MeriStar Hospitality, a Bethesda, Md.-based hotel REIT, has accepted a buyout offer of about $2.6 billion from an affiliate of the Blackstone Group. Blackstone earlier this month agreed to buy 10 Florida properties from MeriStar for about $367 million.
As poker makes a big comeback, Las Vegas casinos are cashing in on the revived interest in the classic card game. Less than a decade after the MGM Grand closed its poker room in the 1990s, the casino-resort has a 22-table poker room and Caesars Palace has followed suit with a poker room of its own -- the first it has had in at least 12 years.
Two investors in Florida have confessed to operating a fraudulent scheme to finance hotels in which mortgage lenders were bilked out of a $67 million loan. According to court documents, Terry Singh Mughar and Jason Madow used fraudulent appraisals based on false hotel income and occupancy rates to inflate the price and value of hotels, including the former La Suite Hotel and Orlando Grand Resort in Orlando.
Word-of-mouth marketing -- through everything from listservs and iPods to blogs and e-mail -- is becoming one of the most effective ways to build brand equity and expand a brand's profile, an expert says. Blogs, for instance, may be much more valuable as advertising vehicles than some give them credit for, and iPods, some of which can now play videos, should also not be ignored.
Donald Trump has been working to convince residents of the small town of Johnston, R.I., to support a new resort and casino he wants to build there. After hearing from Trump representatives about how the project would create 3,000 jobs, Johnson's town council is deciding whether to put the issue on the November ballot.