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Russia's 'Fancy Bear' hackers target hotel guests

Hotel Management - 16 August 2017
Networking security website FireEye discovered a malicious document in several emails sent to multiple companies in the hospitality industry, including hotels in at least seven European countries and one Middle Eastern country, in early July. The document contained a macro that installs GAMEFISH malware, which is associated with a politically motivated Russian hacking group known as APT28 (or Fancy Bear). This is allegedly the same group that hacked the Democratic National Committee ahead of last year's U.S. election. The tool used after the initial malware installation, EternalBlue, reportedly was leaked from the U.S. National Security Agency itself.
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With hotel industry at peak occupancy, where does it turn for growth?

Hotel Management - 16 August 2017
The hotel industry is hitting it out of the ballpark when it comes to occupancy rates, so where can it turn now to grow? That was part of the discussion at the Hotel Data Conference, here at the Omni Nashville Hotel. In a general session entitled, “Boom or Gloom? Forecasting the Future of Hotel Performance,” supply growth took center stage. Between June 2016 and 2017, rooms in construction increased 12.3 percent while the planned pipeline is up 11.3 percent and the pipeline of rooms under construction is up 11.6 percent. But rooms in construction are disproportionally dispersed across New York, Nashville, Seattle, Denver and Dallas where they respectively represent 12.8-percent, 12.1-percent, 10.9-percent, 10.4-percent and 9.1-percent increases in existing supply.
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Check-in, check-out flexibility the newest way to win customers

Hotel Management - 16 August 2017
No matter your guests' reason for traveling, business or pleasure, the check-in and check-out processes are needlessly frustrating. On average, hotels want guests to check in and vacate their rooms at specific times, without much flexibility. In the age of the mobile booking, mobile check-in and experiential travel, this lack of flexibility is one of the few major frustrations left in the travel process.
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How increases in compensation, labor costs are leading to cost savings

Hotel Management - 15 August 2017
Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly compensation for a hospitality industry employee increased 3.6 percent in 2016. In the hotel industry, labor costs average roughly 50 percent of total operating expenses. Therefore, with STR reporting an annual revenue-per-available-room growth rate of 3.2 percent for the year, it is understandable that U.S. hotel owners and operators were concerned about their ability to increase profits.
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What's behind branded hotel growth in Morocco

Hotel Management - 15 August 2017
Morocco saw visitor numbers increase by 9 percent to 3 million in the first quarter, according to figures released by the country’s General Directorate for National Security. The data was released as Hilton announced plans to expand in the country, which it described as having “huge potential for both business and leisure tourism.” Morocco has suffered from falling visitor numbers as a result of its proximity to terror-hit countries such as Tunisia, despite not having seen an incident since the 2011 bombing in Jemaa el-Fnaa square, which killed 17 people. In an attempt to bolster numbers, the country’s government has liberalized its visa policy, offering Chinese citizens visa-free entry. The move saw arrivals from China reportedly increase by 565 percent in the first half of this year, against a 27-percent rise in visitors from the U.S., a 12-percent increase from Germany, an 8 percent increase from the Netherlands, a 7-percent increase from Spain and a 5-percent increase from France. Mohamed Sajid, the country’s minister of tourism, said that the sector was expected to grow up by 5.5 percent in 2017, with overall visitor numbers reaching 10.9 million.
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Top three things hotels should do to ensure mobile-friendliness

Hotel Management - 15 August 2017
HOTEL MANAGEMENT asked several mobile technology experts what are the top three things hoteliers should do to ensure their hotel is mobile-friendly. Here’s what they think are the most important.
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How companies like Advrtas are dictating the future of technology in the hotel space

Hotel Management - 15 August 2017
If mobile 360°, virtual and augmented reality are the future, then Silicon Valley-based Advrtas, part of Outlyer Technologies, is making sure it's there to ride the tide in. In fact, it was among the global startups featured at June’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Hosted for 64 years by the southern French city best known for its yearly film festival, the annual innovation event attracts not only Hollywood royalty, but also the best and the brightest in business and global finance. Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund and Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg were both speakers this year, as were Dame Helen Mirren and Director Ron Howard.
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To drive revenue, look to underutilized space at hotels

Hotel Management - 15 August 2017
Hoteliers should look to every inch of their properties for opportunities to maximize revenue, and that includes spaces that might be underutilized. When owners think of new ways to use these spaces, their bottom lines will thank them. “The public spaces in most hotels have been vastly underutilized except for the hotel bar,” said Roger Storer, principal at IGroup Design. For example, he cited entrances and lobby space at hotels, which seem to exist as places for guests to pause, quickly meet others or act as a way in and out of the property.
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Three steps to take toward reducing hotel costs

Hotel Management - 15 August 2017
It's one thing to make money, but it's another to watch as incremental costs add up to pry it from your fingers. Hotel operators know well the thousands of tiny barbs these costs represent, and at Hotel ROI Midwest, part of the Hotel ROI Series, reducing this loss was top of mind. The event, held at the Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront, began with a discussion on maximizing the worth of owner assets before delving into methods for minimizing costs.
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Booking Ninjas launches new hotel property-management system

Hotel Management - 15 August 2017
Booking Ninjas launched its new hospitality property-management system using all the latest technologies, built on a connected cloud platform. Its innovative property-management system now offers scalability and capabilities never before made available in the hospitality industry, the company said.
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Why buyers want independent London hotels

Hotel Management - 14 August 2017
As we noted last week, the UK reported a record number of hotel bedrooms opening in the UK since 2012. The sale of 1,849 Hilton-branded rooms in the UK underscored the popularity of the brands to investors, but, as demand for independent hotel grows, so too does appetite from investors for properties unencumbered by a flag.
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Hotel investment in Africa heats up as tourism demand rises

Hotel Management - 14 August 2017
Africa has increasingly become the focus region for numerous hotel investors as the continent quickly becomes known as a high-demand destination for tourists. According to IOL, TopHotelProjects' data showed that 116 hotel projects are in the planning phase and 155 projects are under construction while 36 projects are in the pre-opening phase and 42 projects are almost complete.
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Principal Hotel invests over $324 million in portfolio-wide renovations

Hotel Management - 14 August 2017
As Starwood Capital's Principal Hotel Company has been preparing for the launch of its De Vere brand this month, over $324 million in renovations and upgrades are currently underway across its hotel properties. The group is investing in these mass refurbishments to position it as the leading independent conference group in the UK as it opens its newest location, the Principal London.
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How hotels can beat home sharing

Hotel Management - 14 August 2017
The hotel industry likes to whine. It’s true, right? First (and still), the online travel agencies. Hoteliers love to bemoan what they allude to as egregious commission structures. Turns out, hotels have always been receptive to the traditional 10-percent travel agent commissions, but hike it up to 25 percent and throw it online and hoteliers scream bloody murder. To be fair, there are “Goodfellas” characters that would blush at that rate.
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Hotel ROI Chicago: Revenue spotlight

Hotel Management - 10 August 2017
Hoteliers always put the needs of their guests first, but when they go home at the end of the day they want to be secure in the knowledge that they are making money. With that in mind, hundreds of operators, owners and investors met at the Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront for Chicago’s Hotel ROI event, which was held to promulgate knowledge that would lead to profitability in all aspects of the hotel experience. In a panel titled “Maximizing Revenues,” three industry leaders discussed the decisions operators could make to expand their opportunities to build on their bottom line, and the moment the discussion began the concept of “quality” rose to the forefront.
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Italy outlaws hotel rate parity

Hotel Management - 10 August 2017
Italy will no longer be able to enforce price parity clauses in its hotels after the Senate voted to outlaw the practice. The move followed the lead of France and Austria, where a compromise on the clauses accepted by competition authorities and booking platforms was reversed in favor of an outright ban as authorities toughen up on the clauses. The legal ban on rate parity clauses in Italy is expected to come into force next month, stating that “any agreement by which the hotel is obliged not to offer to the final clients, by any means or any instruments, prices, terms and any other conditions better than those offered by the same hotel through intermediaries, independently from the law applicable to the contract, is void."
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Sofitel Paris Baltimore Hotel installs interactive video wall

Hotel Management - 10 August 2017
The Sofitel Paris Baltimore hotel installed an immersive digital video wall, powered by RealMotion, the technology division of the experiential design studio Float4. The goal was to create a perfectly integrated entertaining, informative and interactive welcome wall that was also an intuitive tool for visitors to engage with and hotel staff to easily manage and update. This goal was achieved by designing an experience that is entirely focused on the end user from start to finish. Float4’s technical and creative thinkers worked as a team to create an intuitive tool that also complements the aesthetics of a 19th-century space.

UK gears up for tourism growth with over 7,500 new hotel guestrooms

Hotel Management - 9 August 2017
The first six months of 2017 saw the highest number of hotel guestrooms opening in the UK since the Olympic year of 2012, according to Hotel Bulletin Q2 2017 published by HVS, AlixPartners, STR and AM:PM. Growth in hotel RevPAR in all but two UK cities, double digit growth in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast and London’s 8-percent uplift demonstrated that international visitors are still coming to the UK on the back of a weaker pound and a number of high profile events.
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Deciphering ROI from tech investment can be complicated

Hotel Management - 9 August 2017
Technology can be a tricky thing in the hotel industry. Not only are hotels notorious for being behind the curve when it comes to the latest technology, but hoteliers are also faced with trying to decipher what tech investments will provide the greatest return. Some technology trends are elements that hotels need to survive, while some technology is simply a fad.

How Michael Tall helped Charlestowne Hotels grow

Hotel Management - 9 August 2017
Michael Tall, president and chief operating officer of Charlestowne Hotels, never really intended to make hospitality his career—although it was a presence in his life long before he graduated from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and joined the company he has called home for the past 13 years.
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Bleisure' travelers boost Spain's hotel profits

Hotel Management - 8 August 2017
“Bleisure” travelers—those who add on a personal vacation to a business trip—are boosting hotel profits in the Mediterranean, underlining the growing diversity of the region’s market as it moves away from the traditional “sun-and-sand” visit and looks towards corporate travelers who combine business with leisure. Meliá has reported strong results entering the critical summer season, leaning on its Mediterranean business. “The first half of 2017 reveals a solid evolution both in the level of income and RevPAR, and the excellent position gained in the emerging bleisure segment,” Gabriel Escarrer, CEO, Meliá Hotels International, said.
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How Marriott's Starwood integration led to Alibaba

Hotel Management - 8 August 2017
Marriott International, already the largest hotel company in the world, is adding to its international wingspan. The company's Q2 2017 call started with a heavy focus on Asia—and with good reason. Arne Sorenson, Marriott's president and CEO, called into the session from Shanghai, where the company just launched a joint venture with Alibaba Group Holding, the largest e-commerce company in the world.
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Kelly Wearstler inspired by pre-modernist European influences for San Francisco Proper Hotel

Hotel Management - 8 August 2017
Proper Hospitality and the Kor Group are slated to open the San Francisco Proper Hotel later this summer. The property will be located within the city’s Flatiron Building, with Kelly Wearstler involved in the historic building’s redevelopment. The historic building’s façade is being enhanced to reveal its Beaux Arts features.
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Why London's hotels are attracting global investors

Hotel Management - 4 August 2017
London’s hotels are hotter than ever. According to Savills, investment into London’s hotel market reached £1.1 billion—55 percent of the UK’s overall total of £2 billion. What’s more, 68 percent of that investment (or £756 million) was international. Savills credits a strong tourist market, narrowing yields and a weaker pound for the boost. Initial yields for prime freehold hotel investments in London are currently between 3.85 percent-4.25 percent, compared to the end of 2016 which saw them at 5.13 percent.
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Mediterranean misfortune leaves Spain as an attractive investment opportunity

Hotel Management - 4 August 2017
Philippine Derycke, CEO of Spain at Eurosic, will be a featured speaker at the Mediterranean Resort & Hotel Real Estate Forum, which will be held in Tarragona, Spain, from Oct. 16-18. Paris-based Eurosic specializes in the acquisition, operating and management of real estate assets, and manages a portfolio valued at €7.7 billion (as of December 31, 2016). Before taking on her new role, Derycke was previously international acquisitions manager for Eurosic. She moved to Madrid as COO and CIO for Eurosic Spain, and was involved in the set-up of Eurosic Investment Spain last year. Ahead of the conference, she spoke about the region’s appeal for investors and what criteria her team uses to select assets.
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Chinese regulators deny reports country cracking down on overseas deals

Hotel Management - 3 August 2017
On July 31, a Bloomberg headline hit the wires with the claim that China was asking Anbang Insurance Group, one of the largest foreign owners of U.S. assets, specifically in the hospitality sector, to sell its overseas assets, including the Waldorf Astoria in New York. The story did not name an actual source and has since been rebutted by Chinese officials. The China Insurance Regulatory Commission, as reported by the South China Morning Post, vehemently denied that it had pressed Anbang to divest its offshore assets.

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