Online travel agencies have more control over where guests’ travel than they realize. According to the Wall Street Journal, Expedia now uses customer ratings and complaints to order some hotel searches, thus punishing hotels that are entangled with Expedia customer issues. Other factors that sway search results include hotels paying larger commissions than others, and the quality of property images provided. Hotels are left weary by these subtle acts of favoritism. To read more, click here.
The hotel industry is fighting back against the sudden rise of Airbnb. Fortune reports that launching new rands aimed at Airbnb’s core millennial market, funding research to investigate illegal hotel operations, and lobbying for laws that would slow or stop the growth of Airbnb are among the most prevalent industry tactics. Hoteliers say these actions are not part of an effort to eliminate Airbnb completely, but are part of an industry-wide initiative to maintain a level playing field for all involved in lodging. The industry maintains that hotels would continue performing well with or without companies like Airbnb, but the key is to ensure such companies are asked to follow the same rules and uphold the same standards as any other lodging establishment. To read more, click here.
Nicole Beyrich has been promoted to global sales director of Benchmark Hospitality International. Beyrick was most recently Benchmark’s regional accounts director focusing on the Midwest market. She previously held senior sales positions for Chicagoland’s DuPage Convention & Visitor Bureau, The Herrington Inn & Spa in Geneva, Ill., and with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.
Here’s a look at more notable comings and goings in hospitality that took place this week:
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort has appointed Monte F. Hansen as managing director of the 2,000-acre luxury Pennsylvania resort. Hansen has more than 15 years of hotel executive experience and luxury hotel management.
Conrad Hotels and Resorts appointed Joshua Jenkins as director of business travel of the 20-story luxury hotel opening in summer 2016. Jenkins will oversee business travel sales efforts as well as its frequent independent traveler markets across the U.S.
The new Hilton Cleveland Downtown has appointed executive chef Maxime Kien to oversee all culinary operations at the 600-room, convention style hotel scheduled to open June 1.
Steve Ehrhardt has assumed chairmanship of the IHG Owners Association’s Board of Directors for 2016. Ehrhardt is owner and operator of Ehrhardt Properties and SJS Hospitality, operating 11 hotels in Missouri and Oklahoma, and is part of a family business that includes a portfolio of 27 hotels. Most recently, he has held positions as global board director and officer of the Owners Association.
L.E. Hotels has chosen Kerry Cooper as vice president of business development, with more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry.
Veteran hotelier Jeffrey Burrell has been named general manager of New Castle Hotels & Resorts’ 289-room and suite, Westin Portland Harborview in Portland, Maine. Burrell was most recently the general manager of the AAA four-diamond, Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon, Colo., which he opened in 2008.
Horwath Hotel Travel & Leisure has announced the appointment of Andrew Cohan as managing director of the new Horwath HTL Miami office. With a decade of hospitality valuation and consulting experience in the telecom sector, negotiating with the largest service providers in Latin America, he will be responsible for overseeing HTL’s business development and consulting activities in Miami as well as Latin America and the Caribbean.
Hunter Hotel Advisors has appointed two new senior executives, Robert Taylor and Stephen Gaylor, to their investment sales and capital market groups. As senior vice president, Taylor will be responsible for both single asset and portfolio transactions specializing in hotels and resorts in South Florida. As senior vice president-capital markets, Gaylor will expand all of Hunter’s programs for sourcing and placing hotel real estate debt, as well as and sourcing equity for new transactions.
The Gettys Group has appointed Emmanuel Shamoun director of the firm’s consulting group, and Bonnie Boyer as senior project manager of the global hospitality design firm specializing in interior design, consulting, branding, and procurement.
Carl Weldon will join Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals as its chief operations officer in Europe, beginning in March 2016. Weldon is currently the chief executive of the hospitality professionals association and is principal of his own consultancy business, CW Hospitality, and has more than 20 years of experience in hospitality finance, technology, and operations.
Despite budding concerns in the financial markets and lower-than-expected growth in the fourth quarter, PricewaterhouseCoopers U.S. has released an updated lodging forecast expecting RevPAR to flourish, increasing by 5.5 percent in 2016. It will surpass the less-than-stellar increase in ADR, even as occupancy levels continue to improve upon its 35-year high due to strong corporate and leisure travel demand. This expected revenue is determined by a number of factors, such as the continued strong fundamentals of employment, wages, wealth, and the improving group demand. According to the report, industry fundamentals are solid heading farther into 2016, although the strength of the U.S. dollar could have a negative impact on gateway markets. To learn more about what the report predicts heading deeper into 2016, click here.
There’s no question that 2015 was a great year for the lodging industry, and, as year-end numbers start to roll in, analysts are starting to see just how good it was. According to Lodging Econometrics, the average selling price per room reached a record high of $162,781, for the 1,117 hotels that publicly reported a selling price. This number is greatly influenced by six particular transactions where the hotels were sold for more than $1 million per room.
Travel-related issues, including visa waiver restrictions, immigration, and infrastructure, have been at the forefront of the political debate so far among U.S. presidential candidates. While Republican candidate Donald Trump continues to steal headlines for his proposed ban on Muslim travel to the United States, other candidates are calling for renewed spending on travel infrastructure and increased security at American airports. Before the U.S. presidential primary season kicks off next week, Skift breaks down where the top presidential candidates stand on hot-button issues related to travel and tourism. Read more here.