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Hotel News In Brief
Some current conversation starters…
About half of 400 hoteliers recently surveyed by TravelClick report having a booking engine on Facebook or other social media. Of those who do not, half plan to add one in 2013.
Mobile enabled websites and applications are also gaining in popularity among hoteliers. Half of those surveyed indicated they have an application that allows users to book rooms on their tablet or smart phone. Of the remaining, 23% plan to add booking functionality to their mobile site in 2013. However, even with the proliferation of social and mobile, 53% of hoteliers still think their property’s website will see the most growth in bookings when looking at ‘brand.com’ channels. Search engines and social media followed in a distant second with approximately 20%.
Guests and employees of Royal Plaza on Scotts spread joy to the less privileged this Valentine’s Day through a fund-raising initiative held at the hotel entrance.
They indulged in the fun by taking instant photographs with quirky props, against a backdrop specially designed for the occasion, at $5 for two pictures. Guests of the hotel and award-winning restaurant, Carousel, also shared their happiness by purchasing roses for their partners, family members and friends at $6 a stalk. A total of $2185 was raised through this fund-raising initiative, and all proceeds will go to The Spastic Children’s Association of Singapore, a charity supported by Community Chest.
New hotel projects soon will help expand Costa Rica's hotel capacity by 1,309 rooms, with openings scheduled from December 2013 to November 2014, the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) announced.
At the end of 2010, Costa Rica had 43,715 hotel rooms. The figure rose to 44,307 in 2011 and reached 45,531 in 2012, an increase of 1,816 rooms during that period, according to the ICT. Hermes Navarro, head of tourism management at ICT, said the outlook is very good, and tourism officials are pleased to see a positive performance by a group of boutique hotels. However, the president of the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels, Ruben Pacheco, said the news isn't all positive. "Despite the growth in large hotels, some 20 small hotels closed in the past two years in the country," he said.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
Torsten Van Dullemen has been appointed as General Manager of Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, Chiang Mai. Mr Van Dullemen succeeds Andrew Abram, who has left the group to pursue other opportunities. Mr Van Dullemen first joined the group in 2004 as Resident Manager of Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London, and he joins this property from his most recent position as Hotel Manager at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, a post he held for two years.
Frédéric Picard, 42, has been appointed as General Manager of L’Apogée Courchevel in the French Alps. Due to open on 11 December 2013, the luxury hotel is the latest addition to the Oetker Collection. Frédéric Picard will join the property following his successful tenure as General Manager of Palais Namaskar during which time the hotel was awarded major coveted awards including ‘Hotel of the Year’ 2013 by Harper’s Bazaar, one of the ‘101 Best Hotels’ worldwide by Tatler Travel Guide for 2013 and ‘New Build of the Year 2012’ by the European Hospitality Awards.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Orient-Express completed a $20 million-refurbishment of the main building of the Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This phased program commenced in 2011 and has seen enhancements made to the lobby, all 145 rooms and suites in the main building and the Cipriani restaurant. Attention was paid to maintain the hotel’s 90-year heritage and history, though this was infused with a contemporary style and design. This phase of the work was started in July 2012. There is now a transformed lobby that has been extended by 80 percent, allowing for a more streamlined check-in process. The lobby’s Carrara marble staircase has been widened, and the original ceiling, which had been hidden under plaster, was rediscovered during the renovation and restored to its original look. In addition to this, a stainless steel and glass portico was installed above the hotel’s main entrance to protect guests from the elements and the exterior of the hotel’s entrance has been expanded, allowing for multiple vehicles to drop guests off at one time.
Late last week, Spain's hotel scene got what may be the best news it's had in months: A multibillion-dollar "EuroVegas" casino resort will be built in the outskirts of Madrid. For a country struggling with severe unemployment, the casino seems poised to create jobs and improve the overall economy. Madrid's regional government president, Ignacio Gonzalez, said Eurovegas will occupy an area equivalent to 750 football fields in the suburb city of Alcorcon. The first phase of construction is slated to begin late this year. Las Vegas Sands Corp. will cover 35 percent of the equity investment and assured Madrid authorities that funding to complete the rest of the project would be found. It was not clear where the remaining 65 percent will come from. Some $29.5 billion will be invested to build 12 hotels, six casinos, a convention center, three golf courses, theaters, shopping malls, bars and restaurants.
The Hua Chang Heritage Hotel, a new boutique property where classic Siamese motifs blend seamlessly with contemporary design concepts, has opened in Bangkok. The hotel, Inspired by the art and culture of King Rama V-era Thailand and turn-of-the-century Europe, is now in soft-opening and expects to officially begin full operations towards the end of Q1 2013. Located on Phayathai Road with easy access to the adjacent BTS skytrain system, Hua Chang Heritage Hotel is very close to both Bangkok Art & Culture Center and historic Jim Thompson House.
Hotel Indigo New Orleans Garden District opened in December. The 132-key hotel is decorated with murals of decorative ironwork, louvred shutters and live oak roots. The design features accents of purple, tangerine, teal and lime green and a combination of modern and classic French-style furniture. Babin's Bar & Bistro serves breakfast and dinner and offers al fresco dining. The hotel also offers a business center, a fitness center, and meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 55 guests. The hotel is located near the campuses of Tulane and Loyola Universities, along the St. Charles streetcar line.
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