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Hotel News In Brief
Some current conversation starters…
More than 200 Greeks have raised £12,000 to pay for a billboard in London's Piccadilly Circus promoting Greece as a tourist destination.
The money to rent the prime advertising space for two weeks was raised through crowdfunding using the online platform www.loudsauce.com. Crowdfunding is where individuals pool their money, usually via the internet, to support a collective cause. Founded by Greek entrepreneurs Yorgos Kleivokiotis, Onic Palandjian and Stathis Haikalis, the campaign, tagged 'Up Greek Tourism' is a grassroots mobilisation effort run entirely by Greek volunteers. The design for the billboard, developed by Greek graphic designer Charis Tsevis, is a photo montage of people who donated to fund the campaign.
The Palazzo Resort & Casino received the highest customer satisfaction scores for 2012 for “Hotel Experience” and “Gaming Experience,” based on global results from the Market Metrix Hospitality Index (MMHI).
The Babylon Casino at Fisherman's Wharf in Macau was the winner of these same categories among casinos in the Asia Pacific region.
Companies in North America are more optimistic about business travel in 2013 but also bracing for higher travel costs only partially offset by modest budget increases.
Hotels, airlines and meetings venues will capitalize on growing demand to wield more power in negotiations with corporations that spend on business travel, according to travel buyers surveyed in the GBTA Foundation's 2013 Industry Pulse: Business Travel Buyers' Sentiment report. "Travel prices will be rising across the board, with international price growth especially robust as companies look abroad for opportunities," said Joseph Bates, GBTA vice president of research. "Travel buyers are being pushed to balance higher costs, the need to get travellers on the road, and corporate budget constraints. Strategic travel management programs will play a key role for companies dealing with a tougher negotiating environment and focused on getting the most out of their travel spending."
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
onefinestay (www.onefinestay.com), the world’s first unhotel, has announced the appointment of Matt Turner as VP Marketing. He is charged with leading a global marketing strategy to accelerate onefinestay’s rapid growth and support its further city launches, with a particular focus on building digital campaigns and increasing online presence. With experience leading one of Europe’s largest digital marketing programmes at BSkyB, Matt’s appointment marks a significant milestone for the company, and is a clear statement of its commitment to building awareness of its unique service globally. Matt will oversee marketing at onefinestay, and is charged with establishing multiple channels to international guests, as well as raising awareness among homeowners. Matt will look to improve onefinestay’s performance in both digital and traditional media, as well as developing promising new channels such as mobile and partnerships. Matt joins onefinestay from BSkyB, where as the Director of Online Sales & Marketing he led one of the largest digital sales and marketing programmes in Europe. In that role, he managed all key digital channels and the full online sales journey, launched a new smartphone platform, and took a pioneering approach to real-time advertising, in which Sky has become a leader. Previously, Matt was Director of Digital Acquisition at American Express UK, and prior to that had general management roles at American Express, BT, and several US-based start-up companies.
Choice Hotels International, Inc. announced that Mike Shemer has been promoted to vice president, business planning from senior director, business transformation and governance for Choice Hotels. Shemer's new responsibilities include: business transformation, IT product ownership, governance and planning, and project management. He will manage and implement enterprise wide complex change initiatives, while effectively collaborating with other key leaders in the organization. Shemer will also work closely with senior management to identify and redesign critical processes for greater efficiency and effectiveness across Choice Hotels operations. Shemer has has served in a number roles within Choice Hotels, with responsibilities in the areas of Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, finance and project management. Prior to joining Choice Hotels, Shemer was an engagement manager at Jerfferson Wells International.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Summit Hotel Properties and an affiliate of IHG announced on Wednesday the closing of a US$60.5 million joint venture purchase of the 252-room Holiday Inn Express & Suites San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf. The seller was not disclosed, and Summit will own 80% of the hotel with IHG owning the remainder. The hotel will receive a US$3 million renovation and be managed by IHG, Denham, England, under its current name. The REIT said it anticipates a post-renovation estimated NTM EBITDA multiple for the hotel in the range of 11.0x to 12.0x based on management's current estimate of EBITDA.
Hyatt Hotels Corp. and HHM plan to open the 178-room Hyatt Union Square New York Hotel next month. Located at 13th St. & Fourth Ave., the new build hotel combines an historic facade with a contemporary tower rising above it. The guestroom inventory ranges from loft-style studios with and without outdoor terraces to two distinct presidential suites. Five guestroom categories carry names like Urbane Sky Room and Courtyard Studio. Designer Paul Vega was responsible for the hotel interiors.
For almost 30 years, the building looked in a rather sad shabby state: the old Majestic Hotel, an architectural jewel blending its neo-renaissance style with art deco details, was one of Kuala Lumpur’s most prestigious hotel addresses in the capital. Opened in 1935, the hotel closed finally its doors in 1984, became for a while the National Gallery before being totally abandoned. But on December 8, the Majestic hotel officially reopened for business, after a long span of 28 years. And its new owner, the Yeohs, a Chinese family managing YTL, one of Malaysia’s most prominent real estate companies, gave the management to Lim Heng Suan, the son of the former managing director of the hotel, Lim Thye Hee. The Lims were the owners of the hotel which started with 51 rooms as Kuala Lumpur's premier hotel. It was built by Loke Wan Tho (1915-1964), a film magnate, in 1932. Loke was the ninth of 11 children of Loke Yew (1845-1917), a Chinese-born business magnate who made good in Kuala Lumpur. The hotel was closed in 1984 in order to house the National Art Gallery. The move was not without resistance, however, as many did not agree to the hotel making way for an art gallery. But in 1995, the Government, a Finance Ministry company and YTL Corp Bhd signed an agreement to resettle the National Art Gallery in a new building and take back the former hotel. The Art Gallery relocated to its new home in 1998 leaving the Majestic Hotel empty, despite its recent gazetting as a heritage building. It took another ten years until YTL received approval to refurbish and develop the hotel. The renovation has turned the hotel into one of prominent colonial heritage site. According to newspapers, it seems that the investment into the hotel reached about RM 250 million (US$ 75 million) although YTL management did not confirm it.
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