Most Clicked AH&LA SmartBrief Stories

1. World's largest hotel complex will have 10,000 rooms

AH&LA SmartBrief | May 19, 2015

Construction on the Abraj Kudai, what will become the world's largest hotel, is underway in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The $3.5 billion project includes 12 towers topped with helipads, 10,000 rooms, a shopping mall, 70 restaurants, a convention center and floors exclusively for royalty. TravelPulse (05/18) USA Today (05/17)

2. Moody National REIT to buy 149 hotels from Goldman Sachs for $1.73B

AH&LA SmartBrief | May 20, 2015

Moody National REIT will purchase 149 hotels from Goldman Sachs, sources said. The acquisition of the limited-service properties, worth an estimated $1.73 billion, will increase the REIT's assets to $2.5 billion. "The portfolio is poised to take advantage of increased demand with continued lack of supply," CEO Brett Moody said. Bloomberg (05/19)

3. 21c Museum Hotels unveils ambitious plans to outperform peers in Ind.

AH&LA SmartBrief | May 18, 2015

21c Museum Hotels has announced its aggressive plan to outshine similar properties by more than 50% with its line of art-centric hotels starting with the conversion of Indianapolis' Old City Hall, which will include 149 rooms, a gallery, and event and office spaces. "We think the demand for quality hotel rooms is strong and getting stronger. We think these projections are very realistic," said Craig Greenberg, 21c's president. Analysts say the forecast is credible though ambitious. Indianapolis Business Journal (free registration) (05/16)

4. AH&LA seeks to raise consumer awareness on fraudulent booking sites

AH&LA SmartBrief | May 21, 2015

The growing use of online bookings for travel has given rise to more fraudulent booking websites that are causing travelers and the hospitality industry many problems, mainly due to scam artists who prey on unwitting consumers using these sites. With $152 billion of travel expected to be spent via online bookings this year, AH&LA is taking steps to inform consumers about these rogue vendors and what they and the industry can do to protect themselves. Lodging magazine online (05/20)

5. Hilton to rebrand Embassy Suites, Hampton Hotels by adding "by Hilton"

AH&LA SmartBrief | May 19, 2015

Hilton Worldwide Holdings has announced that all its Embassy Suites and Hampton Hotels brands will soon have the phrase "by Hilton" added to their names. "Research and historical brand data indicate that guests are more likely to stay at a 'by Hilton' hotel, and we are confident that this simple global modification to the Embassy Suites and Hampton brands will have a positive impact on brand performance," said Jim Holthouser, executive vice president of global brands. American City Business Journals (05/18) (free registration) (05/18)

6. The top 10 hotel spas in the U.S.

AH&LA SmartBrief | May 19, 2015

USA Today has released its "10Best Readers' Choice" list of top hotel spas in the U.S. The hotel spas that made the list, starting at the top, are: Spa at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando (Fla.) Grand Lakes; Spa at The Four Seasons Atlanta; Ritz-Carlton Spa, Amelia Island, Fla.; Spa at La Posada de Santa Fe in New Mexico; Spa at Loretto at The Inn & Spa at Loretto in New Mexico; Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa at The Plaza, New York City; Well & Being at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Spa at Belmond Charleston Place, Charleston, S.C.; Spa at The Four Seasons Rancho Encantado, Santa Fe, N.M.; and Spa at The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte, Charlotte, N.C. USA Today (05/15)

7. Ritz-Carlton offers wide range of luxury experiences

AH&LA SmartBrief | May 19, 2015

Writer Larry Olmsted touts the Ritz-Carlton's move to diversify the luxury experience it offers with a "wide range of highly differentiated and unique properties, from the giant log cabin that is Bachelor Gulch, [Colo.], to the very Zen and place[-]sensitive Kyoto hotel in Japan." He points to the new Ritz-Carlton Reserve, characterizing it as "a small and elite portion of the Ritz-Carlton family." Forbes (05/15)

8. Revenue management focus shifts from profit to demand

AH&LA SmartBrief | May 19, 2015

Making changes to key performance indicators can prove to be a nightmare for revenue managers in the hospitality industry, according to panelists Nicolas Alsterdal of Nordic Choice Hotels and Sara Destruel of Pestana Hotels & Resorts at a recent conference on total revenue management. Teamwork remains key to the success of any revenue management strategy, but tenacity coupled with gentleness is also required, the panelists said, as focus shifts from profit to demand in today's total revenue management environment. (05/18)

9. Starwood personalizes guest visits with Apple technology

AH&LA SmartBrief | May 18, 2015

Guests at selected Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide will be given a more high-tech experience as part of their stay when the hospitality group begins rolling out smart technology for concept rooms. What to expect? Touch the mirror to get weather updates, unlock the door using an iPhone or Apple watch, and have a robot butler deliver necessities such as sewing kits, toothbrushes and toothpaste. Mashable (05/15)

10. Hotels offer extra-special service to keep VIPs coming back for more

AH&LA SmartBrief | May 22, 2015

Shane Green, founder and president of SGE International, offers the inside scoop on providing VIP service to celebrity guests. "What we learn in the hotel businesses is that a celebrity has a great way to basically promote you," he said. "So you learn those little things that make them feel like at home or makes them stand out to grab their attention and keep them coming back." Haute Living online (05/20)

Sign up for AH&LA SmartBrief

Designed specifically for hotel and lodging executives like you, AH&LA SmartBrief is a FREE daily e-mail newsletter. It provides the latest need-to-know news and industry information that maximizes your time, giving you an edge over your competition. Learn more