Hoyt’s Safety Measures and Coronavirus Cleaning Tips

As more cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) are reported in the U.S., Hoyt Livery is providing measures to help protect our clients and employees from the spread of this and other illnesses. Plus, coronavirus cleaning tips from the CDC.

Here’s what Hoyt is doing:

  • We thoroughly clean all interior surfaces of our vehicles with disinfectant wipes after each ride, as well as clean all employee work surfaces daily.
  • Our employees know not to report to work if they are feeling unwell and are instructed to seek medical attention.
  • We have also decided to temporarily remove all printed reading materials, beverages and snacks from our vehicles to prevent cross contact.

Thank you for understanding these precautionary measures and know that we are committed to keeping our vehicles as germ-free as possible and in pristine condition, inside and out.

Your health and safety are of utmost importance to us, and we thank you for your business!

Advice on cleaning for coronavirus

What can you do to help reduce the risk of contracting coronavirus and other illnesses? Here are general recommendations for routine cleaning and disinfection of households.

  • Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc. with household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface, following label instructions.
  • Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
  • Wash your clothes and towels more frequently using the hot water setting when possible. Use your dishwasher on the sanitize setting to wash not just your dishes, flatware and cups, but other household items like sponges and hairbrushes.

  • Household members should follow home care guidance when interacting with persons with suspected/confirmed COVID-19 and their isolation rooms/bathrooms.
  • In the bedroom/bathroom dedicated for an ill person, consider reducing cleaning frequency to as-needed (e.g., soiled items and surfaces) to avoid unnecessary contact with the ill person.
  • An ill person should stay in a specific room and away from other people in their home, as much as possible, following home care guidance. The caregiver can provide personal cleaning supplies for an ill person’s room and bathroom, unless the room is occupied by a child or another person for whom such supplies would not be appropriate.
  • These supplies include tissues, paper towels, cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants. If a separate bathroom is not available, the bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected after each use by an ill person. If this is not possible, the caregiver should wait as long as practical after use by an ill person to clean and disinfect the high-touch surfaces.

Coronavirus Concerns: Should You Still Travel?

The COVID-19 illness caused by a new coronavirus has millions of Americans questioning whether it’s wise, or even safe, to travel, especially by air. To help you make an informed decision, an infectious disease expert has created a checklist to help you decide whether to go ahead with your trip or cancel it.

Information courtesy of Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter for U.S. News & World Report.

Know your risk

Regarding risk assessment, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states on their website (as of March 11) that, “For most people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. There is not widespread circulation in most communities in the United States.”

So, for most people with healthy immune systems, infection appears to result in mild symptoms—similar to a cold or flu. However, infection appears to be most severe, and occasionally fatal, for the frail elderly or those with chronic health issues or compromised immune systems.

Should you travel Q&A

Dr. Susan Wootton, an infectious disease pediatrician at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, has developed this nine-point checklist to help you decide whether your trip is a go or a no.

If your answer matches the response in parentheses to each question, move on to the next question. If not, you may need to rethink your travel plans.

  • Are the travelers healthy? (Yes.)
  • Have the travelers received flu shots? (Yes.)
  • Do any of the travelers or anyone the travelers have had contact with have any underlying high-risk conditions for the virus, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease? (No.)
  • Are any travel restrictions for your destination listed on the CDC or U.S. Department of State websites? (No.)
  • Is the trip a cruise (which Wootton advises against)? (No.)
  • Are there any major events after the trip that would cause problems if you and your fellow travelers were quarantined for a period of time? (No.)
  • Would anxiety during travel ruin the trip for you? (No.)
  • Are you reasonably able to take common preventative measures — such as washing hands and keeping hands away from the face — during travel? (Yes.)
  • Would your regret be manageable if you or a family member caught COVID-19? (Yes.)

If you’ve gone through and answered this checklist, your trip may still be a go. If this is the case, Dr. Luis Ostrosky, professor of infectious diseases at UT Health, offers these tips to help keep yourself healthy while traveling:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds—wash to the “Happy Birthday” song twice to ensure germs are washed away.
  • Carry and use a hand sanitizing gel with at least 60% alcohol as a backup when hand-washing isn’t available.
  • If you fly on a plane or take public transit, wipe down your seat, armrests, tray table, air vents, etc. with Clorox disinfecting wipes or similar.
  • Don’t touch your face. This is a tough one, because people do this without realizing it many times an hour, around 90 times a day. Try to be aware and avoid this habit.
  • If you don’t have to touch that doorknob, railing or countertop, don’t, or use your arm or other body part instead. Like the cold and flu virus, coronavirus can be coughed or sneezed onto surfaces.
  • Don’t bother wearing a face mask in public unless you have symptoms and want to help reduce spreading something yourself. According to the CDC, in everyday scenarios, face masks aren’t effective in cutting down your risk of infection, and might even raise the odds as people touch their face to readjust the mask. Also, buying up face masks reduces the supply available for medical professionals, possibly putting them at risk. So, only wear a mask if you are already sick, to prevent spread to others.
  • Keep yourself informed, preferably by reputable sources such as the CDC’s travel notices, the U.S. Department of State’s travel advisories, and the World Health Organization’s situation reports.
  • In addition to wiping down your airline or train seat, it is recommended that upon checking into your hotel room, wipe down the doorknobs, light switches, handles, coffee pot, tv remote, desk, toilet, faucet, sink, etc.  with disinfectant wipes. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.

For more information, see the CDC’s coronavirus website.

Source: U.S. News & World Report

A Q&A on CLEAR Identity Verification

If you fly and have been in an airport recently, you’ve probably heard about the CLEAR ID verification service.

Learn what CLEAR is and does, so you can determine if it’s right for you, courtesy of clark.com.

What exactly is CLEAR?

CLEAR, a New York-based startup, is a service to help you get through security lines at airports and stadiums faster and more efficiently by verifying your identity ahead of time and linking it to biometric data-like scans of your iris and fingertips.

CLEAR uses biometrics — namely your fingerprint and the iris in your eye — to confirm your identity, rather than old-school forms of ID like driver’s licenses and passports.

CLEAR transforms those biometrics into an encrypted code that is unique to each individual. Every time you check in at a CLEAR location, the system matches your fingerprint and iris scans to your unique code to ensure that it’s really you.

As a result, you’re able to bypass the general security lines at dozens of major airports and some other big sports and concert venues across the country, saving you valuable time in the process.

How does CLEAR work?

There are two stages to the security check at every U.S. airport: Identity verification and a security screening. When you sign up with CLEAR, you use it to bypass the wait in line to present your ID to a TSA agent. Instead, you go to a CLEAR kiosk and scan your eye or fingertip.

Once the system confirms your identity, a CLEAR employee will escort you directly to the security screening, which is usually much faster than standing in the line waiting for the TSA agent.

Although lines can and do form at CLEAR kiosks, they generally move at a much quicker pace than the other lines waiting to get through security.

How much does CLEAR cost?

A CLEAR Plus membership is $179 a year. If you join CLEAR Plus, you can add up to three adult family members to your account for $50 each per year. Children under 18 don’t need an account. They can accompany family members in the CLEAR line for free.

CLEAR has also partnered with two airlines — Delta and United — to offer their frequent flyers discounted memberships.

Delta Diamond Medallion members get free CLEAR membership. Platinum, Gold and Silver Medallion members can enroll for $109 a year and any non-Medallion SkyMiles member pays just $119. That means that if you are thinking about joining CLEAR, you can save yourself $60 a year simply by becoming a SkyMiles member at no charge.

As for United, MileagePlus Premier 1K members can enroll in CLEAR for free. Premier, Platinum, Gold, and Silver level flyers pay $109 a year, while it will cost Non-Premier flyers $119.

Both airlines also have branded credit cards that could allow you to get a discounted CLEAR membership. If you have one of those cards, check with the issuer to see if you qualify for a discount.

The American Express Green Card also now offers a $100 statement credit if you purchase your membership with the card, which could make your total $79 or less per year.

CLEAR + TSA PreCheck = Even Faster

If you have TSA PreCheck, you can get through security even faster. Where CLEAR expedites your trips through the documents-clearing portion of the process, PreCheck gets you through the physical screening quicker. If you have PreCheck, a CLEAR agent will escort you to the expedited PreCheck lanes once your identity is verified.

It’s important to note, though, that signing up for CLEAR does not automatically get you PreCheck status — they are separate programs.

Where Can You Use CLEAR?

You can use CLEAR at all participating airports and other CLEAR locations, such as stadiums. Check www.clearme.com for participating airports. While a CLEAR Plus membership gives you access to all of them, you can enroll in CLEAR Sports for free to get access to the non-airport venues. Just remember that you will not get the airport benefits with that plan.

Should I Be Worried About Giving My Biometric Data to CLEAR?

To enroll with CLEAR, you have to physically appear at one of their locations, although you can start the process online. CLEAR takes your iris and fingerprint scans. You’ll also have to present a valid driver’s license, U.S. passport, permanent resident card, or U.S. military card. Then you’ll be given a unique personalized quiz based on publicly available information to verify your identity.

So should you be worried about CLEAR knowing this much about you?

According to the company itself, “Privacy is at the center of everything we do at CLEAR and we are fully committed to protecting our members’ information. We never sell or rent personal information. Personal information is only used to deliver a frictionless and secure experience with CLEAR.”

Is CLEAR worth the money?

Obviously, there could be a lot of benefits to being a CLEAR member. But is a membership a good investment for every traveler? As it is fairly expensive, it may only be worth it if you travel more than 10 or 15 times a year. The other thing to consider is if there are CLEAR lanes at the airport or airports you fly in and out of most frequently. If there are not, it may not be worth it.

CLEAR may be a wonderful addition to your toolbox to help you move quicker in your travels. To help you with your ground transportation when you’re traveling, make sure to download our free app, Hoyt-to-Go. You can quickly book, change, check and manage all your car service needs on your phone. To download the app, go to your app store or visit https://www.hoytlivery.com/services/app/.

Source: Clark.com

What to Know If You’re Traveling During the Coronavirus Outbreak

As of February 7, more than 31,500 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed around the world.

Starting in Wuhan, China, the virus has rampantly spread to other parts of Asia, Europe and the U.S leading to more than 600 deaths.

As a result, flights and cruises have cancelled their routes and cities are under quarantine. Here is everything you need to know about traveling while coronavirus spreads, courtesy of Travelandleisure.com.

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus is a specific strain of coronavirus called 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV. It was first discovered in December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

“Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats,” according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). And 2019-nCoV is the most recent “novel” version found.

Both Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are caused by a coronavirus, but not the strain that’s currently circulating.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

The first symptoms of coronavirus feel a lot like the flu. “You’ll get a fever, cough — it’s primarily a lower respiratory virus — general malaise, there may be some gastrointestinal distress,” Dr. Rebecca Katz, a professor and the director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University, recently told Travel + Leisure. When complications of the virus occur, patients could develop pneumonia or kidney-related issues, which could lead to death.

What should you do to prevent coronavirus?

You can protect yourself from catching coronavirus the same way you’d protect yourself from catching any other virus. Wash your hands regularly, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and be sure to thoroughly cook all meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with people you may see coughing or sneezing.

Which countries are impacted by coronavirus?

As the virus has affected the world, professors from Johns Hopkins University have developed a real-time map to track confirmed cases of coronavirus as it spreads.

Conditions in Wuhan, where the virus was first detected were likened to a wartime scenario this week. The city has been completely quarantined from the rest of China, with transportation links cut. Streets and shelves are empty as residents are urged to go outside only for essential supplies. There have also been two makeshift hospitals put in place to accommodate all patients.

While museums are closed until further notice, China’s National Cultural Heritage Administration has put much of its collection online for visitors to peruse.

The region of Macau has completely shut down for two weeks and none of its famous casinos will be open.

The doctor who first discovered this straint of coronavirus and alerted authorities, Li Wenliang, has died at age 34 of the disease. China has launched an investigation into his death and as to why according to a statement released by the official Xinhua news agency.

Taiwan announced Thursday it would no longer process online or landing visas for citizens of Hong Kong or Macau. The suspension will continue indefinitely.

In Japan, a total of 25 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed. It is the most affected country outside of China; however, no deaths have been reported. Japan’s response to the coronavirus outbreak has been laxer than other countries. Tokyo has only imposed an entry ban for travelers who have been to the Hubei Province within the last 14 days or those who have a passport issued from Hubei. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was adamant that the outbreak will not affect the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics this summer.

The other most affected Asian countries are, in order, Singapore, Thailand and South Korea.

Australia closed its borders to foreign arrivals who have been in China within the past 14 days. Australians who are arriving home from China are being met with additional health screenings. There have been 15 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia.

Australia flew out 243 citizens who wished to leave Wuhan and transferred them to quarantine on Christmas Island in an immigration detention center, according to the New York Times.

The U.S. has confirmed a total of 12 coronavirus cases since the outbreak The borders have been closed to anyone who has been in China within the last 14 days. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) now requires airlines to ask passengers on inbound flights if they have visited mainland China in the past 14 days.

If they have, they are rerouted to screening centers at one of several airports around the country, including New York JFK and Los Angeles International. If passengers show no symptoms during their enhanced screening, they are rebooked to their final destination — although they are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.

How are airlines responding?

Airlines around the world have halted service to mainland China amid warnings from the World Health Organization.

In a statement, Lufthansa Group (including Austrian Airlines and SWISS) said they will not accept new bookings to China through the end of February, however the airlines will continue to operate flights to Hong Kong. British Airways announced an “immediate” suspension of flights to mainland China. Reuters reported that there are no flights available to China with the airline through the end of February. Air Canada has also temporarily suspended flights to Beijing and Shanghai.

United, American and Delta have all suspended their service to China, citing low demand. The longest of these cancellations is with Delta, who have suspended mainland China service until April 30.

All airlines will continue to monitor the situation and could change their schedules should there be any change in the situation in China. Many airlines are still operating flights to Hong Kong. Travelers should contact their airline directly for more information.

Airlines are also looking out for their employees as flight attendants on Cathay Pacific were first told to wear masks while working and have now been asked to take three weeks of unpaid leave between March 1 and the end of June, due to a “significant” drop in demand for flights.

Thai Airways is practicing extreme precautions as they are spraying down cabins with a disinfectant after each flight.

How are cruises responding?

While cruise lines have released their own safety in how they’re handling the outbreak, isolated incidents have occurred on various ships.

At the time of this writing, at least 61 passengers on a Japanese cruise ship have been diagnosed with coronavirus. The ship was initially quarantined when an 80-year-old passenger boarded in the Japanese port of Yokohama after having been diagnosed. Sickened passengers have been transported to a hospital on the mainland for treatment.

A ship in Italy couldn’t offload passengers last week for fear that two of them had contracted the virus.

On Friday, February 7, a Royal Caribbean cruise docked in Bayonne, N.J. — 20 miles away New York City — with passengers that will be assessed for coronavirus as they deboard. Four passengers have been sent to the hospital, according to NorthJersey.com.

Should I cancel my trip because of the coronavirus outbreak?

Earlier this week, the U.S. State Department issued a Level 4 — its highest level — warning, notifying Americans not to travel to China. The CDC also issued a warning against all nonessential travel to China. However, this does not include Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan.

The State Department hasn’t issued any health-related travel advisories against any other Asian countries.

To ensure any upcoming travel plans, calling your hotel and airline directly as well as monitoring updates and alerts will give you the current information.

Source: https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/travel-warnings/coronavirus-china-travel-alerts-what-to-know

Glamorous Camping: New York State’s Best Glamping

You may have heard of “glamping,” which takes one of life’s simple pleasures—sleeping in the great outdoors—and elevates it with creature comforts and modern conveniences.

There’s no tent to set up, no hard rocks underneath your sleeping bag, and no outhouses.

Here are some of New York State’s best glamping locations and experiences, courtesy of iloveny.com.

Get off the grid at Gatherwild Ranch (Hudson Valley)

Sometimes you want to go where you can’t hear car horns and shouting, where you leave your phone off and feel like a human again. The Gatherwild Ranch outside the city of Hudson is just the balm for busy citygoers. Just like the resident free-range chickens, guests are invited to roam freely around the 15 acres of land. Gatherwild Ranch even offers facials and full-body massages to deepen your state of relaxation. As for where you’ll lay your head, choose between four unique yurts and one tepee. All are cozy and chic and enjoy a fair amount of private space on the grounds. When you’re ready to venture out again, explore the nearby town of Hudson’s charming antique shops, delicious farm-to-table restaurants, and adorable boutiques.

Culture and camping at Saratoga Escape Glamping (Capital-Saratoga)

Just five miles away from Saratoga Springs, the Saratoga Escape Glamping experience offers comfortable camping combined with the charm of a culture-rich city. The resort has cabins, RV hookups, and tent campsites but in 2017 added glamping options: They now offer 300-square-foot tents with roll-up mesh screens providing ventilation through all four walls. Sleep in queen-size beds with fresh linens and bedding, and enjoy access to your own private grill, mini-fridge, chairs, firepit, and picnic table. Take a dip in the swimming pool, canoe or paddleboard on the lake, and take the little ones on a pony ride. You’re a quick drive from Saratoga Springs attractions, so you can catch a show at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center or experience horse racing at the Saratoga Race Track!

The best of both worlds with Posh Primitive (Adirondacks)

Stretch your legs in one of Posh Primitive’s spacious canvas cabins built with massive log rafters. Each cabin has a queen-size bed on a timber wood platform, a covered porch, and a wood-burning stove for added coziness, though you can easily build a campfire outside, too. All meals are included and if you catch a fish in one of the nearby rivers and streams, they’ll even cook it up for you! Explore a number of nearby hiking trails and take advantage of Posh’s in-house guided nature tours, courtesy of Johnny Old School Guide Service. You’ll also be just a 40-minute drive from the Barton Garnet Mines, where you can take a fascinating tour through one of the world’s largest garnet deposits.

Nature and entertainment Darien Lake (Greater Niagara)

The Glamping at Darien Lake campground belongs to Six Flags Darien Lake Theme Park, New York State’s largest theme park and water park. This means you can wake up in a beautiful, rustic canvas cabin by the lake, then walk just five minutes to the theme park with more than 100 rides, water slides, splash pools, and more. They offer special “Stay & Play” packages to sweeten the deal. The park is also dog-friendly, but just a quick note to bring your own bedding and air mattresses if needed.

Cabin camping at Harmony Hill Retreat Center (Catskills)

The glamping at Harmony Hill in the Catskills is a cross between camping and a cabin stay. Here, your lodging is an adorable, elevated yurt, replete with electricity, flushable toilets, lockable doors, a king-size bed, reading chairs, lamps, and a fully equipped kitchen. You can also cook on the charcoal grill outdoors and in either case, enjoy your food out on your personal deck. Basically, want for nothing while still enjoying the peaceful calm of sleeping deep in the woods. Adding to your comfort and enjoyment, each yurt has a domed skylight and a ceiling fan, though the density of the trees keeps things pretty cool even in summer. Your yurt even comes with its own designated parking spot.

Goat yoga at Gilbertsville Farmhouse (Central)

This husband-and-wife-run establishment is a popular wedding destination thanks to the picturesque beauty of its rolling farmlands. The canvas cabins are spacious and luxuriously decorated, with rustic chandeliers, dressers, sofas, and more. There’s a communal bathhouse that feels more like a spa than a farm shower, and an outdoor firepit. And then, there’s goat yoga. Yes, goat yoga. In a beautiful sun-lit barn you’ll settle into downward dogs and child’s poses, all while adorable baby goats clamber all over you. It’s pure magic. Plus, you’ll be less than an hour’s drive from the amazing Brewery Ommegang, where you can take tours of their famous brewery and sip a flight of delicious craft beer to cool off after a warm summer’s day.

1000 Islands Campground (Thousand Islands-Seaway)

You can stay just a stone’s throw from the beautiful St. Lawrence River in one of two glamping tents—formerly used for Civil War reenactment! The tents are elevated on a wooden platform, and you can relax on your own porch. You’ll need to bring your typical camping gear, like sleeping bags and s’mores ingredients, but you’ll find a fire pit, a picnic table, water, and electricity ready and waiting for you. Plus, this one is a great spot to bring the kiddos because the campground includes several play areas, including a large wooden boat and a wooden castle. A fantasy camping trip for all.

Mountain Horse Farm B&B and Wellness Retreat (Finger Lakes)

One of the main goals of glamping is to reconnect with nature. The Mountain Horse Farm B&B and Wellness Retreat in the Finger Lakes takes this concept to the next level by offering therapeutic interactions with cows and mini-horses along with the opportunity to sleep comfortably outdoors. Their horse & cow experiences do not involve riding the animals, but peacefully petting them, cuddling them, and enjoying their calm energy. Come nighttime you’ll sleep in traditional Sioux Indian Tipis, handcrafted by artisans. Enjoy your privacy while being just a short walk to the lodge, where you can use the full bathroom, lounge room, TV room, wrap-around porch, and fridge. You’re also welcome to use the large outdoor fire pit and grill.

The Woods at Bear Creek (Chautauqua-Allegheny)

A bit of a departure from the canvas tents, the Woods at Bear Creek offer something a bit sturdier by way of their glamping cabins. Tucked amongst the forests and meadows on 750 acres of land, you’ll feel the joy of a kid at summer camp—but with all the comforts you’d want as an adult. Your cabin comes with its own campfire area and covered pavilion, two separate bedrooms, and full bath facilities. There’s even AC, internet, and Direct TV. Swing by the full-service restaurant for dinner, or cook something up over an open flame. Cool off in the Olympic-sized pool, hit up the basketball courts, or take a canoe, kayak, or paddle boat out onto the water. We think you’d agree, this is way better than summer camp.

Terra Glamping (Long Island)

The Hamptons are often associated with glamour, and the glamping here is no exception. Terra Glamping offers 30 canvas tents on the beach, just a ten-minute drive from the buzzing streets with restaurants and boutiques. You’ll wake up on your queen-size memory-foam mattress and pull back the flaps to gaze out over Sag Harbor and Shelter Island (all tents have water views!). Enjoy access to hot showers and flushing toilets, nightly campfires, a dining and grilling area, continental breakfast, and the complimentary use of kayaks and paddle boards. Owners Rebecca Martin and David Levine know that people seek out glamping in order to unplug, so the absence of wifi is an intentional decision. There is cell service, however, and they do provide flashlights, lanterns, and cell phone chargers.

Collective Retreats (New York City)

You can now revel in the joy of glamping in one of the most unexpected and delightful places—Governors Island, NYC! You’ll depart from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan on ferry and land on the lush green shores of the island. There are three types of accommodations to choose from. The Summit Tent and the Outlook Shelter are both more private, with their own bathrooms with hot running water, a luxury spa soaking tub(!), and a king bed. The Journey Tents are part of a more communal experience. They’re spaced slightly closer together and share a bathroom, but are still elegant and comfortable. No matter where you sleep, enjoy fresh continental breakfast at the Three Peaks Restaurant and a one-of-a-kind view of Lady Liberty across the harbor.

If you’re thinking of taking the family or group of friends on a glamping trip this fall, start out and end your experience right and let us do the driving! With Hoyt Livery’s luxury group vehicles, you’ll have room enough for everyone, plus all your gear!

Source: iloveny.com

How will hotel rates change in 2020?

Modest Hotel Rate Increases in 2020: American Express Global Business Travel

Business travelers won’t see a big jump in hotel rate increases globally in 2020, according to a Hotel Monitor 2020 report, published by American Express Global Business Travel (GBT). Here are the key findings, courtesy of writer Janeen Christoff and travelpulse.com.

The recent study found that a global boom in hotel construction has led to an increase in supply of hotels, at the same time that international trade tensions are dampening demand from travelers, restricting the ability for hotels to raise their rates.

“Despite signs that the global economy is facing challenges, the number of people traveling for business and leisure continues to grow,” says Joakim Johansson, Vice President, Global Business Consulting at GBT. “But, in most cities, a full hotel development pipeline means this sustained level of demand will not feed into big rate rises.”

Other emerging hotel trends—more tech, less formal

The Hotel Monitor 2020 also identified several key trends with hotels. Most importantly, technology’s ability to drive change within the hotel experience.

Johansson said: “For several years, GBT has been charting the rise of the modern business traveler, who wants a more informal, flexible and digitally smart environment to work and rest. Hotel providers, both big global groups and more local chains, are responding to this need with new hotel formats or serviced apartments. Hotels need to be ready to accommodate this emerging traveler preference.

In addition to tech advancements, shared working spaces and a less formal environment are driving the transformation of traditional business hotels with a focus on lifestyle enhancements.

U.S. hotel rates will remain flat while Canada predicted to rise

Flat occupancy rates and a full pipeline of room construction is driving competition and limiting the ability to raise rates.

Canada’s relatively strong economic performance and slowing capacity growth could lead to rate increases. Chicago, San Francisco and Toronto will see the biggest increase in room rates (5 percent, 4 percent, 4 percent respectively), according to the Hotel Monitor 2020 while guest room rates in New York are expected to decrease by 3 percent.

Hotels in Europe, Middle East and Africa

The Hotel Monitor found that, in Europe, there will be a small increase in price. Uncertainties about Brexit and low growth in Europe’s main business centers as well as the global economic outlook will likely take a toll on demand.

Hotel development in the region is also at a record high with Germany leading the way and the U.K. following closely behind. London will see a further 10,000 new rooms open in 2019 and 2020.

Concerns about political and economic uncertainty have negatively impacted business travel in Central and Latin America, says the Hotel Monitor 2020. However, prices are expected to rise as demand continues to outpace growth. Hotel construction has decreased 25 percent year over year.

In the Middle East and Africa, a hotel construction boom across the Middle East, but largely focused on the United Arab Emirates, means supply will outstrip demand and lead to forecasted falls of as much as 10 percent in Doha and 8 percent in Riyadh.

The hospitality industry is growing rapidly across the Asia Pacific, with thousands of additional beds in key cities every year. Despite a capacity increase, rates are still expected to rise between 4 and 5 percent.

If you’re seeking to lower your travel costs, join Hoyt Livery’s Marquis Rewards. You’ll receive a free ride to the airport with every 10 rides, and you don’t have to keep track. Start saving and join today!

Source: TravelPulse.com

Hotels Ranked: The Best and Worst in the U.S.

If you travel often, you’ll want to know how America’s hotels ranked in the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) on the best and worst hotel brands for 2019.

Here are the results, courtesy of Clark.com.

Customers less satisfied than a year ago

The ACSI Travel Report is based on interviews with more than 12,000 customers who were chosen at random and contacted via email from April 2018 to March 2019. Hotels were rated on a scale of 0 to 100.

Hilton and Marriott hotel brands still lead the way, but the study found that hotel guests are overall less satisfied than they were a year ago.

The ACSI report found that hotels are slipping in multiple aspects of customer service: making reservations, check in, staff courtesy, room quality, website/call center satisfaction, and more.

Loyalty programs, hotel amenities (pool, business center), and food service are the lowest rated parts of the guest experience.

And resolving guests’ complaints is more important than ever before, according to the ACSI. Many hotels are now using social media to quickly resolve issues that customers share online.

Results and rankings

Brand: Parent Type ACSI
Ranking
JW Marriott Marriott Luxury 84
Embassy Suites Hilton Upper Upscale 83
Fairfield Inn
& Suites
Marriott Upper Midscale 83
Hilton Garden Inn Hilton Upscale 82
Marriott Hilton Marriott Upper Scale 81
Crowne Plaza
Hotels & Resorts
InterContinental Upscale 81
Courtyard Marriott Upscale 81
Best Western
Premier
Best Western Upscale 81
Holiday Inn
Express
InterContinental Upper Midscale 80
Hampton Hilton Upper Midscale 79
Hilton Hotels
& Resorts
Hilton Upper Upscale 79
AC Hotels Marriott Upscale 79
Residence Inn Marriott Upscale 79
Hyatt Regency Hyatt Upper Upscale 79
Double Tree Hilton Upscale 78
Best Western Best Western Midscale 77
Best Western
Plus
Best Western Upper Midscale 77
Sheraton Marriott Upper Upscale 77
Hyatt Place Hyatt Upscale 77
Wyndham Hotels
& Resorts
Wyndham Upscale 76
Comfort Inn,
Comfort Suites
Choice Upper Midscale 76
Westin Marriott Upper Upscale 76
Holiday Inn InterContinental Upper Midscale 75
La Quinta Inns
& Suites
La Quinta
(Wyndham)
Midscale 74
Quality Choice Upper Midscale 73
Baymont Wyndham Midscale 72
Ramada Wyndham Midscale 71
Days Inn Wyndham Economy 68
Econo Lodge Choice Economy 67
Super 8 Wyndham Economy 65
Motel 6 G6 Hospitality Economy 63
Source: Clark.com

Best Summer Vacation Destinations

This summer, get your adventure on! There’s plenty of great deals to be had if you know where to look. To help you get packing, here’s a list of this summer’s best budget travel destinations, courtesy of the travel writers of forbes.com.

San Antonio, Texas

From strolling along the San Antonio River Walk to chasing thrills at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, there’s plenty of fun and food to be had. Whether you’re craving Tex-Mex or authentic Mexican food, San Antonio has it. Also visit San Fernando Cathedral, which hosts nightly light shows at no cost. If you find yourself visiting San Antonio during the weekend, be sure to wander through the farmer’s market at the Pearl Brewery.

Puebla, Mexico

Puebla is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’s easy to see why. Architecture lovers could spend days exploring the historical center and marveling at what seems like an endless number of churches.

Despite this being Mexico’s fourth largest city, you’ll hardly see any other tourists. It’s one of those cities where you can just soak in the tranquil atmosphere. The region is known for its mole sauce, so be sure to sample when visiting.

Hawaii

Flights to Hawaii from the mainland are generally pretty cheap, especially in the past few years. Although it isn’t the most inexpensive when you arrive, it’s well worth it because you get the South Pacific feel with the comforts of the United States—and a shorter plane flight. Check out Maui, and the little visited island of Lanai. For golf lovers, the Four Seasons at Lanai is recommended.

St. Helena

Saint Helena is a volcanic tropical island in the South Atlantic Ocean, 2,500 miles east of Rio de Janeiro. While a trek to get there in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean, it’s a relatively cheap destination once you arrive.

This off-the-beaten path location offers great hiking, fascinating English mixed with island culture, good food and even the world’s most remote golf course. The airport alone makes it worth a visit as they basically shaved down a mountain to make it possible. St. Helena is probably not on your short list but it should be on your bucket list.

Province of Laguna, the Philippines

The Philippines is already popular because of its white sand beaches in Palawan, Cebu or Boracay; the surfing in Siargao, the mountains in the north but Laguna Province is less well known.

If you have a few days stopover in Manila, make sure to visit the Province of Laguna. It has hot springs as well as San Pablo City, also known as the City of Seven Lakes. Most of these attractions are easily accessed by car rental or taking the local public transportation called tricycle, which costs less than $10.

Agra, India

Home to the Taj Mahal, Agra is on many traveler’s lists. And although it costs around $43 to enter, the surrounding area is relatively inexpensive. It is definitely a well-known destination, so if you want your Taj Mahal shot, be sure to go in the morning. Considered to be the jewel of Islamic art in India, it was built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his wife—possibly one of the most extravagant declarations of love in history.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

There is no city in the world as intoxicating as Buenos Aires. The streets are lined with grand European-style architecture, cozy cafés and endless parks. The staples of life in this budget-friendly city are steak, wine, empanadas and ice cream. Three cheers for the Southern Hemisphere.

South Africa

Prepare to be blown away by the beauty of South Africa. It’s a very diverse place in terms of its nature, people and activities.  One day, you may be hiking up a mountain and the next, diving with sharks in the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll be surprised by the extreme low cost of Uber and transport there. The food is also fairly inexpensive, as well as delicious.

Zanzibar

Zanzibaris are so much fun and friendly. While there are expensive resorts there, you can still find some inexpensive bed and breakfasts and hostels in Stone Town that allow you to be right next to the Indian Ocean, where all the excitement, and restaurants are.

Armenia

Set in the Caucasus Mountains, Armenia is a hidden gem that’s still untouched by mass tourism, and yet has so much to offer: rich history, wineries, impressive landscapes, ancient monasteries and breathtaking mountains as far as your eyes can see. The capital, Yerevan, is a lively city with wide avenues, delicious restaurants, museums and street markets selling local handicrafts.

Outside of the capital is picturesque nature. You can pay a visit to the oldest winery in the world in Areni, stop by stunning monasteries, or check out the oldest cathedral in the world in Etchmiadzin.

Serbia

Serbia is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. It’s one of those places that has such an amazing energy that it leaves you wanting more. In the bustling city of Belgrade, there’s something happening every hour of every day. The streets are filled with amazing restaurants, cute cafés, bars and clubs. The friendly locals are always out and about. You will find people of all ages enjoying the outdoor cafés and drinking rakija (the national drink of Serbia). The restaurants have a great mix of both local and international dishes and are great for trying new dishes. Try the komplet lepinja, cevapi and karađorđeva šnicla. The nightlife in Serbia is one of a kind. There are floating bars and clubs along the Danube riverbank. Parties go on till the early morning hours.

Transylvania, Romania

Home to myths and some of the world’s most hospitable locals, Transylvania is a budget traveler’s dream destination. The stunning Carpathian Mountains offer the perfect backdrop to one of Europe’s often overlooked regions.

Guests can experience Romania’s roots free of the mass commercialization, and the high prices, that we see in more popular European destinations. From sampling local dishes like ciorbă, mici and palinka, to skiing in Sinaia, you’ll have a wide range of budget-friendly activities to keep you entertained.

George Town, Penang, Malaysia

A mixture of cultures, cuisines and architecture come together to create an atmosphere that on paper shouldn’t work but somehow does. Chinese, Indian, Malay and British influences can be seen at every turn you make in this Penang Island UNESCO World Heritage Site. What makes George Town stand out are the quarters that make up the city, each one boasting a distinct community and history, all linked together by the beautiful street art found throughout. With a diverse population, beautiful culture and amazing food, George Town is a perfect addition to anyone’s travel bucket list.

Moscow, Russia

Moscow, like the rest of Russia, has a stereotype of being a bitterly cold destination. That is true during the winter months, however during the summer, you can expect steady sunshine and clear skies so put on your shades, grab a bliny and wander around the Red Square with ease.

Taipei, Taiwan

The capital of Taiwan is growing in popularity in East Asia but often goes unnoticed by the masses. In comparison to Hong Kong or Tokyo, think of Taipei as the quieter kid on the block. With some of the best food markets in all of Asia, buzzing shopping districts like Xiamen and the stunning nearby Yangminshan National Park, Taipei offers something for everyone. Pro tip: Taipei won’t break the bank but don’t expect it to be as cheap as Vietnam.

No matter where you decide to vacation this summer, whether within the US or abroad, let Hoyt Livery get your whole family to the airport and back home. With family-sized luxury vans with room for everyone’s luggage, Hoyt Livery can get you there safely, comfortably and in style.

Source: forbes.com

LaGuardia Terminal B Update

Back in December, the first phase of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $8 billion overhaul of LaGuardia Airport (LGA) opened to the public.

The remodeled Eastern Concourse of LaGuardia’s Terminal B is a $4 billion construction project intended to help upgrade an airport that Joe Biden likened to being in “some third world country” in 2014.

The first phase of improvements included a new concourse and 11 gates at Terminal B. Here’s an overview of what the finished LGA will look like, courtesy of 6sqft.com.

Visible improvements already include “wayfinders” embedded in the floor—dark-shaded tile down the middle to guide passengers to a gate, with white accents emanating from the shops. Once a passenger reaches a gate, the subtly patterned tile gives way to a carpet with no pattern.

Along the way are mostly upscale restaurants and stores, including outposts of Shake Shack; McNally Jackson (the Manhattan Bookstore); La Chula Taquería (the Mexican-food eatery with roots in Harlem); Irving Farm Coffee Roasters (which was founded as a cafe near Gramercy Park); FAO Schwarz; MAC cosmetics; and private pods for massage, manicures/pedicures and treatments for acne and wrinkles.

Upon completion …

Terminal B will measure over 1.3 million square feet, including the newly opened Eastern Concourse, which measures 250,000 square feet and has 18 gates. The terminal’s parking garage opened in February and includes 3,100 parking spots, all equipped with a system to provide a real-time view of available spaces.

Two pedestrian bridges will be constructed across active plane taxi lanes, connecting the main departures and arrivals hall that will open in 2020 with the two island concourses. According to the company, Skanska USA, who is leading the design and construction, the bridges will offer travelers views of the Manhattan skyline as they head to and from their gates.

Terminal B, serving Air Canada, American Airlines, Southwest and United, and Terminal C, serving Delta, will be able to hold 30 million passengers per year after the redevelopment wraps up.

By the numbers

The LGA project is part of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s $8 billion rehab of the airport, which will extend to other terminals as well. Eventually, the new buildings will span 2.7 million square feet, 72 new gates and six new concourses. In December 2018, 243,000 square feet opened.

The massive project includes 40,000 tons of steel—10,000 individual steel pieces, measuring 12,000 tons and will weigh more than the Eiffel Tower, according to Skanska USA. The upgraded terminal has 55-foot ceilings, new floor-to-ceiling windows, fig trees, porcelain-tiled floors, park-like seating areas, wonderful eateries, state-of-the-art bathrooms and a children’s playground.

In an effort to stay green, Skanska recycled 21,604 tons of concrete from the demolition of the original structure with about five million pounds reused at the job site.

United will join in the middle of 2019, and the remodeled area for ticketing, check-in, security and baggage claim — known as the “headhouse” — is set to open in 2020, according to Gateway. Currently under construction is Delta’s Terminal C, and has an expected opening in 2021. And an environmental review is underway for the proposed AirTrain, which will provide a reliable trip to LaGuardia from Midtown Manhattan in 30 minutes.

Click here to visit the website and see more photos.

Source: 6sqft.com

What to Know About the Shutdown and Air Travel

After the longest government shutdown in American history has seemingly ended, travelers should keep in mind that the shutdown was actually placed on a three-week hiatus.

Here’s an overview of how the shutdown affected airports and air travel, and what to do if it returns, courtesy of the vox.com.

How does the shutdown affect agents?

TSA agents make up 51,000 of the 420,000 federal employees who are considered “essential” staff. During a government shutdown, they do not receive their paychecks. According to WNYC, the TSA is one of the lowest-paying federal agencies; the typical starting salary of an agent is $17,000 (other estimates say it’s closer to $25,000).  While they were to be paid for their work eventually, they did not know when, and this likely negatively impacted morale, on-the-job performance, and attendance.

Was airport security compromised?

On January 14, one out of every 13 airport screeners (employees who screen passengers and luggage at security checkpoints) nationwide didn’t come into work. According to CNN’s sources, the screeners likely did fewer random pat-downs, bag inspections, and other screenings. That created a potential security vulnerability — an ironic, if potentially dangerous, situation given that the root cause of the shutdown is a fight over border security.

A scary thought: According to TSA, in 2017, 3,957 firearms were recovered in carry-on bags at American airports and 84 percent of them were loaded.

Although TSA spokesperson Michael Bilello tweeted during the shutdown, “security standards remain uncompromised at our nation’s airports,” the president of the national TSA employee union Hydrick Thomas told CNN that the number of TSA callouts “will definitely affect the flying public who we [are] sworn to protect.”

Were airport lines longer?

Although it depends on the airport, many major hubs reported longer lines. The TSA stated, “While national average wait times are within normal TSA times of 30 minutes for standard lanes, some airports experienced longer than usual wait times.”

Some airports had to closed terminals due to lack of staffing and filtered more travelers through fewer checkpoints. The George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston closed a checkpoint in Terminal B due to low staffing, funneling those passengers to terminals C and E. Miami International Airport closed checkpoints in Terminal G and diverted passengers to other terminals, also citing low staffing.

At New York’s LaGuardia Airport, employees and flyers were confronted with “endless lines,” ABC News reported. At Terminal C, which houses Delta, passengers waited 90 minutes in security lines. A similar situation arose at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which was already dealing with a TSA agent shortage.

Were flights getting delayed or canceled?

Flight delays may have been caused by winter storms, but in the end, the government shutdown led to widespread delays or cancellations. Southwest Airlines was supposed to start flying to Hawaii early this year, but the shutdown kept the company from pursuing that route. Hours-long delays and finally cancellations at LaGuardia were cited as major reasons why the government put the shut down on hiatus.

Air traffic controllers are also essential employees, and therefore have also been working without paychecks. Air traffic control, understaffed before the shutdown began, reached the point at which the government needed to reduce flight volumes, which caused carriers to cancel some flights. In the future, if the government shutdown occurs again, an extended shutdown could lead to entire airports cancelling flights, with only a “subset of the airports” running, said Bruce McIndoe, founder and president of global travel risk management firm WorldAware, formerly iJet.

The shutdown also stalled modernization efforts of the air traffic control system, he said. “The modernization efforts the FAA has put forward require constant and ongoing work, and this really takes those efforts off course,” said Larry Willis, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO. “When you put critical modernization efforts on the shelf for three weeks, it’s going to take months to ramp those efforts back up.”

What travelers can do

While there’s not much travel buyers can do beyond pressuring their elected officials to not allow another shutdown, they should allow more time to get through airports in case of disruptions, McIndoe said. Should it reach the point of flight cancellations, corporate travelers might look to defer trips when possible. However, he said putting travelers in cars instead of planes is not ideal, given the substantially higher risk of accidents in car travel versus air travel.

Source: vox.com