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Why do companies give up on customer service as they grow?

Everyone experiences second-rate service from a trustworthy brand at some point. Some recent examples of large brands plagued with a reputation for poor service include wireless service providers, airlines, auto manufacturers and Internet service providers. One need only look at Twitter feeds to see the angst that their customers are feeling. In the airline industry, United Airlines seems to be getting the brunt of customer complaints and media coverage as of late due to the infamous dragging of a passenger from one of their flights that went viral. Now, they are once again in crisis management mode because a United employee tried to wrestle an 18th-century violin away from a passenger who wanted to carry on the rare and valuable violin but was being forced to check it in.

Apart from the odd exception, top brands are not able to retain their status as market leaders as long as they used to. As companies grow, they try their best to ensure that service standards are maintained at the highest levels possible. However, in the long run, a decline in quality of either products or customer service is one of the greatest risks. There are many reasons for this degradation. When companies shift more focus on cost savings, they may consider outsourcing offshore to cut costs. Also, as hospitality management evolves, companies that develop software may have employees that are not up to speed on the latest variations made to the software. This all but ensures they will short on helping their clients with technical issues. Large companies can also become constrained by the fragmented departments and processes they put in place to streamline operations, but these processes can backfire and actually slow down responsiveness. In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, McKinsey claimed that disloyalty is caused by a lack of understanding of the various touch points rather than by customer dissatisfaction with a single interaction.

It takes a long time to steer a big ship

In the hotel technology industry, some big companies have experienced declines in service because they have not been able to adapt to change quickly enough. Their infrastructure is aging quickly. We live in a world of instant gratification. For a software company in the hospitality space, the delivery of reliable, knowledgeable service and support is paramount to building a successful business. Software that runs a hotel or connects a hotel to its guest needs to be working at all times. When something does occur that inhibits the software from performing correctly, there can be no delays in a resolution to the issue. Smaller hotel technology brands can be more agile, modern and responsive.

Domain expertise makes all the difference

The people on the front lines of hotel software service and support not only need to have exceptional knowledge of the software in varied configurations, but they also need be specialists on how the hotel business works. They need to be able to identify if the issue is of an operational nature or related to the technology itself. Without an adequate background and understanding of the complexities of our industry – service, and support can quickly fall apart. One survey discussing customer dissatisfaction states that a whopping 91% of its respondents complained about customer service because they had to contact the same company several times before their problem was resolved. Regardless of industry, exceeding customer expectations requires the right mix of personal service, quality interactions, and first-call resolution.

It is time that customer service returned to its roots

With customer service often being a key differentiator, companies cannot settle for declining service levels, especially in the hotel industry as high touch service is the hallmark of our business. The first step for hotel technology providers to stay on track is to determine what constitutes superior customer service, and learn how to deliver it. The next step is to be aware of industry trends and new technologies that emerge as they impact not only on the industry, but they also impact software with issues like new integration requirements, compliance and more. Finally, companies should always plan for success rather than planning for failure. If you plan for success, you will be able to ramp up your support services to address the growth of your company and thus be able to meet the needs of your customers.

No matter how big or small our companies may be, as software providers, we are part of the service value chain right down to each and every guest. By providing excellent service to hotels – we enable them to provide exceptional service to their guests. Hotel software companies need to maintain the highest levels of support to ensure that their technology does not negatively impact hotel operations or their ability to exceed guest expectations.

Source: https://www.hospitalitynet.org/opinion/4083250.html

Level Up(grade): W Hotels Debuts Hotel Industry’s First-Ever Video Game To Celebrate The Opening Of W Bellevue

To power up the forthcoming opening of W Bellevue, W Hotels Worldwide, part of Marriott International (NASDAQ: MAR), is taking the hotel guest experience to the next level – literally. With the brand’s newest hotel set in the heart of one of the country’s renowned tech hubs, W is excited to press play on the hotel industry’s first ever video game, Belle the Bear, on June 15th. W fans and tech-heads alike can play their way to W Bellevue virtually on opening day, with real-life rewards for top scorers in the United States.

Gamers, guests and W fans can explore the natural beauty and tech-centric city of Bellevue, Washington, with the Frogger-style Belle the Bear adventure game. Help Belle traverse landscapes, cityscapes, inside W Bellevue. Along her journey, Belle finds herself immersed in a robotic world, encountering drones and robots, all while avoiding (and occasionally embracing) cheeky roadblocks with skillful timing. Hit a cannabis leaf? Belle will turn into a gummy bear. One too many cocktails collected? Belle’s commands become reversed.

And what’s a video game without some friendly competition? To celebrate the debut of Belle the Bear, gamers can try their luck and compete for a variety of prizes from June 15th through July 15th, 2017. The five highest scorers in the United States will win prizes, with the top scorer receiving a complimentary three-night stay in the Extreme WOW Suite at W Bellevue, roundtrip airfare for two, dinner for two at The Lakehouse, a $500 shopping spree to The Bellevue Collection, VIP tour and private wine tasting for two at Guardian Cellars and a private 75-minute seaplane tour of Western Washington, including stunning views of Lake Washington and Mount Rainier.

“Bellevue is a gamer’s city, so we thought it would be fun to tap into that energy but with a W twist,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “Creating Belle the Bear, a throwback game with an innovative edge, is just another example of how we are constantly looking for new ways to engage with future W fans on their own turf. Plus, it’s a fun way to celebrate the opening of W Bellevue!”

W Bellevue will open its doors to guests on June 15th, touting 220 guest rooms and 25 suites with modern design elements inspired by the Puget Sound’s heritage of lakeside living, such as an oversized fireplace and library of pulp fiction novels. The culinary offerings at The Lakehouse also incorporate local flavor, serving vibrant, farm-inspired craft cooking from James Beard Award-winning Chef Jason Wilson. W Bellevue is the first new-build project from W Hotels to open in the United States in seven years, with many more to come.

To play the game via smartphone, tablet or desktop, visit BelleTheBear.com beginning June 15th. For more information on W Bellevue, visit WBellevue.com, or join the conversation with @WBellevueHotel, @WHotels and #BelleTheBear.

Source: https://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/4083260.html

Four Seasons owner Provenance Land may sell up to 50 per cent stake to global investors

India’s hospitality industry may be one of the heavily taxed sectors in the country, but that has not deterred global investors from looking at key properties in the country.

According to a media report, Brookfield Asset Management and GIC of Singapore are vying to buy 50 per cent stake in Provenance Land that owns Four Seasons hotel and residences in Mumbai.

The deal is likely to value Provenance Land at over Rs 2,000 crore and could see Adarsh Jatia offloading between 26 per cent and 49 per cent stake, said a report in The Times of India.

Provenance Land has been constructing Four Seasons-branded ultra luxury residences at the 4.5-acre property located at Worli.

If the deal fructifies, the funds from the stake sale will be used for the company’s plans to develop branded luxury homes and offices adjoining the Four Seasons hotel, the TOI report said.

There were reports that Provenance was constructing a five-storeyed second tower with 26 luxury residences for outright sale with a price tag ranging from Rs 30 crore to Rs 100 crore, the TOI report added.

According to a recent report by KPMG, India’s hospitality sector is expected to grow at 16.1 percent CAGR to reach Rs 2,796.9 crore in 2022. The sector contributes significantly to indirect tax revenue at the state and central level which includes revenues from VAT, Service Tax, and Luxury Tax etc.

As per the GST Council’s decision all hospitality products above Rs 5,000 has been termed as luxury, drawing flak from the industry. The GST Council said along with rooms, even dining at restaurants at 5-star hotels will invite GST at the rate of 28 per cent.

Experts are of the opinion that a higher GST rate on the hospitality sector could make the country’s tourism products uncompetitive in the region. The industry also fears major events, congresses, conferences, etc. could give a miss to India in coming times.

Source: http://ehotelier.com/global/2017/06/15/provenance-land-may-sell-50-per-cent-stake/

Marriott International combats homelessness among LGBTQ youth through #LoveTravels

In the United States, nearly four in ten American youths experiencing homelessness identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender*, and the number has been rising for the past decade. Marriott International, along with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt actor Tituss Burgess, True Colors Fund, Casa Ruby and social influencers Raymond Braun, Shannon Beveridge and Amber’s Closet, are inviting people everywhere to join the global #LoveTravels movement this week to spread awareness and stand in support of the LGBTQ homeless youth community by raising funds to combat this growing issue.

Marriott is dedicated to helping LGBTQ Homeless Youth

“Marriott created #LoveTravels four years ago to send a clear message that our company, including more than 6,100 properties in 124 countries and territories has a long-standing commitment to welcoming everyone,” said Apoorva Gandhi, Vice President of Multicultural Affairs, Marriott International. “This year, as the #LoveTravels movement grows, we are expanding our commitment to include support for Casa Ruby and True Colors Fund, two organizations dedicated to LGBTQ homeless youth that help ensure safe and reassuring homes and services so they may thrive.”

On Thursday, June 8 and Friday, June 9, ahead of Capital Pride in Washington, D.C., an art installation will rise in Freedom Plaza in support of LGBTQ homeless youth. Expressions of unconditional acceptance and love in the form of paintings, doodles, photographs and hand-written notes created in-person and on Twitter and Instagram tagged #LoveTravels and #MyPride will be brought to life on the collaborative #LoveTravels Mosaic.

How are they making a positive change?

Throughout the two days, celebrities, influencers and local personalities are scheduled to stop by to add their own expressions of love. In addition, seven Marriott properties, including Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront; The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City; Renaissance Sao Paulo Hotel; AC Hotel San Juan; Charlotte Marriott City Center; Moxy New Orleans and Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel & Conference Center, will hold ‘expression sessions’ to invite their guests to create and contribute their own pieces of art to be included in the global #LoveTravels Mosaic.

For every original submission created on site or tagged #LoveTravels and #MyPride on Twitter and Instagram, Marriott will donate to True Colors Fund and Casa Ruby. Working locally, Casa Ruby is the only bilingual multicultural LGBTQ organization providing lifesaving services and safe shelter to many of the most vulnerable transgender residents of Washington D.C. The True Colors Fund is working on a national level to end homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, creating a world in which all young people can be their true selves, and recently created the first ever True Innovation Fellowship, underwritten by Marriott. The fellowship will provide a young person the opportunity to participate in the development of technology solutions that address homelessness among LGBTQ youth.

Marriott unveiled the first glimpse of the #LoveTravels Mosaic in 2016 with contributions from Laverne Cox, Jazz Jennings, Ross Mathews and thousands of LGBTQ supporters from over 90 countries around the world. This year, actor/activist Tituss Burgess is joining the movement as official ambassador.

“As an advocate for the LGBTQ community, I am proud to stand with Marriott International in support of the True Colors Fund, Casa Ruby and everyone fighting to keep kids and young adults in need of help safe and warm,” said actor Tituss Burgess. “And as a member of the LGBTQ community myself, I am humbled and honored to join in the unveiling of the #LoveTravels Mosaic. It warms my heart to see people from around the world participating in such a powerful expression of love.”

Launched in 2014, #LoveTravels brings to life Marriott’s longstanding commitment to ensuring every person is valued and welcomed whenever they enter the doors of its hotels.  It serves as a platform for sharing diverse perspectives on the importance of travel, including those of Jason Collins, Geena Rocero, Tim Howard Angela Simmons, Diane Guerrero and Diego Boneta.  The cornerstone of Marriott’s culture is its ‘put people first’ philosophy coupled with its belief that everyone deserves a welcome.  Just weeks before marriage equality became the law of the land nationwide, #LoveTravels hosted the wedding of George Carrancho and Sean Franklin in Washington, DC’s Capital Pride Parade, with TV personality Ross Mathews as officiant.  The campaign has also raised donations for recent immigrants at the Open Arms Community Center in South Florida.

Want to learn more?

Liquitex, creators of the first water-based acrylic paints will be donating art supplies for the #LoveTravels Mosaic. To learn more or join the conversation, travelers can visit www.Marriott.com/LoveTravels, follow #LoveTravels and @MarriottIntl on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Marriott International’s commitment to social impact and sustainability dates to our founding and our core value to “Serve Our World.” Through volunteerism, strategic partnerships, charitable giving, and lasting program development, we focus our efforts on social and environmental issues that affect our business, our communities, and our planet. We identify these issues as our Purpose Priorities: Protect the Environment, Advance Human Rights and Cultural Understanding, Empower through Opportunity and Build for the Future. In 2016 alone, Marriott provided over $28M in cash and in-kind support to its local communities, as well as over 720K hours of volunteerism. Awards and recognition for efforts over the years include Ethisphere’s Most Ethical Companies List, Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens List, Forbes’ Just 100: Best Corporate Citizens List, the World Travel and Tourism Council’s “Tourism for Tomorrow Award for Sustainability” and a 100% Score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.

Source: http://ehotelier.com/global/2017/06/08/marriott-international-lovetravels/

Dubai leads hospitality sector growth

Dubai is leading the growth in the region’s hospitality industry, with the highest average price per key in Q1 2017 amongst the 21 cites in the Mena region at $446,000, an increase of $4,000 on Q4 2016.

Dubai’s hotel performance is consistently among the best in the world alongside some the key global cities such as New York, Paris, Singapore, Hong Kong and London.

Similarly to Q4 2016 results, three Saudi Arabian cities made the top five highest average prices per key within the study. Jeddah had the highest price per key ($306,000) amongst the Saudi cities, followed by the holy city of Makkah ($302,000) and the capital city of Riyadh ($272,000).

Ras Al Khaimah ($270,000) is the final city within the top five and has established itself as one of the key growth areas for tourism in the Mena region, this despite the prevailing climate whereby most markets are experiencing a drop in performance.

In conclusion, based on a number of markets experiencing further price contraction over the past quarter, the overall level of the index fell by 2 percent versus Q4 2016.

Source: http://ehotelier.com/global/2017/06/09/dubai-leads-hospitality-sector-growth/

5 Hotel marketing tips for better Google search results

While bringing in website traffic certainly is one of Google’s most important functions, it’s not the only way hoteliers can leverage success from the search giant.

Google offers a variety of different services that can help hotel marketers expand their reach, increase online visibility, and ultimately improve their business – and better yet, they’re easy to implement and most won’t cost you a cent.

Below, we take a look at some simple and effective ways hoteliers can boost their brand with Google.

#1: Get listed on Google My Business

Google My Business (previously known as Google Places) is a must-have, free-to-use platform for hoteliers. It combines Google Search, Maps and Google Plus (also known as Google+) to help your hotel connect with potential guests by making it much easier for them to find you in an online search.

For example, people will very often use a blanket search term like ‘hotels in London’ when using Google, rather than searching for a specific hotel directly. And it goes without saying that when they do, you want to be among the hotels listed on the Google Maps and Google+ entries in the search feed – especially if the search is made in the nearby vicinity of your hotel.

A comprehensive Google My Business listing will ensure that:

  • Your hotel will be pushed much higher up Google’s search rankings
  • You’re able to make the booking process far easier for potential guests by uploading photos, videos, GPS coordinates, phone numbers and more
  • Reviews are also pulled through to your unique information feed displayed on the Map entry, or to the right of the search results page (also known as a Knowledge Graph or Card) – and if they’re positive, people will be more compelled to make a booking
  • Your listing will be linked to your Google Analytics page so you can monitor your traffic and popular page hits

It’s free to use, mobile friendly and allows you to upload multiple locations if you have more than one property in a city.

Simply visit Google My Business and follow the prompts to get the ball rolling. Managing multiple properties can get a little confusing, but luckily you can follow Google’s handy guide to simplify the process – check it out here.

#2: Update your Google+ pages

Google+ is Google’s very own social network that allows you to connect with other users who have the same interests and ideas. While the success of Google+ is often debated, its impact on your SEO, and the fact that it’s connected to your other Google features, makes it something worth paying attention to.

What you need to know:

  • Your Google+ page data forms part of your Google My Business listing, so make sure your information is up-to-date. It will add even more value to the Knowledge Graphs displayed in Google’s search listings
  • Google+ pages are good for your SEO (or organic search rankings)
  • Guests can submit reviews that users will see when searching your hotel or seeing your hotel featured in a knowledge graph
  • Remember: any information or posts you publish on your Google+ page will feature in Google’s search results so make sure it’s fresh and unique

After creating your Google My Business account in the point mentioned above, Google will automatically create a Google+ page for you. If you haven’t done so already, make sure you add text and images to your profile.

This is where it can get a little confusing. If you already had a Google+ page, adding a profile to Google My Business will create a duplicate Google+ account (which you don’t necessarily want). So to avoid that, if you already have a Google+ profile for your hotel, make sure you’ve connected it via your Google My Business dashboard.

TIP: Visit the Google+ homepage and do a search for your hotel to make sure there is only one listing. Duplicated listings could result in the wrong information being pulled through to the search results.

You can go a step further by using your Google+ account to create networks among guests to foster loyalty, attract and recruit people passionate about your brand, and keep abreast of happenings in your area by networking with nearby attractions.

#3: Give your guests a visual tour with Google Street View

Google’s popular Street View functionality isn’t restricted to, well, the street. Marketers looking for a new approach can give potential guests an engaging online tour of the hotel’s interior by using this innovative platform, also called Business View. With a collection of high-quality images, you’ll be able to put together a beautiful 3D showcase of your hotel for curious online viewers, and inspire greater confidence among potential guests.

According to a study done by TripAdvisor, good quality photos not only drive higher user engagement but are also a key component to the decision making process: compared to hotels without photos, hotels with at least one photo saw a 138% increase in travel engagement. If this is the impact an image can have, immersing your guest within a virtual tour could make booking at your hotel an even easier decision.

It can offer an innovative, fresh way for your hotel to market itself. And remember, first impressions mean everything.

Google highly recommends hiring a professional to film the 360-degree tour. While this isn’t a free service, the lasting benefits in the long run will be worth the money spent now. Click here to find out more.

#4: Get even more traffic with Google Hotel Ads

If you want to take your Google search listings to the next level, consider using Google Hotel Ads. Google Hotel Ads can be used by OTAs or hotels themselves to make sure that their stock and prices are also listed across Google’s different platforms (searches, Maps, Google destinations, etc.).

Having a Hotel Ads account will also open the door to Google’s new Book on Google functionality. This feature will allow travellers to make a direct booking without leaving the main search results page. If you have a Hotel Ads campaign running, adding the ‘Book’ button is essentially a free service provided by Google.

What you need to know:

  • To get started, you need to work through a ‘Hotel Ads Integration Partner’ (find one here). These are the guys who will give Google your hotel rates, availability information and manage your campaign.
  • You can choose a PPC (pay per click) or commission based model

#5: Understanding Google’s new event search feature

Google is constantly looking for ways to improve the mobile user experience. As part of that quest, the search giant has been busying itself with a new event search feature that, much like point one mentioned above, will allow mobile users to enter a blanket search term like ‘events near me’, and return search results most relevant to their geographic location.

What you need to know:

  • Google has partnered with a growing number event websites like Ticketmaster, Bandsintown, Eventful, Meetup, Yext, Vividseats, EventBrite, Seatgeek and a few more, to drive their search results.
  • All you need to do to make sure you hotel’s events are displayed is sign up to one of these partners.

At the moment, it looks like this feature is being predominantly rolled out in the US, but keep an eye out for updates going forward.

As you can see, Google is far more than a simple traffic generator. The search giant is quickly becoming a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all things travel related, and if used properly, can help you increase your online footprint and attract more business.

Source: https://www.hospitalitynet.org/opinion/4083185.html

Just How Unique Are Luxury Hotel Guests? – By Marissa Rasmussen

Our latest hotel report, From Search Engine to Booking Engine, in collaboration with Google, garners a view of the hotel guest’s journey over the entire path to booking. However, not every guest and their pre-booking behaviors are alike. Here we highlight our findings on the luxury hotel guest and offer ways hoteliers can influence these guests on their path to booking:

1. On average, luxury hotel guests conduct more searches than more economical segments.

A luxury hotel booking is usually a more expensive purchase, and these travelers want to make sure they are making the best decision. Ensure you are staying top of mind during these extra searches by creating ads that reassure them that your luxury hotel will create the most enjoyable experience for them.

For example, Solage Calistoga does a great job showcasing their luxury property through their ads while reassuring guests that their vacation will be a getaway.

2. Luxury hotel guests start their hotel planning much further in advance than other segments.

60+ days out, luxury travelers perform more searches than other segments. Consider how your hotel segment impacts the path to purchase so you can increase your brand’s presence at moments when travelers are likely to be influenced. For example, if you know your luxury guest will begin searching 60+ days before arrival, start impressing them with ads while they are at the top of the funnel, and continue to nurture them throughout their entire path to book.

Loews Hotels “Room You Need” campaign did a great job of reaching travelers at each stage in the funnel by using certain Instagram photos taken by guests as the basis for its print and digital ads. It was a way of showcasing real-life images of authentic guest experiences at Loews, and that’s the perspective that a potential guest wants to see.

3. Luxury hotels see lower shares of mobile searches, averaging 45% of all searches, but mobile queries are growing rapidly with 23% YOY growth.

It may not be surprising that mobile searches are on the rise since smartphones have enabled us to have information at our fingertips no matter where we are. According to Skift, 40% of global travelers use mobile devices to shop for travel. To capture these luxury travelers early on in their planning and dreaming phases, implement a multi-platform strategy: prospect and retarget users with display, mobile, YouTube, Facebook, native ads, and more.

70 percent of travellers never use hotel minibars: survey

More than 70 percent of travelers say they never use hotel mini-bars according to a survey conducted jointly by GO Airport Express, and The GO Group, LLC, an international ground transportation service provider.

Just fewer than four percent said they always raid the mini-fridges, while 20 percent said they do so sometimes or occasionally.

Several of the more than 733 survey respondents had comments, noting they think the food and beverage offerings are too expensive, or they use the mini-fridges to store their snacks bought elsewhere.

Of those who did purchase from the hotel mini-bars, men were more likely to purchase alcoholic beverages, at 27 percent, compared with 14 percent of women. Women bought more bottled water (47 percent) compared with men (35 percent). Women also purchase healthier snacks such as nuts and granola bars, than men, at 14 percent and seven percent respectively.

“Today’s travelers are more savvy, health and budget conscious,” says John McCarthy, president of GO Airport Express. “Successful hotels are starting to respond by catering to the changing preferences of their guests.”

 

Source: http://ehotelier.com/global/2015/05/04/70-percent-of-travellers-never-use-hotel-minibars-survey/

Conrad ‘Stay Inspired’ initiative turns team members into curators of 1, 3, and 5 hour experiences

Conrad Hotels & Resorts announced the launch of Stay Inspired (www.stayinspired.com), a global, brand-wide initiative that marks a cultural shift and overhauls the way the brand trains its team members as storytellers of their destinations. At each one of its 24 global properties, Conrad now offers guests who seek out inspired experiences a more customized and curated collection of 1, 3, and 5 hour experiences available through Conrad Concierge mobile app and at StayInspired.com.

Spearheading the Stay Inspired initiative is Nilou Motamed, the luxury brand’s first ever Director of Inspiration, who is responsible for developing and implementing the Stay Inspired vision and what it means for travelers. Nilou joins Conrad having previously served as Editor-in-Chief of Condé Nast’s digital food brand, Epicurious, and Features Director and Senior Correspondent for Travel + Leisure.

As Director of Inspiration, Nilou has traveled to Conrad properties worldwide to create the initial series of Stay Inspired experiences. Catering to the modern traveler’s desire to merge work, life, and pleasure, StayInspired.com now offers experiences in convenient 1, 3, and 5 hour increments, or what the brand is calling the Conrad 1/3/5. Each Conrad 1/3/5 recommendation reflects an inspired view into each destination covering food, shopping, art and design, culture, family, and adventure.

“Today’s luxury traveler wants to discover destinations where they can be truly inspired. So we are shifting how not only our concierges communicate and connect with our guests, but all of our team members,” said John T.A. Vanderslice, global head, Conrad Hotels & Resorts. “Through our partnership with Nilou, we have trained our team members and empowered them to make thoughtful recommendations within our destinations, stepping away from the standard transactional relationship between a concierge and a guest. We now have become more like storytellers.”

StayInspired.com, accessible via mobile device through the Conrad Concierge mobile app, offers a modern luxury traveler on any schedule the ability to browse activities in 1, 3, and 5 hour itineraries, or by interests. Using StayInspired.com, travelers can now save and share their Conrad 1/3/5 itineraries, access custom content in the form of photos, videos, and maps, or book a room and an experience through the hotel’s concierge. On property, concierges will be equipped with tablet devices to guide guests through the itineraries.

“Guests want to use whatever free time they have while traveling to discover something new. They want to find those hidden gems that are off the beaten path and that can’t be found in the pages of a guidebook,” said Nilou Motamed, Director of Inspiration, Conrad Hotels & Resorts. “This collection called the Conrad 1/3/5 curates content and experiences in a way that aligns with the way our guests live their lives.”

Source: http://ehotelier.com/global/2015/10/28/conrad-stay-inspired-initiative-turns-team-members-into-curators-of-1-3-and-5-hour-experiences/

Chip Eng Seng partners with Park Hotel Group to buy Maldives resort

Singapore construction and property group Chip Eng Seng Corporation Ltd will make its foray into the Maldives together with Singapore-based Park Hotel Group with the acquisition of Kodhipparu Island Resort for US$65 million. JLL was exclusive advisor on behalf of the resort owner, Kodhipparu Investment Private Limited.

park-hotels-maldives

Located in the North Malé Atoll, the resort has 120 villas and is a 15-minute speedboat ride from Malé International Airport. Set to open in second quarter of 2017, the resort is under development by world-renowned hospitality design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates, and will offer two restaurants, a harbour beach club, an infinity pool and bar as well as comprehensive spa facilities. The Resort will be managed by Park Hotel Group as Grand Park Kodhipparu, Maldives as the Group enters Indian Ocean’s most dynamic hotel market.

“As an investment destination, the Maldives provides a transparent policy-making environment and generous incentives for foreigners, including full ownership rights, legally-backed investment guarantees and the ability to fully repatriate profits. This paired with its positive economic outlook is attracting Asian investors seeking to enter the international market,” says Nihat Ercan, Executive Vice President, JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group, Asia.

“As a result, we’re starting to notice a rising trend of Southeast Asian, and in particular Singaporean property developers, who are drawn to the market because it offers high yields underpinned by healthy trading fundamentals.”

Excluding the Kodhipparu sale, the Maldives has seen more than US$120 million in investment transactions so far in 2016. Tourist numbers to the island nation reached 1.23 million in 2015, a 2.4 percent increase on the previous year according to JLL’s report Hotel Destinations Indian Ocean.

This deal will mark the ninth resort JLL has sold in the Maldives since 2012, taking the group’s resort sales in the archipelago to US$500 million and over US$600 million in the Indian Ocean region. In February 2016, JLL also advised on the sale of Zitahli Kuda-Funafaru Resort and Spa to Singapore-listed Roxy Pacific Holdings Limited.

 

Source: http://ehotelier.com/news/2016/10/10/chip-eng-seng-partners-park-hotel-group-buy-maldives-resort/