5 things to know: 5 December 2017
 
5 things to know: 5 December 2017
05 DECEMBER 2017 10:16 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Carlson Hotels to change name under HNA leadership
  • Supreme Court allows US travel ban to take effect
  • Hotels look to keep up with Google’s mobile-first strategy
  • Marriott’s new credit card agreements could ease loyalty merger
  • Portugal hotel chain, soccer star team up to grow brand

Carlson Hotels to change name under HNA leadership: Carlson Hotels—bought in 2016 by HNA Tourism Group and combined with European sister company Rezidor Hotel Group to form the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group—is looking to shed the Carlson name as part of restructuring, the Star Tribune reports. The name change would be a departure for the company from its founder Curt Carlson and the Minnesota family that ran it for decades, the newspaper reports.

“It’s a whole new page for this company and that’s not a criticism to the past at all, but we have this wonderful opportunity now to leverage off our global footprint, to accelerate growth,” Ken Greene, Carlson Rezidor’s president of the Americas region, told the Star Tribune.

The planned restructuring also includes new leadership hires and a possible new location for its headquarters, though the Star Tribune reports “the company is committed to keeping the hotel group headquartered in the Twin Cities.”

“It’s kind of like the little bird stepping out of the nest,” Josh Hoffman, EVP and chief human resources officer at Carlson Rezidor, told the newspaper. “We are not part of the Carlson family anymore. It’s difficult to break away from that image when we have that in our name, when we have that in our location, when we have that in the building that we sit in.”


Supreme Court allows U.S. travel ban to take effect: A Supreme Court ruling Monday gave the go-ahead for the Trump administration’s third version of a travel ban—which includes restrictions on travel to the U.S. from eight countries, six of which are predominately Muslim, reports The New York Times.

The ruling allows the ban to go into effect amidst legal challenges being pursued in lower courts, and “effectively overturned a compromise in place since June, when the court said travelers with connections to the United States could continue to travel here notwithstanding restrictions in an earlier version of the ban,” The Times reports.

Meanwhile, a study released this week by the International Air Transportation Association suggests that “inbound travel to the U.S. is being deterred by the additional security measures now involved with traveling to that country,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

According to the study, international and domestic travel in the U.S. has somewhat rebounded from the impact felt from a series of hurricanes this summer. Still, the study shows, demand for international travel to the U.S. grew only 3.7% in October, compared to more than 7% travel demand growth around the world that month.


Hotels look to keep up with Google’s mobile-first strategy: Ahead of Google’s move to a mobile-first index next year, hotel companies need to focus on the mobile versions of their websites to ensure they don’t drop out of sight of search-engine results, Alicia Hoisington reports for Hotel News Now.

Hotel industry tech experts shared five strategies for doing just that, including optimizing website loading speed, content and making sure the site is user-friendly.


Marriott’s new credit card agreements could ease loyalty merger: Marriott International announced in a news release that it has reached agreements with credit card companies JPMorgan Chase and American Express in a move that executives previously indicated could help to unify its loyalty programs.

Marriott executives said during a third-quarter earnings call with investors in November that they were on track to offer a single loyalty program, to combine Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest, at some point in 2018.

“To be able to fully unify our loyalty program, we need to work it out with both our credit card partners as well as our timeshare partners. We are in the process of doing that right now and are hopeful we’ll get there soon,” EVP and CFO Leeny Oberg said on the call.


Portugal hotel chain, soccer star team up to grow brand: A joint venture between Portugal-based hotel chain Pestana and Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo is aimed at moving the Pestana brand into new markets in Asia and growing its presence in Spain and the U.S., Reuters reports.

Under the partnership, two new hotels are planned under the Pestana CR7 brand, which draws its name from a combination of Ronaldo’s initials and jersey number, the news agency reports.

“Ronaldo is following the footsteps of other sports stars who have invested in hotels, including tennis players Andy Murray and Andre Agassi and soccer’s Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs—but Ronaldo’s venture stands out for its global ambition,” Reuters reports

Compiled by Robert McCune.

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