The U.S. hotel industry posted declines in all three key performance
measurements during October, including the first year-over-year decline
in average daily rate in more than five years, according to data
released yesterday by Smith Travel Research. Average daily rate fell
0.5 percent from October 2007 to $107.60. Year-over-year revenue per
available room dropped 7 percent in October and finished the month at
$66.85. Occupancy also declined, falling 6.5 percent to 62.1 percent.
"With the overall economy moving into recessionary territory, the U.S.
hotel industry faces continued challenges in the operating
environment," said Jan D. Freitag, STR's vice president of global
development. "We hope hoteliers learned their lessons during the
post-9/11 time period that cutting rates in the short term only
provides slight immediate help. It took the industry more than five
years to recover from the price discounting that took place during late
2001 and the first half of 2002."
The Hendricks County (Ind.) Convention and Visitors Bureau is reviewing
a feasibility study for a full-service hotel and conference center in
Plainfield, on a site five miles from the new entrance to Indianapolis
International Airport and 15 miles from downtown Indianapolis. The
study, conducted by Convention Sports and Leisure in Minneapolis,
examined a range of property configurations -- 120 to 250 hotel rooms,
17,000 to 30,000 square feet of meeting space -- and concluded that a
facility could generate between $16 million and $21 million annually in
total economic impact. Jaime Bohler Smith, assistant director of the
CVB, said the project remains "in the very beginning stages," but she's
optimistic the bureau will be able to find a development partner,
despite today's economy. She said the suburban property would
complement the multibillion-dollar investment in meetings
infrastructure occurring in downtown Indianapolis.
The Waldorf=Astoria Orlando and the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek complex
will open Oct. 1, 2009, Hilton Hotels announced last week. The 497-room
Waldorf=Astoria will be the first of the brand to be built outside of
New York City and will include 28,000 square feet of meeting space, a
pool, a spa and five restaurants. The neighboring 1,000-room Hilton
Orlando Bonnet Creek will feature 122,000 square feet of meeting space,
six restaurants and multiple pools. The resorts will share a Rees
Jones-designed golf course.
The Economic Development Committee of the city of Dallas has
recommended that Omni Hotels be chosen as the operator for the Dallas
convention center hotel that currently is in development. The planned
property will have 1,000 rooms and more than 100,000 square feet of
meeting space. Omni also is running the new 614-room headquarters hotel
in neighboring Fort Worth, which opens in January.
As Chicago's O'Hare Airport celebrated the recent openings of a new
runway and an air-traffic control tower, major airlines serving the
airport questioned the value of future expansion plans there, according
to the Chicago Tribune, citing letters sent to city and federal
authorities. Executives at United Airlines and American Airlines later
told Crain's Chicago Business that they support the new runways but are
not convinced that construction of a new terminal and parking facility,
connected to the existing facility via a people mover, is necessary. At
the runway ceremony, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley said, "Completing
the full OMP [O'Hare Modernization Program] is important because it
will create thousands of new jobs throughout the region and will pump
millions more into our economy. It will reduce delays and add capacity.
We are moving aggressively forward to complete the entire OMP in 2014."
A spokesperson for O'Hare did not respond to a request for comment.
Citing slowing demand, Delta will further pare capacity for 2009, the
airline said Friday in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
Including Northwest's operations, Delta's fourth-quarter capacity
already is down 4 percent systemwide; domestic service declined by 12
percent while international is up 9 percent. Details about the capacity
cuts will be revealed during the carrier's Dec. 9 investor day.
Meeting Professionals International has appointed an executive advisory
council to help the organization develop high-level initiatives for
meetings executives. Chair of the committee will be Angie Pfeifer, CMM,
assistant vice president of corporate meetings, travel and incentives
for the Investors Group in Canada, and immediate past chair of the MPI
board of directors. Other council members include MPI’s chair-elect,
Ann Godi, CMP, president of Benchmarc360; Craig Ardis, CMM, director of
global event management for Zimmer Inc.; Christine Duffy, president and
CEO of Maritz Travel Co.; Margaret Moynihan, CMP, a director at
Deloitte & Touche; and Bruce MacMillan, president and CEO of MPI.
The Association Forum of Chicagoland’s board of directors has named
Christie A. Tarantino, CAE, as its president and CEO. Tarantino will
take over in mid-January, reporting to the Forum's 12-member board and
managing a staff of 16. She comes to the organization from her current
position as executive director of the 35,000-member Academy of General
Dentistry in Chicago.
The complete roster of more than 40 classroom and online course
offerings for the 2009 Certified in Exhibition Management program have
been listed online at iaee.com/cem/course_schedule. Course enrollment
will be capped at 40 people per session, so early registration is
recommended, according to the International Association of Exhibitions
and Events. There were 282 graduates from the 2008 CEM Learning
Program, including 21 from Korea and 155 from China.
Last week Disney Cruise Line announced new itineraries for summer 2010.
The Disney Magic will sail for five months in Northern Europe and the
Mediterranean on seven- and eight-night cruises. The Disney Wonder will
sail on four- and five-night itineraries from Port Canaveral, Fla., to
According to several news reports, the Tropicana Casino and Resort in
Atlantic City laid off 50 supervisors last week. Last year, the gaming
property slashed nearly 1,000 jobs. According to the Associated Press,
revenues at all 11 casinos in Atlantic City are down 6.6 percent so far
this year; the Tropicana is off 11 percent. As reported in last week's
Midweek News, The Borgata laid off 5 percent of its work force.
A $20 million renovation has been completed at the 380-room Holiday Inn
Stamford (Conn.) Downtown. All guest rooms, meeting space and public
spaces were upgraded, and a new health club with an indoor lap pool and
a new restaurant, 700 Main, were added. The hotel has 20,000 square
feet of meeting space.
Financing is in place for the construction of a 262-room Embassy Suites
Hotel adjacent to the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.
Ground will be broken in March, and the property will open in fall 2010.
The 140-unit Manor Vail (Colo.) Lodge reopened Friday following an
18-month renovation. More than $100 million was spent to add a
50,000-square-foot penthouse floor with 17 luxury condos, plus
underground parking, pools, hot tubs, walkways and a reconstructed
exterior. Built in 1964, the lodge was one of the first condominium
properties in Vail Village.
On Nov. 14, ground was broken for the new 18-hole Tom Fazio golf course
at Christophe Harbour on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. The course,
which is being built on top of a volcanic ridge and adjacent to an
inland cove, will be open for play in 2011. The 2,500-acre Christophe
Harbour resort also will open in 2011 with a Mandarin Oriental hotel, a
yacht harbor, restaurants and more.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts is building three more hotels in Saudi
Arabia, bringing the company’s total number of properties in that
country to 13. Under construction are the 300-room Four Points by
Sheraton Mall of Arabia, scheduled to open in Jeddah in early 2010
(with 3,000 square feet of meeting space); the 236-room Four Points by
Sheraton Dhahran, planned for opening in 2011 (with 3,700 square feet
of meeting space); and the 225-room Aloft Riyadh, the second Aloft in
Saudi Arabia, opening early 2011 (with a small, unspecified amount of
Union Station in Dallas reopened Thursday following a $23 million
renovation to the event space. The venue, which offers services by
Wolfgang Puck Catering, has 20,000 square feet of meeting space in
eight rooms, including the Grand Hall. The facility is on the National
Register of Historic Places and is a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
and a City of Dallas Historic Landmark.