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Hotel News in Brief
Some current conversation starters...
What are the marketing gimmicks most widely used by hotel operators to lure guests?
Room discounts, followed by free Wi-Fi and other amenities. A survey of more than 25,000 hotel owners and managers in North America by the travel website TripAdvisor found that discounted rooms were offered by 58% of the U.S. hotels surveyed. It was 63% in Mexico and 53% in Canada. "Regionally, it seems that the industry tends to use some of the same methods of attracting travellers," said Kevin Carter, a spokesman for TripAdvisor. The next most popular incentive was "special amenities," as the survey put it, naming free Wi-Fi as an example. In the U.S., 44% of hotels offered the no-cost amenities to guests. Perhaps the most alluring promotion for travellers is a free night's stay - only 14% of hotels in the U.S. offered that, though it was 34% in Canada. Other incentives offered by U.S. hotels included free parking (31%) and free newspapers (20%).
"The travel industry continues to be one of the prime drivers of the nation's economy, adding 9,200 new American jobs in July - the highest increase in four months - bringing total direct employment to 7,596,400. Travel job growth was mainly driven by increases in the restaurant and lodging sectors.
David Huether, senior vice president of economics and research at the U.S. Travel Association, provides analysis on today's Labor Department report that the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 8.3 percent for July 2012. "In total, 63,700 jobs have been added to the U.S. travel industry, or an average of 9,100 jobs per month since January of this year, accounting for six percent of total non-farm jobs added this year. "Since the employment recovery began, travel has created nearly 287,300 new jobs, contributing 7.2 percent of overall job growth since early 2010. The travel industry's job growth continues to outpace the growth the rest of the economy in employment recovery."
The Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre's creativity and innovation in event delivery has again been recognised internationally, with the venue winning a prestigious International Special Events Society (ISES) Esprit Award.
Announced in Dallas in the United States on the weekend (August 4), the Best Event Design and Decor award acknowledges the Centre's achievement in staging a spectacular Unconventional Evening in November 2011. The Unconventional Evening demonstrated the Centre's talents and creative flair to more than 80 identities from the arts, media, wine and food industries. The event was inspired by a painting from the Centre's Australian art collection, the fiery nine-metre landscape, Point to Point, by renowned artist Tim Storrier. With Storrier in attendance as guest of honour, the Centre's Executive Chef Uwe Habermehl added fire to ice to deliver a succession of theatrical dishes highlighting the finest local produce. Meanwhile, the Centre's production team transformed the cityview Bayside Terrace into a shimmering interpretation of the evening's theme, with hundreds of tiered candles and a massive projection of another Storrier painting, Landscape which spectacularly morphed into Point to Point. Centre Chief Executive Ton van Amerongen said the venue was thrilled to win such a prestigious international accolade. "The Centre is about to celebrate 25 years of delivering great events so it is wonderful to win an award of this calibre as we approach a landmark anniversary in 2013," Mr van Amerongen said. "This award is not just about the Centre's skill in delivering a seamless event, it's also about the creativity and passion which our teams have demonstrated since our doors first opened. I congratulate them all for their world-class performance."
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments...
Kosmopolito Hotel International (KHI) has appointed Mr. Bernard Lo as General Manager of Grand Dorsett Chengdu, which is scheduled to open in September 2012. A well respected hotel professional who has more than 40 years of experience in the industry, Bernard was most recently the General Manager of Intercontinental Century City Chengdu, one of the most luxurious hotels in southwest China operated by the Intercontinental Hotels Group. His career has taken him around the world and he has worked with numerous upscale hotels in senior management capacity in Switzerland, Germany, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Beijing and many other key getaway cities. "With his experience and expertise, Bernard is certainly a great asset to the company. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and excellent understanding of the hospitality industry, especially in China and will play a key role in the successful operation of Grand Dorsett Chengdu ," said Winnie Chiu, President and Executive Director of Kosmopolito Hotels International.
Laura McIver has been appointed as General Manager of El Encanto, a luxury hotel in Santa Barbara due to reopen in March 2013. Beginning on 6 August 2012 as General Manager, McIver will oversee all the day-to-day operations of the hotel which is part of Orient-Express. Most recently, McIver served as General Manager of Canary Hotel in Santa Barbara and she has more than 20 years experience in the hospitality industry. She has held senior positions with ETC Hotels including Hotel Casa del Mar and Shutters on the Beach.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Kempinski has opened a new hotel in Shanghai, China. The One Executive Suites, managed by Kempinski - Shanghai invested by Golden Union Group, is an all-suite hotel and residence located in the business center of Jing'an District, five minutes' walk from the upscale shops and metro station on Nanjing Xi Lu, Shanghai's busiest commercial area which is known as "China's No.1 Street" to many locals, tourists and expats. The hotel is just a short taxi ride to Pudong's business district, Xintiandi, the Bund, the former French Concession, making it accessible to almost anywhere else in the centre of Shanghai. Designed by world-renowned hospitality interior design firm HBA, The One achieves a unique avant-garde style with a mix of contemporary pieces, traditional Chinese and European Art Deco design elements. It offers 244 suites and private residences, which, ranging between 62-600 square meters, are among the largest in the city.
The Westin Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego has completed a property-wide transformation that includes the debut of the brand's new lobby design. The new lobby includes a feature wall and check-in pods that make interactions more personal. The Westin Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego has added several signature touches to the lobby design, including a vertical garden. "Flame Flower," a 40-ft (12-m) sculpture by local artist Michael Stutz, is the centrepiece of the front drive. The Westin Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego is also home to the second U.S. outlet of the brand's new restaurant, Pinzimini, which serves modern Italian cuisine. The property also offers grab-and-go options through its Ingredients venue. In addition to the lobby and the new restaurant, the hotel has remodeled its fitness facilities to include all-new cardio and weight equipment with video integration and a New Balance gear-lending program.
CapitaLand's wholly-owned serviced residence business unit, The Ascott Limited (Ascott), has signed an agreement to acquire a prime hotel operating in London for £158.8 million (S$311 million). Ascott will manage the 230-unit hotel, The Cavendish London, in the fourth quarter of 2012. The hotel, which has a rich heritage dating back to the 1960s, will be subsequently transformed into a luxurious serviced residence under the premier Ascott The Residence brand and will be named Ascott St James London. The transformation of The Cavendish London into Ascott St James London marks the expansion of the premier Ascott brand in the key hospitality market of London. The Cavendish London is well-located on Jermyn Street, in the St James's area of Mayfair. The location is perfectly suited for business or leisure, surrounded by some of London's finest cultural, dining, shopping and leisure attractions, including The Royal Academy of Arts, Fortnum & Mason, the bespoke tailors of Jermyn Street and Savile Row, West End theatres and cinemas, the famous Bond Street and the relaxing open space of Green and St James's Parks as well as Buckingham Palace. The acquisition of The Cavendish London will increase Ascott's portfolio to seven properties in central London. It will also enhance Ascott's presence in Europe where it currently manages over 5,000 units across 45 properties in 20 cities.
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