5 things to know: 3 October 2017
5 things to know: 3 October 2017
03 OCTOBER 2017 9:23 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Wyndham boosts portfolio with AmericInn buy
  • Following Las Vegas shooting, hotel security questioned
  • Hotels want design that makes spaces work harder
  • Foreign travelers advised to examine US travel carefully
  • Hilton testing out ‘smart room’ with personalization

Wyndham boosts portfolio with AmericInn buy: Wyndham Hotel Group completed on Monday its acquisition of the AmericInn brand and its hotel management company, according to a company news release.

The deal between Wyndham and Northcott Hospitality added 200 hotels and nearly 12,000 rooms to Wyndham’s North American portfolio of more than 8,100 hotels. With the closing of the deal, Champion Hotels took ownership of the brand’s 10 owned hotels for Wyndham.

Nasir Raja was appointed to SVP, brand operations, to oversee AmericInn’s strategic direction and daily operations, according to the release.

Following Las Vegas shooting, hotel security questioned: After a gunman inside of a Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino hotel room opened fire into a crowd of nearby concertgoers on Sunday night, the question now is what security measures hotels will focus on, The New York Times reports.

The shooter was able to bring in more than a dozen firearms and large amounts of ammunition, according to news reports. Because the focus of the hospitality industry is “to appear inviting to guests, many hotels employ a lighter touch” when it comes to security, The Times reports. As a result, hotels are “a soft target—always have been,” said Jan Freitag, SVP at STR, parent company of Hotel News Now.

Standard security equipment found in airports, such as X-ray machines, continue to be uncommon in hotels because of the enormous premium that customers place on their privacy, Jim Stover, SVP at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., told The Times.

However, some security experts believe there could be immediate changes to security protocols at hotels, CNBC reports. Bruce McIndoe, president of iJet International, said it’s likely hotels will begin to train security staff to better scrutinize guests with thin and long items that could be rifles, such as fishing equipment.

Hotels want design that makes spaces work harder: The best design, according to panelists at a recent ISHC conference, maximizes the open spaces in a hotel, Hotel News Now’s Jeff Higley reports.

“We have these hotels that have lots of space—if one of the rooms in this hotel is better off being used for co-working than it is for conferencing … whatever is going to work the asset harder,” said Michael Issenberg, CEO, HotelServices Asia-Pacific, for AccorHotels. “We believe there’s a great opportunity to do that.”

Foreign travelers advised to examine U.S. travel carefully: In light of several natural disasters that swept across the U.S. in the past two months, as well as this week’s shooting in Las Vegas, some foreign state departments are counseling their travelers to think carefully before planning trips to certain parts of the U.S., according to Condé Nast Traveler.

The United Kingdom stated on its page for foreign travel advice that “terrorists are very likely to carry out attacks in the USA,” adding that citizens in the U.K. who are thinking of traveling to the U.S. should be vigilant. The German government cautioned against unnecessary travel to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where “flooding and landslides are possible” in the aftermath of hurricanes that struck the U.S. territories.

Hilton testing out ‘smart room’ with personalization: Hilton is currently testing out a “smart room,” which is connected to a computer system that allows guests to set preferences for everything from temperature to television programming and beer selection, MarketWatch reports. Hilton President and CEO Chris Nassetta said the smart room will likely be available to guests next year.

Compiled by Dana Miller.

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