February 11, 2004

Delta Air Lines last week began offering negotiated and zone fares through its website, Delta.com. The new feature allows meeting planners to create a secure link from their organization's intranet to Delta's Exclusive Discount Program. Attendees who click on the link can then choose from a menu of tickets including negotiated, zone and web fares. According to project manager in business development Debbie Smyer, a major advantage of the free service is that planners can access detailed reports showing ticket purchases as well as how much attendees have saved by using negotiated fares.


Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming Corp. is absorbing Coast Casinos Inc. in a $1.3 billion deal, with Coast Casinos becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Boyd but keeping its name. Boyd takes on Coast's $460 million debt and will now own a total of 18 hotel-casinos and casinos, including the recently acquired Harrah's Shreveport (La.), which will be renamed later this year. Coast Casinos breaks ground late spring on the South Coast Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.


Wyndham International, which last week sold off six nonstrategic asset properties, has announced the sale of three more. The 224-room Holiday Inn San Francisco has been sold to Lotus Hospitality Inc.; the 128-room Radisson Hotel In Akron, Ohio, has been sold to Akron Hospitality Corp., while the 266-room Doubletree Hotel in Miami Lakes, Fla., has been sold to Garber Hotel Investments, LLC. The sale brings the number of Wyndham properties sold, since the company began pairing down its portfolio in 1999, to 129. The company says it will continue to look for buyers for its remaining 24 nonstrategic hotel properties. The $1.8 billion raised so far from the sales has been used by Wyndham to pay down debt.


Newark, N.J., officials unveiled a revised plan on Monday to create a Downtown Core Redevelopment District near Newark Penn Station. The plan includes an 18,000-seat arena (and a letter of intent from the NHL's New Jersey Devils to play there), a 300-room nationally branded hotel, and 500,000 square feet of retail and entertainment space. Most of the funding is already in place, and a 2007 opening of the arena is expected. The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority does not plan to close the 20,000-seat Continental Airlines Arena, even though it is losing both the Devils and the NBA's New Jersey Nets. Instead, the Continental Airlines Arena will focus more on its lucrative concerts and family programs.


Hyatt International will take over management of London's Churchill Hotel from InterContinental Hotels on May 1. The 445-room hotel, on Portman Square near Marble Arch, will be reflagged the Churchill Hyatt Regency London and will undergo an 18-month renovation.


Kerzner International Ltd. has brought their One&Only brand of luxury resorts to the Americas with the rebranding of Los Cabos' Palmilla following a $90 million refurbishment. The property now offers 57 more guest rooms (bringing the room-count to 172), more than 5,000 square feet of meeting space and a new Charlie Trotter restaurant.


Last Wednesday, a joint venture between the Tishman Hotel Corp. and the Puerto Rico Hotel Development Corp. bought the 240-room Wyndham Old San Juan, the historic district's only branded hotel. By late fall, after an infusion of $7 million, the property will be converted to a Sheraton, to be managed by Tishman. Renovations will improve guest rooms, the casino and the restaurant, and will bring the amount of meeting space from 7,300 to 11,300 square feet.