Strong occupancy, rates lift Choice Hotels' Q1 results | Starwood CEO maintains bullish travel outlook on mounting demand | Hilton eyes 14 hotel openings in Saudi Arabia
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April 30, 2012
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Strong occupancy, rates lift Choice Hotels' Q1 results
Choice Hotels International reported net income of $20 million for the first quarter of 2012 against $15.7 million during the same period in 2011, as well as a 12% rise in revenue, to $129.2 million. Revenue per available room rose 8.6%, while average daily rate and occupancy went up 2.5%, the hotel firm reported. "Domestic [revenue per available room] growth exceeded our expectations due to a combination of strong occupancy gains and increases in average daily rates," said CEO Stephen Joyce. American City Business Journals/Washington, D.C. (4/27)
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Business Update
Starwood CEO maintains bullish travel outlook on mounting demand
Strengthening travel demand and tight supply promise a great future for the global travel industry, says Frits van Paasschen, CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. "Last quarter we suggested 2012 has more potential to surprise on the upside, and we still believe this. Our corporate clients and leisure guests tell us the appetite for travel is quite robust," he said. (4/27)
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Hilton eyes 14 hotel openings in Saudi Arabia
Hilton Worldwide has revealed plans to open 14 more hotels in Saudi Arabia in the next two years, for a total of about 7,000 additional rooms in its inventory. Hilton and a number of global hotel chains are eyeing the country because of its growth potential. "The Saudi money is abundant with the oil price now. In Saudi Arabia, there are huge expectations about internal tourism, which needs infrastructure," said Gabriel Matar of Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels for the Middle East and Africa. The National (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) (4/30)
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Steady occupancy helps lift earnings at Atlantic City, N.J., casino hotels
Casino hotels in Atlantic City, N.J., are increasingly turning to their hotel operations to help shore up profits in the face of declining gambling revenues, this feature notes. Occupancy rates at area hotels have generally hovered above 80%, at average daily rates of around $100. The city's tourism authority is pushing forward with a $20 million marketing campaign to highlight the area's appeal as a destination for those not necessarily looking to gamble. The Press of Atlantic City (N.J.) (tiered subscription model) (4/29)
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Market Trends
Calif. hotels offer learning experiences for foodies
A number of events and programs being offered by hotels around California focus on educational experiences for food lovers. The events include wine tasting classes at the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay; sushi-making classes at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla; and tomato-picking at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (4/29)
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Best Practices
Column: Training design should match the training content
Hoteliers can ensure that their training programs produce the desired outcomes by designing the programs around the specific content of the knowledge that needs to be imparted, Jim Hartigan writes. The content can be classified into "fact, concept, procedure, process and principle," he writes. "Classifying content into one of these five types and following the basic guidelines for how the content is presented and assessed is both instructive and useful because it leads to the development of more effective and efficient training," he writes. (4/27)
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Developer sets summer groundbreaking for JW Marriott in Texas
Work on a 33-story JW Marriott hotel in Austin, Texas, will begin this summer under plans by developer White Lodging. The estimated $300 million hotel will have 1,012 guest rooms and is scheduled for a 2015 opening. USA Today/Hotel Check-in blog (4/27)
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Work on Hotel Palomar in Phoenix is nearly finished
Kimpton Hotels is preparing for the June 5 opening of the 242-room Hotel Palomar in Phoenix as construction on the property continues to wind down. The $90 million hotel seeks to draw convention-goers with its 15,000 square feet of meeting space, sustainable practices and two bars. The Arizona Republic (Phoenix) (tiered subscription model) (4/28)
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Government Affairs
Low pay, meager benefits burden Seattle hotel workers, report says
A report by nonprofit group Puget Sound Sage says that hotel workers in Seattle are suffering from low wages and inadequate health care benefits. Marlene Colucci, AH&LA's executive vice president for public policy, responded to the report's findings by pointing out that the union Unite Here contributed to the study and that makes the report's critique of hotels "nothing more than propaganda." When unions try to organize workers in new cities, reports like this tend to surface, Colucci says. USA Today/Hotel Check-in blog (4/27)
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Rockford, Ill., hoteliers contemplate closing pools over new rules
The May 21 deadline for compliance with new rules under the Americans with Disabilities Act governing pool lifts may mean a number of pool closings in the Rockford, Ill., area as hoteliers consider the steep costs involved. "We're getting to the point where we may have to look at the costs versus benefits of keeping the pool. So many municipalities are just shutting their pools down because of the cost," said Dale Adams, mayor of the village of Rockton, Ill. Rockford Register Star (Ill.) (4/29)
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AH&LA News
American Express and AH&LA give hospitality credit
Now on AH&LA's site, you'll find an array of business services from American Express to help you better understand and connect with your guests. Resources include Business Insights, which analyzes consumer spending trends and Loyalty Edge, which provides tools to optimize loyalty programs, as well as small business resources and gift card options. Visit to learn more.
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STR supports Annual Giving fund
STR contributed $5,000 to the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation Annual Giving Campaign, marking its third consecutive $5,000 donation. All AH&LEF contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. For more information about donating, visit
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A sound mind in a sound body is a short but full description of a happy state in this world."
-- John Locke,
British philosopher
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