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NEWS| Blackstone denies Hilton breakup

The Blackstone Group has denied UK media reports suggesting an imminent split from Hilton Hotels Corporation.

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Speculation in London's The Independent and the Financial Times that Hilton, which was bought by Blackstone for US $26 billion in 2007, could be broken up under plans devised by the hotel group's owner are “categorically untrue”, according to an official spokesperson for The Blackstone Group.

Reports based on 'sources close to the firm' claimed Blackstone needed to devise plans to realise the value from the group ahead of debt repayment deadlines coming up in three to four years.

The Independent article suggested the owner was in early-stage discussions, but highlighted the $21 billion worth of debt raised to buy Hilton back in 2007 would not be easily refinanced. However, changes in the market since the deal meant preparations needed to be made.












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FINANCIALS| InterContinental Hotels Posts Second-Quarter Loss

InterContinental Hotels Group Plc, the U.K.-based owner of the Holiday Inn brand, posted a loss in the second quarter following a year-earlier profit as it wrote down the value of some hotels in the recession.

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The net loss was $56 million, or 19.2 cents per share, compared with net income of $101 million, or 34.1 cents per share in the year-earlier period, the Windsor, England-based company said in a Regulatory News Service statement today. The company took a one-time charge of $162 million.

“We see some encouraging signs, but price remains under pressure,” Chief Executive Officer Andrew Cosslett said in a telephone conference call with reporters. “We see little immediate respite in our data.”












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NEWS| Third India International Coffee Festival (IICF) from October 7

Bangalore will play host to the India International Coffee Festival (IICF) scheduled on October 7-9, 2009, at the Lalit Ashok in Bangalore this year.

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The IICF is expected to bring together the best and the biggest of the global coffee industry to network, collaborate and interact on a common platform, stated G V Krishna Rau, chairman, Coffee Board of India.

The conference is expected to attract over 500 delegates from across the world. About 40 major exhibitors from different segments like growers, exporters, equipment makers and dealers, processors, manufacturers comprising all major brands will set up their booths at the Coffee Expo.












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KNOW| Guest Post| Five-musts-for-effective-hospitality-public-relations

Editor| I saw a nice article on hospitality public relations (here) and asked Aruna Dhir (profile, blog) a PR & Marketing specialist to send in her comments.

I think they make an interesting read. If you are in PR then its obvious why, but I feel all hoteliers should be looking at developing PR skills. This is it. Read on...


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Dear Prabhjot,

Thank you for sharing this splendid piece by Charlotte Novom. Extremely pertinent and well-written and with high applicability value.
And here follow my high-five for an effective Hospitality PR Expert -

1. Develop multi-level skills set - You need to be a good writer, good with graphics and creatives for all your marcomm needs, good event organiser, tech savvy and with a bit of finance and business acumen in order to understand the bottomline well and add your spin to it.

2. Nose for news - When writing press releases and backgrounders ensure that your pitch has a high news value for both the target audience and the vehicle you want to see it carried in. Otherwise you just end up wasting paper and the journalists time who then would subject your release to the waste basket treatment.

3. FACE & THE BODY - Since you are the face of your organisation that interfaces with a wide range of publics - from heads of state to the celeb clientele to the media - you need to have well-honed social skills, be charming in your demeanour and engaging in your conversations. At the same time, since you are also the dogsbody that carries out the nitty gritties of the PR functions, you need to be always on the ball to keep the PR machinery well-oiled and running, seemingly, effortlessly. Being like the duck that seems calm on the surface but paddles madly underneath, is then a virtue.

4. KNOW IT ALL - You must have a thorough understanding of the various operations of your business. Definitely what keeps Sales & Marketing, Food & beverage, Catering, HR ticking but you must also be in cahoots with the Security Chief, Engineering Head, Housekeeping people, the interior, art or flower expert, the Purchasing Head - in order to keep all your ten fingers on the various pulses and be well equipped to develop interesting, multifarious story angles aimed at a plethora of publications.

5. Be Locally sound and Globally propelled - since you work in an international industry and are also driven to market your specific decision, being international in your approach at the same time being a great cultural ambassador is a major plus.


Cheers,

Aruna Dhir

NEWS| Carlson added 33 new hotels and resorts in Q2

The Minnetonka-based hospitality company reported Monday that during the second quarter of 2009, it added 33 new hotels and resorts to its portfolio — and inked franchise or management agreements for an additional 20 future hotels. Carlson’s new properties span 13 countries, including 13 Radisson and Radisson Blu properties; 15 Country Inns & Suites By Carlson properties and five Park Inn locations.




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KNOW | The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul offers traditional Ramadan Buffet

During the month of Ramadan, The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul offers an extraordinary Iftar experience.
The Iftar buffet, crafted by Chef de Cuisine Ali Ronay offers exclusive Turkish Iftar specialties from four corners of Turkey.


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The Iftar buffet, consisting of marvelous traditional Turkish specialties such as pide – stuffed flat bread, lahmacun, döner kebab, lamb, along with traditional drinks such as home-made sour cherry and tamarind sherbet, basil lemonade, ayran and marvelous Turkish desserts are served in Çintemani Restaurant during the month of Ramadan. You may also taste ‘gözleme – stuffed pancake’ freshly baked by a lady in her traditional outfits and sherbet served from the authentic ewer. Included among this year’s specialties are saffron flavored chickpea soup from Ottoman cuisine and sour wheat soup with spinach from South Eastern Anatolia as well as light alternatives for dessert buffet including pelte - corn starch blancmange served with pomegranate and zerde - rice starch blancmange flavored with saffron.

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KNOW| Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco: America's Best Club Floor

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco features 336 guest rooms including 60 suites and two Presidential suites. Guest rooms include a wealth of amenities including electronic in-room laptop safes, Kohler "rain" showerheads, Bulgari White Tea bath essentials, bathroom scale, feather beds with 400-thread-count Egyptian-cotton and Frette linens, deluxe in-room coffee and tea presentations in a wooden display box, fully stocked honor bar, plush bathrobes, and much more.

The property even features a Technology Butler to solve any of your computer and technological problems.

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[My Eclat Coach] HOW TO ANSWER| If an interviewer asks you why you want to le...


The Question was posted by anonymous, but here are my responses.
I invite more questions for me to answer and what you think the possible answers could be.  Leave your comments.

EDUCATION | 30 girls given certificates after completion of CHKM course

The sixth batch — comprising 30 girl students — of the one-year certificate course in Hospitality Kitchen Management (CHKM) passed out today.

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This batch exclusively comprised of girls. There are 30 students in each batch and they are mostly drawn from the rural areas with a purpose to provide exposure to the rural youth so that they get good job placements. The course is managed and sponsored by the Babu Joginder Singh Benevolent Trust (BJSBT), which also runs other technical courses and welfare programmes in the area.

Editor | this is brilliant. if you know of any such initiatives please write in.









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NEWS| Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts signs contracts with Adarsh

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has signed management contracts with India’s Adarsh Group that will see the luxury hospitality group operate three new hotels in Bengaluru from 2011. The agreement will add more than 1400 guestroom and apartments to Shangri-La’s Indian offering.
















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