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Hotel News In Brief
Some current conversation starters…
Giving the customer what they are willing to pay for, rather than what they want, is the key to profitability, says TUI Travel’s deputy chief executive.
Johan Lundgren, speaking on TUI’s website in a video about understanding customers, said: ‘A lot of companies give the customer what they want and they go bust. ‘There has to be a margin in there…something that you make a profit on. It is very important to look at what the customer is willing to pay for, rather than always say what do the customers want.’ Also important is TUI’s ‘direct relationship’ with customers, he said. ‘We do not work through a number of intermediaries…you can engage with the customer in a way that no one else can do,’ he said. ‘This is the way we have been working for years and years now, we did not just wake up yesterday thinking it is a great way of doing business…this is how it has evolved.’ Average holiday prices are increasing, but only slightly, added Lundgren. ‘Some holidays are cheaper and some are slightly more expensive,’ he added, explaining that more all-inclusive holidays are being sold, which are more expensive but offer better value for money.
Hilton Hotels & Resorts has reported it is the first hotel brand to surpass one million fans on Facebook.
The strategic campaign to achieve one million likes on Facebook was based on the goal of increasing global engagement of qualified fans in target demographics. Since launching U.K. and Mexico specific pages earlier this year and focusing the audience growth plan, the platform has increased more than 123% since January 1. Hilton developed a strategy for Facebook promotion through wide-reaching targeting of users who like hotel brands, airlines, loyalty programs and other like-minded brands. The strategy also focused efforts on target countries where Hilton has a strong brand recognition and presence. Hilton said it reached these users through translation of content into local languages.
As part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts month-long executive relocation to Dubai, some 100 of the company’s luxury hotel GMs have gathered for a summit to discuss how to innovate, create and compete in more provocative and unexpected ways.
Looking ahead, Starwood will add 50 luxury hotels in 12 new countries over the next five years. The W brand is on track to reach 60 hotels by the end of 2015. St. Regis will reach 30 hotels this year with 13 hotels in the pipeline. The Luxury Collection debuted six hotels and resorts last year and is on track to surpass 100 hotels in the next five years. “We are on the cusp of a new golden age of luxury travel as technology and globalization drive new trade routes, capital flows and wealth creation,” said Frits van Paasschen, Starwood’s president and CEO. “Dubai is at the epicenter of this change and we are delighted to welcome our general managers from around the world to cultivate a deeper understanding of a new and growing luxury landscape.” In fact, luxury makes up 15% of Starwood’s total pipeline, and 90% of its future luxury hotels will open in emerging markets, including the first W Hotel in mainland China with W Guangzhou and the first St. Regis hotel in Africa with the debut of The St. Regis Mauritius Resort. “Modern luxury has not replaced tradition; they sit at the same table, but in slightly different clothes,” said Paul James, global brand leader, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection and W Hotels Worldwide. “Today’s luxury consumer is multi-national and cross-generational, defined more by their interests and mindset than their geography and demographic. This growing cadre, which we call Generation LuXurY, moves across our portfolio of luxury hotels for business and leisure, and demands personalized service at every turn.”
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
Tina Crawford has recently been appointed Executive Spa Director at The Ritz-Carlton Spa Orlando, Grande Lakes. In this position, she will manage and lead the operational, strategic and financial performance of the award-winning 40,000 square-foot spa at Grande Lakes Orlando. Ms. Crawford has 19 years experience in the spa and hospitality industry. Prior to joining Grande Lakes Orlando, she was the spa director of the nationally ranked Ritz-Carlton Spa, Amelia Island for 13 years. In addition to her work at Amelia Island, Ms. Crawford has been an integral player for Ritz-Carlton brand-wide spa initiatives, serving on the corporate advisory board, managing the core vendor program, and leading the hotel openings and transitions team. Ms. Crawford is a guest speaker at many spa industry conferences and colleges and was named Leader of the Year by SpaFinder.com in 2011.
Officials of New Castle Hotels and Resorts, a leading hotel owner, operator and developer, today announced the appointment of lifelong Nova Scotian, Daryl MacDonnell, as executive chef of the province’s signature Keltic Lodge Resort and Spa in Ingonish Beach, Nova Scotia. Prior to his appointment, MacDonnell was Executive Chef for the Membertou Trade and Convention Center as well as Cape Breton Resorts. He also trained up and coming chefs as an instructor at the Nova Scotia Community College. Earlier in his career he held varying positions with hotels throughout Canada and trained under renowned chefs Takashi “Tony” Murakami and Marcel Kretz. “Daryl brings a unique combination of hospitality industry experience, restaurant entrepreneurship and culinary talent that will enable him to elevate the Keltic Lodge’s food and beverage offering and expertly deliver both haute cuisine and family-friendly dining,” said Gerry Chase, president and CEO of New Castle. “His understanding of local products and local preferences will be instrumental in helping us tailor our offerings to our guests.”
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Accor, the leading international hotel operator in Asia-Pacific, announces the development of three newly built hotels in Myanmar – an MGallery hotel in Naypyidaw, Novotel Yangon Max, and Novotel Mandalay Mingalar – representing the group’s 18th market in the region. “We are excited to announce the signing of three new hotels in Myanmar – the first of which will open this year – marking Accor’s return to Myanmar,” says Michael Issenberg, Chairman and Chief Operating Officer for Accor Asia-Pacific. “Southeast Asia has long been a focus market for Accor, and as the country’s tourism industry develops, we see significant growth potential for international hotel operators with long-term experience in the region. These three developments represent yet another step towards our goal of operating 700 hotels in Asia-Pacific by 2015.”
Orient-Express Hotels has completed a US$20 million renovation of the main building of the Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro. The project updated all 145 guestrooms and suites in the main building, as well as the lobby and the Cipriani restaurant. The design has a contemporary style, while respecting the property's 90-year history. Guestrooms have new fabrics and furniture. Most of the guest bathrooms have been expanded, with a complete structural redesign that includes porcelain enamel bathtubs, separate showers, and marble countertops with dual basins.
Hyatt Hotels Corp. announced on Friday that an affiliate closed the purchase of the 189-room The Driskill Hotel, located in Austin, Texas, for US$85 million from an investment fund managed by Lowe Enterprises Investors. Hyatt Hotels Corp., Chicago, said the hotel will continue to be marketed as The Driskill Hotel under the umbrella of Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. The hotel will undergo a two-year, approximately US$8 million renovation of historic hotel, which was built in 1886.
Singapore-based Amanresorts will open the Aman Canal Grande, a 24-suite palazzo hotel on Venice's Grand Canal on June 1. Located in San Polo, midway between the Rialto and Accademia Bridges, the centerpiece of the Aman Canal Grande is the 16th-century Palazzo Papadopoli. Originally commissioned by the Coccina family of Bergamo and designed by architect Gian Giacomo dé Grigi, the palazzo was named for two brothers, Nicolò and Angelo Papadopoli Aldobrandini, who bought the property at the beginning of the 19th century. The property has two gardens, now accessible exclusively to guests of the hotel.
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