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Hotel Industry News In Brief
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Starwood Preferred Guest has introduced a new application for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
The app includes fully integrated booking, member information, comprehensive hotel searches, travel details, customer service and social media. A still-growing trend in the hospitality industry, Starwood’s mobile revenue has increased by more than 300 percent year-on-year, and the company has found that the patterns of travellers using mobile devices to book rooms are markedly different from those of more traditional web bookers. For instance, two-thirds of mobile bookings are made within 24 hours of the stay, triple that of web bookings. The SPG app creates an interface that unites all nine of Starwood’s distinct lifestyle brands and its nearly 1,100 hotels and resorts. It is also the first in the travel industry, and one of the first apps ever, to utilise state-aware technology which means that it adjusts the app’s look, feel and content depending on whether the user is planning, en route or already checked in to a specific hotel. Starting 48-hours before a guest is scheduled to arrive at a Starwood hotel or resort, the app sends a push notification and the “My Stay” interface becomes reflective of the specific brand and property, with home-screen access to key information such as hotel address in both English and the local language, weather, directions and hotel amenities. Once at the hotel, the guest’s stay is enhanced with integrated content such as their room number, on- and off-property dining and activity suggestions, and in-app access to social media channels such as FourSquare and Facebook. The app is currently available for free from the App Store on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad or at www.spg.com/iphoneapp.
Congratulations to HeBS for winning these two important awards…
HeBS Digital, the industry leader in hotel digital marketing services, website design and direct online channel strategies, today announces receipt of two Internet Advertising Competition (IAC) awards for “Best Hotel and Lodging Email Campaign” and “Best Hotel and Lodging Interactive Application.” HeBS Digital received the following “Best of Industry” IAC awards:
Best Hotel And Lodging Email Campaign
Best Hotel Lodging Interactive Application
“This year, hoteliers face more challenges than ever, and it’s near impossible for a hotelier to distinguish viable strategies from trendy or temporary opportunities. Considered by some hotel marketers as old-fashioned, email marketing still produces significant revenues and excellent ROIs, and we recommend it to all of our clients. These two awards demonstrate that Interactive campaigns such as the Black Friday Travel Sale, combined with tried and true basics like email marketing, are two ‘dos’ in 2012.” said Max Starkov, President & CEO of HeBS Digital.
Maldives inbound numbers suffered a 4.7-per cent year-on-year drop in February as the destination struggled to keep its political crisis under control.
Last month, arrivals fell to 83,252, compared to 87,392 the previous February, when arrivals had grown by 13.4 per cent against the same period in 2010. Arrivals from China, the Maldives’ top source market, were the worst affected –hit by a 34.8 per cent decline to 12,237 visitors. Second-placed UK dropped to third with a 6.8 per cent dip to 9,006. There were positive signs, however, as France leapt above the UK, gaining 4.9 per cent to 9,742 arrivals, and Germany rose by 25 per cent to 8,591. Maldives travel consultants handling the Chinese market attributed the big drop in arrivals to charters flights being suspended when the crisis broke out. These charter services are expected to resume by April
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
Dorchester Collection announced the appointment of Denise Flanders as general manager of Hotel Bel-Air, effective March 12, 2012. Reporting to Ed Mady, west coast regional director USA, Denise brings to the company a wealth of experience, joining the team from her most recent position as general manager of The Four Seasons Chicago where she held the role since 2008. Spanning a long career with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Denise was previously general manager at The Four Seasons Atlanta from 2002 to 2008 and prior to this, held hotel manager roles at both The Four Seasons Olympic in Seattle, Washington and The Four Seasons Houston, Texas. Her experience also includes positions at The Pierre, New York and The Helmsley Palace, New York, where she was director of front office operations. Denise is a native of Pittsburgh and attended the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, majoring in social science and psychology. Denise comments, "I am delighted to be joining Hotel Bel-Air and taking this iconic address into a new era of glamour and excellence, following the exciting renovations. I am truly passionate about delivering the ultimate in guest relations and looking forward to immersing myself in the Dorchester Collection culture."
Elmir Lukac has been appointed Director of Food and Beverage at Warwick Denver Hotel. He will be responsible for all operations at Randolph’s Restaurant and Bar, as well as for the hotel’s catering, including all meetings and events. Born into the restaurant industry, Lukac began his first restaurant job in Croatia when he was only 12 years old. Fluent in Croatian, Norwegian, Swedish and English, his work overseas allows him to bring global perspectives to his new role at Warwick Denver. With over twenty years of experience in the hospitality industry, Lukac has held positions such as bartender, banquet manager, assistant general manager and general manager to director of food and beverage.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Starwood Hotels & Resorts will bring its Luxury Collection concept to Jakarta when it opens The Keraton at The Plaza on April 30, 2012. Inspired by the Javanese word for ‘palace’, The Keraton at The Plaza will occupy the eighth to 22nd floors of the Keraton building, which is located on Jalan Thamrin in the Indonesian capital. The hotel will offer 140 rooms and suites, including four 135m2 Keraton suites. F&B options will include an Indonesian restaurant and a lounge. The hotel will also feature facilities such as a swimming pool, a health club and spa, a business centre, and a boardroom with capacity for 10 pax. Starwood’s other Luxury Collection propeties in Indonesia include The Laguna Resort & Spa in Nusa Dua, Bali, and The Sarasvati, Bali, which is due to open in January 2014.
Hyatt Hotels Corporation% announced today the opening of Park Hyatt Hyderabad, the first city Park Hyatt hotel in India. This contemporary and elegant hotel with 185 guestrooms and 24 suites offers business travellers and local guests a sophisticated ambience in the heart of the upscale Banjara Hills neighbourhood. It is also the first hotel in Hyderabad to offer 42 fully serviced luxury apartments, The Residence, with five-star facilities and amenities. Centrally located, the hotel is just fifteen minutes from the technology hub of Hi-Tech City and the business district, and 45 minutes from Hyderabad’s international airport.
French hospitality giant Accor, is planning a massive makeover for the currently so-so Novotel Times Square. The Euro-style hotel will be made over by architecture and design firm Stonehill & Taylor, the firm responsible for shaping the distinctive looks of several of New York's hottest boutique hotels at the moment. The New York-based firm has in the past few years worked on the Crosby Street Hotel, the Ace Hotel and the NoMad Hotel, which opened this week in a 1903 former office building. "We're doing a complete, top-to-bottom renovation," Michael Suomi, vice principal at Stonehill & Taylor, said in an interview. The goal, he said, is to continue to appeal to the hotel's core audience of French travellers - who make up about 50% of guests - while expanding the hotel's appeal to U.S. business travellers.
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