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Hotel News In Brief
Some current conversation starters…
A new priceline.com study of New Year’s Eve hotel booking activity has found that 42 percent of all mobile-equipped travellers waited until after 5:00 p.m. local time to book their New Year’s Eve hotel reservations.
Meanwhile, 65 percent booked their rooms after 2:00 p.m. and 13 percent waited until after 9:00 p.m. to make their reservations. The data reinforces earlier priceline.com studies suggesting that travellers with mobile devices are more prone to make their travel reservations at the last minute, often after they’ve arrived in their destination city.
According to Sustainable Business, a group of hotels, resorts and hospitality companies including Virgin and Ritz-Carlton plan to cut their use of plastic bottles by filtering, bottling and selling their own water.
Under this program, 10 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the new Whole World Water campaign. The fund will be managed by ClimateCare. The effort officially kicks off on March 22, 2013, World Water Day, and is modeled after services provided by Soneva Resorts since 2008 at properties in the Maldives and Thailand. Brands that have signed on to the program include Virgin Limited Edition, Virgin Hotels, Banyan Tree, Auberge du Soleil, Tao Restaurant Group, The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte, The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe, Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, Dusit Hotels and Resorts, JetWing Hotels and The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu. The annual membership fee is $1,000 per property, and members are required to install a water filtration and bottling system. Virgin plans to eliminate more than 200,000 plastic bottles a year at its Necker Island resort, says founder Richard Branson.
Conrad Macao has made a commitment to switch off its exterior façade lighting and non-essential indoor lighting for one hour each month during 2013 to extend its participation in “Earth Hour” beyond the March 23 global event in line with Hilton Worldwide’s LightStay green effort.
The hotel began the project on January 17 and will continue it on the first Tuesday of every month. Conrad Macao also is challenging its luxury hotel peers — if 10 other hotels match Conrad Macao’s monthly energy-saving effort, the hotel will increase its commitment to twice a month.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) has announced that Vanessa Ledesma will assume the role of director of operations, a new position with responsibilities for overall day-to-day oversight of the Association. She will retain her position as director of conferences and events, a job she has held for the past 12 years. Ledesma will assume her new expanded responsibilities for overall day-to-day operations on Feb. 1, 2013. She has been with the Association 14 years, joining CHTA following her work with Maritza Negroni & Associates as a meeting planner and then conference organizer from 1995 until being hired by CHTA in 1999.
The Lodge at Doonbeg in County Clare, Ireland has announced the appointment of Ray Kearney as Sales and Marketing Director. The move is a promotion for Kearney, who joined the 5-star resort on the Western coast of Ireland, as Marketing Manager in August 2009. In his new role, Kearney will oversee all sales and marketing efforts for The Lodge at Doonbeg in North America, Ireland and Europe. His chief responsibility will be to create and implement innovative strategies for drawing group and individual travellers to experience the beauty and culture of Ireland. Among notable achievements during his three years as Marketing Manager, Kearney can be credited with successfully establishing The Lodge at Doonbeg brand as well as increasing brand recognition for the Doonbeg Golf Club, which is now world renowned. Prior to joining The Lodge at Doonbeg, Kearney was Business Development Manager at Avvio.com, which specializes in enhancing online revenues for hotels. Prior to that, he worked throughout the Irish hotel industry in various marketing roles.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Travelodge is benefiting from a £223 million (US$350 million) capital investment this year, the brand announced, part of which will go toward a new guestroom design. The highlight of the new guestroom is a new luxury king-size bed with an 800 pocket sprung mattress, and each spring is designed to follow the natural contour of an individual’s body. The bed also features a quilted mattress topper and bounce back duvet, a swoosh stripes runner to help create a giftwrap feel and two truckle beds within its base to replace the traditional sofa bed.
Doral Golf Resort & Spa Miami announced the scheduled redesign of the guestrooms of the newest addition to the Trump Hotel Collection. Designed by Ivanka Trump in cooperation with WATG’s Wimberly Interiors, the guestrooms will have a palette of neutrals – including ivory, Champagne and caramel – accentuated with mahogany wood and gold-leaf Spanish revival details. Furnishings and details will include golf-inspired tartan plaid, classic herringbone and geometric patterns, while the artwork will feature classic photos of golf legends that have either played Doral Resort’s Blue Monster course or are admired by The Trump Organization’s chairman and president, Donald J. Trump.
Driftwood Hospitality Management completed its largest renovation to-date, a $9.5 million top-to-bottom overhaul of the Sheraton Columbus Hotel at Capitol Square in downtown Columbus, Ohio. The completion of this renovation program is part of Driftwood’s footprint in the expanding Downtown Columbus area. The property has over 400 guestrooms and suites, all with Internet access, an LCD flat screen TV with cable channels, and Shine Spa for Sheraton bath products. For dining, available are: American meals at The Plaza Restaurant and a selection of drinks at its wine bar and lounge. The property also has boardrooms and ballrooms totalling 16,500 square feet, with wireless Internet access and audiovisual equipment.
BHG announces new Golden Tulip in Brazil. Brazil Hospitality Group has signed a memorandum of understanding for the management of the Golden Tulip Colinas in Sao Jose dos Campos, scheduled to open during the fourth quarter of this year.
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