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  • Meet Minneapolis: Travel to the Twin Cities this Summer for HITEC 2019

    We all know that travel can be a real hassle. So, what about a trip makes it worth packing up your suitcase, saying goodbye to your family for the next few days, fighting the airport and staying in a.

  • New Global Directors Join the 2018-2019 HFTP Board

    The HFTP 2018-2019 Global Board of Directors was installed during the association's 2018 Annual Convention and introduces new directors Toni Bau, Carson Booth, CHTP and Mark Fancourt. These extensive director profiles give insight into the distinguished professions and personal goals of HFTP's newest association leaders.

  • A Series of Must-Read Articles on Cybersecurity Produced by the HFTP Research Centers

    Data security remains a pressing concern and top priority for the hospitality industry. The HFTP Research Centers are dedicated to producing findings that can significantly aid hospitality businesses in their efforts to protect their guests’ privacy and personal information against potential cyber threats and attacks.

  • HITEC Special: Does EU GDPR Affect U.S. Hospitality Companies?

    By Alvaro Hidalgo. The EU General Data Protection Regulation has set a path towards protecting personal data which many other countries will follow. In a global industry such as hospitality, it should be a primary objective to take the steps towards compliance.

The shifting scene of independent hotels in America

HotelNewsNow ·15 April 2019
In the United States, the hotel landscape has noticeably changed since 1990.One key trend is that there seems to be fewer and fewer independent hotels.If you were to look across the American hotel scene in 1990, you would find that nearly two-thirds of hotels were independently owned and operated. Today, independents account for less than 40% of all hotels. So, what is driving this shift?To answer this question, consider a few interesting trends that help characterize the changing role of the independent hotel in the U.S.

Starwood data breach: Lessons for the hotel industry

HotelNewsNow ·15 April 2019
Marriott International President and CEO Arne Sorenson testified before a U.S. Senate subcommittee in early March, providing some insight into the data breach of the Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide legacy reservation system.In his testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in March, Sorenson laid out the timeline of the discovery of the breach and how his company responded.

Hotel Industry Finance Roles Lack Female Representation

HotelNewsNow · 6 March 2019
REPORT FROM THE U.S.--Women are roughly one-fifth as likely as men to get C-suite positions and roughly one-third as likely to rise to the EVP or SVP levels at hotel companies, and Castell Project Director Peggy Berg said this is evidence the industry needs to do a better job tackling its biases head on.Berg, who conducted the 2019 "Women in hospitality industry leadership" report, said there seems to be a disconnect "between what is happening with women moving into leadership and what makes sense."The most important thing "is to recognize that unconscious biases exist," said Berg, who is also founder of the Highland Group. "We all have them, don't care who you are; we've all got them. The second thing is to notice when they're kicking in and for company leaders to challenge the people who work with them to identify it when they see bias."What makes sense is that people who are really good at working with money, finances and numbers should be moving up into leadership positions, she said. But what she's finding is that women are perceived as not being good at finances and numbers in business, but skilled in other aspects of their lives such as balancing household incomes.Julienne Smith, SVP of development and owner relations at Hyatt Hotels Corporation, said she finds Castell's data striking.

Hotel room of the future balances tech, simplicity, ROI

HotelNewsNow ·29 November 2018
The hotel guestroom of the futureor as panelists said, the guestroom of the very near futurewill continue the trend of not allowing technology to overshadow simplicity and service.According to sources at a panel and exhibit both titled Hotel room of the future at the Independent Hotel Show, the thinking into the design of new hotel rooms ranged from considerations of rugs to rich teas, laminates to lighting.But the bottom line is critical, said Petra Clayton, owner and managing director of Custard Communications, one of the companies behind the launch. She said the main question being asked is, How (can a room) generate more revenue and more loyalty?Technology is behind this push, but not in an in-your-face way, panelists said. Guests still prioritize simplicity and service, but the new room also needs to provide something a guests home does not.

As brands proliferate, guest desires still paramount

HotelNewsNow ·23 October 2018
In today's increasingly competitive market, branded hotels have a lot they need to deliver.A branded hotel has to be viewed by its target customers as distinctive; it needs to deliver an experience that exceeds the wants and needs of its target guest for any specific purpose of travel; and it needs to be better than any competition that's similarly priced and located, according to sources.They are also about the small details, but even that has changed of late, according to John Rogers, SVP of brands and franchise operations, Europe, Middle East and Africa at Hilton, speaking on a panel titled "Hotel brand of the future" at the recent Hotel Distribution Event.Some panelists felt current hotel brands still have a lot to do to be relevant for the guest of today.

Marriott's insights on future of tech infrastructure

HotelNewsNow · 1 October 2018
Richard Wagner, technical consultant of emerging technologies for Marriott International, shared a look into how his company prepares for the next wave of infrastructure needs in technology during the HTNG Insight Summit.

Hoteliers see independents as 'long-standing' trend

HotelNewsNow ·21 September 2018
With growing demand from investors wanting to build unique properties, independent hotels aren't going away anytime soon, according to sources.Speaking on a panel titled "Independents: No flag, no problem" at the recent Hotel Data Conference, Tim Franzen, president of Graduate Hotels, said he sees independents as a long-standing trend and it's proven by the fact that major brands are co-opting the independent space.Franzen said he isn't worried about soft brands encroaching on independents, either.Raj Contractor, SVP of investments at Host Hotels & Resorts, said from an institutional perspective "everybody is in the (independent) space and looking at assets that have unique attributes and personalities. Frankly, from a private equity standpoint, it's a lot easier to exit because there's a lot of people out there that ... they think they can buy the hotel and do a better job running it," he said.

Hotel analysts on how the last decade shapes the future

HotelNewsNow ·24 August 2018
Speaking during the "Ten years of data + two industry analysts = Insights to current industry trends" session at the Hotel Data Conference, Isaac Collazo, vice president of performance strategy and planning at InterContinental Hotels Group, said the current environment is truly unique in the history of the industry."We're in the best demand environment we've ever seen as an industry," he said.And simultaneously, the U.S. hotel industry has enjoyed relatively low supply growth, although Collazo noted the impacts of new supply have been felt more acutely in some areas than others, both geographically and speaking of chain scales.

Discount supermarket chain Lidl enters aparthotel world |

HotelNewsNow ·24 October 2017
Is there a space in the hotel world for discount European supermarket aparhotels? And if IHG is serious about adding a soft brand to its stable, where on Earth will it be able to find a good brand name that isn't already taken?

5 signs point to cycle's grand finale in mid-2017 |

HotelNewsNow · 6 October 2016
It was about as symbolic as anyone could have imagined.The slow, light drizzle that fell over the desert amid the annual Lodging Conference fireworks show was surely a sign from the hotel gods. The industry's seven-year up cycle clearly is slowing, but like those fireworks that boomed and popped high above the lawn of the Arizona Biltmore, it's also clear that the show will go on.

What to look for when planning to update a hotel |

HotelNewsNow · 5 October 2016
Panelists who participated in the "Reinventing obsolete hotels" panel at the Hotel Data Conference discussed the driving forces behind renovating and what projects make the most financial sense.

Marriott closes on Starwood, execs detail what's next |

HotelNewsNow ·26 September 2016
Almost a year after initially announcing the transaction, Marriott International executives announced the official closing for the $13.3-billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.First announced in November 2015, the deal makes Marriott unquestionably the largest hotel company in the world, with company officials stating they "operate or franchise more than 5,700 properties and 1.1 million rooms." Marriott president and CEO Arne Sorenson said 1,200 properties came into the company via the Starwood buy.August numbers from STR, Hotel News Now's parent company, have Marriott and Starwood's combined room count at 1,136,814 rooms in 5,809 properties. That room count is 47.1% higher than the closest competitor, Hilton Worldwide Holdings, which has 772,834 rooms in 4,726 properties.

The Marriott deal isn't done; it's only beginning |

HotelNewsNow ·26 September 2016
that word, "done."Nothing's "done" yet. Sure, papers have been signed, some details are set, but the hardest part has just begun, and the real news will happen over the next few months, even years, as these companies come together.So many times over the past year we have heard executives from both companies say variations on the same lines: "It's business as usual for now" and "We can't begin to merge X and Y until the deal is actually done."Well, it's go time, Marriott.

Can Reddit offer a peek into the real world of hotels? |

HotelNewsNow ·22 September 2016
I spend a fair bit of my free time looking at the everything-aggregation site Reddit, often spending a fair amount looking at gifs of dogs. But I'm very pleased to say I've recently found a way to tie my Reddit use back to my professional life.As a professional journalist covering the hotel industry, it's a pretty regular occurrence that I'll get pitches or conduct interviews that revolve around some variety of hotelier success stories.

Higher demand, occupancy means higher labor costs |

HotelNewsNow ·21 September 2016
There are reasons hoteliers should be excited about increasing wages.Robert Mandelbaum, director of research information services at CBRE, speaking during a presentation at the Hotel Data Conference titled "Hotel labor costs: Greatest expense on the rise," said wage increases often help lead to growth in lodging demand, particularly at a market-level. Increasing wages are also often tied to important economic indicators for the industry like gross domestic product and employment numbers.But Mandelbaum said hoteliers must also be prepared to cope with the increasing labor costs that come with increasing wages and high occupancy.

Panel: Think outside the room for new revenue streams |

HotelNewsNow ·20 September 2016
With worries about the state of the hotel cycle and slowing rooms revenue growth, hoteliers are looking for new and novel ways to drive revenue and profitability at their properties.Speaking during the "Beyond rooms and F&B: Total revenue management practices" panel at the Hotel Data Conference, sources said there are several ways that many hotels are leaving money on the table.Isaac Collazo, VP of performance strategy and planning for InterContinental Hotels Group, said there are lessons to be learned from how music festivals and amusement parks manage to create tiered experiences based on how much consumers are willing to pay."There are ways to make things easier for the customer and make revenues on that," he said. "At music festivals, you can buy a regular ticket or a VIP ticket. In hotels, we don't really think about things that way. We need to figure out what's a VIP item we can charge for. It helps make the experience better and makes money for the hotel."

Millennials book for unique experiences, social status |

HotelNewsNow · 8 September 2016
While it may be easy to over-generalize millennials, their travel habits and spending patterns at hotels can be complex. Understanding their patterns can be a goldmine for hotels' profitability and loyalty, said speakers at the recent Southern Lodging Summit.The process starts by looking at age and life experience, explained Christine Hight, senior director of market research for Hilton Worldwide Holdings. While millennials as an age group fall into the 18- to 35-year-old age range, Hight said they break into two distinct groups in terms of their worldview and behaviors.

What submarket performance says about the industry |

HotelNewsNow · 7 September 2016
Readers have asked for a further breakdown of market RevPAR analysis, so here's what the RevPAR performance of 638 U.S. submarkets says about the health of the cycle. After our analysis of the market-level revenue-per-available-room performance last month, we received numerous inquiries about dissecting RevPAR shifts even further to home in on an early warning signal for the next downturn.

Chototel brand designed to break the low-cost mold |

HotelNewsNow · 6 September 2016
"chhota" means "small" in Hindi--is the brainchild of Rhea Silva, its founder and managing director, who started the company in January. Chototel is now listed on London's Social Stock Exchange, which seeks to grow the "impact investing" sector and reportedly controlled assets worth $77.4 billion in 2015.

Freitag's 5: July occupancy drops, demand sets record |

HotelNewsNow · 1 September 2016
July's occupancy decline was the sharpest of 2016 so far, but July was also the highest room demand month ever.Here are five things you need to know about how the U.S. hotel industry performed in July, courtesy of STR, HNN's parent company.
Article by Joel Ross

The Slowdown Goes On

HotelNewsNow · 1 September 2016
a corrupt liar and an egomaniac. Neither will make a good president at a moment when we need a real leader to undo all of the serious damage Barack Obama has done.As a result, uncertainty is the word everyone uses, so companies and investors feel this is the most uncertain time since 9/11, and they are mostly just sitting on the trillions that they might otherwise invest. This is not going to change with inauguration, and it may get worse. Asians and Europeans are afraid of what comes next, and they are unnerved by what Obama has done to make the world a far more dangerous place. 2017 will be a year when companies and investors most likely will stay in their bunkers until they can see with more clarity.You can continue to believe the happy talk and drink the Kool-Aid dished out by the industry pundits and people with an agenda to make you feel good, or you can face reality and set your business plan accordingly. There is nobody anywhere in the U.S., or offshore that I speak to, who has any understanding of where the world or economy will be six or 12 months from now.Anybody who says they project RevPAR, or much of anything else, to be whatever they say in 2017 is blowing the same rosy fog they blew at you at ALIS. It is meaningless. Chances are high it will be a worse year for net operating income this year and worse again in 2017. One terror attack on a large U.S. hotel, or a military incident in the South China Sea, or Syria, or the Strait of Hormuz, and all bets are off. All have a high degree of possibility of a black swan event. If you are not prepared for the black swans, you are living in la-la land.Plan for higher labor costs, more regulation costs, less availability of debt or equity and lower values. Plan for a sudden incident to disrupt all your plans and then hope none of that happens, but if it does you will be ready and not damaged much. Survival is what matters now in case one of these things happens.We now are in a world where the only certainty is uncertainty, and anything can happen at a moment's notice. Black swans swoop in when least expected. Be prepared.This article first appeared in Hotel News Now and is reprinted with permission from the author.

Hotels must ease booking shift from mobile to desktop |

HotelNewsNow ·11 August 2016
As the push for hotels to streamline the mobile bookings process continues, hoteliers must also keep in mind that a booking journey born via mobile often still migrates to the desktop, sources said.Speaking during Phocuswright's recent "Mobile's breaking points: Are smartphones ready for center stage in travel planning?" webinar, Phocuswright VP of research Douglas Quinby and Google product marketing manager Shelby Coyne discussed the path travelers take in booking their journeys.Quinby said consumers, particularly those in the U.S., are very comfortable using smartphones to browse travel destinations and hotels. But their comfort level isn't as high when it comes to making the purchase, especially compared to other categories like music, books and household goods."There's very clearly a migration from smartphone to desktop or laptop," he said.

Infographic: US hotel GOP strong in 2015 |

HotelNewsNow · 5 August 2016
According to the 2016 HOST Almanac, gross operating profit for U.S. hotels in 2015 was strong.

Why my first Airbnb experience was underwhelming |

HotelNewsNow ·29 July 2016
A few months ago, my cousin reached out to me to discuss bachelorette party locations (you know, Maid of Honor duties). Remember, I'm in three weddings this summer, so apologies if my blogs have centered on wedding festivities.This is a good one, though. It's about my first experience with Airbnb and how the home-sharing platform did not exceed my expectations, which totally contradicts my colleague Sean McCracken's recent experience.Let me back up a little.

Infographic: Statistics of 2015 data breaches |

HotelNewsNow ·20 June 2016
2015 was a rough year for hotel data security as numerous major companies reported breaches.


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