The Hotel and Travel Week

This week’s Hotel and Travel Week is exclusively about Christmas and how hotels get creative to bring their guests into the right mood.

We would like to wish everyone
 a very HAPPY CHRISTMAS 
and a relaxing and wonderful holiday.

Giant gingerbread house at The Langham, London

The Langham bakes giant gingerbread house

The pastry chef at The Langham Hotel, London created a 1.3 meter high gingerbread house which by the way took 200 man hours to complete. The person coming closest to guessing the weight of it will win complimentary afternoon tea for two at the hotel’s Palm Court. The giant gingerbread house that is the centerpiece of the holiday wonderland tea at The Langham where guests can enjoy the Festive Afternoon Tea that includes roast Norfolk turkey breast with violet mustard sandwiches, eggnog cream, individual mini gingerbread houses and homemade mince pies.

A Christmas tree made of feathers

A Christmas tree, made from 3,000 white feathers hung on individual wires from the ceiling in the hotel’s lobby is being showcased at Hôtel de la Paix in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The creation of this eco-conscious tree took more than 10 days of preparation, several staff members and three engineers. During the tree’s unveiling, the hotel and its guests made a donation to their community partner, the Green Gecko Project.

Christmas tree at Eaton Smart, Hong Kong

A Christmas tree made of tissue paper rolls

An even more unusual Christmas tree is displayed at Eaton Smart, Hong Kong. This tree is made of 4,936 tissue paper rolls and 6.6 meters high. It also features 80 aluminum cans and LED lighting for decoration. It took more than 50 staff members to piece the tree together over a period of 2 months. Apart from the eco-friendly Christmas tree, Eaton Smart has also teamed up with the Green Shop to sell homemade organic gingerbread in the hotel lobby between 21st and 27th December 2011 with all proceeds going towards charity.

… and finally a jolly Christmas video from Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong.

Enjoy!

 

Hotel Pic of the Week: Christmas @ Rocco Forte Hotel de Rome Berlin

Christmas Decoration at the Lobby

Rocco Forte Hotel de Rome Berlin is located in the very centre of Berlin, just off Unter den Linden and is therefore the ideal starting point to visit the city’s fantastic Christmas markets and get into a festive mood. The most beautiful Christmas market – Am Gendarmenmarkt – is only around the corner and so are 3 more large central Berlin Christmas markets.

View more photos of Rocco Forte Hotels on Flickr

The Hotel and Travel Week

Orbitz Mobile Steals Promotion

Orbitz ‘Mobile Steals’ offers mobile-only discounts
13th December 2011

Orbitz launched a new mobile website including the ‘Mobile Steals’ promotion with exclusive, mobile-only discounts of up to 50% on hotels worldwide. ‘Mobile Steals’ are available to guests using the Orbitz mobile website and Orbitz apps for iPad, iPhone and Android. 65% of Orbitz hotel reservations are made through mobile channels for same day stays.

Hotel group asks guests to steal art
13th December 2011

More stealing going on as Australian luxury boutique hotel company Art Series Hotels Group is running a unique contest for guests who are asked to try and steal a Banksy artwork in their hotel. The print ‘No Ball Games’, based on one of the famous graffiti artist’s street artworks, will be hung in 1 of the 3 Art Series hotels in and around Melbourne starting on 15th December until 15th January. Guests can follow Art Series on Twitter and Facebook for hints on the paintings location in the hotel, and then attempt to steal it. If a guest is caught stealing, they will have to return the print. However, if they manage to avoid the hotel’s detection system, they will get to keep the US$15,100 artwork, which is signed and authenticated by Banksy.

QR Code

Aloft tests holographic QR codes
16th December 2011

Aloft Hotels are testing a holographic concierge with QR codes that give guests easy access to information and offers from local businesses. The holographic image is projected onto a life-sized cut-out of a person in the hotel lobby. The brand recognized that its guests are connected via their smartphones and depend on them while traveling even more so than at home. Consequently, Aloft wanted to make it easy to download information from the holographic concierge.

Business travelers value free Wi-Fi most
16th December 2011

Choice Hotels asked nearly 100 hotel owners, operators and general managers from the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the Czech Republic what hotel amenities business travellers valued most. Free Wi-Fi was the clear winner at 90%. Other amenities included 24-hour security and reception desk support, a late check-in or early check-out facility and an on-site hotel restaurant. At the other end of the scale, less valued facilities included a business centre and Airport transfer service, with a fitness centre only mentioned by 12% of respondents.

 

Hotel Pic of the Week: Armani Hotel at Burj Khalifa


Burj Dubai / Burj Khalifa, originally uploaded by Corinna Witt.

Burj Dubai / Burj Khalifa – the world’s largest building – is situated in Downtown Dubai, surrounded by Dubai Mall as well as several hotels, office and apartment buildings and an artificial lake where Dubai Fountain goes on display every night.

The Armani hotel occupies the concourse level up to level 8 and levels 38 and 39 and is the world’s first hotel designed and developed by Giorgio Armani. Apart from a luxurious ballroom and several other meeting facilities, the Armani Hotel features eight restaurants offering a wide choice of world cuisines ranging from Japanese and Indian to Mediterranean and authentic fine-dining Italian.

View more photos of Burj Khalifa Dubai on Flickr

The Hotel and Travel Week

Travel websites let you Give the Gift
6th December 2011

© Almgren – Fotolia.com

Expedia.com has launched the Travel Wish List on Facebook. It works like a gift registry, building on the Groupon Getaways for Expedia programme which started last July. Once you find a Groupon Getaway you like, you can post it on your Facebook Wall and friends and family can buy it for you. LivingSocial has also started to offer Winter Warm Up deals featuring trips to 10 tropical destinations. For an extra US$2.99, LivingSocial will giftwrap the certificate and deliver it to the recipient, showing only the value of the trip and not what you paid for it.

TripAdvisor goes solo
6th December 2011

On Tuesday, shareholders of Expedia.com approved the company’s spinoff of TripAdvisor.com. The transition is expected to be completed by the end of the year but won’t affect the user experience on TripAdvisor.com, says the announcement. Reason for the spinoff are the different business models of both e-commerce websites. While  Expedia’s business is built on transactions, TripAdvisor makes money with advertising. At the same time, there are voices saying TripAdvisor’s model with it’s millions of reviews from anonymous strangers is outdated. New successful startups such as Gogobot.com focus on ‘friend sourcing’ as users become ever more involved in social networking and turn to people they already know and trust to get travel advice.

Mobile last-minute hotel reservations on the up
8th December 2011

Hotel Tonight iPhone application

Aiming to draw impulsive buyers who are addicted to daily coupon alerts, hotels and OTAs are introducing a flurry of new specials and features targeting those who book a room locally on the day of their stay. Orbitz, which launched its hotels app for iPad in summer, says 65% of mobile bookings are same-day reservations (versus 14% on desktop computers). Orbitz will also launch a redesigned mobile website next week that will include a new tonight-only deals feature. They are in good company with the Priceline Tonight-Only Deals which launched in October and Hotel Tonight, an app featuring daily deals from U.S. hotels with at least 20% discount for the night. Hotel Tonight has become one of the most popular travel apps, with more than 800,000 downloads and also won HEDNA’s Spirit of Innovation Award earlier this week.

Marriot pushes Facebook Likes
8th December 2011

For the month of December, Marriott is giving away 5 million points to members who ‘Like’ their new Marriott Rewards Facebook page. Members of the loyalty programme can earn and redeem points at more than 3,500 Marriott International hotels around the world. The new Facebook page is said to “offer a new way to join the conversation and connect with the program and each other. It will also feature rich content from Marriott Rewards experts.”

Christmas Valet delivers traditional trimmings
8th December 2011

Christmas Tree at Rocco Forte Hotel Berlin

Finally, in this holiday-heralding post news about a new service being introduced at the Hilton Surfers Paradise in Gold Coast Hotel, Australia. For the first time, traditional trimmings such as a Christmas tree and other seasonal decorations will be delivered to guest rooms by the new Christmas Valet service. The hotel also offers secure present storage for parents, a “Santa’s Post Box” in the hotel lobby and, for families with younger children, delivery of cookies and milk for Santa and his reindeer on Christmas Eve. “We have developed this service with families in mind to make sure Christmas is just as memorable for those on extended stays at the hotel, with all those special touches,” said General Manager David Kelly.
What a brilliant idea!

 

Hotel Pic of the Week: Rocco Forte Hotel de Rome Berlin

Palm Court Ballroom

Rocco Forte Hotel de Rome Berlin is located in the very centre of Berlin and just off Unter den Linden. This luxury Berlin hotel is a conversion of a historical building which housed the head office of Dresdner Bank until 1945. The 5-star Hotel de Rome in Berlin has 146 large rooms with high ceilings including 4 historical suites and the 120 sqm Bebel suite. The impressive ballroom has a glazed roof and 6 beautiful chandeliers in the original historical design.

View more photos of Rocco Forte Hotels on Flickr

The Hotel and Travel Week

Editorial

Just before the end of year and after a short break, the Hotel and Travel Week is back in a new format. Instead of listing news as they occurred each day of the week, we will now order our online marketing and other news from the hotel and travel industry by topic. This way, the article should be easier to scan and enabling the reader to choose the parts they are particularly interested in.
Enjoy and give us your feedback, please!

Venere.com mobile website

Venere goes mobile
28th November 2011

The European OTA, member of Expedia, Venere.com went mobile this week with the launch of its new free mobile website. The initial launch covers the following languages: EN, IT, ES, DE, FR. As mobile is becoming predominant for booking last minute accommodation online, for Venere.com this is another investment in meeting customer needs with suitable and convenient travel options, the company says.
The website – optimized for the most common mobile devices – can be accessed either by typing www.venere.com on any mobile device or simply by typing explicitly m.venere.com

Europeans defy debt crisis and travel
28th November 2011

Despite the economic downturn travel is up in Europe this year according to a report by PhoCusWright. The number of trips rose by 8% in France, 4% in Germany and 5% in Britain. “When it comes to leisure travel, we’ve found that European consumers are rather resilient,” said Carroll Rheem, an analyst with travel research firm PhoCusWright. They may cut down on the length of their summer holiday but won’t scrap it completely. “People in Europe are largely still employed, still spending money and still traveling,” said Scott Kessler, analyst at S&P Capital IQ.

Hotels enter the Cyber Monday frenzy
29th November 2011

Apparently, Cyber Monday isn’t just for online retailers anymore. In their quest to boost brand.com bookings, hotels were offering online-only discounts in the U.S. this year.
Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving and has become famous for customers going online and doing their (Christmas) shopping. Hotels have geared up over the last 3 years to get a slice of the cake in Cyber Monday sales.
Hotel deals this year were ranging from city properties of the Trump Collection to beach spots like Loews Hotels in Santa Monica. Others came from Omni Hotels & Resorts, Marriott and a special deal from Kimpton Hotels were discounts depended on time of booking on Cyber Monday.

Google Maps iPhone application
showing sponsored ad

Google adds ads to maps
29th November 2011

Just in time for the holiday shopping season, Google has been quietly adding new ad placements on maps in some of its most popular search destinations. Sponsored ads now appear among all the little, red pins indicating search results in the iPhone Google Maps application. If, for example, you are looking for a hotel in the area you are in Google will show you a map with a bunch of red pins showing your choices. One hotel, however, could be flagged with a subtle ‘Sponsored Link’ written underneath. This is a pretty powerful way to stand out from the crowd.

Hyatt Hotels mobile iPhone application

Hyatt’s new mobile app
30th November 2011

Hyatt has launched a mobile app that allows iPhone users to search hotels using location-based technology, book new and view existing reservations. Users can also join the hotel company’s loyalty programme, find deals and track point balances with the new application. “We wanted our app to offer a clean design with an intuitive flow so travellers can easily have all the most important details at their fingertips to make their travels as simple and seamless as possible,” said Bill Bernahl, vice president, e-Commerce, Hyatt.
An Android version is currently under development.

 

Hotel Pic of the Week: Jumeirah at Etihad Towers Abu Dhabi

Double Room at Jumeirah Hotel at Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers launched end of October and is part of the new and iconic Abu Dhabi 5-tower complex. The hotel has great views of the Arabian Gulf and Abu Dhabi Corniche. It clearly sets new standards for luxury hotels.
Jumeirah at Etihad Towers comprises of 382 rooms and suites, 199 serviced residences, landscaped pool areas and gardens to complement the private beach, Spa and gym, 12 restaurants and bars as well as conference facilities that are amongst the largest in Abu Dhabi.

View more photos of Jumeirah Hotels on Flickr