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Hotel News in Brief
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While social travel review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor can be helpful for trip planning, one constant criticism is how easily it is for business owners to write or pay for fake reviews of their establishment to boost its rating.
In Yelp's latest effort to discourage this kind of manipulation, they will be publicly shaming these businesses by displaying warning signs to readers (shown above). The travel site is putting on their detective hats and watching for suspicious activity by business owners. For example, if many reviews are being submitted from the same Internet Protocol (IP) address, this can be an indicator. Once they find these "rogue solicitations," they warn users. According to Digital Trends, the alert will stay active for 90 days and will be removed after this period, as long as the business quits gaming the system. "We want to make sure consumers are making informed decisions," said Eric Singley, Yelp's VP of Consumer & Mobile Products. "Yelp's automated review filter is working around the clock to flag these types of biased reviews, and we believe that you deserve the right to know when this type of activity is taking place behind the scenes." Although this new idea has only been in place for a couple days, it's already working. For example, a Texan business owner who had purchased 200 positive online reviews was caught in Yelp's filter due to its overly "impressive results." Mr. Singley notes that, while Yelp does have to be aware of these scams, for the most part their travel community is full of honest business owners.
With the marketers of Las Vegas stepping up their games to attract more visitors to the city from overseas, the hospitality industry needs to sharpen its hosting skills to keep customers happy and turn them into repeat customers, a panel of industry experts said.
Nancy Murphy, director of venues, housing and travel at Advanstar Communications, said the most important thing industry professionals can do is find some way to say yes to customers who make a request. Murphy was one of four panelists who discussed how to do business with Las Vegas in an event presented by the Las Vegas Hospitality Association on Thursday at the Rio. Panelists also concurred that level of service often is measured by how quickly a host responds to a request. Resorts are broadening their use of technology to be proactive in efforts to reach out to customers, and it's paying off for those with active social media programs, panelists said.
Guoman & Thistle Hotels has been named the ‘Best Employer' at the prestigious Springboard Awards for Excellence.
In its tenth year, the celebrated awards recognise the hospitality industry's outstanding talent. Guoman & Thistle Hotels has implemented a number of employee initiatives including setting up a specialist team for Talent and Resourcing, innovated in its approach to on and off line recruitment, providing in-depth leadership learning, and delivering nearly 11,000 e-learning programmes in 12 months focused on improving service and quality across the estate. Caroline Kitcher, Human Resources Director of Guoman and Thistle Hotels commented: "We aim for a high benchmark for our leaders and employees and this remains at the very core of our strategy. It is at the core of our organisation and culture to make sure our colleagues are supported, fully engaged, properly coached and well trained; through this we hope to provide the best guest led experience in the industry'. Kitcher added: "We are honoured that Springboard recognise our passionate commitment to the hospitality industry, but we won't rest there; in 2013 we want to build on this success and improve on what we already offer to our employees."
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments...
Starhotels Collezione has appointed Maurizio Redaelli as General Manager of Castille Paris, the Starhotels Collezione hotel in the heart of Paris which has recently undergone a €20 million renovation and has been awarded a fifth star. With almost 20 years experience in the hospitality industry, Maurizio has an excellent understanding of the operational and management requirements of running a successful hotel and will be the perfect ambassador for representing a prestigious Italian company such as Starhotels abroad.' Maurizio began his career in the hospitality industry at the Geneva Hotel Management School in Switzerland. From 1996 to 2003 Maurizio took up several appointments in the UK, including Hilton Worldwide, Celtic Manor Resort in South Wales and Jolly Hotel St. Ermin in London. From here Maurizio was appointed Deputy General Manager at Jolly Hotel Lotti in Paris, General Manager at Jolly Hotel du Grand Sablon in Brussels and General Manager at Hotel Lotti in Paris.
International luxury hotel operator, Langham Hospitality Group has appointed Teresa Poon as the Regional Quality Manager (International). Langham Hospitality Group has been committed to employee's training and career development. In her new capacity, Teresa will be instrumental in developing the group's Quality League Management further for the group's hotels in the U.S., UK and the Pacific. She will establish quality management systems, facilitate process improvement and develop performance measuring system. Teresa will also be responsible for streamlining the mystery shopping programme. Teresa came from strong five-star hospitality background with rich hotel pre-opening and sales and marketing experiences in Hong Kong in the past 25 years. Teresa joined Langham Place, Mongkok, Hong Kong during pre-opening period in 2003 and had advanced with the hotel to the position of Hotel Manager before promoting to the current role with the company.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Today marks the debut of the Shangri-La Hotel in Changzhou, one of China's top business cities. This is the second collaboration between Shangri-La International Hotel Management Ltd. and Qiaoyu Group, Changzhou following the successful opening of Traders Fudu Hotel, Changzhou in 2005. Strategically located within Wujin Hi-tech Industrial Park and adjacent to the newly built Xihu International Community, the hotel is set to cater to business executives and corporate meetings. The hotel is located a 30-minute drive from Changzhou International Airport and in close proximity to the Changzhou Railway Station. Shangri-La Hotel, Changzhou is also near the historic "Ruins of Yancheng," the remains of a walled city that was founded over 3,000 years ago at the beginning of the Western Zhou dynasty. Shangri-La Hotel, Changzhou has 350 guestrooms and suites ranging from 45 to 225 square metres. All rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows with unobstructed views of Lake Xihu or the city. Guests on the Horizon Club floors receive personalised benefits and services, including privileged access to the Horizon Club Lounge.
Marriott International, Inc. is on track to double its portfolio in Europe from 40,000 rooms to 80,000 rooms by 2015. Marriott is fuelling much of its growth in Europe with a strong focus on new development in Russia & CIS and today announced it will grow its existing portfolio in the region by more than 50 percent to more than 30 hotels open by 2015. Amy McPherson, president and managing director for Marriott International in Europe, speaking from the Russia & CIS Hotel Investment Conference in Moscow today said, "Over the past 15 years we have developed a strong presence in Russia and CIS and are excited about the continued growth opportunities throughout the region for our expanding portfolio of brands." McPherson added, "Russia also represents a tremendous opportunity for the travel sector. One of the world's fastest growing outbound travel markets, the country is now Marriott's fourth largest source market for travel in Europe fuelled by a rising middle class with growing discretionary income. And with the robust growth here, we expect to see strong demand for travel in to Russia as well for both business and leisure travellers alike." Marriott International currently operates 19 hotels in Russia & CIS across six lodging brands and has committed to opening an additional 11 hotels over the next three years including the:
The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty, Kazakhstan
Krasnodar Marriott Hotel, Russia
Tsaghkadzor Marriott Hotel, Armenia
Baku Marriott Amburan Beach Resort, Azerbaijan
Renaissance Kiev Hotel, Ukraine
Marriott Krasnaya Polyana Hotel, Russia
JW Marriott Sochi Golf Resort, Russia
Courtyard by Marriott Sochi Plaza Hotel, Russia
Krasnoyarsk Marriott Hotel, Russia
Voronezh Marriott Hotel, Russia ] Moscow Marriott Novy Arbat Hotel, Russia
Hong Kong-based Dorsett Hospitality International was officially launched Thursday with President and Executive Director Winnie Chiu revealing the brand's architecture and pipeline for Asia Pacific and beyond. Formerly known as Kosmopolito Hotels International, Dorsett Hospitality International will comprise three brands which will roll out across all existing properties and future developments. The group owns and manages all the hotels under its portfolio. Dorsett, a spin-off from Far East Consortium Ltd., currently operates 17 hotels with eight more underway in key Asian cities, including Singapore (scheduled to open end of 2012); Zhongshan, China; Chengdu, China; Zhuji, China; Kuala Lumpur; and Hong Kong, which will bring the total room count to more than 7,000. Dorsett also revealed plans to launch its first U.K. hotel, Dorsett London, in the first quarter of 2014. The group has also recently acquired a second property in London, which is scheduled to open within the next three years. The rebranding process has consolidated the group's hotel portfolio and divided it into three brands - d.Collection, upscale boutique hotels in prime city locations; Dorsett Hotels & Resorts, comprising the upscale Dorsett Grand hotels and midscale Dorsett Hotels; and the value-led Silka Hotels.
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