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Hotel News in Brief
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The U.S. Travel Association said year-end figures show travel exports grew more than twice as fast as overall exports in 2012 to $168.1 billion, the third consecutive year of double-digit export growth for travel exports.
Overall exports increased $3.9 billion December 2012 imports fell $6.2 billion for the month. "While overall exports of U.S. goods and services grew just 4 percent in 2012, travel exports more than doubled that pace, up 10 percent," said David Huether, senior vice president of research and economics at the U.S. Travel Association. "The last time travel exports grew this much faster than overall U.S. exports was in 1990." Huether also pointed out that the travel industry also posted a third consecutive year of double-digit export growth in 2012, something that has not been accomplished in two decades.
The aisles buzzed with excitement at Travel Technology Europe last week, as over 4,100 of Europe's top travel technology professionals met 71 exhibitors at Earls Court for an action packed two-day live event.
The largest event of its kind in Europe, the 10th anniversary edition of Travel Technology Europe saw exhibiting suppliers of reservation systems, digital marketing and other technology applications meet with new prospects, catch up with existing clients, exchange business cards and seal deals with travel technology buyers. David Chapple, event director, Travel Technology Europe commented: "The 10th anniversary edition of Travel Technology Europe was a tremendous success with quality exhibitors, products, visitors and features. We know this because our visitors have told us and our exhibitors have shown us. Many exhibitors have sought to get ahead of the pack by rebooking for next year, and a number have significantly increased their stand size for 2014. Europe's largest travel-related technology and marketing event, Travel Technology Europe has consistently focused on bringing together technology, travel trade and transport professionals to offer insightful expert guidance on technology purchases, useful advice on distribution, revenue, marketing and sales strategies and topical debates around the hottest technology issues affecting travel businesses.
Korean Air has begun construction on a 73-story mixed-use development in downtown Los Angeles that will be the tallest tower on the West Coast when it is completed in mid-2017.
The tower will sit on the site of formerly occupied by the Wilshire Grand Hotel that was also owned by Korean Air. The replacement, which will rise 1,100 ft., will include a 900-room hotel, also scheduled to be called the Wilshire Grand. Other components will include 400,000 sq. ft. of office space and ground-level retail.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments...
Choice Hotels International, Inc. has announced that John Bonds has been promoted to senior vice president, strategy and services, reporting to Patrick Pacious, executive vice president, global strategy and operations. Bonds who previously served as vice president of corporate strategy and business transformation, will expand his responsibilities to include franchise services and the newly formed business planning team. In this role, he will lead corporate strategy and provide leadership across the organization to improve business operations and implementation of enterprise-wide initiatives. He will also provide leadership for the franchise services organization to strengthen its alignment with the corporate strategy and objectives. Bonds joined Choice Hotels in 2006 and has served as the director of business intelligence, senior director of information technology program management, and as senior director of information technology strategy & planning. Prior to joining Choice, Bonds was employed by Navigant Consulting as an associate director from 2003 to 2006. Previously, he was a manager at Bearing Point in 2003 and with Andersen from 1999 to 2003.
El Dorado Spa Resorts & Hotels and Azul Hotels by Karisma, a premier collection of 11 Gourmet Inclusive properties offering the best in food and service, is pleased to announce the appointment of Ana Gabriela Ramos as director of e-commerce. In her new role, Ramos will focus on analyzing and implementing strategic changes to the e-commerce program in order to increase visitors, improve conversion rates, capture reservations, and better manage online sales performance with the goal of ultimately driving profitability. Some of Ramos' additional responsibilities will include optimizing the customer experience through design, branding, and functionality as well as online marketing, social media, and search engine optimization. With more than seven years of experience in e-commerce, sales and marketing within the hospitality industry, Ramos' background includes online marketing, advertising, search engine optimization, social media management, project management, partner and vendor relations, and business reporting and analysis. Most recently, Ramos held the position of e-commerce and marketing manager for the Latin American division of Marriott International, where she served as the regional lead for training, education, and execution of Marriott's enterprise global e-commerce, marketing, and brand strategies.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Sierra Nevada Lodge is pleased to announce the official re-opening of the resort on February 1, 2013, after an extensive three-year multi-million dollar renovation that includes improvements to the key guest accommodations, activity facilities and infrastructure of the resort.
Following a meticulous and extensive multi-million dollar renovation, Hotel Bristol, one of Warsaw's most iconic establishments, today joins The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts' ensemble of the world's finest hotels. Owned by Starman Poland, Hotel Bristol, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Warsaw marks the luxury brand's first hotel in Poland, combining its authentic, artistic spirit and its cultural heritage with contemporary glamour and elegance. "As The Luxury Collection portfolio continues to grow globally, we are thrilled to introduce the brand in Poland with the signing of the iconic Hotel Bristol," said Paul James, Global Brand Leader, The Luxury Collection, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts and W Hotels Worldwide. "A landmark in Warsaw since 1901, The Luxury Collection will celebrate the hotel's distinctive character, indigenous charm and the unparalleled service that allows our global guests to experience the city through a unique lens."
Minor Hotel Group's parent company announced last week that it bought two hotels in Vietnam for US$16 million from Life Resorts that it will manage and rebrand. Minor International Public Co., Bangkok, bought the 96-room Life Heritage Resort Hoi An, which it will rebrand as Anantara Hoi An Resort, and the 63-room Life Resort Quy Nhon, which it will rebrand as Avani Quy Nhon Resort & Spa. "Vietnam increasingly appeals to us as a blossoming tourist destination and we are convinced of its bright prospects in the coming years. The country has seen exceptional growth and economic development," said William Heinecke, chairman and CEO of Minor International.
Troca Hotels has opened The Sofala 15º74 in Goa, India. The property, which formerly operated as The Sol, is named for the southernmost city in the Swahili gold trade and for Goa's latitude and longitude. All Troca hotels have names from the Carreira Da India, a Portuguese trade route between Lisbon, Goa and Kochi. The Sofala 15º74 has 24 guest accommodations, including six suites and a three-bedroom presidential villa with a private rooftop pool. The guestrooms have new artwork, bright new colours, and upgraded bath amenities, linens and technology.
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