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As Economy Worsens, More Travel Companies Offering Refunds

Two more companies are joining JetBlue and Norwegian Cruise Line in the race to capture market share in the travel and hospitality industry.

Langham Hotels International is waiving penalty fees for canceled group events, and Sandals Resorts is offering a full cash refund for clients who lose their jobs.

While not offering a full refund the way JetBlue and Norwegian do, Langham is offering to forgo penalties on canceled meeting contracts and to waive minimums for group room bookings and food and beverage purchases. These incentives target the corporate customer as opposed to the leisure traveler, a new tactic in this refund/incentive gimmick. The Westin Bonaventure hotel in LA also recently announced waivers for group attrition and Internet fees.

Sandals Resorts, owned by Unique Vacations, has launched a "No Worry Guarantee" insurance program much like Norwegian's. If you're laid off and you've paid the $99 program fee, the cost of your Sandals vacation -- minus airfare -- will be refunded.

Travel is a luxury that fewer people can afford these days, so it's no wonder travel-related companies are willing to offer up incentives to get customers to buy. But as we've wondered before, will these promises to return payments or waive fees be enough when other industries, including retail and dining, have had to slash prices -- and profits -- just to get people in the door?