aloft Hotel London ExCeL

aloft Hotel London ExCeL
aloft Hotel London ExCeL, a photo by Corinna Witt on Flickr.

aloft Hotel London ExCeL

aloft London ExCeL is located next to the exhibition centre and not far from London City Airport. It’s particularly popular during trade fairs such as World Travel Market (WTM London) but not a bad choice for tourists either, especially since Emirates Air Line takes you over the Thames to The O2 (formerly Millennium Dome) at North Greenwich.

The Hotel and Travel Week

London 2012 Update
Following up our London 2012 post, according to new data from STR Global the summer Olympics appear to be helping London’s hotel performance after all. From 27th July to 5th August 2012, hoteliers across London reported 87.7% occupancy and £216.42 (US$335.18) ADR. This represents an increase of 3.2% and 87.1% compared to the same days a year ago.
“However, Heathrow and Gatwick, in the west and south of London and therefore less convenient for Olympic venues, have reported occupancy declines for the Olympic period.” said Elizabeth Randall Winkle, managing director of STR Global.

Online Travel Agents hit by European crisis
Global economic weakness, in particular in Europe, took a toll on online travel agents this week. Shares of OTAs such as Orbitz and Priceline were smashed by investors after the companies had published weaker profit outlooks. These reflect in part consumers’ reluctance to spend on leisure travel while uncertainty remains over many of the world’s largest economies. Moreover, the weakness of the Euro against the U.S. Dollar has reduced the value of international bookings which account for most of Orbitz’ and Priceline’s business. For example, 60% of Priceline’s hotel online bookings come from Europe.
Online travel agents receive higher commissions from hotel bookings than airfares and airlines have an advantage over hotels as they are able to adjust to changes in demand by decreasing capacities.
Shares of other online travel sites also plummeted on Wednesday. Expedia’s share price dropped about 5%, as did shares of TripAdvisor and Kayak.

Expedia’s Traveler Preference programme
Expedia’s new payment model and potential impact on the hotel industry was also discussed this week. The Expedia Traveler Preference programme could put the relationship between hotels and online travel agencies under renewed pressure. The new technology will allow travelers to choose whether to pay Expedia at the time of booking (and Expedia will pay the hotel) or upon checkout (and the hotel would pay Expedia post stay). The model is similar to what the Priceline Group offers via travelers reserve a room with a no-fee cancellation policy and then pay the hotel after their stay.
Some hoteliers remain skeptical, particularly with regards to the model’s commission structure and cancellation fees. Commissions paid to Expedia will be the same whether the traveler pays at time of booking or upon checkout. Hotels criticize that Expedia is applying a merchant commission to an agency model.

Joie de Vivre Hotels reward rebels
Guests at 6 Joie de Vivre Hotels in the U.S. Southwest can take part in the chains’ Ditch campaign and tweet an excuse for ditching their everyday responsibilities taking a photo upon arrival wearing a disguise provided by the property. The best excuses and photos will win a 2-night stay at one of the hotels. The contest will continue until 15th November.

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 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 #2

Monday, 26th October

InterContinental Hotel Group announces a second InterContinental Hotel in London to open before the 2012 Olympic Games.
IHG have signed a contract with Splendid Hotel Group for a 20 year management contract. The property in question is a new 254-room six storey building in the Westminster area.
Despite tough economic times IHG seem to believe in the strength of their brands. They are planning to add 5,000 rooms in the UK over the next two or three years.

Tuesday, 27th October

Hotels Magazine reports that Choice Hotels may soon have a major ally in its ‘war against Expedia’. At their annual conference, Best Western has been hinting that they are prepared to take similar action against the OTA. They also said that they are working more aggressively with Expedia’s competitors to define their market share.
Wednesday, 28th October
The business travel segment is growing again, according to InterContinental Hotels Group. Corporates had pulled back their investment in business travel during the financial crisis but more recently IHG see people coming back. Is this a sure sign of the crisis being over?
Thursday, 29th October
A surprise announcement that Choice Hotels have resumed negotiations with Expedia last week. Apparently Choice is not interested in leading an industry revolt against Expedia and try to end a ‘messy public feud’. The reason given is that they want to do ‘what’s right for their franchisees’. Expedia had pulled all Choice Hotels from their website after negotiations had come to a standstill.
Friday, 30th October
Travelocity announces to be the first and only to guarantee hotel prices across the web prior to the day of check-in. Competing sites offer price protection on hotel bookings only for lower prices found on respective sites and often within the suppliers cancellation window. Travelocity customers can now claim a refund whenever they find a lower price for their booking anywhere on the web (except name your own price services). Additionally, Travelocity scrap change or cancellation fees for hotel bookings or packages (excluding last minute packages).