April 26, 2006

Meeting and incentive firm Maritz Inc. announced its intention to sell a controlling stake of its European meeting and incentive businesses, Maritz Europa Ltd., to Grass Roots Group PLC, a U.K.-based performance improvement firm. Maritz will have a a minority equity interest in the U.K. company. The agreement does not include the Maritz Research business, which has offices in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Germany.

Donald Trump is building a resort in Panama City, Panama, to be called the Trump Ocean Club, International Hotel & Tower. To open in 2009, the $220 million project's 65-story tower will offer approximately 300 condo-hotel units and an additional 500 condominium units, as well as a casino, a spa and meeting space. Also planned is a beach club on Contadora Island (a 20-minute flight from Panama City), one of the Pearl Islands.

The Hilton Cancun Golf Resort & Spa will reopen May 1. One of the properties most damaged by last year's Hurricane Wilma, the resort has undergone a $40 million renovation that essentially created a new hotel. The beach at the 426-room property has been widened, and the 30,000 square feet of meeting space has been rebuilt. The 18-hole golf course, the only one in Cancun's hotel zone, also has received a makeover.

Opening in Las Vegas on May 1 is the first phase of The Signature at MGM Grand, a hotel within the MGM Grand that adds 576 suites for a new total of 5,610 rooms. Amenities include separate check-in and a fitness center with a gym and several outdoor pools. Phases II (to open in December) and III (May 2007) of the project each will add a hotel tower with 576 suites, for a combined guest room total of 6,762. The Signature buildings have no meeting space of their own; the MGM Grand has 501,000 square feet.

Cendant Corp. on Monday announced it would explore a possible sale of its Travel Distribution Services unit, comprising brands such as the online travel site Orbitz, Galileo (the global distribution system), Gullivers Travel Associates (a travel wholesaler) and CheapTickets.com. Recently, Cendant announced its intention to spin off its travel division to shareholders by October, but the possibility of a sale that reportedly could generate $4 billion for Cendant has superseded that plan.

An InterContinental hotel, residence and office tower is coming to Nashville. Construction is expected to start in late summer, and the 285-room hotel will open in 2009. InterContinental Hotels & Resorts signed a 20-year deal with local real estate developer Alex S. Palmer & Co. to manage the property, which will include 18,000 square feet of meeting space, a spa and fitness center, restaurants, and a lounge.

The American Collegiate Conference Education Directors - International and the International Association of Association Management Companies have joined the Convention Industry Council, bringing the total number of CIC member organizations to 32. The 1,500-member ACCED-I assists those who plan meetings at colleges in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. IAAMC's 143 members provide management services to 2,000 associations throughout the world.

The Pan Pacific Hotel in San Francisco has been rebranded as the JW Marriott Hotel San Francisco. The 338-room hotel will be given a multimillion-dollar renovation over the next two years to bring it up to brand standards. The property offers 14,000 square feet of meeting space.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, owner of Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, announced on Tuesday that it will partner with MGM Mirage to develop Foxwood's $700 million expansion, which broke ground last November. The nation also announced the new 825-room hotel tower an MGM Grand, will be managed by MGM.