Food-service workers at Boston's two convention centers have filed a
class-action lawsuit against Aramark, the centers' food-service
provider, and the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority for failing
to pass on to the workers all service charges collected on bills. "The
state requires [service charges] to be paid to the workers in full,"
says Shannon Liss-Riordan, the lawyer who filed the suit and who has
won several similar cases in Boston. She said the lost monies represent
millions of dollars not paid to the workers. James Rooney, executive
director of the MCCA, said Aramark issues all invoices and would need
to deal with the suit. An Aramark spokesperson declined to comment.
Aramark still is negotiating a new contract with Boston's Local 26
Unite HERE workers, whose previous contract expired a year ago. This
summer, Rooney threatened to terminate Aramark's contract with the
MCCA, in part due to the ongoing labor unrest. Rooney says a decision
about future food service at the convention centers has not been made,
but since he publicly admonished Aramark, "they have done a better job
on all fronts."
In its third-quarter earnings report, released
Oct. 3, Marriott International predicted that some hotels in its
development pipeline might be delayed or canceled because of the state
of the financial markets. The company's worldwide pipeline of hotels
under construction, those awaiting conversion to a Marriott brand and
those already approved for development totals more than 130,000 rooms.
Marriott's third-quarter profits fell 28 percent, even as revenue per
available room (RevPAR) rose 3.4 percent in the same time period.
Looking ahead to fourth quarter 2008, Marriott expects its global
RevPAR to decline 1 to 3 percent, with North America dropping as much
as 5 percent. CFO Arne Sorensen said he expects 2009 "to be unusually
After months of speculation, Reed Travel
Exhibitions officially has announced the launch of its Americas
Incentive Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition, an annual trade
show. The first will be held in Baltimore June 29-July 1, 2010. The
show will employ the "hosted buyer" format for qualified planners from
both the U.S. and international markets. This event joins Reed's
portfolio of hosted-buyer shows: EIBTM in Barcelona, GIBTM in Abu Dhabi
and CIBTM in Beijing. According to Paul Kennedy, group exhibition
director of Reed Travel Exhibitions Meetings and Incentive Events, the
company spent two years researching and developing AIBTM. In a
statement sent yesterday to potential exhibitors, Kennedy said, "We
have made a terrific choice in Baltimore, which will host what must be
considered the biggest fam trip the city will ever see." Reed is
contracted to hold AIBTM in the city through 2014.
Iberostar Hotels & Resorts opened the 319-suite Iberostar Rose Hall
Suites Hotel in Jamaica's Montego Bay. The $82 million hotel is part of
the all-inclusive Iberostar Rose Hall Beach & Spa Resort, which has
488 guest rooms and 14 suites. The property features an 18-hole golf
course designed by Robert von Hagge, as well as 11,000 square feet of
indoor meeting space and 30,000 square feet of outdoor event space.
week the 406-room Riviera Resort & Spa will reopen in Palm Springs,
Calif., following a $70 million transformation. The 24-acre property
will offer dining at Circa59, a signature spa, three lounges, two
retail boutiques, two pools and 30,000 square feet of indoor meeting
space. In addition, 10,000 square feet of outdoor event space,
featuring landscaped gardens, fire pits and walkways, is available for
The 1,410-room Waldorf=Astoria in New York City has
unveiled the Guerlain Spa, the first signature spa of the
Waldorf=Astoria Collection. The facility spans 14,000 square feet and
offers 16 treatment rooms. Approximately 60,000 square feet of meeting
space is available at the property.
An effort to standardize
sustainability practices in the travel and tourism industry was
presented Monday at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona,
Spain. United Nations Foundation founder and chairman Ted Turner,
together with the Rainforest Alliance, the United Nations Environment
Programme and the United Nations World Tourism Organization, presented
the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, based on best practices and
existing standards. The criteria, which can be found at sustainabletourismcriteria.org,
were developed over the past 15 months by a coalition of 27 travel- and
tourism-related organizations from the public, private and nonprofit
America has announced two new options: fully refundable fares and "Main
Cabin Select" service, which offers more legroom and some first-class
perks. Passengers with Main Cabin Select tickets will be able to take
advantage of priority check-in, security screening (where available)
and boarding, as well as no fees for itinerary changes. In similar
news, Southwest Airlines now will offer priority security screening
lanes for use by its Business Select and Rapid Reward A-List
passengers. The priority lanes initially will be available at
Baltimore/Washington International, Dallas Love Field, Phoenix Sky
Harbor International, Orange County (Calif.) John Wayne, Denver
International, San Francisco International and Los Angeles
International airports. In November, the program will be expanded.
management firm the Kellen Co. has acquired Washington, D.C.-based
public affairs firm John Adams Associates to provide communication and
education services to Kellen clients. While John Adams is not a
registered lobbyist, Mike Brooks, CFO of Kellen, said JAA will help
Kellen clients educate both consumers and lawmakers on "issues of the
day." John Adams, president of JAA, will continue to direct his firm
while becoming a senior executive of Kellen, which manages 100 trade
and industry associations in North America, Europe and Asia.
management company SmithBucklin Corp. is acquiring Amedco LLC, a St.
Paul, Minn.-based certification and accreditation management company.
The transaction should close at the end of the year. Amedco will retain
its St. Paul office, and all Amedco employees will be hired as
SmithBucklin employees, making them eligible to participate in
SmithBucklin's employee stock ownership plan.
Oregon Convention Center in Portland has achieved the Silver LEED-EB
(Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design--Existing Buildings)
recertification from the U.S. Green Building Services Commission. Areas
in which the convention center scored points include the installation
of low-flow plumbing fixtures, purchasing wind power to provide 40
percent of the center's energy, and modifications to the convention
center's heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems. The center
has 255,000 square feet of exhibit space and 50 meeting rooms, plus the
25,200-square-foot Oregon Ballroom and the 34,200-square-foot Grand
River Cruise Line announced this week it will delay the launch of its
luxury cruise line, Jewel River Cruises. "Launching the first
boutique-luxury ship in the river cruise industry became increasingly
challenging given the current worldwide economic climate and
uncertainties in the international financial markets," the company said
in a statement. The 35-suite Jewel Imperial Blue was supposed to set
sail last April on eight- to 14-day voyages between Paris and Rouen,
France. According to M&C's sister publication, Travel Weekly, the company had previously announced plans to build two ships to enter service in 2009 and 2010.
Cruise Line announced Monday it will reroute the 2,700-passenger Disney
Magic from Florida to Europe from April through September 2010. The
ship will sail 10-, 11- and 12-night voyages in northern Europe and the
owners of New York's Plaza Hotel, won a court battle on Monday in Clark
County, Nev., over the use of the Plaza name for its Las Vegas
development. Tamares Las Vegas Properties, owners of the Plaza Hotel
& Casino in Las Vegas, had filed a suit to prevent El-Ad from using
the name. El-Ad Group president Miki Naftali praised the jury's
decision in a statement, but the company would not confirm
groundbreaking or opening dates for the new hotel, Plaza Las Vegas,
which will be constructed on the site of the former New Frontier. In
August the company delayed groundbreaking until late 2009; according to
the Associated Press, that could be delayed again until spring 2010,
with a projected opening date of 2012.
planning firm Meeting Strategies Worldwide, whose principals, Nancy J.
Wilson, CMP, and Amy Spatrisano, CMP, founded the Green Meeting
Industry Council, has launched Best Places to MeetGreen (bestplacestomeetgreen.com).
This free "green" destination-selection site uses two elements of MSW's
MeetGreen Toolbox, the scorecard and the calculator. The scorecard
ranks destinations' convention and visitor bureaus, convention centers
and hotels with a green score, descriptions and green practices. The
calculator allows users to evaluate destinations by entering the number
of attendees coming from regions around the world and selecting cities
they are interesting in using. A report is generated comparing the
attendee travel footprint for each destination.
148-room Mandarin Oriental Boston opened on Monday in the city's Back
Bay neighborhood with 10,000 square feet of meeting space, including a
4,200-square-foot ballroom. A 16,000-square-foot spa and fitness center
will open later this month. The luxury hotel has two restaurants, Asana
and M Bar & Lounge, in addition to L'Espalier and Sel de la Terre,
two noted Boston establishments that have relocated adjacent to the
Some hotels finally are open in Galveston, Texas, but
services still are spotty as the island continues to clean up after
taking a direct hit from Hurricane Ike on Sept. 13. The 428-room Moody
Gardens Hotel is open, and some of the complex's attractions also are
up and running, including the Aquarium Pyramid, the Ridefilm Theater
and the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat. The Discovery Museum will reopen Oct.
10. The 239-room Hilton Galveston Island Resort also is open, but its
phone lines have yet to be restored. The 226-room Hotel Galvez, a
Wyndham Historic Hotel, will not reopen until November, and the
119-room Tremont House, also a Wyndham Historic Hotel, will remain
closed until early 2009.
The 123-room Four Seasons Resort
Mauritius at Anahita has opened. The property has a spa with 12
over-water treatment pavilions, a golf course designed by Ernie Els and
one large meeting room.
Conservation Corporation Africa has
opened two new luxury camps in Botswana's Okavango Delta: Xudum Delta
Lodge and Xaranna Tented Camp; each accommodates 18 guests.
Hotels Group will unveil the first Hotel Indigo in Central America,
when the 100-room Hotel Indigo San José Forum opens in Costa Rica in
the first quarter of 2009. The property had been planned as a Holiday
Inn Express, but the hotel group elected to change the flag, based in
part on the success of the Indigo brand in North America. Hotel Indigo
San José Forum will be in the Santa Ana region of the city, and will
offer four meeting rooms, a restaurant and bar, a fitness center and an
The 445-room Riu Palace Pacifico opened Friday on
Playa de Flamingos beach in Mexico's Riviera Nayarit, less than two
miles north of Nuevo Vallarta. The resort, Riu's third in the Riviera
Nayarit, has five restaurants, five bars, two meeting rooms, a swimming
pool and nightclub.
Show organizer Pete Erickson told M&C that his show's new hosted
buyer program will be expanded next year. The program, which covers
most costs (including hotel rooms) for qualified incentive and meeting
planners, was launched at this year's show, held Sept. 23-25 in
Chicago. Though 150 people were qualified, Erickson said about
one-third canceled due to corporate travel restrictions and business
uncertainty. The Motivation Show has contracted with Chicago's
McCormick Place through 2016.