The Hotel and Travel Week #14

Monday, 22nd February

Orbitz is blurring the line between on-line and off-line by announcing it will pay commission to travel agents for hotel reservations and package bookings. The first 500 travel agents who sign up to www.orbitzforagents.com by the end of March will earn higher commissions for a year. The ground-breaking initiative is meant to stimulate bookings who insist on using a live agent instead of booking directly on-line.
Tuesday, 23rd February
Expedia unveils that they will bring a more substantial iPhone app to the iTunes store in a couple of weeks. The new application will have the ability to book hotel rooms and flights. The current application only offers information about a booked trip.
Wednesday, 24th February
 
e-conceptory will be at ITB Berlin from the 10th until the 12th of March:
 
Please, contact us to make an appointment and talk about your online project!
 
Thursday, 25th February
UK business travel recovery remains fragile, according to a new study of The Guild of Travel Management Companies. The study reveals that several areas of business travel that had experienced a downturn are seeing slight improvement. The hotel sector also showed a slight improvement in the 4th quarter with transactions only being down 2% year on year compared to having been 13% down in the third quarter of 2009.
Friday, 26th February
London’s hotel operators can celebrate. The city has by far the highest Gross Operating Profit per Available Room (GOPPAR) across a sample of European cities in the latest HotStats survey from TRI Hospitality Consulting. With 20% increase in profitability during January London was with a GOPPAR of €63.67 approx. 35% above the closest comparable city, Paris (GOPPAR €41.35). London’s growth was primarily led by a 9.3% increase in RevPAR (revenue per available room).

The Hotel and Travel Week #13

Monday, 8th February

Best Western is trying to boost online bookings via www.bestwestern.com with a scheme that rewards customers with double or triple points from every second qualified stay at a Best Western hotel. The online loyalty promotion runs until the end of April 2010.
To be eligible, guests must register at www.bestwesternrewards.com/spring, reside in North America, South America, the Caribbean Asia, South Africa, Israel, Egypt or Ukraine and be members of Best Western Rewards.

After only one month, the observation deck at Burj Dubai, now Burj Khalifa, closes abruptly to the public. No exact reasons are given. Ticket sales are on hold indefinitely and the website states: ‘Please be advised that online tickets to At the Top are temporarily on hold due to maintenance at the attraction.’ This comes at a time when Dubai is already facing a slow-down in tourism which accounts for nearly a fifth of the local economy.
Tuesday, 9th February
Joie de Vivre, a California-based chain of boutique hotels, claims to be the first hotel brand in the United States to roll out a breakthrough in-room entertainment and media platform. The new media centers, powered by Mac Mini computers on the OSX operating system, will enable guests to do everything they can do on their own computers at home, from checking e-mail, Twitter, or Facebook to downloading music on iTunes, movies from Netflix or HULU. Hotels are still lagging far behind the technology guests have available at home, the group say.
Wednesday, 10th February
The Chicago Office of Tourism announces a deal with Foursquare, a new location-based, social networking application for mobile phones: www.foursquare.com/explorechicago
Tourists and locals can ‘check-in’ at over 60 locations around the city to earn up to 3 Chicago-themed badges. With this cooperation, the tourism office is hoping to encourage users to try out new businesses and promote lesser known landmarks.
Thursday, 11th February
Marriott International reports a profit for the 4th quarter of 2009. Business travel has improved and leisure travelers took advantage of promotions, the company say.
Friday, 12th February
Emaar, the developer behind Burj Khalifa in Dubai says it returned to profit in the 4th quarter of 2009 as revenue from new shopping centers and hotels offset a slow-down in housing deliveries. The company benefited from business at Dubai Mall which had opened in 2008 and also runs two high-end hotels in Dubai while rolling out the 5-star The Address Hotels + Resorts chain.

The Hotel and Travel Week #12

Monday, 1st February

InterContinental Hotels Group win a battle over 1.500 domain names, which were owned by a German who controls over 70,000 domains. Many of the now transferred domains linked to websites with booking engines selling rooms at IHG and other hotels. The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) took the decision according to the principle that domains can be transferred if the brand owner can show that a name is identical or confusingly similar to their own brand, the domain owner has no rights to the domain name and where the name is registered and used in bad faith.
Tuesday, 2nd February
Travelclick and HSMAI name the best eMarketer of the Year 2009. The award goes to Joie de Vivre Hospitality, a California-based collection of boutique hotels, and recognises the best integrated e-marketing programme in the hotel industry, Travelclick say. Joie de Vivre run Facebook and Twitter campaigns and have won the prize before in 2006.
At the same time, Travelclick announces the launch of their community website: www.HotelConversations.com
Wednesday, 3rd February
Sheraton Hotels & Resorts announce a USD 20 million multimedia marketing campaign to highlight their USD 6 billion revitalisation effort. The Rediscover Sheraton campaign emphasizes a new trend in tourism which combines business and leisure travel with slogans like ‘Who brings business suits and bathing suits together’. The campaign will run on websites such as TripAdvisor.com, NYTimes.com, Kayak.com and CNN.com as well as in print.
Thursday, 4th February
Choice Hotels launch their re-designed website at www.choicehotels.com.
The new website has the ability to search by attraction, city, zip code, address and more. It also has a personalisation feature where guests can save their favorites. It results from direct feedback of hotel guests as well as extensive research, Choice say, and has been designed and developed by digital agency Razorfish.
Friday, 5th February
Starwood report a USD 186 million loss for the 4th quarter of 2009.
British Airways also announce a pre-tax loss of £342 million for the last 3 quarters of 2009. This is compared to a loss of £ 70 million for the same period of the previous year. However, BA saw an improvement during the 3rd quarter of 2009 and is hoping to be able to turn the corner.