2008 has been a busy year in the hotel world. Many acquisitions were announced by different banners around the world, especially in China. Since the Wall Street Crash in September, business has stalled and projections for 2009 are not looking so great. The good news is that we have been through recessions before and economic growth will come back. My advice is to stay positive and find new ways to book business! Here is my 2008 review in the hotel world.
March 1st: Re-opening of The Plaza, a Fairmont managed hotel
After a two-year, $400 million restoration, the world’s most renowned landmark made its return in majestic style. The Plaza is a must see while in New York. If you are thinking about going to the Big Apple this winter, you can get a third night free until April 1st when booking 2 nights at the regular rate of $595 US (or more).
June 26th: Demolition Party at The Royal Monceau in Paris
The Hotel first auctioned off all of its furnishings and then held a VIP destruction event where guests were encouraged to smash anything leftover. Stars were invited to this unique party with the best DJs! The Royal Monceau is now under the creative eye of owner Alexandre Allard and renowned French designer Philippe Starck for a 16-month refurbishment. The French Masterpiece will be transformed into an ‘’art deco revisited’’ hotel with the main goal to attract a younger clientele under the Raffles banner.
September 20th : Bomb attack at The Marriott Islamabad, Pakistan
This was a very sad event that claimed the lives of too many people. The hotel reopened on December 28th. Let’s hope this won’t happen again.
November 27th : Taj Mahal Hotel and Oberoi complex’s Trident hotel attacks
Unfortunately and once again, India was the target of terrorism. This time, two major hotels and guests were involved with many casualties. The hotels recently reopened but it will take many months to bring every back to the way it was.
Dec 22nd: Steve Wynn’s Encore Hotel opens in Vegas
Despite the recession, 2.3 billion Encore Hotel opened with 2,034 suites. Encore is a casino-resort that was designed to grab up the wealthiest, most sophisticated visitors in town and charge them top dollar. Through the end of October, tourism for the year was down 3.2%, room rates were down 9.7%, and gaming revenue was down 8.5%. And even though some rival projects around town have been stalled or killed, other competitors are still rising. Only the future will tell us if Las Vegas is overbuilt or not…
My wishes for 2009
Obviously I hope for fewer acts of terrorism in 2009 and for a better economy so our colleagues in hotels won’t loose their jobs. I am confident hoteliers will continue to be creative and bring the hotel business to a different level. Happy New Year to all and continue to book hotel stays!