Joys of being: Biz clichés, new taxes and comic heroes
Joys of being: Biz clichés, new taxes and comic heroes
24 JULY 2017 7:49 AM

Hotel News Now needs to cover the entire hotel industry to keep its busy readers apprised of all developments—which this week include babies named after taxes, clichés that litter the conference circuit and superheroes blazing their ways to your city.

It is very understandable that with the weight of operating, owning and managing hotels, many important news items will be lost in the mix.

Do not fret. Hotel News Now keeps its eyes close to the ground and its ears tuned to pick up signals from around the world.

Here are some of the ones I want to bring your attention to:

Clichés face full ban
Attending the Serviced Apartment Summit here in London last week, James Chappell, global business director at business consultancy Horwath HTL, started his moderating duties of a panel titled “Operations and the value of the brand” by stating that clichés would not be tolerated, or at least would be greeted with the contempt he said most deserved.

Chappell mentioned an air horn would be sounded if a cliché was heard, and I for one was disappointed that he only wielded an imaginary sonic-blaster.

The strongest offender, he said, would be the phrase “along with our fantastic partners,” which not long after this declaration was uttered, albeit with a devilish glint in the eye, by Andrew Shaw, associate VP of development for the United Kingdom and Ireland at InterContinental Hotels Group.

Cliché-banners evidently have their work cut out.

I must say I wince when I hear the phrase “let’s take a deep dive” and visibly shudder when I hear people saying pencils need to be sharpened.

Please send me the ones you detest, and we’ll get a Top 10 together, for the sole purpose of helping guide future conference organizers.

Tax news
Most eyes in the industry are focused on continued efforts by national competition authorities and the European Union to curb alleged unfair business practices by online travel agencies in regards to rate parity. But there have been other changes to tax and pricing regulations, notably in India.

Supporters of India’s new Goods & Services Tax say the tax, which came into effect on 1 July, is the biggest reform since the country won its independence, and the first to affect the entire population of 1.34 billion. Prime Minister Narendra Modi noted that formerly some 500 separate taxes have been abandoned, or at least the separate legislation controlling them has.

Seventeen years in the making, the new tax code has its own website and comes quickly on the tail of the Real Estate Regulatory Act, which took effect on 1 May. The two codes will simplify business and release investors from being double-taxed on real estate, it is hoped, and it is largely believed that all of the above will boost inbound capital, too. But as the devil always is in the detail, hotel firm lawyers had better get hold of the actual documents.

One set of Rajasthani parents appeared happier than most, actually naming their child, born at 12:02 a.m. GST on 1 July, in honor of the tax. A photo in The Indian Express shows a happy mother, and a seemingly even happier baby (its gender is not mentioned).

This might all remind literature fans of Salman Rushdie’s classic novel “Midnight's Children.”

Comic books and super heroes
My colleague Bryan Wroten wrote this week about the fillip action/comic/superhero conventions give to hotels, and the excellent initiatives and efforts hoteliers put in to welcoming them. Fans, apparently, will go to all lengths to dress in costume and parade through lobbies in search of an autograph of the second grip’s mate (North California set) or some other filmmaker from their favorite movies.

News this week comes in that Disney has signed on the proverbial dotted line to bring two Star Wars-themed hotels to both Disneyland (by 2019, it says) in California and shortly thereafter at Walt Disney World in Florida.

I cannot see either of them being anything other than a huge success, although I myself have never ever seen one “Star Wars” movie, believing—probably rather boringly—that there are far more interesting tales in real life.

The theme parks are to be called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Can galaxies have edges?

It reminds me of a school motto I heard once mentioned on the radio that was “Reaching beyond the realms of possibility,” which is simply impossible and surely must render all its no-doubt-capable students quivering wrecks by the time they graduate.

But then again superheroes can do that, can’t they? Perhaps that’s why they are superheroes with superpowers and why pedants like me are never invited to comic conventions where, I suppose, some degree of imaginative bending of physical law is required.

And may I recommend Michael Chabon’s wonderful 2000 novel “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay” if you would like to reach a well-crafted novel about superheroes, and a whole lot more.

Email Terence Baker or find him on Twitter.

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