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Dec 15

Weekend Tidbits: Marriott, Ryanair, Fees

It’s Friday, so we’ll keep today rather light. Enjoy.

Can Marriott Get Luxurious?

marriott flights and hotels

No, this isn’t a luxury property. It would just be nice to be in Hawaii.

Publicly traded hotel companies have had success in virtually every segment of the market, with one segment: the luxury end. They can certainly run high-end hotels, they just can’t do it as well as the independents. Let’s face it: When you’re running thousands of hotels, it’s hard not to let some of the “one size fits all” attitude slip in.

Marriott, though, is going to give it a shot in 2018, growing its luxury base by 10%. With Starwood hotels now being folded into the family, the company will have a variety of brands, ranging from the well-known Ritz-Carlton to the more obscure Bulgari properties.

To give Marriott credit, they’ve done a better job of maintaining the high-end feel of Ritz Carlton than its competitors have done (I’m looking at you, St. Regis.), but that’s likely because it bought a brand that had already been built. The culture was there.

Ryanair

Ryanair was the original ultra-low cost carrier, a UK-based airline selling tickets for as little as one British pound, but adding on enough fees to drive a normal person crazy. Known for their enigmatic CEO and bare bones customer service, the airline which nobody wants to fly has grown to over 400 airplanes. Apparently, there are a lot of nobodies out there, and the airline has quickly become one of the top carriers in Europe.

Today, Ryan did something that it swore it would never do: It announced that it would recognize pilot unions. This is not a small step, as the flexibility in its labor contracts (Its pilots are, for the most part, contracted.) has helped keep its costs down. But a threatened strike and an EU ruling regarding base locations and negotiations made it clear that the current system wouldn’t last.

Don’t worry, I’m sure that a “Union Facilitation Fee” will soon show up on your ticket.

Speaking Of Fees…

You won’t necessarily be paying more in the US, but it may be harder for you to locate the figures. The Department of Transportation has dropped a proposal that would have required airlines to show you any fees at the same time that they showed you the ticket price, rather than adding them later in the process.

To be clear, the system isn’t changing from how it looks currently. Rather, the DoT has limited potential improvements in pricing transparency.

 

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