Holiday Gift Guide: Smart Luggage

Looking for a holiday gift idea for an avid traveler? Check out CNN’s favorite smart suitcases for the 2016 holiday season. With features like location trackers and phone chargers, these are no ordinary bags. CNN Money takes a look at the products.

 

Ryanair Has a Plan to Offer Free Flights Across Europe

European budget airline Ryanair hopes to eventually offer free seats on flights, and instead make a profit by sharing revenue with the airports.

“I have this vision that in the next five to 10 years that the airfares on Ryanair will be free, in which case the flights will be full, and we will be making our money out of sharing the airport revenues; of all the people who will be running through airports, and getting a share of the shopping and the retail revenues at airports,” Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said.

For more, visit Travel + Leisure here.

Scott Solombrino – Drive

The year was 1978 and this entrepreneur needed to make some extra money while attending Suffolk University in Boston so he used his last $600 and purchased a used limousine. By the time he graduated in 1982 he had 30 cars and was earning over $3M a year in revenue, and he wanted more. So this young entrepreneur researched and found that one of the largest chauffeured limousine companies in the country was operating out of New York City, so he paid them a visit. That’s when he met David Klein, the owner of Dav El Chauffeured Transportation, operating in several major metropolitan cities throughout the country. Klein, impressed with the tenacity and ambition of this young entrepreneur, invited him to be on the Dav El Board of Directors, the youngest at the time at 23 years old.  For two years, this entrepreneur spent time building his chauffeured limousine business based in Boston, while also travelling to NYC to learn from his mentor, Klein, who empowered him with knowledge, responsibility, and behind the scenes access to the biggest limousine company in the world. This entrepreneur absorbed every single bit of information he could about scaling a transportation empire.

His name is Scott Solombrino, CEO of Dav El Chauffeured Transportation Network and Boston Coach, the Boston based chauffeured transportation company that was once owned by Fidelity Investments. In 2013 he sold his own massive transportation empire to Marcou Transportation Group, in a move that would make Solombrino the head of the largest transportation empire in the country. He now oversees 3600 employees and a fleet of more than 2500 vehicles.

See more of Scott Solombrino’s interview with The Huffington Post here

 

Airport hotels have become more than a convenient pit stop

Take a look at these impressive airport hotels. Airport hotels have become more than a convenient pit stop. “Airport cities” are developing where airports are no longer simply transit hubs but also shopping, leisure and business destinations.

“In countries other than our own, the airport itself is a destination,” said Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice leader at J.D. Power. “Americans focus on efficiency, and what drives the experience is what requires the least amount of time. In other countries, the airport experience is more than that.”

“We are increasingly witnessing the development of ‘airport cities,’ whereby airports are no longer simply transit hubs but shopping, leisure and business destinations in their own right, and our airport hotels are no different,” McAteer said.

For more from Travel Weekly, click here.

 

Delta Private Jets Will Work More Closely with Delta’s Commercial Side

Looking to fly privately? Lucky for you Delta Private Jets is looking to expand its fleet to offer a larger selection of flights.

With an expanding fleet and a relatively new leadership team in place, Delta Private Jets is exploring ways to work more closely with its big commercial sibling, Delta Air Lines, according to Delta Private Jets Executive VP and COO David Sneed. First up is a plan to offer Porsche transfers from the private jet to the commercial plane.

Delta Private Jets launched about three decades ago as Comair Jet Express. Delta renamed it after acquiring Comair at the turn of the century. Recent years have seen “a focused attempt to grow the fleet and build it into a real contender in … business aviation,” said Sneed, a longtime Delta executive who took the lead at the subsidiary about a year and a half ago.

Today, Delta Private Jets counts about 70 aircraft in its fleet and will grow to 80 within a year.

For more from BTN, click here.

 

 

 

Travel Agencies are Back on the Radar of Corporate Travelers

Travel agencies have survived for a number of reasons and have been expanding their menus of services.

The advent of online travel sites such as Travelocity and Orbitz once triggered talk that travel agencies were doomed. However, corporate travel agencies like TMP have survived for a number of reasons, including their ability to obtain volume discounts and the complexity of traveling to multiple cities on different airlines – plus the need to book hotels and ground transportation at each location.

Agencies have also been expanding their menus of services. For example, like many corporate agencies today, TMP offers a security service that enables it to track, whenever a terrorist event or natural disaster erupts anywhere in the world, whether a customer’s employees are in the vicinity and other pertinent information – such as where they’re staying, when they’re leaving and how to evacuate them. Other services include providing detailed analyses of travel spending and offering a mobile flight status system that covers all airlines, making it easy for travelers who have to switch en route from, say, Delta to Air France.

Read more from the News & Observer here.

 

Emirates revamps corporate loyalty programme

Emirates has revamped its corporate loyalty program, Emirates Business Rewards, to provide greater value and added features for customers. The new program has been simplified to allow for easier savings and upgrades, even on last minute bookings.

One of the biggest features in the newly improved program is the ability to use Business Rewards Points to book any commercially available seat at any time giving members cash-like convenience. Emirates is the first and only airline in the region to offer such flexibility as part of its corporate loyalty program.  They believe this will improve cost-effectiveness for business travel.

Emirates recently completed an independent survey on the perception and habits of over 800 business travelers and decision makers of business travel in the UAE. The key findings reiterate the need for cost effectiveness and flexibility in corporate travel which resonates with the new features of Emirates Business Rewards. According to the survey, the top 3 factors considered for airline selection were fare (30%), flight timings (26%), and value for money (23%).

See more from Emirates, here.

Airbnb Pushes Corporate Travel

Airbnb is pushing corporate travel. This actually goes back to its roots, as its founders started the company for conference attendees in San Francisco opting for a cheaper alternative to pricey hotels. 

Airbnb is aggressively tapping into the business travel market and recently integrated with major management systems, such as American Express Global Business Travel and BCD Travel.

According to the company, business travel on its site has grown by three times since last July.

While most users of Airbnb currently use the platform for vacations, the company’s recent push into corporate business travel is a move back to its roots, when its founders started the company for conference attendees in San Francisco opting for a cheaper alternative to pricey hotels.

“Business travelers want convenience, where they can get good Wi-Fi, an ironing board and hair dryer … things you accept in traditional accommodations,” Julian Persaud, Airbnb’s Regional Director of APAC told CNBC.

Some of its listings are now specified as business-travel ready, which requires hosts don’t have pets and don’t allow smoking.

Airbnb said its now seeing 14,000 new companies sign up each week for its business travel services and the home-sharing giant is already being used on business trips by the likes Google and Morgan Stanley.

See more from CNBC here.

Dav El | BostonCoach Transportation Network Hosts Annual Affiliate Partner Meeting

Dav El│ BostonCoach Transportation Network hosted its annual Affiliate Partner Meeting on August 9 and 10 at the World Trade Center in Boston. The two-day conference featured world-renowned speakers and a record-breaking attendance.

Dav El / BostonCoach CEO, industry raconteur, and all-around bon vivant Scott Solombrino leads a toast at the chauffeured network's awards dinner during its annual Affiliate Partner Meeting, Aug. 10, 2016 (Photo courtesy of Boston Coach)The conference kicked off with celebrated speakers including Casey Sherman, New York Times bestselling author and award winning journalist motivating the attendees on reliance and persistency. While Arthur Bernard, attorney at Travaglini, Eisenberg & Kiley, a local lobbying firm, discussed the strategy and execution of the TNC bill that was recently passed in the Mass legislature.  Daniel Henninger, deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, rounded out the special speakers and presented Dav El│ BostonCoach Transportation Network CEO Scott Solombrino with a special award.  Client panels included topics such as client satisfaction, top interests of clients and what makes a difference in the industry.

The conference concluded with a special awards dinner at the JFK Library which featured a special appearance by Boston comedian Steve Sweeney. The top honor, 2016 True Partner of the Year Award, of the evening was awarded to Avanti Transportation of Houston, TX. Avanti has been a long standing affiliate partner of Dav El | BostonCoach, supporting all of its brands for over ten years.

Further top honors included:

2016 International Partner of the Year – United Limousines, Germany

2016 Farm-Out Partner of the Year – Cabot Limousine, New York

2016 Best VIP Service Performance – A Limousine Associates, Cincinnati

2016 Best Chauffeur Details compliance – DLA Executive Limousine, New York

“I am so proud of my team for putting on a fabulous conference and extremely grateful to all the affiliates that attended,” stated Scott Solombrino, CEO of Dav El│ BostonCoach Transportation Network. “Every year the Affiliate Conference continues to grow and our attendees are already excited for next year.”

About Dav El│BostonCoach:

Dav El│BostonCoach is the largest privately owned chauffeured transportation company in the world and maintains its highest quality and safety standards through innovation, dedication to the customer and personal, professional service. Dav El│BostonCoach offers the most comprehensive executive ground transportation services available, including deluxe limousines, luxury sedans, executive vans and buses, and a professional and knowledgeable staff of trained chauffeurs, reservations agents and travel managers to meet every request and exceed every expectation. Serving business travelers for over three decades, Dav El│BostonCoach currently operates in over 500 metropolitan markets, across six continents, with a fleet of more than 25,000 vehicles.

Solombrino At Length: What’s Next Big Move For Limo Industry?

On labor, technology, corporate travel and leadership within the Industry, LCT Publisher Sara Eastwood-Richardson’s exclusive interview with Scott Solombrino, CEO of Dav El/ BostonCoach Chauffeured Transportation Network and longtime National Limousine Association board director, gleans valuable insights to our industry’s next big move.

Read the interview here.

Cover shot: Scott Solombrino at the SLS South Beach Hotel, Miami Beach, Fla., Tuesday, May 24, 2016. Click to enlarge. (Cover photo by Sergey Yusin for LCT)