May 26, 2004

Rossi Ralenkotter, executive vice president of the Las Vegas Convention & Visitor's Authority, has been named the new president and CEO, beginning July 2. His promotion was quickly announced following this month's resignation of Manny Cortez, president & CEO of the LVCVA since 1991, who will retire on that date.

Just two years into a three-year contract, Lisa Haller has resigned as the chief executive of the Greater Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau. During Haller's time at the GCCVB helm, Cincinnati's convention business and hotel room occupancy rate sharply declined, in part due to a boycott of the city stemming from a racially charged police shooting and subsequent civil disturbance in April 2001. "I am proud of the accomplishments the CVB has made in the last two years," Haller said. "Working together, we have advanced Cincinnati as a sought-after convention and meetings destination." Until Haller's contract expires in May 2005, she will continue to receive her annual pay of $170,000 as severance. Alan Welsh, a Proctor & Gamble executive, will serve as temporary CEO until a new president and CEO can be found.

On Monday, Chicago civic leaders broke ground on an $850 million expansion of McCormick Place. The new McCormick Place West Building, slated to open in 2008, will feature 470,000 square feet of exhibition space, 250,000 square feet of meeting room space (divided among 60 meeting rooms) and a 100,000-square-foot ballroom. "The demand for new space underscores the rationale behind the new building, and we've worked very closely with meeting planners and exhibition professionals to design an innovative building," said Leticia Peralta Davis, CEO of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which runs McCormick Place.

Hilton Hotels Group has brought its U.S. brand standardization effort to Mexico. The chain's Mexican properties, including Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn and full-service Hilton resorts, will carry the same amenity and service standards of its stateside counterparts. The initiative was announced last week, at the first cluster meeting of all Mexico general managers, who will convene regularly with American cluster director Janet Chiu to ensure the project's success.

Flights at France's Charles de Gaulle Airport are experiencing no delays in the wake of Sunday's roof collapse at terminal 2E, according to the French Government Tourist Office. Airlines that were affected - Air France and its SkyTeam partners Delta Air Lines, Aeromexico, CSA Czech Airlines and Korean Air - have been moved to the facility's other five terminals.

Ian Schrager announced this week that his company, Schrager Hotels, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this fall, has changed its name back to Morgans Hotel Group LLC, effective immediately.

Opening Tuesday is the 196-room JW Marriott Denver at Cherry Creek. The hotel, with event space for up to 300, is near the Cherry Creek Shopping Center and the acclaimed Tattered Cover book store. The rooms all have high-speed Internet access, 27-inch flat-screen TVs and portable phones.