Millennials' desires have made the travel industry better for older generations in several ways, the most important of which is an Amazon-esque expectation of personalization -- knowing what individual guests want and providing it immediately. In the coming years, travelers of all ages also will continue to place importance on vastly improved technology, sustainability and food as a destination, not an afterthought.
The Davenport Grand Hotel in Spokane, Wash., is taking reservations for private rooftop igloos with stellar views of the city and riverfront. The lighted, transparent structures can seat up to six for socializing and feature tables, blankets and speakers -- though their heating only bumps the interior temperature up about 5 degrees above the outdoor temperature.
Improving virtual concierges, taking a more holistic approach to design, weaving in local customs and providing kitchen access are among the many ways several experts recommend for increasing hotel bookings.
The Sacramento, Calif., City Council has voted to require all of the city's 80 hotels to equip workers with panic buttons for protection against harassment and sexual assault. The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors recently mandated the devices for all hotels in the county but excluded those in city limits.
Basic amenities such as making a specific seat reservation, bringing a carry-on bag and having a printed boarding pass used to be included with the purchase of any airline ticket, but travelers must now pay fees or join a frequent flier program to benefit from these perks. The loss of these extras does not come with a corresponding decrease in ticket prices, and airlines are bringing in billions of dollars in fees.
Variations on the traditional sommelier role are turning up at hotels around the world. For instance, staffing at the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach in Florida includes a water sommelier, the Hilton Playa del Carmen in Mexico has an on-site tequilier and Bourbon University at the Kentucky Castle inn in Lexington has a "bourbon steward-in-residence."
The iconic Harrah's Reno Hotel and Casino will close after 82 years with the forthcoming sale by Caesars Entertainment and VICI properties to a developer that plans to convert it to a nongaming resort. Las Vegas-based CAI Investments will pay $50 million for the Nevada property that launched the Harrah's name, now attached to 17 US properties.
Small Luxury Hotels of the World has added five new properties to its portfolio, including Barcelona's The Wittmore and Montenegro's Villa Geba. Susafa in Sicily, Italy; Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton, N.Y.; and Angkor Village Hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia, also are now Small Luxury Hotels.
Woman cares for orphaned baby swamp wallaby in Australia. (Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
More than a dozen luxury hotels around the world are auctioning off stays at their properties as part of a high-end auction to support the rescue of Australian wildlife, and bids are being accepted through Jan. 27. The unprecedented fires have cost Australia's tourism industry $690 million as of Thursday.
Global tourism rates are hitting record highs as consumers flock to book reservations with airlines, hotels and other travel brands. As the competition heads up and companies like Airbnb radically change the hospitality landscape, it's critical to understand what customers demand from the travel brands across the board. Read more here.
Jake Kheel, Vice President of the Grupo Puntacana Foundation believes that the luxury hotel industry can be a driving force behind changing paradigms around sustainability, implementing strategies that put resorts in a better place to protect themselves from natural disasters and work towards a better future overall. He talks about the case of Puntacana Resort & Club here.
SmartBrief will not publish Monday
In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US, SmartBrief will not publish Monday. Publication will resume Tuesday.
You know there are moments such as these when time stands still and all you do is hold your breath and hope it will wait for you.