Every month, we round up the top stories from the world of hospitality. Covering everything from new hotel technology to industry thought-pieces to the latest travel developments, this is the month in hospitality!
Google upgrades holiday travel search, offers hotel discounts
August brings the news that Google has enhanced its flight and hotel search capabilities ahead of the U.S. holiday travel season. Simultaneously, the tech behemoth has announced plans to offer exclusive hotel discounts to paying customers of Google One cloud storage.
Aimed at assisting travellers in finding the cheapest flights and hotels at peak holiday times, the new search upgrades use historical data to identify whether fares and hotel rates are higher or lower than usual during the Thanksgiving, December and New Year’s travel periods. The tool (in the form of an infographic) is available globally both on mobile and desktop and promises to focus on fares that are at least 30% below typical prices.
For hotel bookings, Google has provided a mobile-friendly in-product price insights feature. With it, travellers can track hotel prices over time and identify if a price is lower or higher than usual. Travellers can also use the tool to compare different hotel prices during the same time period, with filters to further customise information.
Richard Holden, Google’s vice president of product management, explained the upgrades: “Six out of 10 U.S. travellers expect travel companies to give them information tailored to them based on their preferences or past behaviour. It’s not just about providing all prices and options to them. It’s about doing analysis across all those prices and options. We want to help them make the right choice for them and their particular needs.”
Independent Hotel Show Awards shortlist revealed
The shortlists for the 2018 Independent Hotelier of the Year has been revealed, and there’s an interesting mix of new and established figures to choose from. The award, established in 2012, is based on “recognising the passion of independently spirited hoteliers who drive our sector forward with their creativity and wisdom.”
Winners of this year’s awards will join the Hall of Fame, occupied by hoteliers including Jeremy Goring, Paul Bayliss MBE, Kate Levin and Olga Polizzi, and leading properties including Hotel Gotham, The Laslett and No.15 Great Pulteney.
Meanwhile, the awards also published the shortlist for Outstanding New Hotel, a category aimed at celebrating “an independent hotel that brings dynamism and coveted ideas to the sector and has been operating for no more than three years.” Some of the nominees include: Another Place, The Lake (Penrith), Palé Hall (Llandderfel) and Oddfellows on the Park (Manchester).
Nominations for both awards were selected from online votes, while winners will be chosen via the Independent Hotel Show registration form and will be announced on Tuesday 16 October at the event.
You can get the lowdown on the full shortlist here.
Ditching single-use plastic is this summer’s hotel trend
August also brought the news that more hotels are opting to phase out their use of single-use plastics. As more hospitality brands begin to focus on the environmental impact of their products and services, plastic straws have become a byword for wasteful practice.
It’s not just plastic straws that have fallen out of favour with hoteliers – brands are looking at other ways to reduce their plastic consumption. Replacing plastic bathroom amenities with reusable bottles and providing a large in-room glass-bottle of water over individual plastic bottles not only reduces waste, it reduces hotel expenditure too.
Some of the major hotels to get onboard include:
- Hilton – Removed plastic water bottles from meetings and events at managed hotels in September 2017, the impact of which is the elimination of 13 million plastic bottles annually.
- Marriott International – Eliminating single-use plastic from 450 hotels, including 60 hotels in the United Kingdom and replaced individual bathroom amenity bottles with in-shower dispensers in the US.
- AccorHotels – Began to phase out plastic straws at its 125 managed hotels in the UK and Ireland, and pledges to prohibit plastic straws at its 83 hotels in North America and Central America by July 2018.
- Hyatt Hotels Corporation – Offered 65,000 pairs of recyclable earbuds at 80 participating Hyatt hotel fitness centres in 2017 and pledges to eliminate single-use plastic straws and drink picks at all of its hotels worldwide.
- MGM Resorts International – Began phasing out plastic straws at all of its hotels, starting with the Aria Resort and Casino and Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas this May, which MGM estimates will eliminate about 100 million straws annually.
Find out more here.
Europe hotel construction pipeline continues to accelerate forward
Europe is set for another year of accelerating growth in hotel construction in 2019, according to analysis by global real estate intelligence leader Lodging Econometrics (LE). Already at the highest level since LE began recording in 2007, the total pipeline currently stands at 1,388 projects/219,251 rooms for the second quarter of 2018. That’s an impressive 18% year-over-year increase.
The LE forecast for new hotel openings shows continued growth for the next several years with a total of 367 new hotels/49,295 rooms opening by the end of 2018, followed by 383 hotels/53,030 rooms expected in 2019, and 392 hotels/60,740 rooms in 2020. Metrics for new hotel openings are also at their highest since 2007.
The countries currently topping Europe’s construction pipeline are:
- Germany with 247 projects/47,155 rooms
- The United Kingdom with 247 projects/36,487 rooms
- France with 130 projects/15,198 rooms
- Portugal with 83 projects/8,531 rooms, and
- Poland with 80 projects/12,221 rooms.
The top hotel companies in Europe’s construction pipeline are:
- AccorHotels with 220 projects/28,281 rooms,
- Marriott International with 178 projects/29,740 rooms
- Hilton Worldwide with 166 projects/26,114 rooms, and
- Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) with 138 projects/23,044 rooms.
These four companies comprise 51% of the total hotel construction pipeline in Europe.
Get the background on LE and Europe’s accelerating growth here.