Butler Hospitality has secured $15 million in a Series A funding round and says it will expand its business of taking over hotel kitchens and serving other hotels. With a total of $20.2 million having been raised, the New York City-based company is eying expansion to Chicago, Miami and Washington, D.C.
Marriott International president and CEO Arne Sorenson believes travelers will come in droves when the industry returns to normal after 2021, pointing to the company's recovery in China as a positive indicator. In the meantime, Marriott's "heart-wrenching" furloughs are being extended until October, and several above-property jobs likely will disappear this year, but he's aiding small-business franchisees with relaxed requirements and encourages innovation and optimism as the pandemic continues.
The Park Hyatt Auckland, due to debut in September, is reportedly New Zealand's most expensive hotel, with its top suite priced at more than $10,000 per night. The nautically themed, harbor-view luxe property has pink Himalayan rock salt bricks in its spa, an infinity pool and room designs that borrow from Maori culture.
With road trips the wave of the immediate future, finding quirky car-based restaurants can make travel more fun. Look for the drive-thru Donut Hole in La Puente, Calif.; Ardy & Ed's Drive In in Oshkosh, Wis., complete with roller-skating servers; and Santana's Vegan Grill drive-through in Colorado Springs, Colo.; among others.
Hotels can step up their technology game to help meet increased customer expectations on the heels of the pandemic, says Martin Wilkinson-Brown of Sitel Group, whose new study points to weak hotel innovation marks from consumers. Using both artificial intelligence and virtual reality can "create more personalized, virtual experiences that can seamlessly support consumers" from discovery to post-purchase touchpoints, the report says.
Hotels may remain open, but not their bars and restaurants, under California Gov. Gavin Newsom's sweeping closure order for indoor activities and businesses. The mandate issued Monday is expected to stay in force for at least several weeks as coronavirus cases continue to rise.
Luxury hotels in the US and elsewhere are compensating for low occupancy by offering space with lots of perks to local residents seeking a break from working at home. "We understand the need of a change of scenery while working from home which is why we started to offer rooms as offices spaces," says Sofia L. Vandaele, general manager of InterContinental New York Barclay, which will launch "The Offices at Barclay" when it reopens next month.
Reports of growing coronavirus cases among Las Vegas Strip workers have not discouraged hotel and casino guests from pursuing their fun, judging from random interviews. At least 10 positive tests have been confirmed by employers, who are not required to disclose exact numbers.
Hotels can learn a lot from the success of movie streaming service Netflix, Fiona Gillen of The Hotels Network Advertising asserts. Among her tips: Advertise your distinctive features, tap predictive personalization and employ A/B testing.
The new, 54-room Inn at Meadowbrook boutique hotel in Prairie Village, Kan., features an English cottage theme. More than 30 photos show its features, from the tufted leather headboard in the Queen Suite to the freestanding tub in the Grand Suite to branded bicycles for use on the adjacent 3-mile trail.
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