5 things to know: 11 July 2016
5 things to know: 11 July 2016
11 JULY 2016 8:40 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Yet another hotel chain warns of data breach
  • Benchmark and Gemstone merge
  • Hotels step up search for new, cleaner power sources
  • Hotelier wins soccer’s Euro 2016 final
  • Irish hoteliers get Brexit jitters

Yet another hotel chain warns of data breach: In what is becoming an all-too-familiar news headline, yet another hotel firm has announced that its customer database has been breached. This time around it is Omni Hotels & Resorts, which on 8 July issued a “Notice of Data Breach” on its website.

The notice said on 30 May the firm “discovered we were the victim of malware attacks on our network affecting specific point of sale systems on-site at some Omni properties.” Omni officials believe their software was vulnerable between 23 December 2015, and 14 June 2016. The notice listed phone numbers and URLs to help anyone with concerns.

For more information on how to cope with data breaches, visit our special report on the topic.

Benchmark and Gemstone merge: Marketing and third-party hotel management companies Benchmark Hospitality International and Gemstone Hotels & Resorts have merged, according to a news release. The combined firm now has 58 hotels in its portfolio, including independent and soft-branded.

The two principal shareholders in the new merger are Burt Cabañas, founder and chairman of Benchmark, and Gencom, the parent company of Gemstone. Management will comprise of Alex Cabañas, as CEO; Jeff McIntyre and Greg Champion as co-presidents and co-COOs; and Thomas Prins, in the new role of managing director, real estate investments.

The newly formed company will be headquartered in Houston, but no name has been announced, yet.

Hotels step up search for new, cleaner power sources: Hoteliers are using geothermal and solar energy as alternative sources to heat, cool and light hotels, but behind the genuine, sincere desire to help conserve the planet’s resources, the key to making these systems profitable is doing your homework and having performance goals in mind, writes Hotel News Now’s Danielle Hess.

Hess’s sources include a wide range of hotels, from the new build Hotel at Oberlin in Oberlin, Ohio, to larger buildings such as Peppermill Resort Spa Casino in Reno, Nevada, and The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona. Sources at all three said well-thought out alternative energy strategies are win-win situations for hotels’ profit and loss accounts, guest service and comfort and Earth’s precious resources.

Hotelier wins soccer’s Euro 2016 final: Soccer “galático” Cristiano Ronaldo has had a good week or so, opening his first CR7 hotel (CR for his initials, 7 for his soccer jersey number), the Pestana CR7 Funchal, and winning the final of Euro 2016 with his Portuguese national team against France, 1-0. Ronaldo was injured in the game, lasting only 25 minutes.

The 49-room hotel, in Ronaldo’s hometown and operated by Portuguese firm Pestana Hotel Group, was announced last December and will, in its initial pipeline, include three other properties, in Lisbon, Madrid, and New York City.

Irish hoteliers get Brexit jitters: Almost every Irish hotelier has admitted to being nervous for their businesses following the United Kingdom’s 23 June decision to leave the European Union, according to a poll conducted by the Irish Hotels Federation.

Asked if the Brexit decision was worrying, 49% of those questioned said they were very concerned and 46% said they were concerned. IHF officials say this derives from the fact that UK guests account for more than 40% of Irish hotel stays. In the same questionnaire, 89% said they planned to invest in refurbishment and increase capital investment over next 12 months, but that might all change if inbound UK revenue falls.

Compiled by Terence Baker.

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