In partnership with Grupo Tao, La Quinta plans to develop hotels in Colombia, HotelNewsNow.com’s Stephanie Wharton reports from the company’s annual conference in New Orleans.
The first property will be a 73-room La Quinta in Medellín, which is expected to open in approximately 20 months.
La Quinta’s President and CEO Wayne Goldberg said the company has been preparing for months to ensure the infrastructure is in place to execute the developments and openings in Colombia.
The La Quinta experience in Colombia will be somewhat different than what guests expect from properties in the U.S., Goldberg said. Extended food service and an emphasis on relaxation are cultural fundamentals in the region and will be highlighted.
Tom Sponseller, the missing president of the South Carolina Hospitality Association, has been found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to a report in the Myrtle Beach Sun News.
Co-workers found a note that referenced a federal investigation into the association’s finances. Sponseller’s body was found behind two locked doors in a parking garage below his office, hours after the note was found.
Sponseller had been missing for 10 days and the garage was searched three times. Before Tuesday, officials didn’t have access to the electrical room where the body was found.
A panel of attorneys had a long list of insightful legal tips to share with attendees of the 6th Annual HR in Hospitality Conference & Expo—50 to be exact.
HotelNewsNow.com’s Patrick Mayock today shares tips Nos. 1 through 26, which focus on the areas of hiring; classifications; privacy; leave; the U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act; wage and hour law; and harassment.
Highlights from the list include:
• Beware of process and policy around background checks, where decisions might create discrimination issues related to U.S. Title VIII, or the Fair Housing Act.
• In light of increased enforcement by the Department of Labor, companies should have protocols in place before classifying independent contractors.
• Have a strong social-media policy and apply it consistently.
• Watch out for retaliation under the U.S. Family and Medical Leave Act.
• The best defense for discrimination charges is a strong investigative and review protocol.
A trio of real-estate investment trusts, DiamondRock Hospitality Corporation, FelCor Lodging Trust and Summit Hotel Properties, reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2011 results Wednesday.
DiamondRock: The company said pro forma revenue per available room grew by 6.2% during the quarter to $129.59.
Looking forward, DiamondRock expects 2012 RevPAR growth of between 4% and 6%.
FelCor: RevPAR at the REIT’s 43 same-store core hotels increased by 4.8% during the quarter to $92.88.
“Industry fundamentals are strong. Occupancy is approaching stabilized levels, and (average-daily-rate) growth is accelerating,” Richard A. Smith, president and CEO of FelCor, said in a news release. “Looking ahead, we continue to position our portfolio to benefit from the lodging recovery to generate above-average growth in our core markets.”
Summit: RevPAR for the company’s 54-hotel same-store portfolio increased by 3.6% year over year.
“At our February 2011 IPO we identified a three-fold strategy; solid performance in our seasoned properties, significant outperformance in our unseasoned properties and accretive acquisitions with cap rates in the range of 8(%) to 10(%),” Dan Hansen, company president and CEO, said in a news release. “We’ve demonstrated that we do what we say, and we intend to continue on that path throughout 2012.”
In more earnings news, roomnight reservation growth at Priceline.com totaled 52.8% during the fourth quarter, compared to 50.6% a year earlier, the company said in its earnings report.
“We believe that each of our brands, Booking.com, Agoda and Priceline.com, gained share in the retail hotel room reservations market, while our Name Your Own Price hotel business in the United States continued to be impacted by increased competition in the discount market,” Jeffery H. Boyd, president and CEO of the Priceline Group, said in a news release.
In contrast, Expedia Inc.’s hotel room nights jumped 19% in the fourth quarter and Orbitz Worldwide’s roomnights in the fourth quarter fell 2% year over year.
Boyd added: “The Priceline Group’s global hotel business continues to build share and is experiencing strong growth in Asia and other newer markets. While macroeconomic concerns persist, we will continue investing in growing the number of hotels and other accommodations around the world available on our websites, providing great content, building distribution and providing superior service to our customers.”
Compiled by Shawn A. Turner.