Noble increases focus on transient-demand hotels | Details on Sahara's rebirth as SLS Las Vegas are revealed | Great Wolf Resorts shares rise on buyout offer

April 6, 2012
AH&LA SmartBrief
News for hotel and lodging professionals

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FelCor Lodging agrees to sell 6 hotels for $103M
FelCor Lodging Trust is selling a portfolio of six hotels to an undisclosed buyer in a deal expected to close by the end of the second quarter. The portfolio comprises 1,527 rooms at a price of $67,500 per room, for a total sale price of about $103 million. (4/5), Bloomberg (4/5)
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Business Update
Noble increases focus on transient-demand hotels
Noble Investment Group is looking to update its hotel portfolio so that it will comprise primarily transient-demand-driven properties, said CEO Mit Shah. "As you see our portfolio going forward, it will have a very, very high bias to premium select service and extended stay and compact full service, which generate most of the demand from the transient traveler," he said. (4/4)
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Details on Sahara's rebirth as SLS Las Vegas are revealed
The owner of the shuttered Sahara hotel-casino is shedding light on its plans to reopen the iconic casino as SLS Las Vegas. Debt-rating company Moody's has said that Stockbridge/SBE Holdings intends to contribute $329 million in equity, but would also seek to raise at least $415 million more in a combined first-lien term loan and junior debt. The SLS Las Vegas could open in 2014 with renovated rooms and a 21,000-square-foot nightclub. (Las Vegas) (4/4), Las Vegas Review-Journal (4/4)
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Pat Croce Reveals His Insights for Acting on Your Passion
If you're ready to "get your butt off the couch and get into the game of life," it's time to get inspired by this successful entrepreneur and leadership expert. Read the featured article.

Market Trends
Marriott brands launch their own travel magazines
Marriott's Autograph Collection, JW Marriott and Renaissance Hotels brands have introduced their own travel-oriented magazines in a bid to improve guests' "in-room reading experience," this feature says. The magazines showcase notable properties in each brand as well as information on travel destinations, lifestyle trends and business-related issues. USA Today/Hotel Check-in blog (4/5)
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Hotels focus on value to draw travelers amid steep gas prices
Instead of offering gas cards like many hotels, a few lodging establishments such as Homewood Suites by Hilton are promoting their amenities' value for the dollar to attract guests despite high fuel prices, this feature says. "There will be a big focus on value and the ability to really make your dollar stretch further," said Bill Duncan, global leader of brand management at Homewood Suites. Other inducements include advance-purchase offers and special promotions. USA Today/Hotel Check-in blog (4/5)
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Corporate group travel is heating up again
Group business travel is not only on the rebound, but businesses are once again springing for perk-laden retreats to reward their executives. However, this post-bailout time around, the group getaways are not nearly as extravagant as before the recent recession. "Retreat trips are coming back smaller, shorter and with much fuller agendas than before," Sarah White writes. Forbes (4/4)
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Business Tips and Advice
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Best Practices
Column: Focused hiring ensures service excellence
Hoteliers should tweak their hiring procedure to catch the more dedicated and productive "A players," writes John Tschohl, founder and president of the Service Quality Institute. This ensures that the entire service workforce possesses a common drive toward excellence. "Look for people who smile, are enthusiastic, and have a good attitude and a neat appearance. Develop a list of questions to use during each interview, so you get answers that are easy to compare and evaluate among applicants," Tschohl writes. 4Hoteliers (4/4)
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Developers set groundbreaking for Philadelphia hotel project
April 17 will mark the start of construction on a $60 million hotel project in Philadelphia, to be developed by Parkway Corp. and Wurzak Hotel Group. The planned 246-room hotel will open by 2013 under the Home2 Suites by Hilton brand. American City Business Journals/Philadelphia (4/5)
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Milwaukee hotel, apartment projects secure committee approval
A Common Council committee in Milwaukee has approved construction of a 20-story hotel and a 36-unit apartment building. Plans call for a 380-room hotel, with work scheduled to begin in late spring. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (tiered subscription model) (4/5)
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AH&LA News
New diversity video features lodging CEOs
A new video emphasizing the business case for promoting and pursuing diversity features several leading CEOs highlighting its importance to their workforce, guests and vendors. View the video and other resources to help drive new business.
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Distribution Channel Analysis: A Guide for Hotels
This special report, just released by AH&LA and STR and published by the HSMAI Foundation, discusses the effects of channel mix on profitability and what the industry can expect in the future. It's based on interviews with hundreds of industry executives and data from more than 25,000 hotels and 100 brands. You'll gain insight for determining your optimal channel mix.
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Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof."
-- John Kenneth Galbraith,
Canadian-American economist
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