June 01, 2005

Jim Schroer has been named president and CEO of Carlson Marketing Group, the incentive company based in Minneapolis. Schroer, who replaces Jim Ryan, most recently served as executive vice president for global sales, marketing and service at DaimlerChrysler. He starts June 6.

Members of the International Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus will receive ballots today to vote on the organization's proposed new name, Destination Marketing Association International. One ballot was sent per member organization; the CVB's chief executive is the only authorized ballot signatory. All ballots must be returned to IACVB by July 1. A two-thirds majority of all ballots received is required for passage.

The 750-room L'Auberge du Lac Hotel & Casino opened last week in Lake Charles, La. Amenities at the $365 million, 26-story resort include a 26,000-square-foot events center, featuring a 14,000-square-foot ballroom divisible into six meeting rooms, and a Tom Fazio-designed, 18-hole golf course.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company finally confirmed longstanding rumors it will open its first hotel in Russia in mid-2006. The 332-room Moscow property will be close to the Kremlin, Red Square and St. Basil's Cathedral. On the former site of the city's Intourist Hotel, which was knocked down in 2002, the 11-story Ritz-Carlton, Moscow will feature Imperial Russian-style architecture, two floors of executive rooms, two restaurants, a 7,000-square-foot ballroom and approximately 13,500 square feet of meeting and function space.

The Los Angeles Grand Avenue Authority approved a $1.8 billion development plan last week, expected to bring 400,000 square feet of retail and a 275-room boutique hotel to L.A.'s downtown. Construction on the project, which also aims to link major landmarks such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall and City Hall with public spaces, parks and roadways, is set to begin as early as December 2006, pending approval from the Community Redevelopment Agency, Los Angeles City Council and Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

Orbitz has unveiled a new group booking function for customers needing five rooms or more. The new function, powered by booking engine Group Travel Planet, allows customers to book groups at more than 10,000 online properties by clicking on the "Needs 5 Rooms or More" link. In addition, customers can assign individual names to each room, add or drop rooms and e-mail a group itinerary. For those who need to speak to an agent, a 24-hour hotline is devoted to group bookings.