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2/24/2017  |  by Jessica Montevago

As baseball season gears up for the new season, the AC Hotel Chicago Downtown by Marriott is honoring last year’s historic World Series win by the Cubs.

“Cubs fans and the city are still whirling in excitement over last year’s World Series win and we want to continue that momentum by offering special home-opener rates,” said Chris Zarek, the hotel’s general manager.

Twenty rooms—typically costing $179-$219 per night—will be set aside at the special $20.16 rate on April 10 and 11, when the Cubs play the 2017 season home opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Reservations can only be made on February 25 and February 26, the first days of spring training, by phone, at (312) 981-6604.

2/23/2017  |  by Jessica Montevago

Universal is raising ticket prices at its theme parks in California and Florida by $5 per visitor.

At Universal Orlando, single-park admission now starts at $110, up from $105., while at Universal Studios Hollywood, tickets will cost guests $120, previously $115.

The news comes about a week after Disney implemented price increases between $2 and $5 at Disneyland in Anaheim and Walt Disney World in Orlando. 

Annual price hikes have become the norm. Typically raises are made in February before the Spring Break rush. Last year, Universal increased prices up to 20%.

2/23/2017  |  by Jessica Montevago

Germany is bullish on 2017, officials with the German National Tourist Board said at a press luncheon last week in New York.

The country saw a record 75 million cumulative international overnight stays between January and November of 2016. That’s an increase of 1.4% compared to the previous year, despite factors such as Brexit and fear of terrorism.

The United States is the largest overseas source market for Germany’s tourism, with an increase of 2.5% compared to 2015. And with the strong dollar, Germany still remains an excellent value for money for American travelers; the average cost of a hotel room in Berlin, for example, is only $99.

In response to these numbers, Germany is continuing to make infrastructure developments. This year, more than 180 hotels will open. In addition, the ICE rail train will debut in December, transporting riders from Munich to Berlin in less than four hours.

2/22/2017  |  by Jessica Montevago

Airbnb bought Luxury Retreats last week for an undisclosed amount—its biggest acquisition to date.

Luxury Retreats will continue to operate as a standalone entity, with listings highlighted and integrated into Airbnb. The Montreal-based vacation rental company has more than 4,000 high-end homes in 100 destinations around the world.

Airbnb beat out European hotel giant Accor SA and online travel site Expedia, Bloomberg reported, citing sources close to the matter. While the two companies offered larger bids, Luxury Retreats decided on Airbnb partly because CEO Joe Poulin, wanted to have more control. Poulin will join Airbnb and lead the company’s luxury homes division.

2/22/2017  |  by Jessica Montevago

Walt Disney World will expand two of its resorts in Florida, Coronado Springs and Caribbean Beach.

The Coronado Springs Resort will add a 15-story, 500-room tower overlooking Lago Dorado with rooftop dining, suites and concierge-level services. The resort also will refurbish its rooms and update its landscaping to include “floating gardens and an island oasis.”

The Caribbean Beach Resort will get new waterfront dining and retail shopping areas at its Centertown marketplace.

The projects are expected to take about two years.

2/21/2017  |  by Jessica Montevago

Overwater Honeymoon Butler Bungalows available for booking now.

2/21/2017  |  by Jessica Montevago

Stay up to date on the happenings in everyone’s favorite tropical paradise.

2/17/2017  |  by Jessica Montevago

Hyatt’s lifestyle brand Hyatt Centric will add at least 12 more hotels to its portfolio by the end of 2019, making it the company’s “fastest-growing lifestyle brand.”

Over the next two years, Hyatt Centrics will open in Montvalezan, France; Istanbul, Turkey; Tokyo, Japan; Doha, Qatar; Hobart, Australia; Bridgetown, Barbados; Qionghai, China; and Sanya, China. Four domestic properties are planned for Boston, MA; New York, NY; Fort Lauderdale, FL; and Mountain View, CA.

There are currently 14 hotels under the Hyatt Centric brand.  

2/17/2017  |  by Jessica Montevago

Tour operator insightCuba lowered the cost of select tours after mandated prices from Cuban agencies and hoteliers have decreased for the spring, summer and fall.

Hotel costs have typically been increased to help deal with overwhelming demand from travelers since detente began between the U.S. and Cuba in 2014.

“This is the first time we’ve seen costs come down instead of up, in three years,” said insightCuba president Tom Popper.

Eight of its people-to-people programs, from May through October, will now cost $250 less per person.

2/17/2017  |  by Jessica Montevago

As President Trump looks to introduce a new travel ban, Sorenson says it’s the strength in the luxury and lifestyle segments that’s going to draw in travelers and keep the company relevant.