FCM's Hotel Insights: August

Travel News 31 Aug 2017

The hotel and accommodation sector is moving faster than ever, with news of mergers, partnerships, acquisitions and innovations coming thick and fast. Here is our summary of the latest developments to help you understand what is happening in this dynamic industry.
Hilton SmartSTAY Trial in the USA

As part of their expanding international presence, Hilton is utilizing FCM’s SmartSTAY product in more than fifty of its locations in the U.S. The benefits to users vary, but can include club lounge access, double Hilton Honors points, early check-in and late check out as well as other amenities. Learn more about our exciting SmartSTAY program here

Hotels tighten cancellation policy

Several major hotel chains are cracking down on late cancellations. Marriott is implementing a new policy in the Americas shortening the cancellation window to 48 prior to check-in that was announced last month. Hilton is following suit in its Canadian and U.S. properties, while UK-based InterContinental Group has announced the most drastic change of the major hotel operators, moving to a 24-hour cancellation deadline. Many observers think this is only the beginning of a growing trend, with large hotel chains maximizing their occupancy in a highly competitive marketplace. And where the large players go, the smaller operators are almost sure to follow.  This trend can be challenging for business travelers who might not have the luxury of knowing far in advance if they will need to cancel a reservation. If you have concerns about how this might impact your travel program, contact your FCM account manager to see that flexible accommodation options are available.

Hyatt sets record for hotel openings

Hyatt Hotels is set to add 60 locations to its portfolio this year as part of its ongoing expansion plan. The company says it has opened 3,366 new rooms in 22 hotels during the second quarter of 2017, on top of 11 new properties during the first quarter. Most of this growth is in the United States and Asia, with 13 new Hyatt hotels in the U.S. alone and four in China. Other new Asian locations include Bangkok, Melbourne and Rameswaram. All these are in addition to Hyatt’s existing global network of roughly 300 hotels and 66,000 rooms.

Hilton takes over iconic New York hotel

Hilton will expand its presence in New York, assuming management of the One UN Hotel. A popular choice with diplomats and visiting dignitaries because of its proximity to the United Nations, this location on the waterfront of Manhattan’s East Side will be rebranded the Millennium Hilton New York One UN Plaza as of August 30th after a $68 million renovation, making it the seventh Hilton property in New York.

Choice Hotels International enforces positive changes

With a renewed commitment to progress, Choice Hotels continues to make positive changes to their brand and individual properties. New Cambria and Ascend locations are under development and the Comfort brand is 100% non-smoking making it the largest smoke-free brand within the U.S. and Canada.

New rating designation announced by AAA

AAA has long rated properties according to their One, Two and Three Diamond metric system, with ratings covering more than 59,000 properties. But they have recently announced a new ‘Best Of’ designation for identifying exceptional properties within each category. Under the new system, the top-ranking member of each rating level will be identified as the best in class. For instance ‘Best of 1 Diamond’ and so on. The new category is designed to help travelers find the best accommodation at the level they require.