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Hotel Industry News In Brief
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According to a survey by timeshare company RCI, 65% of British travellers have returned to the same holiday resort more than once.
And 11% have visited the same resort six times or more. The main reason for returning to the same place was that they had had a good time there, cited by 45% of respondents, while 29% said they felt the destination had met all of their criteria and 27% said they didn’t need to go elsewhere as they had already found somewhere they liked. A further 14% liked the familiarity of the same place and 12% found it less stressful knowing exactly what to expect where they were going. RCI said that with 36% of people now taking fewer breaks than they used to, it appeared holidaymakers wanted to reduce the risk of having a disappointing time. Sean Lowe, RCI managing director, commented: ‘We commissioned the research to gain insight into people’s holiday habits and what is important is guaranteeing they have a good time. ‘While travelling and trying different experiences suits some people, it’s apparent that ensuring a consistent quality and knowing what you’re buying is important to many, which is why timeshare holidays and holiday exchange have remained popular. ‘Over a third (35%) of the people we surveyed who ‘repeat holiday’, said they would actually try a different holiday if they knew they would get a similar experience.’ Other findings from the survey included that 43% of people tended to do the same activities, 30% went back to the same place to eat/drink and 12% ordered the exact same meal as previously while they were away.
Rio de Janeiro’s mayor says the city is planning to add more than 17,000 hotel rooms in the next three years as it prepares to host the 2016 Olympics.
Mayor Eduardo Paes notes in an interview with the Rio newspaper O Globo that the 17,232 new rooms being planned are greater than the 15,000 promised in the city’s Olympic bid. The city’s urban planning department says the new rooms are part of 85 new hotel ventures and the expansion of seven existing hotels. They include projects that already have construction licenses and ones still in the planning stage. The city is so short on hotel rooms for large events that the mayor has asked residents to host visitors coming for Rio+20, a UN environmental conference in June.
Edinburgh’s Sheraton Grand Hotel is to be used as a “blueprint” by Starwood, its New York-listed operator, for the development of other hotels in its worldwide portfolio when the “flagship” property reopens this month.
The Sheraton, which has been undergoing a multi-million-pound refit, will become the centrepiece of Starwood’s $6 billion (£3.8bn) global refurbishment and expansion programme. Michael Wale, senior vice-president at Starwood, told Scotland on Sunday: “We’ve completely stripped out the inside of the hotel and taken it back to its shell. “In effect, we’ve built a new hotel within the Sheraton. It was 25 years old and so required investment in plant and equipment, such as air conditioning, but it has also meant we’ve been able to bring new technology to the hotel.” Wale, who is in charge of Starwood’s 130 properties across northern Europe, was running the Sheraton in Edinburgh when it underwent its previous refit in 1993. He described the Sheraton brand as the “engine room” of Starwood and said the refurbishment scheme would “rejuvenate” the brand. He added: “The Sheraton Grand in Edinburgh will definitely become the flagship for the brand and will act as a template for what the brand will look like.”
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
Denihan Hospitality Group today announced that Dani Elhachem has been promoted to vice president, operations, effective immediately. A seasoned hotelier, Elhachem spent the majority of his career with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, at both the property and corporate level. At Starwood, he gained much of his experience in mastering the formula for hotel openings, repositioning and operational excellence. Elhachem accepted his first general manager assignment when he was in his mid-twenties at the Vancouver, British Columbia-based CHIP Hospitality/CHIP REIT, at its Marriott flagged property in downtown Vancouver. Immediately prior to joining Denihan, Elhachem served as director of resort operations at The Westin Resort and Spa in Whistler, twice-named the No. 1 ski resort hotel in North America by Condé Nast Traveler. Elhachem joined Denihan in 2007 as the opening general manager for the company’s first hotel in Washington, D.C. Elhachem led the development and the launch of The Liaison Capitol Hill, an Affinia Hotel, as a top boutique property in the D.C. market, where it quickly became one of the owner’s best performing assets. Additionally, Elhachem formed a chef-partnership with renowned Chef Art Smith to open Art and Soul, creating one of D.C.’s and the country’s most talked-about restaurants.
Choice Hotels International, Inc. announced that it has named its associate Mark Weiner as the new head of its global sales division. Mr. Weiner previously served as the company's vice president of customer care and reservations, an area he will continue to lead as well, reporting to the organization's Senior Vice President of Global Distribution Robert McDowell. In his new expanded role as vice president of global sales and customer care, Mr. Weiner will lead the company's worldwide sales efforts. Mr. Weiner joined Choice in 2006, bringing with him a strong track record and extensive background in managing large operational, field-based sales teams that consistently produce measurable results and superior customer service. Prior to joining Choice, he served as vice president of sales and customer care for Travelocity and spent 16 years in a variety of operations, planning and finance positions with Sabre Holdings and AMR, the parent company of American Airlines.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Thailand will get its first-ever Park Hyatt hotel when Hyatt Hotels Corporation opens the Park Hyatt Bangkok in 2014. Located within Central Embassy, a mixed-use commercial development incorporating a retail mall and office tower on Wireless Road, Park Hyatt Bangkok will be the third hotel under Hyatt management in Thailand, adding to Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok and Hyatt Regency Hua Hin. The focus for Park Hyatt Bangkok will be on the Asian market, especially China, followed by the US and Europe. Clientele is expected to consist of 60 per cent corporate, 10 per cent MICE and 30 per cent leisure, compared to half corporate, 25 per cent MICE and 25 per cent leisure for Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok. A second Park Hyatt in Thailand is currently being negotiated with a developer in Phuket.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group announced that it has signed a long term agreement to manage a luxury resort currently under development in Marrakech, Morocco. Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech, which is scheduled to open in 2014, will be an intimate and exclusive retreat, set in 20 hectares of landscaped olive groves in the heart of the exotic Palmeraie region, with the snow-capped Atlas Mountains providing a stunning backdrop. The resort comprises luxurious accommodation, providing an unparalleled spacious and elegant living environment, offering the utmost in privacy. Innovative dining, a signature Mandarin Oriental spa and verdant gardens featuring orchards, pools, water features and fountains combine to provide guests with the perfect resort environment from which to explore the region’s attractions and rich, cultural heritage.
A budget hotel chain franchisee has programmed $25 million for its foray in the Philippines in the next two years to serve a reported gap in the market, an official said last week. Thailand-based hotel builder Red Planet Hotels Ltd. will be using the funds to build nine Tune Hotels in the country. “A large sector of the market demands this type of accommodation so we are very bullish for the Philippine market,” Mark Armsden, Red Planet Hotels’ senior vice-president for sales and marketing, told BusinessWorld in a chance interview. Red Planet Hotels, the parent company of Red Planet Philippines Corp., is a franchisee of the Tune Hotels brand owned by Tune Group Sdn. Bhd., an affiliate of AirAsia Bhd. Ltd. “By the time that all nine [branches] are built, we would have invested $25 million. That is a significant investment for the Philippines,” Mr. Armsden said. Already, three Tune Hotel branches have been launched in Clark, Ermita and Cebu. “The next one will be a 250-room in Makati City by the end of June this year,” Mr. Armsden said. “Then after that, we have another five in the pipeline for the Philippines next year.” The company is eyeing Cagayan de Oro, Quezon City and Davao as the next location of the five branches, he said. Mr. Armsden added that the company has so far spent $6 million for the three branches.
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