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Hotel Industry News In Brief
Some current conversation starters…
Hotel bookings in June for business and leisure travel fell off last year’s levels globally and in North America, while rates for both channels continued a steady climb, according to Pegasus Solutions.
Corporate bookings dropped by double digits worldwide and in North America, while leisure bookings were down by a smaller margin. It was the combined group of regions outside of North America that realized reservation growth for leisure travel, returning 0.8% booking growth over June 2011. In the corporate market, global bookings dropped 10.6% over prior year as North America decreased 13.9%. Outside North America, corporate reservations volume was down 5.9%. The leisure market saw smaller declines of 5.3% for global bookings and 6.1% for North America. “Corporations and consumers are thinking hard about travel,” said David Millili, chief executive officer of Pegasus Solutions. “Both are spending, as evidenced by the ongoing steady rise in rates, but it has to be the right spend. Corporations still see value in the face-to-face business supported by corporate travel, but are taking time to consider what trips to take, when to take them and whom to send. Consumers are no different. They’re committed to travelling, but they’re taking the time to rethink and reshuffle travel dates, destinations, trip length, activities and, of course, hotels.”
Westin Hotels & Resorts is offering something way different: the ElliptiGo, part bike, part elliptical machine.
For an average fee of $10, guests at select Westin properties can rent the vehicles, which cater to guests' desire to exercise outdoors. It is yet another example of a hotel responding to the demand for outdoor fitness options for people who get bored in the hotel gym, even if facilities have gotten better in recent years. Hotels widely offer bike rentals and running tours. Some, such as the legendary Peabody in Memphis, organize Segway tours for the less active guest who still has a love for the outdoors. Now, a few are getting more creative. Westin will offer the ElliptiGo machines at five properties for now. If all goes well, the company plans to expand it globally later this year. The properties that now have the vehicles include the Westin Resort in Hilton Head, S.C., and the Westin Savannah, Ga.
Following last week’s news that the EU Commission is to keep the ban on taking liquids onto aircraft indefinitely, TripAdvisor can reveal that British travellers are split down the middle on this issue.
Half of respondents (48%) claim they feel safer with the current liquid ban in place, while 40% claim the ban does not make them feel any safer. The poll of almost 5,000 respondents on TripAdvisor.co.uk, revealed a further 12% was unsure. “As we hit such a peak air travel period in the UK, it seems many travellers will be disappointed to hear that the liquid ban is to stay in place. But for the 47% of British travellers who see it as an extra reassurance, the EC Commission’s decision is sure to be welcomed,” commented Emma Shaw, TripAdvisor spokesperson.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
Mr. Neil Taylor has joined the Ramada Bangkok Sukhumvit as General Manager. With 35 years of hospitality industry experience, he already has extensive pre-opening and opening experience at hotels in various countries including Oman, Dubai, Maldives, India and Thailand. Prior to joining Ramada Bangkok Sukhumvit, Neil spent 2 years operating and refurbishing properties for Karma Royal Group, India as Regional General Manager. He has also worked in General Manager roles at Radisson Plaza Phuket and Baan Taling Ngam Koh Samui, Thailand.
Jumeirah Group, the global luxury hospitality company and a member of Dubai Holding, announces the appointment of Imran Changezi as Hotel Manager of Jumeirah Emirates Towers. Imran’s background includes over 19 years of hospitality and leisure experience covering both Rooms Division and Sales & Marketing functions, working across Europe, Middle East and Asia. Imran joined Jumeirah Group in 2000 as a member of the Sales Department for Jumeirah Emirates Towers. He moved up to more senior roles in Sales and was recently appointed as pre-opening Hotel Manager at Jumeirah Bilgah Beach Hotel, opening soon in Azerbaijan. Twelve years after his initial appointment in Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Imran is now back in the leading business hotel of the region. In his new role, Imran will support General Manager Grant Ruddiman in the day-to-day management of the hotel.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Hilton Westchester announced the completion of the renovation of the 445-room Hilton Westchester in Westchester County. The hotel underwent a $35-million, multiyear project to transform its guestrooms and public spaces. The renovation is part of a larger scope of major projects by individual hotels above standard annual capital expenditures across the global portfolio of Hilton Hotels & Resorts, the flagship brand of Hilton Worldwide. Beginning in 2011, the projects currently total more than $3 billion during a three year period. This hotel is surrounded by 37 acres of landscaped grounds. Michael Maurer served as principal in charge of the project for Gettys, a hospitality design and interior architecture firm that directed renovation of the hotel’s public spaces. Among the property’s new features is a glass-enclosed fireplace that welcomes guests as they walk through the porte cochere and enter the new lobby. Gone are the multiple interior walls that previously divided the lobby, bar and restaurant, replaced by an open space that maximizes use of natural light and views of the outdoors.
Miami’s W South Beach has transformed 26 of its suites into VIP suites. The accommodations feature an expanded lineup of bathroom amenities, plush bathrobes and slippers, professional Nespresso coffee makers with milk frothers, electric trouser presses and live orchids. On the service side, guests staying in the VIP suites are assigned a concierge to help with reservations to hotels, admission to nightclubs, boat rental, or other aspects of their trip. VIP suite service also includes luxury private car service from area airports, a daily selection of fruit, a farewell gift the night before departure, and guaranteed admission to the nightclub Wall.
The Fairmont Jaipur, Fairmont's first hotel in India, is just days away from opening. Set to open its doors on 9 August 2012, the hotel is located within India's Golden Triangle, a geographic region that is home to dazzling palaces, timeless forts and notable landmarks like the Taj Mahal. Created from the ground up, the overarching design influence of the property pays tribute to the great Mughal dynasty, and is a sensitive re-imaging of the traditional Mughal palace. With 255 guestrooms and suites including Fairmont Gold, the rooms reflect a modern, sophisticated style alongside the rich, cultural characteristics of the famed "Pink City" of Jaipur. A focal point of each guestroom is the spacious bathroom, which is entered through glazed sliding door panels, each featuring a traditional ornately patterned screen and striking floors which have a complex geometrical pattern of stars and diamonds.
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