5 things to know: 27 August 2013
5 things to know: 27 August 2013
27 AUGUST 2013 8:43 AM

From the Hotel News Now editorial staff:
• Accor appoints new CEO
• Florida’s record-setting visitor numbers continue
• BWI’s Premier generating high ROI
• Kayak drops TripAdvisor reviews in redesign
• Infrastructure upgrades pave way for more travel in Asia


Accor’s search for a new CEO is over. The Paris-based hotel franchisor has appointed Sébastien Bazin, formerly of Colony Capital, to the role of CEO and chairman.

The announcement comes four months after Denis Hennequin resigned amid skepticism over his ability to turn the company around. Yann Caillère, who served as CEO on an interim basis, will leave the company. He was formerly COO.

Florida welcomed a record number of visitors during the second quarter, according to preliminary estimates released by Visit Florida, the state’s official tourism marketing corporation. From April through June this year, 23.4 million people visited the state, an increase of 2.6% over the same period in 2012. The numbers include 19.7 million domestic visitors (+1.6% over 2012), 2.7 million overseas visitors (+9.3%) and 1 million Canadian arrivals (+ 4.9%).

The strong performance comes after a record-setting first quarter, during which Florida welcomed 26.5 million visitors—the most of any quarter in history.

Best Western’s Premier descriptor is fulfilling its promise to owners—namely, that the highest of the membership company’s three tiers will generate higher rates and revenues, according to a report from HNN’s Patrick Mayock.

“We are very pleased with our rate and revenue performance and continue to outperform our competitors. Our data indicates that our Premier properties’ revenue growth is outpacing our Plus and Best Western properties,” said Ron Pohl, senior VP of brand management and development for Best Western International.

Premier is now the fastest-growing of all three Best Western tiers. During the next 18 months, the brand will increase its footprint by 25% to 187 Premiers based on projects in the global pipeline.

Metasearch engine Kayak unveiled a new look today. One of the more notable features of the redesign? The absence of TripAdvisor reviews and ratings. Whereas other travel companies have been jumping on the TripAdvisor bandwagon in recent years, Kayak is moving to separate itself from the review site, which earlier this year launched its own metasearch functionality.

Instead, Kayak will feature aggregated user ratings scores, review summaries and verified reviews from travel sites such as Travelocity, Expedia and Priceline. The company is working with reputation data management firm TrustYou for sentiment analysis to give users greater insight into the quality of hotels.

The projected uptick in visitor arrivals to Myanmar is about to get an assist from capital city Yangon, where government officials have green lit a second airport. The Hanthawaddy International Airport will be located on the outskirts of Yangon and will cost approximately $1.1 billion, according to HVS.

The new airport is expected to have an annual capacity of approximately 12 million passengers and is anticipated to be completed by 2018. The existing Yangon International Airport can handle 2.7 million passengers annually and, upon completion of its planned expansion, is expected to handle six million passengers by 2017.

In other infrastructure news from Asia, Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport has released a draft blueprint for the development of the country’s railway infrastructure. The plan will come in three phases that will see upgrades to the existing railways and the development of new routes and a double track system.

Compiled by Patrick Mayock.

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