May 09, 2007

Police are treating an explosion that killed a man in the parking garage at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Monday as an isolated incident, not an act of terrorism, according to Gordon Absher, a spokesperson for MGM Mirage, which owns the hotel. The victim, an employee of a restaurant in the hotel's food court, was killed when he attempted to pick up a small package, containing a homemade bomb, that was sitting on the roof of his car. There was no damage to the 4,408-room hotel and its operations never were affected, Absher said. The device "was designed to harm one person," he added. "The fact that it happened at Luxor is incidental."

StarCite, a provider of online meetings management tools, is partnering with Meeting Strategies Worldwide, a firm that works with organizations to produce "green" conferences. Their goal will be to help StarCite's clients make their programs more earth-friendly via MeetGreen, a rigorous program that examines all elements of a meeting or conference and offers recommendations to help lessen the environmental impact of the event. As part of the process, the MeetGreen Calculator will assess events by measuring more than 95 facets of policy, practices and outcomes, from food and beverage choices to site selection, to help planners learn how their organizations are using the environment. Also just launched is the StarCite Green Project, which includes a partnership with to assess and reduce StarCite's carbon footprint, and the institution of new policies promoting the responsible use of natural resources at the company's offices in Philadelphia; Twinsburg, Ohio; Santa Clara, Calif.; Shanghai, China; and Dusseldorf, Germany.

IPC, the Association Connecting Electronics Industries, became the latest organization to abandon Los Angeles when officials announced it will move its international convention and trade show, to be held March 29 to April 3, 2008, from the Los Angeles Convention Center to Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. IPC president Denny McGuirk said the move was motivated by exhibitors and attendees who "expressed their dissatisfaction with Los Angeles as a venue for our events." McGuirk went on to say, "The L.A. convention center is state-of-the-art, but the city doesn't yet meet our members' needs. We must remain focused on holding a successful event, and for now, that means a move to Las Vegas."

A $100 million renovation of more than 3,000 suites at the 4,027-room Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas is under way and will wrap up this fall. The only rooms that will not be updated are in the 1,013-room Venezia Tower, which opened in 2003. Meanwhile, as previously announced, the 3,025-suite Palazzo Casino Resort, a separate resort being built within the Venetian complex, is under construction and will open later this year. Upon completion, the Venetian complex will have a total of 7,052 guest rooms.

Effective June 1, smoking at Walt Disney World's hotels and resorts in Florida will be limited to designated outdoor areas. The ban prohibits lighting up in hotel rooms, balconies and patios at all 22 Disney properties. Guests who violate the policy could face a stiff cleaning surcharge of up to $500.

Some clarification finally has been given for the Limosa project, a Belgian law that went into effect April 1 requiring nonresident business travelers who plan to stay in the country five consecutive days to register with the Belgian government. For meetings of five days or more, attendees currently are subject to the regulations, which require corporations to declare the nature of an individual's business in the country, the origin of the business, and personal information including the person's home address and a social security number. However, the regulation is expected to be extended to seven days just for meeting attendees, according to Karel Deridder, the general adviser of the national office for social security in Belgium. Companies that don't comply might face stiff fines.

The 193-room Ritz-Carlton Boston Common will undergo an $11 million renovation that will add a new ballroom, expected to be about 3,500 square feet, with panoramic views of Boston Common. The 5,338 square feet of existing meeting space will be refreshed, and all guest rooms will be upgraded with new soft goods and high-definition TVs. The lobby and the presidential suite also will be renovated.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts plans to introduce a new W Hotel to the Buckhead section of Atlanta next summer. The 291-room W Atlanta Buckhead, designed by Thom Filicia, former interior design specialist on TV's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, will include a rooftop bar, Sweat workout facility and approximately 7,000 square feet of meeting space.