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Hotel Industry News In Brief
Some current conversation starters…
Increasing inbound international tourism to the United States and the gadgets guests bring with them are poised to drive the adoption of hotel room safes in the future.
“We’d very much like to see the U.S. catch up with the rest of the world with the expected influx of Chinese tourists,” said John Foley, vice president of sales, Safemark Systems. “In Asia, safes are in 100 percent of the guestrooms, but in the U.S. there are still a very high percentage of guestrooms that don’t have safes.” “As more international tourism comes to the U.S., the expectation of having a room safe is going to drive a lot of selection,” said Foley. “Safes right now are in a lot of four- or five-star properties, so the next big market for us is going to be three-star properties.” What those safes will look like is largely a matter of the popular gadgets travelers carry, especially laptops. “As far as laptop storage is concerned, that’s the big driver of our business,” said Foley. “It’s not so much the physical laptop that we’re concerned about, it’s the information on that hard drive.” Four years ago, 64 percent of traveling guests had a 17” laptop. Now, even as more guests travel with smaller iPad or Kindle devices, the price spread between a safe large enough to store a 17” laptop and an iPad is low enough that a safe sized for a 17” laptop will be able to serve a guest’s needs, Foley said.
The Radisson hotel chain, once the flagship of the Carlson hospitality footprint, is in the midst of a massive refurbishing, remodeling and rebranding effort.
It can't come soon enough. Radisson ranked dead last in guest satisfaction among its North American upscale hotel peers in a recent survey by consumer satisfaction giant J.D. Power and Associates. That's 11th out of 11 chains surveyed by the organization. The survey is the elephant in the room for Radisson's parent, the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, as the $1 billion-plus Radisson upgrading approaches the halfway point of its planned schedule. "It takes time for perception to catch up with the changes," Chief Branding Officer Gordon McKinnon said in a recent interview. "We are concentrating on guest-facing areas -- the lobby, the restaurants, the rooms, the meeting rooms." Hotel industry analysts applaud the Radisson approach but caution that the chain faces stiff competition in its segment from the likes of Hilton Garden Inn, SpringHill Suites and Hyatt Place. "It will be good for them. It will make them more relevant, modern and hip," said Kirby Payne, president of HVS Hotel Management. "Demand is growing fast for the upscale market as people start to spend faster and companies feel better about the economy and start putting their people in little-better hotels." Jessica McGregor, a senior manager of travel and hospitality practices at J.D. Power, said hotel brands suffer when they go through a renovation because of customer inconveniences. "It took Holiday Inn three to five years," McGregor said of that chain's refurbishing. "This is not something that comes back quickly. It takes time before you see a payout." Early guest survey results for 2012 indicate that satisfaction is improving for Radisson, McGregor said. The Radisson makeover is a more than $1 billion undertaking, with about two-thirds of that money coming from the pockets of Radisson franchisees. The Carlson contribution is more than $350 million. Meanwhile, underperforming hotels or hotel owners who did not want to make the investment are being culled from the system.
Casual dining is on the rise. According to a recent Mintel survey, sales at quick service restaurants have increased to nearly $30 billion in the past five years. This trend is being echoed throughout our hotels as guests spend less time in fine dining restaurants, opting for quick and convenient items instead.
In response, Hilton Worldwide has reinvented the dining model at Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton and Embassy Suites brands and is introducing three new casual concepts -- Herb n' Kitchen, Made Market and Brickstones Grill - to debut in the U.S. in early 2013. "We surveyed 22,000 guests, owners and operators and we learned that the way people eat at home is translating into the way they eat on the road," said Beth Scott, vice president of food and beverage concepts, Hilton Worldwide. "As a result, we decided to reinvent the hotel dining model to better serve the needs, wants and lifestyle of our customers." A concept created for Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Herb n' Kitchen, infuses gourmet items into a retail experience and gives guests a transparent view of the kitchen. Additionally, the self-service model offers hotels flexibility to transition from lunch to dinner and may include a variety of options from a live-action station to made-to-order or pre-made salads and sandwiches or the bar and barista zone, depending on location. Made Market, a concept created for DoubleTree by Hilton, is synonymous with the brand - fun, approachable and convenient. This all-day eatery combines the ease of a market with the allure of a brick oven gastro pub. From fresh coffee and pastries to a pint of artisan beer, Made Market offers a contemporary, yet relaxed, comfortable environment. The first Made Market is slated to debut in January 2013 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Tulsa Downtown in Oklahoma. Infusing value and smart design with comfort food, Brickstones Grill offers a contemporary experience that seamlessly transitions cooked-to-order breakfast to a-la-carte for lunch or dinner. Exclusive to the Embassy Suites brand, Brickstones Grill's menu will feature American dishes, served in single or family portions, created within the iconic brick pizza oven, open pit grill and rotisserie. The open display kitchen is a staple in Brickstones Grill's simple, yet sophisticated design along with comfortable booths and organic surfaces with quarried stone and reclaimed wood. Select locations are currently being considered. All three concepts are optional to owners and among more than 30 additional concepts featured on HiltonRestaurantConcepts.com -- a website that pairs hotels and owners with preferred food and beverage concepts to meet a variety of property's needs. Hilton Worldwide has plans to open 800 restaurants in the next three years.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. has announced the appointment of Mary Casey as Senior Vice President of Sales, North America Division. In her new role, Casey will adapt and execute Starwood’s sales strategy for North America. Casey has more than 24 years of experience with Starwood, many of those in a sales leadership capacity in Europe and the United States and leading the Global Corporate team. She most recently held the position of vice president, global corporate sales where she was responsible for the growth and development of business and partnership opportunities with Starwood’s largest and most complex global customers. Casey’s more than twenty-year career with ITT Sheraton and Starwood has placed her in a range of diverse and senior operational roles including vice president of sales product development, director of sales for Europe based in Brussels, Belgium, general manager of the Sheraton Skyline Hotel and Conference Center at London's Heathrow Airport, and vice president of Six Sigma for Starwood’s corporate, technology and revenue systems group based at Starwood’s corporate headquarters.
Langham Hospitality Group is pleased to announce the appointment of Bob Schofield as Managing Director of The Langham, Chicago. Bob, age 64, will oversee the mid-2013 opening of the 316-room hotel, located in one of the city’s most famous downtown riverfront landmarks – a Mies van der Rohe-designed building located at 330 North Wabash Avenue. With more than 30 years of national and international hospitality experience, Bob is a seasoned veteran, who has held positions as both hotel General Manager and Vice President of Finance for major hotel companies. Most recently, Bob was the General Manager of The American Club Resort in Kohler, Wisconsin. Prior to this, he was the Managing Director of the Fairfax Hotel at Embassy Row in Washington DC and The Umstad Hotel and Spa in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has also served as Executive Vice President of Operations and Chief Financial Officer for L’Ermitage Hotels in Los Angeles. In addition, he has held Vice President level finance positions with The Sheraton Corporation and Inter-Continental Hotel Corporation.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay has invested $16 million into a full revamp of its 442 guest rooms. The immense, year-long renovation was completed this month and helps to further strengthen Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay’s long-standing position as Tampa’s premier luxury hotel. The new enhancements include a comprehensive redesign of all accommodation categories, including 23 luxuriously appointed suites and 45 villa-style casitas, which were given fresh, modern finishes as well as technological updates that specifically cater to upscale business travelers. The project also involved a full remodel of the outdoor terrace at the award-winning signature restaurant Armani’s, which boasts stunning panoramic bay views from the hotel’s 14th floor. Dallas design firm Looney & Associates was charged with transforming all 442 guest rooms to create a modern, sophisticated in-room experience. Inspired by the surf and sand, the team selected a soothing color palette of neutral tones with various shades of blue for accent pieces. A dramatic entry to each guestroom was created using a wood-looking porcelain floor, a large-scale patterned wall covering and sea glass-hued accents.
Hilton Worldwide today announced the signing of a management agreement with Chatan Hotel and Resort Corporation, a subsidiary of Orix Real Estate Corporation, to manage Hilton Okinawa Chatan in central Chatan, Okinawa, Japan. Scheduled to open in 2014, the 346-room Hilton Okinawa Chatan is located in Mihama, facing the Mihama American Village which is one of the largest shopping complexes in Okinawa. "This agreement is a significant milestone for us as it represents the Hilton brand's entry into Okinawa and our 11th Hilton Worldwide property in Japan. Okinawa hosts nearly 5.5 million visitors a year and tourism contributes to close to USD 5 billion annually. Backed by a strong partner like Orix Real Estate Corporation, we are confident that Hilton Okinawa Chatan will compete well with the existing international and local hotel supply," said Andrew Clough, senior vice president, development, Middle East & Asia Pacific, Hilton Worldwide. The nine-story Hilton Okinawa Chatan is approximately 20 kilometers away from Naha International Airport, and known as an urban resort and other large shopping complexes. Close to Chatan Park and Sunabe/Sunset Beach, hotel guests can enjoy impressive views of the sunset as well as various activities including shopping, scuba diving and surfing. Chatan also offers ideal access to a variety of sightseeing spots including Churaumi Aquarium, Okinawa National Ocean Park, Kokusai Street and Shuri Castle.
W San Diego has completed a $US5 million renovation of its various public spaces. The hotel partnered with the interior designer Mr. Important Design. The Living Room space features vibrant colors and a lounge-like atmosphere. The new restaurant, Kelvin, serves a Latin-influenced menu of small plates. Executive Chef Kevin Harry has previously worked at W New York and Westin Times Square. The Rooftop at W San Diego features a playful bonfire sculpture of stacked beach chairs. The space also offers five private cabanas.
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