News and notes from around the interweb:
- Hotels are seeing record levels of occupancy and room rates, with demand growth outpacing supply. That’s why loyalty programs aren’t opening their wallets to put heads in beds.
- Guide to haggling on Airbnb. Hotels may whine about Airbnb but they’re doing remarkably well, the extra inventory is coming from the sharing economy. No corporate rate codes but one-on-one negotiation tactics can still be employed a bit off the books…
- Woman in Colombia arrested at the airport for trying to smuggle drugs in her breast implants. (HT: Chuck) Last summer another woman was ‘busted’ in Madrid.
- New York has seized 496 cars of people who drive for Uber since May. But these people weren’t driving for Uber at the time.
Despite the coverage being ‘Uber vehicles’ these were drivers picking up “street hails” outside of the Uber platform. These are both black cars and UberX drivers. Black cars picking up people on the street is something they’ve done since forever, long before Uber. Goodness knows black cars have picked me up on the street in New York when I was trying to hail a cab unsuccessfully, like being in a hurry to get to the airport while it’s raining during shift change on a Friday afternoon.
And Uber will favor New York cracking down on this, because it uses the government to crack down on drivers circumventing Uber’s cut of the rides. Basically it’s Uber pushing off contract enforcement costs onto the rest of us, and doing so under force of law rather than the courts. In other words, it’s reported as an anti-Uber story when it’s really a pro-Uber story (or at least neutral with respect to the existence of Uber, and a benefit to Uber though they don’t want you to know it).
- Sheraton’s free weekend night promotion is now live at SPG.com. What makes it so lucrative is that it’s stackable with other promotions Starwood is running as well once it begins July 9. (Sheraton, unlike much of the industry, has… challenges.)