»»Global Hotel Rates Increase 4% in First Half of 2012

Global hotel rates increased by 4% in the first six months of 2012, compared to the same period of the previous year, according to the Hotels.com Hotel Price Index. The index, also shows that, despite this rise, hotel rates are still around their 2005 level.

The Hotels.com Hotel Price Index, which stood at 108 for the first half of 2012, was at its peak of 119 in the first six months of 2007.

Regionally, the study shows the hotel prices rose most in the Pacific region (+6%) and North America (+5%). In Asia, hotel prices for H1 2012 were up 4%, while in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East recorded just an 1% increase.
In Asia, Japanese began to travel again after the problems caused by of the earthquake and nuclear disaster in March 2011, as China experienced a significant increase in international travelers in the last year.
Confidence seems to be back to much of the Middle East and North Africa after the political crises in 2011.
In the US, business travel experienced an increase in the first half of 2012.
Only some areas of the Eurozone experienced a drop in hotel rates, with a lower occupancy in the major cities.

However, globally, in the first six months of 2012, the index shows encouraging signs of growth for the sector.
Hotels.com Hotel Price Index, launched in 2004, is a report on room rates paid by travelers around the world.

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»»Starwood’s Fall Promotion Offers Mobile Booking Bonuses

Starwood has unveiled its fall promotion. It will offer double Starpoints on eligible stays of 1 or 2 nights, triple Starpoints on eligible stays of 3 or more nights, for stays completed at participating properties between October 1 and December 20, 2012.

That means the same bonuses that Starwood’s promotion “Better By the Night” was offering in the first quarter of the year.

However, the fall promotion will be an improved “Better By the Night”, as it also includes the following bonuses for booking online or through their iPhone app:
– 250 Starpoints for eligible stays booked at spg.com;
– 500 Starpoints for eligible stays booked through the SPG app for iPhone.

Starwood’s fall promotion requires registration by November 30. To find out details and the list of hotels & resorts not participating in the promotion, please visit this page.

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»»Visa Credit Card To Enter Myanmar

With a workshop held in Yangon, attended by a number of the Myanmar’s leading banks, Visa has announced it is entering the market of Myanmar.
The event is the first of a series of training workshops planned by the credit card company aiming to prepare local banks for the introduction of electronic payments.

Myanmar will be hosting major events such as Southeast Asian Games and World Economic Forum on East Asia next year.

That means the country will be preparing for the influx of international visitors attending these events, as well as of business people planning trips to Myanmar as a consequence of the relaxation of international sanctions. The easing of the sanctions, from the European Union and the United States, will encourage companies and citizens from these regions, to directly invest in Myanmar.

Visa’s workshops are a first step on a path to upgrading the Myanmar’s banking facilities to accept and issue international payment cards.

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»»Priority Club Last Minute Promotion: 50% Off Reward Rates

Priority Club launched its Last Minute Reward Nights promotion for this weekend (stays Aug. 3 through 5).

The promotion offers you a 50% discount on Standard Reward rates at participating hotels for August 3-5, 2012 stays.

Priority Club is displaying a list of 65 hotels worldwide — 49 of them in the U.S. — participating in the promotion.

To take advantage of the Last Minute Reward Nights promotion, you have to book by Thursday, August 2, 2012.
The list of participating hotels is available here.

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»»Advertised Airfares To Include Debit Card Charges – Following OFT’s Enforcement Action

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT), a UK’s a non-ministerial government department established in 1973 with the mission to make markets work well for consumers, said that following its enforcement action, 12 airlines have agreed to include debit card surcharges in the headline price.

The airlines which, subject to an OFT consumer law investigation, have agreed to change their practices, include: Aer Lingus, BMI Baby, Eastern Airways, easyJet, Flybe, German Wings, Jet2, Lufthansa, Ryanair, Thomas Cook, Thomson (TUI) and Wizz Air.
Eastern Airways, easyJet, Flybe, German Wings, Lufthansa, Thomas Cook, Thomson (TUI) and Wizz Air have already made changes to their pricing structures and websites, as the other airlines will change their advertising practices by August 1st.

Also, following the OFT’s enforcement action the airlines agreed to make surcharges for credit cards more transparent.
As OFT concedes that airlines may still impose surcharges for processing credit cards, its enforcement action requires these charges be clearer and easier to find during the booking process.

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