September 12, 2007
PKF Hospitality Research has revised its forecast for hotel revenue based on new research. PKF now is predicting slower growth in revenue per available room for the next several years, with 5.5 percent predicted for 2007 and 4.2 percent for 2008, compared with the 8 percent year-to-year increases seen for the last few years. Occupancy is expected to remain flat to slightly higher for both years. Other updated forecasts include a 3.5 percent rise in the number of new hotel rooms in the U.S. by 2008, with the majority of that development occurring in the upscale and midscale-without-F&B segments. The average daily rate is forecasted to increase 5.4 percent in 2007 and 4.2 percent in 2008.

During Affordable Meetings National in Washington, D.C., last week, Robert Gilbert, president of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International, announced the association will host a large-scale event focusing on trade show and meetings technology. The Event Technology Expo will take place at the Washington Convention Center Sept. 10-11, 2008, as a show within a show at Affordable Meetings National. The event will be a joint project of HSMAI, George Little Management and Alliance Consulting Strategies.

Development plans for the Belleayre Resort at Catskill Park, a $400 million resort complex in the heart of the Catskill Mountains, finally will move forward, announced New York's Gov. Eliot Spitzer last week. The agreement was reached following 10 months of intense negotiations between project developers Crossroad Ventures LLC, environmental groups, and the state and city of New York. The resort will feature a 250-room hotel with 23,000 square feet of conference space, a 120-room hotel with a 20,000-square-foot spa, and a golf course. All the buildings will seek the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED certification. Construction is expected to begin by the fourth quarter of 2008, with the resort opening in winter 2010.

The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which owns and operates McCormick Place and Navy Pier in Chicago, might exercise the right of eminent domain to acquire property north of the new West Building at McCormick Place for future development. On Monday, the MPEA board approved an ordinance that would allow the organization to file a condemnation action in court, although a spokesperson said the board still is considering the option of purchasing the land outright. In a statement, MPEA board chairman Ted Tezlaff and CEO Juan Ochoa said there is no master plan in place for development of land, but the board is considering "hotel expansion or other forms of mixed-use land development, including more amenities, parking and green space." The Illinois Legislature has granted the MPEA the right to condemn land adjacent to authority-owned property.

According to the Star-Ledger of New Jersey, the NFL's Jets and Giants revealed design plans last week for a new, shared, 82,500-seat stadium, to be built at the Meadowlands Sports complex near the current stadium. The $1.3 billion structure will open in 2010 and is expected to host 20 home games and 80 other events annually.

In a new partnership, Pegasus Solutions will provide its UltraDirect hotel distribution technology to meetings management company StarCite. The agreement will give StarCite central reservation system access for more than 78,000 properties, including real-time rate, availability and reservation information. As such, according to StarCite, most customers will be able to book rooms and meeting space online in real time. StarCite plans to roll out the UltraDirect integration in the first quarter of 2008. In other StarCite news, the company and American Express have announced an integrated solution for their clients. The co-branded technology will allow American Express Global Commercial Card clients to capture more meetings-spend data, investigate online transactions and gain access to increased sourcing capability, linking StarCite's Global Meeting Marketplace with some exclusive American Express hotel offers. Some large global corporations will begin using the solution this fall, with a broader rollout planned for early 2008.