Plans for the United States’ largest convention center and potential casino at New York’s Aqueduct racetrack were scrapped late last week—but that doesn’t mean the project is dead in the water.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday said talks with Malaysia-based Genting to build the project were dead, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “The conversations hadn't really worked out,” Cuomo said of talks with Genting, which operates the slot machine-only Resorts World at Aqueduct. Genting hoped to expand the casino at the racetrack while adding a hotel and convention center.
Cuomo said he’s now talking to additional developers who could compete next year for a project at a different location. MGM Resorts International quickly threw its hat into the ring. “(We continue) to explore opportunities to bring our unique destination resort and convention experience to New York,” said spokesman Alan Feldman.
Gaylord Entertainment Company’s executives made good moves last week in its deal with Marriott International and its decision to be treated as a real-estate investment trust, according to an equity analyst for Gabelli & Company, reports HotelNewsNow.com’s Shawn A. Turner.
However, the moves are perhaps not the best possible options from a shareholder’s point of view, said Amit Kapoor, a VP with Gabelli & Company. “An outright sale of the company would be the best option … Our preferred No. 1 option would have been for it to be sold as one.”
Gabelli & Company is an affiliate of major Gaylord investor Mario Gabelli, the chairman and CEO of Gamco Investors. Gamco is the third largest holder of Gaylord stock, behind TRT Holdings and Columbia Wanger. Gabelli has been rattling Gaylord’s cage of late, advocating for the removal of Gaylord’s poison pill plan, which would allow the company to be taken over by another group.
The recent recession has left Las Vegas hotels struggling to attract guests, but hoteliers in the city believe their luck is about to change. Several casino hotels on the Strip already have begun investing in renovations and making changes to their featured entertainment, which operators hope will entice visitors to return, reports HotelNewsNow.com’s Stephanie Wharton.
Included in the list that have recently undergone renovations or are in the process of doing so:
• The MGM Grand Hotel & Casino began a $160-million room renovation in February, which includes the property’s 3,570 rooms and 642 suites in the main tower.
• Las Vegas Sands will renovate approximately a thousand rooms in The Venetian, according to the group’s President and COO Mike Leven.
• The Riviera Hotel & Casino will undergo a $20 million to $30 million refurbishment to all of the public areas within the casino.
• The 2,568 rooms in The Bellagio’s main tower underwent a $70-million renovation, which was completed in January.
An advertising experiment on Google Hotel Finder is allowing Google and online-travel agencies to “blatantly and misleadingly cash in on hotels’ intellectual property rights,” according to Tnooz.
However, in the updated post, Tnooz noted Google Hotel Finder is called Promoted Hotels; OTAs and hotels bid for the ads and pay form on a cost-per-click basis.
In Tnooz’s initial research, it found that Hotel Finder displays hotel listings atop search results pages, labeling each as an “ad” and then providing an OTA placement as the only practical booking link. When Tnooz conducted a search for hotels in Chicago for a 8 June stay, for example, the No. 1 result was for the JW Marriott. After clicking on that box, however, virtually the only option for booking the hotel is with Hotels.com. A link to Marriott’s home page appeared in very small font at the bottom of the page.
“It’s all about monetization—not necessarily the user experience—and it looks like the hotels themselves, in large measure, are getting taken advantage of,” Tnooz reports.
Corporate hotel rates in North America set a year-over-year growth record during April, according to Pegasus Solutions. The rates increased 9.3%, beating a previous record of 7.1% in February by more than two percentage points.
Global rates for hotels booked through the global distribution systems, representing mostly business travel transactions, grew 5.5%, the greatest growth margin since July 2011. Leisure rates also soared as global bookings made through online channels increased by 9.1% over April 2011, and North American rates rose 7.3%.
Compiled by Patrick Mayock.