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Sandals Is Looking to Wall Street to Expand in the Caribbean

skift.com - Hotels - 21 July 2017
Sandals Resorts International is looking to Wall Street to help finance as many as a dozen new Caribbean hotels as the luxury resort manager ditches its conservative strategy of building just one project per year and keeping debt right down. CEO Adam Stewart, who runs Sandals with his father, Gordon “Butch” Stewart, said the closely-held company is not for sale and has no immediate plans to go public, contrary to rumors. Instead, it’s looking beyond the regional Caribbean banks it has traditionally used, to fund the biggest expansion in its history.
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Marriott and Hilton's New Cancellation Policies Won't Impact Corporate Travel as Much as You Think

skift.com - Hotels - 21 July 2017
Despite initial concerns from the corporate travel community regarding Marriott’s new 48-hour cancellation policy, one corporate travel services provider says these new booking policies won’t hurt corporate travelers and their companies much. TripBAM, a platform that tracks hotel rates and rebooks them at a lower rate for its corporate clients, mostly mid- to large-size companies, said the financial impact of these new cancellation policies from Marriott and, soon, Hilton, to companies isn’t nearly as bad as you may think.

How the Digital Concierge Is Reshaping the Hotel Industry

skift.com - Hotels - 20 July 2017
Today, most people book their hotel stays on the web. Unfortunately for the hotel industry, more people are reserving their visits using a third-party site. Despite pushes from big brands like Hilton in the past couple of years to get customers to book directly, hotels are still struggling to win the booking war. Fortunately for hotels, online travel agencies (OTAs) can’t provide the seamless end-to-end experience travelers are looking for that goes well beyond the initial booking. A new report from [24]7 noted that while travelers may be getting a discount in price on sites like Hotels.com, they’re also signing up for a disjointed guest experience. So how can hospitality brands come out on top? The report, “Hospitality and the Digital Concierge,” says hotels can get ahead by creating a digitally powered, personalized customer service experience from pre-booking to post-stay with Digital Concierge.

Wyndham Buys AmericInn Hotel Chain for $170 Million

skift.com - Hotels - 18 July 2017
Wyndham Hotel Group is adding to its collection of midscale hotel brands with the $170-million acquisition of Minnesota-based AmericInn hotel brand and its management company, Three Rivers Hospitality, from Northcott Hospitality. AmericInn will become the company’s 20th hotel brand, adding to Wyndham’s portfolio of 1,500 midscale hotels. AmericInn has 200 mostly franchised hotels comprising 11,600 rooms in 21 states throughout the U.S., primarily in the Midwestern U.S., Ohio Valley, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, and North Dakota. It currently has 23 properties in its pipeline, and owns a total of 10 hotels. Wyndham will seek to eventually sell those 10 hotels in alignment with the company’s asset-light strategy. The deal is subject to regulatory and government approval and other customary closing conditions but Wyndham hopes it will close by October.

Environmental Sustainability Is the Next Frontier in Luxury Travel

skift.com - Hotels - 18 July 2017
Luxury hospitality means offerings guests a five-star service no matter the method, but the industry and its customers are starting to recognize that the future of this business will be cut short without a focus on the environment impact of their operations. Luxury today often means going where no one else can go with all the bells and whistles of a five-star property, which poses a challenges for operators who must balance their customers’ lavish expectations while protecting their sensitive ecosystem.
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New Research Suggests It Doesn't Always Pay to Book Direct for a Hotel

skift.com - Hotels - 18 July 2017
A new report published by research firm Piper Jaffray suggests it doesn’t necessarily pay to book direct with hotels instead of with an online travel agency (OTA) such as Expedia or Booking.com, or a metasearch site such as Kayak or Trivago. Analysts looked at hotels from the top four hotel chains (InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott International, Hilton, and Wyndham Hotel Group) in the largest 25 cities worldwide and found that booking direct on a hotel’s website was a less expensive booking option for only 14 percent of the hotels in the sample.
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Red Lion Sues Hard Rock Hotels for Infringement in Race to Win Over Millennials

skift.com - Hotels - 17 July 2017
When it comes to appealing to Millennials — of which there are now 75.4 million in the United States alone — hotel companies are doing all they can to launch wallet-friendly, yet still-stylish accommodations that emphasize such features as co-working spaces, communal stadium seating, artisanal goods, and craft beers. Often classified as midscale hotels, these brands include the new Tru by Hilton and Marriott’s Moxy, for example. And there are more of these brands in the works: Trump Hotels’ American Idea, for one, and InterContinental Hotels Group’s yet-to-be-named one.

Guests Are More Satisfied at Hotels That Are Mobile Friendly

skift.com - Hotels - 13 July 2017
J.D. Power and Associates has released its annual North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study and the biggest takeaway for hoteliers is this: pay more attention to mobile. Hotels that incorporate mobile apps and functionality into a hotel stay have higher guest satisfaction. And they are more likely to increase their number of direct bookings if they focus on mobile.
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Exclusive: Hyatt Signs Deal With Booking.com as Hedge Against Expedia Impasse

skift.com - Hotels - 12 July 2017
Hyatt and Booking.com quietly signed a new and restructured distribution agreement in early June about a year short of the prior agreement’s expiration as the U.S.-based hotel chain seeks leverage in its contentious negotiations with Expedia Inc., Skift has learned exclusively. Hyatt, according to multiple sources, was reluctant to publicize the new pact with Booking.com because the chain didn’t want to further aggravate Expedia during negotiations, but with a July 31 deadline looming, apparently it is time to shake things up.

Four Seasons Hotels and Other Sabre-Connected Properties Suffer Third-Party Data Breach

skift.com - Hotels - 11 July 2017
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and Trump Hotels are the latest hotel companies to go through a data security breach, although this time the breach took place via their third-party hotel reservations provider, Sabre. The period during which the breach took place was from August 10, 2016 to March 9, 2017. During this time, guest information related to a subset of hotel reservations (unencrypted payment card information, reservation information) booked through Sabre’s SynXis central reservations system was accessible by an unauthorized party.

Data Breach at Sabre Hits Four Seasons and Other Hotels

skift.com - Hotels - 11 July 2017
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and Trump Hotels are the latest hotel companies to go through a data security breach, although this time the breach took place via their third-party hotel reservations provider, Sabre. The period during which the breach took place was from August 10, 2016 to March 9, 2017. During this time, guest information related to a subset of hotel reservations (unencrypted payment card information, reservation information) booked through Sabre’s SynXis central reservations system was accessible by an unauthorized party.

This Literary Bed-and-Breakfast Continues to Thrive in the Age of Airbnb

skift.com - Hotels - 11 July 2017
What do a group of New York City police officers, teachers and librarians looking to immerse themselves in literary history, and a motorcycle crew have in common? They have all stayed at The Old Mystic Inn in Mystic, Connecticut. They have slept in the canopy beds, stepped across the braided rugs and sat in the Hitchcock chairs. They have walked past the model ships, grandfather clocks, dolls and teddy bears.
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The Business of Loyalty: How Hotels Build Loyalty Beyond the Stay

skift.com - Hotels - 11 July 2017
Today we’re taking a look at one of the biggest pillars of modern hotel loyalty programs: experiences. Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) pioneered the concept years ago when it launched SPG Moments, which gave its SPG members exclusive access to one-of-a-kind and, in some cases, once-in-a-lifetime experiences that were only possible by being an elite member of the SPG program.
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Hotel and Online Travel Agency Direct Booking Winners and Losers in 5 Charts

skift.com - Hotels - 10 July 2017
With all the hoopla over hotel-direct bookings and online travel agency retaliation and maneuvering, the balance of power in U.S. market share among top players has been surprisingly even-keeled over the last year with overall share shifts amounting to less than one percentage point up or down for each sector. From May 2016 to May 2017, according to new bookings data from Hitwise, hotels’ market share of all online bookings in the U.S. fell from 31.36 percent to 30.56 percent, or less than a percentage point, while online travel agencies picked up a corresponding amount, seeing their market share of hotel bookings rise to 69.44 percent, up a bit from 68.64 percent a year earlier.
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The Hotel Chain That Doesn't Need Booking.com or Expedia

skift.com - Hotels - 10 July 2017
In the last couple of years, hotel chains have gradually tried to wrestle back control over distribution from online travel agents. Some have been more successful than others, thanks in part to beefed-up loyalty schemes that offer extra incentives for customers to book through their own websites.
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Why Not Having a Formal Travel Loyalty Program Works - For Some

skift.com - Hotels - 10 July 2017
Loyalty — and the multitude of rewards programs that airlines and hotels have created in an eternal effort to capture it among consumers — is a big business. “We know you have a choice of airlines when you fly, and we want to thank you for choosing [insert airline name],” we’re told at the end of airline safety videos. The No. 1 reason why Marriott International spent more than $13 billion to buy Starwood Hotels & Resorts? Loyalty, according to CEO Arne Sorenson.
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Caesars Looks Deeper Into Hospitality To Diversify Beyond Gaming

skift.com - Hotels - 8 July 2017
Caesars Entertainment Corp. hired two executives to help expand beyond gambling, including licensing the Caesars and Harrah’s brands to hotels that may not feature casinos. As Caesars’ biggest division emerges from bankruptcy protection, a number of potential investors have expressed interest in building resorts flying the company’s flags, in the U.S. and abroad, Chief Executive Officer Mark Frissora said in an interview. Caesars’ customer loyalty program, with some 50 million members, is an attractive asset that lodging operators could use to market their properties, he said.
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Business-Friendly Parq Vancouver Hotel and Casino Avoids Vegas Cliches

skift.com - Hotels - 8 July 2017
In Las Vegas, life revolves around casinos. If you eat at an elite restaurant, you will walk by a seemingly endless string of slot machines before you sit down at a white, cloth-covered table. The same is true whether you’re a business travelers or a clubgoer; chances are, you’re spending your days and nights indoors. Vancouver, on the other hand, is known for its vibrant outdoor lifestyle. Boats and bicycles are standard modes of transportation. Most of the city’s most popular destinations, such as Stanley Park and Capilano Suspension Bridge, are outdoor spectacles.
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Upper House Luxury Hotel Experience Aims for Custom Approach to Tech and Personalization

skift.com - Hotels - 7 July 2017
The Upper House Hong Kong, the flagship property in the Swire Hotels portfolio, is an example of a hotel that blends technology and human hospitality. It is a model that works, and although it is operating at an elevated luxury level, it points the way in some respects for hotels focused on an intuitive guest experience. But these types of experiences require direction, teamwork, vision and a spirit of continual improvement.

What Next-Level Hotels Have in Common: 5 Podcast Takeaways

skift.com - Hotels - 5 July 2017
Our most recent podcast centered around the ways extraordinary hotels are trying to meet the demands of discerning travelers: with an emphasis on local food, curated experiences, thoughtful design, and even a touch of quirkiness. We heard from some of the pros who specialize in connecting travelers with standout hotel experiences. James Lohan and Tamara Heber-Percy are the founders of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, a travel club that started out as a guidebook featuring under-the-radar boutique hotels. We also interviewed Claus Sendlinger, CEO and founder of Design Hotels.

Hotel CEOs Love Direct Booking and 4 Other Hospitality Trends This Week

skift.com - Hotels - 1 July 2017
This week in hospitality, hotel CEOs stated the obvious -- they love direct booking -- and debated how exactly to lean less on those costly online travel agency bookings. -Sarah

Skift Backstage Podcast: What Next-Level Hotels Have in Common

skift.com - Hotels - 29 June 2017
Cookie-cutter uniformity is not what most travelers are seeking from hotels these days. Instead, discerning guests want local food, curated experiences, thoughtful design, and even a touch of quirkiness. On this episode of the Skift Podcast, we’re hearing from some of the pros who make a living connecting travelers with standout hotel experiences. James Lohan and Tamara Heber-Percy are the founders of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, a travel club that started out as a guidebook featuring under-the-radar boutique hotels. We also have an interview with Claus Sendlinger, CEO and founder of Design Hotels.

Don't Expect Hotel Companies to Stop Launching New Soft Brands Anytime Soon

skift.com - Hotels - 27 June 2017
In 2017, we’ve already seen the debut of two new “soft brand” collections from major hotel companies: Tapestry Collection by Hilton was announced in January, and most recently, Wyndham announced the debut of Trademark Hotel Collection in June. Unlike a “hard” hotel brand like a Wyndham Grand or a Hilton Hotel, a soft-brand collection like Trademark or Tapestry is meant to appeal to independent hotel owners who don’t want to be beholden to the same strict standards as a hard brand, but want to benefit from a big hotel company’s distribution network.

Four Seasons Founder Not Worried About Airbnb But Ritz-Carlton Is on his Mind

skift.com - Hotels - 26 June 2017
Four Seasons founder Isadore Sharp doesn’t golf. That might come as a surprise to guests at his Toronto hillside home where floor-to-ceiling windows offer a clear view of the lush fairways below at the Rosedale Golf Club in the city’s north end. “I had no time for golf,” the Canadian hotelier said.

Hotel CEOs Love Direct Booking But They Have Varied Views About Strategy

skift.com - Hotels - 26 June 2017
Earlier this month, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts surprised many in the hotel industry when news leaked during its current contract negotiations that the company was threatening to abandon Expedia and its numerous online travel agency sites. If Hyatt makes good on its threat and it doesn’t come to terms with Expedia then that might mean consumers would no longer be able to book a Hyatt hotel on Expedia and sister sites, including Hotels.com, Travelocity, Orbitz, and Hotwire, among others.

Hotel Employees Get Training To Spot Human Trafficking

skift.com - Hotels - 25 June 2017
A new Connecticut law meant to strike a blow to human traffickers is now reaching the trenches where it can make the difference. Hospitality workers are being trained to detect and report human trafficking when they suspect the illegal activity is going on where they work.

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