Monday, 10 December 2018

    eHospitality Blog

    Travel & Tourism News and Tips about the Hospitality Industry locally, regionally and internationally.

    Hotels, cruises, airports and tour operators are making wellness a priority in 2018.

    Wellness-Tourism

    Source: By Shivani Vora - New York Times 

    What aspect of the travel industry won’t wellness touch in 2018?

    Perhaps none.

    From hotels and cruises to airports, airlines, safaris and group tours, wellness promises to be everywhere in the world of travel. Five years ago wellness on the road meant heading to a destination spa to embark on a specific program such as weight loss or staying at a hotel with a nice gym; more recently, the concept has evolved to include all categories of travel, and encompasses overall physical and emotional health.

    The data to support the rising interest in wellness travel abounds.

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    NEW YEAR MESSAGE FROM HUGH RILEY - SECRETARY GENERAL CARIBBEAN TOURISM ORGANIZATION

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    Bridgetown, Barbados (28 Dec 2017) - This has been a challenging year for Caribbean tourism. While the first half of the year saw exciting growth in both tourism infrastructure and tourist arrivals over the previous year, in September we were hit hard by a series of unusual hurricanes that not only destroyed property but also took the lives of many of our citizens. We must never forget the souls we lost along the way.

    Physically, we will recover. Our Caribbean people are a resilient population. We will put the bricks and mortar back together and the hotels and vegetation will rise again and shine in the brilliant sunlight.

    We take this time, a season of celebration and joy and the promise of a new beginning, to both reflect on the preceding year and look forward to tomorrow. And we will take the time to give thanks.

    Travellers coming to the countries that were impacted by the storms will now see various stages of the rebuild/recover effort. Some are already fully up to speed and ready for the winter; others, only partially so. Our affected islands respect the safety and security of guests and staff and are therefore being frank and open about their state of readiness.

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    How Marriott Plans To Use Amazon Alexa To Improve The In-Room Experience For Guests – GeoMarketing

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    Source: By Lauryn Chamberlain - GeoMarketing

    The hotel chain is exploring ways to improve customer service through voice — while working with Amazon to ensure absolute privacy.

    Marriott is set to test out Amazon Alexa in a number of its hotel properties, Toni Stoeckl, global brand leader for lifestyle brands at Marriott, revealed in a panel at Advertising Week. The move is a bid to provide increased personalization and improved in room service for guests.

    As voice-activated connected device usage has jumped 130 percent over the past year, brands have begun to explore how the technology can be used to drive engagement and improve customer service — and the hospitality industry is in many ways leading the charge.

    Why? As Stoeckl put it, “as a hotel brand, we’re in the experience business. This means [taking advantage of technology that can] connect our consumers to the local experience in the hotel or the neighborhood — as well as removing some of the friction of transaction in hotels.”

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    U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS THANKS CRUISE AND AIRLINE PARTNERS FOR HURRICANE RELIEF

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    U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS (October 1, 2017) - Approximately 4,500 residents and visitors who have been impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria have been evacuated from the U.S. Virgin Islands to date. Thanking the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruises for their assistance in providing humanitarian relief and mercy missions from the Territory, Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty reported that more than 1,400 people left the Territory on Saturday on Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas. She disclosed that 866 passengers boarded the vessel on St. Croix on Friday, and close to 560 individuals in the St. Thomas/St. John district boarded the ship before it departed for Fort Lauderdale on Saturday. The additional seats extended to the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands for this sailing, once it was determined how many passengers had boarded in San Juan, allowed the Department of Tourism team at the Emergency Operations Command (EOC) to clear the majority of residents and visitors who had been on waiting lists to be evacuated from the Territory. The ship will dock in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday morning, October 3. A total of 3,000 passengers have now left the Territory on mercy cruises as a result of the devastating storms. Commissioner Nicholson-Doty was also effusive in her praise of airline partners Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and, in particular, JetBlue Airways for helping to transport close to 1,500 passengers by air to date. She noted that 150 people on St. Croix left the island on Sunday on a JetBlue mercy flight and that the Department was working to assist additional residents with their transportation needs Monday and Tuesday. "These gestures go a long way in helping people and advancing our government's efforts to return the Territory to a degree of normalcy as we recover and rebuild," said Commissioner Nicholson-Doty. She noted that the Territory's travel and tourism partners on the U.S. mainland have expended precious resources "to help the people of the Virgin Islands get back on our feet and get our economy moving again." The Commissioner reported that weekend discussions with Governor Kenneth E. Mapp, members of his Cabinet and the business community on St. Croix (similar to a meeting held last week in the St. Thomas/St. John district) were productive and focused on the phased re-opening of the Territory to land and cruise visitors. She confirmed that the Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas is open, and the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix is scheduled to open for commercial flights later this week. As the U.S. Virgin Islands recovers from back-to-back hurricanes, visit www.usviupdate.com for the latest updates. The official website to donate to the U.S. Virgin Islands recovery effort is www.usvirecovery.org. 
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    Training users on new hotel technology no simple task

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    Source: by Esther Hertzfeld - Hotel Management

    Without the right training tools and procedures in place, hoteliers risk hurting the guest relationship with poor employee knowledge and communication. A lot of training inefficiencies come from new technology — but a lot of hoteliers rely on technology companies to assist with that new tech guidance. So do tech companies offer the employee training hotels need?

    “Not always,” said Alan Zaccario, VP of information technology for New Castle Hotels and Resorts. “Ironically, the most complicated systems have little in the way of training. They rely more on vendor engagement.”

    For instance, high-speed Internet access is extraordinarily complex, Zaccario said. Perhaps too complex for the average hotel staff to master, he continued.

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    Turks & Caicos: Full steam ahead after hurricane

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    (TCI) is making a strong and speedy recovery following the passage of Hurricane Irma earlier this month. With a more eastern track, Hurricane Maria did little to delay the rebuilding, and additional damage was minimal across most of the TCI’s eight inhabited islands.

    Providenciales, which is the most developed of the islands and where 90% of the population lives, is leading the charge on a steady path to complete restoration in the coming days, with additional islands in the archipelago chain close behind. Currently, water and power have been restored in Providenciales, North & Middle Caicos and South Caicos and workers are tirelessly addressing those pending on other islands. All roads on these islands have been cleared and as of September 23rd, Providenciales International Airport and Grand Turk International airport were back to full operation and all flights in and out have resumed.

    “Hoteliers are on schedule with their repairs and annual off-season maintenance schedules in preparation for re-opening, and have demonstrated their support for the welfare of their workers and the greater community as a whole,” stated Hon. Ralph L. Higgs, Turks and Caicos Islands Minister of Tourism.

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    Why you should apply for or renew your U.S. passport before January

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    Americans should apply for or renew their passports before January because processing times are shortest between September and December.

    That’s the word from the U.S. State Department, which each year declares September to be Passport Month. Demand for passports typically heats up in the new year and continues into summer.

    If you want to get your passport back quickly, now is the time to apply or renew.

    By the way, more than 18 million passports were issued in the 2016 fiscal year, setting a record. The agency’s website is expecting the number to hit 20 million this year.

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    Airports Worldwide Are Hit by Delays After Software Outage

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    LONDON — Flights were delayed and travelers struggled to check in at airports around the world on Thursday after a software program used by several major airlines went down.

    The program, known as Altea and developed by a company called Amadeus, encountered problems as a result of what Amadeus called a “network issue.” Altea helps airlines manage customer reservations, including tagging luggage and issuing boarding passes.

    Amadeus software is used by 189 airlines — including major carriers like British Airways, Lufthansa, Thai Airways and Air France — and Altea in particular is designed with full-service airlines in mind.

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    Restaurant report card - What's in your fast food meat?

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    By Michael Nedelman, CNN

    What goes into the fast food meat you eat? 01:22

    (CNN) — Our favorite fast foods could come back to bite us, according to a report released Wednesday -- and it's not just the extra calories.

    The new report grades the 25 largest US fast food chains on where they stand on antibiotics.

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    Sustainable Travel Can Be Budget-Friendly

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    Lucas Peterson - FRUGAL TRAVELER

    When you think of sustainable travel, what comes to mind? Gorilla trekking in Uganda, perhaps, or a sojourn in a remote yet well-appointed eco-lodge in the forests of Costa Rica, or even a luxurious stay at a Galápagos safari camp with an infinity pool and locally made teak furniture. If these high-cost trips are what pop into your head, your picture of what qualifies as sustainable tourism is not necessarily wrong — it’s just incomplete.

    The term sustainable travel has been inextricably tied to opulent eco-travel. Fueled by a desire for guiltless extravagance and increasing attention paid to climate change, sustainability became a misused, industrywide buzzword associated with far-flung, expensive trips.

    But sustainable tourism doesn’t have to be expensive. Not only that, “it should actually be cheaper,” said Kelly Bricker, vice-chair of the board of directors of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, or G.S.T.C. “There should be cost savings for doing the right thing. If you’re sourcing locally, reinvesting back into the community, it should be cheaper than if you’re importing from all over the world to create your product.” Not only should traveling sustainably not break the bank — it’s frequently a better, more enjoyable product than its nonsustainable counterpart. I’ve compiled some tips from experts, as well as from my own experiences, and have found that sustainable travel is something nearly all casual tourists can afford.

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    Montego Bay Convention Centre Welcomes New National Sales Manager for the US

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    The SMG managed Montego Bay Convention Centre has appointed Rene McCoy to spearhead its North American associations and corporate markets sales segment.

    McCoy in her new post as National Sales Manager will have direct responsibility for maintaining and acquiring the business in the groups and conventions market. She is based in Washington D.C. and will also be working closely with The Jamaica Tourist Board to improve market share in this segment.

    A native of Brooklyn and a graduate of Livingstone College, McCoy comes with over 20 years of experience in the Meetings and Events Industry having served as Global Account Director for major hotel chains.

    McCoy is an active member of Meeting Planners International (MPI) and Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), where she serves on the Emerging Professionals Committee and is chair of the Generation Meet Website and Blog.

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