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Hotel Industry News In Brief
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'Cheap holidays' is most searched term online.
'Cheap holidays" is the most used search term for travellers looking for holidays online, showing that cost is an increasingly important factor for holidaymakers. During May, 2.7 million searches were made with holiday-related key words and a fifth of them used "cheap holidays" to find what they were looking for, according to a report by Greenlight. Sixteen percent searched for "holidays", 6% for "direct holidays" while ski, turkey, package, all-inclusive and last minute holidays accounted for 15% between them. Other keywords made up 43%. The Holidays Sector Report, which is to analyse the most searched terms in the travel sector, found that searches for cheap holidays actually increased from April to May. Searches using generic words were the most popular, accounting for 66% of searches while 15% were for short-haul destinations and 19% for longhaul in May.
Dorado Beach, which will be the first Ritz-Carlton Reserve in the Americas when it opens in December, has announced plans to launch a new Ambassadors of the Environment program by Jean-Michel Cousteau.
The program will offer environmental education and eco-adventures while using Dorado Beach as the natural classroom. Adults, families,and children will be able to enjoy Puerto Rico’s natural wonders on land and sea through activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, hiking and exploring an archaeological site on the property. The program also encompassses Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment Center, a 5,000-sq-ft (465-sq-m) facility using regionally sourced materials, renewable energy, organic and sustainable finishes and furniture, and monitoring systems to reduce the building’s overall use of energy. “Our aim is to provide guests with the opportunity to become advocates of protecting and preserving the environment for future generations by using our surroundings as a natural classroom,” said Alejandro Hebling, general manager, Dorado Beach.
Luxury bookings holding steady in battered Greek market.
Τhe year over year demand for Greek villa rentals is holding steady, says the international home rental specialist Luxury Retreats. Despite reports of a 15% first quarter drop in tourism revenue by the Bank of Greece, the number of reservations at the company's 94 Greek island villas actually increased by 10% YOY for January-April 2012, thanks in part to the efforts of local travel partners. "On the islands, the importance of tourism to the local economy and jobs cannot be overstated. Our travel partners in Greece remain committed to providing a premium vacation experience for each and every one of our guests," says Poulin. In a country where tourism represents 16.5% of the GDP, this view is echoed by officials such as Dr. Andreas Andreadis, President of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE). "We want to encourage international tourism and assure potential tourists that there has never been a better time to come to our country. We are trying to change the way our country and its economy is run, however, this is not going to affect the quality of a holiday," Andreadis recently commented. While the number of luxury villa bookings has remained unchanged, guests do seem to be taking greater care with their villa selections, Poulin revealed. In fact the average price of a Luxury Retreats booking in Greece dropped by over 37% from $13,251 in January-April 2011 to $8,309 for the same period in 2012. The true test will be Greece's peak summer season from July to September, a period which represented 54% of the country's international tourist arrivals in 2011. Following the June election, a deal was reached between three Greek political parties to form a new coalition government. It remains to be seen what impact these election results will have on tourism.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
Thirayuth Chirathivat, Chief Executive Officer of Centara Hotels & Resorts, has announced the appointment of Jonas Sjostedt as General Manager of Koh Chang Tropicana Beach Resort & Spa (managed by Centara). Mr Sjostedt is a Swedish national who has worked with leading Scandinavian tour operators and has experience in various countries including Greece, Spain, Brazil and Cyprus. He started his career with Centara Hotels & Resorts as Resident Manager at Centara Kata Resort and then transferred to Centara Karon Resort in the same position. Prior to joining Koh Chang Tropicana Beach Resort & Spa (managed by Centara), he was General Manager of Centra Ashlee Hotel Patong. Mr Sjostedt is overseeing the extensive renovations and upgrading to facilities and services that are being carried out prior to its rebranding as Centara Koh Chang Tropicana Beach Resort on 15 October 2012. The hotel remains open to guests during this period.
Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc. has promoted Steve Williams to Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Williams, a 12-year veteran of the company, will oversee the day-to-day operations of SVO. Williams joined Starwood in 2000, most recently serving as Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing. He brings more than three decades of experience in growing the vacation ownership, fractional, residential and branded hospitality industries into this new role. Before joining SVO, Williams held key roles at Marriott Vacation Club and Fairfield Communities.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Hilton has signed an agreement with Egyptian Touristic Resorts to introduce two new premium Hilton Hotels & Resorts properties to Cairo and Alexandria. The dual signing for the 390-room Hilton Giza Pyramids, located in an exclusive residential and commercial district South of Cairo, and the 195-room Hilton Alexandria King’s Ranch Resort, situated 40 kilometres West of Alexandria, represent the 19th and 20th Hilton Worldwide properties to open in Egypt. Rudi Jagersbacher, president, Hilton Worldwide, Middle East & Africa said, “Hilton Worldwide has proudly served Egypt for over 50 years and today’s announcement is testament to our commitment and confidence in the country. The two signings will add significant value to our current, extensive network of hotels and reaffirm our position as the country’s foremost hospitality company.” Hilton Giza Pyramids, which is set to be Hilton Worldwide’s sixth property in the capital, will command panoramic views of Egypt’s greatest tourist attractions including the world famous heritage sites of the Pyramids and the Sphinx.
Istithmar World, a subsidiary of Dubai World, Dubai, announced on Monday that it plans to convert the Queen Elizabeth 2 ocean liner into a 300-room hotel. The state-owned company bought the ship from Carnival Corp. subsidiary Cunard in 2007 for US$100 million and said the conversion will take 16 months. The ship was originally planned to be converted into a hotel and stationed at the base of Palm Jumeirah, but these plans were delayed by the financial crisis. Now Istishmar World plans to dock the floating hotel permanently in Port Rashid, and in addition to a hotel part of the ship will be converted into a maritime museum highlighting Dubai’s nautical history. Istithmar World is not releasing details of how much is being invested in the project or the source of the funding.
Sheraton Hotels & Resorts has entered the Madrid market with the opening of Sheraton Madrid Mirasierra Hotel & Spa, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide announced. Comercial Mirasierra Group owns the property. The Sheraton Madrid Mirasierra Hotel & Spa is located in the residential area of Mirasierra. In addition to 180 guest rooms, the hotel offers an all-day dining restaurant, a lobby bar, a terrace lounge, spa, indoor and outdoor pool and a pool bar. The property’s 13,000 sq ft (1,208 sq m) of event space includes a 9,000 sq ft (836 sq m) ballroom and eight meeting rooms.
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