NEW YEAR WILL BRING HIGHER TRAVEL PRICES, SAYS SURVEY With the coming year will come a continuing rise in business travel costs. These expenses, which rose 4.7 percent both in 1998 and in 1997, will grow at a comparably steady rate of 4.8 percent in 1999, according to a recent study by travel management experts at the Rochester, Wis.based consulting firm Runzheimer International.

The Runzheimer Business Travel Cost Forecast for 1999 based its predicted increase on the average of four major business travel expense categories--airfare, lodging, meals, and car rentals. Air travel costs are expected to increase the most--5.1 percent in 1999--as airlines have pushed U.S. round-trip coach fares into the $2,000plus level. According to the study, supply will exceed demand on higher-priced air segments, allowing companies to negotiate better deals with fares such as BostonLos Angeles and BostonSan Francisco.

PLANNING THE BUDGET? Projected growth rates for travel in '99 Air Travel - 5.1%

Lodging - 4.9%

Meals - 3.5%

Car Rental - 4.8%

Average 4.8%

Lodging rates will go up 4.9 percent, with hotel rates rising 12 percent in downtown areas and 7 percent in suburban and airport areas. However, says the report, more money is being invested in revamping marginal properties, making them reasonable alternatives to other costlier venues.

Other findings: Car rental costs will increase 4.8 percent in 1999, and meal costs will grow 3.5 percent--the lowest increase of all categories of business travel expenses.

For more information, contact Runzheimer International at (414) 767-2476 or visit www.runzheimer.com.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 1999: INSURE IT! With the biggest date in 1,000 years just around the corner, celebrations are being planned worldwide. Because no plans are ever foul-proof, however, Victor O. Schinnerer & Company Inc. is offering a coverage designed to insure events celebrating the year 2000.

The Millennium Event Cancellation Program insures against expenses and gross revenue in the event of cancellation, interruption or postponement of any millennium-related celebration.

Says program manager Duane Repko: "A successful event is dependent on so many things, most of which are not in your control. Weather, strikes, power failures, or natural disasters may shut down cities or airports or cause serious delays. The result of such catastrophes could be financial disaster for hotels, cruise lines or promotional agencies.

"Any event tied to the millennium is exposed to potential risks, and our program is designed to protect the insured from these risks."

According to spokesperson Mary Jefferson, the insurance further covers any disasters related to the "Millennium bug" and even offers a reduced attendance option.

For more information, call the Millennium Hotline toll free at (888) RISK-2000 or visit the Schinnerer web site at www.schinnerer.com.