April 23, 2008

Gaylord Entertainment has terminated its agreement to purchase the Westin La Cantera Resort in San Antonio, Texas, citing economic reasons. "In the current capital markets and economic environment, we determined that it is not in the best interest of our shareholders to focus our resources and capital on this project at this time," said Colin V. Reed, chairman and CEO of Gaylord. The hotel company had planned to expand the 508-room property to 1,000 rooms, with future plans taking it to 1,500, then 2,000 rooms. The Westin offers 44,000 square feet of meeting space and two championship golf courses.

Hilton Hotels has announced it will bring the Waldorf=Astoria brand to Israel. The 220-room property, being constructed as part of the 1929 Palace Hotel and Customs Building in Jerusalem, is scheduled for completion in 2010, and will be called The Palace Jerusalemæ- The Waldorf=Astoria Collection. Amenities will include three restaurants, a spa with a fitness center and a pool, and an unspecified amount of meeting space.

ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership has unveiled new online offerings to its members. Last week, the association launched the Online Buyer's Guide (asaebuyersguide.com), a national resource of vendors in diverse industries of possible interest to associations. Categories include meetings and conventions, legal and government affairs, financial services, and office products and services. ASAE recently upgraded its online member profile to include a social networking tool, modeled on popular websites like Facebook and MySpace.

NYC & Company, the marketing and tourism organization for New York City, has named Emily Rafferty as its board's new chair. Rafferty, president of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, has been a board member since 2005. She replaces Jonathan Tisch, chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels, who stepped down in February.