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Hot News Letter

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  • 1. Winter 2008 N EW S Hot Preferred Newsletter MUMBAI India’s most affluent and industrialized city. Read our article on page 8. News and updates from preferred suppliers brought to you by Hickory Travel Systems in affiliation with Custom Travel Systems, Traveleaders, GlobalStar Travel Management and L’alianXa Travel Network.
  • 2. THE 2008 WORLDWIDE PREFERRED RATE HOTEL PROGRAM COMING SOON! The largest selection of hotels, value-add amenities, block space, and the best rates guaranteed! New features include: o More photos o Video tours Book Rate Code o Amenity based searches HFH o Regional Map Searches o Pet Friendly Hotels For more information including login and password, block space, or to subscribe to our promotions and specials, please contact the Hotel Help Desk at 800-448-0350, ext. 3102 or email hoteldesk@hickorytravelsystems.com. www.hickoryforhotels.com Winter 2008 NEW S Hot Hot News is published quarterly by Hickory Travel Systems, Park 80 Plaza East, Saddle Brook, NJ 07663-5291. The content of this publication is copyright ©2007 by Hickory Travel Systems and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the written consent of publisher. Advertising Information For advertising rates and information, please contact: Denise Coraggio Director, Supplier Relations 1-800-448-0350 x3106 dcoraggio@hickorytravelsystems.com Hotel advertisers please contact: Annette Bonavito Manager, Hotel Distribution & Marketing Services 800-546-9616 x3102 abonavito@hickorytravelsystems.com Page 2
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  • 4. Increase your PROFITS by offering foreign currency exchange While the world is becoming increasingly flat, people are credit card, and traveling the globe in record numbers, for business and leisure. In the currency is sent 2005 according to the International Air Transportation Association, directly to their home more than 340.5 million passengers boarded airplanes from U.S. or place of business airports to international destinations. The average sum of foreign via overnight UPS. currency purchased overseas is roughly $200 per person each day; thus $68 billion are exchanged annually. The U.S. traveler Some travelers only purchase small amounts of foreign currency staying 7 days abroad spend an average of $1,400 to $3,500 before they leave so that they are prepared with the thought of combined cash and credit card while they are away. And yet, exchanging more when they are overseas. For example, Mary currency exchange is the most prevalent at venues abroad with Schmidt traveling to Spain and Portugal decided to pre-purchase some of the least favorable exchange options. $200 worth of Euros, just enough to get her through one day of a 14 day journey. When asked why only $200, she said she was Where are these travelers purchasing their foreign currency? afraid of loosing the value of her money when returning. Her Many travelers leave the U.S. unprepared and use the services of concern was valid, since she may have lost 15 percent through foreign banks, ATMs, overseas Kiosks, airports, and hotels, most another vendor; however Mary bought her currency through her inflated with surcharges and high exchange rates. Many travelers travel agency that was affiliated with eZforex Foreign Currency are giving up 7% (that’s 4 percent merchant fee plus 3% foreign Services. eZforex offers a “Price Protection Policy”, Mary learned exchange conversion fee) just to use their bank credit card. by paying a mere $10 per currency she can return up to $2500 and receive the same exchange rate as initially purchased, thus eZforex Foreign Currency Services makes it easy for a traveler easing her mind. Mary then purchased $2800 worth of “Price to fulfill their foreign exchange needs before they leave through Protected” Euros at the most competitive retail rate. Mary left for the most convenient venue, the travel agency. The travel agent is her trip to Spain and Portugal satisfied, prepared and never had the first to learn his/her client is traveling overseas. While making to look for a currency venue in a foreign country wondering if she overseas travel arrangements, the travel agent asks, “How much would receive a good conversion rate for her dollars. foreign currency do you wish to take?” Offering a convenient venue for travelers to purchase foreign eZforex’s Agency Affiliate Program” provides travel agencies exchange, is captivating travel agency customers as one of the access for purchasing foreign currency, foreign travelers Cheques, most value-added services offered while generating new revenues foreign wires and international drafts , at the most competitive to the agency. One last fact to consider…100% of international rates, while maintaining BSA compliant technology via a secure travelers convert currency during their overseas trip, if they are web based platform. A traveler simply places an order for the going to convert currency, shouldn’t they purchase foreign currency currency they need with the eZforex affiliated travel agent, either with you? at the agency location or on their website, pays with check or For more information about becoming an eZforex affiliate and begin earning significant incremental revenue from the sale of Foreign Currency, Travelers Cheques, Foreign Wires and Drafts, call Denise Coraggio at 1-800-448-0350 x3106 or dcoraggio@hickorytravelsystems.com Page 4
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  • 6. Remote Desk Top Virtual Agent Access to all 4 GDS systems, with or without your own GDS contract The HTS Remote Desktop is your access to a virtual world of travel programs and planned profitability. It gains you pre-configured access choices not available in the travel industry. Your agency can sign into its own GDS, any one of Hickory’s four GDS, without the expense of multi GDS contracts, or permission based access into any one of Hickory Travel Systems partners’ GDS. It also provides an internet launch pad for your agency and Hickory to put GDS bypass and direct deals on a functional, virtual desktop for use by your agents anywhere in the world. Functionalities: q Home Agents – zero install, minimum configuration, low maintenance. Agents can log onto agency’s GDS or HTS PCC and work on live PNR with full access to all 4 GDS systems. q GDS Redundant Access – VPN is out of service provides alternate routing to host system. Agency keeps operating with minimal impact. q Multi GDS Access – Provides access to any GDS without the expense of multiple GDS contracts. Excellent sales/marketing tool. Solution to selective-participating carriers. q Self-serve Cross Ticketing- Global sourcing, maximize override revenue by placing reservations where most needed. Potential to take advantage of segment credit disparity from deregulation. q Onsite Meeting and Demo access – Hospitality desk GDS access, Demo from any PC, work while on the road. q Cooperative Account Handling –providing PNR access to our International partner agencies to better support traveler’s enroute. For more information, please contact Cindi Caputo at 800-568-1705 or ccaputo@hickorytravelsystems.com. Page 6
  • 7. International Rate Desk Rate Desk Hickory Travel Systems international fare training is designed to provide your agents with a comprehensive working knowledge of international fares. With the explosion of code-share flights, the exact same itinerary can have varied pricing. Do your agents have the knowledge and the confidence that is needed to provide your customers with the best international itineraries at the lowest fare? The international department has a comprehensive training program that will give your agents this confidence. Basic international rules and fares are explained in an easy to understand format. These training courses are designed to accommodate your work day and coverage and are an invaluable tool. Do you portray your agents as ‘consultants’ who will assist your clients in obtaining the best airfares? Many agents have become ‘order takers’, and this does not differentiate you from very large, impressive agencies. If you truly want to manage your customers’ travel costs, our training can help. The basic class we offer will cover the following points: • Mileage system • Stopovers and how to use them to your advantage • Minimum fares • Higher fare points • Codeshares, their advantages and disadvantages • Separate tickets, when it is not advisable • Commissions • Ticket validation • Air alliances • Round the world, circle pacific fares and visit fares with comparison charts • Refunds and reissues The class can be altered to cover any topics that may be relevant to your customer mix, or that your agents need assistance with. In addition, classes can be created to cover any special topics that you need, such as reissues, refunds, or more advanced topics. If you are interested in a training class, please contact us at iaspinfo@hickorytravelsystems.com Page 7
  • 8. Mumbai Mumbai, is the capital of Maharashtra state in India. Mumbai, formerly Bombay, is the fast moving, most affluent and most industrialized city in India. Mumbai is part of the west coast of India, which is home to one of the busiest ports in India, handling 40 percent of all India’s maritime trade. Page 8
  • 9. Language – ENGLISH HINDI Yes Haan No Nahin Hello Namaskaar Please Krupya Goodbye Namaste There are 18 official languages in India, Where is ….? …kahan hain? What time is it? Samay kya hain? but Hindi is the national language. Most How are you? Aap kaise hain? Thank you Skukriyaa Indians speak and understand English. What is your name? Aap ka naam kya hian? Nodding the head in India can mean “no” Please get me a taxi? Krupay ek taxi bulao What is the price of this? Is ka keemat kya hain? or “I have not understood what you have The price is too much Bahoot mehenga hain Do you understand English? Aap angrezi bol saktehain? said.” Likewise, shaking the head side What do you want? Aap kya chahta hoon? to side can mean, “yes” in India, while it I do not understand Mujhe nahin samazta hain I do not need this Mujhe yeah nahin chahiye means “no” in most other cultures. I need this Mujhe yeah chahiye When to Visit – Most banks: weekdays 10-2, Saturday 10-noon; closed on government holidays Post Office: Monday-Saturday 10-5; closed on government holidays The best time to travel to Bombay is between October and Museums: generally closed on Mondays and March. The skies are clear and the weather is cool and government holidays pleasant. The average annual high is 87 and low is 73. The Site Museums: generally closed on Fridays and monsoon season runs from mid June through mid September, government holidays it is hot and humid with heavy rains and best avoided. Clothing – Areas: Churhgate & Nariman Point: business and hotel centers Nariman Point : major bank and airlines headquarters Hutatma Chowk: Flora Fountain; commercial part of Mumbai Kemps Corner: trendy area with high end boutiques, estaurants, and homes Travel as light as possible. Women should avoid wearing tank Malabar Hill: historical residential area home to wealthy tops or short skirts. Men and women should avoid wearing industrialists and government ministers shorts. Many women travelers wear the long tunic and loose pyjama dress of Indian women called the salwar-kameez and find that it makes it easier to blend in and not stand out as a Bazaar’s: foreigner. Chor Bazaar Zaveri Bazaar, jewelry Mahatma Ivotiba Phule Market Page 9
  • 10. come in the denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and Airport: Mumbai’s Airport is about 19 miles north of Mumbai. There 1000 rupees. If you are handed a grubby note, insist on having it are counters at the airport where you can book a taxi for a set fare. exchanged for a newer one. Have a big supply of small currency You will get a coupon to give to the driver, so there is no question what notes, as change almost does not exist in India. Indian rupees can the fare will be. Fare should be about 300 rupees ($7) and the travel be obtained in advance by using Hickory Travel Systems preferred time could be 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on traffic. There are no agreement with EZForex using their website www.ezforex.com trains or buses available from the airport to the city. Credit Cards: American Express, Diners Club, Master Card and Visa Visa: All foreign visitors to India require a valid visa. Hickory Travel are accepted by large establishments, but it is still wise to carry Systems partner agencies can assist their travelers with Visas through Indian currency. Credit cards can be used to get cash advances in our preferred agreement with CIBT. If you need your account number, rupees. please contact Denise Coraggio at 800-448-0350 ext 3106 or dcoraggio@hickorytravelsystems.com Tipping: 10% is the norm in high-end restaurants that do not add a service charge to the bill. Small change in modest restaurants is Health Risks: Gastroenteritis, typhoid, cholera or jaundice may be acceptable. Round off taxi fare; add more for exceptionally good acquired through unhygienic water or food. Conjunctivitis is common service. as the pollution level is high. As protection from disease-carrying mosquitoes, flies, etc., wear long-sleeved shirts or blouses. Drink bottled Electricity: 220V, 50 Hz water only. Some travelers develop a problem on their second or third day in India because of a lack of acclimatization or heat exhaustion, International Calls: rather than a reaction to the change in food and water. They are 011 is the international prefix used to dial somewhere outside the advised to drink lots of fluids (water with a little salt and sugar) and US keep to a diet of rice and curd for a couple of days to give their 91 is the international country code for India system time to adjust. If an upset stomach persists, seek medical advice 22 is the city code used to dial to Mumbai Time Zone: Despite its size, India has a single time zone. It is 5½ hours English Language Media: ahead of London (GMT), 10½ hours ahead of New York and 13½ Cable TV is widely available. BBC World Service and CNN beam hours ahead of San Francisco the latest news; ESPN will keep you up to date on sports, while Star provides an entire stable of entertainment channels. The more Currency: One rupee=100 paisa. Earlier Indian coins came in the widely accessible national channel has some English programs, and denominations of 5, 10, 20, 25 and 50 paisa but now only coins of a daily English news segment. denominations of 1, 2 and 5 rupees are acceptable. Indian Notes Reservation Center Reservation Center Group Travel greeting will inform customers of the event causing delays. It will Please be sure to fill out the HTS Group questionaire prior to also ask customers calling for non-emergency travel to contact your group traveling. Completed forms or requests for forms their travel agency the next business day. This allows us to assist should be sent to cirhts@hickorytravelsystems.com. HTS has many those customers who are stranded or are in a true emergency. options available to assist our partner agencies with their group needs. For example, dedicated staff for the tedious booking Additional Staff process is available to you. For dedicated staff information please email tmendes@hickorytravelsystems.com. News reports indicate that the first quarter of 2008 promises to be a very busy time for the travel industry. With that in mind, Customer Service the reservation center has been very busy adding new staff that All customer service issues should be sent via the form to complements our already existing, highly qualified agents. All cirhts@hickorytravelsystems.com. If you have not yet received reservation center agents have been in the industry a minimum of the form please contact us. Our customer service department is five years. Most of our staff has over 10 years experience. available to you Monday through Friday during business hours Holiday Closure to fulfill your needs. Please be sure that you have advised us of your holiday Weather schedule. We are prepared to take your calls during federal As the winter storms approach, the reservation center is ready holidays. For any closures or early closures outside that time, for those calls. Although we have an abundant staff, it is not we aks that you please communicate to us if you need our limitless. When severe weather creates heavy volume, the assistance. If your HR24 profile is not updated with your reservation center emergency action plan is put into effect. correct holiday schedule, please let us know by emailing In addition to the many internal procedures in place, your srodriguez@hickorytravelsystems.com. customers will notice one major difference. The phone system Page 10
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  • 12. Indian recipe Food amosas For making delicious samosas, the following things are required For the crust: For the stuffing: • 1 cup all purpose flour • 4 mashed boiled potatoes • Water to knead dough • Boiled green peas • 2 tablespoons of oil • 1-2 finely chopped green chilies (refined oil preferred) • ½ tsp crushed ginger • Salt ( as per the taste) • Cumin seeds 1 teaspoon(s) • ¼ teaspoon Ajwain • 1 tablespoon finely chopped (also known as Bishop’s weeds) cilantro leaves • ½ teaspoon Garam masala (hot spice mix) • Dry mango powder (amchoor) Preparing the Samosa: or lemon juice To prepare the crust: ½ teaspoon(s) • ¼ to ½ teaspoon red chili powder • Knead the dough using water and oil mixing all other • Salt to taste mentioned ingredients • Covering it with a moist muslin cloth will keep it soft and moist. • Keep it aside for 15 to 20 minutes To prepare the stuffing: • Heat the oil in a pan. Toss in the cumin seeds and let them crackle. Add the green chillies and ginger. Fry briefly. Add the potato cubes and mix well. Add the red chilli powder,salt, dry mango powder and garam masala powder. Toss well. Sprinkle some water. Cover and cook on low-medium heat for about 10 minutes or till the potatoes are cooked. Mix in the cooked green peas and put off the heat. Let cool. Mix in the cilantro leaves. To prepare the final Samosa: • One can give any shape to the dough and stuff but the most common shape is small cones. • Fill the stuffing into them and pack them from the wide end of the cone. To ensure that they are sealed use a few drops of water. One can also prepare a temporary sealing paste using flour and water. • Heat oil in a frying pan • Deep fry the samosas till golden brown Serve hot with tomato ketchup or tamarind chutney Page 12
  • 13. New Feature MEMBERS in the NEWS MAHWAH, NJ, October 15, 2007 – In answer to the open call database of flight records we are compiling a more accurate pre- from President George W. Bush, Chairman and CEO of Directravel, dictor of future delays. The “Flight Performance Tracker™” system Vincent E. Vitti, today announced the following strategy for easing will provide these statistics to our clients booking thru DirectLink® travel delays: Express and to Travologists™ in our offices. Recent articles in newspapers and magazines as well as stories We would be pleased to offer this tool to the FAA to apply to the circulating across the internet have helped increase consumer industry along with the following multi-pronged approach intended awareness of the performance crisis facing the travel industry. The to reduce delays: continued pattern of delays is not only a serious inconvenience for travelers, it impacts business productivity and tarnishes the reputa- STEP 1. Redefine “ON TIME.” Currently, flights are graded on a tion and credibility of the travel industry on the whole. Pass/Fail basis. If there is less than a 15 minute arrival delay, the flight is considered on time; if there is more than 15 minutes, it Flight delays are caused by a multitude of reasons, as we all know, is late. This provides no incentive for the airlines to avoid lengthy many of which are not the complicit fault of the carrier. But it’s the delays. Once a flight gets past 15 minutes, they would seem to be larger problem of “System Failure” that is the airlines’ fault. Unin- motivated to “forget” that flight and try to keep others from receiv- spired management and misguided concern for the traveler is shown ing a fail grade. time after time. A major cause of this chaos is the airlines’ continued compulsion to over-schedule flights to a “theoretical maximum” in What is needed is a multi-level approach to measuring perfor- high yield periods (late afternoon and early evening). mance that is weighted to ensure continuing concern after flights miss their departure time. It’s when “theory meets reality” that the problems begin. Thunder- storms, heavy rain, snow, fog and wind are not unexpected events. A On time within 15 minutes Grade of 10 They will occur; the unknown is when. B Late 16 to 30 minutes Grade of 7 C Late 31 minutes to 1 hour Grade of 5 Existing flight schedules work only under perfect conditions. There is D Late 1 hour + Grade of 1 no flexibility within the current schedule to accommodate re-routed F Cancelled Grade of 0 or late flights, so residual delays compound the problem and effect travelers system-wide. An overall average grade by airline or route will give the traveler a much better awareness about actual airline performance. A vari- Many have offered possible solutions. Transportation Secretary ant of the model could factor in flight length, airport difficulty and Mary Peters has said that a ‘congestion pricing model’ that includes seasonal weather outlook. surcharges for flying during high volume periods is under consider- ation. This model would again penalize travelers, since any addi- STEP 2. Mandate that on-time performance statistics be made tional costs will inevitably be passed along to them, and there is no available to consumers at the point of purchase so that it can guarantee that this will alleviate the problem. become a point of selection during the trip planning process. This would require that flight performance ratings be shown on consumer As a member of the travel industry for more than 25 years and internet sites not just on the travel agent displays, as is currently a frequent traveler, I have experienced the after-effects of these required for “on-time %”. All travel documents, itineraries and e- delays both first hand and through my clients, friends, family and tickets would have to include this information. associates. That’s why Directravel is developing a unique ap- proach to address the STEP 3. Hold airlines accountable for maintaining acceptable per- problem. By applying a “Flight Performance Algorithm™” to the formance levels. Rather than assessing a surcharge for on page 14 continued flying during Page 13
  • 14. continued from page 13 peak hours, penalize them for poor execution. If they are unable to Sure, advanced GPS for aircraft and improvements in flight control meet an acceptable performance (and the determination of what is computer systems are needed but they are expensive and a distant acceptable is something that carriers can help establish), they should solution that will not alleviate the current crisis. Taken together they are risk losing flight slots. Conversely, airlines running smoother operations no substitute for innovative management with thoughtful government should be allowed a greater number of prime time slots. oversight to protect the traveling public. STEP 4. Encourage airlines to move flights to regional airports by About Vincent E. Vitti reducing peak hour slots at congested facilities. In the New York area, Vincent E. Vitti is chairman and CEO of Directravel, a corporate travel this would be a shift towards Stewart/Newburgh and McArthur/Islip. management company that provides leading-edge business travel solu- Similar opportunities exist throughout the country. This will improve tions and innovations to its clients. Vitti is responsible for directing the airline performance without increasing ticket prices. company’s strategic development and technology innovation. Directravel is one of the top ten largest business travel companies in the United What this essentially boils down to is allowing airlines to react in the States, according to Business Travel News. interest of their bottom line without penalizing travelers. It will put the focus back on customer service and force carriers to endeavor to do If your agency is doing something innovative or a better job. By allowing consumers to make an up-front, educated newsworthy that you would like share with other decision with the aid of historic delay patterns for a particular rout- ing and carrier, they will have the power to choose a flight not solely Hickory members, please contact Denise Coraggio based on ticket price but on performance. dcoraggio@hickorytravelsystems.com 1-800-448-0350 x3106 Meet Our Staff Our Staff Susan Scheideler k aa Charlie has been a travel agent for 22 born and became a stay at home mom. When she decided it was time to return to work, she years. The early years of her career were with signed on with Hickory! small local agencies that handled primarily Charlie can now enjoy spending time with leisure travel. her children during the day and working in the In the leisure agency environment, she industry that she loves during the evening hours. worked her way up from agent to office Charlie describes this arrangement as “having management. She worked for SATO Travel at my cake and eating it too!” She truly enjoys Dover Air Force Base, in Delaware during the her work and the fact that Hickory allows her early 1990’s when our military was returning the work life balance that she and her family from Desert Storm. While there, Charlie can enjoy. During her tenure with Hickory, received several letters of commendation for Charlie has been one of our most highly the high level of customer service she provided commended agents; she has already received to our returning troops. She was transferred to 5 complimentary letters from travelers this the SATO office at Lakehurst Naval Weapons Charlie year! Station in New Jersey and has lived there ever Charlie has been married for 9 years since. and now has 2 sons, ages 8 and 5. In her free travel agent Charlie transitioned into the corporate time, when she isn’t chauffeuring her sons to travel arena in 1997, and has thoroughly Karate class, she is active with the PTA and is enjoyed the transition. Her corporate travel a class mom at her younger son’s elementary career began as a reservation agent. She was school. She and her family live on the Jersey promoted to 2nd shift Lead Quality Control shore and love to spend time at the beach and Agent and stayed in that position for 2 years. boardwalk, or on their boat. She took a 4 year hiatus after her first son was Page 14
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  • 16. Hickory Travel Systems Park 80 Plaza East - Saddle Brook, NJ 07663-5291- 800-546-9616 - www.hickorytravelsystems.com

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