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Hotel News In Brief
Some current conversation starters…
Kuoni has flagged up social media, the need for ‘recession-friendly’ products and increased demand for responsible travel as key issues for the trade this year.
The Kuoni Travel Trends Report 2013 also notes a rise in groups of women travelling together – ‘certainly far more than men’ – and an equal number of silver surfers: ‘those child-free, mortgage-free, middle-aged travellers still with a spring in their step and time and disposable income on their side’. ‘They travel with companions, particularly widowers, and there is a growing trend for girlfriends holidaying with chums post-divorce,’ the report said. With regards to responsible travel, consumers ‘increasingly have a conscience about booking planet-friendly holidays and the influence of Generation X and Y will impact this trend further’. Customers are now more aware of sustainable tourism and are popularising Kuoni’s initiatives in this area, such as volunteering holidays and those in partnership with organisations like Born Free, Fair Trade Tourism South Africa and Earthwatch. The report reveals the Maldives as Kuoni’s current top-selling destination for 2013, followed by Thailand, Sri Lanka, the US, UAE, Mauritius, Malaysia, Barbados, Singapore and St Lucia. The Maldives has topped the list since 2005. Kuoni concludes: ‘More sophisticated and knowledgeable consumers will demand more of their holidays, for one, and also expect improved customer service. ‘At the top end of the pile, luxury is being re-defined and will shape future hotel developments, in terms of incorporating facilities for children and what constitutes out-and-out luxury. ‘The world’s austere economic outlook will drive a greater need for opportunities to escape the doom and gloom. The power of a holiday will not diminish and the allure of the Maldives, Thailand and Sri Lanka will continue. ‘And as the world shrinks, holidaymakers will continue to become more adventurous. They are already gravitating towards more once-in-a-lifetime experiences and adventures and this trend will continue.
Thomas Cook has been forced to pay more than £12,000 to a client who was given incorrect information about cabin sizes on a Baltic cruise, even though the retailer had given him the option to cancel free of charge when the error was spotted on the same day the booking was made.
Customer Barry McKay chose instead to continue with the original cruise but paid an additional £12,247 to upgrade one of the two cabins on the inaugural cruise of Cunard's Queen Elizabeth in 2010. Slough County Court ordered Cook to repay McKay the £12,247 plus interest after ruling that a "collateral contract" had been made between Thomas Cook and the customer as a result of an initial conversation between McKay and one of its cruise sales reps. Thomas Cook does not intend to appeal, but it said that as the judgment was made in a County Court it was not binding on other courts. A spokesman said: "With over 6 million passengers booking their holiday through Thomas Cook each year, on rare occasions genuine mistakes can happen.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
MHI Hospitality Corporation today announced that William J. Zaiser, MHI’s Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and corporate Secretary, retired from the Company as of December 31, 2012. Mr. Zaiser will continue to serve as a consultant to the Company. Following Mr. Zaiser’s retirement, MHI’s Board of Directors appointed Mr. Anthony E. Domalski as Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Domalski has been MHI’s Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer since May 2005. The Company also appointed Patrick V. Fiel, Jr., the Company’s General Counsel, to the additional role of MHI’s corporate Secretary.
The Hotel Group has promoted Leonard Clifton to regional general manager of the DoubleTree by Hilton South Bend in Indiana and the DoubleTree by Hilton Cleveland Downtown/Lakeside in Ohio. Both properties are owned and managed by THG. Clifton is leading the day-to-day operations in South Bend and will oversee operations in Cleveland, where he recently served as general manager.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
LaSalle Hotel Properties has acquired a majority interest in the 298-room Liberty Hotel from HEI Hotels & Resorts through a US$170 million joint venture with the property’s original developer and co-owner, Carpenter & Co. of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The purchase will be funded using proceeds from a LaSalle stock offering made last month. The Liberty, which house five bars and restaurants, will continue to operate under Starwood Hotels & Resort’s Luxury Collection.
Naumi Liora, the Hind Group’s second boutique hotel, is now open in Singapore. The property draws inspiration for the Keong Saik Road area and uses light as a design motif. The color palette includes shades of chalk and pumpkin orange. Naumi Liora’s 79 guestrooms occupy the former Saff Hotel. The building was originally constructed in 1858; renovations by Urban Arc architects preserved the original timber flooring, windows and patios.
Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts has unveiled its second European luxury hotel opening in recent months - the highly-anticipated Waldorf Astoria Berlin. Setting a new standard in luxury for Berlin and the wider German market, the hotel marries the timeless elegance of the legendary flagship, Waldorf Astoria New York, with a unique design inspired by Berlin's vibrant and contemporary personality. Featuring 232 luxury guestrooms and suites, the hotel sits within the spectacular new Zoofenster skyscraper, designed by renowned German architect, Professor Christoph Mäckler.
The Veranda resort in Turks and Caicos, acquired by Sandals Resorts International in December, will close for renovations from Jan. 7 through March. Bookings will not be accepted until the project is completed. The all-inclusive resort on Grace Bay Beach will become part of the adjacent Beaches Turks and Caicos and be renamed Key West Luxury Village. Weak winter season bookings for the Veranda, coupled with the need to bring the resort in line with Sandals' brand standards, prompted the abrupt closure, according to Sandals Chairman Butch Stewart.
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