August 16, 2006
In response to the TSA's new list of banned carry-on items, several hotels and hotel chains -- including Wyndham International, Omni Hotels and the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas -- have begun offering an array of complimentary sundries to arriving guests. The items include bottled water, contact lens solution, deodorant, hair gel, hair spray, nail-polish remover, toothpaste and shampoo. Meanwhile, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration has loosened its ban on all liquids, gels and lotions in carry-on luggage. The amended list of approved items now includes small doses of liquid medication; glucose gel for diabetics; some cosmetics; and baby food and breast milk for passengers traveling with an infant. Shoe removal for checkpoint screening now is mandatory. For the latest details, visit . Incentive giant Carlson Marketing has acquired meeting and incentive firm TQ3Navigant Performance Group for an undisclosed amount. Navigant Performance Group has 100 employees and three offices in the United States: Marlboro, Mass.; Minneapolis; and Parsippany, N.J. Navigant's president, Steve Some, now is a senior vice president for Carlson Marketing and will work closely with the company's East Coast clients. When asked if the three Navigant offices would remain open, a Carlson spokesperson said operations still were being evaluated.

UNITE HERE Local 2, representing workers at 13 San Francisco hotels, will hold a vote on Aug. 24 to determine whether to give union leadership the authority to call for a worker strike. Mike Casey, president of Local 2, said he hopes the threat of a strike will accelerate negotiations with the San Francisco Multi-Employer Group, which represents the hotels. "The timing is in order to get [hotel negotiators] off the dime," he said. "It's time to recognize that we've waited already too long." Casey vowed to disrupt meetings in San Francisco if the union's proposals are not "regarded more seriously" by negotiators. "We will not let the fall convention season go by without going at the business directly," he said. The next two negotiation sessions will be held on Aug. 21 and 22.

Marriott International announced this week a comprehensive new banquet menu for meetings and events at all Marriott Hotels & Resorts and Renaissance Hotels & Resorts in the U.S. The menus, created based on meeting planner feedback, include breakfast, lunch, dinner, breaks, receptions and beverages. Planners can select, customize and submit their menus online, complete with accompanying photos of their selections. Marriott says the new menus, which have been in development for several months, allow planners more flexibility in creating meals that match their needs.

Hilton Hotels Corp. is considering the sale of its Scandic brand, which was part of a recent acquisition of lodging assets. Scandic's 130 hotels are primarily in Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark. Hilton might bundle the brand with 10 Hilton properties in Europe that will be up for sale at the end of September 2006. At that time, the company will officially announce the names of the properties on the seller's block, and whether Scandic will be included.

Omni Hotels will break ground Monday on a $115 million convention center hotel in Fort Worth. The 604-room property will offer 48,000 square feet of meeting space. Directly across the street from the Fort Worth Convention Center, the hotel will open in late 2008 with two restaurants, a Starbucks, a wine bar, a sports bar and a spa.