April 18, 2007
ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership is advising its members not to book hotel rooms for its annual meeting through a company called National Travel Planners and Conventional Housing, which reportedly had been calling ASAE exhibitors to offer housing services, according to Jacqueline Barnes, manager of ASAE's member services center. The meeting department at ASAE sent an e-mail to the association's exhibitors alerting them that NTP is not affiliated with ASAE. Tim Tran, president of NTP, said he had "no idea" if representatives of his company had called ASAE members or exhibitors to offer housing services for the annual meeting, which will be held in Chicago, Aug. 11-14. He confirmed that NTP has no affiliation with ASAE and said his company does not specifically target trade show or convention attendees. He said NTP gets sales leads through Leads.com, and "whoever's on that list, we call."

According to a report released by PricewaterhouseCoopers, U.S. lodging supply growth will triple in 2007, led primarily by mid-scale properties (without food and beverage) and upscale hotels. While the overall industry supply growth is forecast at 1.6 percent for 2007, growth in those two segments will increase by 3.6 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively. In 2006, overall new supply increased by only 0.6 percent over 2005.

Hilton Hotels Corp. broke ground on the 498-room Waldorf=Astoria at Bonnet Creek and 1,000-room Hilton Bonnet Creek Hotel, both part of a new resort development near Orlando's Walt Disney World. The $500 million project, which is slated for completion in late 2009, will feature an 18-hole Rees Jones golf course, a 24,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, several upscale restaurants and a combined total of 125,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 90,000-square-foot conference facility.

The Resort at Singer Island, a new Starwood Luxury Collection property off the Atlantic coast in Palm Beach County, Fla., debuted last week. The $210 million resort features 239 suites, a 2,500-square-foot poolside and oceanfront terrace, a spa, fitness and business centers, restaurants, a jogging path and 4,000 square feet of meeting space.

Technology upgrades at the San Diego Convention Center have increased the speed of its network and Internet access tenfold. The system now has the capacity to transmit 125,000 megabytes per second. Additionally, the center added Power Over Ethernet (PoE) capabilities, allowing devices to receive electricity through Ethernet cables. Convention center officials hope the improvements will attract more high-tech events to the facility.

Global Hyatt Corp. has launched Andaz, its newest brand, with properties slated for New York City and London; entries in Moscow and Beijing are under discussion. The first Andaz will open in September in London, once the existing Great Eastern Hotel has been renovated and rebranded. An opening will follow in New York City, where Hyatt has purchased a property on Fifth Avenue, across from the New York Public Library. Renovation of that building will begin soon. Hyatt president and CEO Mark Hoplamazian said Andaz incorporates ecologically friendly building materials and systems.