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Hotel Industry News In Brief
Some current conversation starters…
In order to stand out, some extended-stay brands have worked to combine their laundry facilities with other aspects of the hotel in order to both consolidate space and create an enjoyable recreational area for guests to use while doing their laundry.
“After talking to our long-term guests we learned that they really wanted something to do while they do their laundry, while at the same time staying close by their laundry,” said Dawn Koenig, VP of brand performance for Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites. In response, Home2 Suites combined the laundry room with the fitness area, called it Spin2 Cycle, and created a room-within-a-room concept where guests can work out or read while washing their clothes. “We had to take into account how the laundry room is positioned,” Koenig said. “When you walk into our fitness area there is an extra entrance for the laundry area, but while you are on a machine you can’t see into the laundry area or visa versa.” While visits to the fitness and laundry facilities are linked in customer experiences, any time a guest’s possessions leave their hands security concerns are raised. To deal with these concerns, Home 2 Suites positions the laundry room close to the front desk, and always requires key cards to access the rooms.
Marriott International plans to sell its corporate housing ExecuStay brand to Oakwood Worldwide for an undisclosed amount.
ExecuStay, which Marriott acquired in 1999, offers furnished apartments in more than 700 locations across the U.S. Oakwood provides corporate housing in more than 50 countries. Oakwood said it plans to maintain ExecuStay as a separate brand. The deal is scheduled to close by the end of this month.
Benchmark Hospitality International, a leading U.S.-based hospitality management company, has announced that Ellen Sinclair, senior vice president, has been honoured with the Mel Hosansky Award for Distinguished Service.
The award is presented annually by the International Association of Conference Centres (IACC), the leading professional organization governing the multi-billion dollar conference centre industry on five continents. The Mel Hosansky Award for Distinguished Service is IACC’s highest and most coveted honour. “It is such an honour for me to receive this award,” said Ms. Sinclair. “I have a special place in my heart for IACC, and for its contributions to our industry and to excellence in meetings productivity globally. To be recognized in this way by my peers is a profoundly rewarding experience, and I’m grateful.” “The Hosansky Award recognizes the best of the best and Ellen Sinclair is certainly in that category,” said Tom Bolman, executive vice president of IACC. “She makes our industry better by challenging the status quo and inspiring her colleagues to seek continuous improvement in everything they do. IACC Americas is a stronger organization because of Ellen’s momentous contributions, particularly to the Learning Network and as a member of the Board of Directors.”
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
Today, Hilton Worldwide Luxury Brands announced Stuart Foster as Vice President of Marketing. Former Vice President of the Southeast Region for Moët-Hennessy USA, a division of LVMH, Foster will lead all luxury marketing initiatives and oversee the strategic development of global positioning for Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts. During his 15-year tenure with the luxury wine and spirits group, Foster utilized his deep marketing and sales experience and luxury consumer insight to provide leadership in some of the world’s top markets, including New York, Paris and Tokyo. While based in Paris as Global Brand Director for the group’s namesake champagne brand, he developed and implemented a highly successful brand renewal strategy. While working in Tokyo as a Senior Marketing Manager, he reinvigorated the presence of one of the world’s premier champagne brands, accelerating its growth in traditional channels while also developing its visibility and presence in hotels, restaurants and wine shops. In his most recent role, Foster was charged with the development of existing and new brands’ distribution, sales and profit, account planning and pricing across the region.
HKR International Limited (HKRI) has named Anne Busfieldas General Manager of Auberge, Discovery Bay Hong Kong, scheduled to open in late 2012. Although Anne began her career in her native England, her hospitality experience includes senior appointments with luxury hotels in Australia and Southeast Asia. From 1992-95, Anne was based in Hong Kong as Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for Movenpick Hotels before moving to Australia to assume the role of Corporate Director of Marketing for Euro-Asia Hotels. Returning to Asia in 1997, Anne worked for Starwood Hotels and Resorts in a variety of locations and roles. After two years as Hotel Manager for Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket, Anne moved to the Sheraton Denarau Resorts Fiji where she oversaw operations as Resorts Manager. In 2002, Anne was appointed Regional Director of Marketing for Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Thailand, Hong Kong and Macau. Continuing to explore new challenges, she spent three years as General Manager of the luxurious Empire Hotel & Country Club in Brunei, a five-star 423-room property set on a 180-hectare estate. Prior to joining HKRI, Anne was General Manager of the Hilton Brighton Metropole, the largest residential event hotel on England’s South Coast.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Bouygues said on Monday that it had won a contract to refurbish the Ritz Hotel in Paris for 140 million euros ($183 million), as the city's old guard of luxury hotels struggles to maintain standards and win clients under increased competition. The hotel, to close this summer and reopen in 2014, will be completely refitted, Bouygues said, and furnished with a new summer restaurant with a sliding roof, additional suites, an extension of the ballroom and new technology. Luxury Parisian hotels, which can charge 700 euros a night for even basic rooms, are fighting competition from a host of new hotels operated by Asian companies that emphasize not only comfort, but reliable wi-fi service and modern bathrooms. In recent years, the Mandarin Oriental and the Shangri-La have opened their doors, threatening the dominance of the city's traditional five-star hotels, among them the Four Seasons George V and Plaza Athenee. Bouygues said it had renovated the George V in 1999, the Grand Hotel InterContinental in 2003, Fouquet's Barriere in 2006, and the Royal Monceau and the Shangri-La in 2010.
The Renaissance Guiyang Hotel has opened in Guiyang, China. The 340-room hotel is the brands’ 15th property in China. Located in the Jinyang New District of Guiyang, the hotel's guestrooms and 19 suites include flat-screen televisions, iPod docking stations and high-speed Internet access. The hotel also offers six food and beverage operations including a restaurant with 10 private dining rooms, a buffet-style restaurant, a cafe, a lobby bar and a rooftop bar. It also includes a business centre, a fitness centre, an indoor pool, and extensive meeting and event space. The Renaissance Guiyang was developed by Guizhou Zhongdian Hotel Management.
In a major step toward giving the storied Belleview Biltmore Resort a second chance at greatness, Belleview Biltmore Partners, LLC recently unveiled its plan to restore the 115-year-old historic landmark to its regal splendour. “Our vision for the Belleview Biltmore Hotel and Resort is rooted in the magical experiences of historic Gilded Age hotels,” said architect Richard J. Heisenbottle, FAIA. Our goal is to give the Belleview Biltmore a second chance at greatness. With its distinctive Victorian architecture and prime Gulf Coast location, an accurate restoration of the entire facility will ensure its pre-eminence among worldwide luxury resorts.” Built in 1897 by railroad tycoon Henry B. Plant, the Belleview Biltmore has hosted world leaders, U.S. presidents and hundreds of celebrities through the decades. It was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1979, closed in 2009, and is now one of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s most endangered sites. Belleview Biltmore Partners plans, presented today to the town committee, envision a complete historic restoration of the hotel in compliance with standards set by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. The redevelopment plan for the property will remain substantially the same as illustrated in three previously approved development orders for prior owners Legg Mason Real Estate Investors.
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