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Sage Hospitality begins 2014 with a fast growing portfolio
Sage Hospitality recently began management contracts with eight hotels owned by Blackstone and plans to transition one more next month. The nine hotel portfolio includes Full Service, Select Service and extended stay hotels in North Carolina, New Jersey and New York.
"We began this relationship with Blackstone about a year ago and we've added 13 management contracts since," said Michael Everett, Chief Investment Officer of Sage Hospitality. "When our owners want to expand their relationship with us, it is a testament to Sage's commitment to be the very best in our industry."
The portfolio includes a variety of assets in the Marriott, Hilton, Starwood and IHG families. Sage will also be working for the first time with Hyatt and Element brands. Blackstone is one of the largest real estate private equity firm in the world today with $69 billion of assets under management.
"The brand dynamic is something our team really excels at," said Robert Butler, Senior Vice President Operations for Sage's Select Service Division. "It's exciting to learn the different nuances of hotel brands, it only expands our knowledge in the industry and allows us to be more successful across our entire portfolio."
Choice Hotels International inks partnership with Maplewood Hotels & Resorts
Choice Hotels International has announced a partnership with Maplewood Hotels & Resorts to develop new Cambria Suites properties in Canada. Maplewood is a joint venture between Driftwood Hospitality Management and Pacrim Hospitality Services Inc.
The group expects to have a minimum of five Cambria Suites Hotels under construction in 2014 with openings to occur starting in Spring of 2015.
Designed as a lifestyle hotel brand, all Cambria Suites properties are new-construction and feature a larger lobby to give guests a more social atmosphere; all-suite rooms that are larger than standard hotel rooms and include separate living, working and sleeping space; and the latest MediaHub technology that allows hassle-free Internet connectivity for a variety of electronic devices during their stay.
Like all Cambria Suites hotels, the properties in Canada will also feature the same amenities: Reflect, a contemporary bistro featuring a dinner menu comprised of local specialties, as well as a full bar and freshly prepared grab-and-go gourmet salads and sandwiches; Refill, a barista bar featuring coffee and a hot breakfast buffet; and Refresh, a state-of-the-art fitness center.
Cruise Critic launches new cruise shopping tool
Cruise reviews site Cruise Critic has launched what it calls Price Drop, as a way to shop for up-to-the-minute cruise deals. It offer the ability to compare recently reduced cruise fares with the highest published rates from the past seven days - highlighting the most significant price drops and best value-for-money.
By using Price Drop, consumers can:
"Typically, cruise deals are displayed as a discount from the brochure rate, which is often much higher than the price people actually pay," says Melissa Paloti, Cruise Critic's director of product development. "We've found that by changing that metric, and comparing current prices to those from just a week prior, consumers are given more visibility into the true savings offered. Our goal is for Price Drop to highlight the best deals available, and give consumers greater confidence when buying a cruise."
Every day, Price Drop pulls current fares across major cruise lines and compares them to published fares from the last seven days. If prices have dropped during that period, the discounted cruise fare is added to Price Drop, along with the discount percentage.
To watch for future price drops, consumers can sign up for weekly Price Drop email updates based on cruise preferences.
Amadeus offers ancillary content services for 14 airlines partners
Amadeus, a leading technology provider for the global travel industry, has announced the launch and availability in North America of ancillary services for 14 airline partners. Now Amadeus subscribers in the US and Canada can easily access and book right from their desktop a variety of ancillary services from airlines around the world such as priority boarding, pre-paid baggage and other services travelers want most today.
"Amadeus is a global leader in airline merchandising. Having already deployed ancillary services for over 20 airlines in more than 60 global markets, we're thrilled to bring the benefit of our merchandising technology to Amadeus customers across North America, giving agencies valuable new content to better serve their travelers' needs," said Robert Buckman, head of Distribution Product Management for Amadeus North America.
Ancillary services from these carriers are currently accessible and bookable by Amadeus North America subscribers:
Available services include pre-paid baggage, chargeable seating, pre-paid meals, priority boarding, airport lounge access and more.
Buckman said Amadeus will continue to implement ancillary services for more carriers in 2014, such as US major airlines with development projects currently underway including American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines.
Amadeus' ancillary services functionality enables travel professionals to provide and complete end-to-end air travel arrangements. Amadeus travel agencies benefit from an easy-to-use, multi-channel end-to-end solution to sell ancillary services and compete effectively with airline direct and online channels. Integration of a graphical and dynamic catalog, with booking and issuance in the same workflow for nearly every airline, makes it easy and efficient.
The easy-to-use booking solution saves agents time and money by accessing the airlines' ancillary services content through their point-of-sale. It is fully integrated within the standard booking flow, minimizing time needed for training. Furthermore, by being fully integrated into agency mid- and back-office systems, agents can save time otherwise spent on administrative tasks, ultimately maximizing their productivity and profits.
This launch also marks Amadeus' implementation in the North American market of the Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD), a single, standard method used to issue all travel related services, replacing the existing automated Miscellaneous Charge Order (MCO), Amadeus virtual MCO and IATA virtual Miscellaneous Prepaid Document (MPD). The Amadeus EMD delivers enhanced functionality compared with the MCO, including interlining facility, multi-coupon functionality and e-ticket association.
Over the past several years Amadeus has rolled out a number of initiatives as part of its commitment to a comprehensive merchandising approach in the global marketplace. With that approach, currently travel agencies sell airline ancillary services via Amadeus technology in 64 countries around the world. Globally, 23 airlines are currently distributing their ancillary services via the Amadeus System.
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