Forward-looking data from Pegasus Solutions shows global corporate bookings—those made through the global distribution systems—will hover near prior-year levels through April and potentially gain momentum in May.
Reservations made for February and April thus far show the potential for booking volumes to stay at or just below prior year, while reservations for March and May suggest bookings will be close to or greater than prior year levels, according to Pegasus data. For all months through May, rates are expected to rise.
Extended Stay Hotels named former head of Starbucks Jim Donald as its CEO, replacing Gary DeLapp, according to a news release.
Prior to Starbucks, Donald had a series of successful leadership roles in the grocery industry, including leading Wal-Mart Stores into the grocery business.
Extended Stay Hotels’ Board Chairman Doug Geoga said in a statement: “We are very grateful to Gary DeLapp for his dedicated service to the Company over the last 15 years. He has led Extended Stay Hotels through its most difficult challenges and positioned the company for continued success in the future.”
Extended Stay emerged from bankruptcy in October 2010 after selling the chain for $3.93 billion to an investment group that included hedge funds such as Paulson & Company, Centerbridge Partners and Blackstone.
A handful of hotel brands announced brand overhauls in recent months, and in doing so franchisors weren’t shy in saying a significant percentage of underperforming properties would be exiting the system.
For Crowne Plaza, approximately 10% of hotels in the system are not expected to make the cut; Comfort Inn and Comfort Suites also will lose about 10% of their portfolio size; and for Best Western International, about 500 hotels were removed from the system before the company launched its descriptor program.
It’s an aggressive approach to cleaning up a brand and one that could hinder portfolio growth, which is held in high regard on Wall Street, writes HotelNewsNow.com’s Jason Q. Freed. But franchisors today are focused on eliminating the low-hanging fruit so both owners and guests are comfortable every hotel offers consistent value.
“It’s with the owners’ best interests in mind,” said Ron Pohl, senior VP of brand management and member services for Best Western. “As a hotelier, what’s your exit strategy? At some point they’ll want to sell the asset, and we want them to get the best bang for their buck.”
Part of a hotel’s social-media strategy should include creative ways to get online channels in travelers’ offline views, according to Blue Magnet Interactive, a hospitality online marketing company.
The company offers six ideas to help promote online efforts to the offline community:
• Create a QR code. Create a QR Code to connect to the hotel’s Facebook and Twitter pages and then prompt the guest to become a fan or follow the page.
• Social-media decals. A subtle way to introduce your social media presence is to purchase social media decals to adhere near your hotel entrance.
• Electronic picture frames. Some hotel brands feature electronic picture frames at each guest service agent station at check-in.
• Electronic keycards. If guests miss the electronic picture frame or your property does not have those, you can still capture the guest’s attention upon check-in by printing the social media icons or QR code on the guest’s roomkey packet or on the keycard itself.
• Printed material in guestrooms. Printed material placed in the guestroom is the perfect place to add the social media icons that won’t intrude on a guest's stay.
• Electronic reader boards. Create a slide or a banner ad that can be displayed on the electronic reader boards on property.
Leading Hotels of The World Limited is experimenting with a project that would remove booking transaction fees and move to a flat membership fee, according to a story in WebInTravel.
“We are essentially experimenting with it. We will see how far we go and how we replace it but this is the general direction—to go towards a flat fee,” Leading’s CEO Ted Teng told the website.
“Pay for performance sounds good and it works if you are given the task to perform. In hotels, there is no exclusive distribution. People find you through many channels or they can call a hotel directly—this creates competition. Should a travel agent book with a hotel or through LHW?”
Compiled by Jason Q. Freed.