Entry Denied: Why Modernizing Travel Is Imperative For Business

KHALED MUILHY | May 29, 2019 | 121 views

The wait finally seemed to be over after a 15-hour flight. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the airport, I finally found myself standing in front of an immigration officer who I expected to stamp my passport, but instead rejected my entry into the country. In this era of digitization, backed by powerful technologies, it never crossed my mind that I’d be denied entry due to an invalid visa status, following a system failure in updating the database. The wait was not over. The return journey had just begun costing me an additional 45 hours, not to mention the mental and physical agony that came with it for free.

Spotlight

Budgetplaces.com

budgetplaces.com is the Nr. 1 booking website for budget accommodation worldwide. budgetplaces.com offers over 10,000 low-cost accommodation options in more than 100 countries worldwide. The Barcelona based company’s slogan “Save on the hotel. Spend on the fun.” is justified by an average savings of 120€ per booking with budgetplaces.com.

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AIRLINES AND AIRPORTS

Leveraging AI English Language Training Tools to Address Travel Surge

Article | July 12, 2022

Following the relaxation of travel restrictions worldwide, the travel and hospitality industries are bracing for a surge in demand, which will be exacerbated by the upcoming holiday season. As widespread delays and cancellations become more likely, companies like airlines are looking for new ways to put customer experience first. In a global workplace, not being able to speak more than one language, especially English, can hurt productivity and customer service. For this reason, people who work with customers need to have good communication skills. Investing in AI English Language Training Tools Traditional training for staff in the travel and hospitality industries requires in-person sessions. It can be expensive and impractical because employees have tight work schedules and staff operates in different time zones. AI app-based training alternatives solve these key issues, allowing employees to learn "on-the-fly" whenever possible. Digital training alternatives can provide greater levels of personalization for task assignment and user feedback. This individualized approach to staff development is difficult to replicate in large in-person sessions. Because all tasks are given and done digitally, management teams can track each user's progress and how well training is going for the whole department. Offering Excellent Customer Experience English communication is vital to offering an excellent customer experience and long-term profitability as the travel industry recovers. Artificial intelligence-powered English language training solutions stand out from the crowd. This technology has the potential to constantly advance and improve over time, thanks to its own learning community. Ed-tech learning tools that incorporate future-proofed AI technology will enable providers to confidently invest in training, increase staff engagement, and provide best-in-class customer experiences to global travelers. As a result, companies in the travel and hospitality industries that put communication skills training at the top of their list of priorities and speed it up can increase customer loyalty and stay competitive with other market leaders.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,AIRLINES AND AIRPORTS

Crypto Tourism: A Quick Guide

Article | September 29, 2022

Cryptocurrencies have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. They have progressed from a speculative asset class to one gaining widespread mainstream acceptance. And it's not just retail investors who are interested; cryptocurrencies are finding applications in various industries, including tourism. Yes, the travel industry, like many others, has warmed up to these virtual digital assets. It has even spawned a new type of operation, namely crypto tourism. Introduction to Crypto Tourism Crypto tourism is categorized into two broad groups: the first has tours and travel packages purchased with cryptocurrency. Emirates Airlines, the biggest airline in the UAE, has said it will soon accept bitcoin as a form of payment. Air Baltic, a Latvian airline, has also been accepting bitcoin for a long time. The second type of crypto tourism is trips and travel packages where crypto conferences, classes, or lectures are a big part of the schedule. You might not understand why someone would take a vacation to go to a lecture or learn about blockchain. Well, most people don't go on vacations like these. Instead, they focus on entrepreneurs and crypto fans who want to network, meet people with similar interests, and discuss business ideas. In addition to the usual sightseeing and relaxing, these crypto trips include talks by well-known speakers and industry veterans. Limitation and Scope Crypto tourism is a small market with few options, and only a small number of travel partners accept crypto payments. Also, the people who put on some crypto trips often use these events to sell ICOs and do other marketing. However, crypto tours are great for people who want to learn about cryptocurrencies, meet others interested in the same things, and relax. They are also great if you want digital money to pay for your trip. Then, you don't have to worry about currency exchange rates or losing cash. A Different Reality Crypto tourism might be niche, but it is a new reality in the travel industry. It allows safe transactions and innovative tours, which many businesses are keen about.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Smart Airports: Hassle-free Air Travel & Revenue

Article | July 7, 2022

Airports are embracing data and technology to improve the experience for both passengers and vendors. Such ‘smart airports’ where internet-connected devices control functions like thermostats and security using cloud-based technologies to enhance the consumer experience, are quickly becoming commonplace. The Emergence of Smart Airports Smart Airports were made to solve control and management problems that airports are having more and more of because of the number of people and goods that go through them. Because of this, experts from all over the world are focusing on smart airports, which use the latest developments in telecommunications, infrastructure, robotics, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Advantages of Smart Airports Real-time data improves operational efficiency. Cost reduction, productivity improvement, and operational perfection. Demand optimization through passenger flow control and entry automation. Improved passenger handling, flight control, check-in, etc. Biometric monitoring systems, advanced cyber security, and reliable operations and maintenance improve surveillance and security. Better ground and health surveillance (cleaning frequencies, availability of amenities, etc.). The Revenue Angle A smart airport uses Wi-Fi access points as sensors to track passengers’ location and record their dwell times. With this data, the airport could place signs and ads where they would be seen. While landing travelers previously made few purchases, this airport placed signs for products they may want to buy before leaving where they would be seen. The result was increased sales for retailers and landside revenue for the airport operator. (Source: Deloitte Study) Traveler’s & Airport Operations Experience A traveler constantly interacts with technology systems and stakeholders during his journey through the airport. The smart airport systems influence the traveler’s safety, convenience, and overall experience at the airport. Operations like bag tracking, indoor navigation, in-store beacons, geo-fencing, queue analyzer, biometric screening, Wi-Fi passenger tracking, and building management systems are powered by IoT implementations that make an airport smart. Creating a Smart Airport: The Checklist A well-structured planning process can assist airport leaders in navigating all of the options and gaining confidence in achieving the airport's business objectives. The checklist includes the following steps: Selecting an IoT solution that aligns with your business goals Determine the organizational and technical abilities required to implement the solution Craft a road map to address gaps between the required abilities and existing abilities

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Big Data In Travel: Triggering Business Transformation

Article | July 7, 2022

Global travel agencies are striving to maintain a competitive edge in the market. They are relying on big data to analyze the current state of the market, automate work processes, and better understand customer needs to streamline their businesses. Big data is now an important part of the future of the travel industry because it helps: Accurate decision-making Customer demand forecasting Service personalization Travel marketing Optimization of pricing strategies How is Big Data Sourced? The following data sources are used to gather big data: UGC Data User-Generated Data (UGC) is the most affordable data to obtain and includes textual data gathered through questionnaires, social networks, and image data. Device Data Device data gives access to GPS data, mobile roaming data, bluetooth data, RFID, WiFi data and more. This data is harder to obtain and is expensive. Transaction Data Web search data, web page visit data, online booking data, etc., constitute transaction data. Advanced web services such as Google Analytics can help collate this data. The sourced data is analyzed using artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing (NLP). How Is Big Data Changing the Way Travel Companies Operate? With the help of big data, you can increase your performance, get deeper customer insights, and offer an excellent customer experience to travelers. Let us briefly examine how big data can help you achieve all these objectives. Optimize Your Revenue Optimize your costs and accurately predict short-term and long-term revenues. Through customer experience metrics, you can also analyze your profit potential, correctly forecast peak period demand and offer relevant services to customers at the right time. As a result, protect your agency from unexpected expenses and make the most of customer demand. Recognize & Capitalize on Trends Historical, real-time data and a standard analytical approach help you understand the changing trends in the tourism industry. Then, you can swiftly take measures to adapt to these changing trends and capitalize on the ones that contribute to revenue. Bleisure is an excellent example of such a travel trend. Improve Your Marketing Campaigns Big data processes large amounts of information on your target audience and helps you see which marketing campaigns can succeed based on long-term forecasting. Consequently, you can prevent any unexpected losses while executing seasonal marketing campaigns. Additionally, big data collects information on your competitors and target audience in real-time, so you know the kind of marketing campaigns you need to execute to remain ahead in the race. Enhance Brand Reputation Big data considers customer reviews and comments to help you understand which aspects of your business need improvement. Internally collected feedback and big data analysis can create a standard to improve the brand reputation of your agency. Conclusion Big data in the travel industry is more than just a trend; it is a tool for better understanding the market situation and each customer in general (potential and existing). All of this lays the groundwork for a more personalized approach and accurate prediction of what customers want, and contributes to an elevated customer experience and an increase in revenue.

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Spotlight

Budgetplaces.com

budgetplaces.com is the Nr. 1 booking website for budget accommodation worldwide. budgetplaces.com offers over 10,000 low-cost accommodation options in more than 100 countries worldwide. The Barcelona based company’s slogan “Save on the hotel. Spend on the fun.” is justified by an average savings of 120€ per booking with budgetplaces.com.

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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Loews Hotels & Co Breaks Ground on New $550 Million Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center

Loews Hotels & Co | October 13, 2021

Loews Hotels & Co, a wholly owned subsidiary of Loews Corporation, has officially broken ground on the new $550 million Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center. Executives from the company were joined by Arlington Mayor Jim Ross, former Mayor Jeff Williams, Chairman & Managing Partner of the Texas Rangers Ray Davis, The Cordish Companies' Director of Communications, Cari Furman, along with members of the Arlington City Council and other community and business leaders, to recognize and celebrate this milestone. The addition of the Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center, a full-service resort, will further strengthen Arlington's robust convention and tourism opportunities. The city is one of the premier sports and entertainment destinations in the United States, and a leading destination for meetings, events, and leisure travel. "Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center will allow us to capitalize on what we do best – combine a unique meetings and events destination with a best-in-class leisure resort. This significant investment further underscores our confidence and commitment not only in the great City of Arlington, Texas but also in the strength of the travel and tourism industry and our belief in the recovery of post-pandemic travel." Jonathan Tisch, Chairman & CEO, Loews Hotels & Co. This property will be the second Arlington hotel for the hospitality company. Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center is scheduled to open in early 2024. This new hotel will be located across from Live! by Loews, which is a joint venture among Loews Hotels & Co, the Texas Rangers and The Cordish Companies, built on the former Texas Rangers' Lot J parking lot. "Arlington has some of the best built-in demand generators in the country, such as AT&T Stadium and Globe-Life Field. These attractions, coupled with Loews Hotels' track record of offering distinctive experiences alongside operational excellence, will help establish the Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center as a centerpiece in The American Dream City," said Alex Tisch, President, Loews Hotels & Co. "Our goal is for Arlington, Texas to stand alongside Las Vegas and Orland as one of the preeminent family, sports and entertainment destinations in America." This new project marks the first time that Loews Hotels & Co is acting as the developer as well as the owner and branded operator. The nearly $550 million project is financed with Loews Hotels & Co capital and a $300 million loan from MetLife Investment Management. "Arlington continues to build on our incredible economic momentum, and today's groundbreaking is another exciting example of our commitment to job creation and providing world-class amenities to our residents and visitors," said Arlington Mayor Jim Ross. "Loews Hotels & Co is a best-in-class hotel brand and with innovative partners like Loews Hotels & Co, the Tisch Family, the Texas Rangers and The Cordish Companies, we're able to further establish The American Dream City as a premier destination for visitors around the globe." Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center will feature: 888 guestrooms and suites 200,000 square feet of indoor meeting space 66,000 square feet of outdoor space, including an oversized event lawn Five food and beverage outlets, including a three-meal indoor/outdoor restaurant featuring two wood-fire pizza ovens and homemade pasta made on-site and a soon-to-be-named third-party restaurant from a well-known restaurateur 1,550-space parking garage Resort-style beach club with two pools, man-made beach, cabanas, fire pits and water slide The Arlington Convention Center, also operated by Loews Hotels & Co, will be located within the hotel Situated between Globe Life Field and AT&T Stadium, Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center will be accessible to the 300-room Live! by Loews via a Sky Bridge. The two hotels combined will offer nearly 1,200 guestrooms and more than 300,000 square feet of meeting and event space. "The addition of the Loews Arlington Hotel and the Arlington Convention Center bring the development of the Arlington Entertainment District to another whole level," said Texas Rangers Chairman and Managing Partner Ray Davis. "The existing world-class sports and entertainment venues will now be complimented by incredible hotel and meeting facilities that will attract national and international events of all kinds. I want to thank our partners, the City of Arlington, Loews Hotels & Co, and The Cordish Companies for sharing our vision that has become a spectacular reality in a few short years." Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center is part of phase two of the development of Arlington's Entertainment District. Continuing their public-private partnership with the City of Arlington, Loews Hotels & Co, The Texas Rangers and The Cordish Companies are building upon the momentum and success of Texas Live!, Live! by Loews, and the Rangers' new Globe Life Field. Additional features of the new expansion include a mixed-use residential building and a Spark coworking space, both developed by The Cordish Companies. "It is an honor for The Cordish Companies to continue our partnership with the Texas Rangers, Loews Hotels & Co and the City of Arlington to deliver a transformative project for Arlington," said Blake Cordish, Principal of The Cordish Companies. "Loews is one of the preeminent hoteliers in North America and a leader in the convention and meetings industry. The groundbreaking of the new Loews Arlington Hotel and Arlington Convention Center is an important next step in our commitment to create a world-class, mixed-use development that will cement Arlington as one of the leading premier sports, entertainment, culture, hospitality and tourism destinations in the country." Loews Hotels & Co is working with HKS as the architect and Looney & Associates on the interior design for this new development. Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center is being built by JE Dunn, who recently built the Loews Kansas City Hotel, which opened in June 2020. Arlington's Con-Real is also involved in the construction of the project. About Loews Hotels & Co Headquartered in New York City, Loews Hotels & Co is rooted in deep heritage and excellence in service. The hospitality company encompasses branded independent Loews Hotels, and a solid mix of partner-brand hotels. Loews Hotels & Co owns and/or operates 26 hotels and resorts across the U.S. and Canada, including the new Loews Kansas City and Universal's Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites, the eighth hotel in partnership with Comcast NBC Universal that opened at the end of 2020. Located in major city centers and resort destinations from coast to coast, the Loews Hotels portfolio features properties grounded in family heritage and dedicated to delivering unscripted guest moments with a handcrafted approach.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Washbnb is Raising Funds for a Tech-Enabled Linen Solution for Short-Term Rentals and Hotels

washbnb | May 21, 2021

Washbnb, a tech-enabled linen solution for the short-term rental and hotel industries, has launched a crowdfunding campaign via Wefunder. The startup eliminates the laundry problem for property managers and Airbnb hosts whilst solving a key operational pain point for the reliable supply of hotel-quality bed and linen. Washbnb is democratizing the investment process as a part of its community-driven strategy to grow the business for all stakeholders involved. By launching its seed round via crowdfunding with Wefunder, everyone has the chance to take a position during a startup company during a booming hospitality sector before travel’s predicted comeback, not just wealthy accredited investors. The short-term rental sector has remained resilient during the pandemic and bookings are now at an all-time high consistent with AirDNA going into a summer of revenge travel. Washbnb is about to become an important tool for hosts and managers by eliminating common laundry challenges through automated linen procurement and management. As a tech-enabled solution, the corporate controls linen logistics and quality through data insights while exploring the newest in water and logistics tech to make sure an environmentally sustainable and efficient service. The result's an improved guest experience that reduces travel’s footprint while making businesses easier to work and grow. Daniel Cruz, co-founder, and CEO of washbnb started the corporate in 2020 after handling the gap within the marketplace for an automatic linen solution as an Airbnb host himself battling laundry. Milwaukee-based, washbnb is rooted during a resurgent Midwest city featuring a fast-growing water-tech industry and fertile ground for both hospitality companies and laundry machine manufacturers. Washbnb pivoted during the pandemic with washhero.org and aims to create a community-driven, sustainable company with zebra stripes. Daniel says: “Our customers drive what we do, and that they love washbnb. We take their biggest challenge off of their plates and that we roll in the hay in higher quality, safer, and far more sustainable way. Hosting may be a great business, just check out Airbnb’s recent IPO, and we’re here to support these great businesses on the bottom, where they have it most. It’s a completely new category of business that must be created. Our customers see that and need to take a position because they need to assist. That’s how we build community.” Investment at this stage will fuel talent acquisition, research, and development also as future expansion into fast-growing, short-term rental destinations.

Read More

HOSPITALITY TRENDS

An ex-Holiday Inn Executive is Behind a $500 Million Plan to Jazz Up Troubled Hotels

Holiday Inn | April 23, 2021

Ken Hamlet, the former CEO of Holiday Inn, intends to use a $500 million war chest to acquire limited-service hotels (those without facilities such as a restaurant or spa) and reposition them as properties with a more upscale customer experience. Consider it adding more of the Four Seasons experience to roadside hotels, as Hamlet put it. He was CEO of Holiday Inn for nine years in the 1980s and early 1990s, and during that time the business was purchased by IHG and introduced or acquired brands such as Embassy Suites, Crowne Plaza, Hampton Inn, and Harrah's. Rather than starting his fund, Hamlet joined Olive Tree Hotels & Resorts, a hotel investment group where he now serves as CEO, to pursue deals. “I began to think of maybe now is a very good time to take advantage of getting back into the hotel industry and purchasing distressed assets or buying assets that were well-located, well-branded, relatively well-managed, and that were being distressed and only needed additional capital to get them up to 2021 standards,” he said this week. The only thing is that there is a litany of hotel investors drooling about hotel investment prospects that did not come true before the pandemic. Investment firms such as CGI Merchant Group, in collaboration with New York Yankees baseball legend Alex Rodriguez, and Bainbridge DXS are also scouring the market for hotel acquisitions of hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming years. Dreamscape Cos., owner of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, has more than $1 billion in cash to purchase hotels, including troubled business-transient and convention-focused properties. Olive Tree's capital distinguishes itself by concentrating on limited-service hotels in a mix of the 75 major U.S. cities as well as some secondary and tertiary markets such as Las Cruces, New Mexico. As long as there is a nearby demand driver, such as a hospital, university, or office park, the company can seek a deal. The majority of buyers are looking for troubled hotels in metropolitan markets or resorts in drive-to and leisure destinations. Olive Tree intends to upgrade its guest rooms with more innovative features, such as automated check-ins and co-working-inspired workspaces in public areas. But, in addition to the technology, Hamlet desires enhanced client support, such as staffers adding personal touches to the guest experience, such as a bottle of wine or glass of champagne delivered to a room or hors d'oeuvres and chocolate bars in the lobby. The move is reminiscent of how Holiday Inn became a brand. Kemmons Wilson established the roadside motel business in the early 1950s after becoming dissatisfied with the choices offered on a road trip between Memphis, Tenn., and Washington, D.C. He set out to fix it because there was no consistency or quality in the accommodation experience. Olive Tree intends to replicate the success of existing limited-service hotels that are underperforming. Many of Olive Tree's acquisitions would be branded by major companies such as Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, and IHG. However, the company is not opposed to maintaining property independence or even launching its brand. It is unclear when any of those acquisition goals will become available. Olive Tree reportedly has one hotel under contract and another "in the works." Due to a mix of bank forbearance on mortgages and several rounds of federal stimulus by offerings such as the Paycheck Protection Program of forgivable small business loans, there haven't been as many distressed hotel properties exchanged throughout the last year. The Olive Tree team does not anticipate having to wait much longer.

Read More

HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Loews Hotels & Co Breaks Ground on New $550 Million Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center

Loews Hotels & Co | October 13, 2021

Loews Hotels & Co, a wholly owned subsidiary of Loews Corporation, has officially broken ground on the new $550 million Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center. Executives from the company were joined by Arlington Mayor Jim Ross, former Mayor Jeff Williams, Chairman & Managing Partner of the Texas Rangers Ray Davis, The Cordish Companies' Director of Communications, Cari Furman, along with members of the Arlington City Council and other community and business leaders, to recognize and celebrate this milestone. The addition of the Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center, a full-service resort, will further strengthen Arlington's robust convention and tourism opportunities. The city is one of the premier sports and entertainment destinations in the United States, and a leading destination for meetings, events, and leisure travel. "Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center will allow us to capitalize on what we do best – combine a unique meetings and events destination with a best-in-class leisure resort. This significant investment further underscores our confidence and commitment not only in the great City of Arlington, Texas but also in the strength of the travel and tourism industry and our belief in the recovery of post-pandemic travel." Jonathan Tisch, Chairman & CEO, Loews Hotels & Co. This property will be the second Arlington hotel for the hospitality company. Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center is scheduled to open in early 2024. This new hotel will be located across from Live! by Loews, which is a joint venture among Loews Hotels & Co, the Texas Rangers and The Cordish Companies, built on the former Texas Rangers' Lot J parking lot. "Arlington has some of the best built-in demand generators in the country, such as AT&T Stadium and Globe-Life Field. These attractions, coupled with Loews Hotels' track record of offering distinctive experiences alongside operational excellence, will help establish the Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center as a centerpiece in The American Dream City," said Alex Tisch, President, Loews Hotels & Co. "Our goal is for Arlington, Texas to stand alongside Las Vegas and Orland as one of the preeminent family, sports and entertainment destinations in America." This new project marks the first time that Loews Hotels & Co is acting as the developer as well as the owner and branded operator. The nearly $550 million project is financed with Loews Hotels & Co capital and a $300 million loan from MetLife Investment Management. "Arlington continues to build on our incredible economic momentum, and today's groundbreaking is another exciting example of our commitment to job creation and providing world-class amenities to our residents and visitors," said Arlington Mayor Jim Ross. "Loews Hotels & Co is a best-in-class hotel brand and with innovative partners like Loews Hotels & Co, the Tisch Family, the Texas Rangers and The Cordish Companies, we're able to further establish The American Dream City as a premier destination for visitors around the globe." Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center will feature: 888 guestrooms and suites 200,000 square feet of indoor meeting space 66,000 square feet of outdoor space, including an oversized event lawn Five food and beverage outlets, including a three-meal indoor/outdoor restaurant featuring two wood-fire pizza ovens and homemade pasta made on-site and a soon-to-be-named third-party restaurant from a well-known restaurateur 1,550-space parking garage Resort-style beach club with two pools, man-made beach, cabanas, fire pits and water slide The Arlington Convention Center, also operated by Loews Hotels & Co, will be located within the hotel Situated between Globe Life Field and AT&T Stadium, Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center will be accessible to the 300-room Live! by Loews via a Sky Bridge. The two hotels combined will offer nearly 1,200 guestrooms and more than 300,000 square feet of meeting and event space. "The addition of the Loews Arlington Hotel and the Arlington Convention Center bring the development of the Arlington Entertainment District to another whole level," said Texas Rangers Chairman and Managing Partner Ray Davis. "The existing world-class sports and entertainment venues will now be complimented by incredible hotel and meeting facilities that will attract national and international events of all kinds. I want to thank our partners, the City of Arlington, Loews Hotels & Co, and The Cordish Companies for sharing our vision that has become a spectacular reality in a few short years." Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center is part of phase two of the development of Arlington's Entertainment District. Continuing their public-private partnership with the City of Arlington, Loews Hotels & Co, The Texas Rangers and The Cordish Companies are building upon the momentum and success of Texas Live!, Live! by Loews, and the Rangers' new Globe Life Field. Additional features of the new expansion include a mixed-use residential building and a Spark coworking space, both developed by The Cordish Companies. "It is an honor for The Cordish Companies to continue our partnership with the Texas Rangers, Loews Hotels & Co and the City of Arlington to deliver a transformative project for Arlington," said Blake Cordish, Principal of The Cordish Companies. "Loews is one of the preeminent hoteliers in North America and a leader in the convention and meetings industry. The groundbreaking of the new Loews Arlington Hotel and Arlington Convention Center is an important next step in our commitment to create a world-class, mixed-use development that will cement Arlington as one of the leading premier sports, entertainment, culture, hospitality and tourism destinations in the country." Loews Hotels & Co is working with HKS as the architect and Looney & Associates on the interior design for this new development. Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center is being built by JE Dunn, who recently built the Loews Kansas City Hotel, which opened in June 2020. Arlington's Con-Real is also involved in the construction of the project. About Loews Hotels & Co Headquartered in New York City, Loews Hotels & Co is rooted in deep heritage and excellence in service. The hospitality company encompasses branded independent Loews Hotels, and a solid mix of partner-brand hotels. Loews Hotels & Co owns and/or operates 26 hotels and resorts across the U.S. and Canada, including the new Loews Kansas City and Universal's Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites, the eighth hotel in partnership with Comcast NBC Universal that opened at the end of 2020. Located in major city centers and resort destinations from coast to coast, the Loews Hotels portfolio features properties grounded in family heritage and dedicated to delivering unscripted guest moments with a handcrafted approach.

Read More

TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Washbnb is Raising Funds for a Tech-Enabled Linen Solution for Short-Term Rentals and Hotels

washbnb | May 21, 2021

Washbnb, a tech-enabled linen solution for the short-term rental and hotel industries, has launched a crowdfunding campaign via Wefunder. The startup eliminates the laundry problem for property managers and Airbnb hosts whilst solving a key operational pain point for the reliable supply of hotel-quality bed and linen. Washbnb is democratizing the investment process as a part of its community-driven strategy to grow the business for all stakeholders involved. By launching its seed round via crowdfunding with Wefunder, everyone has the chance to take a position during a startup company during a booming hospitality sector before travel’s predicted comeback, not just wealthy accredited investors. The short-term rental sector has remained resilient during the pandemic and bookings are now at an all-time high consistent with AirDNA going into a summer of revenge travel. Washbnb is about to become an important tool for hosts and managers by eliminating common laundry challenges through automated linen procurement and management. As a tech-enabled solution, the corporate controls linen logistics and quality through data insights while exploring the newest in water and logistics tech to make sure an environmentally sustainable and efficient service. The result's an improved guest experience that reduces travel’s footprint while making businesses easier to work and grow. Daniel Cruz, co-founder, and CEO of washbnb started the corporate in 2020 after handling the gap within the marketplace for an automatic linen solution as an Airbnb host himself battling laundry. Milwaukee-based, washbnb is rooted during a resurgent Midwest city featuring a fast-growing water-tech industry and fertile ground for both hospitality companies and laundry machine manufacturers. Washbnb pivoted during the pandemic with washhero.org and aims to create a community-driven, sustainable company with zebra stripes. Daniel says: “Our customers drive what we do, and that they love washbnb. We take their biggest challenge off of their plates and that we roll in the hay in higher quality, safer, and far more sustainable way. Hosting may be a great business, just check out Airbnb’s recent IPO, and we’re here to support these great businesses on the bottom, where they have it most. It’s a completely new category of business that must be created. Our customers see that and need to take a position because they need to assist. That’s how we build community.” Investment at this stage will fuel talent acquisition, research, and development also as future expansion into fast-growing, short-term rental destinations.

Read More

HOSPITALITY TRENDS

An ex-Holiday Inn Executive is Behind a $500 Million Plan to Jazz Up Troubled Hotels

Holiday Inn | April 23, 2021

Ken Hamlet, the former CEO of Holiday Inn, intends to use a $500 million war chest to acquire limited-service hotels (those without facilities such as a restaurant or spa) and reposition them as properties with a more upscale customer experience. Consider it adding more of the Four Seasons experience to roadside hotels, as Hamlet put it. He was CEO of Holiday Inn for nine years in the 1980s and early 1990s, and during that time the business was purchased by IHG and introduced or acquired brands such as Embassy Suites, Crowne Plaza, Hampton Inn, and Harrah's. Rather than starting his fund, Hamlet joined Olive Tree Hotels & Resorts, a hotel investment group where he now serves as CEO, to pursue deals. “I began to think of maybe now is a very good time to take advantage of getting back into the hotel industry and purchasing distressed assets or buying assets that were well-located, well-branded, relatively well-managed, and that were being distressed and only needed additional capital to get them up to 2021 standards,” he said this week. The only thing is that there is a litany of hotel investors drooling about hotel investment prospects that did not come true before the pandemic. Investment firms such as CGI Merchant Group, in collaboration with New York Yankees baseball legend Alex Rodriguez, and Bainbridge DXS are also scouring the market for hotel acquisitions of hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming years. Dreamscape Cos., owner of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, has more than $1 billion in cash to purchase hotels, including troubled business-transient and convention-focused properties. Olive Tree's capital distinguishes itself by concentrating on limited-service hotels in a mix of the 75 major U.S. cities as well as some secondary and tertiary markets such as Las Cruces, New Mexico. As long as there is a nearby demand driver, such as a hospital, university, or office park, the company can seek a deal. The majority of buyers are looking for troubled hotels in metropolitan markets or resorts in drive-to and leisure destinations. Olive Tree intends to upgrade its guest rooms with more innovative features, such as automated check-ins and co-working-inspired workspaces in public areas. But, in addition to the technology, Hamlet desires enhanced client support, such as staffers adding personal touches to the guest experience, such as a bottle of wine or glass of champagne delivered to a room or hors d'oeuvres and chocolate bars in the lobby. The move is reminiscent of how Holiday Inn became a brand. Kemmons Wilson established the roadside motel business in the early 1950s after becoming dissatisfied with the choices offered on a road trip between Memphis, Tenn., and Washington, D.C. He set out to fix it because there was no consistency or quality in the accommodation experience. Olive Tree intends to replicate the success of existing limited-service hotels that are underperforming. Many of Olive Tree's acquisitions would be branded by major companies such as Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, and IHG. However, the company is not opposed to maintaining property independence or even launching its brand. It is unclear when any of those acquisition goals will become available. Olive Tree reportedly has one hotel under contract and another "in the works." Due to a mix of bank forbearance on mortgages and several rounds of federal stimulus by offerings such as the Paycheck Protection Program of forgivable small business loans, there haven't been as many distressed hotel properties exchanged throughout the last year. The Olive Tree team does not anticipate having to wait much longer.

Read More

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