Worldwide briefing

08 December 2004 by
Worldwide briefing

Essential news from around the world…

Website bookings overtake call centre reservations at Hilton
Hilton Hotels Corporation of the USA revealed that bookings made through its own websites overtook reservations made through its call centres in the month of October. Its websites took bookings for more than 927,000 (13% of all reservations) compared with 863,000 from its 16 worldwide call centres. Bookings made on third-party websites fell by 3% to account for 2.5% of all bookings.

Small Luxury Hotels kicks out 30 members
A tough new "excel or exit" regime has stimulated record applications to join Small Luxury Hotels, says the UK-based consortium. While more than 30 members have left, mostly at the request of the consortium, 53 new members from 22 countries have signed up for the 2005 directory. Applications to join the 329-strong consortium are running at more than 200 a year.

Four-star hotels in Paris lead revpar recovery
French chain hotels boosted revenue per available room by 5% in October, according to a survey of 10,000 properties by MKG Consulting. The biggest rise came from four-star hotels in Paris, which boosted revpar by 16% on the back of increased exhibition activity.

Mandarin Oriental to manage new hotel in Prague
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group is to manage a luxury, 98-bedroom hotel that will open in the centre of Prague in the Czech Republic in early 2006. It will be housed in a building that began life as a 14th century monastery. The group currently operates 20 luxury hotels around the world, and has another six under development.

Days Inn checks into the former Soviet Union
The Cendant Hotel Group has awarded Moscow-based Hermitage Hospitality the master franchise to develop more than 45 Days Inn hotels across the former Soviet Union during the next five years. Hermitage will be seeking sites in Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

Bell resigns from McDonald's to battle cancer Charlie Bell has stepped down from his role as president and chief executive officer at fast-food giant McDonald's to focus on his battle against cancer. Australian-born Bell took on the role after Jim Cantalupo died of a heart attack in April. The role of chief executive goes to Jim Skinner, who was vice-chairman, while the role of president passes to Mike Roberts, formerly chief executive officer of McDonald's USA.

Rezidor announces new hotels in Nigeria and France
Rezidor SAS Hospitality is to manage a landmark 150-bedroom hotel being built on the waterfront of Victoria Island in Lagos, Nigeria. The city business hotel, which will include five meeting rooms, a swimming pool and a health club, will open in late 2005. The group has also signed a franchise agreement to convert the 150-bedroom Crowne Plaza hotel in Biarritz, France, into a Radisson SAS hotel from January 2005.

US hotels boost first half profits A typical full-service hotel in the USA improved gross operating profits by 8.4% in the first half of 2004, according to a survey of 700 properties by the Hospitality Research Group. It forecasts that strong improvements in occupancy and average room rates will bring even higher profit growth in the second half. However, it adds that the sector will not regain the peak performances recorded between 1999 and 2000 until 2006 or 2007.

by Angela Frewin

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