Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 5, 2013 12:57 PM
Much like Twitter did a few months ago, the executives of Hilton Worldwide Holdings will be hitting the road this month to butter up investors for what is set to be the largest hotel IPO ever.
Sold to Blackstone Group in 2007 for $26 billion, the global hotel chain—the largest in the world with 4,000 properties—hopes to raise over $2.4 billion in its initial offering to pay off $1.25 billion in debt. 112.8 million shares will be made available for between $18 to $21 each, which would result in a market value of over $19.2 billion, according to Bloomberg.
It would be one of the most high-profile IPOs of the year along with Twitter, which raised $1.82 billion last month. It wouldn’t make it the year’s largest IPO, though, as oil-pipeline company Plains GP Holdings brought in $2.8 billion in October.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 4, 2013 07:02 PM
If you’re idea of luxury is to get on a plane that has seats that lie flat so you can sleep, United may be your new airline of choice. The airline has just redesigned 15 of its Boeing 757-200s to offer such service along with extra legroom for those flying out of New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport en route to Los Angeles or San Francisco.
United claims that it’s the first to offer such options on these “Premium Service routes,” Mediapost reports. The spruced-up planes also have “in-flight WiFi along with personal, on-demand entertainment at every seat as well as power outlets and USB ports at every seat.”
"Our investment in these aircraft and in the p.s. service will add greatly to our flyer-friendly customer experience on these coast-to-coast flights," said Jeff Foland, United's executive vice president of marketing, technology and strategy, in a press release. "This is just one more example of the many things we are doing to provide greater onboard comfort and convenience on every United flight."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 22, 2013 05:31 PM
If Bilbo Baggins needed to ever take flight in Tolkien’s Middle Earth, he would have to be strapped to the side of a dragon or fell beast. Little did he know that he could have just bought himself a ticket on Air New Zealand.
The second film of the three-part Hobbit series, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, will premiere on Dec. 2 and Air New Zealand is working overtime to make sure its picturesque homebase benefits from the epic film. While six fans wil get to attend the movie premiere and two others will go on a special "Middle Earth Experience," everyone else will have to settle for the airline's awesome promotional video, “Just Another Day in Middle Earth."
The video features Air New Zealand employees who show a certain side of themselves by the video’s end. The tagline? “Middle-earth is closer than you think.”Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 21, 2013 04:52 PM
Planes flying overhead often inspire the question of just where passengers on board are off to. Anyone near one of British Airways’ new digital billboards in London need not wonder anymore.
The airline is breaking new advertising ground by having its digital billboards interact with planes in the sky. When a British Airways flight is overhead, a visual of a child pointing up appears along with personalized text, such as, “Look, it’s flight BA430 Amsterdam.” It’s all part of the company’s “Magic of Flying” campaign.
“We've all had conversations with friends and family wondering where the planes are going and dream of an amazing holiday or warm destination, and this clever technology taps in to that and reminds people how accessible the world can be,” Richard Tams, the head of British Airways sales for the UK and Ireland, said, according to MediaPost.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 20, 2013 05:46 PM
United Airlines has had a rough go of it lately, especially since it merged with Continental Airlines back in 2010. "These past few years, in many ways, have felt like we've been managing a merger and not an airline...and now we get to manage an airline," United Chief Executive Jeff Smisek admitted, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The airline has become a bit of a punch line for its policies and slip-ups, including boarding passengers with window seats first to its ranking as the least satisfying major airline on the annual American Customer Satisfaction Index. And the fees, oh the fees.
So the airline has announced plans to both improve its profitability and performance, USA Today reports. Of course, part of the plan is to add on more fees and “optimizing” the ones it already has. The airline figurs it can make an extra $700 million annually that way resulting in “$3.5 billion in ancillary revenue by 2017.” Those extra charges could be for such things as “priority boarding, roomier seats, and/or less-stringent rebooking rules,” according to the Chicago Tribune. That doesn’t exactly sound like it will help those satisfaction ratings, though.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 18, 2013 07:21 PM
Research firm YouGov BrandIndex has crowned Southwest Airlines the king of brand awareness among US airlines, according to a new survey. The announcement follows the largest US domestic carrier being designated as the airliner most easy to deal with worldwide.
52 percent of respondents put Southwest on top for "Purchase Consideration" and 32 percent put the airline above all others for “Ad Awareness.” Purchase consideration measures which brand consumers are most likely to purchase from next while ad awareness asks which brand consumers have seen ads for in the past two months.
Southwest is head and shoulders above American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta, which had Ad Awareness between 18 to 21 percent. In Purchase Consideration, the other travel brands all ranked in the mid-thirties. Southwest, for one, is very engaged across different social media channels including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 12, 2013 03:42 PM
With the completion of an antitrust agreement with the federal government to shed dozens of slots at airports in major cities around the country, especially Washington Reagan and New York LaGuardia, American Airlines and US Airways are cleared for the takeoff of their merger to create a third heavyweight airline network in the US market to compete with Delta and United.
The $11 billion merger still must clear final, expected approval of the court handling American's bankruptcy, which is slated for this month. Final government approval of the merger now is expected by mid-December. And by early January the two brands essentially expect to become one in their customer-facing operations and communications.
"This is a common-sense solution which addresses regulatory concerns," Tom Horton, CEO of American and incoming chairman of the combined company, told a conference call. "It will benefit customers, [our] people and investors. It's a win-win-win."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 30, 2013 01:52 PM
Virgin head Richard Branson has never been afraid to spice things up a bit. His companies, like Virgin America, also have a bit of a flair for the dramatic. Throwing inhibitions to the wind, the airline had debuted its new safety video—a humorous song-and-dance number that runs through the air travel rules that most passengers snooze through.
An update to its current animated video, the new version features everything from sultry flight attendants to dancing nuns—and is admittedly hard to take your eyes off of, and certainly pushes the in-flight safety dance trend further than, say, Cebu Pacific Air's dancing safety demonstrations.
But as Ad Age notes, Virgin's video may wear out its welcome a whole lot faster: It “initially charms but then quickly becomes kind of exhausting," it comments. That probably isn’t the reaction Virgin was going for, though those that fly Virgin often are likely to feel that way after having to sit through the Glee-like performace a few times.Continue reading...