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Hotel News in Brief
Some current conversation starters...
Business travellers in the U.S. and around the globe aren't shy about mixing business with pleasure during their travels this year, as they have invited family members along on previous trips and tacked on extra personal time-this according to findings released today by Wyndham Hotel Group, the world's largest hotel company with over 7,170 hotels.
Commissioned to better understand the habits of business travellers around the globe, the survey polled just over 4,300 adults who travel for business in key cities throughout the U.S., the U.K., Canada, China and Brazil. U.S. vs. International Travellers:
Accor SA, Europe's largest hotel operator, plans a $1.5 billion expansion in Brazil to lift the number of properties run under its brands there to 250 in the next four years.
Accor will open about 25 hotels a year to take advantage of Brazil's growing middle class and increased tourism as the country hosts soccer's World Cup in two years and the 2016 Olympic Games, the Paris-based company said in an e-mailed statement today. The company agreed in July to acquire hotel operator Grupo Posadas for $275 million, an acquisition that would add 19 existing or planned hotels to the 153 that it already operates directly or through franchises in Brazil. Accor has opened 11 hotels in the Latin American nation this year and another 11 are scheduled to open before the end of 2012, adding a total of 3,068 rooms. Chief Executive Officer Denis Hennequin is accelerating Accor's expansion in Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region by offering franchises of the group's Sofitel, Novotel and Ibis brands. He has sold buildings and leased them back, allowing Accor to pay debt and avoid tying up capital in property.
Jebel Ali International Hotels, Dubai, is going to rebrand as JA Resorts & Hotels to create a more consistent message as the group looks to expand outside the Persian Gulf.
Interbrand has been appointed to assist with the project, identifying what the group stood for and re-aligning their brand vision, mission and values in keeping with the new brand promise. "At JA Resorts & Hotels we employ over 1,500 people and it was, therefore, essential to dedicate time to launching the brand internally before we revealed it to our guests and partners," said David Thomson, JA Resorts & Hotels COO, said. "I was completely overwhelmed at the positive reaction from our associates and although Interbrand gave us the building blocks, it was our team internally who put them together." JA Resorts & Hotels will open two properties in early 2013. The 342-room Ocean View Hotel will open in Dubai Marina and Enchanted Island Resort will open in the Seychelles and will be the group's first international property outside of the UAE.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments...
Hilton Worldwide today announced that John Rogers has joined Embassy Suites as global head of the all-suite, upper upscale, full-service brand. In this position, Rogers will oversee all aspects of brand management including global development, brand performance support, brand marketing and PR, brand sales, revenue management and franchise owner relations. Rogers will be based at Hilton Worldwide's global headquarters in McLean, VA. Rogers joins Embassy Suites from Hilton in the United Kingdom, which he joined in 2007. He most recently served as regional vice president, overseeing 30 hotels as well as Hilton's Livingwell leisure clubs and Hilton Spa operations across Europe. His prior accomplishments while in this role include the introduction of three new Hilton brands (Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, DoubleTree by Hilton) into the UK, the roll-out of four new restaurant concepts and the development and implementation of a revised operating model within the division. Rogers also brings valuable hotel industry experience from positions at De Vere Group and Whitbread. As sales and marketing director for De Vere Group, he handled brand strategy, sales and revenue management and distribution across the company's portfolio of hotels, resorts and fitness clubs. He also worked as director of marketing for Whitbread, the Marriott master franchise holder in the UK at the time, where he was responsible for marketing and food and beverage strategy.
Benchmark Hospitality International has appointed Rob Stirling director of sales and marketing for The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, the historic hotel located near San Diego. The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe is part of Benchmark Hospitality's collection of Personal Luxury Resorts & HotelsSM. Gordon MacMitchell, general manager, made the announcement. Rob Stirling was most recently director of sales and marketing for The Grand Del Mar, a Preferred Hotels & Resorts property located in San Diego. Prior to this, he worked in sales and marketing leadership positions for major brand hotels and resorts in locations throughout the United States. Mr. Stirling is a graduate of East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality Management.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
MGM Grand, Las Vegas' announced today the completion of its $160 million room and suite remodel in the hotel's main tower, marking a major milestone in the resort's "Grand Renovation." The remodel, which began in October 2011, includes 3,570 Grand King and Queen guest rooms and 642 suites of varying types including the stunning Skyline Terrace and Skyline Marquee Suites. Created by the talented team at MGM Resorts International Design, the remodeled Grand King and Grand Queen guest rooms showcase a stylish combination of interior finishes and accents, creating a modern sensibility with an inviting ambiance. For guests seeking additional space for entertaining and relaxing, a variety of newly redesigned one and two-bedroom suites are available, several of which feature expansive outdoor terraces with sweeping views of the famed Las Vegas Strip. In keeping with MGM Grand's commitment to sustainability, the newly remodelled rooms and suites incorporate environmentally responsible elements including LED lighting; improved thermostats and solar shades to better manage temperature and guest comfort; upgraded faucets and showers; and bath amenities that are 100 percent biodegradable.
Summit Hotel Properties plans to acquire 10 hotels, including a portfolio of eight Hyatt Place properties being sold by affiliates of Hyatt Hotels Corp. Summit, a lodging REIT, is paying $87.4 million for the Hyatt portfolio, which consists of 1,043 rooms. The hotels are located in five states, including three in Colorado and two in Arizona. In addition, Summit has agreed to acquire the 98-room Hilton Garden Inn in Fort Worth, TX, and the 178-room Residence Inn by Marriott in Salt Lake City, UT, for $20 million. The names of the sellers of the Hilton Garden Inn and the Residence Inn weren't disclosed. Before these latest acquisitions, Summit's portfolio consisted of 73 hotels with 7,533 rooms in 20 states. The company plans to close on these latest deals in the fourth quarter.
On Oct. 1, Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco opened its new spa and fitness centre. The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco has four treatment suites, including a couples' suite and a tea lounge. The décor has a warm colour palette with subtle Asian details. The walls are covered in textured mocha tones with golden accents. In addition to artwork displayed throughout the space, the Spa includes a six-foot (two-meter) statue of Kuan-Yin, the goddess of mercy, with the peach of life. Led by Director of Spa Kristy Whitford, the Spa's treatments include massage, specialized facials, hand and foot treatments, nail care and body treatments as well as "Time Rituals," which are tailored to individual guests.
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