Hard Rock Hotels' worldwide expansion proceeds to Mexico | New West Africa cruise itineraries seek to avoid pirate attacks | Hobby Airport expansion would hurt Houston economy, United says
May 4, 2012
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Hard Rock Hotels' worldwide expansion proceeds to Mexico
Hard Rock Hotels is ramping up its plan for global expansion through a licensing deal with Palace Resorts in Mexico. The company has agreed to license its name to three of Palace Resorts' existing properties, which will undergo remodeling and open under the Hard Rock brand. Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) (5/3)
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New West Africa cruise itineraries seek to avoid pirate attacks
A rash of attacks from Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean is driving tour and cruise operators to seek safer waters around West Africa. The new demand, in turn, is setting the area up as an emerging destination. "In a perverse kind of way, the Somali pirates have done West African tourism a bit of a favor. A number of ships that would otherwise be in the Indian Ocean are now on the West African coast because of piracy," tour operator Lindblad Expeditions said in a statement. Travel Weekly (5/3)
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Hobby Airport expansion would hurt Houston economy, United says
United Airlines published a study Thursday asserting that Southwest Airlines' planned expansion of Hobby Airport in Houston would cause the city to lose $295 million a year and 3,700 jobs. This move is the latest in an ongoing lobbying war between Southwest and United, which claims that the expansion would significantly divert traffic from Bush Intercontinental Airport, where United has its busiest hub. Houston Chronicle (tiered subscription model) (5/3)
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Cruise execs report positive business outlook across industry
Cruise bookings and prices have shown resilience despite the Costa Concordia accident in January, and the year is shaping up to be a strong one for cruises across all segments, cruise line executives said during a general session at the cruise3sixty conference. Moderator Christine Duffy, president and CEO of Cruise Lines International Association, also directed agents' attention to significant opportunities in corporate cruises and small groups business. Travel Agent Central (5/2)
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Other News
[Free eBook] Hacking Value Delivery: The CIO and the Age of the Customer
CIOs today have a wealth of opportunity available to them in the Age of the Customer, and they play an even more paramount role in their organization as enterprises become increasingly digital and customer-centric. Unfortunately, CIOs are also up against outdated notions of their role - and limited budgets. As a result, too few CIOs have fully embraced the opportunity to drive their businesses into the customer age. Learn how to make the cultural change to a customer-first approach with this free eBook. Get it now.

Trends and Technology
Report: Growing consumer confidence leads to more travel plans
A May survey by the Royal Bank of Canada indicates that U.S. consumers are ramping up travel plans over an improving outlook on their personal economic situations. Volumes for planned road and air trips rose from 2010 results, the report showed. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)/Real Time Economics blog (5/3)
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Analysts warn of diminished hotel demand over the long term
Panelists at the Hotel Equity and Lender Perspectives conference in Boston noted the overall positive indicators that are helping build momentum for the hotel industry, but cautioned that the growth may slip over the long term. Data by HVS Global Hospitality Services show hotel demand growth declining to 1% in 2016, while average daily rate is expected to slow to a 3% growth in the same year. HotelNewsNow.com (5/3)
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Delta launches redesigned boarding passes
Delta Air Lines has revamped its boarding passes to make the document easier to read for passengers. The new passes also contain all information for a flight with connections so a passenger does not need more than one boarding pass. Delta hired AKQA, a digital and branding design agency, to help with the redesign. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (5/2)
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Consumer Travel News
Budapest, Hungary, showcases its culture through pastry
The mouthwatering cakes found in coffeehouses across Budapest, Hungary, can give visitors a snapshot of the city's rich culture. The search for the best cakes takes travelers on a journey across the historic city. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (4/29)
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Regulatory and Legislative
Column: PreCheck is "centerpiece" of risk-based initiative
The New York Times' Joe Sharkey discusses the Transportation Security Administration's PreCheck program and airline programs designed to expedite elite fliers through security. He explains that with the airline program, everyone still goes through the same screening process, but that PreCheck allows some travelers to avoid pat-downs and other procedures. "PreCheck is the centerpiece of the TSA's new 'risk-based' security initiative," he writes. "Its fundamental principle is that travelers whose backgrounds and habits are best known to the government and the airlines pose a far less potential threat to safety than occasional travelers about whom far less is known." The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (5/2)
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Best Practices
Column: Press releases can aid marketing, public relations efforts
Travel agents can boost their public relations efforts by writing press releases for events they are sponsoring and submitting them to the media, Richard Earls writes. "An article written in the local paper will provide not only the publicity you are seeking for your event, but will raise the profile of your agency as readers associate it with a worthy cause," Earls writes. Travel Research Online (5/2)
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The Buzz
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Small-Business Strategies
Where to get great ideas for content marketing
One way to make sure you have enough ideas for your content-marketing efforts is to create a list of key themes you want to focus on, John Jantsch writes. When brainstorming for ideas, it's a good idea to think about what sorts of questions people might have. Reading books and magazines can also be a good way to come up with topics for content, he writes. Duct Tape Marketing (5/1)
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Choose the best leadership style for the situation at hand
Depending on the situation, you might need to switch your focus from coaching to managing or vice versa, Holly Green writes. Managing means directing people as to what to do, while coaching is more focused on development. "Determine which style is appropriate based on the task at hand rather than the individual," she writes. Forbes/Work in Progress blog (5/1)
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Business Tips and Advice
Sponsored Content from American Express
ASTA Spotlight
ASTA's Gonchar at Home Based Forum's executive panel
How to convert "lookers into bookers" and the fundamental shift of travel agents moving from brick-and-mortar locations into selling from their homes are among the timely topics ASTA CEO Tony Gonchar expects to raise for discussion at the Executive Roundtable on May 16 at the Home Based Forum in Las Vegas. Click for more information or to register for the event.
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Webinar update: Microsoft tools series
Learn how to make the most of Microsoft tools already at your disposal and maximize your time and efficiency thanks to this series of webinars from Microsoft. Reserve your seat now.

* 9 am PT May 16 -- PowerPoint 2010: Distribute and Integrate Presentations
* 11 am PT May 16 -- Word 2010: Control Content and Layout for Your Documents
* 11 am PT June 13 -- Outlook 2010: Customize the Appearance of Your Email Messages, and Share Outlook Content with Others

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The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions."
-- Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.,
U.S. Supreme Court justice
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