There is plenty of news this week and I couldn’t decide which ones to choose, therefore they come in bullet points this time.
- Online bookings accounted for more than half the travel sales across Europe for the first time last year, says industry analyst IPK International. However, agency sales continue to dominate Europe’s biggest travel market: Germany. 55% of all travel bookings in Europe were online in 2011, up 15% on 2010.
|Jumeirah at Etihad Towers,
Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
- Abu Dhabi starts limiting hotel licenses in a market that is going into an oversupply phase. The emirate recorded occupancy levels of 69% in 2011, an increase of 7% over 2010. However, ADR dropped 14% year-on-year to US$133.12 and is expected to drop another 10% in 2012.
- Jumeirah Hotels are selling the historic Essex House hotel, located on the edge of Central Park in New York City. The 515-room Art Deco hotel was built in 1931 and is famous for its signature red neon sign on the building’s roof.
- Starwood Hotels & Resorts launched a new application for the iPhone and iPod Touch which includes FaceTime – a first for a non-Apple application – fully integrated booking, member information, comprehensive hotel searches and travel details, customer service and social media. Starwood iPhone application
- Room Key, a new venture backed by six of the world’s leading hotel companies, announced that it acquired hotelicopter last year in an asset deal. The acquisition is meant to enrich Room Key’s user experience quickly.
- Also this week: Worldhotels joins Room Key.
- Hotels in Germany are called to boycott HRS. The German OTA is trying to increase their commission payments from 13% to 15%. Further criticism focuses on a preferential treatment clause that denies hotels the right to offer better prices through any other booking channel. In February, the higher regional court of Düsseldorf had ordered HRS in a preliminary injunction not to enforce its preferential treatment clause.