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New York's Plaza Hotel Quietly Took on New Investor With Ambition

skift.com - Hotels - 16 November 2017
Billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has long been associated with New York’s iconic Plaza Hotel, ever since he bought out Donald Trump over two decades ago. But now, with the Plaza up for grabs, another royal has quietly emerged as a force who could shape the hotel’s future. And that would be Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, one of the most influential figures in Qatar.
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AccorHotels Has a Community Hub Strategy With Local Services App

skift.com - Hotels - 16 November 2017
A hotel isn’t just a hotel anymore. It’s no longer just a place for travelers to lay their heads at night. At least, that’s how AccorHotels is thinking about its hotels. The Paris-based company ended its AccorLocal pilot and officially launched a mobile app — something it hopes anyone can use in their daily lives. That pilot, which CEO Sebastien Bazin publicized in February, has evolved into a mobile app that allows users to access services both from local merchants and AccorHotels properties.

IHG Pairs Up with OpenTable and Grubhub to Reward Loyalty Members When They Eat Out - or In

skift.com - Hotels - 15 November 2017
Expect more travel brands to extend their reach into the dining experience going forward, especially since consumers have to eat every day and may only travel on occasion. And after all, the way to anyone's heart is through their stomachs, right?-Deanna

Changing Baltimore's Image One Luxury Hotel at a Time

skift.com - Hotels - 14 November 2017
Can a luxury hotel – or two, or three – change a city’s image? While only 38 miles from Washington, D.C., Baltimore is a world away. The small city is frequently described as blue-collar and gritty, thanks in part to the impact of television shows like Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire. It also doesn’t help that in recent years, national news coverage of the city’s ills has been quite extensive.
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Hilton and Marriott Turn to the Internet of Things to Transform the Hotel Room Experience

skift.com - Hotels - 14 November 2017
When Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta took to the stage at the Skift Global Forum in September, one of the most headline-grabbing statements he made had to do with what he described as Hilton’s “Connected Room.”

Langham Hotels Parent Reinvents Eaton Hotels for Socially Minded Millennials

skift.com - Hotels - 13 November 2017
So many brands today say they're committed to social causes - but how many of them actually stick to those commitments? And how many of those companies are actually sustainable or profitable? Will Eaton Workshop be an exception? -Deanna
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AccorHotels Ends Its Quest to Be a Booking Engine for Independent Hotels

skift.com - Hotels - 9 November 2017
AccorHotels is ending its online booking platform service for independent hotels after two years. The results didn’t meet expectations, and most of AccorHotels customers on its platform tended to book its own properties rather than the independents, the company said.

Video: How Krystle Mobayeni, CEO and Founder of BentoBox Deepens the Restaurant Experience

skift.com - Hotels - 9 November 2017
The Unbound Collection by Hyatt and SkiftX present The Freedom to be Extraordinary content series, which explores how breaking free from convention can lead to extraordinary success. These conversations will reveal how leading innovators and entrepreneurs approach creativity and how they’re embracing the freedom to be extraordinary.

Introducing the 'Freedom to Be Extraordinary' Interview Series

skift.com - Hotels - 9 November 2017
The Unbound Collection by Hyatt and SkiftX present The Freedom to be Extraordinary, a content series that explores how breaking free from convention can lead to both personal and professional success. We spoke with leading innovators and entrepreneurs, who revealed their approaches to creativity and how they’re embracing the freedom to be extraordinary.
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Marriott CEO: Don't Expect Us to Play in the Midscale Space

skift.com - Hotels - 8 November 2017
At a time when its peers are using the midscale hotel category to add more brands to their portfolios, Marriott International would rather focus on the upscale to luxury segment — even if its pipeline is already dominated by limited-service hotels. A focus on the high end of the market, coupled with the ongoing integration process following Marriott’s $13.3-billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts in September 2016, is part of Marriott’s larger overall strategy as it heads into 2018.
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Standard Hotels Has a New Major Investor from Thailand

skift.com - Hotels - 8 November 2017
Standard International, the parent company behind Standard Hotels and Bunkhouse Group, as well as the last-minute booking app, One Night, has a new major investor. Sansiri Public Company Ltd., a Bangkok-based real estate developer, is investing $58 million into Standard International and One Night, securing a 35 percent stake in the company. That’s part of an overall $80 million investment in a handful of technology and lifestyle companies, Sansiri announced Wednesday.
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Hotel Industry Is Increasingly Impacted by Shifting Political Winds

skift.com - Hotels - 8 November 2017
Hotels used to be gauged by the campaign strategy that won the presidency for Bill Clinton: it’s the economy, stupid. Nowadays, politics may determine their future. The latest upheaval came with the arrest over the weekend of billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, whose Kingdom Holding Co. is co-owner of Four Seasons Hotels Ltd. and New York’s Plaza Hotel. Here are some hotel companies caught up in shifting political winds globally:
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Choice Hotels Bets Big on a New Cloud-Based Reservations System

skift.com - Hotels - 7 November 2017
Choice Hotels will be much more “nimble” next year when it introduces what new CEO Patrick Pacious calls “the first new central reservation system from a major hotel company in over 30 years.” Pacious, previously the company’s president and COO, made the comment Monday on his first earnings call as CEO, saying Choice’s current system reminds him of a crumbling bridge that costs more money than it should to maintain, has been updated many times, and is not up to modern standards.
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Hotel and Motel Employees Can Be a Force in Spotting Human-Trafficking

skift.com - Hotels - 4 November 2017
To the rest of the world, it looked like a hotel off Interstate 95. To Robert Atlee Miner V, authorities allege, it was a classroom — one where he taught an 18-year-old woman how to sell her body for sex. Get a room above the first floor to avoid attention, the 27-year-old man told the woman, who authorities say he lured to South Florida with the promise of work either as a dancer or an escort. Cover up your body while checking in. And get two keys to the room, so Miner could enter through the back of the hotel and collect the money.

Why Hotels Need a Comprehensive Room Inventory and Pricing Strategy

skift.com - Hotels - 3 November 2017
In the highly competitive hospitality industry, it’s critical to assemble as much information as possible to make educated decisions: enter revenue management. Put simply, hotel revenue management is selling the right room to the right customer at the right moment at the right price through the right channel. To be more specific, revenue management is a data-driven application consisting of three interdependent elements: customer, product, and price. The customer demand for a product is determined by price, which, in turn, is also influenced by demand. Meanwhile, the supply of a product is assumed to be limited and perishable. The objective of revenue management is to maximize future revenues by balancing both supply and demand.

HNA Group May Want to Sell Its Stake in a Spanish Hotel Company

skift.com - Hotels - 3 November 2017
HNA Group Co.’s precarious grip on a $2.2 billion Spanish hotel company is in doubt as a mountain of debt comes due and China puts the squeeze on its most prolific acquirers. The Chinese conglomerate, whose assets include a quarter of Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., owns about 30 percent of Madrid-based NH Hotel Group SA. But HNA is in Spanish limbo: its directors have been booted off the board in a shareholder revolt, while Beijing’s crackdown on overseas deals would obstruct any buyout that could bring NH Hotel to heel. Analysts anticipate a sellout.
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New Owner of the Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas Is on a Hot Streak

skift.com - Hotels - 2 November 2017
Even in Las Vegas, the land of faux pirate battles and Elvis-themed wedding chapels, the Stratosphere is something of an oddball. Conceived by poker pro Bob Stupak, the Space Needle-shaped hotel-casino featured a roller coaster and other attractions at its summit when it opened in 1996. Its location on the lightly trafficked north end of the Strip proved too much of a handicap, however, and the casino declared bankruptcy months after its debut. It remained open, and for awhile it was owned by Carl Icahn.
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Hyatt Shifts Strategy in Plan to Sell $1.5 Billion in Hotel Real Estate Over Next 3 Years

skift.com - Hotels - 2 November 2017
Hyatt Hotels has traditionally been known for its “asset-recycling” strategy where it sells properties to reinvest that money into buying other hotels in markets where the real estate isn’t as expensive. Now, however, there is a clear indication that the Chicago-based company is moving away from that approach in pursuit of a strategy that the majority of publicly traded hotel companies prefer: asset light.

Japan's Okura Hotels Is Launching a New Lifestyle Brand

skift.com - Hotels - 2 November 2017
Trinity Investments LLC, a Hawaii-based real estate firm, said it plans to open a chain of limited-service hotels in Japan in partnership with Hotel Okura Co., targeting a surge in tourism that the government hopes will double by 2020 when Tokyo hosts the Olympic Games. Trinity will seek to raise as much as $300 million of equity to initially fund the chain, called Nikko Style and aimed at leisure and business travelers, said Sean Hehir, president and chief executive officer of Trinity. The first hotel is scheduled to open in 2020, he said. The partners aim to open 20 to 30 Nikko Style hotels throughout Japan, including in Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka, then potentially expand in Asia, North America and Europe, Hehir said.

Hilton Must Pay $700,000 for Two of Its Credit Card Data Breaches

skift.com - Hotels - 2 November 2017
Hotel operator Hilton will pay $700,000 to settle an investigation into two separate data breaches that exposed more than 350,000 credit card numbers. The New York attorney general, who conducted an investigation along with his counterpart in Vermont, said Tuesday that one breach began in November 2014 and another in April 2015 but Hilton didn’t tell consumers until November 2015.
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Marriott CEO: Trump Is Driving Conference Business Out of U.S. to Canada

skift.com - Hotels - 1 November 2017
Divisive language and policies from President Donald Trump are helping push business travelers north of the border, the head of Marriott International Inc. said on Wednesday. Large groups of travelers, particularly for conferences, are changing reservations to friendlier cities such as Toronto over U.S. options “with the view that bringing in an international group would be more hassle-free in Canada and maybe a little bit riskier in the U.S.,” Chief Executive Officer Arne Sorenson said in an interview in Toronto.
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Marriott Rewards Debuts Tool to Preload Points Balances When Shopping at Retail Sites

skift.com - Hotels - 1 November 2017
Big-name brands such as Marriott, Hilton and United are taking their respective loyalty programs into the retail space as they explore a broader use for point balances beyond free hotel rooms or airline tickets. Much of this industry movement is driven by data that suggests the next generation of travelers want to see more flexibility and redemption options out of a loyalty program rather than the same old big-ticket items.

Hotel Direct-Booking Pushes Really Worked and Owners Were Big Winners

skift.com - Hotels - 1 November 2017
Did Hilton succeed in convincing consumers to “Stop Clicking Around?” Did Marriott prove “It pays to book direct“? According to a new report from Kalibri Labs, they and their peers which launched direct- booking campaigns in 2016 certainly did. Compiling data from its database of more than 25,000 hotels in the U.S., including validated costs and daily transactions directly sourced from the hotels’ systems, Kalibri Labs found that there was indeed a shift in consumer behavior toward brand.com sites versus online travel agencies such as Booking.com or Expedia. More consumers than ever before chose to book direct versus booking on a third-party site.
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A Majority of Avid U.S. Travelers Have Never Used Airbnb

skift.com - Hotels - 31 October 2017
In the travel industry today, it’s impossible to avoid hearing about the threat of Airbnb and its impending domination of competitors. At this year’s Skift Global Forum, the audience was eager to hear how a variety of travel brands were preparing to compete with Airbnb, and stay relevant in the changing travel landscape. But did you know that 63 percent of avid U.S. travelers have never even used Airbnb before?
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Loews Hotels Is Taking a Contrarian Approach With Its Asset-Heavy Strategy

skift.com - Hotels - 30 October 2017
In an increasingly competitive hotel landscape marked by consolidation, Loews Hotels is hoping to stand out from the rest by doing things differently from its peers. The New York-based hotel company, part of the larger Loews Corporation, isn’t following in the footsteps of larger competitors when it comes to pursuing an asset-light strategy, something companies like Marriott, Hilton, Red Lion Hotels Corporation, and Wyndham have made the cornerstone of their business strategies.

Aman Resorts New York Debut Includes a $100 Million Penthouse

skift.com - Hotels - 27 October 2017
Vladislav Doronin, the chairman and chief executive officer of Aman Resorts Group Ltd., the super-luxury hotel chain, is standing in the middle of a filthy concrete husk of a room in midtown Manhattan. “Look at this!” he says, gesturing through the dirt-stained windows of the 24th floor of the Crown Building, whose 4th through 26th stories he’d purchased with a partner for about $500 million in 2015. (The bottom three stories, which are for retail, are owned by other companies.)

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