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• REZIDOR hotels is paying more attention to the SME market during the economic downturn, says Olivier Jacquin, senior vice president of sales, marketing and distribution. “It’s a sector we’ve come to appreciate more. SME clients can be loyal to individual properties but not always to one brand so we want to engage more with them, but it’s a sector that can be difficult to reach.” He is positive about occupancy despite a couple of difficult years. “There was a cascading of clients whereby companies downtraded from five star to four and from four to three,” says Jacquin, who believes that corporate travel policies are beginning to be relaxed again.

• THE Residence Inn Edinburgh is now open – the first of the Marriott long-stay brand in the UK. It has 107 studio and one-bedroom suites all featuring kitchens, living, dining and working space. Complimentary hot breakfast and wifi access are part of the product. The hotel, located in the city's new Quartermile development, is Europe's second Residence Inn and the fourth new Marriott brand to open in the continent last year.

• ROCCO Forte Hotels has launched a new property in Abu Dhabi which it claims is its most architecturally bold hotel to date. The 11-storey hotel is the company's first outside Europe and is located close to the downtown area, exhibition centre and Yas Island. It has 281 rooms, an executive floor and lounge, seven restaurants, spa, indoor pools, and extensive meetings and events space. The group is set to expand further with openings in Jeddah next year and in Marrakech, Cairo and Luxor in 2014.

• WARWICK Hotels will open a new hotel in Beirut this spring after an extensive renovation and taking over the management contract for the property. Over 70 rooms will be added, the lobby and outdoor spaces are being completely redesigned, and a new restaurant and fitness centre are being added.

• RADISSON Blu has moved into the US with the opening of the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago. The 334- room hotel, with two executive floors for 'business class guests', is set within the striking Aqua Tower near the confluence of Lake Michigan and the Chicago River.

• THE Jumeirah group opened its first property in mainland Europe last autumn. The Frankfurt hotel is set in the heart of the city and is aimed primarily at business travellers. With a minimum size of 35m2, guestrooms are the largest in Frankfurt.

Marriott's Courtyard ➔ A new look for



ACROSS the globe turmoil reigns – in markets, currencies and, it seems, in governments too. Economists and analysts tell us of the tough times that we face ahead, while budgets get smaller and red tape is drawn ever tighter. It must seem that devising a strategy for a business travel programme is becoming almost impossible. But, as that old adage, often credited to the Greek philosopher Plato, goes – 'necessity is the mother of invention'. By approaching issues in new ways,

COURTYARD by Marriott has revealed a new design model for its ‘upper-moderate’ hotels as the brand goes for growth in Europe. The new-look guestrooms feature a Mediterranean colour palette, plenty of natural daylight, 42-inch HD TVs, large desk, numerous powerpoints and flexible lighting, plus a ‘spa-like’ bathroom. All-day bistro restaurants will feature menus tailored to the destination, and there will also be a 24-hour outlet selling light meals and snacks. The first two Courtyard by Marriott hotels to feature the new look are properties in Aberdeen and Cologne, Germany, both scheduled to open next year. “Within the mid-tier hotel category our research has shown

that European guests are looking for fresh, simple, contemporary design as well as great value,” says Amy McPherson, president and managing director of Marriott International in Europe. “As 70 per cent of our business

in Europe comes from Europe, it is critical we adapt our brands to be locally relevant and meet the needs of European travellers. With a stylish new design and room functionality, we are confident that we have created a model that our guests will love.” She adds, “We are confident

that the new European Courtyard model will be a major contributor to our goal of reaching 80,000 rooms in Europe by end of 2015 and a real win-win for developers and guests alike.”


THE brand new Hotel La Tour opens in Birmingham this March, the first of five properties due to open in the next five years. The £24million, four-star hotel is located in the city centre and has a dedicated business floor with a reception and concierge team, meeting rooms for up to 120 delegates and breakout rooms. The hotel is launching a business club to give event organisers unlimited access to its conference offering, the Auden Rooms. Membership will be restricted to those who have booked events at the hotel and includes access to a business lounge – with free wifi internet

we could unlock solutions that will help us overcome the challenges facing us in the future. And it was to that end that our recent London Executive Forum very successfully introduced new thinking and planning structures to ACTE delegates. These evolved around the PESTLE planning model – Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental. It is a long established model in many industries, but in the world of business travel this planning and problem solving model is relatively unknown. And that is where ACTE comes in.

We need to look at new thinking, to draw on successful learning from other industries, and to examine problem solving and strategies in a new way. That is ACTE’s raison d'être – to educate our industry and introduce new ways of thinking. Royal Mail’s Corin McGrath, their

access and complimentary drinks and snacks – plus use of the hotel gym and ten per cent discount on food at the hotel’s Aalto Restaurant and Alvar Bar. The company is designing, building and financing its own hotels and has a background in conference and training venues.

best practice director in group procurement, was one of the speakers at the Executive Forum and he introduced the PESTLE model to delegates. Corin guided delegates through the step-by-step structure and the process was incredibly well received by our delegates. From the feedback I’ve seen, many corporate buyers will be introducing the model into their planning processes. Although there were some 70 senior buyers suppliers in attendance, this new style of thinking needs to extend across the sector, so if you want to see the presentation on the PESTLE model and how it applies to the business travel sector you can, by visiting us at The message is clear for us all.

There will be new challenges coming down the line, but keeping up to date with all the latest thinking is the key to survival and success.


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