Here are a collection of hotel news items that I have seen over the past week. These items just don’t seem big enough to dedicate an entire post for details, so I’ll just toss some elevator sound bites out for readers with links for topics.
1. InterContinental Hotels Group states it has 44 million Priority Club Rewards members globally. Perhaps they should rename the loyalty program Priority Club Nation. http://www.ihgplc.com/index.asp?PageID=116&NewsID=2366
2. UN World Tourism Organization says 2009 travel is down 4 to 6 % globally. This is the first decline since a less than 2% decline in 2003.
3. US Domestic Travel overall is down 3.8 percent for the year through September 2009. Leisure travel is down 2.7% while business travel is down a whopping 7.5% attributed primarily to a decline in meetings.
4. The cost of international flights from USA was down 20% in September 2009 from a year ago.
(2-4 source: http://www.hsmaieconnect.org/news/154000370/4044202.html)
5. Hyatt Hotels Corporation initial public offering of $1.14 billion in stock occurred November 4. Hyatt posted a $31 million loss for the first nine-months of 2009. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601084&sid=aPPIjpC8xV5w
6. Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC, purchased 3 million of the 38 million shares for a 6.9% stake in Hyatt Hotels. Hyatt has a strong cash position with more than 5x the cash of Marriott and Starwood combined. (Ric’s note: Makes me think acquisition of new Hyatt properties is in the near future.) http://themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/business/43408-singapores-gic-buys-69pc-stake-in-hyatt
7. Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur is a jewel on the edge of the Pacific Ocean that I visited last week when the temperature was unseasonably warm with high 70s/low 80s. The perspective of looking down 1,200 feet from the Cliff House rooms to the Pacific Ocean is an extreme and unique hotel experience. The rooms I had a chance to visit were eye-popping, the view dizzying, but the $1,500 to $2,200 per night price tag is what prompted my vertigo. Here are my Facebook post photos.
8. Fairmont Hotels has a winter sale through 11:59 EST, Thursday, February 19. The rates for Canada look good for now as opposed to the lack of room availability for the Winter Olympics. http://www.fairmont.com/promo/winter
9. Marriott’s SpringHill Suites has a video memory contest for prizes. You need to recall ten items shown in a 2 minute video. I only got 8 of 10. http://videochallenge.spacetoinspire.com/
10. Mexicana Airlines joined the oneworld alliance this month. There are two more days left to redeem Mexicana Go miles at 50% off for Mexicana operated flights systemwide for travel through March 25. US-Madrid or London via Mexico City in Business Class is 56,000 miles and around $500 in taxes. USA-Cancun is 30,000 miles First Class and about $100. Members can buy miles from Mexicana. http://www.mexicanago.com/en/page/promociones-go-welcome-p
11. Hotels Magazine blogger Adam Kirby wrote his case for free hotel wi-fi and hoteliers roasted his feet over the poolside BBQ in their comments. http://www.hotelsmag.com/blog/1720000572/post/1170050517.html
12. Ritz-Carlton Residences in Denver have gone into foreclosure after selling only one of 25 luxury units in the 202-room hotel building in downtown Denver. My first impression when I visited the property was “Hey, it looks out over the Greyhound bus station!” http://www.denverpost.com/ci_13776640
13. The Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell released a new report stating a hotel’s presence on Expedia increases bookings made through the hotel website’s own systems. The researcher calls this the “billboard effect” whereby a potential guest just seeing the hotel listed on Expedia helps drive sales through the hotel’s own reservation channels. Perhaps Choice Hotels management read the report before agreeing to settle their contract with Expedia this past week.