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  • New Global Directors Join the 2018-2019 HFTP Board

    The HFTP 2018-2019 Global Board of Directors was installed during the association's 2018 Annual Convention and introduces new directors Toni Bau, Carson Booth, CHTP and Mark Fancourt. These extensive director profiles give insight into the distinguished professions and personal goals of HFTP's newest association leaders.

  • Letter from the HFTP Global President: At the End of the Year, We Reflect on the Best of the Year

    As we prepare to transition to the new HFTP Global board at the 2018 Annual Convention in October, I would like to take the time to reflect on my year serving as HFTP Global president.

  • Members Only: 2018 HFTP Compensation and Benefits Report

    By Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA. Results to the biannual survey conducted by Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP). Information includes data on compensation and benefits trends for finance and technology professionals in the club and lodging industries.

  • IT Spending in the Lodging Industry Three-year Analysis: 2015–2017

    By Agnes DeFranco, Ed.D., CHAE; Arlene Ramirez, CHE, CHAE; and Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA. PART II: An analysis of IT spending data in the lodging industry based on reporting in the new USALI Schedule 6 — Information and Telecommunications Systems.

RCI and Bluegreen Vacations Renew Affiliation to Continue Providing Vacation Exchange Benefits to Members and Owners

RCI (Resort Condominium International) ·20 November 2018
RCI, the worldwide leader in vacation exchange (NYSE: WYND), and Bluegreen Vacations Corporation (NYSE: BXG) ("Bluegreen" or the "Company") have renewed their affiliation agreement. Through the renewal, Bluegreen Vacations' more than 60 vacation resorts will continue to be part of the RCI exchange network. Properties are located across the United States and Caribbean in destinations including Orlando, Las Vegas, Myrtle Beach, Aspen and New York City."Bluegreen is a company built on the strength of its long-term relationships," said Famous Rhodes, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Bluegreen Vacations. "As such, we are very excited about the renewal of this longstanding partnership with RCI, which provides a unique value to our growing Bluegreen Vacation Club Membership."As the exclusive exchange provider for Bluegreen Vacation Club, RCI offers Bluegreen Vacations owners access to more than 4,300 properties in 110 countries. In turn, RCI members can exchange for stays at one of Bluegreen Vacations' 60 properties, which include:The Manhattan Club, a residence-style boutique hotel that's just steps away from Time Square, Broadway and Central Park in New York City, New YorkThe Eilan Hotel and Spa, a boutique hotel in San Antonio, Texas, that features a 10-treatment-room spa and resort-style pools surrounded by beautiful Italian-inspired architecture"RCI and Bluegreen Vacations have been great partners for many years," said Gordon Gurnik, president of RCI. "During this time, we've had the great opportunity to send families on the vacations of their dreams, and we're excited to continue offering RCI members and Bluegreen Vacations owners the chance to make more life-long memories in the future."

The Middle East's Hotel Construction Pipeline Hits A New Cyclical High

Lodging Econometrics ·16 November 2018
Analysts at Lodging Econometrics (LE) report that in the third quarter of 2018 the hotel construction pipeline in the Middle East has set another cyclical high with the total pipeline standing at 617 projects/180,097 rooms. The new pipeline project counts are up 8% while room counts show a 15% increase year-over-year (YOY) when the pipeline stood at 572 projects/156,420 rooms. Projects presently under construction are at 360 projects/115,222 rooms and are at a record high. Projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months are at 138 projects/35,299 rooms, and projects in the early planning stage are at 119 projects/29,576 rooms.The pipeline has grown for five consecutive years off of the 2013 lows and has surpassed the development surge of 2007-08 led by Dubai and Abu Dhabi which awakened hotel development in the region. However, growth trends may be starting to slow as construction starts and new projects announced into the pipeline have been declining throughout 2018. Countries with the greatest number of projects in the construction pipeline are the United Arab Emirates with 223 projects/63,734 rooms and Saudi Arabia, at a record high, with 214 projects/76,324 rooms. Qatar follows with 59 projects/14,245 rooms and Egypt with 43 projects/10,237 rooms. Continuing to dominate the construction pipeline in the U.A.E. and throughout the region is Dubai with 169 projects/50,420 rooms. Other notable but distantly following emirate countries are Abu Dhabi with 20 projects/5,058 rooms and Ash-Shariqah with 18 projects/2,671 rooms. Cities with the largest hotel construction pipelines are Riyadh with 61 projects/11,574 rooms, the Provincial region with 58 projects/11,534 rooms, Jeddah with 58 projects/11,520 rooms, Doha, Qatar with 55 projects/12,618 rooms and Makkah with 37 projects/41,696 rooms. Four of the cities with the largest pipelines are in Saudi Arabia and are enjoying record highs in their pipeline project and room counts.AccorHotels is the top company in the Middle East having the largest construction pipeline with 102 projects/28,079 rooms, a record high for the company. Marriott International follows with 95 projects/21,083 rooms, and Hilton Worldwide, also reached record highs in 2018, with 90 projects/25,888 rooms. The leading pipeline brands for these companies are AccorHotels' Ibis brands with 18 projects/5,861 rooms, and Novotel, with 16 projects/5,204 rooms, a record high; Marriott's Courtyard with 21 projects/4,476 rooms, and Residence Inn with 16 projects/1,877 rooms, both of which are also recording their highest pipeline counts; Hilton's full-service Hilton Hotel & Resort with 26 projects/9,280 rooms, and DoubleTree by Hilton with 25 projects/5,873 rooms. The Middle East at 291 rooms per construction project, has the largest average project size in the pipeline of any region in the world as 67% of its pipeline is concentrated in the three highest chain scales: luxury, upper upscale, and upscale. LE expects that new hotel openings in 2018 will be 86 hotels/23,464 rooms, surpassing for the first time the peak of 72 hotels/19,756 rooms set in 2009 following the 2007-08 development surge. New records will be set in both 2019 and 2020 as LE's forecast for new hotel openings predicts that 114 hotels/27,518 rooms and 134 hotels/36,277 rooms will open in each year.

Thailand's smart visa made easier to help foreign investors

Hotel Online·16 November 2018
The Thai government has improved requirements and conditions for the Smart Visa in order to provide greater convenience for foreign investors and experts in targeted industries who are either already working or seeking to work in Thailan

Banta Hospitality Hopes to Replace Defunct Restaurant with New 93-room Holiday Inn Express in New Windsor, NY

Hotel Online·16 November 2018
he Orange County Industrial Development Agency's board voted on Wednesday to consider tax breaks for a $14.35 million project to replace the former Steak & Stein restaurant on Union Avenue in New Windsor with a hotel.

Franchise Companies and Brands Dominating the U.S. Construction Pipeline

Lodging Econometrics · 9 November 2018
According to the third quarter report by analysts at Lodging Econometrics (LE), the franchise companies dominating the U.S. construction pipeline with the largest pipelines are Marriott International with 1,380 projects/181,907 rooms, Hilton Worldwide with 1,350 projects/150,698 rooms, and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) with 939 projects/95,312 rooms. The construction pipelines for these three franchise companies comprise an impressive 68% of the total construction pipeline projects with Marriott and Hilton again setting all-time highs for their companies. The leading brands by project count in the construction pipeline for each of these three companies are IHG's Holiday Inn Express with 422 projects/39,667 rooms, Hilton's Home2 Suites by Hilton with 401 projects/41,958 rooms, and Marriott's Fairfield Inn with 284 projects/27,678 rooms. These three mid-market brands are so dominant that they alone account for 21% of the projects in the total construction pipeline. Other significant brands in the pipeline for each of these franchises are: Hilton's Tru by Hilton with 302 projects/29,245 rooms and Hampton Inn and Suites with 300 projects/31,013 rooms; Marriott's TownePlace Suites with 207 projects/21,525 rooms and Residence Inn with 204 projects/25,014 rooms; and IHG's Staybridge Suites with 147 projects/15,427 rooms and Avid Hotel with 142 projects/13,160 rooms.

Annual Fraud Attack Index

4hoteliers.com· 9 November 2018
Fraud attack rates overall, have increased by 13% since the beginning of 2017, coupon abuse in Q1 of 2018 increased 217% from the last quarter and account Takeovers increased by 31% YOY in Q3 of 2017.

Napali Capital Announces Formation Of Napali Hospitality Group

Napali Hospitality Group · 8 November 2018
Napali Capital, LLC, today announced the formation of Napali Hospitality Group, the first addition to the Napali Capital family of companies. Napali Hospitality Group will focus on the acquisition of hospitality assets with the goal of achieving the highest level of employee and guest service and profitable returns for Napali Capital investors and stakeholders.Tim Black, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Napali Capital, will lead Napali Hospitality Group alongside his brother and Napali Capital Co-founder and Managing Partner Thomas Black, M.D. Tim Black's experience in hospitality management and operations, maximizing revenue, implementing new revenue streams, and cost control were fundamental in forming Napali Hospitality Group. As a 32-year veteran of the hospitality and entertainment industry, he spent the last 13 years of his career at Great Wolf Resorts before retiring as Chief Operating Officer of the company. Black also worked for Six Flags Entertainment where he served as park President for Hurricane Harbor, Wild Animal Safari, and Six Flags Great Adventure, the company's largest and most profitable asset.Tim Black and Thomas Black are joined by former Great Wolf Resorts Chief Executive Officer Kimberly Schaefer who brings more than 25 years in hospitality industry finance, leadership, and executive oversight to the company. Schaefer, who was instrumental in orchestrating Great Wolf Resort's public offering in 2005 as we as well as in its sale to private equity, first in 2013 and again in 2015, also personally has owned numerous hotels. Her portfolio included many nationally recognized brands including Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, Hampton Inn & Suites, Country Inn & Suites, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Crowne Plaza (now Holiday Inn & Suites), Microtel Inn, and Clarion Suites."It's exciting to be able to bring together my accumulated experience to form Napali Hospitality Group," said Black. "With our team's knowledge, experience, and resources combined with the momentum in hospitality profitability, we were presented with the perfect opportunity to move forward with this business plan.""I'm really looking forward to partnering with Tim on this new venture," said Schaefer. "Our combined tenure and passion for this industry along with Tom's financial insight makes for a promising and profitable future for Napali Hospitality Group and its investors."In addition to verifying each investment meets strict criteria, Napali Hospitality Group leadership also consults an Advisory Board, of which Schaefer is a member along with Bill Simpson and Rilous Carter. The Advisory Board provides expertise through their extensive careers as management and operations leaders in major, nationally and internationally recognized hospitality brands to consult with Napali Hospitality Group on investments.Simpson is an experienced executive with 40 years of experience in the hospitality and entertainment industries. Most recently, he worked with Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company for 21 years, serving as its Chief Executive Officer from 2013 until his retirement in 2017, during which time, he and his team achieved record financial results, increasing revenue by 20 percent and EBITDA by 46 percent. Simpson's reputation for strong organization development that focuses on company culture, team building, training and development, and succession planning is recognized throughout the industry.Carter is a forty-five-year veteran of the hospitality industry. His early industry career includes leadership and management roles at Hyatt Hotels and Resorts Stouffer Hotels and Resorts, now Renaissance Hotels & Resorts. In 1997, Rilous joined Walt Disney World Resort where he served in numerous management and critical team roles at numerous Disney World Resorts and Disney's portfolio of exclusive Vacation Club offerings. Before his retirement in 2016, Carter was Vice President of Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park, Epcot and then of Catering, Convention Services, and Park Event Operations for all Walt Disney Parks and Resorts."Coming from an industry of service, I'm thrilled to be able to continue serving through Napali Hospitality Group," said Carter.Simpson said he was "honored to have been included as part of the Advisory Board and am looking forward to being a part of the growth of this company."Napali Hospitality Group's first acquisition, the Holiday Inn DFW Airport Area West, will be offered to investors next week. The asset is a five-story, mid-rise, full-service hotel located eight minutes from DFW Airport, and is centrally located between Dallas and Fort Worth.

Wanda Group unloads tourism business

4hoteliers.com· 6 November 2018
Dalian Wanda Group ended weeks of speculation on Monday by confirming that it has sold its tourism management business to Hong Kong-listed Sunac China Holding for $902 million (RMB 6.28 billion).

Hospitality Financial Leadership: Why OTA's Are Uber Successful

Hotel Online· 5 November 2018
Have you ever wondered why we all hear so much complaining and downright all-around annoyance being expressed from hotels about the on-line travel agents? You would naturally think that because there is so much protest being made that hotels would simply not use the service and opt for something else? Right? Well – not so fast as hotels are reportedly using OTA’s more than ever.

AccorHotels Completes The Acquisition Of Its Paris Head Office Building

AccorHotels ·29 October 2018
AccorHotels announced today the successful closing of the acquisition of the "Tour Sequana" building, its head office since 2016 located near Paris in Issy-Les-Moulineaux, for an amount of EUR 363 million. This amount had been determined in 2015, at the signing of the lease contract, which included a call option. The building is currently valued at more than EUR 500 million. The transaction is financed by a EUR 300 million 8-year Green Mortgage Loan, which carries an annual coupon of 1.8%. Established in line with Green Loan Principles, the Green Mortgage Loan benefits from a Second Opinion by the extra-financial rating agency Sustainalytics. The Sequana Tower benefits from a high level of HQE certification. The balance of the acquisition price was paid in cash. The acquisition will notably translate into savings of about EUR 20 million per annum in rental charge.

HFTP Purchases Rights to the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry (USALI)

HFTP ·25 October 2018
Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) has purchased the copyright to the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry (USALI), a resource the association has been connected to since its origins. Widely used internationally, the primary purpose of the USALI is to offer operating statements formatted to provide hotel owners, managers and other interested parties with operational information pertinent to the lodging industry. The USALI was first published in 1926 and is currently in its 11th edition. The copyright was previously owned by the Hotel Association of New York City. The resource is published by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute, and HFTP has been a continuous sponsor and contributor to the publication.The USALI, 11th revised edition was released in January 2015. Revisions to the USALI are overseen by the Financial Management Committee (FMC) of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), a majority of which are HFTP members. Although the revision process will not change, HFTP plans to lean on its resources as an international organization to drive greater global adaptation."HFTP's goal is to be a source on finance and technology for the hospitality industry and owning the rights to the USALI, an essential resource used across the industry, aligns directly with this directive," said HFTP Global President Timothy Nauss, CHAE. "With the new ownership responsibility, HFTP will continue to prioritize the evolution of the guidance within the USALI to reflect the changing nature of the hospitality industry."HFTP's existence is due in large part to the establishment of the USALI, when the Hotel Accountants Association of New York met in 1925 to write and publish the book. From that point, the New York group and other state-centered hotel accounting groups moved to organize a national association. It eventually did in 1952 as the National Association of Hotel Accountants, now known as HFTP."The histories of the USALI and HFTP are intertwined, and I am confident HFTP as steward to the financial resource will maintain the USALI's relevance to the industry," said HFTP CEO Frank Wolfe, CAE.

CTO Secretary General Says Complacency Puts Caribbean People, Economies At Risk

Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) ·25 October 2018
Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Hugh Riley has called on Caribbean states to take tsunami preparedness seriously, stating to do otherwise would put the people and regional economies at risk.Speaking in Paris, France, during a discussion organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to raise awareness of the threats posed by tsunamis, Riley insisted that Caribbean countries risked paying the price for complacency.He stressed with the Caribbean being comprised mainly of low-lying states, and with most tourism assets and hotel investments located at or near coastal areas, the tourism sector is extremely vulnerable to the threat of tsunamis."Tourism is the main economic driver of the Caribbean, representing 80 percent of the region's gross domestic product and more than one million jobs so we cannot ignore a tsunami risk," he told fellow panellists and the wider audience, which included representatives from Grenada, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent & the Grenadines."Complacency puts us in real danger and we must raise the Caribbean's voice by advocating for our members during this important global forum," he added.The event was held in advance of World Tsunami Awareness Day on 5 Nov. 2018. The secretary general noted that the region had experienced 11 tsunamis in the past, the most recent of which occurred in 2010 and six between 1902 and 1997.He suggested that because there has been no "recent" impact on the region, tsunamis are not considered an imminent threat therefore, they are not given sufficient attention.He called for an increase in tsunami awareness and sensitisation of the tourism sector and the wider Caribbean community, as well as support for training by regional institutions and countries to develop preparedness and response protocols."The CTO recognises that tsunami preparedness is critical, which includes well-established and tested response protocols which will ultimately reduce loss of life and economic damage. We also need to enhance collaboration with countries recently and frequently impacted by tsunami hazards in order to develop best practices."Riley highlighted several CTO members' tsunami readiness initiatives, including Anguilla, the first English-speaking Caribbean island to be recognised as "tsunami ready" in September 2011 and has maintained certification status.Since then the British Virgin Islands and St. Kitts and Nevis have received similar recognition, all having established emergency operating centres, national tsunami plans, public outreach and alert systems, public service information programmes and tsunami preparedness and response protocols. The high-level panel was organised by UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) to discuss policies and practices to reduce tsunami risks in countries highly dependent on tourism revenue.The meeting opened with a minute's silence in memory of the 2,000 confirmed dead and 680 officially missing in the tsunami and earthquake which struck Indonesia on 28 Sept. 2018. The double disaster left almost 70,000 people homeless and 11,000 injured in the Indonesian cities of Palu and Donggala in Central Sulawesi.

Thomas Cook Hotel Investments Raises EUR40m To Invest In Hotels Around The Mediterranean

Thomas Cook Group plc ·23 October 2018
Thomas Cook and LMEY through their joint venture, Thomas Cook Hotel Investments, have secured EUR40 million in the first tranche of debt funding. This initial tranche of funding will be provided solely by Piraeus Bank, which is the largest bank in Greece with long term experience in the hospitality sector.The proceeds will be used to invest in hotel properties across Thomas Cook's key Mediterranean sun and beach markets, with this round of funding particularly focusing on opportunities in the Greek Islands. Further funding is being sought to acquire more properties around the Mediterranean.Thomas Cook Hotel Investments currently includes hotel properties on Rhodes, Crete, Mallorca, Ibiza and mainland Spain. Thomas Cook Hotel Investments is investing over EUR7m in its Sunwing Kallithea hotel in Rhodes this winter and is opening a new Casa Cook in Ibiza in summer 2019.Thomas Cook Hotel Investments was established in March 2018 to support the growth of Thomas Cook's own-brand hotel portfolio as part of the company's strategy of delivering greater control over its hotel inventory and customer experience. Its strategy is to acquire underperforming, distressed and underinvested hotels in Thomas Cook's core destinations and transform them into own-brand hotels.Enric Noguer, chief officer of Thomas Cook Hotels & Resorts said, "This first tranche of funding is an important step to help us accelerate the growth of our hotel fund. In acquiring more hotels that we fully manage, we aim to generate better returns for the group and deliver higher customer satisfaction. We continue to seek further funding to enable us to acquire hotels around the Mediterranean where we can bring our hotel management expertise combined with the distribution power of our tour operator."

Meyer Jabara Hotels Retains Management of Marriott Stamford Hotel Under New Ownership

Meyer Jabara ·22 October 2018
[Danbury, Conn., October 22, 2018 ] -- Meyer Jabara Hotels (MJH) will remain property manager of the Marriott Stamford hotel downtown following its recent sale by HD Realty Associates LLC to a prominent, multi-strategy Manhattan investment group. MJH has successfully served as the property manager for more than 20 years."Meyer Jabara Hotels is pleased to retain the management contract for this landmark hotel with its established business base in the city of Stamford. It continues to stand as a hospitality hub in downtown Stamford," said General Manager Mark Ranieri. "Our intimacy with this property, as well as our understanding of the local market, makes us uniquely qualified to continue optimizing guest satisfaction and managing this hotel for years to come. I am especially proud of our staff whose dedication to guest service is widely recognized. While the ownership has changed, our commitment to providing an exceptional and engaging stay will not wane. We are Stamford and proud of it."All Roads Lead to StamfordThe Marriott Stamford, located at 243 Tresser Blvd., features 500 guestrooms and nearly 27,000 square feet of function space including 18 meeting rooms. The full-service hotel is home to Sam's American Bistro, Northern Lights Bar, and The Grind that proudly serves Starbucks coffee. A popular attraction is the Agora Spa featuring six treatment rooms, relaxation, and steam rooms. The hotel also boasts a state-of-the-art fitness center and indoor/outdoor pool."For more than 40 years, the focus of Meyer Jabara Hotels has been on serving our guests," said MJH President and CEO Richard Jabara. "To make customers happy and keep them happy, we hire the best people. It's our people who ultimately deliver memorable experiences. It's because of these people - and their managers - that the Marriott Stamford is such an iconic and sought-after downtown destination. Continuing to serve as the management entity for this hotel is a testament to these employees who day in and day out strive to provide the highest level of service to today's astute travelers."For more information on Meyer Jabara Hotels, visit www.meyerjabarahotels.com. To follow the "Just Journey" Blog, click here. For media inquiries, call Barb Worcester of PRpro at (440) 930-5770 or email her at barbw@prproconsulting.com.

Avison Young Hospitality Group Discusses Recent Contracts

Hotel Online·11 October 2018
Avison Young Hospitality Group announced today that it has contracted on 12 separate hotel sales over the past several weeks. The properties include three full-service Marriott hotels. The sales also include seven select service hotels that include, three Marriott-branded assets, three Hilton-branded assets, and one Hyatt-branded asset. In addition, the firm has contracted for a historic hotel on the New England coast and a resort hotel and golf course in the north central US.

Remarks By Hugh Riley, Secretary General Of The Caribbean Tourism Organization

Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) · 9 October 2018
I'm excited at the prospects for the CTO and the critical role it can play in unifying the Caribbean, not simply as a tourism destination, but as a people destined for greatness.I'm convinced that a well-supported, well-funded, CTO can take its place alongside other venerable institutions to lift the people of the Caribbean to incredible heights that are attainable but not yet achieved.The Organisation's leadership in tourism and its contribution to the development of our human resources will help drive strong economies and build reliable, competent and productive workforces and Caribbean populations that are ready to face an ever-changing global environment.The CTO's leadership was on full display this week through the experts we brought together to share insights into how we can better build a lasting and sustainable tourism sector that will benefit every individual, every community, every country in this region.We dared to challenge the region to build better, not just the infrastructure, but the entire industry. We explored applicable recommendations for the use of technology, not only to improve the visitors' experience, but our lot as a people. We boldly tackled controversial issues such as commoditizing our cultures without exploiting them and embracing the Caribbean as a region of roots.We brought these issues to the forefront not because they're popular, but because we are convinced they must be successfully addressed sooner rather than later, if we are to truly build a Caribbean tourism industry for the future. And there's no better way to shape the future than to involve our young people. There isn't a single person among those who were in the room for yesterday's youth congress, or among the approximately three thousand people who watched it live on the CTO Facebook page, who will disagree with me when I say we have some of the most creative, imaginative and smartest young people anywhere.They are the ones who will be challenged to continue building the tourism industry on the foundation that has been laid by today's leaders and yesterday's pioneers. Based on the strength of their performances yesterday, I'm confident that the future of tourism is bright.In this context, allow me to congratulate the youth congress winner, Jamaica's Bryanna Hylton, as well as St. Maarten's Kiara Meyers and Caroline Pain of Martinique, who placed in the top three. I know you'd also like an update on our The Rhythm Never Stops campaign; I'm happy to advise that the campaign will be launched this coming Monday, thanks to the public- and private sector stakeholders who contributed to this important first phase.On the region's tourism performance, it has been a tale of two situations. On the one hand, we have robust growth in countries that were not affected by last year's hurricanes. On the other, we have seen dramatic decreases in arrivals to those hit by the storms, although the performances of these countries are steadily improving. Of the 22 reporting destinations, 13 of them registered increases in tourist arrivals during the first half of the year, ranging from 1.7 percent to 18.3, while seven recorded decreases of between a negligible -0.3 percent and 71 percent.The top performing destination during this period were Guyana at 18.3 percent, Belize at 17.1 percent, the Cayman Islands at 15.9 percent, and Grenada at 10.7 percent and the Bahamas at 10.2 percent. These individual results substantiate the regional messaging of the openness of the destinations for business and the confidence in destinations to deliver quality experiences. The performances of the key source markets varied considerably, with some destinations recording strong growth, while others registered declines. In the US market, for example, while Jamaica reported growth of 8.4 percent, the Dominican Republic was up by 6.3 percent and 11 other destinations achieved growth, six of which were by double digits, the Caribbean received Seven million visits from the US during the first half of the year.This was a 15.8 percent decrease when compared to the corresponding period last year, due mainly to a 54.6 percent fall in arrivals to Puerto Rico and decreases in arrivals to Cuba. On the other hand, there was a new record in arrivals from Canada for this time of year, with 2.4 million overnight international tourists, representing a 4.7 percent increase. Arrivals from Europe also increased, though marginally at 0.3 percent, with three million tourists visiting the Caribbean during the first half of the year. Belize led the way with 24.3 percent growth, followed by Guyana at 9.4% percent, Curacao 6.2 percent and Saint Lucia at 4.5 percent. However, overall growth was impacted by steep falls in arrivals to Anguilla, Puerto Rico and Bermuda.There was also a marginal decline of 0.5 percent in cruise visits, although there are signs of improvement. Of the 23 reporting destinations, 15 realized improvement upon their 2017 performances with Trinidad & Tobago registering increases of 166 percent, St. Vincent & the Grenadines up by 84 percent and Martinique at 54.7 percent, leading on growth rates. However, this was countered by declines of nearly 90 percent in the British Virgin Islands, Dominica was down by 88.4 percent, St. Maarten down 27.5 percent, and the US Virgin Islands decreased by 22.5 percent. Puerto Rico, though hurricane-impacted, posted a 1.1 percent increase during the period. The region's competitive advantages of a diverse tourism product and safety and security are still intact. Destinations are rebuilding, and new tourism products and services are being restored daily in the destinations impacted by last year's hurricanes.Our research department anticipates an overall decline of between three and four percent this year, but predicts a 4.3 percent increase next year. Cruise, on the other hand, is projected to grow by five percent to six percent this year. Let me take the opportunity to thank Minister Dionisio D'Aguilar, director general Joy Jibrilu and team at the Bahamas ministry of tourism, as well as our own CTO staff for working so hard to pull off a wonderful State of the Tourism Industry conference, and I thank you for your participation.

CBRE Hotels Outlook for 2019? Focus on Expenses

CBRE Hotels · 2 October 2018
CBRE Hotels' Americas Research Director of Information Services, Robert Mandelbaum, reviews our annualTrends In The Hotel Industry report, summarizing the performance of U.S. hotel revenues, expenses and profits. Robert discusses the challenges U.S. hotel operators faced in recent years, and what to expect as owners and operators prepare their budgets for 2019.

Cannabis & The Hospitality Industry

Hotel Online· 1 October 2018
As more states ease laws on cannabis usage, hotels are finding new ways to incorporate the drug into their product offering, either catering to new demographics or offering new services for those eager to try something different and exciting.

2018 HVS Lodging Tax Report - USA

Hotel Online·26 September 2018
In this 7th annual Lodging Tax Report, HVS explores the current status and historical trends of lodging taxes in the USA. This updated version provides lodging tax rates/collections on all 50 US states and 150 US cities.

Ares Real Estate Sells Its Stake in Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center for $270 Million

Hotel Online·17 September 2018
September 17, 2018--Ares Management, L.P. (NYSE: ARES) announced today that funds managed by its Real Estate Group have agreed to the sale of its investment in the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center, a 1,500-room hotel and convention center under construction in Aurora, Colorado.

Steigenberger Hotels AG increases quality control of franchise partners

Deutsche Hospitality ·13 September 2018
According to information provided today by the Egyptian authorities, the circumstances concerning the tragic death of two British guests at the franchise Hotel Aqua Magic in Hurghada have been clarified. These results are based on a statement by the public chief prosecutor Nabil Sadek made on Wednesday."We are all deeply saddened and concerned by what has taken place at a Steigenberger franchise hotel in Hurghada," said Thomas Willms, CEO of Steigenberger Hotels AG. "Our thoughts are with the family members of the deceased couple. We offer them our heartfelt condolences in this difficult situation.""Wherever you see the Steigenberger brand, it is our commitment that uncompromised quality and safety are given top priority, irrespective of ownership or contractual structures. The findings of the autopsy published today do not match the stringent quality and safety standards that apply to all Steigenberger Hotels."Steigenberger Hotels AG has even increased measurements and quality checks that are aimed to prevent such a tragic event from being repeated. These actions are in addition to the constant investigations and quality checks which Steigenberger does in all hotels. The guidelines and safety specifications for all franchise hotels will be reviewed and updated where necessary. We will assure that the employees will receive even more detailed awareness training regarding possible risks and will attend appropriate courses for this purpose."We will continue to analyze the situation on site on an ongoing basis, and additional measures will be put in place as and when required", says Mr. Willms. "Since we haven't seen the full report of the prosecutor yet and considering the fact that controls and examinations at Hotel Aqua Magic are still ongoing, obviously we cannot confirm that the family was infected through food consumed on the hotel premises.""I will take personal charge of monitoring and ensuring that all measures are implemented," Mr. Willms went on. "We owe this to the family members, who are suffering unimaginable sorrow. We also owe the same to all our guests who place their trust in us on a daily basis. And we owe it to our employees.""All Steigenberger Hotels have to be safe. This is an area in which I am not prepared to make any compromises. We are in intensive discussions about our future relationship with our operating partners at the Hotel Aqua Magic and we urge definitely the absolute need of transparent results of all internal investigations."

Jail time for review fraudsters: TripAdvisor heralds landmark legal ruling in the fight against paid review fraud

TripAdvisor ·12 September 2018
In one of the first legal cases of its kind, the Criminal Court of Lecce ruled that writing fake reviews using a false identity is criminal conduct under Italian criminal law. The owner of PromoSalento, which sold fake review packages to hospitality businesses in Italy, was sentenced to nine months in prison and ordered to pay approximately 8,000 Euros in costs and damages.Paid review fraud - when companies or individuals 'sell' fake reviews to business owners - is a violation of the law in many jurisdictions, but this is one of the first cases of enforcement resulting in a criminal conviction.TripAdvisor supported the prosecution of PromoSalento as a civil claimant by sharing evidence from its extensive in-house fraud investigations and providing support from its Italian legal counsel. Review fraud is something TripAdvisor takes extremely seriously, employing advanced tracking technology and a dedicated team of investigators to catch paid review companies and prevent them from operating on the site. More information on TripAdvisor's in-house investigation into PromoSalento can be found here.TripAdvisor welcomes the opportunity to work with enforcement authorities, including the UK Competition and Markets Authority and the US Federal Trade Commission, to share information and support their efforts to tackle online fake reviews.Brad Young, VP, Associate General Counsel, TripAdvisor, said: "We see this as a landmark ruling for the Internet. Writing fake reviews has always been fraud, but this is the first time we've seen someone sent to jail as a result.""We invest a lot in fraud prevention and we're successful at tackling it - since 2015, we've put a stop to the activity of more than 60 different paid review companies worldwide. However, we can only do so much alone, which is why we're eager to collaborate with regulators and law enforcement authorities to support their prosecutions.""Online reviews play a major role in tourism and consumer purchasing decisions, but it's important everyone plays by the rules," said Mr Pascal Lamy, Chairman, World Committee on Tourism Ethics, UNWTO. "Fake reviews clearly contravene the World Committee on Tourism Ethics guidelines, which we published last year to guide the responsible use of ratings and reviews on digital platforms. The recommendations were developed in collaboration with TripAdvisor, Minube and Yelp and we know that industry collaboration has an important role to play in tackling review fraud."The global travel community is a vital partner in the fight against paid review fraud and evidence shared by business owners approached by paid review companies is particularly valuable. Anyone approached or contacted by companies or individuals offering fake reviews should not engage with them but share that information with TripAdvisor directly at paidreviews@tripadvisor.com. All reports made to our Content Integrity team will be investigated and any information, no matter how minor, can help.TripAdvisor has recently launched a new online information resource where people can learn more about how the company moderates reviews and protects its content. New articles will be added regularly addressing popular topics such as how TripAdvisor moderates reviews, or determines whether a review is biased. The site also features a behind-the-scenes series profiling the vital work of our review fraud investigators, with new investigation cases studies added regularly.

GuestTek Interactive Entertainment Files Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against Nomadix, Inc.

Hotel Online·10 September 2018
GuestTek Interactive Entertainment Ltd., an innovative leader in providing technology solutions for the hospitality industry, announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against Nomadix, Inc. for infringement of multiple U.S. patents by, among other things, selling and offering for sale certain Nomadix Access Gateways employing various versions of the Nomadix Service Engine. The complaint, which was filed in the United States District Court for Delaware, seeks a permanent injunction, as well as unspecified damages. GuestTek also asks for a determination that Nomadix’s infringement was willful and that GuestTek be awarded treble damages as a consequence.

Marriott San Antonio Northwest hotel sold at foreclosure auction for $18M

Hotel Online· 7 September 2018
The Marriott San Antonio Northwest hotel that overlooks the intersection of Interstate 10 and Loop 410 was sold at foreclosure auction earlier this week, four years after Los Angeles company Laurus Corp. bought it and announced ambitious renovation plans.

LaSalle Agrees to Merge With Pebblebrook in a $5.2 Billion Deal

Lodging Magazine· 6 September 2018
After months of negotiations, Pebblebrook Hotel Trust and LaSalle Hotel Properties today jointly announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Pebblebrook will acquire 100 percent of LaSalle’s outstanding common shares. LaSalle has terminated its previously announced merger agreement with affiliates of The Blackstone Group following receipt of a waiver of Blackstone’s four-business-day period during which it could have proposed amendments to the terms of the Blackstone-LaSalle Agreement. LaSalle has canceled its special meeting of LaSalle shareholders previously scheduled for September 6, 2018 relating to the Blackstone-LaSalle Agreement.

DOL Schedules Listening Sessions on Overtime Rule

CMAA Legislative Report Blog· 4 September 2018
The US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has announced that in the upcoming weeks, it will hold public listening sessions to gather views on the Overtime Rule. The Department plans to update the Overtime Rule, and is interested in hearing the views and ideas of participants on possible revisions to the regulations.

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