5 things to know: 6 March 2019
5 things to know: 6 March 2019
06 MARCH 2019 10:20 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • SBE launches The House of Originals in deal with Accor
  • Adoption of AI in travel industry continues to grow
  • Guests seek good lighting, experiences in hotel gyms
  • US services sector expanded in February after ‘cooldown’
  • Consumer space travel inches closer

SBE launches The House of Originals in deal with Accor: SBE has announced the launch of a new luxury global brand, The House of Originals, in a partnership with Accor, according to a news release. The new brand is a luxury collection aimed at creating a community for its guests “predicated on luxury experiences and centered around SBE’s iconic culinary and mixology offerings.”

“At SBE, we are always looking to create memorable experiences,” SBE founder and CEO Sam Nazarian said in the release. “The House of Originals will include our existing incredible destinations, the Sanderson, St. Martins Lane, Shore Club and 10 Karaköy and create a community and network of unique global properties. I am proud to partner on this project very closely with the Accor team and Gaurav Bhushan, Accor’s head of global development, who will provide us invaluable support in helping us create a truly international suite of properties.”

Accor owns a 50% stake in SBE Entertainment Group.

Adoption of AI in travel industry continues to grow: In their pursuit of capturing larger shares of travelers’ demand, travel companies are continuing to invest in artificial intelligence and other technologies to learn more and better understand what travelers want, The New York Times reports. These technologies are becoming less expensive, which means even startups are able to afford them.

Alex Susskind, associate dean of academic affairs at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, told the newspaper that competition in the travel sector is stiff and travel companies “need these mechanisms to reach their target markets.”

“They need to know who wants to see pictures before they buy, who decides mainly on price, who likes to speak to someone” and why, he said.

Guests seek good lighting, experiences in hotel gyms: Hotel fitness centers are becoming as important as the other public areas on property, writes HNN’s Danielle Hess, who spoke with design experts about how thoughtful design can help motivate more guests to use the fitness centers.

Lesley Hughes Wyman, co-founder and principal at MatchLine Design Group, said the fitness center should have natural light and access to the outdoors.

“Motivating guests to use the fitness center is about what ambiance is created in and for the space. If the space has a view to a terrace or connects to an outdoor activity hub, such as a pool area, the more appealing the space is,” she said via email. “A definite ‘no-no’ is locating the fitness center in the basement in the building. The connotation in and of itself, of having to go down to a basement is unappealing. It’s dark and isolated, what’s motivating about that?”

U.S. services sector expanded in February after ‘cooldown’: The Institute for Supply Management’s nonmanufacturing purchasing managers index shows the services sector in the U.S. grew in February after it experienced a “winter cooldown,” The Wall Street Journal reports. The index increased to 59.7 in February from 56.7 in January.

The index provides insight into restaurants, builders, bankers and other service industries, according to the article. Two-thirds of consumer spending goes to services.

“Wages are going up and consumers feel good, and that translates into positive activity on the commercial side as well,” said Anthony Nieves, head of the ISM survey.

Consumer space travel inches closer: The recent successful launch and docking test of an unmanned Crew Dragon spacecraft with the International Space Station renews wonder over when nonprofessional astronauts will be able to travel to and stay in space, Forbes reports. The Crew Dragon spacecraft belongs to SpaceX, a commercial operation that wants to open up space travel to consumers.

Companies are already at work on “space hotels” that would be compatible with SpaceX’s vehicles, according to the article. Nevada’s Bigelow Aerospace attached a prototype habitat to the space station in 2016 and intends to launch the first components of a space hotel in 2021.

Compiled by Bryan Wroten.

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