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Hotel Industry News In Brief
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February sets records for average North American hotel rates
Rates paid for North American hotel rooms in February led to record increases over prior year for both business and leisure bookings, according to the latest data from Pegasus Solutions reported in The Pegasus View. Corporate rates edged past previous record margins of +7.0% from January 2012 and July 2011 to a new high of +7.1%, while leisure rates rose +7.3%, almost a full percentage point more than June 2011’s previous high of +6.4%. Bookings, which had fallen off inflated prior-year levels in January, enjoyed a bump from Leap Year as the extra day in the month drove global booking volumes up for both channels. Globally, corporate bookings rose +5.1% over prior year, and would still have risen +0.5% without the extra day. Leisure bookings, which rose +2.5%, would have returned a slight drop of -1.6% without the 29th. “By the numbers, February was a good month worldwide,” said Mike Kistner chief executive officer of Pegasus Solutions. “No doubt, business and consumer reservation volumes were bolstered by the extra day of bookings, but it wasn’t Leap Year that drove rates up – demand did. And it did so in an utterly convincing manner for both channels, setting records in North America and still rising elsewhere.” Source to read full article: TravelDailyNews.
Venues fall at first hurdle as 13% fail to fulfil call-back promise
Venues in the UK and abroad are losing out on valuable bookings by failing to follow up on sales enquiries, research from the Meetings Benchmark Tracker reveals. During Q4 2011, while 94% of telephone enquiry handlers said they would call the customer back, only 81% fulfilled their promise.
The Meetings Benchmark Tracker, a multi-channel mystery shopping programme assessing enquiry handling standards across 450 UK venues and a further 225 internationally, also revealed that while a greater proportion of electronic booking enquiries received a response, response times are generally slower than for those made by telephone. 91.8% of potential customers contacting the venue via email or web-submitted RFP received a proposal within two days, falling to 84% received within four hours. Those figures compare to 86.6% and 91.5% respectively for telephone enquiries.
James Bland, Senior Client Services Manager at BDRC Continental comments: “This quarter, we’ve seen a significant number of venues that are simply failing to follow up valuable sales leads. Only 72% of electronic enquiries received a follow up call within three days, although this figure does increase somewhat to 81% for telephone enquiries.” He adds: “Electronic enquiries are being forgotten about or left to the end of the day, suggesting the idea of ‘fire and forget’ is more prevalent with electronic communication. There is a real opportunity for venues to increase bookings by dealing with enquiries from all media both quickly and efficiently.”
BDRC Continental is the UK’s largest independent market research agency. For more information please visit: www.bdrc-continental.com.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
From Chicago to South Beach to the Big Apple, Don Fraser has been at the helm of elite hotels across the country throughout his more than twenty-five years in the hospitality business. Now he calls the Paramount Hotel home. Effective immediately, Don Fraser has been appointed General Manager of the iconic New York City landmark, overseeing all hotel operations and the property’s ongoing evolution. Known for his hands-on management style, the Purdue University graduate has a strong track-record for taking distressed assets and turning them into highly successful hotels. Prior to joining the Paramount team, Fraser served at General Manager for the Royal Palm in Miami Beach, Florida where he quickly carved a niche for the luxury beachfront property within a highly competitive market. He has also held the positions of Corporate Director of Operations and General Manager of Affinia Dumont in New York City for Denihan Hospitality Group; General Manager of the Hilton Newark Penn Station in Newark, N.J. with Highgate Hotels; and various other management positions at Hyatt Regency O’Hare and Hyatt Regency Chicago.
Select Registry Distinguished Inns of North America has announced its new board of directors. Select Registry represents 350 premier inns, B&Bs and small boutique hotels throughout the United States and Canada. Its board of directors is comprised of one innkeeper/owner representing each of the portfolio’s 13 geographic regions across North America. The new board welcomed Ellen Grinsfelder, owner/innkeeper, Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls, Logan, Ohio, as the new president. Grinsfelder is active in the Hocking Hills Tourism Association, Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association (OH&LA) and the Logan-Hocking Chamber of Commerce (LHCCC). Due to her success in developing her inn’s operations and marketing programs, she has been recognized with numerous hospitality accolades, including the Ohio Hotelier of the Year Award from the OH&LA and the Small Business Person of the Year Award from the LHCCC. Committed to giving back to her community, Grinsfelder also volunteers with Fairhope Hospice and recently joined the board of directors for the Central Ohio branch of the American Red Cross. She previously served as chair of Select Registry’s marketing committee.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
The InterContinental Dallas is continuing a multi-year renovation project with the unveiling of a new club lounge and six luxury suites. Designed by ForrestPerkins, the new club lounge has a warm, contemporary feel with built-in millwork, a guest services desk with a top made from Angola marble, a U-shaped buffet, Emperador marble flooring, a media center with built-in shelves, contemporary seating in rust and gold tones and textural wall coverings.
The Palais Namaskar Hotel and Spa in Marrakech is slated to open in April as part of the Oetker Collection of “Masterpiece Hotels.” A resort of 41 suites, villas and palaces, Palais Namaskar has been constructed following Feng Shui principles, and lies in a setting between the Atlas Mountains and the Djebilet Hills. French-Algerian designer and former associate of Philippe Starck, Imaad Rahmouni, is behind the architecture.
Hyatt Hotels Corporation H -0.40% announced that a Hyatt affiliate has signed a management agreement with an affiliate of Island Hospitality Partners, LLC for Hyatt Place Bayamon and El Tropical Casino. It will be the first Hyatt-branded select service hotel in Puerto Rico and, upon opening, will mark the return of Hyatt-branded hotels to Puerto Rico after a nine year absence. Hyatt Place Bayamon and El Tropical Casino, expected to open in the first quarter of 2014, will be a seven story building offering 156 guestrooms with an adjoining casino, free-standing restaurant and bar, and a multi-level parking garage with space for 250 vehicles. The hotel will be located next to the 42-acre Luis A. Ferré Science Park and will also be close to the city’s largest shopping mall. Bayamon is the island’s second most populous city and is located 15 miles southwest of San Juan. Source: Read the complete article at MarketWatch.
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