Monthly Archives: March 2011

Orbitz's Commission Rate "Unacceptably High"

Alamo and National, owned by Enterprise Holdings, lost their place on Orbitz’s site “after months of difficult discussions,” according to Enterprise, the world’s largest auto-rental company that also includes its namesake brand.

The two giants reached an impasse when the car-rental company wanted its flagship brand, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, on the site but found Orbitz’s commission rates “unacceptably high,” Pam Nicholson, Enterprise’s president, said in a statement.

She called the break-up “punitive” and said that it “greatly limits consumer choice and makes renting a car less affordable.”

Tom Costello is the CEO, Partner & Co-Founder of Groups International, a company that provides marketing, consultative services, and technology solutions to the group and leisure travel markets.  Connect with him on TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook or contact him by email.

U.S. Department of State Issues Current Travel Warnings

Travel Warnings are issued when long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable lead the State Department to recommend that Americans avoid or consider the risk of travel to that country. A Travel Warning is also issued when the U.S. Government’s ability to assist American citizens is constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a drawdown of its staff. The countries listed below meet those criteria.

Bahrain 03/22/2011
Japan 03/21/2011
Algeria 03/16/2011
Mauritania 03/11/2011
Afghanistan 03/08/2011
Yemen 03/06/2011
Cote d’Ivoire 03/02/2011
Mali 03/02/2011
Eritrea 02/27/2011
Libya 02/25/2011
Egypt 02/18/2011
Pakistan 02/02/2011
Haiti 01/20/2011
Central African Republic 01/14/2011
Niger 01/12/2011
Nepal 01/12/2011
Sudan 01/07/2011
Kenya 12/28/2010
Somalia 12/27/2010
Saudi Arabia 12/23/2010
Chad 12/08/2010
Guinea 12/03/2010
Congo, Democratic Republic of the 11/25/2010
Colombia 11/10/2010
Iraq 11/05/2010
Burundi 11/04/2010
Philippines 11/02/2010
Nigeria 10/19/2010
Lebanon 10/08/2010
Iran 10/08/2010
Mexico 09/10/2010
Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of 08/27/2010
Israel, the West Bank and Gaza 08/10/2010
Uzbekistan 07/22/2010

30 Murdered In Resort Town Of Acapulco In Less Than A Week

A group of armed men burst into a bar early Saturday in the Mexican resort city of Acapulco and began shooting, leaving 10 men dead and four wounded, officials said.

The Public Safety Secretariat of Guerrero state, where Acapulco is located, said the attack occurred at a bar located in the city’s Las Cruces neighborhood, where several shootouts have occurred and bodies have been dumped in recent days in actions attributed to organized crime.

Initial reports indicate that a group of men armed with rifles entered the bar in the wee hours of Saturday and began firing at those inside.

Local authorities said the victims were between the ages of 25 and 45, most of whom had suffered gunshot wounds in the back or head, authorities said without indicating a possible motive.

At least 30 people have been murdered in Acapulco in less than a week, including three children under the age of 10. On Wednesday, a 4-year-old girl with a gunshot wound in the chest and her mother were found slain in the back of a vehicle.

The Gulf, Beltran Leyva and Cartel Independiente de Acapulco drug mobs have been battling for control of that Pacific coast city, while in recent weeks messages supposedly signed by Sinaloa cartel hit men have been left alongside corpses.

The early Saturday morning attack came at a time when hundreds of thousands of travelers are heading to different tourist resorts in Mexico, including Acapulco, for a three-day holiday weekend.

The violence in Acapulco has dissuaded many tourists, mainly foreigners, from heading to that resort city, with the number of U.S. spring breakers visiting this year down sharply.

Tom Costello is the CEO, Partner & Co-Founder of Groups International, a company that provides marketing, consultative services, and technology solutions to the group and leisure travel markets.  Connect with him on TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook or contact him by email.

Hotelmine Grows – Seeking Hospitality Sales and Marketing Professionals, a Groups International brand, is the new breed of online leisure travel sites that serves as a direct connect between a customer and a hotel.

We’ve developed a patent-pending technology that combines the power of Business 2 Consumer with a robust Peer 2 Peer social media architecture that enables customers to book direct with hotels and to share their research and travel plans with family and friends on the top social media sites.

Hotelmine has enjoyed a successful beta launch and we want to continue to share this success story with other full and limited-services hotels around the country.

If you have 2-5 years of sales experience calling on restaurant, retail or hospitality Sales & Marketing executives we want to hear from you.

Send your resume in confidence to and we will follow up with you immediately.


Hawaii Hotel Damage Update

At least two major hotels on the western side of Hawaii’s Big Island remained closed this week after being damaged by ocean surges from the tsunami spawned by Japan’s March 11 earthquake. Some others were mopping up.

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai in Kailua-Kona: The resort will be closed until April 30 after sustaining damage from water, sand and debris that flowed onto the grounds, affecting mainly the pool areas, landscaping and a restaurant, plus 12 of the resort’s 243 guest rooms, the resort said in a statement. General Manger Robert Whitfield said there was “no significant structural damage” but that the resort’s managers  wanted to take time to “polish the property in the fashion it is known for.”

Guests with upcoming reservations were being contacted to make alternate arrangements, such as rebooking for a later date or staying at sister properties elsewhere, including the Hawaiian islands of Lanai and Maui, the resort said.

Kona Village Resort in Kailua-Kona:  The 125-bungalow resort was closed, and no reopening date had been set. “We are still going through assessments,” spokeswoman Karine Joret said. “There was pretty severe damage done to the resort. Over 20 bungalows were destroyed, as well as damage to our restaurant, gift shop, office and reception areas, bars on the beach and pools.”

King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel in Kailua-Kona: The tsunami damaged the first floor of the hotel, requiring the carpet and furniture to be removed, but it did not affect guest rooms, according to the hotel’s website. The Billfish Bar and the pool have been reopened, and the hotel plans to resume its luau Sunday. A number of retail stores have also reopened, the website said.

Hilton Waikoloa Village in Waikoloa: This resort escaped significant damage.”“We had one water-pipe issue at one of our restaurants, and the restaurant reopened Saturday,” said spokeswoman Leanne Pletcher. “We were very, very fortunate. We’re back, with business as normal.”