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VisitEngland helps destinations attract more visitors with access needs.
On the day of the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, VisitEngland has launched “Winning More Visitors” – a new online guide designed to help destinations attract more visitors with access needs by providing access information on their websites. The online resource was developed following a survey by the national tourist board, which revealed that 83 per cent of people looking for access information to plan a trip use destination websites - but only one in three (39 per cent) find it easy to locate the information they need. The research also showed that three-quarters (74 per cent) of people with access needs say they would be a lot more likely to choose a destination that offered the best guidance. Winning More Visitors contains advice and examples of best practice to help destinations build an Access Information section for their site, and ensure it is as accurate and up-to date as possible. It also highlights the type of information visitors with access needs may require when planning their trip:
The guidance also advises destinations on how to display the access information on their sites, such as creating a dedicated ‘Access for All’ section that is clearly signposted from the homepage as well as other pages throughout the site. Other suggestions include making sure the whole website itself complies with international web accessibility guidelines. Ross Calladine, VisitEngland’s Skills, Welcome & Accessibility Manager said: “Visitors who have a health condition or impairment - and their travelling companions - spend over £2bn each year in England, and our research shows that many of those visitors will choose where to spend that money based on the access information available on destination websites. We have produced Winning More Visitors to help destinations improve their welcome and attract even more of these loyal and valuable visitors.”
Le Meridien Bora Bora named Top Island Resort by Starwood Preferred Guests.
Who better to rank the world's finest resorts than those who frequent them? Le Méridien Bora Bora has earned the approval - and then some - of Starwood Preferred Guests, who recently named the property as a 2012 Member Favorite for "Best Island Paradise," which is awarded to the top island resort. Launched in 1999 with a breakthrough No Blackout Dates policy for the world's most sought-after collection of hotels, the award-winning Starwood Preferred Guest program is populated by passionate, knowledgeable and well-traveled members who know top-of-the-line hospitality when they experience it. When Starwood Preferred Guests were invited to identify their favorite resorts around the globe, they selected twelve across nine categories. Le Méridien Bora Bora received votes in four categories including, "Best Exotic Escapes," "Most Romantic Retreats," "Best Small Wonders," and "Best Island Paradise." The resort was not only included in the "Best Island Paradise" category but was named number one. "We are thrilled to have elicited such enthusiastic approval from Starwood Preferred Guests, and we look forward to delighting them in the years ahead," said Denis Le Nohaïc, General Manager of Le Méridien Bora Bora.
Accor sees ‘steadily rising room rates’
French hotel group Accor made a net profit of €80m in the first half of 2012, up from €62m a year ago. The latest figure excluded the impact of the Motel 6 disposal to Blackstone, which was signed on 22 May. Including an exceptional accounting loss of €612m related to Motel 6, Accor made a first half net loss of €532m. Revenue rose by 3.6% on a like-for-like basis to €2.7bn, while earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) were up 10.1% on the same basis at €212m. Operating profit before tax and non-recurring items increased by 27.4% like-for-like to €190m, thanks to ‘steadily rising room rates’. As part of its ongoing asset management programme, the group disposed of 59 hotels during the first half, which helped reduce its adjusted net debt by €283m. A record 20,700 new rooms, or 141 hotels, were added. Accor, which operates the Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Novotel, Suite Novotel, Mercure, Adagio, Ibis, all seasons/ibis styles, Etap Hotel/Formule 1/ibis budget and hotelF1 brands, is now targeting full year EBIT of €510m-€530m, versus €515m in 2011. Click here to see the H1 2012 results in full.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts has appointed Tilman Fuchs as Director Brand Marketing. Born in Germany, Fuchs previously was the Creative Director Brand Marketing in Munich and Zurich for Interbrand. He has over 20 years of industry experience. Tilman Fuchs began his career in 1989, working as a designer and art director for various renowned marketing agencies in Frankfurt, Sydney and New York. From 2000, as Creative Director Brand Marketing at the global brand consultancy Interbrand he was responsible for the brand development and branding of BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce for the BMW Group in Munich. During this time, he also gathered experience in working with several brands in the luxury hotel segment.
Kata Group Resorts Thailand, the operator of the upmarket Beyond Resorts brand of hospitality destinations, has announced the appointment of Claude Baltes as General Manager of Beyond Resort Krabi. Claude is responsible for the overall management of delivering ultimate guest satisfaction at Krabi’s newest up-market resort, along with complete and rapid return on investment for Kata Group Resorts Thailand. Born in Luxembourg and educated in France, Mr. Baltes is a graduate of the renowned Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne hotel management school in Switzerland, and possesses over 20 years of top level International hospitality management experience. Claude began his career with tenures at Shangri-La and Sheraton in Malaysia and Thailand, before deciding to settle in Phuket whilst working at the then-new Banyan Tree Phuket in 1995. Having held several positions at that hotel, Baltes moved to Bintan Island in Indonesia where he successfully opened the first Angsana Resort & Spa for the Banyan Tree Group, first as Rooms Division Manager and then as Operations Manager after opening.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Malaysia’s first Grand Hyatt hotel has opened in Kuala Lumpur. The 412-key Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur, located within walking distance of the Petronas Twin Towers and the Golden Triangle shopping district, has more than 35,000 square feet of meeting space, including a “residential-style” meeting space of almost 11,000 square feet. The property has 42 suites as well as a restaurant on its top floor. The hotel is the third Hyatt hotel in Malaysia after the Hyatt Regency Kinabalu and Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort.
Ritz-Carlton Opens First Hotel In Austria on Vienna’s Schubertring. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company said it has opened its first hotel in Austria in the capital city of Vienna. The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna, a 202-room property located on the central Schubertring Boulevard, is the ninth hotel in Europe for the luxury hotel company. The new property is housed in a building composed of four historic palaces dating back to the 19th century and is located in the heart of the city with views of Vienna's landmarks from its rooms and rooftop bar. Many of the hotel’s original design features have been preserved and integrated into the interiors. A marble staircase is a major feature of the hotel interior; decorative mural paintings together with intricate woodcarvings and paneling also were all carefully restored. "We are delighted to open our 80th hotel in this key European capital and to offer discerning global travelers a truly unique property here in Vienna," said Herve Humler, president and chief operating officer for Ritz-Carlton. "The hotel will bring The Ritz-Carlton service philosophy to the city and combine it with Viennese hospitality to create memorable experiences for guests whether travelling on leisure or for business." By James Ruggia.
Rezidor to Open the 300-room Park Inn by Radisson Dubai Al Jadaf in Dubai in 2015. Rezidor, one of the fastest growing hotel companies worldwide and a member of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, announces the Park Inn by Radisson Dubai Al Jadaf. The property featuring 300 guest rooms is scheduled to open in 2015. "Dubai and the UAE are a promising market for Park Inn by Radisson. We are delighted to partner with Aabar Investments and welcome them to our family. We look forward to our long standing and successful relationship. Our compelling Park Inn by Radisson brand stands for hotels offering a warm welcome, energetic designs, contemporary rooms, good food & beverage, and fine business amenities – all at great value for money and through efficient real estate investment", said Kurt Ritter, President & CEO of Rezidor. The Park Inn by Radisson Dubai Al Jadaf will enjoy a very good location in the Al Jadaf area, situated only 5 km from Dubai International airport, Downtown and Business Bay, and only 3 km from Dubai Festival City, Dubai International Financial Centre, the international exhibition centre and the traditional centres of Deira and Bur Dubai. The hotel will be part of a new development that will comprise two further hotels of a more upscale and luxury positioning that will cater for different market segments. Besides 300 modern rooms, the hotel will offer two restaurants, one lobby-lounge, one bar, a fitness centre and approximately 400sqm of meeting space.
Ibis steps up its presence in Hong Kong. And then there were two in Hong Kong! Ibis has recently opened its second hotel in this archipelago that has been dubbed the Pearl of the East. It was an exciting challenge and the ibis teams in this uncannily buoyant part of the world pulled it off. This hotel is in the heart of Hong Kong’s business, cultural and retail district, and a short walk from the Mass Transit Railway station, and from Macau Ferry Pier ferry terminal and heliport. The impressive building houses 550 up-to-the-minute contemporary rooms inter alia featuring bay windows, high ceilings, new bedding and free Wi-Fi access, i.e. all ibis’ hallmark quality standards. Tony Yau, a spokesman for Common Empire Development, the company that owns the building, remarked, “This hotel is in a part of Hong Kong where demand for budget hotel rooms is strong. Ibis has established a worldwide reputation, so we are confident that ibis hotels in this region will prosper.”
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