Hilton Scores a Victory Over Online Booking Sites, and What It

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Hilton Scores a Victory Over Online Booking Sites, and What It Means for How Travel Will Be Booked

by Gary Leff on December 1, 2015

United Airlines used to offer last minute e-fares on their website, but stopped because they ran afoul of agreements with computer reservation systems to always display the best available fares through those sites.

Paying the computer reservation systems is costly, it s cheaper when airlines sell to you directly, so they used to offer bonus miles for doing so. And paying the online travel agencies is costlier still. Even though few airlines base commissions any longer (although Alitalia just re-introduced 1% commissions in Italy) they do pay based on volume.

Airlines have long paid less to the online travel sites than hotels. So hotels have gone to greater lengths than airlines in trying to get customers to book direct. Generally when you book on Expedia you still earn frequent flyer miles for your flights, and are eligible for elite status accrual and elite benefits. (Although it may not always be as clear what restrictions apply to the fares you re buying.)

Hotels on the other hand have:

  • Restricted points-earning (Hilton s official policy is no points at all, even for incidentals during your stay, when booking through a third party)
  • Restricted status-earning (major chains won t let your stay booked through most third parties count towards gaining or retaining status)

  • Restricted elite status benefits (Though Hyatt and Marriott generally honor elite status on third party bookings, other major chains do not)
  • During periods with hotel occupancy low, the OTAs had the greatest leverage. The major chain hotels were paying over 20% commissions, perhaps 25%, and independent hotels easily paid 40%.

    But those commissions have been falling. With hotels full they have a stronger bargaining hand. They re able to pay lower commissions, and negotiate other favorable terms.

    Hilton reports that it has successfully concluded better deals.

    [Hilton CEO Chris] Nassetta said Hilton Worldwide won the right to lower the commissions it pays to online travel agencies such as Expedia and Booking.com.

    Hilton Worldwide managed to eliminate last-room availability clauses and won the right to offer preferential pricing — lower rates than it gives to online travel agencies — to certain members of the hotel chain’s loyalty program, Nassetta said.

    “We are done with all of our OTA negotiations, and we achieved our goals in every one of those pillars,” Nassetta said.

    This likely explains Hilton testing discounts for HHonors members since they don t have to offer those same rates through online booking sites and can use those to incentive lower direct booking expenses.

    Airlines, too, continually squabble with the online sites and computer reservation systems over how their fares are distributed. Lufthansa is currently imposing an extra charge for tickets through these systems, which makes them less competitive. It s hard to sort out the effect it has had on the airline, because their sales have also been affected by strikes. Airlines want online travel sites to work through their own, less expensive, direct channels. And they want everyone selling their ancillary products, at the lowest cost to the carrier.

    When we see Expedia buy Orbitz after buying Travelocity we shouldn t just think of them as making consumer unfriendly moves, we should think of them as:

    1. Trying to preserve some of their leverage against travel providers who are eroding their margins.
  • Making defensive moves in anticipation of Google disrupting their business model.
  • That isn t to say that consolidation in the online booking industry is consumer-friendly. And consumer experiences vary. But online travel agency sites are hardly gaining market power .

    More From View from the Wing





    06/11/2017

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    How Much Birth Control Would Cost Under The AHCA #birth #control,


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    Here’s How Much Your Birth Control May Cost Under AHCA

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    The American Health Care Act. the GOP health care plan that aims to repeal and replace Obamacare, has narrowly passed in the House, and currently awaits a vote in the Senate.

    The controversial bill has been met with considerable pushback, as it would ultimately leave 24 million Americans without health insurance by 2026, according to an analysis from the Congressional Budget Office.

    Should the legislation pass, women are poised to face especially complex challenges when it comes to accessing birth control, which has been covered by Obamacare thanks to the “birth control benefit .”

    The Affordable Care Act requires insurance plans to cover all Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved methods of birth control for women without having to pay any out-of-pocket costs.

    Under the AHCA, however, women would no longer be able to reap any of those benefits.

    While Republicans may view a woman’s access to birth control as a “nitty-gritty detail ” in crafting health care legislation, any woman of child-bearing age can assure you the issue is far from trivial.

    Let’s talk about how much each contraceptive method actually costs when you pay out-of-pocket.

    While the prices vary depending on the circumstances, for most brands, a pack of birth control pills (which typically provides a month’s worth of contraception) can cost as much as $50 .

    However, it’s important to remember that only 17 percent of women who use a form of birth control are taking the pill.

    The intrauterine device, or IUD, is another commonly used method, though it demands a much steeper price out-of-pocket.

    Popular IUD brands like Mirena and Kyleena can cost anywhere between $500 and over $800 .

    Similarly, a birth control implant can set you back $800 without insurance .

    Unfortunately, the prices aren’t much kinder on your wallet as you make your way through the rest of the viable birth control options. Without insurance, you could pay up to $250 for the Depo-Provera shot. and $80 a month for the Nuvaring .

    Mind you, these costs don’t even factor in the doctors’ visits to obtain these prescriptions, nor the follow-up visits, all of which do not come free without insurance.

    So, what about Planned Parenthood?

    Fortunately, clinics like Planned Parenthood provide amazing resources to women seeking forms of contraception but lack the health insurance to pay for it.

    Not so fortunately, the latest version of AHCA plans to nix federal funding of the organization and bar patients from using any Medicaid dollars to access treatment at Planned Parenthood clinics.

    To put this in perspective, in 2015, approximately 43 percent of Planned Parenthood’s budget. or around $500 million, came from federal grants and reimbursements, according to NPR.

    Moreover, 60 percent of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding comes from Medicaid and Title X reimbursements for preventative and primary care, which includes not only birth control, but cancer screenings. as well.

    Even if the AHCA manages to garner enough votes in the Senate, this does not mean Planned Parenthood will vanish overnight.

    But they will lose a huge chunk of their funds, and we as patients could see an extremely alarming drop in the quality of their services.

    Plus, according to the Government Accountability Office, approximately 390,000 women could lose access to preventative care. and as many as 650,000 women would receive reduced preventative care.

    Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, discussed the potential impact of the GOP health care plan in the following statement:

    This is the worst bill for women’s health in a generation. This disastrous legislation once again makes being a woman a pre-existing condition; ‘defunds’ Planned Parenthood; guts maternity coverage; strips 24 million of their health insurance; lets insurance companies charge people with pre-existing conditions exorbitant rates; forces new moms back to work shortly after giving birth; and reduces access to contraception.

    In short, this bill makes it harder to prevent unintended pregnancy, harder to have a healthy pregnancy, and harder to raise a family. Alarm bells should be ringing in every house across America.

    Richards urges the Senate to “ listen to the American people and reject the worst bill for women’s health in a generation.”

    While it’s up to your health care provider whether or not to cover birth control, and some states, like New York. have made a plan to continue making coverage mandatory, the Trump administration has made it painfully clear that women’s health is at the bottom of their priority list.

    Subscribe to Elite Daily’s official newsletter, The Edge. for more stories you don’t want to miss.

    Why Guys Need To Go On More Man Dates


    30/09/2017

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    Proactive vs reactive thinking: How to be proactive, proactive means.#Proactive #means


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    Proactive vs reactive thinking: How to be proactive

    What does it mean to be proactive , as opposed to reactive ? And how can we do it? This is what this article is about.

    The word reactive implies that you don t have the initiative. You let the events set the agenda. You re tossed and turned, so to speak, by the tides of life. Each new wave catches you by surprise. Huffing and puffing, you scramble to react to it in order to just stay afloat.

    In contrast, the image we associate with proactivity is one of grace under stress. To stay with the previous analogy, let s say you re in choppy waters. Now, you look more at ease. It s not just that you anticipate the waves. You re in tune with them. You re not desperately trying to escape them; you re dancing with them.

    It would be great to dance with the rhythm of life, using the ebb and flow of events as a source of energy. But is this only possible to those people who are endowed with a proactive attitude (or, maybe, a proactive gene )?

    I believe that being proactive is not a mysterious quality that we have, or don t have. It is a way of dealing with things, that we can develop and strengthen.

    See the above as illustrated quote.

    What, then, is this skill?

    In a nutshell, being proactive is the same thing as being reactive. The only difference is: you do the reacting ahead of time.

    See the above as illustrated quote.

    Let s go back to the example of the two swimmers on the choppy seas. The difference between them is that the proactive swimmer anticipates that there will be waves, whereas the reactive one is painfully surprised by each wave.

    The difference is one of perspective. The proactive swimmer sees the big picture: each wave is not an isolated incident, but is part of a pattern. While there is stress in dealing with difficult circumstances, there is a consistency and a logic to the environment. There s a degree of predictability.

    With this bigger picture in mind, the proactive swimmer is able to adapt to the ups and downs. As he does so, he learns the patterns of the waves from inside out, so that his reactions become more and more spontaneous, more and more in tune with the rhythm of the waves.

    So, being proactive means being able to anticipate what the future will be, and to react accordingly before it actually happens.

    What is it that prevents the reactive swimmer from doing so? It could be lack of information. There are plenty of events in life that we simply cannot predict. It could also be lack of intelligence: some people are better than others at thinking in terms of patterns.

    But let s assume, for the moment, that our two swimmers have both the same levels of information and intelligence. Then, the difference between them would simply be that the proactive swimmer has enough energy to take in the available information and adapt to it. In contrast, the reactive swimmer is exhausted and overwhelmed ( Somebody get me out of here, please! ).

    What does this metaphor have to do with understanding how you can be more proactive in your life? Three things:

    ONE: To be proactive, what you have to do is ask yourself what is likely to happen, and react to it before it happens.

    TWO: It takes energy to rise above the difficulties of the moment, to see the big picture and to make the changes you need to make.

    THREE: Sometimes, you may not have that energy. At such times, it serves no purpose to berate yourself for being weak. Think of your reactivity as a symptom instead of a failure. You need a break. Take it.

    Let s imagine that our exhausted swimmer finds a raft. From this stable vantage point, wouldn t he be better able to see the big picture? After some rest, wouldn t he be better able to deal with the pattern of the waves?

    Sometimes, the most proactive thing you can do is take a break. Use this Time Out to refocus on what you re doing and how you re doing it.


    10/09/2017

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    Owe means #owe #means


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    BREAKING DOWN ‘IOU’

    Due to the informality of IOUs, those issuing the IOU are given free reign when writing and issuing it. Criteria, such as time, date, interest and payment type, are not mandatory but may be implied. The term “IOU” is an abbreviation, in phonetic terms, of “I owe you.”

    Example

    Smithco Bricks places an order for raw materials. However, the company does not have enough cash to pay for the entire order. Instead, it pays for a partial order and issues an IOU in good faith to pay for the rest of the raw materials at a later date. The IOU could say Smithco Bricks pays the outstanding balance 30 days after the first payment with or without interest.

    Legal Stuff

    An IOU may simply serve as a way to put a transaction in writing for later consideration. The document also comes in handy for loans made to a person or business that wants to illustrate an amortization table over a period of time. With an IOU form for a loan, a repayment schedule is a must. The amount of the loan, any interest payments, payoff amounts and the frequency of installments are all considerations a party may include in an IOU form. However, an IOU may deal with credit accounts in the receivables department.

    Outstanding Receivables

    A company’s IOU is counted as an asset on the balance sheet because another party owes that company money or goods. This usually happens when a business provides products or services to be paid later, such as after 30 or 90 days for short-term agreements. An IOU for outstanding receivables is a current asset if the term is one year or shorter. For IOUs longer than a year, accountants consider this a long-term asset. One innovative company sought to take advantage of cash-strapped companies with outstanding IOUs in 2008 in the middle of the financial crisis .

    IOU Service

    The Receivables Exchange offers an online marketplace for companies to receive cash for their IOUs at a slight discount. The company makes money by cashing in the full amount of the IOU. As an example, Acme Trash company has an outstanding IOU to Riverbend Plastics for $500 for the next 30 days. The Receivables Exchange might buy the IOU for $450 and give the cash to Acme Trash. The Receivables Exchange then gets the full $500 from Riverbend Plastics after a month, giving the firm a $50 profit on the deal.


    06/08/2017

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    Flexible dates means cheaper airfare #jayco #travel #trailers

    #search for cheap airline tickets
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    Cheap Airfares

    Get cheaper fares by being flexible with your travel dates

    If you insist on traveling on specific days, you’ll pay a lot more for airfares. But if you’re flexible about exactly when you leave and return, you can get much better deals. This is our #1 tip for getting the cheapest airfare! It bears repeating: Be flexible, pay less.

    Sample fares we just checked:

    • $444 – Leave on the 5th and insist on returning on the 7th
    • $333 – Leave on the 5th and willing to return on the 8th

    Use the services below to get great deals when your travel plans have some leeway.

    Search Engines

    Most search engines now do flexible-date searches. Here’s how the different engines handle them:

    • Kayak is usually the best. When you put in your cities, it shows you a calendar of the lowest fares for each day of the month. Sweet! The catch is that it shows you only fares for city/date combos that other users have already searched for. If you’re doing a popular route (like NYC to LA), you’ll likely see a price for every day, but going from Somewhere, Idaho to Somewhere, Montana there’s gonna be some holes in the calendar. But even if the calendar doesn’t have the dates you want, Kayak also has more powerful flexible-dates searching than the other engines. You can choose +/- 1-3 days, or search all upcoming weekends for the cheapest one, or find the cheapest flight occurring in a one-month period. Nice!
  • Skyscanner . Search for flexible dates for a whole month or even a whole year! The catch is the same as Kayak’s: It shows only cached results from specific searches that other users have done.
  • Travelocity and Orbitz each has a button that lets you search +/- 1-3 days.
  • Hipmunk lets you search + OR – 2 days from the departure or return date you type in, but not both + AND – at the same time. There’s a way to get a calendar similar to Kayak’s but it’s rather complicated. I hope they fix this.

    Weekly Netfares

    Every Wednesday the airlines offer deep discounts on undersold flights for that weekend. Downsides: You usually have to leave on Thu/Fri/Sat and return on Sun/Mon, and your choices of cities are limited. As I’m typing this, the only trips available from Austin are Denver ($147) or El Paso ($87), but those are excellent deals for roundtrip airfare.

    Rather than having to visit each airline website separately, just go to Best Fares and choose the city you want to travel from. Then they’ll show you all the deals from all the major airlines. Many of these are decidedly cheap.

    Of course, you can sign up at the individual airlines’ sites if you prefer. Here are the links:

    Fare Alerts by email

    Lots of sites offer a “Fare Alert” service, sending you an email about low fares between particular cities. But you only need one, and Kayak’s fare alert service is pretty good.

    Cheapest flights from your city

    Airfare Watchdog lets you put in your departure city, and then shows the cheapest fares from there to various cities around the country and the world.

    Portals / Home Pages

    Thanks for visiting, and I hope you liked the site. I’ll leave you with a couple of hand-picked ads.





    17/05/2017

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  • Flexible dates means cheaper airfare #cheap #flying #tickets

    #search for cheap airline tickets
    #

    Cheap Airfares

    Get cheaper fares by being flexible with your travel dates

    If you insist on traveling on specific days, you’ll pay a lot more for airfares. But if you’re flexible about exactly when you leave and return, you can get much better deals. This is our #1 tip for getting the cheapest airfare! It bears repeating: Be flexible, pay less.

    Sample fares we just checked:

    • $444 – Leave on the 5th and insist on returning on the 7th
    • $333 – Leave on the 5th and willing to return on the 8th

    Use the services below to get great deals when your travel plans have some leeway.

    Search Engines

    Most search engines now do flexible-date searches. Here’s how the different engines handle them:

    • Kayak is usually the best. When you put in your cities, it shows you a calendar of the lowest fares for each day of the month. Sweet! The catch is that it shows you only fares for city/date combos that other users have already searched for. If you’re doing a popular route (like NYC to LA), you’ll likely see a price for every day, but going from Somewhere, Idaho to Somewhere, Montana there’s gonna be some holes in the calendar. But even if the calendar doesn’t have the dates you want, Kayak also has more powerful flexible-dates searching than the other engines. You can choose +/- 1-3 days, or search all upcoming weekends for the cheapest one, or find the cheapest flight occurring in a one-month period. Nice!
  • Skyscanner . Search for flexible dates for a whole month or even a whole year! The catch is the same as Kayak’s: It shows only cached results from specific searches that other users have done.
  • Travelocity and Orbitz each has a button that lets you search +/- 1-3 days.
  • Hipmunk lets you search + OR – 2 days from the departure or return date you type in, but not both + AND – at the same time. There’s a way to get a calendar similar to Kayak’s but it’s rather complicated. I hope they fix this.

    Weekly Netfares

    Every Wednesday the airlines offer deep discounts on undersold flights for that weekend. Downsides: You usually have to leave on Thu/Fri/Sat and return on Sun/Mon, and your choices of cities are limited. As I’m typing this, the only trips available from Austin are Denver ($147) or El Paso ($87), but those are excellent deals for roundtrip airfare.

    Rather than having to visit each airline website separately, just go to Best Fares and choose the city you want to travel from. Then they’ll show you all the deals from all the major airlines. Many of these are decidedly cheap.

    Of course, you can sign up at the individual airlines’ sites if you prefer. Here are the links:

    Fare Alerts by email

    Lots of sites offer a “Fare Alert” service, sending you an email about low fares between particular cities. But you only need one, and Kayak’s fare alert service is pretty good.

    Cheapest flights from your city

    Airfare Watchdog lets you put in your departure city, and then shows the cheapest fares from there to various cities around the country and the world.

    Portals / Home Pages

    Thanks for visiting, and I hope you liked the site. I’ll leave you with a couple of hand-picked ads.





    05/04/2017

    Posted In: NEWS

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