Pictures of the day




In February, the Choice Hotels Owners Council won the Guinness World Record with the largest mosaic made entirely of hotel key cards. The 562-square-foot work totals 13,325 guest-room key cards. 


Chinese developer to build 140 Fairfield hotels

Thursday, February 18, 2016 – Cheng Xinhua, left, founder, president and chief executive officer of Eastern Crown Hotels Group in Hong Kong, China, and Craig S. Smith, president and managing director of Marriott International Asia Pacific, bang a gong to celebrate a new collaboration between Eastern Crown and Marriott to develop FairfieldSM hotels in mainland China.

The agreement targets having 140 hotels signed in five years, of which 100 are expected to be opened by 2021. The introduction of the Fairfield brand is a significant milestone in Marriott’s expansion into the midscale hotel segment in China, and is part of the company's strategic plan to expand rapidly across a broad spectrum of price tiers and locations across the country. Each Fairfield hotel will have 100-150 rooms.

“China is the fastest-growing market in Asia for us. The rising disposable incomes of the middle class and development of the consumption-led economy is driving an increased demand for higher quality mid-range accommodation,” said Smith. “Fairfield will focus on young consumers and business travelers looking for a comfortable and productive stay at a great value.”

La Quinta Inn & Suites Del Sol debuts in Texas


La Quinta Inn & Suites in College Station, Texas, is the first property to feature the new Del Sol design.

Newly developed by Amr Hotels of Irving, Texas, the hotel is a first for owners Ajay Patel and Mukesh “Mike” Patel, who celebrated the hotel’s grand opening on May 27.

So pleased are the hoteliers with the property’s look, guest appeal and operational efficiencies they plan to construct five more Del Sol hotels in Texas.

Murry J. Cathlina, EVP of design and construction at La Quinta, said the design maximizes revenue per square foot while maintaining a competitive cost per key. The new prototype's operational functionality is enhanced to lower ongoing expenses for hotel owners. Amr Hotels partners said they built the 89-room hotel at about $65,000 a key.

Del Sol is designed to accommodate hotels with 89 to 120 plus units – 80 percent rooms and 20 percent suites – in four stories. The architecture is scalable to tracts of land and market demands. La Quinta’s urban design is for hotels with fewer than 89 rooms. Both hotels are designed to attract business travelers. 

Rest and recharge

Wednesday, July 08, 2015 - GUESTS AT THE Element Dallas Fort Worth Airport can rest and recharge their electronic devices under the hotel’s new solar canopy developed by Sistine Solar Inc. for the Starwood Hotels & Resorts extended-stay brand. The energy used to re-boost batteries is captured in the sun-driven solar panels. Built as an off-grid installation, the Solar Canopy charging station was designed in partnership with Brooklyn-based architect Ajmal Aqtash. Additionally, the canopy has integrated LEDs that allow for night-time lighting.

Gnome place like Expedia Inc.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 - Expedia Inc.’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, front row, second from left, and other employees of the OTA, last week celebrated Expedia’s $280 million acquisition of Travelocity, another global OTA, from Sabre Corp. The Travel Gnome is the Travelocity brand mascot.

Expedia has been operating the OTA since 2013 under Sabre’s guidelines. The “white label” deal gave Expedia the first right of refusal to purchase Travelocity at a fair market price when the time came.

Expedia did not refuse, Capt. Obvious, and paid a relatively low price for struggling enterprise. Consider that in 2014 Expedia – a $48 billion company – spent $650 million last year upgrading its hotel-facing technology and more than $2.6 billion in travel marketing. The acquisition gives Expedia more market share in North America. 

Covered with compassion

A-1 Textiles & Hospitality Products Inc. gives a thousand blankets to two non-profit housing shelters in Phoenix, site of its new and expanded distribution center…

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 – A-1 TEXTILES & Hospitality Products Inc., a leading hotel distributor, celebrated its new distribution center by donating1,000 blankets to two Phoenix-based charities, UMOM and StreetLightUSA.

The donation was highlighted during the 2014 Lodging Conference held Oct. 21-23 in Phoenix. Sharon Pederson, pictured left, resource development manager for UMOM, and Patsi Kovalesky, a representative for StreetLightUSA, were on hand to accept blankets donated to their non-profit organizations

A-1 Textiles President Carol Moran, says, “For the past few years we’ve given away bathrobes and towels in the welcome bags at The Lodging Conference. Although they’ve been received with rave reviews, they are bulky and difficult to transport home. Rather than gifting these blankets to attendees, we are giving them to two organizations that truly need them.”

Conference-goers, including The Lodging Conference co-founder Harry Javer, were pleased about the project.“I am very involved in a number of charities myself and have incredible respect for companies who choose to get involved in the communities,” said Javer. “On the 20th anniversary of The Lodging Conference couldn’t be more proud that our event was the catalyst for donations for two charities in our host city of Phoenix.”

UMOM Resource Development Manager Sharon Pederson and Patsi Kovalesky a representative for StreetLightUSA, were on hand to accept the blankets for their organizations. 

UMOM is the largest homeless shelter in Phoenix. The organization works to keep families together, housing families with children while helping parents to build sustainable skills that give them the ability to rebuild their family’s life. Pederson said, “I’m thrilled that we will be receiving all of the beautiful blankets. Our facility experienced a flood earlier this year, which has taxed our resources more than usual and makes A-1 Textile’s generosity well timed.”

Kovalesky said StreetLightUSA “can ALWAYS use the blankets. We have a shelter that houses 48 women, girls 11-18, that have been rescued from human- or sex-trafficking situations across the U.S.”

StreetLightUSA also works with local law enforcement and others to assist hundreds of girls rescued from captive situations as police raid take place as part of Arizona’s “Not Buying It” campaign based in the greater Phoenix area. So the demand for such items as blankets is continual and great.

Moran said A-1 Textiles has become a full distributor for the hospitality industry and its Phoenix warehouse means the company can give “a broader depth of products” to non-profits in the area. It plans to continue the project at the 2015 Lodging Conference.


Global Week of Service

Thursday, November 06, 2014 – In October, Hilton Worldwide celebrated Global Week of Service, the company's worldwide annual volunteer event. Now in its third year, the company's largest expression of community service included more than 3,500 projects designed to address the social, economic and environmental needs in 86 countries.

Pictured are team members at Mosaic Family Services in Dallas, Texas, a shelter for survivors of human rights abuses, including human trafficking. Volunteers came from the Hilton Anatole hotel in Dallas.

Elsewhere in the U.S. , Embassy Suites brand sponsored seven projects with 42 participating hotels and 210 volunteers, including resume review and interview skills sessions for young people and job seekers. And in San Francisco more than 200 volunteers celebrated Hilton San Francisco's 50th anniversary in true service spirit by assembling more than 24,800 meals. Service projects also took place in Mexico, EMEA and Asia Pacific.



Winner of Marriott's Fast Pitch Business Case Competition

Keyur Methawala, second from right, is the winner the 2nd Annual Fast Pitch Business Case Competition sponsored by Marriott during the 2014 Network of Indian Professionals Conference held in Bethesda, Md. 

The competition is designed to identify promising entrepreneurs and help them start new ventures or enhance existing ones.

Finalists had a few minutes to pitch their idea in front of investors and senior business leaders.

Pictured with Methawala are, at right, Apoorva Gandhi, vice president of multicultural affairs for Marriott International; and Nitin Shah, an Atlanta banker and hotel owner. The other man is unidentified.


Marriott’s Moxy debuts in Milan

Boutique brand aims to reinvent economy hotel experience... 

Thursday, September 04, 2014 – MOXY MADE ITS debut today in Milan, Italy. A boutique hotel concept launched by Marriott International, the brand targets the budget savvy traveler while reinventing  the traditional economy hotel experience.

"Moxy is the essence of the next generation traveler, not only Gen X and Y but guests with a younger sensibility, for whom contemporary style is paramount," said Tina Edmundson, global brand officer for Marriott International's luxury and lifestyle brands. "Every aspect of Moxy Hotels has been thoughtfully researched and crafted to reflect and deliver on the ever changing lifestyles and expectations of this rapidly growing customer segment."

Investor interest has been “exceptional,” says Marriott, and to date it has signed 11 Moxy hotels, all to open throughout Europe by the end of 2016 in Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin in Germany; Oslo, Norway; Aberdeen, Scotland and London, United Kingdom.

Rate at the 162-room Moxy Milan begins at €79 or $102.82.

Inter Hospitality is the owner and developer and Nordic Hospitality is the franchisee.

EVEN rolls out welcome ... er, wellness ... mat

Commemorating the opening of the nation’s first wellness-focused EVEN Hotel in Norwalk, Conn., Mayor Harry Rilling joined Kirk Kinsell, president, Americas at InterContinental Hotels Group;  Joel Eisemann, chief development officer, Americas at IHG; Jim Anhut, senior vice president, Americas design & quality at IHG; Francie Schulwolf, vice president, corporate communications at IHG; Adam Glickman, head of EVEN Hotels; and Brian Griffin, vice president of Norwalk Chamber of Commerce to unroll a giant well-come yoga mat as part of the wellness-themed “ribbon cutting” at the Celebration of Wellness community event held Thursday, July 17, at the new EVEN Hotel Norwalk.  Photo courtesy of IHG.