Flying somewhere? You’re not going to like what’s next

I’ve seen the future of air travel — at least the kind of future the airline industry wants — and I don’t like it.
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What will your next rental car know about you? Everything

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I had a chance to see the car rental of the future yesterday, and it’s a smart set of wheels.

The preview, which was part of the unveiling of Hertz’ upgraded location at San Diego International Airport, was meant to show off the first of several new facilities designed to bring you a “completely new” car rental experience.

The changes are impressive. Hertz is streamlining the rental process to prevent long wait times for rental vehicles with “virtual” kiosks that videoconference you with a representative in an Oklahoma City call center. It released a new app that send you shuttle wait times and is installing recharging stations and printing facilities for business travelers.
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Consumer watchdogs face an uncertain future — so does customer service

These are not the best of time for consumer watchdogs.

Many of the most celebrated TV reporters who focused on consumer affairs have been let go, reports the Los Angeles Times. That’s not just bad news for the talented journalists who used to look out for you — it’s bad for all of us.
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Deloitte’s Simonetto: “It’s easy to view this as the big, bad airline taking advantage of travelers”

Deloitte.Mike SimonettoMike Simonetto is the principal and global leader of Deloitte Consulting’s pricing and profitability practice. With airlines and other travel companies testing our willingness to pay fees, I wanted to ask a pricing expert like him why travel companies were doing this and where it’s all headed.

How did unbundling and a la carte pricing get started in travel?

It’s easy to view this as the big bad airline taking advantage of the travelers.

This is an extension of revenue management. I should define revenue management for you: Travel companies have high fixed asset costs. You’re trying to use those assets as much as possible. For example, a hotel room is a time-perishable product. If it doesn’t get rented this evening, it will never be able to get rented again. So any revenue is better than none. That’s revenue management, and that that originated with American Airlines 30 years ago.
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Business travel is flatlining — and here’s why you should be worried

Business travel projectionBad news: Business travel is flatlining, and will continue to flatline for the next four years, according to a new projection from Egencia and the National Business Travel Association. More bad news: It’s probably going to affect your next vacation.

Why? Because business travelers subsidize discounted rates that leisure travelers pay. Have been for a long time, actually.
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