Starwood plans nine Le Meridien hotels in Thailand
Starwood has announced plans to open new nine Le Meridien properties in the south east Asian country of Thailand within the next two years. The new properties will open in Bangkok, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Ko Samui and other major tourist destinations, bringing the company's portfolio in Thailand to 20 properties by 2009. Senior vice-president Eva Ziegler said: "As Thailand is a favoured destination of many travellers from Europe and the USA, we feel these tourists are likely to choose Le Meridien hotels when they visit Thailand." She added the company planned to use art and fashion as key elements in its local market repositioning in Thailand next year.
Rezidor to expand in UkraineThe Rezidor Hotel Group, which manages Radisson SAS Hotels and Resorts, plans to sign contracts for the construction of four hotels in Ukraine by 2011. The company is looking at Ukraine's most investor-attractive cities with populations higher than 500,000 and plans to build three-to four-star Radisson SAS and Park Inn hotels. Rezidor recently announced plans to build a five-star Airport Hotel Kiev near Boryspil International Airport. The project's cost is expected to exceed US$50m (£25m) with the hotel, which will operate under the Radisson brand, set to open by the end of 2009.
Mövenpick to launch five-star hotel near Abu DhabiMövenpick Hotels & Resorts is to manage a new property on the island of Al Reem, located to the northeast of the city of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The five-star Mövenpick Hotel Al Reem will be constructed in a development called Marina Square, set for completion in 2009. It will be spread over 41 floors and include 445 rooms and suites as well as a large underground car park. It will feature four restaurants and bars as well as 3,000sq m of conference and banqueting facilities including a grand ballroom for up to 1400 guests. Leisure facilities will include tennis courts, two swimming pools, a modern fitness studio and a luxurious spa and wellness area.
Marriott US sales boosted by internetMarriott has announced that it has boosted the amount of sales it generates over the internet, through its site Marriott.com. The company said that it took bookings worth $4.7b (£2.35b) in 2006, almost double of that in 2004, with the rate of growth said to be continuing during the first half of 2007. To continue growing consumer interest in its e-commerce platform, Marriott has said that it will maintain its strategy of creating incentives for consumers to book through its website, such as awarding points that can be redeemed for free rooms. For Marriott, taking bookings over the internet means that it does not have to pay commission to online agencies and it is 20% cheaper than phone reservations.
IHG reshuffles management team in Asia PacificInterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) Asia Pacific has reshuffled its management team to support the company's expansion in the region. The move has seen the company appoint Gary Rosen to the role of senior vice-president, sales and marketing, Eve Weatherburn as director of brand management for InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, and Ken Wong as regional director of sales and marketing for Greater China. Rosen will lead the company's brands, marketing, sales and communications teams to strengthen IHG's brands and drive hotel performance, while Weatherburn will be responsible for improving the market position of InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, IHG's luxury hotel brand. Wong will drive revenue and increase hotel performance for IHG in Greater China.
By Kerstin Kühn
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