On Feb. 23, the members of the Center for Exhibition Industry
Research approved a partial merger with the International
Association for Exhibition Management. Beginning today, IAEM will
provide administrative support and a "defined membership
constituency" for CEIR, while the latter group makes its research
available to IAEM and its membership. "Research is paramount to
providing legitimate data that supports the case for the exhibition
and events industry," said Sandy Angus, IAEM's chairman. "As the
pressure on marketing budgets increases, it is incumbent upon is to
provide the data to support the case for participating in
exhibitions. CEIR has been doing that for 28 years, and now, with
our support, CEIR will be able to greatly expand that effort."
On Feb. 24, InterContinental Hotels Group announced the signing
of four management contracts with Shanghai Greenland Group,
including a deal to run the InterContinental Nanjing, in China,
which reportedly will be the world's tallest hotel upon opening in
2010. Other properties involved in the deal include a Holiday Inn
in Xi'an and two Express by Holiday Inn properties in Shanghai.
Together, these four hotels comprise more than 1,400 rooms.
New Orleans has good reason besides Mardi Gras to celebrate: The
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on Feb. 20 concluded its first
convention since Hurricane Katrina. The Helen Brett Gift &
Jewelry Show attracted approximately 500 booths and 15,000
attendees. Exhibit halls D, E and F are being used now; after June,
eight of the center's 12 halls will be available, and the entire
venue will be ready by November. The property is due to begin
construction on its Phase IV expansion later this year. The
project, to be finished in 2009, will add an extra 524,000 square
feet of exhibit space in two halls, 61 meeting rooms and a
A $525 million expansion of the 2,010-room Borgata was announced
last week. Set for completion in summer 2007, the project will add
800 new rooms in a separate hotel tower called The Water Club,
which also will have a two-story, 36,000-square-foot spa and 18,000
square feet of meeting space, among other amenities.
The Society of Incentive & Travel Executives will hold its
first SITE Academy for Young Leaders in Vail, Colo., June 15-18.
The academy is for industry professionals under the age of 35
and/or with fewer than five years of experience in incentives.
Destination Marketing Association International is considering
setting up a European office. The office would be based in Brussels
and, according to a spokesperson for DMAI, would be up and running
within a year. The effort is part of the organization's commitment
to expand internationally and serve international members in a more
effective and efficient way.
Just when you thought new hotel companies had reached saturation
point, another one enters the market. Newly founded BentleyForbes
Hospitality Group, a division of Los Angeles-based BentleyForbes, a
national commercial real estate company headed by former
InterContinental Hotel Group vice president Chris Pfohl, is looking
to purchase and manage four- and five-star resort and hotel
properties in major markets. And, to get it started, the parent
company has given it $750 million in seed money.
Last week, Tourism Australia, the governmental department
responsible for tourism marketing, launched a new campaign --
"Where the bloody hell are you?" -- the result of US$4.6 million
and 18 months of focus group research. "This exciting new campaign
provides a compelling and uniquely Australian invitation to the
world that celebrates our personality, our lifestyle and our
place," said Scott Morrison, managing director of Tourism
Australia, in a statement. "It has been carefully designed to cut
through the clutter and motivate international tourists to stop
putting it off and visit Australia now."
The 137-room Loews Beverly Hills Hotel has been sold. According
to a spokesperson for Loews Hotels, the chain will continue to
manage the hotel in the short term, while the new owner, Morning
View Hotels, decides whether to stick with Loews or to rebrand.