Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

June 10 2013

Big Changes at Big Hotel Brands

By David McMillin, Staff Writer

As business travel returns to normal, hoteliers are looking to attract more guests and more profits. Here’s a snapshot of the key recent developments at three of the world’s biggest brands.

Marriott Goes After Millennials

Meeting planners aren’t the only ones searching for ways to attract the coveted 18 - 29 age group. Hoteliers are also aiming to turn millennials into loyal guests, and Marriott is taking a big step toward reaching that goal by bringing its AC Hotels brand to the States. Currently, the properties are gaining popularity across the pond in Spain thanks to features like libraries that offer locally relevant reading materials, free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and lobby lounges that serve small plates and craft beers.

“By importing AC Hotels by Marriott into the US, we believe we can increase Marriott’s overall market share among younger business travelers who make three or more business trips a year,” Brian King, global brand officer, Marriott Endorsed Brands, said in a statement. “We have identified an industry void among consumers who are connected, communal and curious with an urban spirit and desire a design-focused hotel brand that is widely distributed.

SEE ALSO: Making Sense of the Millennial Generation

Starwood Sees More Opportunities in China

Thinking about hosting a meeting in China? Starwood wants to give your attendees a place to stay. The company announced that it will open 20 new properties throughout the country this year. Don’t expect to see all of them in Beijing and Shanghai, either. Seventy percent of its new hotels under construction or in development are in second and third-tier cities.

“We continue to view China as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our business, Frits van Paasschen, President and CEO, Starwood, said in a statement. “Whether it’s growing our hotel footprint as part of the country’s massive infrastructure development, or aggressively building our loyalty program in the world’s fastest growing domestic and outbound travel market, we are focused on taking every advantage of our important first-mover position in China.”

SEE ALSO: 3 Trends That Will Redefine Hotels

Hilton Closes Doors on Room Service at One Major Property

If you’re looking to order your breakfast in your bathrobe while staying at the New York Hilton Midtown, you’re going to look pretty awkward in the lobby. The hotel will soon replace room service with a new self-service Herb n’ Kitchen location.

It’s a move that some hospitality experts expect to see grow into an industry-wide trend as more properties work to offer more affordable dining options. Why? As travelers become even more budget-aware, PKF Hospitality Consulting recently called attention to the reality that even expense-account guests are more mindful of what they spend on food and beverage options.

SEE ALSO: The New Normal of Business Travel

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