer than one-third of travelers find it easy to obtain information on sustainable travel, there is a role for the socially conscious travel consultant to play.
Many might argue travel is itself a part of the problem. The footprint of tourism is heavy and deep and our impact on some very fragile environments is significant. Yet, it is balanced by the opportunity for millions of people to acquaint themselves with new cultures, new ways of thinking, an expanded vision of being a world citizen. We can only hope. We can certainly do our part in playing a positive role to offset the negative influences of travel and tourism.
Many tour operators have been taking very direct actions toward sustainable travel for years. Companies like Intrepid and G Adventures have blazed a trail for us, but there is so much more to be done.
Collectively, our profession touches millions of people each year. Pick a good cause. Educate yourself. Pass along just a small bit of information to your clients each and every time you engage in a travel planning effort. Help to make us all better world citizens. Make sustainable travel an issue. Because it is. The evidence indicates your clients want this type of information. Who better to provide it than a travel professional?
We will not always get second chances. Somewhere, a canary just lost its wings.
Intrepid Travel, the B Corp certified tour operator that has been a leader in decarbonizing the tourism industry, has put together a list of some of the company’s most low-impact trips ahead of Earth Day for travelers interested in a climate-conscious adventure.
While all of Intrepid’s 1,000+ tours around the world are fully carbon offset and the company itself has been carbon neutral since 2010, the past few years have seen an increased focus by its product development team to create trips that lower its carbon footprint even further, with a focus on removing internal flights, increasing its use of low-carbon accommodations and adding more human-powered adventures.
“Intrepid recognizes that travel has an environmental impact,” says Matt Berna, Intrepid Travel’s Managing Director for North America. “We are committed to ongoing improvement of our environmental performance in our operations and across our value chain to minimize our impact on the environment. Intrepid has developed more than 40 new low carbon trips, with a focus on activities including walking, trekking and cycling. Lowering the carbon output from our trips is also supported by the development of our new domestic range. In addition, flights have been removed from five top-selling products in Borneo, Cuba, Cambodia, Vietnam and Egypt.”
Here are 5 of its top picks for a low impact holiday:
- Vietnam Family Holiday – 13 days, from $1,400 USD per person
Trading planes for trains, taxis for cyclos
This 13-day tour from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh shows how travelling with a low footprint can help create a big impact. From navigating cities on a cyclo, a novel three-wheeled zero-emission wonder, to a family dinner at KOTO, a not-for-profit restaurant connecting at-risk youth with careers in hospitality, this trip is a perfect example of travelling with people and the planet in mind.
Climate-conscious tip from this trip: Beyond local, low-impact transportation and a focus on community operated restaurants, in 2022 we’ve replaced a flight from Hanoi to Hoi An with an overnight train. Rail travel is not only better for the planet but it often enhances the experience for travelers, seeing more of the countryside and smaller towns that you’d otherwise miss.
- Trek the Larapinta Trail – 5 days, from $1,264 USD per person
Off-grid is even better than offsetting
Going off-grid is one of the surest ways to minimize your environmental impact. On Intrepid’s Larapinta Trail adventure, travelers will tackle the rugged landscape of one of Australia’s greatest multi-day walks, where days are spent hiking and swimming in the wild and nights are spent camping in the wilderness in traditional swags under the star-filled desert skies.
Climate-conscious tip from this trip: While a digital-detox can help provide a much-needed mental recharge, it is also the most environmentally friendly way to travel. A 100% human powered adventure like this effectively means eliminating your footprint.
- Egypt Experience – 12 days, from $2,244 USD per person
Non-essential flights can essentially be the same as driving
This cultural expedition is filled with small examples of how travelers can make a big impact. From trains and boats to dinners with a Nubian family, you’ll quickly learn why locally minded travel is better for the planet.
Climate-conscious tip from this trip: In 2022, the flight from Aswan to Abu Simbel was removed in favor of driving. Between airport check-ins and wait times, it was calculated that door-to-door there was essentially no time saved from flying and lots of emissions to be saved by driving. Be sure you are looking at total travel time vs. flight time for the truest picture on how much “time” and “energy” a flight will take – the answer may surprise you.
- Premium Peru – 9 days, from $2,397 USD per person
Community-owned > foreign-owned
On Day 2 of Intrepid’s Premium Peru trip, travelers will visit Posada Amazonas, nestled on the side of the Tambopata River in the Peruvian Amazon. This lodge is community-owned by the Ese Eja Indigenous people and will host travelers for 2 nights. As traditional stewards of the land, the lodge was built using local materials and designed to work in concert with nature.
Climate-conscious tip from this trip: Community-owned lodges and hotels are collectively owned and developed to benefit multiple families and residents of a community. These types of properties are found all over the world and almost guarantee 100% of your tourism dollars genuinely support the community you visit. When looking for a unique stay, try booking a proper community-based hotel stay.
- Walking in Grand Canyon National Park – 5 days, from $1,845 USD per person
Undertourism that over delivers
Travelers will capture the magic of the USA’s famed Grand Canyon on a guided 5-day walking adventure, starting with a hike along the popular South Rim, soaking in spectacular views of the Canyon and Colorado River, before continuing to the lesser-visited and awe-inspiring North Rim that sees just 10% of the visitors of its southern counterpart. Local guides will show off hidden trails, secret look out points and unusual wildlife each day, before spending the evenings in a scenic campsite beneath a sky full of stars.
Climate-conscious tip from this trip: The road less travelled is often a much more sustainable and responsible one. By seeking under-touristed trails and lookouts, you are reducing the strain on the built environment and helping ensure other places and people benefit from tourism. Always seek out alternative views, perspectives and paths that will provide the same effect with a reduced impact.
ABOUT INTREPID TRAVEL
Intrepid Travel is a world leader in sustainable experience-rich travel that has been taking travelers to discover the world’s most amazing places for more than 30 years. The company’s mission is to create positive change through the joy of travel. The company offers more than 1,150 trips on every continent and every is designed to truly experience local culture. With its own network of destination management companies in 23 countries, Intrepid has unique local expertise and perspectives. Globally renowned as a leader in responsible travel, in 2018 the carbon-neutral business became the world’s largest travel company to be certified B-Corp. Intrepid Travel is the only global tour operator with verified science-based carbon reduction targets and its not-for-profit, The Intrepid Foundation, has raised more than $11 million for more than 130 charities around the world. For further information download the company’s 2021 Integrated Annual Report and follow on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.