IHG promises growth with Kimpton loyalty merger Featured Articles - 20 October 2017
It’s been almost three years since InterContinental Hotels Group officials announced its acquisition of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, but the two entities are now taking one of the largest steps in merging their platforms with today’s announcement that Kimpton’s loyalty program will now fall under the umbrella of the IHG Rewards Club. Speaking with Hotel News Now, IHG and Kimpton officials said they seek to offer the “best of both worlds” to both guests and owners as they merge the Kimpton Karma program with IHG Rewards Club. “We’ve taken great care to protect what’s so unique about the Kimpton DNA,” said Susanna Freer Epstein, SVP of global customer loyalty marketing for IHG. “And we think this is a way for us to level IHG’s global scale and platforms.”

Independent hoteliers combat owner-operator disconnect Featured Articles - 20 October 2017
A successful relationship between hotel owners and operators increasingly requires a two-way street, in which both understand each other’s strategies in regards to property and guest dynamics, markets, investment timelines, real estate values and exits. Human nature, though, can make alignment hard to obtain when the two sides have such differing sets of goals, according to panelists at the Independent Hotel Show. For instance, independent hotel owners focused on increasing an asset’s overall value might look to add branding, which could complicate things for operators, panelists said during a session titled “Power couples: Owners and operators.”

Data shows influences on travelers' early motivations Featured Articles - 20 October 2017
Going on a leisure trip requires more than just booking a flight and a hotel. The first step is choosing a destination, which involves research and planning. During a recent webinar titled “Consideration phase: Travelers’ untapped opportunity,” Mark Blutstein, research analyst at Phocuswright, presented data from the company’s U.S. Consumer Travel Report, which offers insights into how leisure travelers decide on a trip, and at what point they book accommodations for that trip. Here’s a look at the different types of leisure trips travelers take, and their budgets and reasons for booking those trips.

Reserving a room with a view of the Apollo crater Featured Articles - 20 October 2017
A luxury resort on the moon might be a long way off, but the renewed push by private entities for space exploration and habitation is great for everyone, including hoteliers (eventually). To paraphrase a classic film, I want to say two words to you, hoteliers. Just two words. Are you listening? Space hotels. There is a great future in space hotels. Think about it. Will you think about it?

US government conference spending on upward trend Featured Articles - 19 October 2017
Federal conference spending surged ahead in fiscal year 2016, continuing the trend of recovery after a sharp decline in 2013, when there was a 62% drop. In 2012, the Office of Management and Budget issued Memorandum M-12-12, which requires all federal agencies to publicly list conferences costing more than $100,000 of taxpayer funds. Since 2013, spending has slowly been creeping back up, with the largest surge over the past four cycles seen in 2016. Federal agencies are not required to report on their spending on meetings of less than $100,000. The results we have compiled are limited to the most expensive conferences.

What the growth of soft brands means for indie hotels Featured Articles - 19 October 2017
As guests continue to seek out unique experiences during their travels, hotel companies have capitalized on a growing interest in independent hotels through the introduction and proliferation of soft-brand collections. Hotel News Now reached out to owners and managers of independent hotels and soft-branded properties to collect their thoughts on the growth of soft-brand collections and what impact they will have on the independent hotel space.

After Vegas: See something? Then say or do something Featured Articles - 19 October 2017
It seems so simple, but as the tragedy in Las Vegas reminds us, this type of vigilance is a key component of public safety. It is not hard to imagine that the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas in early October created particular anguish within the hotel industry. The bad actor appeared to have targeted concertgoers rather than hotel guests; nevertheless, he used a hotel to carry out the carnage. The horrific event underscored security experts’ recognition that hotels and restaurants are so-called “soft targets” for terrorists.

On Accor Local, Amazon Locker and Bodega Featured Articles - 19 October 2017
Hotels are desperate to extend services to the community. Which ones might work and which ones might fall flat? Last month I had a great opportunity to interview Sébastien Bazin, CEO of AccorHotels, at the South America Hotel Investment Conference in Buenos Aires. Bazin doesn’t speak much on the global hotel industry circuit, so when he does, people listen. Before the interview, he told me I could ask absolutely anything I wanted and he would answer candidly and honestly.

Indie hoteliers prepare CapEx budgets for 2018 Featured Articles - 18 October 2017
As hoteliers look ahead to next year, they are setting spending priorities based on what they hope will lead to significant returns on their investments. Those with independent properties have the freedom to make decisions without brand requirements dictating every move, but they also must do so without the vastly wider knowledgebase of a brand. Instead of reacting broader industry trends, independent hoteliers focus on their individual properties and what they believe will hit the right notes with their specific guests.

Hoteliers celebrate fall with quick menu refreshes Featured Articles - 18 October 2017
Whether it’s serving up a “spooky” cocktail or adding comfort food to the menu for fall, a quick food-and-beverage refresh is a good way to entice guests and locals to have a meal or drink at a hotel’s restaurant. The Godfrey Hotel Chicago goes all out around Halloween with its Haunted Hotel celebration, according to Grant Gedemer, director of food and beverage at The Godfrey. This year, which is the third year the hotel has hosted the event, the hotel’s I|O rooftop bar will serve a Dia de los Muertos cocktail to give attendees a taste of the Halloween spirit.

Does millennial leadership put independents at risk? Featured Articles - 18 October 2017
The independent scene has gone through a cyclical leadership evolution over the last quarter century. What was first considered a training ground for up-and-comers who did not quite fit the perceived cookie-cutter mold of the major brands in the late ‘90s and early 2000s eventually grew into a dynamic space where tenured and highly successful general managers often gained opportunities and thrived.

Don't do as I did: Hoteliers' tales of development woe Featured Articles - 18 October 2017
A group of hotel developers in the United Kingdom gathered at the recent Annual Hotel Conference to share some lessons they’ve learned through failure. In a panel titled “Regrets, I have a few, but then again… Real life stories of the pitfalls of hotel development and operation,” moderator Sir James Devitt, managing director of Herald Hotels, thanked panelists for “being prepared to tell us what did not go well,” noting acknowledging those mistakes will help panelists and industry newcomers avoid making them again

Technology, marketing have unique bond in hotel world Featured Articles - 18 October 2017
Technology and marketing. Marketing and technology. When it comes to hotels, those two disciplines are like wine and cheese, or shoes and socks: They might be fine on their own, but when paired, can provide complimentary palettes, efficiency and even a hint of camaraderie, according to consultants participating in a Hotel News Now roundtable discussion conducted in conjunction with the recent International Society of Hospitality Consultants annual conference.

6 ways hotels can delight guests, owners, brands alike Featured Articles - 18 October 2017
Today’s hotel guests have a world of options at their fingertips when shopping for a place to stay. Hotel leaders can make their property a guest’s first choice by designing for a truly unique experience. That experience can and should work for just about anyone who walks through its doors—from busy business travelers to families to the brands and owners themselves.

Hotel operators assess state of UK industry Featured Articles - 18 October 2017
From the perspective of hotel operators in the United Kingdom, the state of the industry here is bright, but even so, the usual worries have not completely washed away, speakers said at the Annual Hotel Conference. During the opening session, titled “State of the nation: The operator’s view,” panelists shared their companies’ good fortunes:

Consultants: Fast-moving trends keep hoteliers busy Featured Articles - 17 October 2017
From “insane” to “dynamic” to “cautious”—and just about everything in between—consultants participating in the Hotel News Now roundtable discussion conducted in conjunction with the recent International Society of Hospitality Consultants annual conference indicated there’s a plethora of ways to describe the state of the global hotel industry. There was plenty of optimism among the participants at the Bangkok InterContinental Hotel as they outlined the word they would use to characterize the current environment. Steven Seghers, president of Irvine, California-based Hyperdisk Marketing: “The word I chose was ‘cautious.’ The industry is feeling uncertain. When you look at the budgeting for 2018 and beyond, you’re seeing owners, you’re seeing developers take a more cautious approach to their focus in brand development and marketing and distribution. With the global economy being somewhat unstable and with the political environment there’s a lot of uncertainty. That’s causing the industry to pump the brakes a little bit, and certainly we are having to adapt to that almost two sorts of plans—the plan that we hope for and the plan that we don’t want but that we need to be prepared for.”

Protecting hotel assets before, after the storm Featured Articles - 17 October 2017
The nature of natural disasters, like the hurricanes that struck Florida and Houston, is that they are unpredictable. But hoteliers can take steps to insulate their assets before, during and after the storms. This hurricane season—typically from 1 June to 30 November 30 each year, with peak season being from mid-August through mid-October—has been particularly active. For the first time in recorded history, the United States and its territories were hit with three back-to-back Category 4 hurricanes—Harvey, Irma and Maria. While it is still too early to tell, estimated damage associated with these storms could cost hundreds of billions of dollars and take many years to repair.

Consultants offer advice for getting ahead of downturn Featured Articles - 17 October 2017
Hotel owners, operators and developers should focus on basics while not overemphasizing key metrics as they plan for an industry downturn, according to International Society of Hospitality Consultants who participated in a roundtable discussion. Being ready to adjust to changes in cyclical trends is as important as ever for hoteliers as geopolitical, economic and operational shifts create uncertainty, consultants said during a Hotel News Now roundtable discussion conducted in conjunction with the recent International Society of Hospitality Consultants annual conference at the Bangkok InterContinental Hotel. With the global hotel industry riding a wave of prosperity and positive performance for the past few years, hotel owners, operators and developers must be nimble enough to adjust on the fly when key metrics slow, the consultants agreed. And that process can actually be put in place during the good times, they said.

A look at the impact of terrorism on hotel performance Featured Articles - 17 October 2017
Acts of terrorism have spread devastation in markets around the globe and have disrupted the hotel industry in many countries. After these events, STR is often called upon by reporters to provide perspective on how consumer demand for hotels has been affected and how room demand has changed. Sadly, the impact of terror is often long-lasting and deeply felt. (STR is the parent company of Hotel News Now.) For this article we examined hotel demand and room-rate performance after terrorism in six markets around the world.

Hoteliers mobilize teams, connections to do good Featured Articles - 16 October 2017
For these hotel companies, philanthropy might start at the top, but it doesn’t end there. Hoteliers share how they motivate their teams to get involved, and use their connections within the industry to make a difference. Editor’s note: This is the second installment of a two-part series on the state of philanthropy in the hotel industry. Part one looked at the impact hoteliers are having on their communities and around the world. This story looks at how hoteliers are inspiring their teams and using their connections within the hotel industry to make a difference. In what might be a metaphor for philanthropy within the hotel industry, Gary Mendell at various times over the past four years has found himself dangling by a rope from a hotel building, side by side with some of the industry’s biggest players.

Choice centers Europe growth on four known brands Featured Articles - 16 October 2017
Choice Hotels International’s growth in Europe centers on targeting its top business clients, providing opportunities for leisure travelers to dream and expanding four pillar brands to become household names in the continent. The nature of hotel ownership and ownership in Europe is constantly changing. But Choice Hotels International aims to continue its franchise push on the continent by persuading owners of the benefits of its distribution network and well-known brands, even if its brands are not as known to European consumers as they are in in North America. The Rockville, Maryland-based company has “not always looked the same, done things in the same way and at the same tempo,” Mark Pearce, SVP of Choice’s international division, told a crowd of approximately 400 Europe-based franchisees at the 2017 Choice Hotels European Convention.

Getting employees to buy into Airbnb home stays Featured Articles - 16 October 2017
We all know Airbnb and other alternative-accommodations providers are muscling in on areas they really should know do not belong to them and that they have no right to get involved with, or at least that is the hotel industry’s majority thinking. The main area of concern is in business travel. At last week’s Annual Hotel Conference in Manchester, England, attendees heard that Airbnb in-roads are being further developed. These are no long, gritty tracks. They have been covered in tarmac, and the time needed to traverse them has been reduced.

Hoteliers bring passion, skills to philanthropy Featured Articles - 16 October 2017
Today’s story looks at the impact that hoteliers are having on their communities and around the world. Coming next: How they are inspiring their teams and using their connections within the hotel industry to make a difference. Harris Rosen believes his template for philanthropy can change the world so dramatically that “we would not recognize ourselves at all.” It’s already done so for Rosen’s corner of the world, in central Florida, where the president and COO of Rosen Hotels & Resorts started the Harris Rosen Foundation 25 years ago.

AHC Day Two: UK hoteliers weigh risks, rewards Featured Articles - 13 October 2017
Because of the strength of this point of the cycle, pressures are mounting for selecting the necessary, yield-producing strategies and partnerships in terms of development and the capital stack, panelists said on the last day of the conference. But first, finding the right location for development is paramount, which is easier said than done, according to panelists. Another major concern, voiced during a panel on cybersecurity, is General Data Protection Regulation legislation that takes effect in the United Kingdom on 25 May.

Bazin explains AccorHotels' fast-paced growth strategy Featured Articles - 13 October 2017
In an interview with Hotel News Now at the South America Hotel Investment Conference, Bazin said the Paris-based AccorHotels has “never been stronger than today, never in the past 50 years.” As reasons behind this success, he cited the company’s “great people, great balance sheet, great brands and great market share.” His commitment to change begins in his own organization. Bazin shared his thoughts on new expansion initiatives for AccorHotels, how today’s global hospitality companies can keep up with more-nimble startups, and what’s next for the company’s real estate platform. How culture is changingWith companies of great size come great challenges, Bazin said. One of those is culture—not the culture of dealing with customers, but rather the culture of training and retaining thousands of employees.

Hoteliers have new tool for funding energy-saving renos Featured Articles - 13 October 2017
Traditionally, owners seeking to make environmentally friendly and sustainable improvements to their hotels have had to take out a bank loan or raise the capital themselves. Now there’s another option as commercial property assessed clean energy, or CPACE, lending grows in popularity among hoteliers. CPACE is a newer form of financing, but the foundation it grew from isn’t new at all, said Joseph Euphrat, managing director at Cleanfund. It’s basically a property assessment, he said, something that’s been in practice for more than 100 years in most U.S. states where governments sell bonds to finance infrastructure projects, such as roads and sewers. With CPACE lending, he said, “property owners would pay an assessment on their property taxes to pay off prorate to finance those improvements.”


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