|By Hugo Martin, Los Angeles
TimesMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Aug. 06, 2012--What are the marketing gimmicks used most widely by hotel operators to attract guests?
Room discounts, followed by free Wi-Fi and other amenities.
A survey of more than 25,000 hotel owners and managers in North America by the travel website TripAdvisor found that discounted rooms were offered by 58% of U.S. hotels surveyed. It was 63% in Mexico and 53% in Canada.
"Regionally, it seems that the industry tends to use some of the same methods of attracting travelers," TripAdvisor spokesman Kevin Carter said.
The next most popular incentive was "special amenities," as the survey put it, naming free Wi-Fi as an example. In the U.S., 44% of hotels offered the amenities to guests. Perhaps the most alluring promotion for travelers is a free night's stay -- only 14% of hotels in the U.S. offered that, compared with 34% in Canada.
Other incentives offered by U.S. hotels included free parking (31%) and free newspapers (20%).
American Airlines offers luggage delivery
Starting Monday, American Airlines will offer to deliver your luggage direct to your home, office or hotel so you can skip the baggage carousel.
Of course, it costs extra.
The new service will cost a minimum of $29.95 for one bag, $39.95 for two bags and $49.95 for three to 10 bags.
That will get your luggage delivered to a location within 40 miles of the destination airport. But if the final destination for your bags is farther, you pay an extra $1 per mile.
The charges will be on top of the usual checked bag fee of $25 for the first bag, $35 for the second and $150 for additional luggage.
American is partnering with Bags VIP Luggage Delivery for the service.
Here's how it works: You order the service online when you book a flight and drop off your luggage at the airport ticket counter. When you get to your destination, you skip the carousel and your luggage is delivered to the address you designated.
The service will be offered at about 200 airports across the country, including Los Angeles International Airport, Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana and Ontario International Airport.
"We think this service will be especially valuable to families traveling with children as well as our business travelers who need to go straight to a meeting or into the office," said David Vance, the airline's managing director for customer operations planning.
US Airways economy travelers can pay for meal upgrades
US Airways is giving passengers in the economy section on some routes the chance to eat like the well-heeled folks in the front of the plane.
Last week, the Tempe, Ariz., airline began to offer economy passengers traveling to Europe, the Middle East and South America the choice to upgrade their meals for an extra charge of $19.95 per meal.
A sample premium meal: citrus-marinated chicken skewers on Mediterranean orzo topped with mango chutney, served with lavosh crackers, shrimp cocktail, marinated grilled vegetables and crème brûlee cheesecake with fresh berries.
Vegetarians can order portobello tortellini marinated in sun-dried tomato pesto, served with caprese salad, lavosh crackers, hummus, baba ganoush and turtle cheesecake with fresh berries.
The premium meals are served with a choice of a Chardonnay from Northern Italy, a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand or a Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina, among other wines.
If you don't want to spend the extra money, you can still get the complimentary meal of pasta, beef stroganoff or chipotle chicken on international flights.
(c)2012 the Los Angeles Times
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