Y!kes, has developed an application which can unlock your hotel room door. The proximity awareness technology allows guests to bypass check-in and go straight to their room. The company plans to add more capabilities like controlling room temperature, lighting and TV preferences. The mobile app works with Apple, Blackberry and Microsoft smartphones. (Hotelmanagement.net, Oct 25)
Corporate negotiated hotel rates for 2013 will increase between 5% and 6.5%, according to New York University’s Bjorn Hanson. Based on industry data and interviews with hotel and corporate travel executives, Hanson determined that buyers currently are planning for 3%-5% increases while hoteliers are aiming to hike negotiated rates by 7%-9%. Hanson added that hoteliers also will seek to charge separately for such amenities as Internet access, breakfast and use of fitness centers rather than including them in contract rates. Business Travel News, 10-22-12.
In 2014 Marriot’s international luxury brand, Ritz-Carlton will debut its first hotel in Tunis, at Carthage in the Sidi Bou Said district. The beach front property adjacent to the Presidential Palace will offer 129 guest rooms, seven restaurants and bars and many upscale amenities synonymous with the brand. Ritz-Carlton has eight hotels in the Middle-East Africa region and 85 worldwide. (TravelWeekly.com, Sept. 11)
A multi-hotel complex and convention center has been announced for land surrounding Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The Chicago Convention Center, a project of the Intercontinental Regional Center Trust of Chicago (IRCTC) and Chicago developer Anshoo Sethi, combines convention center facilities with multiple luxury hotels all at the same site. Over the course of the 2-year construction period, and first 10 years of operation, the development is projected to produce a $2.6 billion economic impact, of which $1.1 billion will benefit local workers in the form of wages. (Travelpulse.com, July 17)
Hilton Worldwide has signed a Management Agreement with Obeikan Real Estate Development Company for the fourth Hilton Hotels & Resorts property in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, scheduled to open in 2014. The brand new hotel will be next door to the iconic Kingdom Tower, located at the hub of all commercial and administrative activity in the Kingdom and near the Diplomatic Quarter and the King Khaled International Airport. The hotel will feature 210 rooms, a specialty restaurant, all-day dining outlet as well as a pool and lobby lounges. Other facilities include; a business center, health club and spa, an executive lounge and event and meeting space. (Hiltonglobalmediacenter.com, January 11)
Chic, high-styled, yet limited-service hotels are popping up on the west and east coasts to serve a younger demographic seeking a boutique hotel experience at an inexpensive rate. Starwood established it’s Aloft brand, opening hotels last year in Harlem and this year in downtown Brooklyn, with a hip bar and pool table near the lobby but no restaurant. The rooms feature showers, no bathtubs or full closets and the properties have no swimming pools or spas. Prices start at $169 per night. (WSJ.com, July 25)