Marriott International and FibraHotel to Operate Hotels in Mexico. Marriott International on November 20 announced plans to operate 20 hotels expected to be developed by FibraHotel, the largest and first publicly traded Mexican lodging REIT, across key Mexican cities by 2016. The first six hotels will add approximately 800 rooms to the Mexican market and create more than 400 jobs for Mexican nationals. FibraHotel is one of the largest hotel owners in Mexico. The pipeline of properties for Mexico includes the 124-room Los Cabos, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve; the 300-room JW Marriott Cabo San Lucas Resort; the 130-room Courtyard by Marriott Hermosillo; the 130-room Courtyard by Marriott Los Cabos; the 120-room Fairfield Inn Queretaro; the 140-room Courtyard by Marriott Queretaro; and the 160-room AC Hotel Mexico City. www.marriott.com, www.fibrahotel.com
Dubai Posts More Than 7.9 Million Visitors in First Nine Months of 2013. Dubai welcomed more than 7.9 million visitors between January and September 2013, a 9.8 percent year-on-year increase. The latest visitor number results released by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) show increases across hotel establishment guests, room occupancy levels, hotel and hotel apartment revenues and average length of stay.
A number of new hotel establishments have opened in Dubai during 2013 including the Barjeel Heritage Guest House in Bur Dubai; Mövenpick Hotel Apartments The Square, Sofitel Dubai the Palm; Conrad Dubai; Oberoi Dubai; Anantara Dubai Palm Jumeirah Resort & Spa and, just last month, Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers. A number are due to open before the end of the year, including Novotel Dubai Al Barsha and Raviz Centerpoint in Bur Dubai. www.definitelydubai.com
Iron Man Experience Coming to Hong Kong Disneyland. Hong Kong Disneyland announced October 10 a new themed area based on Iron Man. This first-of-its kind, E-ticket attraction will include a storyline that takes place in the streets and skies of Hong Kong. Set to open in late 2016, the experience also will include an area where guests can meet and take photos with Iron Man, as well as a Marvel merchandise location. “Combined with Toy Story Land, Grizzly Gulch and Mystic Point, this new themed area underscores commitment to and confidence in the continued growth of Hong Kong Disneyland,” said Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. In the past two years, these new areas have increased the size of the park by about 25 percent, bringing the number of attractions and entertainment offerings at Hong Kong Disneyland to more than 100. Hong Kong Disneyland Resort boasts world-class facilities, including two elaborately themed hotels, a conference center and expansive event lawns and outdoor function space. www.disneymeetings.com/hongkong
Kerzner to Open Third Atlantis Resort in China. Fosun International Limited, the leading non-state owned enterprise in China, has entered into an agreement with Kerzner International Holdings Limited, a leading international developer and operator of destination resorts, casinos and luxury hotels for a new, cutting-edge Atlantis resort along the Haitang Bay National Coast, a leading holiday destination. Construction will begin by the end of 2013, and Atlantis, Sanya Hainan is expected to be completed in 2016. Each Atlantis resort rises majestically out of the sea: Atlantis, Paradise Island in The Bahamas, followed by Atlantis, The Palm atop the apex of Palm Island in Dubai, and now in Sanya, People’s Republic of China, rising from the South China Sea. A team of more than 10,000 expert craftsmen will build the 1,300-room resort. www.kerzner.com
Europe's First Hard Rock Hotel Coming. Hard Rock International will open the Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza in May 2014, the first Hard Rock Hotel to open in Europe. Ibizia is an island in the Mediterranean off the coast of Spain. Palladium Hotel Group, pursuant to a license agreement from Hard Rock, will transform two former Fiesta Hotels, Club Don Toni and Hotel Don Toni, into the hotel. The two buildings will be united by a remodeled lobby and multipurpose space, which will include various dining, shopping and entertainment outlets. Among its amenities the 480-room hotel will feature the Rock Spa, 8,600 square feet of meeting space, a lobby bar, kids club, teen venue and beach club. The main outdoor pool stage will accommodate up to 2,500 guests for live entertainment. www.hardrock.com
Omni Flag to Fly From Toronto’s King Edward Hotel. Omni Hotels & Resorts announced July 15 that it will become the long-term operator of The King Edward Hotel, the famous luxury hotel in Toronto. Omni will begin management of the historic property on August 1, 2013, which will be flagged The Omni King Edward Hotel. A $40 million renovation includes all new guest rooms, modernized bathrooms, a new fitness center and an update of the meeting spaces. Most notably, the hotel’s iconic rooftop Crystal Ballroom will be restored to its original grandeur as a spectacular party hall. Located on the 17th floor with 20-foot ceilings, the ballroom overlooks the city with views of the skyline in all four directions. “The King Edward Hotel is a very unique property with a rich history from more than a century of hosting guests, as well as being a great source of pride for the city of Toronto,” said Mike Deitemeyer, president of Omni Hotels & Resorts. “Omni is committed to making this incredible hotel the place to stay in Toronto, whether traveling for business or leisure.” The King Edward Hotel will be Omni’s second property in Canada, along with the Hotel Omni Mont-Royal, located in the heart of downtown Montreal. www.omnihotels.com
Marina Bay Sands Achieves New Green Certification.
Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands is the first event and conference venue outside the U.S. to be certified under a new international sustainability standard in the MICE space. Marina Bay Sands achieved Level One Certification to the ASTM Standard pertaining to the Evaluation and Selection of Venues for Environmentally Sustainable Meetings, Events, Trade Shows, and Conferences. The venue standard is one of nine standards introduced by the meetings, conventions, exhibitions and events industry in 2012 to provide event planners and suppliers with specifications for producing events in a more sustainable manner. The industry’s first and only comprehensive standards for environmentally sustainable meetings were created through a partnership with the Convention Industry Council’s APEX initiative and ASTM International, a leader in the development and delivery of international voluntary consensus standards. www.marinabaysands.com
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto Unveiled.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company announced plans to open The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto on February 7, 2014. The property is located on the Kamogawa River, Nijho Ohashi, close to Kyoto’s popular downtown areas including Gion and Kawaramachi-dori, the city’s retail and entertainment district. The hotel’s guest rooms will offer views of the river and the Higashiyama Mountains. In keeping with the traditions and cultural sensitivity of Kyoto, The Ritz-Carlton will be a subtle and inspired juxtaposition of modernity and respect for Japanese tradition. Featuring 136 large guest rooms, The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto will feature four dining options, banquet and meeting rooms, as well as a spa and other recreational facilities. Kyoto draws 50 million visitors annually to experience the city and its 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. www.ritzcarlton.com
Cotai Strip Resorts Brings the DreamWorks Experience to Macao.
Cotai Strip Resorts will soon be home to the interactive and entertaining DreamWorks Experience at Cotai Strip Resorts, beginning July 1, 2013. Supported by the Macau Government Tourist Office, the DreamWorks Experience at Cotai Strip Resorts is the result of a new resort licensing agreement between Sands China and DreamWorks Animation, bringing the global entertainment company’s well-known characters and franchises, such as Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon, Shrek and Madagascar to events, shows and offerings throughout Cotai Strip Resorts on the properties of Sands Cotai Central and The Venetian Macao. www.cotaistrip.com.mo/en
GBTA Outlook Projects Huge Increase in China’s Business Travel Spending. The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) on April 15 released the results of its GBTA BTI Outlook – China, a semi-annual analysis of the business travel market, sponsored by Visa. Key highlights from the report include:
• After expanding by 7.8 percent in 2012, China’s economy should continue to usher the world out of its economic slowdown. GBTA forecasts that China’s GDP will increase by 8.3 percent in 2013, with growth predicted to be just below 9 percent in 2014.
• China’s total business travel spending increased by an average 15.5 percent per year from 2000 to 2012.
Building on this impressive performance, business travel spending is forecast to increase by 15.1 percent in 2013 to $226 billion. The projected expansion of 16.9 percent in 2014 is more than twice the rate of the U.S.
to be just below 9 percent in 2014
Welf J. Ebeling, Vice President Operations, GBTA Asia remarked: “Although economic growth has been moderated by ongoing global uncertainty, the Chinese economy is regaining its momentum. A range of government policy initiatives, which began last year, should deliver improved economic performance in 2013 and 2014. As a result, we are confident that stronger domestic demand will spur renewed growth in business travel spending. At the forecasted growth rates, China is likely to become the largest business travel market in the world as early as 2015.” The GBTA BTI Outlook – China is free of charge to all GBTA members by clicking here. Non-members may purchase the report through the GBTA Foundation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Waldorf Astoria Panama Opens. Hilton Worldwide announced the opening of Waldorf Astoria Panama. The 248-room Waldorf Astoria Panama features Level 5 — more than 3,500 sf of meeting space that includes three multipurpose meeting rooms and a ballroom. The property boasts an impressive array of diverse culinary experiences, featuring four distinct restaurants and bars, including the renowned Peacock Alley. The Waldorf Astoria Spa, a 2,000-sf retreat, offers five treatment rooms, including a couples-only space. Wellness facilities at Waldorf Astoria Panama also include a fitness center by Life Fitness and an outdoor swimming pool designed with mosaic gold tiles. Located steps away from Calle Uruguay, in the heart of the entertainment area, Waldorf Astoria Panama is approximately 25 minutes from Tocumen International Airport and two blocks from the city center and financial district. www.waldorfastoriapanama.com
New Gulf MICE Facilities Planned. New facilities such as convention centers, hotels and other venues opening in the Gulf regions of the UAE, KSA and Oman will cater to projected increases in MICE-related business, according to Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE), the organizer of the Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM). “In the UAE, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are both forging ahead with significant projects and initiatives that are designed to draw more MICE business to the destination in line with their ambitious targets for this sector,” said Lois Hall, GIBTM exhibition manager, which takes place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from March 25–27. “Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and Oman are building and expanding convention facilities, helping to further establish the region as a meetings industry hub,” said Hall. www.gibtm.com
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Announces New Hotels. Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group on February 28 announced the development of five hotel properties and one recent opening in the Caribbean and South America. The newest additions include: Radisson Aquatica Resort Barbados; Radisson Grenada Beach Resort, St. George; Radisson Port of Spain Trinidad; Park Hotel by Radisson Vespucio, Santiago, Chile; and the newly opened Park Inn by Radisson San Jose, Costa Rica. The addition of these five new hotels boosts Carlson Rezidor’s portfolio in the Caribbean, Central and South America with a total of 50 hotels and 7,939 rooms in operation and under development. www.carlsonrezidor.com
World’s Tallest Hotel Now Open in Dubai. The JW Marriott brand celebrated on February 28 the newly opened JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, the “World’s Tallest Hotel,” and hosted more than 1,200 VIP guests who enjoyed performances and dined on international fare from six of the hotel’s signature restaurants — Rang Mahal by Atul Kochhar, Izakaya, Tong Thai, Prime 68 La Farina and the Arabic Restaurant — while enjoying premium beverages from Dubai’s newest night spot Vault. JW Marriott Marquis Dubai features 684 rooms, 120 suites, 24 meeting rooms and 55,488 sf of total meeting space. Guest rooms are equipped with LCD TVs, iPod stations, Wi-Fi and a master room control tablet. www.marriott.com
Week of December 9
Universal Orlando Resort Unveils CityWalk Expansion Plans
Universal Orlando Resort recently announced that in 2014 Universal CityWalk will add eight new venues. The 30-acre CityWalk complex currently features a collection of nightclubs, restaurants and shops. CityWalk also is home to the karaoke club Rising Star, Hollywood Drive-In Golf, and the renowned live show Blue Man Group. The new venues, which will share an overall theme that includes inviting common areas, al fresco dining, open kitchens and more, include Hot Dog Hall of Fame, featuring iconic hot dog creations from some of the nation’s most famous ball parks; CowFish, an innovative and trend-setting concept out of Charlotte, NC; and the popular frozen dessert shops Cold Stone Creamery and Menchie’s. Original concepts include Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food; Bread Box, a home-style sandwich shop; a new modern Italian open-kitchen concept; and the newly opened Red Oven Pizza Bakery — Universal’s first-ever Neopolitan-style pizza bakery.
Also opening in 2014 at Universal Orlando Resort will be Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley. www.uomeetingsandevents.com
New York City Will Record 54.3 Million Visitors in 2013
New York City will reach 54.3 million visitors in 2013, a new all-time high and an increase of nearly 20 million additional annual tourists from 2002. By the end of this year, visitors to New York City will have generated $58.7 billion in overall economic impact and $39.4 billion in direct spending. The city is on pace to reach 55 million annual visitors by next year, one year ahead of his original goal of 2015. Said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, “Since 2002, overall tourism here has grown more than 50 percent, while international visitation has increased more than 100 percent. In addition, more and more people are visiting attractions outside of Manhattan, thanks in part to our efforts to support cultural organizations in neighborhoods across the city.”
Of the more than 54 million visitors in 2013, 42.9 million travel to New York City domestically, while 11.4 million travel from international locations. Hotel demand in 2013 is expected to reach 30 million hotel room nights sold, which represents an increase of 1 million room nights sold as compared to last year. Hotel average occupancy for the year is anticipated to finish at 87.8 percent, while average daily room rates citywide are up for 4 percent to $296. Hotel development is expected to reach 100,000 rooms by the end of 2014. www.nycgo.com
GBTA Reveals Best and Worst Travel Taxes Across Top 50 U.S. Destinations
Taxes levied specifically on travel-related services increased the total tax bill for a traveler by 58 percent in 2013, according to a new report released December 10 by the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). The annual study examines hotel lodging, car rentals and restaurant meal taxes in the top 50 U.S. destination cities, which are regularly used to fund local projects unrelated to tourism and business travel.
The study presents several views of travel taxes to help readers make informed choices. The top 50 markets are ranked by overall travel tax burden, including general sales tax and discriminatory travel taxes, and by discriminatory travel tax burden, excluding general sales taxes to count only taxes that target car rentals, hotel stays and meals.
The top 10 U.S. cities where travelers incur the highest total tax burden in central city locations, factoring in general sales taxes and discriminatory travel taxes, are:
New York, NY
Kansas City, MO
The top 10 U.S. cities where travelers incur the lowest total tax burden in central city locations, factoring in general sales taxes and discriminatory travel taxes, are:
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Fort Myers, FL
West Palm Beach, FL
Orange County, CA
Site Recognizes 10 Incentive Programs with the 2013 Crystal Awards
| 2013 Site Crystal Award Winners.
Ten extraordinary motivational programs were recognized with Site Crystal Awards, USA at the Site Global Conference December 8 in Orlando. Since 1980, the Crystal Awards Recognition Program has provided industry acclaim for world-class organizations that excel in designing unique motivational travel experiences that deliver measurable results for their clients. “Always striving, never settling in the creation of exceptional motivational experiences that deliver business results — that is the hallmark of Site Crystal Award recipients,” said Site President David Sand. “These organizations pioneered new experiences around the globe, proved the impossible possible and exceeded previous levels of excellence. They showcased the best, not just the best-known, of their destinations, advanced client values and brands and gave generously to local communities. In doing so, they achieved a number of important business goals for their clients, including increased sales, lower employee turnover and greater loyalty. Congratulations to these highly deserving 2013 Site Crystal Award recipients.”
The 2013 Site Crystal Award recipients are:
• Aimia – “Volvo President’s Club”
Exceptional Motivational Travel Program – Best in Class by Global Region – North America
• Aimia – “Microsoft EMEA Gold Club – School Supplies Drive”
Responsible Experiences – Most Impactful Effort Toward Corporate Social Responsibility as Part of an Incentive Program
• Creative Travel Pvt. Ltd. and Viajes Bilbao Express – “Seguros Bilbao India 2012”
Exceptional Motivational Travel Program – Best in Class by Global Region – Asia/Pacific
• De Feest - & Eventarchitect – “South Africa”
Exceptional Motivational Travel Program – Best in Class by Global Region – Africa/Middle East
• Dittman Incentive Marketing – “Magical Madrid”
Inspiring/Rewarding Experiences – Most Outstanding Single Motivational Event within an Incentive Program
• Eventown – “Dancing in China”
Best Business Solutions – Most Effective Incentive Marketing/Promotion Campaign
• Fourth Wall Events and BI WORLDWIDE – “Vintage Vegas”
Exceptional Motivational Travel Program – Best in Class by Global Region – North America
• Hosts New Orleans – “Feel With All Your Senses”
Responsible Experiences – Most Impactful Effort Toward Corporate Social Responsibility as Part of an Incentive Program
• ITB dmc – “Rally der Besten”
Exceptional Motivational Travel Program – Best in Class by Global Region – Europe
• Terra Nova – “Inmedia ONE”
Responsible Experiences – Most Impactful Effort Toward Corporate Social Responsibility as Part of an Incentive Program
Case studies showcasing the 2013 Site Crystal Award winning programs are available on www.siteglobal.com.
South Florida’s First Attached
Convention Center Hotel Breaks Ground
An official groundbreaking for the new Convention Center Hilton West Palm Beach in Palm Beach County, FL, was held Friday December 6, attended by Discover Palm Beach County CEO Jorge Pesquera, West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio and developer executives Kenneth Himmel and Stephen Ross of Related. The 403-room hotel will be attached to the 350,000-sf Palm Beach County Convention Center and will offer two ballrooms, eight conference rooms, a 225-seat restaurant, bar, fitness center and landscaped pool area, according to Pesquera. Most significantly, he noted, the new property will be the only convention center with a connected headquarter hotel in South Florida. Work will begin soon and construction is slated for completion in fall 2015. www.palmbeachfl.com
Conference Centers Need CMP Makeover, Says Survey
According to a survey of executives at 26 dedicated conference facilities in the U.S. and Canada, the inclusive "complete meeting package" (CMP) — a central component of these facilities’ offerings, and a competitive differentiator versus hotels — must become more customizable to fulfill the needs and perspectives of today’s meeting customers.
The survey, which was completed in mid-November 2013, finds that the CMP represents less than 10 percent of the packages properties sell; nearly 60 percent of responding property executives say that customers find a modified meeting package (MMP) offers greater value to them than a CMP; the top two reasons to opt for MMPs are flexibility in choosing dinner options, and desire to save money; day meeting packages (DMP) are popular; 33 percent of respondents say that clients find greater value in purchasing a DMP with a separate guest room rate, indicating that their meetings extend over multiple days.
“The data supports our belief that the market is moving away from the CMP in favor of the MMP, or a DMP with or without guest rooms,” says Neil Pompan, president of PHG. “In our opinion, this shift is in no way an indictment of the conference-center concept. Many meeting planners still seek the ease of crafting a total meeting experience based on the expertise found among conference-center sales and service personnel. But at the same time, planners are looking for more flexibility in how they purchase this experience, given their organization’s perception of need, and of value. Therefore, flexibility in how packages are offered is critical for facilities that want to thrive.”
The survey is available at: www.pompanhospitality.com/assets/phg-meeting-package-survey_results.pdf
CWT Meetings & Events Reports on 2014 Trends
CWT Meetings & Events, the global meetings and events division of Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT), announced what it expects to be the significant meeting and events trends in 2014:
Focused and bespoke: Although the worldwide economic environment remains flat, there are signs of some moderate growth, and clients will continue to hold more events, albeit on a smaller scale. With more access to big data, planners are able to tailor and adapt events to suit individual attendee requirements, from personalized invitations, to bespoke mobile itineraries on arrival, to interactive voting at the event.
Close to home: Clients will continue to opt for more domestic or short-haul destinations, to ensure cost-saving compared with long-haul destinations favored in the past.
Strategic Meetings Management (SMM): Companies will continue to consolidate their SMM programs and look for one-stop-shop global suppliers who can offer global support and global cost savings.
On the spot: Live technology will continue to be a crucial tool in gaining real-time feedback during an event.
Every penny counts: Event and marketing managers are increasingly being held accountable for ROI – every penny spent should have a return value. www.carlsonwagonlit.com
Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel Renovates Property
Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel, a newly independent property, is in the midst of a $5 million renovation to include the upgrading of all 400 units in the all-suite hotel. Taking place in phases, the project is slated for completion by mid-December. The upgrades include new 42-inch flat-screen televisions in the living areas and 37-inch flat screens in the bedrooms. Also new are granite countertops, ottomans, end tables, dining tables and chairs, headboards, nightstands, wet bars, vanities and dressers. The suites will be outfitted with Serta perfect sleeper mattresses, super topper mattress pads, and 300 thread count sheets. New carpeting and décor are also part of the renovation process. The hotel’s four premium balcony suites, scheduled for completion in November, will reopen with dual-sided fireplaces. Located in South Lake Tahoe on the California/Nevada border, just steps from casino entertainment, the alpine mountain-style hotel, formerly an Embassy Suites, has 10,000 sf of meeting space, a restaurant and bar. It is the largest and only full-service hotel in South Lake Tahoe. www.tahoeresorthotel.com
Site ‘Celebrates the World of Motivational Experiences’
Site welcomes 400 motivational events and incentive travel professionals representing more than 250 industry organizations from 47 countries to Orlando to celebrate “40 Years Forward” in spectacular fashion at the Site Global Conference 2013 being held December 7–10 at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort. Site and conference host Visit Orlando will showcase the best of Orlando motivational experiences with entertainment extravaganzas and numerous tour options. The educational program offers more than twice the total hours of learning as last year.
Site will recognize and honor the contributions of Site’s past presidents and will introduce the formation of the Site Past Presidents’ Council. Twenty-five past presidents attending the conference jointly presented the first Richard Ross Past Presidents’ Award for outstanding service to the incentive travel industry. The award, named in honor of Site’s ninth president, who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City, recognizes an individual or organization that has furthered the vision, ideals and ethics of Site.
“As the premier event where ‘the world of incentive travel and motivational events meets,’ this year’s conference will honor and celebrate Site’s past while also preparing us for the future,” stated Kevin Hinton, chief staff officer for Site and the Site International Foundation. “Site members are experiencing a recovery first-hand in the incentive sector, and those present in Orlando will be able to make critical connections in order to sustain this success into 2014 and beyond.” www.siteglobal.com
San Jose Civic Renamed as City National Civic
Officials representing the city of San Jose and Team San Jose on December 4 unveiled the new marquee of the historic San Jose concert venue — the newly named City National Civic. “The City National Civic is an iconic venue and City National Bank’s investment is a testament to their community driven focus,” said Councilman Sam Liccardo. “The city of San Jose is proud to partner together with Team San Jose, City National Bank and Nederlander Concerts to reactivate the concert venue and support the local economy.” The theater’s recent upgrade, coupled with Team San Jose’s partnership with Nederlander Concerts, has received rave reviews from artists and concert patrons. “I was delighted to celebrate the unveiling of the new City National Civic in the heart of Downtown San Jose,” said five-time Grammy winner Wynonna Judd (pictured center). “It was such a thrill to acknowledge Little Kids Rock and what they do to help a younger generation of aspiring musicians. It was great to continue the celebration with my Christmas show that same evening.” Following the ceremony, Judd awarded a check to Little Kids Rock organization and later appeared at the City National Civic with her band in “A Simpler Christmas Tour.” www.citynationalcivic.com
Final Cabin Installed on Las Vegas High Roller
The Las Vegas High Roller marked a construction milestone December 3 as the observation wheel’s 28th and final passenger cabin was attached to the wheel’s rim. Each cabin can hold 40 people, and one revolution of the wheel takes 30 minutes. The world’s tallest observation wheel (550 feet high) is the focal point of The Linq, Caesars Entertainment’s $550 million outdoor retail, dining and entertainment district.
The next construction phase includes adding lighting and communications systems, completing the platform structure and testing the various systems of the wheel as well as the removal of temporary construction equipment. The Linq will open in phases beginning in late 2013. www.thelinq.com
Downtown Grand Opens in Downtown Las Vegas
The Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino, which opened November 12, features 634 stylish contemporary hotel rooms with marble baths, nearly 600 brand-new slot machines, 30 table games and a sports book with walk-up gaming. Award-winning restaurateurs Elizabeth Blau and Kim Canteenwalla opened the three-meal restaurant Stewart + Ogden. Additional F&B options include the Mob Bar with a stage for music, the Chinese restaurant Red Mansion, a New York deli called Spread, a pizza place and more. The fast-food court, the Commissary, will be fully operational by December. In the spring, the hotel expects to debut "Picnic," the 35,000-sf urban-rooftop pool retreat and event space — the first of its kind downtown. www.downtowngrand.com
Meliá Jamaica to Open in November 2014
Next fall Meliá Hotels International will take over operation of the flagship resort currently known as Braco Village Hotel & Spa in Braco, located on Jamaica’s north coast. The 226-room property will undergo a comprehensive renovation and will open as Meliá Jamaica in November 2014, and be managed as a Meliá All Inclusive. The hotel is owned by Jamaica’s National Insurance Fund (NIF), which selected Meliá as the operator after a highly competitive process. “In reviewing the proud history of Meliá Hotels International and receiving feedback about their respectful approach to what the NIF is trying to achieve, as well as their honorable conduct in the negotiations, I am confident that we have indeed selected the right partner with which to go forward,” said Derrick Kellier Jamaica minister of tourism and of labour & social security. “We firmly believe in their long-term commitment to the project and Jamaica.” www.meliahotelsinternational.com/en
Marriott Meetings Booking Comes With a Free iPad Mini
Earlier this year, Marriott Hotels introduced the Red Coat Direct meetings app, which gives meeting organizers the ability to adjust and edit their requests and preferences without ever leaving the meeting room. Now, planners who book a meeting at participating Marriott Hotels in the U.S. between December 1, 2013, and April 30, 2014, during value dates will receive a free iPad Mini. The Red Coat Direct meetings app allows planners to make requests — such as more chairs, more coffee, a change in room temperature — or check the status of their request through the app. Using any Web-enabled device, organizers’ requests are routed to the department that can enact the change as well as to the event manager assigned to their event. Each app is personalized for the meeting and sent to the meeting organizer three days ahead of the meeting. The promotion also is valid at participating Renaissance Hotels and JW Marriott hotels in the U.S. In order to qualify for the free iPad promotion, meetings must have 75 cumulative nights. For full terms and conditions, participating hotels and dates, visit www.ipadpromotion.marriott.com.
Borgata Launches Online Gaming Operations in NJ
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa announced that it has been authorized by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to offer real-money online gaming to the general public in the state of New Jersey. Following an initial trial period, two Borgata-branded gaming sites (www.borgatacasino.com and www.borgatapoker.com) have been approved by the Division of Gaming Enforcement to accept wagers from the general public in the state of New Jersey. Located at Renaissance Pointe in Atlantic City, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa features 2,000 guest rooms and suites; 70,000 sf of event space;161,000 sf of gaming; 11 retail boutiques; six fine-dining restaurants by renowned chefs; six casual dining options; a 54,000-sf spa; and four signature nightlife experiences. The resort also features Atlantic City’s first cosmopolitan hotel experience, The Water Club at Borgata, with 800 guest rooms and suites and 18,000 sf of meeting space. www.theborgata.com
Marina Bay Sands Ends 2013 on a High Note
Marina Bay Sands was awarded the Best Business Event Venue at the Singapore Experience Awards 2013 for the second consecutive time. The resort also ends 2013 with a record high of more than 70 trade shows and exhibitions held at the Sands Expo & Convention Centre, up from 51 events last year. On the sustainability front, Marina Bay Sands continues to advocate green practices such as offering sustainable menus, recycling, waste management and engaging the delegates to give back to the community. The iconic ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands has become a popular choice for event planners as it is a unique venue that provides flexible spaces for different types of events within its galleries. www.marinabaysands.com
Site International Foundation Announces Board of Trustees for 2014
Effective January 1, 2014, the Site International Foundation president for 2014 is Kurt Paben, senior vice-president, Aimia. Also serving as officers on the Site International Foundation Executive Committee are:
Immediate Past President: Jane E. Schuldt, CITE, CIS, president, World Marketing Group Ltd.
President Elect: Denise O. Dornfeld, president, North America, AlliedPRA
Vice President: Rhea H. Stagner, vice president supplier relations, sourcing and proposal development, Maritz Travel
Vice President Finance: Jonathan Caplan, divisional director of sales North America, franchise full service, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide
Chief Staff Officer: Kevin Hinton, Site and Site International Foundation
For a complete list of Foundation Trustees, click here.
Philadelphia CVB Highlights Accomplishments
Philadelphia’s largest hospitality industry event was held on November 27 at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown as the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) highlighted the organization’s accomplishments of the past year, which included: celebrating the one-year anniversary of the PHL marketing initiative launched in 2012; the selection of SMG as the new facility managers at the Pennsylvania Convention Center; securing $1.2 billion in future conventions; and contributing to a 43 percent increase in international visitor spending to Philadelphia over the previous year. “On the convention front, we are counting on SMG, the convention center staff and board, along with the talented work force in the center, to deliver a new level of service for our customers, so that we can book and re-book meetings, conventions and trade shows that will grow demand and increase jobs,” said Jack Ferguson, PHLCVB president and CEO. www.discoverphl.com
U.S. Travel Urges Caution on Allowing Cell Calls on Flights
U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow commented on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) announcement that it will consider allowing cell phone conversations on passenger flights above 10,000 feet: “When considering this kind of policy change, safety and security always need to be the top priority, and the final policy needs to be coherent and readily enforceable. We should also carefully consider whether allowing open cell phone conversations during flights truly enhances the passenger experience. Personally, I have my doubts that the traveling public will wholeheartedly embrace this, but we should be abundantly clear on whether or not that’s true before this policy is allowed to proceed. Bottom line: this decision should be undertaken based on the best possible data — data on safety, data from passengers, data from airlines and flight crews — as was the decision by the FAA a couple weeks ago to consider allowing the limited use of electronic devices on planes. If enacted, this new policy on phone calls would be a sizable step beyond that.” www.ustravel.org
Ritz-Carlton Opens Newest Luxury Resort in Aruba
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company LLC introduced its sixth luxury resort in the exclusive Caribbean and Mexico portfolio with the opening of The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba. Situated on the island’s Palm Beach, the oceanfront hotel features 320 guest rooms, including 55 suites, each with a private balcony affording sweeping views of the Caribbean Sea. The expansive Club Lounge sits atop the building on the seventh floor with 34 rooms and an endless array of cuisine, beverages and personal service throughout the day. The Ritz-Carlton Spa, the largest on the island, is a 15,000-sf tranquil oasis complemented by 13 intimate treatment rooms, salon, boutique and a variety of naturally influenced indigenous services. The hotel’s culinary offerings display a selection of four fine-dining experiences. The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba introduces exceptional meeting, corporate retreat, and special event space with a selection of indoor and outdoor venues, including a 7,500-sf ballroom divisible into three salons, three meeting rooms and a selection of outdoor locations including poolside decks, manicured lawns and a beachside reception area. The beach resort also features a 24-hour casino. www.ritzcarlton.com/aruba
Pacific Ballroom Debuts at Long Beach Arena
The Pacific Ballroom, a new venue billed as Long Beach’s newest, largest and most innovative meeting and special event space, debuted at the Long Beach Arena November 20. The evening, titled “The Sky’s the Limit,” was a series of spectacular reveals that showcased the ballroom’s versatility as a special-events space to more than 1,000 guests including professional meeting and special event planners from across the country.
“TED, the most innovative conference in the world, was in Long Beach for five years, which allowed us to observe how they creatively used our meeting spaces,” said Steve Goodling, president and CEO of the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau. “With the renovation, we have reimagined the Long Beach Arena, creating a flexible space that will allow other groups to have a similar experience without high cost.”
The recently completed installation creates a loft-style ballroom, which multiplies the utilization of floor space of the arena’s floor space. One of the largest-ever flying steel truss grid systems is now suspended above the 45,000-sf arena floor. This ingenious grid system can be raised or lowered in minutes to provide the perfect ceiling height for any event, transforming the arena from a hockey venue filled with 13,000 fans into an ideal meeting space for up to 5,000 reception guests. The grid contains customizable state-of-the art sound and theatrical lighting, and electronically operated curtain walls drop down to cover the arena’s upper deck seating, completing the creation of the Pacific Ballroom. www.longbeachcvb.org
D’Alessandro Named a ‘Most Admired CEO’
The San Francisco Business Times has named Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of the San Francisco Travel Association, to the publication’s prestigious list of Most Admired CEOs. D’Alessandro was selected in the categories of nonprofit, small and private company, 100–500 employees respectively.
Of D’Alessandro, Business Times reporter Renee Frojo wrote:
“As president and CEO of the San Francisco Travel Association, D’Alessandro has singlehandedly transformed how San Francisco sells itself to the rest of the world. His good work shows. Since he took the reins in 2006, the organization has more than doubled its budget from $12 million to $27.9 million, grown its staff from 70 to nearly 100 employees and opened new offices in New York, China and Brazil. Now in his seventh year at the organization, D’Alessandro has presided over tourism in the city as it reached a high point, with an estimated 16.5 million travelers visiting San Francisco last year. Visitor spending has grown to $8.9 billion while hotel room rates are hitting their highest levels ever as occupancy tops 80 percent. Perhaps his biggest game-changing idea was the introduction of the Tourism Improvement District, which collects (an assessment) to fund the association and a number of city projects. The establishment of the district not only secured the association’s future, it also led it to grow beyond merely a sales and marketing organization to more of a policy advocacy group.” www.sanfrancisco.travel
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Plans Major Guest Room Renovation
All of the 1,229 guest rooms at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa will undergo a major overhaul beginning around the middle of next year, according to a report in Travel Weekly. David Nadleman, the general manager, said the overhaul will start next year and take about 18 months as three floors at a time will be completed in a self-contained manner so no guests are disturbed. “The property’s been very well maintained, but it’s time to give it a nice new look.” said Nadleman. Hyatt Regency Waikiki’s third-floor restaurants, pool deck and public areas were renovated in November 2011, and the hotel recently completed a $2 million upgrade to its Kou Ballroom. waikiki.hyatt.com
Las Vegas Leaders Attend 'Connecting America Through Travel' Conference
Leaders from Las Vegas’s travel and tourism industry and business community participated in the inaugural Connecting America Through Travel (CATT) conference on November 20 in Washington, DC. The forum was organized by the U.S. Travel Association and was co-chaired by Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) President/CEO Rossi Ralenkotter, former chairman of U.S. Travel. The event focused on the condition of America’s travel infrastructure and how it affects the travel industry’s bottom line and its prospects for growth.
More than 200 people participated in the event, which addressed a variety of topics from new research examining the links between infrastructure investment and growth in the travel sector to the challenges to maintaining and building efficient, connected transportation systems. The event featured speakers including U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx; the Honorable Ray LaHood, the former U.S. Secretary of Transportation; the Honorable Edward G. Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania who now serves as the co-chair of Building America’s Future; Jonathan Tisch, Chairman of Loews Hotels & Resorts; and, Roger Dow, president and CEO of U.S. Travel Association. www.lvcva.com
Radisson Blu Warwick Hotel, Philadelphia Completes Renovation
Radisson Blu announced the completion of a $20 million renovation and conversion of the 301-room Radisson Blu Warwick Hotel, Philadelphia. The hotel marks the third Radisson Blu hotel in the United States, joining Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago and the Radisson Blu Mall of America. The 301-room historic hotel, situated in the prestigious Rittenhouse Square district of Philadelphia, has completed a renovation that includes a redesign of all guest rooms and corridors, a new Business Class floor with a private lounge, as well as the hotel’s grand lobby to reflect the signature, contemporary style of Radisson Blu, while maintaining the charm and heritage of the landmark hotel. The hotel offers 189 Superior Rooms featuring an “urban” style; 46 deluxe rooms with additional seating areas and a more spacious layout, and 31 executive rooms with upgraded features including a Nespresso machine, complimentary bottled water, bathrobe, slippers and added bathroom amenities. In addition, the hotel offers Business Class By Radisson, a brand service developed to provide guests upgraded amenities and services including early check-in, upgraded bathroom amenities, turn-down service and access to the Business Class lounge, serving complimentary breakfast and evening refreshments. www.radissonbluphiladelphia.com
Wisconsin’s Osthoff Resort Plans Expansion
The Osthoff Resort, a AAA Four-Diamond property on the shores of Elkhart Lake in eastern Wisconsin, is expanding its conference facilities. The addition to the north wing of the resort adds 10,000 sf of meeting and event space plus an additional 10,000 sf of prefunction and back-of-house prep space, and accommodates more than 800 guests for dinner and 1,400 guests in theater-style seating, with flexibility to divide the space into two or three smaller configurations. Once approved, construction is expected to be completed by the start of the 2014 summer season. The addition will be a continuation of the north wing conference center built in 2005, with décor and finishes to be consistent with that space. There will be windows in the prefunction space and along the entire span of the north wall. A porte-cochere, 100 additional parking spaces and a garden area are included in the design as well. Plans also call for the best technology available in audio-visual equipment and wireless capabilities. The resort, which is Travel Green Wisconsin certified, features all-suite accommodations, a lakefront setting, two restaurants, Aspira Spa, L’ecole de la Maison cooking school, year-round recreation, spa and gift boutiques, and grand conference rooms and meeting spaces. Currently the resort’s meeting space totals 16,000 sf. www.osthoffmeetings.com
ESPA Annual Conference in Boston January 10–12
Aiming to provide event service professionals with the tools and tactics needed to stay ahead of the curve, the Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA), announced that its 2014 Annual Conference themed “Going the Distance” is set for January 10-12, 2014 at the Westin Copley Place in Boston. Conference sessions offer attendees 13 hours of continuing education credits and topics run the gamut from “The Global Side of Events: Understanding Cultural Differences” and a “Q&A with the Event Planners” to “Security Management: Case Study from Boston and Lessons Learned” and “App Storm: Event Apps & Solutions That Can Change Your Event Planning Universe.” Keynote speaker Laura Schwartz, a former White House director of events, professional speaker, author and television commentator, will divulge networking secrets that skyrocketed her onto the world stage along with personal anecdotes from her life and White House years. “The conference program is designed not only to be educational at its core, but also to offer topics that encompass meeting trends, resources and new sources of information,” said ESPA President Robert Desautels, CMP. “It is truly geared so that all of us will have useful and valuable takeaways to enhance our ability to be better providers for our customers.” www.espaonline.org
IMEX Eyes Industry Predictions for 2014
The IMEX Group released its predictions for meetings industry trends and changes in 2014, based on feedback from IMEX in Frankfurt and IMEX America, and supported by speaker and expert anecdotes from IMEX America in Las Vegas in October.
1. Content gets bigger as attention spans grow shorter. The meetings landscape has changed. It’s now content that’s defining meeting and event type, not the other way around.
2. Happiness is hip. The big watchword for our working lives in the '90s and new millennium was "work/life balance." In 2014 this shifts to "workplace spirituality." A growing number of organizations recognize that employee loyalty and motivation hinges on a convergence of personal values with corporate ones.
3. Technology connects the dots. Convergence and connectivity. Both will be the next big technology wins the meetings industry strives for in 2014.
4. Social media shifts up, out and everywhere. Sam Stanton, president of redbutton.tv, said, “Expect to see some really cool crossover where participants who are highly social at home find they can still behave that way at an event.” In 2014 social media starts to receive its own budget, and begins to play a meaningful and measurable part in marketing and communications strategies across the meetings and events industry.
5. “Glocal” – helping hands on your doorstep. With the announcement of the 2014 IMEX Challenge, which will involve building a new healing garden at the Shade Tree shelter in Las Vegas next October, the IMEX team demonstrates a growing sustainability trend: keeping it local.
6. Meetings sector as leading economic indicator. Could 2014 be the year when the meetings and events industry is finally recognized as an important economic indicator?
7. Workplace diversity. The big debate of 2014 looks set to be workplace diversity. With so many generations working alongside each other (be it virtually or physically) and issues of gender balance and racial diversity still being addressed, organizations are having to look at their recruitment and talent development strategies with more creativity, and awareness.
GBTA Opposes Bill That Will Impact Federal Meetings Travel
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) issued the following statement which opposes travel restrictions contained in H.R. 2061, the DATA Act. “There is absolutely no doubt that lavish conferences, vague travel policies, and inappropriate travel expenses are a waste of our valuable tax dollars. However, H.R. 2061 goes about it the wrong way. These proposed cuts and restrictions would severely impact federal agency operations,” stated GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick. “If enacted, H.R. 2061 would threaten key agencies’ ability to effectively operate and ultimately result in lost jobs. Use of professional travel management principles can avoid the embarrassing, expensive and indefensible costs and stories like GSA’s Las Vegas scandal. Congress should mandate that the federal government should uniformly follow everyday practices adopted at thousands of U.S. companies — optimizing the use of travel dollars by effectively implementing policies that drive appropriate traveler behavior.” www.gbta.org
Meliá Hotels International Announces Meliá at Baha Mar
The chairmen of Baha Mar Ltd. and Meliá Hotels International on November 19 signed an agreement for Meliá to operate the all-inclusive Meliá at Baha Mar, in the luxury leisure development Baha Mar in The Bahamas. The $3.5 billion (U.S.) investment, comprised of 1,000 acres with more than 3,000 feet of pristine oceanfront, is just 12 minutes from Nassau International Airport. On December 1, 2013, Meliá will take over the operation of the Meliá Nassau Beach Resort and begin a renewal plan that will be completed by December 2014, without any interruption to the guest experience. Meliá Nassau Beach Resort features 694 rooms and multiple spaces for meetings and conventions. Upon completion of renovations and simultaneously with the opening of Baha Mar, it will be renamed Meliá at Baha Mar. Highlights of the refurbishment will be new restaurant concepts, updated pools and an enhanced lobby area.
The Baha Mar development includes five hotels with a total of 2,900 hotel rooms and residences, gaming, golf, shopping, entertainment, and natural attractions. In addition to Meliá at Baha Mar, the portfolio of Baha Mar properties includes Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, Mondrian and Grand Hyatt, all anchored by the Baha Mar Casino & Hotel. A dedicated onsite convention center will be the cornerstone for the approximately 200,000 sf devoted to meeting and conventions facilities. www.melia.com, www.bahamar.com
Hilton Worldwide Launches Meetings Simplified
A new national Hilton Worldwide survey of more than 600 U.S. meeting planners reinforces the need for small meeting solutions with nearly a third of business professionals spending an average of two or more hours booking hotel meeting space for an offsite meeting. Launched November 18, Meetings Simplified offers groups of 25 attendees or fewer ease of use, convenience and per person pricing at more than 1,800 properties in the U.S.
The Meetings Simplified basic meeting package includes everything from Wi-Fi and flip charts to soft drinks, tea and coffee included in the per person pricing, as well as additional offerings from select participating brands. Meals and snacks, LCD projectors with monitors and guest rooms may also be added through an a la carte menu.
Designed with feedback from meeting planners, on-the-go workers, entrepreneurs and administrative professionals, Meetings Simplified streamlines the process for booking meetings:
1. Visit www.hiltonworldwide.com/simplified to see a list of participating properties
2. Call the hotel in advance of your planned meeting
3. Book and confirm your meeting with one of our hotel associates
As a part of the Meetings Simplified launch, Hilton Worldwide is sponsoring a weekly Twitter contest through December 9 where followers @HiltonWorldwide can respond to Twitter challenge questions on how they use and book meetings. Followers must answer the question and use the #MeetingsMonday hashtag between 11:00 a.m. EST and 3 p.m. EST every Monday for a chance to win the following:
Nov. 25: A Be My Guest Gift Card for a free one-night stay at a Hilton Worldwide property
Dec. 2: 10,000 frequent flyer miles on any one of Hilton’s U.S. airline partners
Dec. 9: A Be My Guest Gift Card for a free one-night stay at a Hilton Worldwide property
For the official rules of the #MeetingsMonday Twitter Sweepstakes, click here.
EIBTM Industry Trends Report Reveals Optimistic Outlook for 2014
The findings for the EIBTM 2013 Trends Watch Report were presented by Rob Davidson, senior lecturer in events management, University of Greenwich, London, UK during EIBTM, November 19–21, Fira Gran Via, Barcelona, Spain. The report states, “A consensus is forming that, leading into 2014, meetings, events and business travel will continue to remain critical drivers assisting organisations in their efforts to reach their strategic business objectives and effectively communicate with their employees, customers and partners worldwide.”
Davidson, an EIBTM industry analyst, remarked, “This change comes about in recognition of the fact that the move from the fragile recovery of 2012 to a more sustained upturn in the world economy of 2013 has been reflected in growing global demand for meetings, events and business travel. Similarly almost all forecasts for 2014 indicate increasing levels of optimist and growth in these three sectors, albeit modest.”
Key themes included:
Inversion of growth patterns: 2013 has seen a significant inversion of those growth patterns, which had become the norm, since the global economic downturn. Advanced economies are gradually strengthening while at the same time, growth in emerging market economies has slowed down.
Recovery of the corporate meetings sector: Over the past 12 months, there have been numerous indications that companies are increasingly loosening their purse-strings and boosting their spending on corporate events.
Significant increase in international association business: According to the MPI Business Barometer, the outlook of European Industry professionals became markedly more optimistic in the two-month period following their previous survey with predicted business level growth rates rising from 2 percent to 4 percent.
Incentive travel is making a comeback: The Site Index reveals that the overall use of motivational travel experiences was on an upswing with 86 percent of respondents predicting that it will increase (or substantially increase) in the next one to three years.
The report is available online at www.eibtm.com/trendsreport.
Patrick Delaney Receives EIBTM 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award
Patrick Delaney, vice president, industry relations at MCI Group, was presented with the EIBTM 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award at the EIBTM Forum at the Palau de Congressos, Fira Montjuic, Barcelona City Centre. Delaney was recognized for his significant contribution to the meetings and events industry. Graeme Barnett, Reed Travel Exhibitions, senior exhibition director, presented the award and said, “The timing is right for us to recognize Patrick’s enormous contribution to our industry. His passion, commitment and enthusiasm are endless, and I know that his unique style and personality has endeared him to the many people he has met and worked alongside during his travels around the world.”
Following his degree in Hospitality Management, Delaney worked for the Irish Tourist Board for many years in Ireland and the U.S. In 1993, he started Delaney Marketing with Padraic Gilligan and developed a two-man operation into a 50-person business in less than 10 years. An icon in the incentive and meetings industry, Delaney was the first non-U.S. international president of Site. Delaney said, “I’m uncharacteristically speechless and genuinely humbled, to be recognized by such a global powerhouse as Reed Travel Exhibitions for this Lifetime Achievement Award. It’s a huge privilege to work in such a dynamic industry where I’ve learned so much and made so many lifelong friends. But there’s life in the old dog yet and lots more achievements to pursue as the next chapter of a career in this amazing industry unfolds.” www.eibtm.com
Anaheim Resort Area Hotel Development on the Rise
The Anaheim, CA, resort area is in the midst of enhancing and expanding hotel offerings. There are currently four hotel projects underway including The Hyatt Place Anaheim Resort, opening late 2014 with 178 rooms; the Hyatt House Anaheim Resort, opening in 2015 with 252 rooms; and two SpringHill Suites properties, one with 172 rooms and second with 120 rooms. Both SpringHill Suites hotels will open summer of 2014. In total, these hotel projects account for an additional 722 guest rooms.
Future hotel development plans could bring 2,400 additional hotel rooms to the Anaheim Resort area within the next six years. “As our leisure and business visitor figures continue to grow beyond 43 million people annually, Anaheim is well positioned for hotel expansion,” said Jay Burress, president and CEO, Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau. “Anaheim is one of the nation’s leading vacation and convention destinations, and as such, it is only natural that we expand and enhance our hotel offerings to better serve today’s business and leisure travelers. Moving forward, our organization plans to take an active role in discovering and encouraging hotel- and tourism-related projects that will enrich the Anaheim Resort district.” www.anaheimoc.org
Chris Crowley Receives ACTE’s Presidents Award
The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) conferred its highest honor on Chris Crowley, senior vice president, global client team EMEA at BCD Travel. The ACTE Presidents Award signifies the highest level of professional recognition for an individual, whose accomplishments have benefited both the association and the industry. Described as a visionary, a motivator and a natural leader, Crowley received ACTE’s Presidents Award during the group’s recent Global Travel Conference in Barcelona. “Chris Crowley has become something of a legend in business travel circles,” said ACTE President Suzanne Neufang. “He joined ACTE in 2001 and has attended every global conference since then, very often serving with distinction as a voice on the conference planning committee.” Crowley was named ACTE president in 2010. According to Neufang, Crowley introduced several ambitious programs such as the first evolution of the ACTE educational program — Around the World in 80 Hours — and the initial concept of the ACTEcelerator program. “Chris Crowley’s accomplishments also say a lot for BCD Travel’s commitment to ACTE over the years,” said Neufang. “Executive talent goes far when backed by corporate confidence and leadership. And these continue to be important assets within our association.” www.acte.org
The Edgewater Opening August 2014 on Madison’s Waterfront
After a multimillion-dollar renovation and expansion, the historic hotel property The Edgewater, will reopen in August 2014 in the heart of Madison, Wisconsin’s capital. Led by Madison developer Robert Dunn, the revitalization brings an elegant new life to the hotel, which will now feature more than 200 guest rooms, new food and beverage concepts, a fitness and wellness center, an outdoor public plaza, and more.
The project includes the construction of a new hotel tower with a ballroom, restaurant, additional meeting spaces, as well as the preservation of the historic exteriors of the two original buildings erected in the 1940s and 1970s. The three buildings offer 202 guest rooms. The Edgewater offers more than 8,000 sf of meeting space including the Grand Ballroom, Boardroom and Alumni Club. The nearly 3,000-ssf Alumni Club atop the building is an additional private event space overlooking the water. www.theedgewater.com