News and Deals: 1/31/2011 – Americans Evacuating Egypt, Airlines and Travel Sites Tussle, Hotels to Increase Rates in 2011 and Royal Wedding Means Paying a King’s Ransom

U.S. Arranges to Evacuate Americans from Egypt
Wall Street Journal

The State Department put into place an evacuation plan that includes emergency flights out of Egypt for U.S. citizens, while warning Americans there to remain in their residences or hotels.

The country’s intensifying political unrest has prompted governments to step up travel warnings, including urging their citizens to leave, while airlines and tourism companies are canceling trips.

“U.S. citizens currently in Egypt should consider leaving as soon as they can safely do so,” the U.S. State Department said Sunday in a travel warning.

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Airlines and travel sites tussle over booking flights
USA Today

A fight between a major U.S. airline and some Web-based travel companies is having a ripple effect in the travel industry, as players take sides in a battle that could ultimately affect how fliers shop for tickets and find the best fares.

More than 125 of the nation’s biggest travel organizations and agencies, including online travel giant Expedia, have formed a coalition that is taking aim at a new booking system, preferred by American Airlines, that challenges the way most major airlines make their fares available to the public.

American says that its new, direct link will better inform travelers of services it offers for a fee, such as priority boarding, and also pare the airline’s costs. But the newly formed Open Allies for Airfare Transparency and other critics argue that bypassing the systems that pool fare information from multiple airlines will make it harder for the public to find the best deals, or even the best routes, to their destinations

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Hotels rates to start rising in 2011
Washington Post

Consumers contemplating a getaway may want to book a hotel room sooner rather than later, as room rates are set to rise this year. Substantial increases of $10 or more are at least another year or two away, but the lodging industry plans to take advantage of improving market conditions.

Several leading hotel operators including Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide and Starwood Hotels and Resorts are incrementally upping average daily rates in light of the return of leisure and business travel, and the relatively fixed supply of rooms given the lack of new construction.

“We continue to see strength in pricing,” Arne Sorenson, president and chief operating officer of Bethesda-based Marriott, said at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit here last week.

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Royal Wedding Tourist Cash to Lift London as Hotels Charge a King’s Ransom
Bloomberg

Kim Bourke will travel almost halfway around the world from her home in Australia to attend a London wedding she hasn’t even been invited to. She’ll have a lot of company.

About 1.1 million people will probably visit the British capital when Prince William and Kate Middleton get married on April 29, according to Visit London, the city’s official tourism agency. That’s going to boost spending in the city by as much as 50 million pounds ($80 million), pushing up hotel room rates and prompting residents to become part-time landlords.

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By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.

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