Reserved occupancy at North American hotels for the first quarter is down 0.2 percent from the same period last year,
according to TravelClick's North American Hospitality Review. Reserved business transient occupancy is down 1.7 percent year over year for the quarter, but the average daily rate for those bookings is up 5.7 percent. Reserved group occupancy is down 1.6 percent, and group ADR is up 2.5 percent. John Hach, senior vice president of global product management at TravelClick, stated hoteliers should maintain a confident outlook as occupancy numbers "appear to strengthen" in the second quarter.
ARC launched a corporate travel advisory board, which will include up to 18 members each serving two-year terms.
The board will "advise and engage with the ARC leadership team to assist the company in developing unique, industry-leading products and services." Nine travel management executives attended a kick-off meeting this week, representing various companies including BAE Systems, The Coca-Cola Company, Reed Elsevier, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Computer Sciences Corporation and 3M Company. Participants discussed the International Air Transport Associations' New Distribution Capability, data analytics, airline contracting and "pressing concerns within the corporate travel space," according to ARC. "Additional objectives of the board include providing industry insight into trends, marketing channel issues, corporate image and branding, and account management," according to ARC.
InterContinental Hotels Group announced its first two Hualuxe Hotels and Resorts properties in China.
Hualuxe Nanchang High Tech Zone is located in Nanchang in Southeast China and Hualuxe Yangjiang City Centre is located in Yangjiang, which borders the South China Sea. Both properties will open in the first half of 2015. The Hualuxe brand, which IHG first introduced in 2012, caters specifically to Chinese consumers. IHG has signed 24 hotels under the brand across 20 cities in China, including Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu. All locations are slated to open during the next three to five years. IHG stated it plans to extend the brand into major international destinations, such as New York City and London.
The Qantas Group "gradually" is restructuring its international tariffs to eliminate fuel charges by absorbing them into base fares,
the carrier announced this week. The move, which will "take time" to enact across Qantas' network of about 200 destinations, will not change overall fares, however. Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce in a statement said that the carrier, which has posted "significant losses in the past two years," sees lower fuel prices as an opportunity to "help put the industry on a more sustainable footing" and for airlines to be "in a better position to invest in new aircraft, new lounges and new routes." Competitor Virgin Australia recently eliminated
fuel surcharges on U.S. flights "sold and originating in Australia."
Hyatt Hotels Corporation announced its new, full-service lifestyle brand, Hyatt Centric.
Each Hyatt Centric location will be designed to reflect its metropolitan surroundings and will offer services that cater to what Hyatt calls the "Modern Explorer." "Modern Explorers are truly a savvy, curious group," said Kristine Rose, vice president of brands at Hyatt. "Their expectations are simple, but their standards are high and they want their experience to be intuitive and smart. They want options and all the must-haves from a full-service hotel but without any fuss or complications." Fifteen Hyatt Centric locations will open this summer in cities including New York, Paris, Atlanta, Chicago and Miami. This is the sixth brand introduced by Hyatt since 2006.
Hotels in the United States could see a 7.4 percent year-over-year increase in revenue per available room and improved pricing power in 2015,
according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers U.S. lodging forecast. PwC estimates the combination of increased lodging demand (up 2.6 percent) and lower-than-average supply growth (up 1.5 percent) will boost industry occupancy levels to 65.1 percent—a level not seen in more than 30 years. These factors, PwC asserts, set the stage for increased pricing power, which would significantly benefit hotels in both the higher-priced and lower-priced segments. The forecast is based on figures released by Macroeconomic Advisers and historical statistics supplied by STR and other data providers.
Air travelers will find Wi-Fi available on about two-thirds of flights on U.S. airlines and about a quarter of flights worldwide,
according to data published Monday by Routehappy, based on analysis of a "global schedule on a typical midweek travel day." Among the U.S. legacy carriers, Delta Air Lines offers the most flights with Wi-Fi, and United Airlines has the most international planes with Wi-Fi service, Routehappy reported. Based on percentage of total flights, Virgin America, Southwest Airlines and Delta boasted the highest levels of Wi-Fi availability. Among non-U.S. carriers, Norwegian Airlines and Icelandair had the highest percentage of international flight miles on which Wi-Fi service was offered, according to Routehappy.