Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Where I've Been Joins Private Deal Party w/ Groupon Twist

Just when you thought the world had enough jetsetters, vactionists, voyage prives and tablets, its time for another.

Where I've Been is launching a similar private sale but going one step further than just deals on hotel rooms. By partnering with Groupon, they aim to sell "travel experiences" which include not only hotel rooms but also deeply discounted local attractions such as restaurants, surfing lessons and other important leisure additives. The partnership with Groupon only makes sense given Groupon's founders (Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell) recently invested in Where I've Been.

We also have to compliment Where I've Been on possibly the simplest and cleanest online check-out screen we've come across yet. One page for your name, email, CC number, expiration date and the CID:

And yes, I am checking out with one night at the Bourbon Orleans hotels and 44 Rum tasting tours.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Glassdoor: Employee Satisfaction (or lack thereof) in the Travel Industry, a cool website where "anyone can find and anonymously share an inside look at jobs and companies" has provided an interesting peek at job satisfaction inside the travel industry.

Travel is probably an industry Glassdoor knows something about given the site's founders which include such industry notables as Bob Hohman (Hotwire, Expedia) Tim Besse (Expedia) Ryan Aylward (EzRez, Hotwire) along with a few others who serve on the board who've spent a bit of time in travel: Rich Barton, Erik Blachford and Stephen Kaufer.

And what has Glassdoor, which garners its information from current and former employees, come up with? Might as well start with the OTAs since Glassdoor practically grew up in the OTA world:

The chart above details the approval ratings of the companies themselves and their CEOs as reported by the employees who came to Glassdoor and left feedback. (Hugh Jones isn't rated because of a limited number of responses - probably because he is still new in the role.) Looks like Hotwire is a pretty good place to work - we'll leave it to you to decide if that is because all of these guys left to start Glassdoor or not. (Just kidding, Ryan et al)

Glassdoor's info gets more interesting looking at hoteliers:
The highest rated CEO, Issy Sharp, has just announced that he is stepping down - a real shame according to this report. Bill Marriott and Hyatt's Hoplamazian are just a hair behind Sharp, however.

Not surprisingly, airlines show by far the greatest variability from one to another:

Things appear pretty bleak over at American and American Eagle - with labor strife a way of life at AA, clearly Something isn't Special in the Air. Even US Airways pulls better rankings. Southwest and JetBlue, as usual, prove that they are run more like hoteliers than airlines with ratings like these. (oh, they make money like hoteliers, too)

But the big takeaway? Continental and United - look a the difference in internal company ratings. Glassdoor doesn't have a rating for Jeff, but boy do they have one for Glenn. This is going to be one interesting merger, don't you think?

Friday, June 25, 2010 Gets a New Habitat

Today, launched a new, fresher homepage. The newly re-designed website offers a much cleaner look and feel and, best of all, the ability to search Travelzoo's deal content.

Previously, finding the deals listed in Travelzoo's weekly top 20 email outside of the email itself was a chore, if not impossible. Now, Travelzoo has (finally) given users a search box (front and center, no less) that allows searching by destination, keyword or using a "deal Locator" that allows you to enter your zip code to find details closer to home - Travelzoo for the staycation set. Mostly theater tickets now, but could this be the start of something bigger - a Travelzoo Groupon model of sorts?

There is also a "where to go now" section on the left that seems to be a destination marketing area. While it looks like editorial content at the start, we think the majority of this content is actually provided by (and probably written by) the destinations themselves - Look at Iceland for example. Thankfully, the deal content on the Iceland landing page is true to the Travelzoo mantra.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Wyndham takes a Tryp

Wyndham Hotel Group (NYSE: WYN) has announced that they have acquired the Tryp Hotel brand from Sol MeliĆ” Hotels & Resorts. This must be a little trippy for at least a few Wyndham executives as the old Cendant hotel loyalty program was built around "Trip" as in Triprewards.

It is a great deal for Wyndham as it greatly expands their presence in Europe and South America with an additional 91 hotels while remaining true to Wyndham's "franchise only" model of not owning or directly operating.

Tryp hotels will benefit from Wyndham's sales and marketing efforts, loyalty programs and broad centralized distribution platform almost immediately.

Wyndham gains a new, youthful brand ripe for expansion beyond its current European and Latin footprint. And a nice new fee stream. Tryp isn't as hip as Aloft but it will be a pretty nice additional to the Wyndham brand stable. We are waiting for the first Tryp to open in New York.....