As one travel advisor told us about the Costco and state tax proposal flaps: “The little guys can fight back.”
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Lawmakers in U.S. states are once again eyeing travel agencies and other service providers as a likely source of new tax revenue. Tax proposals in Connecticut, Utah, and Nebraska would require travel agencies, along with others who provide professional services, to be subject to state sales tax. For many agencies, it could be a final nail in the coffin.
A vigorous grassroots campaign led by the American Society of Travel Advisors, which has been successful in helping squash similar proposals in the past, is under way in all three states. These proposals may also come to naught, but a general trend among states to target service industries for revenue means that complacency is not an option.
The trade group is also rankled by other perceived threats to advisors, including a Today Show segment touting the savings provided by Costco Travel and Four Seasons’ ads on Facebook offering perks for direct bookings. While annoyed, advisors told Skift that big companies should realize that “the little guys can fight back.”
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— Maria Lenhart, Travel Advisor Editor
Four Seasons and Costco Direct-Booking Efforts Irk Travel Advisors: A recent Today Show segment touting Costco Travel is riling ASTA, as are Four Seasons ads on Facebook promising perks for direct bookings. Travel advisors are irked as well, but are finding ways to hold their own.
Would Tax Law Proposals Kill Travel Agencies in Some States? As states look for new sources of tax revenue in the service-driven economy, businesses like travel agencies are viewed as likely targets. Part of the problem is ignorance among legislators of how agencies operate and why added taxes would be devastating for many.
American Cancels Flights Because of Shoddy Overhead Bins: We’d like to think airlines would catch poor retrofit work before an aircraft flies passengers, but clearly that didn’t happen here.
Singapore’s Changi Is Changing the Idea of What an Airport Can Be: An airport is hardly the place people want to come to and spend hours, but Changi Airport Singapore looks set to change all that when its Jewel project opens next month.
U.S. Airlines Hold Off Grounding Boeing’s Latest Jet Despite New Calls for Caution: U.S. airlines have so far decided not to ground their Boeing 737 Max jets. Will they continue to hold off? Or will they err or the side of caution?
The Curious Case of Japan’s New Low-Cost, Long-Haul Carrier: Japan Airlines is certain its low-cost, long-haul carrier will excel. That’s hard to say, as details are still so sketchy. But the project is intriguing and holds the promise of something fresh in the air. So it’s worth waiting a little while longer for the final reveal.
Disney Will Open Its New Star Wars Expansions Early to Meet Demand: Disney’s new Star Wars additions will open earlier than expected, but one big piece will be missing. Will fans flock to be first or wait until everything is operational?
Hotels and Vacation Rentals
Marriott CEO Tells Senators Passport Changes Being Considered After Data Breach: You can see the dilemma that Marriott and other hotels face: Keep passport data strictly at the property level, where management may not be technically adept, or centralize the information where it can be potentially hacked in one fell swoop. CEO Arne Sorenson is leaning toward the local approach. Either way is risky business.
Wyndham’s Former Vacation Rentals Business Gets Rebranded Under Private Equity Owners: The name itself is kind of irrelevant. What matters is that Awaze is now a proper company rather than a division.
Skift Travel Advisor Editor Maria Lenhart [[email protected]] curates the Skift Travel Advisor Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Tuesday. Have a story idea? Or a juicy news tip? Want to share a memo? Send her an email.
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Photo credit: Some U.S. travel advisors feel that Four Seasons' direct-booking efforts undermine their businesses. Pictured is a room in the Four Seasons Maldives. Four Seasons