From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:
- Aimbridge and Interstate to merge
- Hurricane Dorian has Florida under state of emergency
- User-generated content builds trust with guests
- A look at the rise of ‘undertourism’
- Cool Canadian castle hotels
Aimbridge and Interstate to merge: Two of the world’s largest hotel companies, Aimbridge Hospitality and Interstate Hotels & Resorts, announced a pending merger on Thursday and spoke with HNN’s Bryan Wroten in an exclusive interview on details of the deal.
Private equity investor Advent International owns a majority stake in Aimbridge and will assume majority ownership of the combined companies. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but the deal is expected to close by the end of 2019.
Interstate President and CEO Mike Deitemeyer said he is “excited about this opportunity to do something that’s not been done in this space before,” Wroten writes.
“I think Dave and I can bring a level of excitement to the company to help propel it forward and help our teams achieve their personal goals,” Deitemeyer said. “I’m very excited about it. I certainly think it will be a game-changer in this space.”
Aimbridge founder and CEO Dave Johnson will serve as CEO of the combined companies and Deitemeyer will serve as global president, overseeing corporate disciplines and global operations.
Hurricane Dorian has Florida under state of emergency: Hurricane Dorian is getting stronger and is expected to hit Florida as a Category 4 storm on Monday, CNN reports. Residents are being told to stock up a week’s worth of food and supply.
Dorian is currently a Category 2 storm with winds of 110 miles per hour and is due to slow in the next couple of days, but gain “intensity over warm Caribbean waters to fuel the heavy rains, damaging wind and storm surge it's expected to deliver,” CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said.
Rosen Hotels & Resorts is offering discounts over the weekend and dropping pet fees for residents who need a place to stay during the hurricane, Orlando Sentinel reports.
User-generated content builds trust with guests: There’s still a place for brand-generated content on hotel websites, but there’s a rising trend to use content curated by other guests to build trust and showcase authenticity, writes HNN’s Sean McCracken.
Some younger travelers don’t trust social media influencer content that are bought and paid for and would rather book travel based on posts from friends and others they trust.
“Millennials are a lot more skeptical in a lot of ways,” said Rachel Kaplan, digital director of marketing for Dream Hotel Group. “They’ve seen paid sponsorships and posts, and they might not trust a brand if just influencers are posting about them.”
A look at the rise of “undertourism”: There are a lot of places in the U.S. where overtourism is a problem, which is why travel providers and government agencies are pointing travelers to cool places that are less crowded, The New York Times reports.
Some of these places include Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs, Colorado, and Sedona, Arizona.
Tour operators are trying to help travelers make choices on less-crowded places to go based on trip interests, which can sometimes lead to a more authentic experience when there’s less people around.
Cool Canadian castle hotels: Canada has a history of “historic dramatic battles, old-timey architecture and epic tales of love and war,” and some of castles left over from those periods are now luxury hotels, Forbes reports.
Most of the castles were built by William Cornelius Van Horne, GM of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, in the 19th and 20th century.
Compiled by Danielle Hess.