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Hotel Industry News In Brief
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Sustainable tourism was one of the key trends identified by luxury travel network Virtuoso during its recent Virtuoso Travel Week conference.
Virtuoso highlighted the Kingdom of Bhutan as one example of the low-impact/high-yield sustainable tourism model, with a US$65 per day tourism royalty going toward alleviating poverty and subsidizing education and healthcare for the country’s residents. Other findings from Virtuoso include:
Hilton Hotels & Resorts has expanded its program for outbound Chinese travellers called Hilton Huanying to include 70 hotels in 23 countries.
The Hilton Huanying program, which celebrated its first anniversary last week, takes its name from the Chinese word for welcome and involves special amenities and services tailored to Chinese travellers. According to Hilton executives, the rapid growth of the program reflects how quickly regions around the world have seen an increase in arrivals from Chinese visitors. Globally, bookings in the first seven months of 2012 by guests originating in China increased 129%, compared to the same period in 2011. The Hilton HHonors frequency program has seen an enrolment within China increase 81% this year, which demonstrates a growing affinity among Chinese travelers for such loyalty programs.
Hotel shortages should not be a problem at the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo says on Thursday that large investments are being made in the sector and there will be more than enough hotel rooms to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of visitors. A lack of accommodations has been one of the main concerns of World Cup and Olympic organizers. The 2016 Rio organizing committee has acknowledged since the bid stage that Rio's shortage of hotel rooms was its main weakness. The minister says the private sector is making significant investments in the hotel industry in Brazil, and that French group Accor will alone be investing $2.5 billion in new hotels through 2015. Incentives are aimed to spark private investment in new hotels. Rebelo reiterated that overall preparations for the World Cup and Olympics are on schedule.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
Hilton Worldwide named Bill Murphy today as Chief Information Officer (CIO). In this role, Murphy will be responsible for managing the company’s global technology team and infrastructure, as well as its technology business partnerships. He will also retain his previous responsibilities, when he held the title of the company’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) since early 2012. Murphy was previously senior vice president and Chief Technology Officer of Travelport, Inc. Prior to his role at Travelport, he enjoyed a 22-year career in Plano, Texas at Perot Systems and Electronic Data Systems (EDS) in a variety of leadership positions. He joined Hilton Worldwide as CTO earlier in the year to lead the company’s technology infrastructure, vendor management and run-time operations. Since joining the company, Murphy has helped to ensure optimal efficiency in the company’s technology systems and focused on projects that immediately assist the business in delivering on its priorities. Murphy, who will be relocating from Denver, Colorado to the company’s headquarters in McLean, Va., will report directly to Paul Brown, president, brands and commercial services, Hilton Worldwide.
Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa today announced the appointment of Ramon Carillo as the resort’s new Executive Chef. Having started as a cook sixteen years ago at Wyndham Rio Mar, Carillo serves up delectable epicurean creations for guests longing to escape the ordinary. “As soon as he started manning vegetable preparation for guests more than sixteen years ago, we recognized his culinary talent and worked to advance him up the culinary ranks,” said General Manager Danny Williams. “Now as Executive Chef, we couldn’t be more excited for Ramon to showcase his love and creativity for food with our guests.” As Executive Chef at Wyndham Rio Mar, Carillo oversees all culinary programs at the resort. He is tasked with creating unique menus at each of the eight on-site eateries including Palio, La Estancia, Shimas, Marbella, Iguana’s Pub, Tiki Bar & Grill, Seabreeze and ERL.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
The Cooper Inn in Cooperstown, New York, has completed renovations of its public spaces. The property, which is a 15-room Federal-style manor originally built in 1816, has a style that blends the classic and the modern. Jeff Lincoln of Jeff Lincoln Interiors, Inc. used “custom-designed, over-scaled floral and damask prints, which are both traditional and contemporary,” he said. Bold, custom geometric carpeting has also been added, and the property’s furniture collection has been revitalized. Lincoln and his team will turn their attention to the guestrooms this winter.
The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., reopened the doors to the historic Hotel Maria Cristina, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Sebastian, following a $25-million restoration. The renovation of Hotel Maria Cristina, which was completed in time for its 100th anniversary, is part of a larger strategy to invest in the restoration of Starwood's Luxury Collection hotels. The reopening of Hotel Maria Cristina follows in the footsteps of Hotel Alfonso XIII, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Seville, which underwent a multi-million dollar refurbishment earlier this year. The restored Prince de Galles, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Paris and The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice, will debut in 2013. Rising above the city center of San Sebastian, the building was originally designed by French architect Charles Mewès for its namesake, Queen Maria Cristina. The nine-month project, which was led by Idom Engineering & Architecture, features interiors restored by HBA Design. The hotel also offers The Luxury Collection Concierge service to all guests.
Boston Marriott Copley Place has just completed a five-year renovation project that transformed the entire property. The hotel’s 1,100 guestrooms and 47 suites all now have the Marriott Hotels & Resorts Refreshing Mint design, with a palette of mint green and chocolate accents and new lighting, artwork, desk chairs, wall coverings, window treatments and bath amenities. Tech improvements include 37” HDTVs and laptop safes. Public areas all have a fresh new look. In the lobby, the front desk is now just inside the hotel doors; a curved design helps direct guests to check-in. A new Champions restaurant features a large, central HD screen; more than 40 flat-panel televisions; an open, circular design; 36 beers on tap and a menu of American grill classics. The Concierge Lounge has also been upgraded and expanded.
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