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Hotel News In Brief
Some current conversation starters…
Marriott Close to Deal to Sell Three Hotels to Abu Dhabi Fund
An Abu Dhabi government fund is nearing a deal to buy three Marriott International Inc. hotels under development, say people familiar with the matter, a vote of confidence in the company's new lifestyle brand that has been struggling to gain traction. The hotels—in London, New York and Miami Beach—are part of Marriott's Edition brand of boutique-style hotels the company is developing with hotelier Ian Schrager. The Bethesda, Md., company in 2007 announced the Edition line to take on Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.'s W chain and other competitors for young, affluent travelers who put a premium on style. (By Craig Karmin & Alexandra Berzon)
No smoking on the balcony
Smokers take heed: Disney Cruise Line, Cunard and P&O all announced this week that they will no longer be permitting smoking on private balconies on their ships. Citing customer feedback and safety concerns, they noted that smoking will still be allowed in designated lounges and exterior deck areas. The ban, which includes e-cigarettes, will take effect November 15 on the Disney ships, but not until March on P&O and April on Cunard. Celebrity, Princess, Oceania and Crystal already ban smoking on balconies; Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean still allow it. Disney said it will charge a $250 cleaning fee if guests are caught breaking the rule. One in four Americans admits to be being a smoker.
US travellers plan to spend 40 more on overseas travel
According to the Global Travel Intentions Study 2013, US travellers plan to significantly increase their travel budget on their next international trip. Findings revealed that travellers plan to spend 40% more on their next international trip compared to their last trip, opposed to travellers outside the U.S. who plan to increase travel spend by just 4.6%. More than half of US travellers surveyed plan and book their trips using online review and booking sites and 38% choose destinations rich in cultural experiences. US travellers are more likely than their global counterparts to use credit cards while travelling internationally (81% versus 74%) and, citing cash as cumbersome to carry around, most bring minimal cash during trips. According to the study, having control over their expenditures and security are the top two reasons why US travellers use cards (70%). Results show that Americans enjoy treating themselves while on vacation; with dining (29%) and retail (24%) accounting for the majority of travel spends.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
Ashleigh Rohr has been promoted to general manager of the Residence Inn Ft. Lauderdale Planation. Previously, she was the regional general manager of regions overseeing hotels in Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Florida. Her responsibilities included overseeing all hotel operating disciplines, overseeing accounting of the hotel and managing all human resource responsibilities. Rohr also developed and coordinated action plans from opportunities identified through guest satisfaction surveys and social media reviews. Prior to her role as regional general manager, she held multiple managerial roles, including dual assistant general manager for the Courtyard and Fairfield Inn by Marriott in Arizona and dual front office manager for the downtown Courtyard and Residence Inn in Texas.
Amrit Hoffer has been promoted to dual general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton Inn West Palm Beach in Florida. Previously, Hoffer was the general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn Islip in New York. Before serving as general manager for the Hilton Garden Inn Islip, she held multiple positions at the same location, including front office manager, operations manager and assistant general manager. Prior to joining White Lodging, Hoffer held multiple managerial roles around New York, including serving as a guest services manager, where she was responsible for over 20 staff members. Hoffer has also held positions as front office manager and front office supervisor.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Wyndham Hotel Group rebranded and took on the day-to-day management of the Hamilton Park Hotel and Conference Center in Florham Park, N.J., converting the property to the Wyndham Hotels and Resorts brand. The Wyndham Hamilton Park Hotel and Conference Center, owned by Hospitality Properties Trust, is scheduled to undergo a $10-million renovation project over the next three years to enhance public spaces, dining facilities and guestrooms.
The former Marriott hotel connected to the Memphis Cook Convention Center has converted to a Sheraton. The Sheraton Memphis Downtown is in the midst of a renovation. All 600 guestrooms will be equipped with the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper bed, a large work desk, an ergonomic chair, high-speed Internet and LCD TV. The hotel, which was built in 1985, has 14,000 square feet of meetings space, an indoor pool and a restaurant and lounge.
Hard Rock International will open its first accommodation venture in Europe after signing an agreement with Palladium Hotel Group. The deal will convert two properties currently owned by Fiesta Hotels and Resorts, Club Don Toni and Hotel Don Toni, into a new complex, which will be called Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza. The 480-room hotel will open in May 2014 and will continue the trademark music-style theme that characterises all Hard Rock establishments, including its famous Rock Shop merchandise outlet.
Opened on August 1, the Shangri-La Hotel, Qufu is found in Qufu, the birthplace of Confucius. This will be the first luxury hotel in the city, which is located in the Shandong province in northwestern China. Chinese architecture sets the tone of the hotel, with the hotel’s façade designed to resemble a traditional Chinese pavilion and roofs topped by grey tiers of flying eaves. The property has 211 rooms, a signature Chinese restaurant named Shang Palace, lobby lounge, bridal room and 'the Hall of Wisdom VIP room'.
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