Sustainability initiatives are playing an increasingly important role in managed travel programs, according to new research released by the Global Business Travel Association. The organization surveyed travel managers in the United States, Europe and Australia for their opinions on sustainability or “green” efforts when it comes to their business travel programs.
The study revealed companies are focusing on sustainability measures that can generate savings for companies, influence traveler behavior to make better decisions and are looking to establish relationships with green-friendly suppliers. The report “2012 Sustainable Travel Policies Benchmarking Study,” also found that when it comes to sustainability, Europe is ahead of the U.S.
Fifty-six percent of European and Australian travel managers said environmental responsibility is more important now than it was two years ago, while only 41% of U.S. managers shared that opinion. Additionally, a little more than half (52%) of European and Australian managers plan to incorporate more green measures; only 41% of U.S. managers had the same intentions.
Qatar Holding LLC said it plans to open Harrods-branded hotels in cities around the world including New York and Paris, two years after buying the British luxury retailer for $2.3 billion in 2010 from the family trust of Mohamed Al-Fayed, according to Bloomberg.
The Doha-based company, an arm of Gulf Arab state’s sovereign wealth fund, signed an agreement with Malaysian partners today for a proposed hotel in Kuala Lumpur’s Bukit Bintang shopping district. A hotel management company will be established to seek out similar projects around the world, according to a joint statement by Harrods Limited and Qatar Holding.
“We have already decided to build a Harrods Hotel in London, one in Kuala Lumpur and one in Sardinia, Italy,” Hussain Ali Al-Abdulla, Qatar Holding’s vice chairman, told reporters. “We are looking to invest more in Malaysia because we think the economy is growing.”
Investors looking to expand their presence into Eastern Europe with mid-market hotels need to look no further than the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, writes HotelNewsNow.com contributor and Colliers senior consultant Assel Mussabekov.
Though the fledgling market suffered some growing pains after the disbandment of the Soviet Union, it since has emerged as a steady haven for hotel performance. Several global brands already have jumped on board. The 249-room Radisson Blu Kempinski opened in September 2009; the 66-room Citadines aparthotel followed in December.
Despite the pressure on trading performance due to the opening of new hotels, hotel demand growth rates increased, allowing the market-wide occupancy in 2010 to increase to 56%, an increase of 3% compared to 2009; average rates, however, dropped to $150 compared to $160 in 2009. In 2011, the Tbilisi market showed continued growth despite the addition of the new 252-room Holiday Inn in January 2011. The market-wide occupancy in 2011 increased to an impressive 67%.
The Supertel Hospitality stock is back in hot water again. After 30 consecutive business days closing below the $1 per share requirement for continued inclusion on The Nasdaq Global Market, the hotel real-estate investment trust received a notification Monday to comply with the Minimum Bid Price Rule. Supertel, which owns 95 hotels in 23 states, now has 180 calendar days, or until 26 December, to regain compliance or be delisted from the stock exchange.
This is the second time in as many years the REIT’s stock has been at risk. It avoided delisting in February 2012 thanks to an investment by an Argentinean real-estate company.
Room Key continues to unlock inventory for guests. The hotel search engine, which was founded early in 2012 by several hotel companies with the goal of driving bookings on brand.com, added more than 18,000 hotels this week via Sabre’s SynXis central reservations system.
Room Key also announced its partnership with Worldhotels was up and running. The agreement, which was signed in March and went live last week, gives the search engine nearly 500 independent hotels comprising more than 100,000 guestrooms, with a concentrated focus in the Asia/Pacific region and Europe.
Compiled by Patrick Mayock.