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Hotel Industry News In Brief
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Study reveals busiest day for holiday searches.
Travel companies could be wasting money by paying to advertise on search engine Google at all the wrong times. The latest report on the holiday sector by search marketing agency Greenlight found that the most travel-related queries on Google are on Mondays and gradually decrease towards the weekend. Saturdays see the fewest holiday queries and Sundays have only slightly more, yet the amount travel companies spend on paid ads on Google at weekends suggests they are over-estimating how many customers are searching for holidays on Saturday and Sundays. Greenlight tracked, recorded and analysed the behaviour of consumers online in May for its latest sector report. For the week beginning May 14, which was selected at random, by far the busiest day for holiday searches was Monday. Wednesday was the next busiest, after which searches declined until Sunday. When Greenlight looked at the advertising behaviour of four of the largest travel companies, including First Choice, Low Cost Holidays, On The Beach, Travel Republic Thomas Cook and Thomson, it found they have similar bidding strategies for keywords on Google. However, the majority of advertisers didn't seem to realise that Monday was the busiest day and Saturday and Sunday were much quieter.
Following its recent refurbishment, the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa has found a worthy new home for the bedding it now no longer requires. The hotel has given over 1,000 pillows and more than 400 duvets to Edinburgh charity ‘Fresh Start’ to help local people who have been homeless settle into new homes.
Fresh Start helps people who have been homeless make a fresh start in their new home. Working in partnership with volunteers and organisations from the community, they deliver services that provide practical and social support to help people resettle successfully. Through the work of their volunteers and the donations they receive, Fresh Start are able to help thousands of tenants, from families to individuals, settle into their new homes each year. The 100% cotton duvets and pillows donated by the Sheraton Grand will be sorted by Fresh Start’s volunteers and put together with colour-coordinated bed linen. These packs will then be distributed along with the charity’s eight other new home Starter Packs throughout Edinburgh. Last year, just over 8,700 packs were distributed to 1,850 households. Ian MacFayden, Volunteers Co-ordinator at Fresh Start, said of the donation: “Our aim at Fresh Start is to give people a new start in life and enable them to turn their new house into home. This donation from the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa will allow us to make positive changes in some of the most vulnerable households within the City of Edinburgh.”
Proposals from airline manufacturer Airbus to reduce seat sizes to accommodate new extra-wide seats have enraged passengers, with 84% of respondents to a Skyscanner survey saying the move was unfair.
On a typical airliner, seats are 18 inches wide, but Airbus’ new seat format offers an extra-wide aisle seat which is 20 inches wide. However, this comes at the expense of the middle and window seats, which each lose an inch, making them just 17 inches wide. Over 1,000 people responded to the Skyscanner survey, with over three-quarters saying that it was ridiculous that most passengers would have to squeeze into a smaller seat as a result. As of yet, it has not been announced which airlines will be installing the new seats, or what the pricing structure will be. However, in line with many airlines that charge more for seats with extra legroom, it’s likely that the extra-wide seats would come at a premium, whilst the narrower seats would simply become the norm, with no discount being offered. A massive eight out of 10 believe that passengers who require more space should be charged. The results mirror a previous Skyscanner poll about ‘fat tax’ where 76% of people believed that passengers who couldn’t fit into a standard seat should be charged extra. However, they didn’t realise that they could be left with smaller space as a result. Sam Poullain, Skyscanner spokesperson, commented: “The issue of charging more for bigger seats is a contentious issue as it gives airlines a financial incentive to reduce standard seat sizes. Airbus’ new extra-wide seat format is a clever way for airlines to generate more revenue, but it’s inevitable that some passengers will feel hard done by as they’ll be losing an inch from their seat widths.”
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
Industry veteran Kenneth M. Greene has been named President & Chief Executive Officer of Delta Hotels and Resorts. Ken will officially assume his role in September 2012. Based in Hong Kong, Ken was most recently President & Managing Director, Asia Pacific Region for the Wyndham Hotel Group. Since 2001 Ken has held successive senior leadership roles at Wyndham, based at their world headquarters in Parsippany, New Jersey, guiding the growth initiative for various brands within the Wyndham group including Group President - Ramada, Days Inn, Howard Johnson and Travelodge; President - Days Inn Worldwide; President - Howard Johnson International and Travelodge Hotels Inc.; and Chief Financial Officer for Wyndham Hotel Group. Prior to joining Wyndham, Ken has held senior financial, strategic planning and development leadership roles for such global organizations as NRT, Inc., Cendant Corporation, HFS, Inc., and Coldwell Banker Residential Affiliates, Inc.
Susan Perrothers has been appointed as General Manager of the Gettysburg Hotel. Established in 1797 and a subsidiary of Gettysburg College, the 119-room hotel is located on Lincoln Square in Gettysburg, Pa., and is managed by Waterford Hotel Group, Inc. As General Manager, Perrothers will oversee all operational, sales and administrative aspects of the hotel. Perrothers brings to the Gettysburg team more than 20 years of hospitality experience. She first joined Waterford Hotel Group in 2005 as part of the pre-opening team at the Hilton Hartford in Connecticut, serving as Banquet Manager. Perrothers' previous appointments include Assistant General Manager at the Residence Inn by Marriott in Hartford, CT as well as several task force assignments at various properties in the Waterford portfolio, including the Courtyard by Marriott in Norwich, CT, Courtyard by Marriott in Warwick, RI and the Trenton Marriott Downtown in Trenton, NJ. Most recently, she served as General Manager for the Residence Inn by Marriott Danbury, CT, a position she has held since 2008.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Inn at Laguna Beach in Laguna Beach, California, has completed a multi-million dollar renovation project. The inn has been updated in its entirety, from the new driveway surface and landscaping at the entry to the newly bamboo-accented guestrooms. The lobby has been redesigned with a homey yet chic décor. In addition to new bamboo case goods, the guestrooms have new rattan-style bed frames, 250-thread-count sheets and photography that features the beach and surfing. Guest bathrooms have been updated with new bamboo vanities, frameless glass shower screens and tile. The rooftop Pacific Terrace has new surfacing, wood-framed banquettes and rattan-style furniture. The property has added in-room dining to its food and beverage menu.
Spurred by the success of its earlier properties in Hat Yai and Pattaya, Thailand, the global value hotel chain Tune Hotels today announced the opening of its first city hotel in central Bangkok, scheduled for 1 October 2012. Group CEO of Tune Hotels Mark Lankester regards the opening of Tune Hotel Asoke as a landmark achievement for the company in Thailand in its efforts to become a recognisable, reputable player in one of Asia’s most developed tourism economies. Lancaster says: “Tune Hotel Asoke is very important to us as it marks our presence in Bangkok, one of the world’s most visited cities. With thousands of home-grown and international hotel brands spread across the city, it’s everyone’s dream to be part of Bangkok’s thriving tourism industry. With Tune Hotels’ innovative concept and highly competitive pricing, we are confident of providing visitors to Bangkok a world-class accommodation that offers great value and great savings.” Tune Hotel Asoke will have 130 rooms comprising double, twin-sharing and disabled-friendly rooms. “We have plans for more hotels in the Land of Smiles and next up will be the resort island of Phuket,” says Tune Hotels Group CEO.
Timbers Resorts announces the opening of its European property, Hotel Castello di Casole. A former 10th century castle turned 41-suite boutique hotel, Hotel Castello di Casole – A Timbers Resorts Hotel & Residences, is located at the pinnacle of the company’s 4,200-acre private estate ideally located in Tuscany, Italy, within an hour of Florence, Siena and the Chianti and Montalcino wine regions. Hotel Castello di Casole offers guests rustic Tuscan elegance in a spectacular setting featuring over 100 acres of vineyards and olive groves, a model game reserve, a state-of-the-art wellness centre and some of the region’s finest cuisine.
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