5 things to know: 10 January 2018
5 things to know: 10 January 2018
10 JANUARY 2018 9:49 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Detainees held at Ritz-Carlton moved to prison
  • Europe still to shine in 2018, just not as much as 2017
  • Wyndham’s Ballotti: From busboy dreams to 19 brands
  • California sets record for hotel rooms opened
  • IHG ownership group selects new chairman

 Detainees held at Ritz-Carlton moved to prison: Detainees being held in the Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh, including hotel-investment vehicle Kingdom Holdings’ Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, have been moved to a regular prison, Riyadh’s Al-Ha’ir, according to Middle East Monitor.

According to the source, as many as 200 detainees, having been held at the Ritz-Carlton since early November, have been moved, and the hotel’s booking window has reopened.

 Europe still to shine in 2018, just not as much as 2017: At the 13th New Year Hotel Investment Summit in London, forecasts from host Whitebridge Hospitality and STR, parent company of Hotel News Now, called for mostly sunny skies for Europe hotel markets in 2018, though slightly less sunny than 2017, writes HNN’s Terence Baker.

Philip Camble, director at Whitebridge, and STR’s managing director Robin Rossmann presented forecasts which differed on some fronts—notably for London’s hotel market. While STR predicts revenue per available room at London hotels to be flat for 2018, Camble said it “will decline by no more than 2%.”

Camble was more upbeat in his RevPAR forecast for U.K. South Coast resorts and U.K. seaside locations, predicting growth of at least 6% and 2%, respectively.

And Rossmann said STR predicts full-year 2018 RevPAR for Europe will grow 5%, not as strong as 2017, “but still a good year.”

 Wyndham’s Ballotti: From busboy dreams to 19 brands: Wyndham Hotel Group’s CEO and President Geoff Ballotti, who like many top hotel industry executives started out in hospitality washing dishes, first aspired to be a busboy. Now overseeing 19 brands and more than 8,000 hotels and 705,000 keys, he still remembers those who showed him kindness, empathy and concern at the beginning, writes HNN’s Stephanie Ricca.

In Hotel News Now’s continuing series on the first jobs and impressions of today’s industry leaders, Ballotti told Ricca that the best advice he can give for those entering the industry is to “pour your heart into what you’re doing. Enjoy what you’re doing, even if it might not feel that enjoyable, and appreciate the people you work with.”

 California sets record for hotel rooms opened: The U.S. state of California has set a new record for the most hotel rooms opened, with the 2017 total of 10,793 keys edging out the previous and pre-recession peak in 2008 of 10,286 keys, according to the 2017 Atlas Hospitality Group California Hotel Development Survey.

Atlas reports 66 new hotels opened in the state last year, with a further 145 (20,693 rooms) in the pipeline—a 17% increase from 2016. In total, there are 125,749 rooms across 859 hotels in “various stages of planning, a 23% room count increase over 2016.” The largest property by room count to open in 2017 was the 889-room InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown.

 IHG ownership group selects new chairman: Deepesh Kholwadwala has been named chairman of the InterContinental Hotels Group Owners Association, the association representing IHG franchise hotel owners worldwide, according to a news release.

Kholwadwala, who succeeds Allen Fusco, owner and operator of ANABRA Associates, is president and CEO of Dreamcatcher Hotel Group and Sun Capital Hotels and has a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University.

Compiled by Terence Baker.

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