Top Hotel Stories of 2012
There wasn’t a stop-the-presses moment in the lodging world in 2012, but there were several major deals closed, continued revenue growth and some significant changes at the tops of the biggest hotel organizations. It wasn’t a year as strong as 2006 and 2007, but it wasn’t down like in 2008 and 2009.
Occupancy continued its strong rebound and although it now may be leveling off, average daily rate looks to be the driver to another 5% to 7% revenue per available room growth in 2013. As the year winds to a close, let’s take a look back at the top 10 stories of 2012. Today we will highlight numbers 10 through six and tomorrow we’ll count down the top five stories of the year.
10) IHG launches two new brands: InterContinental Hotels Group announced plans early in the year for Even, a heath and fitness focused select-service brand positioned above Holiday Inn, aimed to compete against upscale brands like Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Garden Inn. At its annual conference, IHG announced the first Even project, set to debut in Manhattan in late 2014, but Americas President Kirk Kinsell said another yet-to-be announced location would likely open before that one. In March, IHG also announced plans for Hualaxe Hotels & Resorts, a brand specifically created for China.
9) Surprising and abrupt CEO departures: In November, Strategic Hotels & Resorts announced its founder and CEO Laurence Geller was stepping down, replaced by board chairman Raymond “Rip” Gellein Jr. Even more abrupt was the June news that another industry veteran, Jim Evans, was stepping down after only a year on the job as head of Brand USA, the public-private partnership formed to promote international travel to the U.S. Christopher L. Thompson took over the spot in September. Although it wasn’t abrupt and hasn’t happened yet, news that Joe McInerney will be stepping down as head of the AH&LA came as a surprise to much of the industry. His replacement could be named early in 2013.
8) Carlson and Rezidor get even closer: It happened in the first month of the year, but the news that Carlson and its European counterpart Rezidor would become even more intertwined and share a name still resonates. Minnesota-based Carlson is privately held and owns a majority share in the European-based and -focused Rezidor, a publically traded company. More in name only, The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is a strategic partnership as the two companies are still separate legal entities, but they’re marketed as one to owners, developers and travelers.
7) Anthony Melchiorri brings hotel industry to TV: If you work in the hotel industry, it’s hard not to know and recognize Melchiorri, the former and long-time New York City general manager. His Travel Channel show “Hotel Impossible” debuted in April to much acclaim and is now in the midst of a second season already. His made-for-TV personality has been on display at numerous industry conferences as a keynote or featured speaker.
6) Pool lift debate rages on: After a year-plus of debate and confusion, the Department of Justice clarified the updated ADA guidance on the mandatory pool lifts now required at all existing hotel and resort pools. That only seemed to confuse matters, leading to more outcry from both the lodging industry and disability rights advocacy groups. The deadline for compliance with the fixed pool lift requirement is Jan. 31, 2013.