The Hotelion

With efficient traveling, hotel & deal analysis, and economic perspectives, Daniel makes your travel money go farther.

Hotel Review: Aloft San Francisco Airport

My standard hotel reviews include a breakdown by the following topics. Feel free to skip to whichever section you find most interesting. Highlights Lobby & Check-in Room Hotel Space / Ambiance Food & Drink Fitness Miscellaneous   Highlights: Aloft San Francisco Airport Ah Aloft. How this chain vexes me. The highlight of this hotel and stay was probably their proactive and reactive service. As in, how they respond to me after I bring up concerns and issues with my stay. This is either the third or fourth Aloft stay with Internet issues. Also, a highlight (albeit negative) is this is...

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News: Airbnb acquires Luxury Retreats, a Luxury Vacation-Rental Service

Premise Airbnb announced Thursday the acquisition of Luxury Retreats, a Montreal, Canada based luxury vacation-rental service. Airbnb’s purchase highlights the focus on the upscale vacation-rental industry, undergoing increased consolidation.   Details According to Luxury Retreats, the company will remain as-is in the near term, and eventually be merged into the Airbnb system. This makes plenty of sense as Airbnb works to expand its reach and widen its range of offerings. Luxury Retreats CEO Joe Poulin, per the article, will lead Airbnb’s luxury-homes business. This represents Airbnb’s first luxury acquisition, expanding its “core urban-accommodations” market into luxury, exotic locales, and...

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Disputed: 27-Year-Old Claims To Be First Woman AND Fastest Person to Visit Every Country in the World!

Premise A 27-year-old traveler just completed her trip to visit every country in the world! Cassie De Pecol is the first woman to visit every sovereign nation, and the fastest person to visit every world country. A truly impressive feat! EDIT: However, her claims have been disputed as there are several other women who have visited “every nation”, as well. More can be found at RapidTravelChai.   Details and Logistics De Pecol started in July of 2015, and finished this Feburary 2nd with Yemen, the 196th and final country. This journey was completed in the record speed of 18...

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AIRLINE SALE: Valentine’s Day Fares from $39 at JetBlue, Virgin America, Book By 2/15 and 2/20!

Premise A pretty standard random-holiday fare sale from your low-cost short-jaunt airlines JetBlue and Virgin America is here for Valentine’s Day! Both coasts are involved, with both short and long flights (even international to Bermuda) for cheaps. More dates, details, and blackout information below! These sales are only good until tomorrow, 2/15, for JetBlue, and next Monday, 2/20, for Virgin America.   JetBlue   Great deals here – starting from $39 from San Jose to Long Beach, California (one way), for those wonderful spring jaunts. Or, try $49 from DC to Charleston to explore the east coast. Other highlights...

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News: US Travel Industry Down $185 Million Since Trump Took Office

Premise According to the Global Business Travel Association, President Trump has cost the US travel industry a whopping $185 million since he took office, about 24 days ago. Experts believe the slump will continue and potentially get even worse. However, this drop is small in comparison to the current US travel industry size  of about $1 Trillion, according to industry stats website Statista.   Rationale The controversial executive order banning citizens of seven primarily Muslim countries from entering the US has cost the industry millions in terms of forgone trips. For example, flight-search analysis company Hopper reported demand declining...

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News: Marriott and Starwood Announce Award Category Changes

Premise Thanks to r/churning and /u/nimbus29 for the heads up. Starwood and Marriott both released their award category changes for the 2017 year. This comes into effect March 7th of the year. Thus, be sure to check the change lists to see if the hotels you plan to book go up or down in category. Book accordingly – if the category goes down, wait until 3/7, if it will go up, then book immediately! The last thing you want to be is caught off guard come March and find out you do not have enough points for that trip...

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News: Priceline to acquire European travel search firm Momondo

Premise The Priceline Group, which has Kayak and OpenTable, is acquiring Momondo Group, a U.K. based travel search company. The all-cash deal for Momondo is worth $550 million, and is one of Priceline’s pricier acquisitions. However, it is still less than the $2.6B paid for OpenTable and $1.8B paid for Kayak. Momondo Group runs CheapFlights and Momondo, a European search engine for hotels, flights, and cars. This is similar to what Kayak is for the United States. Furthermore, this would make for a powerhouse in search travel, expanding Priceline’s reach and customer depth.   Momondo Acquisition Synergies This acquisition...

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News: Accor Hotels to Acquire Travel Keys – a Luxury Villas Travel Broker

Premise Accor Hotels, a French hotel group, continues its expansion by acquiring Travel Keys. Travel Keys is a broker representing over 5,000 in 100+ worldwide locations. This will expand Accor’s luxury villa and property offering, to about 8,500 properties. Accor recently acquired FHRI Hotels & Resorts, which owns the Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissotel chains. This most recent acquisition continues to build Accor’s luxury offerings for higher-end consumers, and will complement its current onefinestay and Squarebreak brands. Should all go to plan, the deal will close in Q2 2017.   Accor Synergies from acquiring Travel Keys This acquisition makes plenty of...

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Starwood SPG Select Member Points Offer!

Premise Thanks to /u/doctorofcredit and /u/AbaloneNacre. Starwood and their SPG loyalty program has a select member offer awarding points or free night certificates for paid stays. Use this link to get to the offer and check what yours is. Per the Starwood link, We’re always happy to see you check in. That’s why we want to bring you back with a special offer. Simply register by April 15, 2017, and stay with us between February 15 and May 15, 2017. The amount of the offer will vary from person to person, so check your SPG number for a personalized offer....

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What’s the Future of Travel? Ask Millennials

Premise Expedia conducted a study in late 2013 to examine worldwide attitudes of business and leisure travelers, segmenting responses by age group. It has a particular focus on Millennials, categorized as those born between the early 1980s and mid 1990s, of which I am a part. Much of this is nothing new, but I wanted to call out some interesting facts regarding what they called the “traveler of the future”.   Millennial focus and responses As you might imagine, much of what you may know about the millennial generation in regards to adaptability and technology holds true. They plan...

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