Business travelers who publish blogs may have started out just blowing off steam, but they are finding their rants are often taken seriously. "Bloggers have the potential to change business travel," said Clancy Ratliff, an assistant professor of English at East Carolina University, in Greenville, N.C. "Maybe they haven't reached a critical mass yet, the way bloggers have in other places. But their influence may be growing."
Scottsdale, Ariz., entrepreneur Christian Rivadalla is launching a new $12 million hotel in Marrakech, called Earth. Rivadalla says the hotel will be the first of what he is hoping will be an exclusive chain, called Octogone Hotels in Morocco.
Severe storms plowed through Rogers, Minn., killing a 10-year-old girl and damaging hundreds of homes. Six people were injured. The National Weather Service says the storm was an F2 tornado, with winds of 113 to 157 mph.
Hotel chains including Starwood and Omni are adding a subtle new amenity to hotels -- scents that are designed to evoke certain emotions from guests. The white tea scent in some Westin hotel lobbies is designed to evoke calmness and ease guests' stress, and Sheraton's fig, clove and jasmine scents are designed to make guests feel more welcome.
Luxury hotels are able to demand concessions from flat-panel TV makers that hope to get their products in front of affluent guests. More hotels say replacing their old sets with flat-panel TVs is critical to maintaining their cachet.