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TRAVEL NEWS.

A national survey conducted on behalf of Orbitz for Business by Harris Interactive reveals the majority of business travelers are equally or more cost-conscious when it comes to saving their company money in 2004. According to the poll, 83 percent of business travelers feel "more" obligated to save their company money when traveling for business this year. The survey also found that 35 percent of business travelers plan to use an online agency to book business travel in 2004, while one in five (19 percent) said they would use their company's in- house corporate travel agent. Less than one in ten (8 percent) said they would use leisure travel agents for their business-travel needs. For business travelers who use corporate agents, 42 percent feel their corporate travel agent does not always give them the lowest price and 44 percent believe that corporate agents charge high service fees. In addition, more than a third (36 percent) of business travelers frequently search online to see if they can find a better deal than their corporate agent. Eighty-four percent of business travelers cite convenience as a reason for booking business travel online in 2004; 69 percent cite a preference for self-service. The survey, conducted online March 1-3 2004, sampled 2,272 U.S. adults 18 years or older, 733 of whom are employed and plan to travel for business at least once in 2004.

The FAA, at its Annual Forecast Conference in Washington, said as the U.S. and other economies rapidly recover over the next two years, aviation would benefit. Passenger demand will return to pre-Sept. 11 levels by 2005, and large and small airlines will see an annual growth rate of 4.3 percent, the FAA predicts. Low-cost carriers and regional airlines could account for more than 50 percent of all domestic passengers by the end of the 12-year forecast period--2004-2015. But rising fuel prices are still a concern, and the profitability of airlines hinges on the business traveler returning to enough degree. DOT Secretary Norman Mineta said passengers are using different airlines and different airports than in the past, such as Long Beach, Charlotte and Midway, which helps with traffic congestion.

St. Louis-based INTRAV is offering a series of four new private-jet tours that provide shorter, regionally focused journeys to North America, South America and Western Europe. The four itineraries visit:

* Southern California, the Grand Canyon, the Colorado Rockies and New Orleans

* Vancouver, Santa Barbara, Portland and San Francisco

* The countryside in England, Ireland and France and

* Argentina, Uruguay and Costa Rica

For these nine and ten day Luxury Getaways, INTRAV has partnered exclusively with Four Seasons Hotels and Ritz-Carlton. With an intimate group size, each journey consists of at least two nights in three different cities, plus a day-trip to another destination along the way. Deluxe accommodations, sightseeing excursions and select meals are included, as well as special events and all flights aboard the privately chartered jet. An INTRAV travel director will accompany each departure to handle all the details of baggage transfers, tips, etc., and serving as passengers' private concierge. The tours are priced from 13,600 to $22,800 per person double.

Overstock.com www.overstock.com has added luxury cruises to its product mix. Its cruise inventory features hundreds of vessels and more than 5,000 itineraries and ports of call. Overstock.com, a closeout retailer, offers an array of brand-name merchandise at discounted prices.

Travelocity has upgraded its TotalTrip vacation booking tool. Users can now simultaneously reserve tickets for attractions, ski lifts, airport transfers, air fare and accommodations. Travelocity said this extends to more than 70 destinations. The lift tickets and ground transfers were not available previously and are now all shown on one itinerary. Domestically, the transfers can be reserved on SuperShuttle, Aloha VIP Tours, All Resort Express and Colorado Mountain Express.

TripAdvisor has released the results of a yearlong study of popular hotel sites on the Web, ranked by quantity and quality of information found on the Internet. The greater the amount of positive content found about the hotel, the higher its ranking. In the U.S., the best were found to be, categorized by city, the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort in Las Vegas; The Carlyle in New York; Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando; the Mandarin Oriental in Miami; The Orchard Hotel in San Francisco; Hale Koa Hotel in Honolulu; Le Pavillon in New Orleans; Willard Intercontinental in Washington, D.C.; Fitzpartrick Hotel in Chicago and the Hilton San Diego Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego.

Vacation.com has modified its customized email tool, called e- Engagement, to help agencies comply with new federal rules governing unsolicited promotional email, or spam. Under the CAN-SPAM Act passed by Congress, agencies must provide a physical agency address in their email, use a valid return email address and provide a clear means for the recipient to opt out of the mailing list. Even though its VacationPort tool has also been modified, it does not fall under the regulations because an agent can use it to respond to a specific inquiry.
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Title Annotation:business travelers spending
Publication:Airguide Online
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 23, 2004
Words:845
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