5 things to know: 7 September 2017
5 things to know: 7 September 2017
07 SEPTEMBER 2017 8:54 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • IHG creates new operating region, shuffles staff
  • Hurricane Irma pummels Barbuda, St. Martin
  • Presence, leverage key for hotels in era of OTAs
  • South Africa hotel CEO calls for M&A
  • US vacations increasingly are domestic road trips

IHG creates new operating region, shuffles staff: InterContinental Hotels Group has formed a new operating region—Europe, Middle East, Asia & Africa, or EMEAA—and will shuffle its C-suite as of 1 January 2018, according to a news release.

Kenneth Macpherson, currently the firm’s CEO of Greater China, has been chosen to head up the new region, while Greater China will be the responsibility of Jolyon Bulley, who currently is COO of the Americas region. Angela Brav, currently IHG’s CEO of Europe, and Jan Smits, CEO of Asia, Middle East and Africa, will both leave the company by the end of this year.

Hurricane Irma pummels Barbuda, St. Martin: Hurricane Irma, which The New York Times has described as “already one of the most powerful storms ever recorded … (and) one of the most destructive as well, depending on its path,” has devastated several Caribbean islands as it continues to head to land masses with larger populations, notably Florida.

The island of Barbuda has been described by its prime minister as “barely habitable,” and loss of life has occurred on that island and also on St. Martin, where the airport has been destroyed, according to island officials. The latest projection from the National Hurricane Center has Irma hitting Florida and continuing into Georgia and the Carolinas.

Presence, leverage key for hotels in era of OTAs: So much more remains to be learned and tweaked in terms of successful distribution strategies, according to a panel at last month’s Hotel Data Conference, Hotel News Now’s Dana Miller reports.

While hotel chains spend billions on technology, what a successful strategy often boils down to is understanding a hotel’s market and fine-tuning what works best for any particular property, according to Susan Guimbellot, VP of revenue and channel strategy at Hospitality Ventures Management.

South Africa hotel CEO calls for M&A: Guy Stehlik, CEO of South African hotel firm Bon Hotels, has called for domestic South African hotel companies to set aside their egos and consolidate to offset competition from international chains, Travel & Meetings Buyer reports.

Speaking at the Tourism, Hotel Investment & Networking Conference Africa 2017 in Cape Town, Stehlik said that apart from the country’s five larger hotel groups, “the rest of us are affectionately known as ‘the rats and mice’ who are all fending each other off, struggling along, all doing more or less the same stuff, with no game breakers, very little differentiation; and all achieving only marginal financial success.”

U.S. vacations increasingly are domestic road trips: Travel marketing firm MMGY Global’s "2017 Portrait of American Travelers" annual survey reveals that in the U.S., more people are deciding to stay at home for vacations. According to the survey, 85% of total American vacations were spent in the 50 states, and 13.9 million more vacations were domestic compared with international.

The report added that, from 2016 to 2017, American road-trip vacations rose from 22% to 39%, with the economic impact of that rising from $66.6 billion in 2015 to $113.7 billion in 2016.

Compiled by Terence Baker.

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