Senator Urges U.S. to Probe TripAdvisor Over Removed Reviews About Rape

Senator Urges U.S. to Probe TripAdvisor Over Removed Reviews About Rape

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Bloomberg

A U.S. Senator from Wisconsin has urged the Federal Trade Commission to launch an investigation of TripAdvisor over allegations that it removed user reviews citing rapes and crimes at hotels listed on its sites. Bloomberg

Skift Take: Normally we’d say this is a typical congressional letter to a regulator that will come to nothing. After all, TripAdvisor has already started placing notifications above hotel listings where there are allegations of rampant crime. However, this is Trump’s Federal Trade Commission, the one that will likely gut net neutrality rules. So all bets are off.

— Dennis Schaal

The Federal Trade Commission could take action against TripAdvisor after the Massachusetts-based travel company was accused of deleting hotel reviews that contained allegations of rape and other crimes.

Several people told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this month they were sexually assaulted at Mexican hotels and resorts but the online reviews that mentioned the crimes were taken down.

The Boston Globe says after the report was published Democratic Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin wrote to the FTC, urging an investigation.

The commission aims to prevent unfair or deceptive business practices. It responded Nov. 17, saying it will consider the information provided by Baldwin to determine whether enforcement or other action is “appropriate.”

TripAdvisor says it’s unaware of an FTC inquiry and hasn’t been contacted by the commission.

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November 23, 2017 at 02:01PM

Allegiant Air Case Study – The Secrets to Creating a Highly Profitable Airline

Allegiant Air Case Study – The Secrets to Creating a Highly Profitable Airline

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Allegiant Air Case Study – The Secrets to Creating a Highly Profitable Airline

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November 23, 2017 at 01:57PM

Kiwi.com – Tackling the New Era of Data Analytics – Strategic Partnerships, APIs And Insight Sharing

Kiwi.com – Tackling the New Era of Data Analytics – Strategic Partnerships, APIs And Insight Sharing

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Kiwi.com – Tackling the New Era of Data Analytics – Strategic Partnerships, APIs And Insight Sharing

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November 23, 2017 at 01:50PM

SAP Digital Interconnect – Tackling the New Era of Data Analytics – Strategic Partnerships, APIs And Insight Sharing

SAP Digital Interconnect – Tackling the New Era of Data Analytics – Strategic Partnerships, APIs And Insight Sharing

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SAP Digital Interconnect – Tackling the New Era of Data Analytics – Strategic Partnerships, APIs And Insight Sharing

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November 23, 2017 at 01:21PM

Harnessing The Power Of Platforms To Increase Engagement And Win The Booking

Harnessing The Power Of Platforms To Increase Engagement And Win The Booking

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Harnessing The Power Of Platforms To Increase Engagement And Win The Booking

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November 23, 2017 at 01:21PM

CheckMyBus – Ground Transportation And Mobility Changing The Landscape Of Travel

CheckMyBus – Ground Transportation And Mobility Changing The Landscape Of Travel

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CheckMyBus – Ground Transportation And Mobility Changing The Landscape Of Travel

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November 23, 2017 at 01:07PM

Have You Earned Surprise Bonus Rewards? TPG Readers Respond

Have You Earned Surprise Bonus Rewards? TPG Readers Respond

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Even if you’re new to the points and miles hobby, you know that maximizing each and every purchase by choosing the right credit card is essential for quickly boosting your rewards balances across programs. Of course, even if you pick the best card for a given purchase, it needs to code correctly in order for you to earn the category bonus.

After a reader emailed us to share how he was able to earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points on duty-free purchases made at the US-Canada border (thanks to having the Ambassador Bridge Reward Card connected to his Chase Sapphire Reserve), we were curious to see which other purchases have unexpectedly earned bonus rewards. We posed the question in the TPG Lounge, and here’s what you had to say:

A Fortuitous Mix-Up


10% back with Uber for a record store purchase mistakenly identified as a Visa Local Offer partner? Sounds good to us. Image by Mara Elizabeth Ludwig/Getty Images.

Joe T. had this to say: “Uber local partnership, ordered a couple hundred in records from NYC, apparently it had the same name as a coffee shop here in Chicago because they gave me 10% back in Uber credits.”

Food Not Required

As we’ve noted in the past, often a bar that doesn’t serve food will still code as a dining purchase on an Ultimate Rewards-earning card like the Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Marcelius B. experienced this firsthand: “Bought a glass at a brewery because it shares my last name. Got coded as 2x points for Ultimate Rewards.”

Tavo R. also lucked out with bonus points while enjoying beer: “Signed up for the 5x bonus on the Chase Freedom for restaurants, mostly all CO breweries don’t have food service but still got 5x. Best bonus ever!”

And Joel M. was able to take things one step further: “My barber shop is in a bar. 3x points on haircuts!”

A Wedding Surprise


Weddings aren’t cheap, but if the venue codes as a travel purchase, you’ll at least earn extra points. Image by Jianghui Cai/EyeEm/Getty Images.

Chris O. says, “My wife and I paid for our wedding using the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Our wedding venue coded as travel so we earned 3x points. All our vendors were also billed through the venue, so we even earned 3x points on floral, decor, DJ, and photographer costs.”

Daniel P. was also able to maximize wedding expenses: “Our wedding venue coded as dining! Several thousand bucks in spend. Talk about a happy day.”

The Silver Lining to a Bad Situation

As Doug H. learned, it can really pay to have rental car insurance through a travel rewards credit card: “I misjudged a u-turn in New Zealand and hit a tree. Hertz automatically charges and leaves it up to you to deal with insurance. Since I used my CSR I got triple points. Used the CSR rental car protection and got a check in the mail a few months later to cover the charges. Over 6,000 free points (even if I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the damage on the car).”

Featured image by Thomas Barwick/Getty Images.

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November 23, 2017 at 01:00PM

Exploring the future of guest services

Exploring the future of guest services

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Hilton has opened an Innovation Gallery – an incubator and showcase for development where the company will explore the future of hospitality and the guest experience.

The gallery, located next to Hilton’s global headquarters at Hilton McLean Tysons Corner, was designed by the LAB at Rockwell Group.

It showcases a variety of technologies, design elements and dining concepts, as well as environmental and experiential features, like a noise-masking Nightingale product and Meural, a customizable digital art display.

Guests can explore five immersive experiences: a product showcase, lets visitors interact with new physical and virtual products; a food and beverage concept studio features the latest experiments from the hotel’s FAB team; a virtual reality stage offers guests VR tours of rooms from the chain’s new boutique lifestyle brands ‘Tru by Hilton’ and ‘Canopy by Hilton’; a dark room explores material technologies which might improve quality, sustainability and/or design flexibility; and an innovation theatre will serve as a gathering space for brainstorming and collaboration.     

Products on display at the opening have been recently launched or are under testing, and many were developed through partnerships between Hilton and technology companies like IBM, LG, Amazon and Tesla.

Jon Witter, Hilton’s chief customer officer describes the initiative as “a space for us to incubate, test, scale and showcase the products and processes we’re creating to enhance our guests’ experiences and redefine the future of hospitality.”

Hilton has been beta-testing a smartphone-based Digital Key as well as a smart room that recognizes and is aware of guests, offering a customized experience, including integrated digital entertainment.

The hotel giant has said that smart rooms could be available in as soon as next year.

As the nexus of technology and travel continues to expand, we can expect more of these laboratory concepts to bloom.

Marriott has debuted its own high-tech ‘Room of the Future’ featuring a virtual assistant, a voice activated smart shower, and yoga classes projected on a full length mirror among its digital upgrades.

Unlike the high-design approach of Hilton’s Gallery, Marriott wanted a blank slate against which any innovation could shine through in its own light.

Integrated entertainment is set to grow as companies recognize that guests want more than just the standard suite of television channels and pay-per-view films.

Swiss entertainment technology company ADB Global is banking on guest-device driven entertainment to take off, especially at boutique hotels and smaller properties where digital solutions may offer a better opportunity to let guests enjoy their preferred entertainment.   

The company’s digital entertainment solutions let guests access their own content from smartphones, tablets, laptops and other portable devices to project it to the TV in their room, through Screen Casting.

It also suggests applications for safety, by broadcasting emergency alerts directly on room TVs, as well as converting TV monitors into digital marketing campaign players.

Chris Dinallo, CTO & general manager of ADB vuTyme says:

“Hoteliers are finding that they can use the IRE (In-Room Entertainment) system to do much more than provide guests with television programming.

“Research shows a big chunk of hotels’ IT spending next year will be used towards improving digital customer engagement. As guests become more accustomed to accessing information when and where they want it, hotels must invest in technologies that meet those demands.”

Related reading:

How Hilton sees digital today and in the hotel of the future

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November 23, 2017 at 12:14PM

How Luggage Protection Saved Me $1,100 — Reader Success Story

How Luggage Protection Saved Me $1,100 — Reader Success Story

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One of the things I love most about being The Points Guy is getting to hear stories from readers about how points and miles have helped them get where they want to go. If you’re interested in sharing your own award travel success story, email it to info@thepointsguy.com; be sure to include details about how you earned and redeemed your rewards, and put “Reader Success Story” in the subject line. If we publish it, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure!

Today I want to share a story from TPG reader Steve, who took advantage of a benefit on his wife’s credit card after a baggage mishap. Here’s what he had to say:

I recently flew on United Airlines from Philadelphia to San Diego for a wedding. Some friends and I were planning on playing golf while in San Diego, so I checked my clubs for the flight. Unfortunately, I noticed my golf travel bag was torn at the seams when I picked it up upon arrival. My worst fears were realized after taking my clubs out of the travel bag and seeing my clubs dented, bent and snapped into thirds.

I immediately went to the United customer service desk at the airport, where I was told the airline is responsible only for the travel bag itself and not any of its contents. I was given a replacement travel bag and a $50 United voucher, which is far below the value of the damaged clubs.

The next morning I remembered I had paid for the flight using my wife’s Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, and I remembered past TPG articles extolling the card’s travel benefits, including the reimbursement for lost or damaged luggage. After doing a little research, I found out that the benefit applies not only to the primary cardholder, but also to immediate family members, even if the cardholder is not traveling with them (which my wife was not). I filed a claim with Chase and submitted the required documentation online, and in less than two weeks I received a check for $1,125.

My wife had already decided to keep the card and paid the annual fee before my trip, but any doubts we had about keeping it in the future were thoroughly erased by this experience.  Not only that, but all of our future trips will now be booked using the Sapphire Reserve.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
These premium travel rewards cards offer varying degrees of luggage protection.

Ideally your luggage would always arrive with you on time and intact, but if you travel often and check bags regularly, some amount of damage or delay is almost inevitable. When it happens, your first step should be to find out what the airline will cover. Once you’ve done that, you can appeal to your credit card issuer for additional compensation, including delay reimbursement for when your bags are only lost temporarily.

Several premium cards offer baggage protection, but they don’t all come with the same degree of coverage. For example, Amex baggage insurance tops out at $2,000 per claim, or just $250 for certain “high-risk” items like jewelry, electronics and sporting equipment. Chase’s lost luggage reimbursement covers up to $3,000 per claim, and (fortunately for Steve) that protection applies to sporting gear. Citi’s coverage has even fewer exclusions, so it’s worth reading through the different policies to see which one best suits your needs.

I love this story and I want to hear more like it! To thank Steve for sharing his experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending him a $200 airline gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you.

Again, if the strategies you’ve learned here have helped you fly in first class, score an amazing suite, reach a far-flung destination or even just save a few dollars, please indulge me and the whole TPG team by emailing us with your own success stories (see instructions at the top of this post). Feel free to also submit stories of your most egregious travel mistakes. In either case, you’ll have our utmost appreciation, along with some extra spending money for your next trip.

Safe and happy travels to all, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Featured image by Fizkes via Getty Images.

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November 23, 2017 at 12:01PM

Gopili – Ground Transportation And Mobility Changing The Landscape Of Travel

Gopili – Ground Transportation And Mobility Changing The Landscape Of Travel

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Gopili – Ground Transportation And Mobility Changing The Landscape Of Travel

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November 23, 2017 at 11:35AM