Smartphone usage is rapidly increasing around the world. Recognizing this growing trend and the opportunity to capture market share among consumers booking travel via digital devices, global hoteliers are investing more resources into mobile websites and other marketing initiatives. According to a recent poll conducted by TravelClick (www.TravelClick.com), the leading provider of revenue generating solutions for hoteliers across the globe, 50 percent of hotels plan to put more marketing dollars towards mobile websites and marketing. Overall, 43 percent of hotels are planning to increase overall marketing budgets for 2012. Of those surveyed, 34 percent expect to keep their marketing budgets the same as 2011, and only 3 percent plan to decrease their marketing spend.
"According to Nielsen, 40 percent of the Western Europe and 38 percent of the U.S. cell phone markets are dominated by smartphones. Given these rising numbers, it is essential that hoteliers optimize their websites for mobile use to increase direct bookings from travelers that are using their mobile devices to select rooms," said Jason Ewell, Senior Vice President, E-Commerce, TravelClick.
The poll, which was conducted during a webinar titled: "2011 Second Quarter Global Hotel Industry Update," also showed that almost all the attendees polled (95.3 percent) plan to either increase their workforce (50 percent) or keep their workforce the same (45.3 percent). Of the respondents planning to increase their workforce, 30 percent plan to hire staff specifically for social media.
Sean Raine has been appointed general manager of The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa, Phuket. Raine’s career with Starwood began as financial controller at Sheraton Fiji, after which taking the post as director of finance Asia Pacific in the Starwood Asia Pacific Divisional office.
He then joined the opening team at The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa Phuket as hotel manger. The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa, Phuket opened in August 2010 and is the first Westin resort to open in Thailand.
Robert J. Norton has been named President & General Manager at Maryland Live! Casino in Baltimore - MD, United States.
Mr. Norton comes to Maryland Live! Casino from the MTR Gaming Group, Inc., which owns and operates casino and racetrack facilities in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Prior to joining MTR, Mr. Norton spent 12 years in executive positions with Isle of Capri Casinos, instilling the brand with his dynamic leadership and guiding the company's profitability and patron satisfaction.
MTR and Isle of Capri Casinos have combined revenues of approximately $1.5 billion. Mr. Norton is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel Administration. He lives in Severna Park, Anne Arundel County, Maryland with his wife and four children.
Buffalo Lodging Associates is proud to announce that George Parillo has been brought on as director of sales for Fairfield Inn & Suites Buffalo-Airport. Parillo joins the Fairfield Inn & Suites with seven years of hospitality industry experience. Most recently, he was the director of sales overseeing three Buffalo area hotels. George also spent four years working for the Holiday Inn in Pointe Claire, Canada in such positions as sales manager for the sports and SMERF markets, assistant housekeeping manager, and front desk/night auditor.
Parillo is a graduate of Robert Morris University of Moon Township, Pennsylvania, where he earned a BS in Tourism Administration. He is bilingual, fluent in both French and English, and currently resides in Elma, NY.
Powerfly, in association with Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL) have launched an extravagant holiday experience called ‘Powerfly Vacations’. Guests can now fly at their own convenience and explore beautiful and pristine holiday destinations. Powerfly, a marketing alliance launched in February this year by Deccan Charters and Taj Air, is the first of its kind nationwide one stop solution for all aviation needs of discerning clients. It combines the aircraft, aviation and hospitality expertise of Deccan Charters, Taj Air and Business Jets India to provide flexible options through which customers can access jets, turboprops and helicopters from any part of the country.
According to the company release, Powerfly will allow guests to select an aircraft, where they can either fly on-demand or by buying block hours. Powerfly operates within the largest geographical footprint in India with six bases spread throughout the country.
Speaking on the occasion, RK Krishna Kumar, Director, Tata Sons and Vice-Chairman, Indian Hotels Company Ltd said, “In keeping with our legendary hospitality, IHCL has created a seamless holiday experience. As pioneers in opening destinations to the world traveller, we believe in offering extended services beyond the predictable norms. With Powerfly Vacations, we have anticipated their need for getting more out of their valuable time.”
Accor will open over 60 hotels across Asia-Pacific during 2011. This will add around 11, 500 rooms to the current network of over 450 hotels in Asia-Pacific. This information was given by Michael Issenberg, Chairman and Chief Operating Officer, Asia-Pacific, Accor.
According to the company release, Accor is focused on China and India as core growth markets and where collectively 107 additional hotels are committed and where together the network will almost double in size in the coming few years. China (18 hotels), Thailand (nine hotels), India (seven hotels) and Indonesia (seven hotels) house the majority of company's hotels that opened during 2011.
The company also considers Indonesia as a strong market opportunity for Accor where the company has operated since 1993 and with a current network of 40 hotels throughout the archipelago. Accor also has a further 30 hotels committed to the region.
Issenberg stated, “The year 2011 has seen a strong performance by Accor in the Asia-Pacific region, where we will add more than 60 new hotels to the network constituting an additional 11,500 guest rooms. Beyond this significant accomplishment, we have signed an additional 100 new hotel contracts during the year taking our committed hotel pipeline to over 200 hotels. We anticipate robust growth activity to continue well into 2012.”
DB Hospitality, in which Dynamix Balwas (DB) Realty, the Mumbai-based realtor recently picked up a 49 per cent stake, is planning to raise Rs 1,000 crore by selling stake either in the hotel company or any of its three operational and eight under-construction properties. The group plans to complete the fund raising exercise by March end, next year.
A company spokesman has said that the firm is currently restructuring its hospitality assets and intends to attract investments at their holding company level or individual project level. The funds raised will go towards the development of its hotel projects. A minimum of seven entities, including private equity players, are in talks with the company for picking up a stake. According to a Reuters report, DB Hospitality plans to set up 2,800 rooms in its hotel properties across the country by the end of 2015.