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ehotelier Hospitality News Archives: September 2003
Global Hospitality Newsletter: September 27, 2003
Global Staff Movements - Who is In and Who is Out
edited by Benoit Gateau-Cumin, President, The Boutique Search Firm
This article highlights how the economy and hotel sales move in tandem. Starting in May of this year, after President Bush announced the combat portion of the war in Iraq over, the economy and hotel sales started to improve.
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The U.S. hotel industry is set for an essentially flat 2003 after a bruising two-year downturn, but a rebound in occupancy next year will allow hotel operators to raise room rates in 2005, a study released on Thursday said
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W Hotels, `Starwood Hotels & Resorts` style brand, has announced that all 16 of its U.S. properties are 100% wired, with high-speed Internet access (HSIA) in all guest and meeting rooms. In addition, all W properties in the continental U.S. feature Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) - also known as wireless 802.11b - providing accessibility in the hotels` public spaces including Living Room lobbies and welcome desk areas. WiFi will be accessible in all W guestrooms in the United States by the end of 2004.
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Hyatt International, plans to quadruple the number of its hotels on the mainland by 2008 as it aggressively expands to make China its biggest market outside the US.
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U.S. hotels rolled out welcome mats and finally found feet upon them this month as more business people hit the road, marking a long-awaited upturn in the industry, the chief executive of FelCor Lodging Trust said on Friday
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Global Hospitality Newsletter: September 26, 2003
Tourists are returning to the Big Apple at a faster rate than those traveling on expense accounts, but some believe a full recovery is in sight. New York City wasn't just a target of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. It also was among the regions hardest hit by the national recession and resulting downturn in tourism and business travel.
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The UK hotel market may at last be cautiously optimistic that recovery is on the cards, following a small rise in occupancy figures in both London and the regions during August, according to data released today by PKF's hotel consultancy services.
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If you didn't attend the Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose, you really missed out! Fortunately, here is a complete wrap-up of the 4-day extravaganza.
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During the first eight months of the year, 4.2 million room nights in Accor hotels were booked online, the equivalent of 170 hotels a day. Sustained growth in 2003
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Hong Kong hotels are expected to see a full recover next year, after the industry achieved a strong rebound in the third quarter of the year on the back of an influx of mainland visitors, the Hong Kong Hotels Association said Tuesday. "We believe that the industry's will fully recover in 2004," said Mark Lettenbichler, the association's chairman.
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At certain times, the Olympics or World Cup football become a universal point of contact for everyone. Their incredible reach and influence make such events not only the sporting pinnacle for competitors, but also provide businesses with a global marketing showcase and Governments with powerful political opportunities.
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The teeming, colourful Indian city of Mumbai and the runaway success of fashionable Bollywood will be depicted at World Travel Market`s Opening Ceremony on Monday 10 November at 11.30 am. Cast members of the London West End spectacular epic musical, `Bombay Dreams` will entertain live.
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The new Singaporean owners of Thistle Hotels, London's biggest hotel operator, have put two of the group's hotels in the capital up for sale with a combined price tag of about Pounds 60 million, The Times has learnt.
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by: R. Mark Woodworth, September 2003
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More Than Half Require at Least Two Days to Catch Up on Work, Physical Health, And Personal Life Due to Travel Related Stress, Both Physical and Emotional
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InterContinental Hotels Group Announces Agreement With Hospitality Properties Trust to Convert 14 Summerfield Suites to Staybridge Suites Hotels
InterContinental Hotels Group (NYSE: IHG; London)(ADRs) (IHG), owner of the Staybridge Suites brand, today announced an agreement with Hospitality Properties Trust (HPT) to rebrand 15 Summerfield Suites by Wyndham hotels and to immediately convert 14 of them to Staybridge Suites hotels. The transaction will immediately boost the distribution of the Staybridge Suites brand by 25%, increasing the number of open properties from 57 to 71
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Consolidated Ownership by Carlson Expected to Drive New Brand Clarity and Expansion MINNEAPOLIS (September 17, 2003) – Carlson Hotels Worldwide today announced that the company has acquired full ownership of the Park Inn and Park Plaza hotel brands from its joint venture partner, Olympus Hospitality Group.
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Asia's leading luxury hotel group, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, has strengthened its foothold in the Middle East by signing a management agreement with Al Rayan Tourism Development Company W.L.L. to operate a hotel in Doha, Qatar.
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Galileo Sets Industry Pace With Best In Class Gds Connectivity More Than 13,175 Properties And 71 Hotel Chains Implement Galileo's Inside Shopper
Starwood, InterContinental, Carlson Hospitality Corporation, Utell, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt, Golden Tulip, Trust International, Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Sterling Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Summit Hotels & Resorts Upgrade To Inside Shopper
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Only 30 percent of the Indonesian tourism industry's full potential has been developed, a board member of the Indonesian Tourism Community (MPI) has said
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Quirky boutique hotels are popping up across the country as travellers tire of Holiday Inn-style sameness Enormous windows stretch right around each soundproof suite in the Soho Metropolitan, permitting the sunlight to pour in. The whole atmosphere is conducive to comfort, from the heated floors, luxury soaps and Frette linen in the marble bathroom, to the natural down duvet in the bedroom
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The Internet is already popular for booking holidays, yet it has not become a major part of business travel planning until now. Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity have all rolled out business versions of their sites, which are now proving popular with the unmanaged traveler -- those executives who are not handled by travel agencies.
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Consumers find it easier to book hotels online than flights, but there's still room for improvement, a study by Web Mystery Shoppers International Inc. has found.
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During the first eight months of the year, 4.2 million room nights in Accor hotels were booked online, the equivalent of 170 hotels a day. At August 31, online bookings in Accor hotels were up 60%, with a 65% increase for Accor sites in Europe. Room nights reserved on the Accor hotel accounted for nearly 85% of total online bookings, compared with 15% for online distributors
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It is estimated that there are approximately ten world-class international cities. From my perspective, a world-class international city is one that has luxury/ five-star hotels and gourmet restaurants with professional service, a workable public transportation system, a wide array of shopping options, important collections of arts and antiques, year-round cultural opportunities - from the ballet and classical music to rock, pop and folk tunes.
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Barry Sternlicht's Bedding Revolution Continues; Sheraton Hotel Owners Investing More Than $75 Million in New Beds
Sleeping on the job is usually a no-no, but executives at Sheraton Hotels & Resorts have slumbered on hundreds of mattresses, pillows and bed linens to develop the brand's newest signature: the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Bed(sm). The hotel giant and its owners and franchisees are spending more than $75 million to put 110,000 new beds in 200 hotels in North America.
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Adam's Mark Hotels and Resorts is reportedly trying to sell half of its hotels, but its Buffalo location is not believed to be among them.Reports in the hospitality industry press say Adam's Mark is shopping 11 of its hotels through an Atlanta-based brokerage, Hodges Ward Elliott.
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Global Hospitality Newsletter: September 20, 2003
After an encouraging month of May and June, July marks a return to clearly retreating results. The RevPAR of corporate run chain hotels has fallen by 5.4%. While Germany seems to be continuing in its turnaround, the situation in the Netherlands is starting to worsen. With a fall in RevPAR by 5.5%, France recorded a rather deceiving month of July.
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The UK hotel industry is front-page news – but not for the best of reasons. Daily news on the troubles at Meridien, the attempt to take Macdonald Hotels private, and aggressive shareholder-driven changes at Thistle and Hanover are all are symptoms of the very difficult trading times hoteliers find themselves in. Bill Marriott recently said that he had not faced such challenges in all his 47 years in the industry and that other industry heavy weight - Starwood’s Barry Sternlicht - described the convergence of recent events as the, ‘perfect storm’. The future is certainly far from clear
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Sol Meliá Opens Its Thirteenth Hotel In Germany - The Tryp Frankfurt Located Alongside The Frankfurt Exhibition Center
The Spanish hotel chain Sol Meliá has added a new hotel in Germany, the Tryp Frankfurt Hotel, a modern, four-star hotel with 177 rooms. A magnificent location very near the Frankfurt Exhibition Center makes it an ideal hotel for business travelers to Frankfurt or visitors to any of the more than 50 major events held every year at the venue. In 2002, the Frankfurt Exhibition Center received more than 1.6 million visitors.
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Global Hospitality Newsletter: September 19, 2003
Tourism arrivals confirm rebound from Sars; For the first time since the outbreak, the number of visitors increases year on year
Hong Kong's tourism industry is officially back, according to government officials. They said yesterday that visitor arrivals last month grew for the first time, year on year, since the Sars outbreak began. In August, there were 1.64 million visitors to Hong Kong, 9.6 per cent more than the same month last year, according to provisional figures released by the Hong Kong Tourism Board. It was the first time since March that monthly visitor arrivals had not shown a year-on-year decline.
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Leisure group Whitbread yesterday confirmed its appetite to snap up rival hotel chain Premier Lodge, as news emerged of secret talks with potential buyers in the Scottish & Newcastle pub auction. A Whitbread spokesman said: "We've made it clear Premier Lodge is a business we would be interested in buying, but only at the right price."
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Carlson Hotels Worldwide Acquires Full Ownership of Park Plaza and Park Inn Brands;
Carlson Hotels Worldwide today announced that the company has acquired full ownership of the Park Inn and Park Plaza hotel brands from its joint venture partner, Olympus Hospitality Group. The acquisition is strategically significant in consolidating Carlson's global ownership of the Park brands and it is expected to bring a new era of brand clarity and growth to Park Plaza and Park Inn hotels. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed
THE number of business travelers roaming around Asia has returned to pre-SARS levels, a global business travel management company said on Tuesday. Carlson Wagonlit Travel's (CWT's) Asia Pacific president Geoffrey Marshall said the company's sales volume plunged 70 per cent at the height of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak this year.
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The five-star contemporary Metropolitan Bangkok will open its doors next month with the aim of pampering A-list models and movie stars According to general manager James Low, the Metropolitan is differentiating itself by not catering to the general high-end market but to connoisseurs of design and modern living.
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The Leading Hotels of the World has announced a new service exclusive to its 400 member hotels: the Leading Service Provider Network
The Network, comprising a global collection of endorsed companies with a proven track record in the luxury hotel marketing sector, provides custom-designed business solutions for member hotels. Over 200 companies with expertise in providing business solutions to the luxury hotel industry were reviewed for the Network endorsement.
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JW Marriott, the luxury arm of the Marriott International hotel chain, has revealed an ambitious plan to double its number of hotels and break into the European market. The company has already tripled the number of JW Marriott hotel and resort properties to 30 over the past three years.
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InterContinental Hotels (IHG) said a fall in the number of US visitors to Europe related to the Iraq war had contributed to a 31% slump in profits to £92m for the six months to end-June 2003. And the group warned that market conditions had changed little since a trading update in May, when it reported that there had been no signs of sustained recovery in the hotel sector.
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InterContinental Hotels Group, the world's second largest hotel operator, plans to increase its presence in China two-fold over the next three years, the Shanghai Daily reported.
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The French Government has announced a series of measures it is planning to implement to support the French tourism industry, including an overall market re-launch highlighting France as a tourist destination
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Year-to-July 2003 figures from the Italian edition of the HotelBenchmark Survey by Deloitte & Touche reveals that despite falling occupancy levels and average room rates, Italian hoteliers still managed to achieve higher rooms revenue per available room (revPAR) than many of their European counterparts.
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71 Percent Believe Wi-Fi Will Give Business Travelers a Competitive Advantage
- Business travelers view wireless computing technology as a business necessity only a year after "hotspots" -- places where people can tap into a wireless Internet connection with their notebook PCs -- became available in cafes, hotels and airports. Today, there are approximately 20,000 hotspots worldwide, a number expected to grow sixfold by 2005(1).
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De Vere Group Plc, the hotels and health & fitness operator, announced the appointment of Carl Leaver as Chief Executive Officer, taking over from Paul Dermody who, as was announced at the interim results, is retiring. Carl Leaver, 35, joins De Vere from Whitbread Plc, where he has been Managing Director of Travel Inn for the past three years. Prior to this he was Operations Director, Marriott Country Clubs and has held various other positions with companies including Nomura, Forte and Mars
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The International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA) will host its 40th Annual Congress "Managing Through Rapidly Changing Times" in Cairo, Egypt, 5-9 December 2003 at the recently-opened, 5* Conrad Cairo Hotel. Scheduled as the Congress Keynote Speaker is Mr. Francesco Frangialli, Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization, who will address challenges and solutions for recovery in the global tourism industry.
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Global Hospitality Newsletter: September 13, 2003
There appears to be many varying opinions and misunderstandings surrounding hotel Internet sales. I have to admit that it can get confusing, but it sure isn’t rocket science. There have been many articles written about new technology, Internet strategy, Community strategy, search engines, booking engines, and every other component of eMarketing on the Web. It seems that at least some of it only adds to the confusion.
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The Web is a powerful medium for targeting, reaching and connecting with Influencers, particularly the newly coined group of Influentials. The next four months of Best Practices will focus on specific verticals, as well as unique demographics/audience segments. In both cases, the format will largely remain the same -- where relevant, complementary best practices, which are slam dunks so to speak, will be highlighted.
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Hotel occupancy rates in Hong Kong are still below levels seen before the SARS outbreak in the second quarter, and aren't likely to return to pre-SARS levels until the end of the year, Hong Kong Hotels Association Chairman Mark Lettenbichler said Tuesday. "The market is still sensitive," Lettenbichler said at a press briefing. "It will take some time (for the market) to regain confidence."
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Global Hospitality Newsletter: September 12, 2003
Just six weeks after a bomb exploded outside the JW Marriott in Jakarta, the property re-opened yesterday for business, with its full inventory of rooms and services on offer once again.
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In response to the recent announcement by the government of Singapore of a new case of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), Jean-Claude Baumgarten, President of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) today issued the following statement.
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Singapore SARS case prompts transport, hotel stock sell-off; The virus' return has scared a market ripe for profit taking
Asian transport and hotel stocks were heavily sold down yesterday on fears that an isolated outbreak of Sars in Singapore could presage a return to restrictions on travel, bringing with them damaging economic consequences.
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Despite the recent bankruptcy filing by Ian Schrager's Clift Hotel, the notion that the next round of Chapter 11 petitions will come from within the lodging industry has been replaced with another -- that the sector may be ripe for a wave of M&A.
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EIH Ltd (BSE:EIHO) has entered into a strategic alliance with Hilton International for a 15-year period for co-branding hotels in India under the "Trident Hilton" brand. Nine hotels across India, including the Oberoi Towers in Mumbai, would be re-branded as "Hilton Towers", following an agreement signed here on Thursday.
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Domestic business trips declined 5.8 percent in 2002 from the year before, according to travel industry statistics. The meetings and conventions business has fared somewhat better, with total events and spending off less than 2 percent. Within that segment, however, spending on big, brassy conventions and trade shows is off - and hotel managers remain glum about any surge in the overall meetings business this year.
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Indian Hotels, which owns the Taj chain, plans to export its budget hotel offering to locations which have a large number of mid-category travellers passing through. “The offering we have in mind would be ideally suited for the large number of people who travel on a per diem budget and pass through a location because it is major transportation or meeting hub or an information technology hotspot,” Raymond Bickson, managing director of Indian Hotels, said.
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Hyatt International has joined the Beijing property development frenzy by making its first bricks and mortar investment in the country, a departure from its strategy of relying on hotel management contracts. The Chicago-based group will spend US$ 30 million for a one-third stake in a boutique Park Hyatt hotel in a new office and residential complex in Beijing's central business district.
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I assumed this was a one-of-a-kind phenomenon until I visited the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans and encountered that luxurious lodging's Compscierges. Then, when I read about Surf Butlers at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott in Southern California, I sensed a real trend. Until, that is, I discovered that unlike E-Butlers and Compscierges, Surf Butlers don't help guests surf the Internet. Their focus is the "blue crush" of Pacific Ocean waves, with duties including twice-daily orientations and surfboard instruction.
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Travel agents rely increasingly on the Internet to make reservations and check availability for anything from air travel and car rental to hotel bookings or cruise liners. The most popular way of doing this is through Galileo's FocalPointNet. Galileo has now teamed up with Tiscali in order to offer a single solution for travel agents
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Dubai is poised to emerge as a destination of choice for the global conventions and conferences market, according to a random poll of several of the city's major hotels
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Hilton International has secured a nine hotel/1900-room presence in India in a strategic alliance with Mumbai-listed EIH Ltd, owner and operator of the Oberoi and Trident brands.
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Scots hotel tycoon Donald Macdonald yesterday bought out the business he founded in a deal worth pounds 590million.
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A £590MILLION deal to take Macdonald Hotels into private ownership and to pay for subsequent restructuring has been completed by Skye Leisure Ventures and Bank of Scotland.
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Royal Garden Resorts Plc (RGR), Thailand's largest hotel group, is optimistic about the business prospects and plans to expand its Thai operations
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Economics, Flexibility, Company Policy Changes Driving Trend of Increased Short-Haul Business Road Trips; Singing, Gossiping, and Bonding with Colleagues -- But Not Bosses -- Popular Along the Way
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NH Hoteles SA expects its new strategic plan to boost the hotel group's share price to about 15 eur from just under 10 currently, La Gaceta de los Negocios reported, citing comments by chairman Gabriele Burgio
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Bathgate-based Macdonald Hotels plc said Wednesday it has applied to delist from the London Stock Exchange on Oct. 1, after the 260 pence a share offer made by its founders and management in Scotland's largest public-to-private deal was declared unconditional.
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Global Hospitality Newsletter: September 11, 2003
Latest figures from NYC & Co, the city of New York’s tourism marketing body, show the overall number of visitors increased by 0.3% year-on-year to 35.3m in 2002. However, the number of overseas visitors dropped by 10% to 5.1m, which means that since 2000 New York City has experienced a 25% fall in international arrivals
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It’s no secret that that the last few years have been difficult for the travel and tourism industry - first the outbreak of foot and mouth and impact of September 11, followed by subsequent terrorist attacks and the recent war in Iraq. Just as the industry was coming to terms with these demand shocks, any hope of an immediate recovery was dealt a further blow as concerns were raised over the spread of the SARS virus in Asia.
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Global Hospitality Newsletter: September 6, 2003
Leverage the popularity of the local destination for the benefit of your hotel(s)on behalf of your hotel or cluster of hotels
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The usual suspects - global economic conditions, the war in Iraq as well as an appreciating Euro - have all served to depress hotel performance across Belgium and the Netherlands. Latest figures from the HotelBenchmark Survey by Deloitte & Touche saw hotel performance across the two countries decline for the ninth consecutive month in July, with revenue per available room (revPAR) falling by 11.7 percent compared to the previous year.
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The UK hotel market's cost-cutting measures have helped to prevent ongoing international and domestic issues from hitting profitability as hard as feared during the last year. This was one of the findings of UK Trends 2003, a report from PKF's hotel consultancy services, which showed that profitability (IBFC) across the industry was 42.4% of revenue in 2002, a drop of only 3.1% on the previous year.
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With the upcoming General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization (WTO) next October, China is expected to prove its readiness to become one of the leaders in global tourism.
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HSMAI provides senior executivess a `look into the future` when it meets at MIT for an executive think on technology
"Test Drive the Future: Technologies That Will Change Our Lives" is what senior executives attending the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International`s (HSMAI) Executive THINK (Travel & Hospitality Innovation, Networking, Knowledge) will discover at the day-long program to be held at the prestigious MIT Sloan School of Business Faculty Club in Cambridge, MA on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2003.
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Canny hoteliers are using Taiwanese technology to block cellphone signals, fooling guests into thinking there is no coverage in the area and forcing them to use the hotel's phone services. Some hotels in Scotland have installed mobile phone jammers to force guests to use the in-room phone service, reported Scottish tabloid Daily Record .
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AsiaPacific Incentives and Meetings Expo - is the Asia Pacific`s largest business travel, incentives and meetings event. "There has been an overwhelming response, with many exhibitors opting for additional space in 2004," said AIME Exhibition Manager, Rosemarie Sama
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Global Hospitality Newsletter: September 5, 2003
Hotels.com, the online hotel reservation service, cut its ties to travel Web site Travelocity on Tuesday and said it would work more closely with Expedia, its corporate sibling and the No. 1 travel site. Hotels.com, which along with Expedia is owned by InterActiveCorp
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China's top business destination is setting new benchmarks in business travel, attracting more business travellers than leisure tourists last year. More than 60 percent of the 1.8 million who visited Shanghai last year were on business, said Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administrative Commission chairman Yao Mingbao.
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Thousands of people poured into visa bureaus in Beijing and Shanghai yesterday for permits to visit Hong Kong and Macau, but a mainland official urged them not to book trips to Hong Kong yet because the city would be unable to cope with the rush.Under rules that came into effect yesterday, residents of the two cities are allowed to travel individually to Hong Kong and Macau. Previously, they could only visit as part of a group
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Weak global growth, the worst drought in a century, a strengthening currency and a downturn in the important tourism sector combined to depress Australia's normally resilient economy in the second quarter.
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Melbourne Convention & Visitors Bureau (MCVB) was abuzz with excitement late last week, following the announcement in Ljubljana, Slovenia, that Melbourne had won the bid for Apimondia and ApiExpo 2007.
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Online hotel bookings still rare
Hotels need to catch up with airlines in selling on the Internet, according to a new report from the Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University.
Hilton Hotels Corporation has announced that its Family of Hotels reported all-time record-breaking gross online reservations and revenue from online bookings on its brand websites in June 2003 . These history-making figures for the company and its major brand websites included more than 450,000 online reservations(a), which represented more than 15,000 daily online reservations on average during June. These brand website reservations led to online revenue of more than $109,000,000.
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A day focusing on the meetings, conference and incentive travel sector has become an established part of World Travel Market. This year’s programme of events – Tuesday 11 November – is undoubtedly the strongest and very comprehensive .
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Asia Hotel Investments is suing international hotel chain, Starwood Hotels, for breach of contract over the right to manage a Bangkok hotel. The investment company alleges Starwood entered into a management contract for Grand Pacific Hotel, now known as Westin Grande Sukhumvit, within 12 months of its Confidentiality and Non-Circumvention Agreement
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How well is your organisation delivering its vision? Do you fear that only isolated pockets of your organisation understand your vision and fewer still apply it? You are not alone. More and more businesses are experiencing what we term mis-alignment. Symptoms include organisational friction, contradictory goals, poor resource allocation and a weakened ability to achieve goals.
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Argentina has certainly had more than its fair share of economic, social and political problems over recent years, which have naturally had a knock-on effect on the tourism industry. 2002 saw the country enter its fourth year of recession - GDP contracted by 10.9 percent, unemployment rose to almost 19 percent and peso was devalued by 70 percent in January.
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The number of overseas visitors to Beijing dropped by more than 50 per cent during the first half of this year because of the SARS outbreak, the official Xinhua News Agency said Saturday.
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China will take three years for its tourism industry to fully recover from the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak (SARS), according to a top tourism official. China was the hardest hit country in the world.
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Remote Check-In Could Increase Convenience and Security for Travelers - Pilot Project Teams-Up Hoteliers, Airlines
An innovative pilot project, supported by theAmerican Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), could revolutionize travel in the U.S. by maximizing security while minimizing inconveniences imposed on travelers.
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Cornell experts propose strategies for hotels challenged by growing Internet room bookings by customers
Hoteliers must do a better job of managing the Internet distribution channels for their hotel rooms, say two Cornell University faculty members in a new report By 2005 an estimated 1 in 5 hotel bookings will be made online, up from 1 in 12 in 2002, note Bill Carroll and Judy Siguaw, both affiliated with The Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration. Hotel chain web sites will control only half of those bookings, say the researchers, with online third-party intermediaries capturing the other half. And that’s not counting bookings based on Internet research but made via a phone call
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Recovery for the hotels industry battered by the Iraqi war, the outbreak of Sars and the general economic downturn is further away than many had hoped, according to Hilton, one of the world's biggest hoteliers.The company said it did not want to raise hopes with predictions of a "false dawn" because there was still a lot of uncertainty about the strength of the hotel market for the next few months.
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A UK or European hotel operator is most likely to take over the running of London's Grosvenor House and Waldorf hotels, say industry insiders.US operator Marriott International had been mooted as a frontrunner in the race to take on the leases of the hotels.Owner Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) put them into administrative receivership last month after operator Le Meridien failed to pay rent due on 11 hotels belonging to the bank.
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Cuba, known for its picturesque scenery and sun-soaked white beaches, is one of major tourist destinations in the Caribbean. In recent year, the Cuban government has taken steps to boost tourism, which is becoming the most dynamic and lucrative industry of the island country.
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World tourism this year appears set to approach the levels of 2002 despite the war in Iraq, terrorist attacks and the SARS epidemic, the head of the World Tourism Organization said Wednesday."I'm expecting a modest summer season, roughly the same as last year," said Francesco Frangialli, secretary general of the Madrid-based organization, in an interview with AFP.
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Hilton Hotels Corporation announced plans today to install and test guest self-service kiosks at two of its largest wholly owned properties -- the 2,035-room Hilton New York and 1,544-room Hilton Chicago – which will provide hotels and guests alike with a new approach to expedite the check-in/check-out process. Hilton is working with IBM to develop the kiosk hardware and software.
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