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Hotel News In Brief
Some current conversation starters…
Free wi-fi trumps complimentary parking and breakfast when it comes to choosing a hotel for leisure or business purposes, according to a Hotels.com survey.
The survey, conducted in January 2013 across more than 8,600 respondents in 28 countries, including the UK, found that 66% opted for free wi-fi as the amenity they most wanted to become standard at all hotels this year. More than a third (34%) said free wi-fi was the number one factor in choosing a hotel even for leisure breaks, rising to 56% when travelling for business. Just 11% of respondents said they would be willing to pay for wi-fi when staying in a hotel. Kate Hopcraft of Hotels.com said: ‘With an increase in airlines and airports offering free wi-fi, tech-savvy travellers expect the experience to continue upon arrival at their hotel. ‘They are using their tablets, smartphones and laptops to plan activities, stay connected to family and even order a delivery meal straight to their hotel room, so it’s no surprise they require free and fast wi-fi.’ Respondents also indicated that they would like hotels to provide tablets for guest information, room service and local guides (15% global/26% of Britons). The favourite non-tech item global travellers wanted to see become standard was free breakfast (31%), with 23% citing unlimited free food and beverages as their most missed home comfort while away.
Accor, Europe's largest hotelier, said on Wednesday it would seek cost cuts to cope with a tough economic climate in Southern Europe while accelerating its shift to a less cash-consuming "asset light" business model.
The world's fourth-largest player also said it would hike its 2012 dividend by 17 percent on the back of higher operating profits, as robust emerging markets made up for softer results in Europe. Accor, which trails InterContinental (IHG.L), Marriott (MAR.N) and Starwood Hotels (HOT.N), will seek savings of 100 million euros between 2013 and 2014 to respond to a "deteriorating" situation in austerity-hit southern Europe, its Chief Executive Denis Hennequin told a conference call. Accor, which makes 70 percent of its sales in Europe, is more exposed than peers to the region's woes. To reduce that exposure, Accor has been accelerating its growth in emerging markets and operating more hotels under contracts rather than owning them. Accor said on Wednesday that this strategy would involve the restructuring of 800 hotels and cut net debt by 2 billion euros by 2016.
Two years after its reopening, Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris has been awarded its first two Michelin stars: one for French restaurant La Cuisine, the other for Italian restaurant, Il Carpaccio - the only Italian restaurant in Paris to have a Michelin star.
“These two stars are a well-deserved recognition for the talent and consistency of Executive Chef Laurent André and his team,” comments Ömer Acar, General Manager, Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris. “We could not be more proud to share their good news. The determination in both kitchens is undoubtedly integral to the success achieved, and this acknowledgement is testament to the team’s passion and commitment.” “We are extremely honoured to receive such an accolade,” Chef Laurent André adds. “A Michelin star is the pinnacle of any chef’s career, and it will be an essential ingredient of our continuing creativity in the kitchen.”
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
LoungeUp, the leading provider of guest relationship technology for mobile, is pleased to welcome Yauric Mercier to its Senior Management team as VP of Sales. Yauric Mercier possesses abundant experience in the hospitality industry, not only in France but also internationally. After studying at Glion Hotel School in Switzerland, and mastering in Hotel Marketing at Cornell University in the United States, he worked in a number of renowned hospitality establishments in France and Switzerland. For instance, as General Manager he oversaw the 2001 launch of the Hotel Bel-Ami, a prestigious 4-star boutique hotel in Paris. He has since held a series of top management roles in companies such as FastBooking and Bookassist, where he has contributed to the rise of web technology in the hospitality industry. Mathieu Pollet, CEO of LoungeUp, is delighted to be working with such a well-recognised face in the world of hospitality. “Yauric is experienced, passionate and popular, and he shares our great enthusiasm that LoungeUp can revolutionise the guest experience in hotels,” he remarked.
Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, the premier manager of ultra-luxury properties around the world, is pleased to announce the appointment of Lauren V. Carr to Director of Sales & Marketing for Las Ventanas al Paraíso, A Rosewood Resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. In this role, Carr is responsible for developing and implementing innovative sales and marketing strategies for the iconic Five-Diamond property. Carr joins Rosewood Hotels & Resorts following five years with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. Most recently, Carr served as Director of Sales & Marketing at Fairmont Newport Beach. Previously, she spent three years as Fairmont Washington, D.C. as Director of Group Sales, where she led the team to become Fairmont’s Sales Team of the Year for 2008.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Owner and developer LodgeWorks, Partners LP plans to open The Archer Hotel in Manhattan's Garment District in spring 2014. The 21-story hotel will have 180 guestrooms, as well as a chef-driven restaurant and rooftop bar, fitness facility, retail, and a completely smoke-free environment. The design includes industrial touches, like exposed brick and steel and butcher-block flooring, in a mod to the neighborhood's history. Glen Coben of Manhattan-based Glen and Company and Peter Poon Architects are working on the project.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. has opened Le Méridien Atlanta Perimeter, debuting the brand in the metropolitan area, and marking the first in the United States of nine new Le Méridien hotels slated to open internationally within the next 12 months. A Le Méridien also opened in Bali in January. Following a 12-month, $20 million renovation, Le Méridien Atlanta Perimeter features 275 guestrooms and suites along with an outdoor pool, fitness center, club lounge and 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space. Dining options include Longitude 84, the hotel’s new lounge, and Portico, the hotel’s ground-floor restaurant slated to open this spring.
Wyndham Hotel Group is expanding its upscale Wyndham Hotels and Resorts brand in Latin America with the addition of the 212-key Wyndham Milagro del Mar Resort here on Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast. The beachfront hotel, currently under construction, will become Wyndham’s first property in Nicaragua. Owned and developed by HB International, the property is scheduled to open in 2014.
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