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Hospitality comings and goings

Peter Strebel has been appointed chief marketing officer and senior vice president of sales for Omni Hotels & Resorts. Strebel will create and drive branding, communications, and marketing and business development strategies to increase awareness and build revenue for the luxury hotel brand.

Here is a look at more notable comings and goings that took place in hospitality this week:

Hard Rock International has announced the appointment of Kresimir Spajic as senior vice president of online gaming. Spajic will be responsible for leading the strategy and operational execution behind the brand’s investment across interactive gaming platforms.

InterContinental Hotels Group has announced that Tracy Robbins is to step down from the board and her role as executive vice president of human resources, due to health reasons.

Sonesta Coconut Grove has appointed hospitality veteran Michael Broderick as director of residence, managing all aspects of the 213-unit condo-hotel’s owner relation efforts.

Ryan Leach has been named general manager of Shade Hotel’s brand new 54-room hotel on King Harbor in Redondo Beach, Calif., expected to open in the spring of 2016. Leach has more than 26 years of experience in the hospitality industry.

Leslie Reynolds has been chosen as senior vice president of revenue for Omni Hotels & Resorts and will be responsible for creating and driving business development strategies for the hotel brand.

Best Western Hotel & Resorts has announced the promotion of three members of its executive leadership team, heading into the company’s 70th anniversary year. Dorothy Dowling has been appointed senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Mark Straszynski will now serve as senior vice president and chief financial officer, and Greg Adams has been promoted to vice president and chief digital director.

Jill Plemons has been appointed director of sales and marketing for one of San Francisco’s newest boutique hotels, Hotel Zephyr, Davidson Hotels & Resorts’ first property within its new lifestyle and luxury collection.

Innvision Hospitality has announced that Holly Stamps will join the company as senior design director where she will lead all operations and project management for Innvision’s design arm in Atlanta. Additionally, Steve Tipton has joined the company as vice president of sales. Tipton will be responsible for leading all sales and business developments in procurement and interior design, with responsibility for managing the company’s nationwide team of internal and field-based sales representatives.

Hotel Equities has appointed Steve Crabill as vice president of business development for their Atlanta based hotel. With over 30 years in the of hospitality experience, Crabill was most recently serving as vice president and managing director for Hilton Worldwide.



The American Hotel & Lodging Association released a new study today that reveals a growing number of commercial landlords are using Airbnb to run unregulated hotels in major cities. The study, which was conducted by researchers at Penn State University’s School of Hospitality Management, shows that nearly 30 percent of Airbnb’s revenue in 12 major U.S. markets comes from full-time operators, who have rentals available 360 days a year. The number of hosts renting out multiple properties on Airbnb is also rapidly growing, driving an increasingly large share of revenue. To view the full study, click here.

Lodging has pushed past air to become the largest segment of the U.S. travel market at $144 billion, according to a new report from Phocuswright. Lodging revenue increased 8 percent in 2015 following a 9 percent rise the year prior, and is predicted to hit $163.3 billion in 2017, the study shows. As a whole, the U.S. travel market grew 5 percent in 2015 to reach a total of $341 billion, marking the fourth straight year for growth. For more findings, click here.

Hotel real estate investment trust Ashford Hospitality Prime is embroiled in a proxy fight for control of its board with shareholder Sessa Capital, which owns about 8.2 percent of the trust. Sessa representatives have been vocal regarding their disapproval of Ashford Prime’s relationship with its advisory company, Ashford Inc., over governance and conflicts of interest. Ashford Prime and Ashford Inc. share much of their management, including chairman and CEO Monty Bennet. To read more, click here.

The Chinese markets might be all over the place, but the country’s GDP is still forecast to grow about 7 percent, which is on track with Beijing’s target of 6.5 percent GDP growth through 2020. While China’s full GDP report will be released at 9 p.m. today, a sure bright spot will be the tourism sector, which saw a 42 percent increase in investment (for a total of $152 billion in 2015) over the previous year, according to China’s National Tourism Administration. It estimates that tourism investment in China will surpass $455 billion in the next three years. This is good news for hotels since, according to China’s Tourism Administration, Chinese citizens made over 4 billion domestic trips and 120 million trips overseas. A new GfK study revealed that China produced 109 million outbound tourists last year, and they spent $229 billion. According to GfK, half of China’s outbound travelers are ages 15-29 years old while 37 percent fall into the 30-44 age group and 10 percent are 45-59. Read more here.

The famed Ahwahnee Hotel and other Yosemite National Park landmarks will be renamed amid a legal dispute between the National Park Service and Yosemite’s outgoing concessionaire, DNC Parks & Resorts, the Los Angeles Times reports. DNC seeks more than $50 million for the rights to the original names, the article states. In response, the National Park Service will rename several buildings and facilities within the park to eliminate potential trademark infringement issues for Aramark, which will take over operations on March 1. To read more, click here.

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