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Some current conversation starters...
The guestroom is an ever-evolving location that is designed to foster guest expectations. Travellers want to feel as if they are at home when on the road, and by offering the correct amenities hotels can achieve this. One amenity that is growing in interest is the in-room refrigerator.
"Not having a refrigerator is frustrating for the guest," said Antonio Rossini, GM of the Lexington Inn and Suites in Stillwater, Minn. "More flags are making them a standard, and guests want to know why they aren't there if they are absent." "Extended-stay guests like larger refrigerators so they can bring things with them, and also to store leftovers from the in-house F&B we offer," said Jeff Thompson, GM of the Courtyard by Marriott Louisville East, Ky. "It's important to be able to tell guests that another amenity is available. You have a leg up if your competitor isn't offering something like that." When construction began for the Louisville property, management initially questioned whether or not the refrigerators were necessary in the face of high construction costs and strained budgets. "When the question came up, some people weren't sure how important it was to have [refrigerators]," Thompson said. "I told them that it was very important. You don't get a lot of feedback on these things, but with amenities like these people expect them. Travellers are excited to see them, and if it fits in with your room design then they should be there." Sometimes, the addition of specific basic amenities can alter the entire perception of a room. "When hotels first started putting microwaves and refrigerators into their guestrooms travellers felt as if normal rooms were becoming suites," Rossini said. "Just that little bit changed how they saw it, but now they are a necessity. Coming from a full service background, if you can try and offer some of what they have there in a limited service venue you can turn some heads."
Maiden-voyage.com, the business travel network for professional women and inflightfeed.com ran an independent survey amongst professional women around the world to find out what women really want from airline meals.
Let's face it, airline meals seem to always get a bad rap and everyone who has ever travelled on an aircraft will have an airline horror meal story. However, what if you're a female traveller? Is the inflight meal experience different for women who travel regularly for business? Apparently so according to our survey results... Over 100 women (who travel regularly for business or pleasure) were surveyed in relation to their inflight eating habits, special meal requirements, purchasing habits and their favourite airline meals. Of the women surveyed, 76% stated that meals were either too heavy in carbohydrates or suited more to male consumers. What about those women who travel on low cost or airlines who do not offer free food? Only 20% said that they purchase something on board an aircraft and over 40% of women stated that they pre-plan their meals for their flight. This is a huge opportunity for airlines to improve their buy on board offering further. Carolyn Pearson, CEO of maiden-voyage.com confirms that "female business travellers are typically are more diet conscious than ever. They are more likely to buy a healthy snack before boarding a flight because they cannot be sure what will be on offer on-board. Airlines could increase their inflight revenues by ensuring that they offer healthy options but also make their passengers aware before they shop elsewhere". Nikos Loukas from Inflight Feed explains "Airlines tend to look at passenger demographics on each route in order to work out what will be offered on their buy on board menus. Unfortunately in many cases carbohydrate heavy options and unhealthy snacks tend to win". It's worth noting that many of the survey participants felt that buy on board products were expensive, offering little choice and many times items were already sold out. However it's not all doom and gloom. Mary Kirby-Editor in Chief of the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) media platform explains that "Virgin America offers some great buy on board options that are healthy, delicious and well-priced. I also love the menu options and wide variety that is available on FlyDubai". Of the airlines mentioned in the survey Asian carriers such as Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Korean Air faired very well with their inflight meal offerings. However it was two UK airlines that ranked well and it found that 20% of respondents ranked Virgin Atlantic airline food suitable to their needs and 14% stated that British Airways was their favourite. Of the low cost airlines easyJet was recognised as being the leader in buy on board snack options for women.
From 26 October 2012, Faulty Towers The Dining Experience takes up an open-ended residency* at the Charing Cross Hotel in the heart of London's West End theatre land.
Acclaimed by critics and audiences around the world, this production is a ‘two-hour eat, drink and laugh sensation' (Daily Telegraph). By hosting ‘a five-star once in a lifetime dining experience' (British Theatre Guide), the Charing Cross hotel is offering something truly original - fine food teamed with much-loved comedy, making an event that is a must for any visit to London. The show starts as the audience waits to be seated and then hurtles along for two hours of fully immersive, highly improvised and site-specific comedy theatre. With only a third of the show scripted, everything stays fresh as the protagonists serve up madcap mayhem and a three-course meal, all in the Victorian splendour of their Torquay Suite Theatre, specially created within the Charing Cross Hotel.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments...
Joseph DePalma, CEO of DePalma Hotel Corporation announced today the return of Bob Lepore to DePalma Hotel Corporation as Senior Vice President, Development. Lepore's first management position was at the age of twenty-three and he was the youngest General Manager in the Days Inn brand. Subsequently, Lepore held senior management positions in a variety of upscale hospitality environments such as the Boston Harbor Hotel--Boston and Doubletree Colonnade-Baltimore. Lepore joined DePalma in 2000 as General Manager of The Inn at Reading-a 245 key conference center hotel in Reading, PA. In his final year at that hotel, he achieved an impressive 34% increase in REVPAR Index and a significant 62% House Profit increase. In 2002, Lepore was promoted to Regional Vice President for DePalma where he supervised DePalma properties in the Northeastern United States as well as maintaining contract development responsibilities. In his development role, Lepore was responsible for project developments in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Texas. Mr. Lepore returned to DePalma in September, 2012 after spending three years in General Manager positions at both the Wyndham Miami and Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh where he successfully supported the return of Pittsburgh's flagship city-center hotel to solvency.
The Modern Honolulu is pleased to announce the addition of a new role to its team of experts. Gerald Glennon, a seasoned luxury hospitality specialist, has been appointed Managing Director at the 353-room boutique property located in bustling Waikiki. Glennon's addition to the existing team of hospitality professionals will complement the hotel and further enhance its performance as it approaches its third successful year in operation. Prior to joining The Modern Honolulu, Glennon's extensive hospitality experience includes tenure with luxury global brands such as Sofitel, and most recently more than 11 years at Hawaii's iconic Halekulani. During his leadership at Halekulani, he was responsible for instilling a culture of exceptional service, complemented by multiple physical property enhancements, ensuring the reputation of this legendary resort. Halekulani Living, a luxury lifestyle series, was introduced and developed by Glennon resulting ultimately into Halekulani Living, an award-winning magazine. As Managing Director, Glennon will work cohesively with Modern Management Services and The Modern Honolulu's executive team, led by General Manager V Calamur; Glennon will also work closely with ownership and investors, in addition to being the hotel's brand ambassador and liaison to the local community. He will be instrumental in implementing several exciting new projects being rolled out at The Modern Honolulu in 2013.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Azul Hotels by Karisma has opened Azul Villa Esmeralda, a six-bedroom, six-bathroom, 11,000-sq.ft. unit on the Riviera Maya, Mexico. The villa can accommodate up to 12 adults and six children, and an event of up to 40 people. It's located on 54,000 sq. ft. of beachfront property and offers two private pools, a gym, spa, Bose equipped home theater and conference room. It comes with a staff of eight, including a butler and chef. Guests can choose from a variety of packages, including a wedding package. Designed by Mexican architect Isaac Dabbah, the villa reflects Caribbean influences, combining local materials like stone slabs in varying shades and tropical woods such as Tzalam, with modern touches of porcelain, chrome and glass. The natural stone, wood and thatched roof of the exterior are designed to give the feeling of an authentic beach house. Guests at the villa are also welcome to enjoy the newly renovated Azul Beach Hotel and its Gourmet Inclusive amenities.
IHG has announced the signing of the first EVEN™Hotels property which will be located in New York City, with ownership group CWC, Inc. The IHG-managed hotel will be located at 219 E 44th Street in the heart of midtown Manhattan, and will be a flagship property for the brand. The hotel will be a new build scheduled to open in late 2014. The hotel will feature 23 guestroom floors and 230 guestrooms, dedicated meeting areas, and indoor and outdoor exercise and eating spaces for an impressive 87,000 square feet in total space. "This is another important first for IHG. By developing our portfolio of preferred brands in line with emerging consumer preferences, we are meeting the needs of a new type of guest who's looking for hotels with an intrinsic focus on wellness in terms of food, work, exercise and rest," said Richard Solomons, chief executive officer, IHG. "New York City is an ideal location, being one of the most health-minded cities in the U.S. - so it will provide the EVEN Hotels brand with the right exposure to its target guest, the healthier-minded traveller."
Courtyard by Marriott is rolling out its innovative lobby and room design in London, Ontario. This is the first Courtyard in the area featuring the Refreshing Business lobby environment, where guests can enjoy an open and flexible space. Along with media pods, Wi-Fi and a variety of seating zones, the redefined space is ideal for everything from pop-up meetings to social gatherings. The 120-room Courtyard London, which opened on Thursday, October 25, 2012, also offers a refreshing and stylish room design that helps guests stay connected, productive and comfortable. Thoughtfully planned, each room features plush bedding, a functional work space, spacious bathrooms, a separate seating area and complimentary in-room high-speed Internet.
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