Websites go live in Las Vegas
Two titans of Internet travel booking, Expedia and Travelocity, are angling for some face time with customers.
Travelocity, in the next few weeks, plans to set up shop in show-ticket booths at hotels and other sites in Las Vegas. The staffed booths, renamed ShowTickets.com, were set up by a company that Travelocity acquired last year. The booths handle bookings for venues with fewer than 2,500 seats.
Expedia, which last year opened desks at two hotels in New York City and three in Cancun, Mexico, has taken over 36 kiosks at Hawaiian hotels run by a local company that it acquired. The staffed desks, dubbed Expedia!fun, sell tickets for tours and attractions.
“A lot of people want to make a spontaneous decision,” said Expedia spokesman David Dennis.
There is more profit in selling tours than in selling air tickets, said Jared Blank, travel industry analyst for Online Travel Review.
Staying with SpongeBob and friends
A 777-room Holiday Inn in Orlando, Fla., is being converted into a resort with characters and games from Nickelodeon, the children’s cable TV channel.
Terry Whaples, president and operating partner of the new Nickelodeon Family Suites by Holiday Inn, called it “a Nickelodeon attraction with a sleepover experience.”
More than 500 rooms have been redecorated to feature personalities such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Jimmy Neutron and Fairly OddParents.
The resort offers two- and three-bedroom suites, plus smaller Nick at Nite suites for couples.
The conversion is expected to be finished by May 30, Whaples said.
Rates start at $165 per night; higher after May 30. (866) GO2-NICK (462-6425), www.nickhotel.com.
Disney going to Hawaii, Wyoming
The Mouse is hitting the road.
Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, known for Disneyland in Anaheim and Walt Disney World in Florida, is offering weeklong guided tours to Hawaii and Wyoming.
It’s a trial program. The company hasn’t decided whether to make it permanent, officials said.
The Adventures by Disney trips run May through August, and cost $5,600 to $7,800, plus airfare, for a family of four. (877) 728-7282.
Southwest, Horizon add flights
Southwest Airlines on May 4 will begin flying to and from Pittsburgh, adding nonstop flights to Las Vegas, Chicago’s Midway airport, Philadelphia and Orlando, Fla.
Thirty-seven other cities, including L.A. and Oakland, will have direct or connecting service. Restricted LAX-Pittsburgh round-trip fares, by way of Las Vegas or Midway, start as low as $216. www.southwest.com.
In another new service, Horizon Air, sister company to Alaska Airlines, will begin twice-a-day flights April 25 between LAX and Arcata/Eureka and Redding, Calif. Restricted round-trip fares start at $158. www.horizonair.com.
-- Compiled by Jane Engle