Randy Smith, co-founder and CEO of STR, will be honored with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS), 25-27 January, 2010, in recognition of his legacy in pioneering global hotel benchmarking, the foundation of the company he co-founded.
A longtime hotel analyst, including director of research at Laventhol & Horwath, Smith and his wife, Carolyn, launched STR in 1985 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to create a service to provide the best information on overall performance trends to the lodging industry and its observers. They moved the company to Hendersonville, Tennessee, in 1987. With the support of a few key chains, STR launched the STAR program in January 1988. The STAR program has become the source of information for chains and management companies, as well as lenders, appraisers, consultants and developers. In 2008, STR brought together Deloitte’s HotelBenchmark and The Bench to form STR Global, which offers monthly, weekly and daily STAR benchmarking reports to more than 38,000 hotel clients, representing nearly 5 million rooms worldwide. STR Global and STR now are the world’s foremost sources of hotel performance trends and offer the definitive global hotel database and development pipeline.
In 2008, STR launched HotelNewsNow.com, and in 2009 it hosted its inaugural Hotel Data Conference.
“Randy is a truly deserving recipient of the ALIS Lifetime Achievement Award. His vision, hard work and integrity led to the development of an amazing company that has forever changed the way the hotel industry does business,” said Jim Burba, ALIS Conference Chair. “We’re a more transparent, professional and better industry today and Randy, and his company, can take a lot of credit for this.”
Registration is now open for the 2010 conference via the ALIS Web site.
MGM Mirage is facing a federal lawsuit from a shareholder who says the company’s executives lied about the casino operator’s finances in the past two years and profited from selling stock at high profits. The lawsuit filed late Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Nevada seeks class action status on behalf of shareholders who bought stock between August 2007 and March 2009, according to the Associated Press.
Lawyers for Robert Lowinger, who bought stock during the 18-month period, said MGM’s top executives dumped US$90 million in stock before reports of financial problems at the company became apparent.
When contacted by HotelNewsNow.com, Alan M. Feldman, SVP of public affairs for MGM Mirage, said:
“We can't comment on the lawsuit itself as we have not had an opportunity to review these allegations. But, we can say that we have never made any false or misleading statements to our shareholders or the public about our company's financial status or those of CityCenter.”
Law firm Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP is accepting calls to join the class-action suit.
Finally, some good news for the industry out of Wall Street. It appears investors are trying to get ahead of the inevitable uptick, especially as the fundamentals show signs of stabilization, reports CNNMoney. Hotel real-estate investment trusts are up 30 percent since the beginning of the year, according to the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts. The gains far outpace the 3.9-percent and .36-percent gains in the industrial/office and retail sectors, respectively, as of 18 August.
Among individual stocks, Marriott International is up 27 percent year-to-date to US$24.52, while Host Hotels jumped 34 percent to US$10.15. Shares of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide have gained about 67 percent to US$30.
Hotel rates might be circling down the toilet, but airfare increases are expected to fly sky high, according to 2010 forecast Carlson Wagonlit Travel North America. The corporate travel agent attributed the airfare hikes to further reduced capacity, steady oil prices and increased demand, reports BTNonline.
CWT estimated published domestic airfares for all classes to increase 3 percent to 5 percent from 2009 levels. International economy-class fares are expected to rise 4 percent to 6 percent and business-class fares 5 percent to 8 percent.
The Oberoi group of hotels is cutting capital expenditure and operating costs during the next few years to weather the storm of the global economic unrest. The decision, which comes from operator EIH Ltd., is not the only move to curtail expenses. The company also is reducing the commission of Oberoi’s chairman and CEO by 20 percent and that of its joint managers and vice chairman by 25 percent, India’s Business Standard reports.
Compiled by Patrick Mayock.