Hacking Airbnb, Free Sheraton Nights and Why Hotel Programs Get Stingy

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.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Carriage horses, untax loosies and now, Uber cars, the Big Apple has swiftly become a joke. Is NYC returning to the eras of Lindsay, Beame and Dinkins.

  2. As I had pointed you, HHonors, which is thriving, currently has their wallet very wide open and putting lots heads in beds. This either sets them apart as a loyalty program, if you are right that loyalty programs are stingy when they are thriving, or your ‘analysis’ is simply wrong.

  3. DCS, can you clarify what you’re talking about? I’m a Hilton Diamond, and their program sucks.

  4. For the Sheraton Promotion, if you book 3 rooms for 1 night, does that count as 3 nights or 1 night towards the promotion?

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