Amex transitioning travel counselors to home-based network
By Johanna Jainchill
American Express Global Business Travel
will transition as many as half of its frontline travel counselors to its home-based,
The company said the transition follows
a multiyear pilot program in which nearly
25% of its travel counselors have already
moved to the virtual network.
American Express said no travel counselor positions would be eliminated as part
of the transition.
“Our business travelers’ needs are be-
coming more complex, and unexpected
events create increased servicing de-
mands,” said Julie Bottner, executive vice
president of global service delivery for
American Express Global Business Travel.
A 2011 survey by CareerBuilder, the
largest employment website in the U.S.,
found that 10% of Americans telecom-mute at least once a week, up from 8% in
The national survey of 5,300 employees
was conducted May 19 to June 8, 2011.
In a statement, Rosemary Haefner, vice
L.A. Live getting Courtyard and Residence Inn hotels
president of human resources at Career-
Builder, said part of the growth is due to
the “mass adoption of smartphones and
advanced network technologies” which
connect telecommuters to their offices
“like never before.”
“As a result, we’re seeing more compa-
nies embrace the work-from-home option
and more workers putting in full-time
hours while at home,” she said.
By Danny King
A Courtyard by Marriott and a Residence
Inn will be built across the street from
downtown Los Angeles’ L.A. Live enter-tainment-retail complex, which already includes hotels under Marriott International’s Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott luxury
The Courtyard will have 174 rooms,
while the 218-room Residence Inn will have
almost 11,000 square feet of meetings space
as well as a 5,100-square-foot restaurant.
The hotels will share a 23-story building.
The hotels, which will cost $172 million
and will total 373,000 square feet, will be
developed by American Life Inc. and Williams & Dame Development. They are
scheduled to open in the summer of 2014.
The Marriott hotels will be located across from L.A. Live.
Los Angeles Councilwoman Jan Perry,
speaking last week at a ceremony at the site,
highlighted the need for additional hotels
in downtown Los Angeles.
Whereas the typical U.S. city has about
7,300 hotel rooms within a half-mile of its
convention center, Los Angeles has fewer
than 1,700 rooms, Perry said, citing statis-
tics from the L.A. Convention and Visitors
At Tianguis show, Mexico official hails progress on travel warnings
By Gay Nagle Myers
PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico — While
Mexico tourism officials are pleased that
the February U.S. travel advisory was more
specific in pinpointing areas of concern,
“this subject remains a work in progress,”
according to Rodolfo Lopez-Negrete, COO
of the Mexico Tourism Board.
“We are not yet 100% satisfied, but
we have come a long way since the April
2011 alert, which was very general in its
language,” Lopez-Negrete said during the
annual Tianguis Turistico travel industry
trade show last week.
Mexico and U.S. State Department offi-
cials “have established a good rapport and
a good working relationship,” he said. “The
recent warning did not blanket all of Mex-
ico as dangerous. Instead, it was very clear
and concise about where travelers should
go and not go.”
Lopez-Negrete advocated the use of
maps to accompany the warnings so that
travelers can see exactly which areas of cer-
tain states are off-limits.
“However, Texas is a different ball game,”
he said. “Texas is the only state in the U.S.
that issues its own travel warning. You
don’t mess with Texas.”
While Lopez-Negrete said he respected
Texas’ right to inform and protect its citi-
zens, he said the state’s officials must cor-
rectly and specifically inform residents in
regard to safety and security concerns in
Acapulco also is the focus of a series of
testimonial ads that will appear on TV in
April from visitors and expats who praise
Acapulco as a safe destination.
The Mexico Tourism Board also plans to
launch a series of ads highlighting regions,
such as Campeche, “that are off the radar
screen for most visitors,” Lopez-Negrete said.
“We don’t believe in generic advertising,”
he said. “Destination-specific ads will help
our visitors know lesser-known areas of