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Hotel Industry News In Brief
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Two hotel workers found not guilty of murdering newly-wed in Mauritius.
Two men have been found not guilty of murdering UK bride Michaela McAreavey while she honeymooned in Mauritius. The 27-year-old from Northern Ireland was the daughter of Mickey Harte, manager of the Tyrone gaelic football team. Avinash Treebhoowoon, 32, and Sandip Moneea, 43, both worked at the Legends Hotel where Mrs McAreavey was killed. She was believed to have been strangled after she disturbed thieves in her room. Treebhoowoon said he had confessed to killing her only after being beaten and threatened by police. Both he and Moneea were found not guilty of her murder by the Supreme Court in Mauritius following a seven-week trial, said the BBC. Oxfordshire-based forensic scientist Susan Woodroffe said no DNA from either of the accused was found in the McAreaveys' hotel room or on Michaela's body.
Employee-satisfaction scores across HEI Hotels & Resorts' portfolio of 43 properties continues to outpace other hoteliers, creating the basis for a strategic advantage in customer service and reaffirming the company's commitment to associates' careers.
HEI's latest company-wide employee-satisfaction scores average three percentage points higher than scores from a peer group of 13 major hoteliers. "I'm very proud of the reputation HEI is earning as a great employer, and a great place for our dedicated people to build a rewarding career," said company Co-Founder and Chairman Gary Mendell. "HEI people share a common passion for excellence and customer service - and I'm very proud to call them my colleagues and my friends." Employee-satisfaction scores from the latest HEI company-wide surveys average 89 percent for 2012, compared with a peer-group average of 86 percent. In recent years, HEI scored as much as nine percentage points higher than the peer average, but dramatic improvements across the hotel industry trimmed HEI's latest advantage to three percentage points. Over the past five years, associate-satisfaction scores at HEI properties averaged 88.8 percent, versus 82.6 percent among peer-group hotels. Mendell continues to spearhead a company-wide wellness program launched earlier this year, encouraging almost 4,000 of HEI's associates from coast-to-coast to take measurable steps in improving their health and well-being. As the program reaches its midway point, HEI associates are reporting significant progress toward their personal goals, whether to exercise more, lose weight, stop smoking, reduce stress or other ways of their choosing. "Caring about people - whether our guests, our communities or each other as colleagues - is absolutely critical at HEI," Mendell said. "And I think it shows."
In a high-profile sign that the room of tomorrow is gradually becoming a reality, the luxury Four Seasons luxury chain has decided to put iPads in every guest room in its soon-to-open flagship hotel.
The 55-story hotel in Toronto is set to open on Oct. 5. The hotel's iPads are being prepared by Intelity, the Orlando-based hotel technology firm that also set up the iPad guest room system for the swanky Hotel Bel-Air in Beverly Hills and about 120 other hotels so far. Guests will be able to use the Four Seasons Toronto hotel's iPads to order room service and about 30 other things such as:
Schedule spa appointments,
Adjust their room's temperature
Request wake-up calls, in addition to 30 other services
For guests who want to use their own iPads, Intelity created a free app that they can download so they have the same options. Technology's crucial to the way guests experience hotels these days, says Dimitrios Zarikos, general manager of Four Seasons Hotel Toronto. "Some travelers would forget to pack a toothbrush before they left behind their smartphone," he says.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments...
David Wicker has been appointed General Manager of the New World Saigon Hotel. Mr. Wicker moves into the role from his former position as General Manager of New World Wuhan Hotel in China, a role he has held for the past three and a half years. He follows the transfer of New World Hotel Saigon General Manager Henrik Iversen, who will take over operations as General Manager at New World Dalian Hotel in China. With more than 30 years of experience, Mr. Wicker, a British national, was born and raised in Zimbabwe, Africa. His involvement in the industry spans three continents (Europe, Australia and Asia) and 10 countries (Scotland, England, Australia, Fiji, Philippines, Myanmar, Singapore, Indonesia, China and now Vietnam). Mr. Wicker joined New World Hotels in China in January 2009 in Wuhan, where he played a key role in strengthening the market position of the property. Under his leadership, the hotel was established as a market leader for business and leisure travellers. During his career, he has crossed paths with many international hotel names, starting in the food and beverage sector before branching out to event management, executive assistant management and finally general management in 1997.
The 405-room Days Hotel Singapore at Zhongshan Park and 384-room Ramada Singapore at Zhongshan Park have been busy building up their talent pool for their respective openings in December 2012 and February 2013. Tony Cousens has been appointed pre-opening general manager of the two properties, while management for the human resources, sales & marketing, revenue, F&B and rooms departments are already in place. Cousens brings with him over 30 years of hotel management experience in North America, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, including previous stints with Le Meridien, Four Seasons and Jumeirah. He also led the successful relaunch of Marina Mandarin Singapore in 2005.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Chapter Hotels has opened its second property, The Magdalen Chapter, in Exeter, England. The hotel occupies a 19th-century building that was previously the West England Eye Hospital. Architects Feilden Clegg Bradley restored the building into a contemporary, 59-key hotel. The design blends original Victorian features with modern art and furniture and lighting by Russell Pinch to create bright public spaces. Guestroom designs feature pale oak flooring and wall coverings in cool tones for a modern feel.
Hyatt Hotels Corp. announced on Friday that Hyatt affiliates signed management agreements for an Andaz hotel in Gurgaon and a Grand Hyatt hotel in Kochi, bringing the number of announced Hyatt-branded hotels under development in India to 56. Slated to open in Q4 2014, Andaz Gurgaon will offer 275 guestrooms and 75 serviced apartments. The 250-room Grand Hyatt Kochi is expected to open in Q1 of 2017 and will be located on Bolgatty Island in Kochi, which is situated on the eastern coast of the Indian state of Kerala. Hyatt plans to open three hotels in India in the remainder of 2012, including the 204-room Park Hyatt Chennai, a 115-room Hyatt Place Hampi, and a 117-room Hyatt Place Pune, Hinjewadi.
Best Western International (BWI) has launched the Best Western Premier Dua Sentral in Kuala Lumpur. Located in the up-and-coming business and transportation hub of KL Sentral, the 364-room flagship property marks BWI's entry into the Malaysian capital, and is also the inaugural Best Western Premier hotel in the country. Glenn de Souza, BWI's vice president, international operations - Asia & the Middle East, said: "We are delighted to open this stunning new hotel and introduce our Best Western Premier brand to Malaysia." Best Western Premier Dua Sentral offers rooms with sizes ranging from 34 to 183m². Hotel facilities include eight function rooms with space for 12 to 192 pax, three F&B outlets, an infinity-edged swimming pool, and a spa. Elsewhere in Malaysia, Best Western Wana Riverside Hotel will open in Malacca later this year, while other Best Western properties are also scheduled to open in Ipoh, Klang, Shah Alam and Petaling Jaya (TTG Asia e-Daily, February 23, 2012). BWI expects to operate 11 properties and more than 1,700 rooms in Malaysia by 2015.
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