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Hotel News in Brief
Some current conversation starters...
The (Presidential) Suite Life: Romney and Obama's Campaign Hotel Stays.
He may have lost points with the common voter in last week's election defeat, but Romney has accumulated points elsewhere that may last longer than his presidential hopes: hotel loyalty points. During his campaign run, he and his staff consistently booked with Marriotts across the country, from Residence Inns to Ritz-Carltons. Of $8 million for traveling expenses, Romney cut out $1.1 million in Marriott stays over the course of his campaigning, no doubt racking up multiple platinum statuses. One of his advisors even hit triple platinum status, earning her at least 200 free nights stay. Similarly, Obama racked up his own points with Hyatt hotels in 2008, but his accommodations pattern during this year's campaign indicated no point-targeting as clear-cut as Romney's. Still, both candidates luxuriated in top-notch hotels during their road stumping. Romney, for instance, reportedly opted for accommodations at the posh New York Palace Hotel, whereas Obama set up camp at the Beverly Hilton Hotel (California). Under the presidential effect, the Sheraton Madison hotel is even considering renaming their suite the President Obama Suite. However brief their visits, the presence of the presidential candidates themselves may suffice to impress future guests who want to sleep where Obama or Romney once slept. The effects of the campaign stumping - both Romney's and Marriott's own - on hospitality remain unmeasured. In the meantime, though, two parties can start reaping the fruition of all those lodgings: Obama for regaining that prestigious address at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and Romney with his whole binder full of points.
A new last-minute hotel booking app has launched this week in the UK; aiming to help ease the problem of occupancy rates in hotels around the UK by matching-up potential guests with empty rooms on the same evening, for a reduced price.
A new app is set to help hotels fill unoccupied rooms at short notice to increase revenue, allowing consumers to search for and book hotel rooms at the last-minute in cities around the UK; at a fraction of the price. The Hot Hotels app, launched in the UK this week, aims to match hotels with unoccupied rooms with consumers looking for a place to stay on the same evening. Users looking for rooms are able to both search for and book rooms directly through the app, and rooms for the same night can be booked up to as late as 3am. According to recent research, the average price of a hotel room in the UK was £82, with an average of one in four hotel rooms remaining unoccupied each night. The Hot Hotel app was therefore launched to help counteract this to the benefit of both consumer and hotel; taking the headache away from hotels eager to fill unoccupied rooms at short notice, whilst reaching consumers that may otherwise not have booked a room. Hotels looking to sign up to the service can do so using the form available on hot.co.uk. Currently, over 40 hotels in cities around the UK are already signed up to the service. Having originally launched in Spain in March of 2012, the Hot Hotels app proved extremely popular with hotels and consumers alike; receiving over 50,000 downloads and facilitating thousands of last-minute hotel bookings in Spain alone. The app is free to download, and is available on iPhone, Android and BlackBerry operating platforms.
Around 70 per cent of central Venice is underwater with heavy rain and winds resulting in the sixth highest tide levels since 1872.
Italian news reports said north and central Italy was also affected with some 200 people evacuated from their homes in Tuscany. Tourists in Venice were resorting to wellie boots and swimwear while most tourist hotspots were deserted. The water levels rose to critical levels at the weekend with reports that 70% of central Venice was under water as the high tide mark reached more than 150cm, reports the Daily Mail. Although flooding is common at this time of year, this is the sixth-highest since records began being kept 150 years ago. Some holidaymakers were seen wading through nearly waist-high waters carrying suitcases on their shoulders. A Visit Venice website said that wellie boots are provided in rental properties at this time of year because there may be '5-10cm of water on nearby pavements'. But it showed that very high tides have only happened 14 times between 1923 and 2011, with 156cm recorded in 2008. Venice is building the "Moses" flood gates, due for completion this year but which has been postponed until 2014, to stop these tides affecting the city.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments...
Benchmark Hospitality International, a leading U.S.-based hospitality management company, has named Timothy L. Metarko controller for Snow King Resort, located in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Timothy Metarko was most recently director of finance for Vail Resorts, which manages the Grand Teton Lodge Company, the Flagg Ranch Company and Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis. He previously served in the same position for Vail Resorts at the Snake River Lodge & Spa in Teton Village, Wyoming. Mr. Metarko has held leadership positions within hospitality accounting and finance for hotels and resorts in locations across the United States, as well as in the Ukraine. Earlier, he exercised his entrepreneurial skills though the ownership and operation of a restaurant and saloon in Fishtail, Montana.
Niki Leondakis is the new CEO of Commune Hotels & Resorts, moving from Kimpton Hotels & Restaurant Group where she served as president/COO. According to John Pritzker, co-chairman of Commune, "Niki's work at Kimpton exhibited her passion and balanced approach to leadership. Having Niki partner with us at this time gives her a unique opportunity to impact all aspects of the company during a period of rapid expansion." Leondakis served at Kimpton for two decades and will lead Commune's 46-hotel portfolio of lifestyle brands as it plans expansion into the key markets of London, Miami, Chicago, New York City, Seattle, Cabo San Lucas, Hawaii and Palo Alto, CA.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Hilton Worldwide announced the opening of Conrad Seoul in South Korea. Strategically located in Seoul's financial district in Yeouido, the five-star luxury hotel will open its doors on November 12, 2012 and features 434 spacious, designer rooms that provide guests with a contemporary and exotic experience by delivering modern sophistication and smart luxury.
Imagine having your very own chalet with your very own swimming pool to plunge into after a fantastic day out on the slopes. Chalet White Pearl underneath the famous Matterhorn peak in the town of Zermatt is the resorts only stand-alone chalet that comes with a private indoor pool. Launching for the start of the 2012/2013 winter skiing season, the ski in - ski out chalet will become one of the prime residences in a resort that can already claim to be one the most exclusive in Europe. Chalet White Pearl sleeps up to 14 people in five en-suite bedrooms, two of which are suites with their own living room areas and three double King Size or Twins, one which can be a quad. Four members of staff are there to look after your every need, with a world-class Chef, House Manager, Assistant Manager and House Keeper that are all trained to the highest standards. The chalet also includes a cinema room with UK channels, massage room, sauna, steam / hamman room and an outdoor terrace with a 3m2 power jet plunge pool.
Japan's Prince Hotels Inc has charted a growth strategy of expanding in Asia, particularly China and South-east Asia, in the next few years. Part of the Seibu Group, Prince Hotels was established in 1956 and is Japan's largest domestic hotel company by number of rooms. However, through those decades, its overseas footprint only comprises three hotels and three golf courses in Hawaii, which it owns, and four franchised hotels, three in Taiwan and one in Malaysia. But following a focus on cost-control in the past seven years, the time is now ripe to revisit its Asian expansion plan, particularly as its main domestic focus has now been established, according to Masahiro Sekine, corporate director-managing administrator. It intends to expand through management and franchise agreements and has already secured two management contracts in China, one a ski resort and the other a hotel, opening in December 2013 and in 2014 respectively.
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