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. IHG continues to roll out new design for Holiday Inn Express

AH&LA SmartBrief | May 15, 2015

Aimed at appealing to today's traveler, InterContinental Hotels Group's implementation of its new Formula Blue design prototype for its Holiday Inn Express brand focuses on simplicity, sleep quality and ease of maintenance. The new design is required for new construction and future renovations. Lodging magazine online (05/12)

4. 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)

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. 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)

7. Tips on how to deal with unsatisfactory online reviews

AH&LA SmartBrief | May 15, 2015

Online reviews are key to hotel bookings, and negative or false online reviews can be damaging. Ilse Scott, an attorney in Michelman & Robinson's hospitality group, lists some best practices on how to deal with such reviews, such as posting an immediate response, thanking the reviewer by name, apologizing for the guest's bad experience and touting changes made as a result of the review. (05/13)

8. 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)

9. After $16M makeover, Hawaiian hotel to debut later this year as DoubleTree by Hilton

AH&LA SmartBrief | May 15, 2015

American City Business Journals (05/14)

10. 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)

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