Virtuoso Looks to Help Agencies Get Beyond the Daily Grind

Virtuoso

Pictured is Virtuoso CEO Matthew Upchurch. The luxury agency group unveiled a strategic collaboration program for long-term planning. Virtuoso

Skift Take: Virtuoso is a you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours kind of business. The luxury travel network has some good programs to help member agencies, and that increases engagement with Virtuoso. It also provides learnings on how to keep refining the company.

— Dennis Schaal

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ASTA Launches Myanmar Chapter Amid Ethics Concerns

Staffan Scherz  / Flickr

Pictured are Buddhist nuns of the Theravada (meaning the Ancient Teaching) on August 30, 2012 in Mandalay, Myanmar. ASTA formed a chapter in Myanmar. Staffan Scherz / Flickr

Skift Take: ASTA’s new Myanmar chapter and plans for training projects with Myanmar tourism should benefit travel advisors seeking more education about an intriguing destination once off-limits for travel. However, the fact that the country engages in ethnic cleansing is raising ethical questions about visiting there at this time.

— Maria Lenhart

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ASTA Is Giving the Entire Travel Industry Advice on an Important Rebrand

ASTA

The American Society of Travel Advisors is demanding that the entire travel industry start using the description travel advisor instead of travel agent. Pictured is an ASTA advertisement, More Perks, advising consumers to book through travel advisors. ASTA

Skift Take: The letter ASTA sent was over-ambitious and a little dramatic, but ultimately a smart move and way overdue.

— Isaac Carey

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Hotel Direct Booking Efforts Create Lasting Loyalty: New Report

Hilton

Hilton’s newest consumer marketing campaign was designed to stress the benefits of booking direct as a Hilton Honors member and stars actor Anna Kendrick. Hilton

Skift Take: Two years in, it appears that consumers didn’t just sign up for the loyalty programs to get a discount. Or even if they did, they’ve also come to realize the additional benefits of booking direct.

— Deanna Ting

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What’s Behind American’s Falling Customer Satisfaction Scores?

American Airlines

American has made major investments in premium services, including on-demand dining for long-haul first class passengers. But the airline is concerned with at least one customer satisfaction metric. American Airlines

Skift Take: Many airline executives believe the most important driver of customer satisfaction is reliability. American Airlines hasn’t been pleased with its customer satisfaction scores, so it is trying to improve the basics of its operation. That’s probably the right move. But does it also need to improve its product or brand image?

— Brian Sumers

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United Makes Live TV and Movies Free on Some Flights

Patrick T. Fallon  / Bloomberg

The silhouettes of travelers are seen as a United Continental Holdings Inc. plane takes off from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) in Phoenix, Arizona. Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg

Skift Take: The change is a smart way to improve the airline’s customer service, which has taken a few hits over the past couple years. Plus, it’s just in time for the Super Bowl.

— Isaac Carey

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