29 July 2015 Do your guests sleep so well that they want to take the bed home with them? Savouring the memories of a wonderful stay and continuing a blissful night’s sleep has led to The Langham, Auckland offering a range of products, including its exclusive beds, through it Flavours of Langham store. The idea has been hugely successful with on average a guest buying a bed a week! Two years ago The Langham, Auckland opened Flavours of Langham, a gift shop designed to meet requests from guests wanting to purchase products available in the rooms at the five star hotel. While other items are available to provide a memento, the idea of being able to buy a bed identical to the one you’ve just had the best sleep in is a very new concept. “Generally speaking, guests are delighted when they find out they can purchase the beds. They often tell us it’s one of the best sleeps they’ve ever had. We also sell The Langham bedding including pillows, pillow cases, sheets, duvet covers and feather bed toppers. We can deliver these to the bedding company and they will deliver the items with the bed,” said a spokesperson for The Langham Auckland. “The Langham Blissful Bed has been developed to offer the most comfortable, refreshing and indulgent sleep. A bedding specification is in place to ensure consistency in standards and quality. Whichever Langham hotel guests choose, they will experience the same comfort of the Blissful Bed and can be assured of a perfect night’s sleep.” In each guest room is a discreet flyer inviting guests to continue their blissful sleep at home. There are flyers in Flavours of Langham and staff will also let guests know they can purchase the bed if they enquire. Once the guest has decided on a bed - various sizes are available - it is then simply a case of ordering through the bedding company and having it delivered to the guest anywhere in New Zealand. It usually takes about two weeks. For the guest it is a wonderful way to continue the comfort and luxury of their stay at The Langham. The only question remaining is…’how do you get out of bed when it is so blissful?’
Quest Serviced Apartments to open new property in Taupo
27 July 2015 Quest Serviced Apartments will add a new property to its New Zealand portfolio, with the opening of Quest Taupo later this month. The new purpose-built property will open on 31st July, taking the number of properties the group operates in New Zealand to 36. With 38 apartments, Quest Taupo comprises a mixed configuration of studio, one, two and three-bedroom apartments. Each serviced apartment has a fully equipped kitchenette, laundry facilities and comfortable living and dining areas. The property has the added luxury of an outdoor heated pool and private spa pool. Other amenities include Quest’s pantry shopping service, high-speed internet access, chargeback facilities with local restaurants, valet dry cleaning and secure onsite car parking. Located on Kaimanawa Street, the property is just a 750 metre walk to Taupo’s main centre. Guests can also enjoy the best Taupo has to offer, from the two international golf courses to world-class trout fishing. Or they can venture further afield to the ski slopes of Mt Ruapehu. Quest Serviced Apartments New Zealand CEO Stephen Mansfield says the new property will enhance Taupo’s accommodation offering. Quest Taupo will be managed by Franchise Directors, Shanmu Sundram, and her sister, Hema. “Taupo has a thriving tourism sector which attracts people year-round to the fishing, skiing and other outdoor leisure pursuits on offer in this stunning part of the country,” Shanmu says. “The town also attracts corporate travellers who attend conferences and other business. We are looking forward to welcoming guests to Quest Taupo.” Quest Taupo is the second of three new properties the serviced apartment operator is opening in New Zealand this year. Quest Nelson opened its doors in June and Quest Whangarei is scheduled to open in September. Bookings for Quest Taupo can be made on email@example.com or via central reservations on 07 929 8579.
A resounding ‘no’ to tourist tax – MANZ
23 July 2015 The accommodation industry will respond with a resounding ‘no’ to the idea of a tourist tax floated by Local Government New Zealand, says the Motel Association of New Zealand (MANZ). The concept of heaping an additional tax on to one of the mainstays of the economy at a time when the outlook is shaky is nothing short of madness, and a classic example of how little understanding Councils have of the real world, MANZ Chief Executive Michael Baines says. “The very idea of a tourist tax should be shot down straight away. It’s simply another move out of the Council’s ‘tax and spend’ manual and hard-working businesses should not have their future placed in jeopardy simply because most Councils lack the will or the capability to balance their own books,” Mr Baines says. Any private sector company facing lean times will focus on operating as efficiently as possible to get through. And yet time and again we see Councils behaving like the monopolies they are and look to gouge businesses and individuals through higher fees and rates which they have no choice but to pay. “I would fully endorse the comments of Local Government Minister Paula Bennett who said councils need to look at getting best use for ratepayer dollars before they start looking at revenue gathering from other sources,” Mr Baines says. “Someone needs to get the message through to Councils that they cannot continue to heap costs upon businesses or they will start to fold, and then where will they get income from?” Tourism is one of New Zealand’s biggest foreign income earners. At a time of low dairy prices it is crucial that tourism is supported in order to maintain the country’s economic performance. “I hear Councils say they want to encourage economic development. If they were serious about this they would look to cut costs rather than forever seeking ways to increase them, letting businesses focus on growth and jobs rather than navigate the never-ending rolls of red tape,” Mr Baines concludes.
AirBnB another example of a crooked playing field – MANZ
MANZ Chief Executive Michael Baines
21 July 2015 The arrival of AirBnB in New Zealand is another example of a crooked playing field in which unregulated and untaxed accommodation providers are threatening our tourism industry, says the Motel Association of New Zealand (MANZ). Commercial accommodation is required to be built to a certain standard to ensure the safety of the travelling public and allowing the proliferation of an unregulated providers endangers the whole tourism sector, MANZ Chief Executive Michael Baines says. “Every tourist within New Zealand needs a place to stay. All it would take would be one or two disasters as a result of these cowboy accommodation providers and our reputation as a safe, high quality tourism destination will be in jeopardy,” Mr Baines says. “As an industry we welcome competition. It keeps us sharp and ensures that we provide a quality product which meets the market demand.” “But we assume that all those competing against us are playing by the same rules. If, and when, AirBnB properties are complying by the same rules and costs as the commercial properties, then bring it on,” Mr Baines says. With AirBnB joining the range of other online home booking systems and bed and breakfasts this problem of the uneven playing field needs to be addressed. “The worst case scenario is that we start to see legitimate accommodation providers forced out of business by the likes of AirBnB properties which pay no tax and have no compliance costs.” “If this happens then we will see severe damage to our tourism sector – damage that may not easily be undone,” Mr Baines says.
Top reward for New Zealand's best motel host
21 July 2015 AA Traveller is seeking the best New Zealand motel hosts for the 2015 AA Supreme Host of the Year award. If you and your team go the extra mile to ensure guests leave having enjoyed a memorable experience, AA Traveller wants to hear from you. The winning host will be rewarded with the AA Supreme Host of the Year award and $2000 worth of AA Traveller advertising. The winner and two finalists will also feature in the 2016 AA Traveller Accommodation Guide. Great Kiwi hospitality is an essential ingredient to make guests feel welcome during their stay and can provide guests with everlasting memories. There is no financial cost involved in providing great hospitality, yet it can be an extremely effective advertising tool leading to positive word-of-mouth recommendations and traveller reviews. Exceptional hospitality also reflects positively on the motel industry and New Zealand as a whole, which can only be good for business. If providing your guests with great hospitality is important for you and your team, and your guests are continually acknowledging this in their feedback and reviews, AA Traveller wants to hear from you. How can I enter? It’s quick and easy. Justvisit the website and enter your name, the name of your property and your contact details. AA Traveller will do the rest! If you make the shortlist, AA Traveller will be in touch with you for further information. Who is eligible? Motel owners and managers who are fully-paid MANZ (Motel Association of New Zealand) members are eligible to enter. MANZ members are not required to be an AA advertiser. Why enter? Exceptional hospitality is something to be proud of, and it is appreciated and promoted by guests far and wide. If you’ve got it, why not flaunt it and win some fantastic prizes at the same time. What does the winner and finalists win? The AA Supreme Host of the Year winner will take home a $2000 AA Traveller advertising credit and the AA Supreme Host of the Year trophy. The winner will also have access to the winner’s badge for use in advertising materials and on their website. Finalists will have use of the finalist badge for marketing materials and website. The winner and finalists will feature in the AA Supreme Host of the Year award advertisement in the 2016 Accommodation Guide. How will the winner be selected? AA Traveller staff will scrutinise the entries and consider a range of online traveller reviews from the last 12 months (Been There, TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Booking.com) to select the top 20 properties. MANZ will then review the top 20 to ensure all entries are eligible. The top 20 properties will be notified and asked to submit further information. The top 10 will then be selected by AA Traveller. A judging panel (consisting of AA senior management and other industry representatives) will then critique online reviews from the last 12 months and the submitted entry information before selecting the three finalists and an overall winner.
UK leads way in Europe with new hotel construction
21 July 2015 While some hotel chains are selling off their properties in favour of managing rather than owning, it seems there is a new global wave of hotel construction with the UK leading the way in Europe. Elliott Mest of Hotel Management says a just released report has the UK in the midst of a hotel building boom with 130,652 currently under contract although this figure is down on previous years. According to the June 2015 STR Global Construction Pipeline Report, this represents a 10.2-percent decrease in rooms under contract compared to June 2014, and a 7.6-percent year-over-year decrease in rooms under construction. The UK currently has 10,425 rooms under construction in 72 hotels. Meanwhile three other countries in Europe reported more than 5,000 rooms under construction: Turkey (8,906 rooms in 51 hotels); Russia (8,554 rooms in 45 hotels); and Germany (6,827 rooms in 41 hotels). However, in global terms the Middle East and Africa take out the top positions in hotel construction. STR's report found a 17 percent increase in rooms in the region, consisting of 659 hotels, or 168,361 rooms under contract. Dubai leads the market with 17,358 rooms under construction in 68 hotels, though Makkah in Saudi Arabia is close behind with 14,882 rooms in nine hotels. Other major markets include Riyadh, which reported 6,551 rooms under construction in 26 hotels, and Doha in Qatar, which is building 6,119 rooms in 25 hotels.
TFE Hotels to open apartment hotel in Britomart
15 July 2015 Mid-October 2015 is set as the opening date for the first Adina Apartment Hotel to open in New Zealand, situated at Britomart in Auckland and overlooking Queen’s Wharf and the harbour. Adina Apartment Hotel, TFE Hotels’ newest New Zealand property, will offer 128 stylish and modern apartments, located just a short stroll from the waterfront. Contemporary in design; the rooms will be appointed with fully-equipped kitchens, comfortable living space and laundries, with a real focus on comfort and lifestyle, including an on-site gym and undercover parking. The hotel will also operate a lobby bar and café, offering a range of locally sourced food and wine where guests can dine, relax and feel at home. Meeting facilities will include two conference rooms, one catering to 45 people theatre style and the other a boardroom for 12, providing guests with complimentary WiFi and custom food and drink selections. CEO of TFE Hotels, Rachel Argaman says: “We’re so excited to be bringing our first Adina Apartment Hotel property to New Zealand. The thriving Auckland market is a perfect fit for our premium style apartments, as a leading tourism and events destination with wide corporate and leisure appeal. Adina Apartment Hotels offer the modern explorer spacious apartment-living with the added benefit of hotel services, perfect for business travellers, families and longer stays. Whether guests want to stay a night, weekend, or longer, they’ll be able to comfortably make themselves at home at Adina.” TFE Hotels and the Adina Apartment Hotel brand were identified as the ideal candidate to operate the development by Dean Humphries and the Colliers International Hotel team. This hotel opens to a successful market as the New Zealand Tourism Industry continues to grow, with a recorded increase of seven per cent more visitors to New Zealand since April 2014.* “We’re seeing a rising trend of bookings for apartment-style accommodation which has fuelled the growth of Adina Apartment Hotels with another 7 hotels announced to date in the TFE Hotels pipeline. Our commitment to great locations, comfortable apartment living and facilities that are both functional and complement our guests’ lifestyle, supports our excellent reputation worldwide and continues to deliver on our philosophy of apartment space, hotel service and Adina style.” “In the lead up to the launch, we will be looking to recruit first class hoteliers in a range of roles and are excited to welcome more skilled individuals into the TFE Hotels team as well as providing new locations and career opportunities for promising internal candidates,” says Rachel. Adina Apartment Hotel Auckland joins the TFE Hotels’ company portfolio of 70 hotels across Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Currently, Adina Apartment Hotels are located Australia-wide and in European cities including Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Budapest and Copenhagen. TFE Hotels’ currently operates 3 hotels in New Zealand including Rendezvous Hotel Auckland, Travelodge Wellington and Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch. For more information, visit: www.TFEhotels.com
19th Hole replaces hotel parking lot
15 July 2015 USA: It seems in Portland, Oregon, food, fun and beverages out-rank cars at Hotel deluxe with the conversion of its parking lot into a mini-golf pop-up known as the 19th Hole. It’s all about attracting more business with an onsite food cart offering a snacks menu, hand-held food such as sliders and tacos, and an extensive selection of canned craft beer, ciders and canned wine for patrons over 21. Add to that the picnic tables and you have a quintessential summertime outing, in Portland at least.
Former social housing building to be converted into boutique hotel
15 July 2015 Anna Louise Inn in Cincinnati, Ohio, formerly an 85-room home established in 1909 to offer affordable housing for single women, has received approval to be transformed into a boutique hotel and restaurant. Eagle Realty Group, the real estate arm of Western & Southern Financial Group, and hotel operator Winegardner & Hammons Inc. have received approval from the Historic Conservation Board for their plan to turn the former Anna Louise Inn and the Earl Building into a boutique hotel and restaurant next to downtown Cincinnati's Lytle Park. Part of the plan includes transferring public roads into private driveways that it will manage. Eagle Realty purchased the more than 79,000-square-foot property at the beginning of July for $4 million. - Tom Demeropolis bizjournals.com
Luxury flagship hotel sells for $938m to investor group
15 July 2015 InterContinental Hotels Group aims to make a $700m pre-tax profit through the sale of its 503-room flagship hotel in Hong Kong. The hotel overlooks Victoria Harbour and has a five-star rating. The buyers are a consortium of investors led by Gaw Capital Partners, a Hong Kong-based private equity house that focuses on property investments. They plan to refurbish the property. The sale follows IHG’s sale of Le Grand in Paris last December and almost 200 hotels sold by the group in the past 12 years as it moves away from owning the properties to managing hotels. IHG also owns the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza chains.
Is Cuba ready for a hospitality boom?
6 July 2015 There is much talk of what will happen if the United States and Cuba agree to reopen embassies in each other’s countries. And while conducting business in Cuba has many restrictions and challenges, many believe Cuba will become a popular tourist destination with hotel chains around the world already eyeing up opportunities. In April this year, hotel competitor, Airbnb announced that it would list rooms in Cuba on its database for licensed travellers. Airbnb expected "significant demand" for Cuban accommodations from the U.S. Cuba, with its stunning beaches and rustic retro charm is certainly going to be ‘the place’ to attract tourism but with poor roading, inefficient sewerage systems, Government restrictions on trading with international companies, very limited telecommunications and dealing with a dual currency system, any potential tourist accommodation provider will have to work very hard to establish itself. On a positive note though, Cuba is seeing a change in its own culture brought about by a new generation who want to live like others in the western world. While there are Government-owned restaurants, there is now growth in the private sector which is generally challenging the standards of hospitality.
Mexican invasion of hotel scene in US
2 July 2015 Grupo Posadas, Mexico’s large luxury hotel chain plans to open 10 new hotels in the Unites States over the next five years to meet demands of the growing Hispanic population and Latin travelers in general.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the plan involves Grupo Posadas teaming up with Bighorn Capital Inc., a Las Vegas-based private-equity firm that is will pay $450 million to build, acquire or convert properties to Posadas hotels. The Mexico City-based hospitality company owns or operates 136 hotels with more than 21,000 rooms, all in Mexico, and seven brands. The expansion will introduce to the U.S. its high-end boutique brand called Live Aqua, which will feature the “flavors, colors and textiles” of Mexico, says Javier Barrera, Posadas’ chief franchise officer. The first Live Aqua hotel is expected to open with 300 rooms by 2017 in Chicago’s West Loop, as part of an 82-story tower slated to break ground this summer.
More TripAdvisor success for New Zealand motels
1 July 2015 Several New Zealand motels have been honoured in the 2015 TripAdvisor Excellence Awards.
BK’s Rotorua Motor Lodge and the Aalton Motel in Christchurch have been admitted to the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame. The Aalton Motel has been consecutively been awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence since the awards began in 2010; while the Celtic Motel in Foxton has received its second TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. TripAdvisor launched its Certificates of Excellence awards in 2010 to acknowledge the amount of great reviews top performing hospitality businesses received. Winners come from a variety of establishments from one-room bed and breakfast operators to 600-room hotels, local cafes to fine dining restaurants.
Kaikoura now a Choice Hotel location
1 July 2015 Quality Suites Kaikoura is the latest accommodation provider to join Choice Hotels Australasia, one of Australasia’s largest hotel franchisors.
Based in the seaside town of Kaikoura, the addition of Quality Suites Kaikoura will take its New Zealand offering to 35 properties, represented under the Econo Lodge, Comfort, Quality and Clarion hotel brands.
Newly refurbished and offering exceptional views of the township, mountains and ocean, the 4-star Quality Suites Kaikoura boasts 20 rooms and is located a short stroll from the beach and Kaikoura township.
Trent Fraser, CEO of Choice Hotels Australasia, is delighted to welcome the Kaikoura property to the fold.
”Having experienced the property first-hand, I know our guests will be suitably impressed by the property’s spacious, comfortable rooms, luxury spa showers, complimentary WIFI and central location.
“It’s the perfect pit stop for those wanting to experience a picturesque New Zealand town, chow down on some of the freshest whitebait fritters and take in the breathtaking whale-watching the area is famous for,” Fraser says.
Choice Hotels Australasia has more than 270 hotels across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, with more than 11,000 rooms. Choice Hotels Australasia is a 100 per cent owned subsidiary of Choice Hotels International, a publicly listed (NYSE: CHH) company in the United States with more than 6,300 hotels and 500,000 rooms in more than 35 countries and territories.
Airport hotels making the most of unique business opportunities
1 July 2015 It’s logical that airport hotels fit that market of catering for those travelling by air but recent information from the US has shown they fill an essential role in dealing with the unexpected.
According to Caryn Eve Murray writing for Hotel Interactive, when a shooting took place at Los Angeles International Airport in November 2013 the airport hotels were flat out providing support for the many stranded and distressed travellers. And not only were guest rooms busy but also the bars, lobby and restaurants.
"The Embassy Suites LAX North's large atrium lobby, restaurant and bar quickly filled up with passengers looking for a place to wait or a room to reserve," the hotel's general manager, Michael D'Amodio, recalled recently. "We set up power strips in the lobby so passengers could charge their electronics in order to contact family, check on flights. Our shuttle buses began to pick up passengers carrying luggage or those individuals who couldn't walk, and brought them to our hotel or other hotels in the area that had rooms available."
The staff’s actions weren't just logistical in nature; there were creature comforts to be offered too.
"Our food and beverage team responded to the unexpected rush and stayed past their shifts in the restaurant," D’Amodio said. "We quickly made sandwiches and snack items for those who just wanted a grab-and-go meal. Additionally, beverage sales were very good that day, as stranded passengers bonded over a drink," such as a deadly assailant in a terminal, turn up, airport hotel management rises to new levels of response. But even in its everyday business with the airport, when things are less likely to run in crisis mode, an airport hotel is always aware that beyond the threshold of comings and goings at the front desk, there is a world of arrivals and departures on the runways just beyond. And every movement there has a ripple effect at the hotel, good or bad.
While this was an extreme situation for the airport hotels to deal with, there are a number of factors that drive business for airport hotels other than general travel traffic.
Murray says it’s important for airport hotels to build strong relationships with airlines so that full advantage can be taken with mutual benefits such as offering flight crew discounts, displaying flight schedule updates in the lobby for travellers, free transport to and from the airport and even offering flight and accommodation packages.
But then Murray takes the situation to the next level saying that the relationship between airlines and hotel airports means in the event of an incident at the airport, including bad weather delays, the airline is in a position to call on hotels to assist passengers.
At the same time hotels have emergency strategies and training in place to deal with natural and unnatural disasters therefore airport hotels could easily transform into a triage centre if needed due to a downed plane for example.
Generally speaking though, Murray says airport hotels tend to have high occupancy rates anyway because they take advantage of their location and market their products, such as conferencing facilities.