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Hotel News In Brief
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Almost a third of Britons plan to spend less on their holidays this year than in 2012, according to a new poll.
A survey by online review site TripAdvisor found that 27% of those questioned intended to spend more than last year, a further 42% expected their holiday budget to remain the same, but 31% planned to spend less. However, TripAdvisor said the poll of over 5,500 travellers, conducted in early to mid-November, was encouraging. Spokesperson Emma Shaw said: "It's encouraging to see that over two-thirds of British travellers expect their holiday budgets to either remain the same or increase this year. "Whether it's due to a healthier economy or Brits simply refusing to sacrifice a holiday, it's good to see such an optimistic outlook for the travel industry in 2013."
Spain's Paradors, state-run luxury hotels set up in converted castles, palaces and monasteries, will cut 350 staff.
Workers have been striking for several days over the past weeks, including on December 31 and January 1, since the group announced plans to axe 644 jobs, 14 percent of the total, and to close seven hotels. Under an agreement between management and Spain's main Workers' Commissions (CCOO) union, some 350 staff will now be shed, said a statement by the management. Of the 94 paradors, one, based in Puerto Lumbreras, southern Spain, will be closed down and about another 30 will have seasonal closures of between two and four months, rather than the original plan for five-month closures. About 15 restaurants also will be shut down for good. Founded more than 80 years ago to sell Spain's image abroad, the Paradors offer holidaymakers the chance to sleep in historic monuments such as castles, manors and palaces but in up-to-date luxury.
“Lost in Thailand,” a low-budget Chinese comedy about the travels of two rival businessmen and a pancake-maker through Thailand, may help the Southeast Asian nation attract a record number of tourists this year.
More than 30 million people have seen the film since its debut on Dec. 12, according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency. China overtook Malaysia last year as Thailand’s biggest source of overseas tourists, and the film’s popularity could help increase total arrivals by 10 percent in 2013, according to the Association of Thai Travel Agents. “The movie is helping boost sentiment and is increasing people’s desire to visit,” Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, the group’s president, said yesterday in an interview. “The global economic situation isn’t a big issue as we’ve seen the tourism industry grow a lot despite the slowdown. People who love travelling continue to do it anyway.” Thailand is luring Chinese tourists away from Japan after a territorial dispute between Asia’s biggest economies led to a travel boycott last year. The Chinese film follows the Hollywood blockbuster “The Hangover: Part II” from 2011, which was set in Bangkok and generated global interest in the country. “China is really just blowing everyone out of the water,” said William Heinecke, chief executive officer of Minor International Pcl (MINT), Thailand’s biggest hotel operator. “In percentage terms, numbers from Europe and the U.K. are down. In actual numbers, they’re still the same or slightly higher. But the big growth is coming from Russia and China.”
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
Mark Giannantonio got his start in the casino industry 30 years ago, working as a room service waiter at Resorts Casino Hotel while he was still in college. Now, he will run the place. Giannantonio, 48, is taking charge of Resorts as the new chief executive officer as part of a management restructuring by the casino's new operator, the Connecticut-based Mohegan Sun gambling empire. He will officially become president and CEO on Monday, pending final regulatory approval. He will lead a management team that includes former Trump Entertainment Resorts executive Mark Sachais as Resorts' new vice president of hotel operations. Giannantonio had most recently served as Resorts' vice president of hotel operations. He joined Resorts in September following a management deal that put Mohegan Sun in charge of the casino's operation.
Marcus® Hotels & Resorts, a division of The Marcus Corporation has announced that Mahesh Reddy has been appointed general manager of the Westin Columbus in Columbus, Ohio. Reddy previously served as the general manager at the Hilton Anchorage in Anchorage, Alaska. In his new role, Reddy will be responsible for managing the Westin Columbus’ exceptional guest experience and accommodations as a downtown Columbus hospitality landmark. The Westin Columbus is managed by Marcus Hotels & Resorts. Reddy brings over 12 years of hospitality management experience to his new position, including six years of experience with Marcus Hotels & Resorts. Reddy joined the company in 2000 as the front office director at the company’s Hilton Milwaukee property. He was promoted to rooms division director in 2002 and transferred to the company’s Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, Wis. in 2004. Reddy left Marcus Hotels & Resorts in 2006 to serve as the hotel manager at the Wyndham Northwest Chicago (currently Westin Chicago Northwest) in Chicago, Ill.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Club Med introduced the newest addition to its mountain resorts — Pragelato Vialattea, featuring ski-in/ski-out access to the second-largest ski domain in Europe. Located in the Piedmont region in the Italian Alps, 55 miles from Turin, Pragelato Vialattea features clusters of chalets.
Accor Middle East has embarked on an ambitious expansion drive in Saudi Arabia with a target to open eight new hotels in the country by 2015. The hotel chain recently signed a franchise agreement with Al Hokair Group - one of the largest hotel owners and operators in Saudi Arabia.
Sandals Resorts International is looking to further expand its international portfolio in 2013 and beyond, company CEO Adam Stewart said in an interview. "We are just over 5,000 rooms now. As a chain, within the next 18 months we will hit 6,000 rooms through acquisitions and builds," Stewart said. The company also plans to continue investing in upgrades to existing properties.
The 800-room Hyatt Regency McCormick Place here has begun the second phase of a multi-year expansion and renovation. The hotel's owner, the city's Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, is investing an estimated $110 million on the total renovation of the property. The project will include a new 460-room tower plus upgrades to the food & everage outlets, the lobby and meeting and event space. Phase two of the undertaking includes completely renovating the 800 rooms in the original tower. Changes to the food & beverage outlets include the addition of a second private dining room to the hotel's destination restaurant. The new guestroom tower is scheduled for completion by mid-2013. A third phase of the work, set to begin next year, will focus on the original tower's lobby and conference centre.
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