David J. Danto


Business travel thoughts in my own, personal opinion




eMail: ddanto@IMCCA.org      Follow Industry News: @NJDavidD


NOT Traveling Blog, 1st Week Of May


In 2014 I was voted by USA Today readers as one of the top ten business travel bloggers in the USA.   Now mind you, I turned out to be number ten on the list of ten, but I did make it on (with my thanks to all those who voted.)   Now that we’re all stuck at home and not traveling, I had to think about what to do with my blogs.  I could stop writing them entirely – waiting till we all get through the current COVID19 pandemic / crisis.  I could wax nostalgic and/or complain about past trips.  Or, I could focus all of my efforts on my day job – growing the use of collaboration technologies – especially in light of how many people are now forced to use those tools for the first time.  In reflecting upon those choices, what I decided to do is compile an ongoing list of observations during the crisis.  Some of these may amuse, some may inform, some may sadden and others may help.  My goal will be for you to have seen something in a different light than you did before you stopped to read the blog.  I was going to apologize for how disjointed these thoughts may seem when put together, but then it dawned on me that feeling disjointed is our new normal – at least for a little while.  


So, in no particular order:

·      I know that throughout the COVID19 pandemic we’ve been worried about a lot of things – our health, our families, the economy, etc. – but thanks to the CEO of Wynn Resorts, Matt Maddox, we can now let-out a sigh of relief that casino firms have created a plan for reopening Las Vegas.  Detailed in a local Nevada newspaper’s Op-Ed section, Mr. Maddox explains that we can rest easy knowing that his resorts are ready to keep taking our money.   Guests would be scanned with thermal cameras, and ones with temperatures would be pulled-away for “secondary screening.”  The plan goes on:   The resorts would cut down on limousine and taxi use to and from the properties. When guests do arrive via transportation provided by the resort, the number of riders would be limited. Employees would be asked not to touch cars or door handles, which means no valet service....The resort, which includes the Wynn and Encore casinos, would give guests a package of sanitation amenities upon arrival, “containing masks, hand sanitizer and a COVID-19 awareness card,” with information about cleaning protocols and rules for public spaces...Inside the casinos, restaurant tables, slot machines and other fixtures will be rearranged to allow at least six feet of physical distance. Signs will encourage guests to do the same when standing in lines, using the elevators and moving around…Areas like pools will be sectioned off so that groups can swim while being kept at a distance from other parties.’ I can’t begin to tell you what a relief it is to know that they’ve thought this whole thing out.  I mean, except for the fact that people will need to take taxis to airports, need to be in crowded airports, fly in questionably cleaned planes, pick-up luggage handled by who knows who, stay in rooms that have never been reliably sanitized, and be provided extended treatment if found sick while away from home, they’ve apparently covered everything.  It just stuns me how oblivious some corporate leaders can be to what is really important when their profits are in jeopardy.  It’s a good thing that the similarly out-of-touch Mayor of Las Vegas put the onus of safe openings right onto the casino owners.  They certainly inspire trust.   

·      It’s interesting to look at things in both first-person and third-person tenses as we discuss re-opening the world – especially before there is a Coronavirus vaccine or mostly effective treatment.  When you think in the third-person – what should we do – then people tend to push more toward opening quickly.  People should be allowed to go to the movies, restaurants, stadiums, etc.  But, when phrased in the first-person, maybe not so much.  I won’t be going to the movies or a sporting event anytime soon.  We’re apparently always willing to take risks with other people’s welfare.

·      I wanted to take a few moments to discuss the airlines in this week’s blogs, but I’m way too confused.  Some of them are blocking middle seats, some of them have said they’re giving out masks and because of that they will now stop blocking seats.  Some have required the masks be worn by everyone, some have made it optional.  American Airlines was specifically called-out this week when they inadvertently announced that starting in May they’re now going to clean the aircraft thoroughly, whereas apparently before this pandemic the first class section was more thoroughly cleaned at every turn then coach was.  Really?  Having a clean seat and tray was revenue issue?  I have to keep coming back to my thought that these airline businesses should just be allowed to fail and new leadership should be the ones rebuilding.  The people who own and run the major US airlines have continuously shown that they cannot be trusted with anything (from safety to cleaning to fees to refunds) and they shouldn’t be trusted to do the right thing now.  I reiterate that it’s time for government ownership and/or significant re-regulation.

·       I admittedly dislike change (and abhor change for change’s sake) but if you want to see real resistance to change look no further than the AMC movie theater chain.  With all theaters closed, Universal Studios released their new movie “Trolls: World Tour” directly to home video on demand.  Guess what?  They made a boatload of money ($100 million) from people at home who paid to watch the move.  Home viewers now typically have huge, high quality flat-panel TVs, have a full kitchen that doesn’t charge them eight bucks for a “small” drink (which is big enough to drown a housecat), and have a comfortable seat that didn’t need to be purchased in advance.  Some people will still want to go to movies for the social interaction, but many won’t.  Universal said they were pleased with the results and would release more movies direct to home.  Well, as you might expect, the AMC theater chain freaked-out.  They said they’ll refuse to show any Universal films from now on.  Um, so their threat is that they’ll push the studio to send more of their films direct-to-home?  That’s like that scene in Blazing Saddles when Sheriff Bart takes himself hostage to prevent himself from being lynched.  Who is the loser with a threat like that?

·      I’m working on creating a new T-shirt with a design similar to this:

Once I find a T-shirt company that is safely open and shipping and will allow individuals to pay for their own shirts I’ll let everyone know.  I do a lot of things in life, but opening a T-shirt business is not something I want or need to add to my resume. (UPDATE: you can order one here.  I don’t make any money with this, it all goes to the printer – and I can’t believe how hard this was to do.)       

As always please feel free to write to me with comments or items I should add to a future Not Traveling blog (or if you just need someone to write to.)  Stay safe, be well, hug those you’re sheltering with (but no one else) and do your best to stay positive.  We’re going to be in this for a long while. 

This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions.

All image and links provided above as reference under prevailing fair use statutes.