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Hotel News in Brief
Some current conversation starters...
Hoteliers are now spending up to three hours a week reading and responding to online reviews.
This was one of the key findings of a survey by Choice Hotels Europe of 114 franchisees, operators and general managers from the UK, France, Germany and Italy. The survey found:
58% of respondents confirmed that they have created a profile of their hotel on social networking sites compared to 47% of respondents in 2011
43% regularly post news and information on these sites, compared to 33% in 2011
61% of European hotelier respondents estimate they spend between one to three hours a week reading and responding to online travel reviews about their hotel
35% spend less than half an hour
3% spend up to half a day each week on this task, which rises to 6% among UK hoteliers
Italy has the highest number of hotelier respondents (76%) who regularly monitor what people are saying about their hotels on online sites, followed by the UK (70%).
Jewelry reportedly worth US$2 million was stolen from the Four Seasons Hotel New York by two men early Sunday morning in a smash-and-grab from a lobby jewelry case near the front desk.
The Associated Press reported that New York City police are looking for two thieves that allegedly distracted front desk staff and then used a sledgehammer to break open the Jacob & Co. display case before fleeing to a waiting get-away car. The New York Post also reported that anonymous sources said the lobby security cameras were not functioning properly at the time of the robbery. The hotel is owned by Beanie Baby magnate Ty Warner, who last November reportedly turned down an unsolicited offer to buy the 368-room hotel for US$900 million.
A Four Points by Sheraton survey has found Asia's road warriors are the friendliest, with Indian and Chinese business travellers more likely to share a flight with a co-worker, keep in touch with a contact made on the road and hang out with colleagues in their free time.
According to the study, the majority of business travellers (61.1 per cent) globally preferred not to share a flight with their colleague, compared to 50.5 per cent among the Chinese. Some 70 per cent of Chinese business travellers also stay in touch with someone they have met on the road, compared to the overall figure of 64.4 per cent. Indian business travellers are the most likely to hang out with colleagues at a bar or restaurant (61.1 per cent), and were also inclined to catching up with friends who live in town (52.6 per cent). Overall, 42.9 per cent of business travellers polled said that aside from sleeping, socialising with colleagues at a bar or restaurant during their free time was the activity that took up most of their time in a hotel. In comparison, 39 per cent sweat it out at the gym, 37.5 per cent unwind at the spa and 34.2 per cent indulge in retail therapy. "Business travellers have a real need to connect on the road - both virtually and in person," said Brian McGuinness, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide's senior vice president, specialty select brands.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments...
Today Omni Hotels & Resorts announced the appointment of Andrew Labetti as the general manager of the Omni Berkshire Place in New York City. In this role, Labetti will manage all operational aspects at the luxurious Midtown Manhattan property, including sales, marketing, food and beverage and future growth efforts. Labetti was formerly general manager at The Benjamin Hotel in New York for five years. While there, he oversaw a multi-million dollar renovation that included the opening of the National Bar and Dining Room. Additionally, Labetti was a top three finalist for The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International's (HSMAI) 2011 New York General Manager of the Year award. Prior to that, Labetti was general manager at the Hotel Wales in New York for three years, and executive housekeeper at the Four Seasons Hotel New York. He began his career at the Omni Berkshire Place in 1995 where he was also the executive housekeeper.
Loews Hotels & Resorts has promoted Richard Senechal to EVP, facilities. He will be responsible for all aspects of capital planning, technical services, design, construction and engineering at all Loews properties. Senechal is currently overseeing extensive renovations at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville and Loews Hollywood Hotel. In addition, he is responsible for the Loews Regency Hotel in New York, which is currently closed for construction and is expected to reopen in the fall. In addition to these capital investments, he is overseeing the construction of the 400-room Loews Chicago Hotel and the 1800-room Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Orlando. Senechal joined Loews Hotels & Resorts in 2005. Prior to that, he held similar positions at Wyndham International, Walt Disney Imagineering and Hilton.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Dukes St. James London has unveiled the final phase of its renovation project. All guestrooms and suites have been redesigned. Interior designer Sandy Deane led the project, creating five color schemes for the accommodations: taupe and berry, copper and jet, zinc and grape, marine and port, and quail and plum. The hotel's public areas have new gold and green wall coverings designed by Shaun Clarkson. Previous phases of the project launched Thirty Six by Nigel Mendham, PJ Lounge, and the Cognac and Cigar Garden.
CapitaLand's wholly-owned serviced residence business unit, The Ascott Limited (Ascott), has been awarded a contract to manage its second serviced residence in Iskandar Malaysia. The 310-unit Somerset Medini Iskandar will be Singapore-based Ascott's largest property in Malaysia when it opens in end 2015. Somerset Medini Iskandar is part of the ‘Urban Wellness' integrated development by Pulau Indah Ventures Sdn Bhd, a joint venture between Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited. Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak and Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officiated at today's groundbreaking ceremony for this integrated development.
A 150-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel is under development in Lima. It will be the first Courtyard hotel in Peru. Marriott currently has the 300-room JW Marriott Lima and the 153-room JW Marriott Cusco. "The new Courtyard will be a significant milestone in our rapid expansion across Latin America, and will strengthen our footprint in Lima, a key strategic market for Marriott International," said Craig Smith, president of Marriott's Caribbean & Latin America division.
P Hotels will open three hotels in Argentina: in the Palermo district, in Uco Valley wine country and in the Arelauquen Golf & Country Club in Bariloche. The new Palermo Tower had a soft opening in January, with a formal grand opening taking place on Mar. 15. The 28-suite Auberge du Vin near Mendoza is scheduled for completion in March 2014, and the 28-suite Arelauquen Lodge will open in October of this year. In addition, P Hotels has teamed up with DCP International to create The Residence Club of Argentina. The club's members have an equity interest in suites within each of the new P Hotels and unlimited use, subject only to use by other members.
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