Hoteliers along the Gulf Coast are anxiously monitoring the path of Tropical Storm Isaac as it bears down on New Orleans.
“In anticipation of the storm, Hilton Worldwide properties in the affected areas have implemented their hurricane preparedness plans and emergency procedures, as well as maintained close contact with the local authorities and tourism officials,” according to a statement from Hilton.
Meanwhile, both the Wingate by Wyndham Biloxi/D‘Iberville in D‘Iberville, Mississippi, and The Whitney Wyndham Hotel in New Orleans remain open and operational but have put precautionary measures in place, such as removing all exterior pool furniture and waste receptacles, according to a statement from Wyndham Hotel Group.
Isaac skirted past Florida and into the Gulf, sparing many properties in the region. “Hilton Worldwide is pleased to confirm that its properties in the Caribbean, Florida Keys and South Florida remain open and operational and did not sustain any physical damage as a result of Tropical Storm Isaac,” the company’s statement read.
However, operations at many hotels were affected. In Tampa, for instance, organizers for the much publicized Republican National Convention had to cancel several events Monday and now are tasked with fitting a four-day event into only three, reports The Washington Post.
Hotel rates for both leisure and corporate business continued to tick upward during July, according to Pegasus. Average daily rate for business travel was up 3% globally and 5.8% in North America. Leisure rates remained ahead of the prior year as vacationers paid 2.3% more than last year globally and nearly 3% more in North America.
Global and North American corporate bookings rebounded from June’s fall, reflecting a less severe 3.4% decrease globally against July 2011 and a 6.4% decrease in North America versus the double-digit level decreases seen in June 2012. July global leisure bookings were down 3.6% compared to last year, while in North America they were down 4.2%. Both were closer to 2011 leisure booking volumes than any month year-to-date, with the exception of February, which was bolstered by leap year’s extra day.
Corporate bookings will potentially slow in August, then pick-up momentum through the autumn conference season. Leisure data thus far suggests another slow patch in September, with progress against prior year expected again during mid-fall.
Sheraton, Hilton and Shangri-La top a list of the most-searched luxury hotel brands by Chinese Travelers, according to a new study by Digital Luxury Group that examined 68 hotel brands and more than 170 million searches on search engines Google and Baidu from January to March 2012.
Sheraton captured 13.6% of total luxury hotel searches, the report found. Rounding out the top 10: InterContinental, Westin, Four Seasons, The Peninsula, Kempinski, Nikko and Ritz Carlton.
Members of Scottish Development International, the trade and investment arm of the country’s government are trying to lure more high-end hotel investment into the country’s lush green landscape to attract more “green” from high-end travelers, writes HotelNewsNow.com Patrick Mayock.
“At the end of the day, we’re trying to attract more high spending international visitors into Scotland,” said Stuart Ward, VP of tourism investment.
There are 941 existing hotels in Scotland, according to STR Global, sister company of HotelNewsNow.com. Nearly two-thirds are classified as independent, while a little more than 10% fall into the luxury, upper-upscale and upscale segments.
There are 21 projects in the country’s total active pipeline, less than 20% of which fall into STR Global’s three upper-tier chain scales.
U.S. lawmakers will face a difficult choice as 2012 draws to a close: allow several tax increases and budget cuts to go into effect, which could lead to another recession, or cancel the scheduled tax increases and budget cuts, which would add to the federal deficit. The decision in front of lawmakers has been dubbed the “fiscal cliff.”
Either choice, sources say, could have dire implications for the hotel industry and could threaten to bring another downturn back to the fore, writes HotelNewsNow.com’s Shawn A. Turner. Enacting tax increases would take money out of the wallets of consumers, which might impact travel spend. And adding to the deficit (which the Congressional Budget Office said will total $1.1 trillion at the end of the 2012 fiscal year on 30 September) might hurt gross domestic product, to which the hotel industry is aligned.
Compiled by Patrick Mayock.