From the desks of the HotelNewsNow.com editorial staff:
• STR Global: RevPAR gains forecast for top Asian markets
• Starwood plans aggressive growth for W brand
• Hotel Price Index: Global hotel prices up 4% during 2011
• New ADA rules require more accessible reservations systems
• Pool lift deadline stands for hoteliers
Singapore is forecast to experience an increase in revenue per available room of between 6% and 8%, followed by Beijing (5% to 7%), Sydney (3% to 5%) and Hong Kong (2% to 4%). Supply is expected to grow between 1.1% and 2.5% across the four cities, with demand predicted to increase between 1.7% and 3.8%.
For the 12 months through January 2012, Hong Kong reached occupancy of 84.5%, followed by Singapore (84.1%), Sydney (82.1%) and Beijing (67.9%), where 12-month average occupancy levels were similar to the levels recorded during the pre-Olympics period in March 2008 (67.9%).
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is planning a major expansion of its W brand following a successful launch of its first U.K. hotel in Central London, reports The Telegraph. The company wants to increase the number of W hotels worldwide by a third during the next three years, with a sizeable proportion of the new openings expected to be in Europe. Starwood had 41 W hotels comprising 11,946 in its portfolio as of 2 February 2012.
Starwood opened its first W in Leicester Square last year, and company chief Frits van Paasschen said he believes there is room for further branches in different areas of the city.
"What we have done in New York is what we would do here and that is pick different neighborhoods,” he said.
Hotels.com’s biannual Hotel Price Index reveals hotel prices across the globe increased by 4% on average during 2011 compared to the previous year. Average prices paid by North American travelers increased 5%. Other key findings include:
• Americans’ top three favorite domestic cities are New York, Las Vegas and Orlando.
• Americans’ top three favorite international cities are London, Paris and Rome.
• New York again ranks as the No. 1 destination for foreign travelers to visit in the U.S.
• Warsaw, Poland; Marrakech, Morocco; and Cairo, offered the highest rated hotels for the lowest prices, with 5-star properties in these cities selling at an average daily rate of less than $190.
Being cautious of guests’ needs is becoming increasingly important in managing reservations for accessible rooms—especially as new revisions to the Americans with Disabilities Act go into effect Thursday, reports HotelNewsNow.com’s Alissa Ponchione.
The Department of Justice has a specific process and elements that need to be included that give guests with accessibility issues the “opportunity to participate,” said Carolyn Doppelt Gray, co-chair of Accessibility and Accommodations Practice Group at Washington, D.C.-based Proskauer Rose LLP, during a webinar titled “Managing Reservations for Accessible Rooms.”
Exclusionary practices also need to be eliminated. These include staff members asking guests for driver’s licenses, excluding people that only hold state IDs, or having the accessible front door closed after a certain time. If that’s the case, “you need to change your practice,” she said.
In a statement, the American Hotel & Lodging Association said it is “extremely disappointed” in the decision.
“(The Department of Justice) has stated that hoteliers, at the very least, need to demonstrate that they have shown due diligence in attempting to install a permanently affixed pool lift in advance of the March 15, 2012 deadline. While AH&LA is still pursuing remedies for hoteliers related to the deadline and need for a permanently affixed lift, DOJ is not currently backing down on these requirements,” the AH&LA said.
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