Speaking before Congress yesterday, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen signaled the central bank’s careful approach to future interest-rate increases, pointing to the accumulating risks to the global economy. Yellen acknowledged that the potential for a sustained slowdown in China and other emerging economies, falling stock prices and other financial-market turbulence, and the glut of cheap oil, all could dampen U.S. growth. She also sounded a cautious note on the growing strength of the dollar and rising interest rates for risky borrowers. Still, she said that a slowdown in U.S. growth was more likely than an outright recession. To read more, click here.
Expedia has introduced a new transitional program for its websites Expedia.com and Hotels.com that changes the way hotel properties are listed on its pages. The Accelerator program presents hotels with the opportunity to bid their way to the top of the sort order of Expedia’s search page, and has hotels rivaling one another for the top spot in Expedia’s listings. To read more, click here.
Room Mate Hotels has appointed Felip Boyero managing director of the Americas in an effort to further support its expansion in North America and Latin America. In this newly created role, he will also help develop the brand’s infrastructure in existing destinations, such as New York City and Mexico City. He takes on this position from his previous role as sales management leader, U.S. and South America, at Air Europa.
Here’s a look at more notable comings and goings that took place this week:
M & R Hotel Management has appointed 10-year hospitality veteran Anthony Lugaro general manager of its Holiday Inn Express Staten Island West hotel. Lugaro will oversee all aspects of the hotel’s management, including operations, sales, marketing, security, maintenance, housekeeping, and accounting.
The William Vale, set to open this 2016 in Brooklyn, New York, has selected Abigail Michaels concierge to professionally program the resort destination with its full-equipped services.
Sean Lynch has been appointed as the area director of sales and marketing of Viceroy Central Park New York and Cassa Hotel New York. Lynch will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of sales and marketing for the two properties and will work with both senior management teams to strengthen their strategic visions over the next several years.
Kelly Egan Merryfield has been chosen as director of sales and marketing for Trump International Hotel & Tower New York. Merryfield has previously served as the director of sales and marketing at Trump Central Park, and in her new role will oversee the hotel’s on-site sales and marketing team, including sales, catering, public relations and e-commerce.
Gansevoort Hotel Group has announced the appointment of Gemma Keating as corporate director of sales. Keating will oversee sales and revenue generation, identify new key markets, and reinforce Gansevoort as an innovator within the industry.
Dom Beveridge has been promoted executive vice president of demand generation for The Rainmaker Group, leaving behind his old position as general manager of Rainmaker’s Multifamily Data Exchange.
OpenKey, the industry standard for keyless mobile entry, has announced the addition of two members of the senior management team. Ryan Douglas and Brian Shedd. Douglas will serve as OpenKey’s vice president of operations and Shedd will join the company as vice president of sales and marketing.
Nicole Knapik has been selected catering sales manager at the Courtyard by Marriot in Shelton, Conn. Knapik will be responsible for soliciting new accounts and growing existing client relationships and business as well as managing functions from beginning to end to guarantee guest satisfaction.
Cachet Hotel Group has announced the opening of its new office in Los Angeles as well as the appointment of a new leadership team. Meredith Gelacak has joined CHG as president of hotel operations, Americas, reporting to CEO Alexander Mirza. Yvonne Choi has been promoted to chief development officer, Americas and global head of residential, and Tina Martin has been chosen as managing director of interior design, Americas.
In a recent study of global travelers, Hilton Hotels & Resorts discovered that most use airport hotels out of convenience–for business, or because of a missed flight. The majority of business travelers feel that there is a connection between their hotel stay and their ability to perform their job well, but most also said they would describe airport hotels as boring, expensive, and crowded.
In an effort to create its next generation of airport hotels, Hilton took these comments into consideration, with Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol as an example of what’s to come. Their study found that while business travelers are away from home, they still want to feel like they are at home, with amenities that will help them relax. The majority also said they always try to use hotel amenities like bars and spas as a way to unwind when traveling for work.
After seeing images of what Hilton has in store for the new hotel, travelers’ attitudes about airport hotels shifted. In the U.S., 72 percent of those surveyed changed their viewpoint from “boring” to “modern,” and 74 percent who were unlikely to stay at an airport hotel are now likely.
For the full study, click here.
Despite record occupancy in 2015 and new growth, Chicago’s downtown hotel market is sending mixed signals to investors. Concerns about oversupply, an expected slowdown in convention bookings, and the recent volatility in the financial markets have made investors more cautious. Many Chicago hotels that went up for sale last year, including the Blackstone, Public, and Thompson, remain unsold, according to Crain’s. And two more downtown hotels just hit the market: Hotel Felix and Hotel Cass, both in River North. To learn more, click here.
According to Skift’s Megatrends Defining Travel in 2016 report, on-demand media is one of the top desires of today’s travelers. Skift experts found that it is much easier to deliver on-demand capabilities by partnering with existing services, rather than trying to create their own competition. The report outlines how hoteliers can equip their properties with the proper infrastructure and partner with the right external providers to best serve their guests. To read more, click here.