Business News first on FIR:
LONDON–()– #DevicesELDsMarketSize–The global electronic logging devices market size will grow by USD 2.53 billion during 2019-2023.
Global hospitality is at a crossroads. In the last 20 years, technology has transformed every aspect of the guest journey, from online bookings to in-room services to post-stay feedback. But as technology continues to evolve and advance, what will the hotel industry look like 10 years in the future?
In the past, digitalization was largely driven by companies, as new solutions were introduced to enhance efficiency and target customers more effectively. In the modern era however, it is customers who are demanding greater connectivity. This is especially true in the hotel industry, which is driven by modern lifestyle trends and the “always-on” mindset of millennial travelers.
In light of these trends, Markland Blaiklock, Centara’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, explains his vision for the future of the hospitality industry in the next decade:
“Ten years from now, I’m sure we will look back and see that the hospitality industry changed much more than predicted, and Asia will continue to be a major catalyst for change. This evolution will be part social and part technological, but the overall goal will be the same: to meet and exceed guests’ expectations,” he commented.
According to Mr. Blaiklock, Centara foresees three significant trends shaping its business, and the entire industry, going forward:
Travel and work life will become inseparable thanks to improved technology and faster connectivity. This trend will occur in all countries but will be led by China and the rest of Asia, which are currently driving the growth in overseas travel. The launch of Centara’s new “Meetings Redesigned” MICE initiative will help to accommodate this shift, by allowing companies to be more flexible and creative with their event agendas.
Robotics and artificial intelligence will create hyper-connected hotel experiences. The Internet of Things (IoT) will seamlessly connect every hotel touchpoint, which will be personalized to the unique preferences every guest. In addition, big data insights will enable hotel staff to improve service quality in real time.
Delivering emotional experiences will be the ultimate goal of hotels. As technology takes over, many guests will go in search of authenticity, human interaction and genuine hospitality. The ability to predict and identify human emotions will be key to the success of hotels in the coming decades.
The big question for hoteliers now and in the future will be: how do we successfully integrate technology to improve the guest’s entire journey, whilst also retaining our distinct personality and brand loyalty?
For Centara Hotels & Resorts, Thailand’s leading hotel operator, this balance is at the core of its strategic vision. In the coming years decades, the group will focus delivering warm Thai hospitality in line with the latest social and technological trends to create exceptional customer experiences.
Centara has proven adept at developing new brands that embrace innovation. The most recent example is COSI, which caters for young-minded and tech-savvy travelers with friendly, simple and affordable accommodation and state-of-the-art amenities like smartphone integration, self-service check-in and a 24-hour lifestyle café concept. It is no surprise that this contemporary concept, which made its debut in Koh Samui in 2017, is now a key driving force behind Centara’s expansion strategy.
In many ways, COSI represents the future of hospitality. Its combination of connectivity, comfort and convenience enables guests to blend business and leisure travel, a key trend identified by Mr. Blaiklock. Across all of Centara’s six brands however, the group continues to roll out innovative new digital experiences.
Recent initiatives range from revamping the Centara website and mobile app for a seamless online experience, to launching a new central reservation system and revenue management system for global coordination. The new Chinese language, China-hosted website, social media pages and payment solutions are also positioning Centara to compete successfully in the world’s largest travel market.
Technology, however, is only one element of a successful strategy. Hotel guests will always be human beings, and the majority of humans visit a destination to experience its charm and culture, not to look at a screen. For Centara, the ability to deliver authentic Thai hospitality is something that can never be replaced by technology. By harnessing big data and personalization tools however, hoteliers can enhance every human interaction. Intuitive and rewarding loyalty programs like CentaraThe1 will play a major part in anticipating and delivering tailored experiences.
So digitalization really is the key; by using smart technology to identify and satisfy guest preferences, the hoteliers of the future will be able to create truly bespoke experiences for every guest.
Centara Hotels & Resorts is Thailand’s leading hotel operator. Its 68 properties span all major Thai destinations plus the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Laos, China, Oman, Qatar and the UAE. Centara’s portfolio comprises six brands -Centara Grand Hotels & Resorts, Centara Hotels & Resorts, Centara Boutique Collection, Centra by Centara, Centara Residences & Suites and COSI Hotels – ranging from 5-star city hotels and luxurious island retreats to family resorts and affordable lifestyle concepts supported by innovative technology. It also operates state-of-the-art convention centers and has its own award-winning spa brand, Cenvaree. Throughout the collection, Centara delivers and celebrates the hospitality and values Thailand is famous for including gracious service, exceptional food, pampering spas and the importance of families. Centara’s distinctive culture and diversity of formats allow it to serve and satisfy travelers of nearly every age and lifestyle.
Over the next five years Centara aims to double its size with additional properties in Thailand and new international markets, while spreading its footprint into new continents and market niches. As Centara continues to expand, a growing base of loyal customers will find the company’s unique style of hospitality in more locations. Centara’s global loyalty program, Centara The1, reinforces their loyalty with rewards, privileges and special member pricing.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un today witnessed the test-firing of a new type of tactical guided weapon.
The Korean Central News Agency said Chairman Kim Jong Un observed the firing of the weapon Wednesday by the Academy of Defense Science.
According to Beijing’s Global Times tabloid, North Korea wants to slow the pace of tourism as more foreigners are traveling to the country.
The agency reports that Kim said “the development of the weapon system serves as an event of very weighty significance in increasing the combat power of the People’s Army.”
The agency says Kim mounted an observation post to learn about the test-fire of the new-type tactical guided weapon and guide the test-fire.
The announcement came after reports of new activity at a North Korean missile research center and long-range rocket site where the North is believed to build long-range missiles targeting the U.S. mainland.
The White House said it was aware of the report and had no comment.
National child safety advocacy group, Stop Child Predators, called on state and local government leaders in the U.S. today to ban hidden cameras in Airbnbs and other short-term rentals, and enact regulations and criminal penalties for violators. The group says enough is enough after a string of recent news stories regarding hidden cameras found in Airbnbs, including a story last week of a mother and young daughter potentially being filmed undressing.
“Week after week Airbnb finds themselves the subject of yet another hidden camera nightmare. These horrific accounts from Airbnb guests demonstrate how unsettling it is for guests that find themselves being filmed without their knowledge or consent – a scenario especially frightening for those traveling with children,” said Stacie Rumenap, President of Stop Child Predators. “Airbnb is allowing families to become sitting ducks for potentially predatory hosts who exploit guests by filming them and their children for personal viewing, or even wider audiences on the web.”
Rumenap points to a series of recent news stories involving hidden cameras discovered in Airbnbs and says the occurrence of incidents is on the rise.
• “Airbnb Has A Hidden-Camera Problem” (The Atlantic, 3/26/19)
• “They Were Settling Into Their Airbnb. Then They Found A Hidden Camera” (The Washington Post, 4/6/2019)
• “California Couple Finds Hidden Camera Above Bed At Airbnb Rental” (ABC News Channel 7, 3/29/19)
• “Man Discovers Hidden Cameras Inside Of Miami Airbnb” (WTNH News, 1/21/19)
• “At An Airbnb? You Might Be On Camera, Whether You Like It Or Not” (NBC News, 3/7/19)
“Airbnb already poses a problem for parents by allowing strangers, and even potential sex-offenders, into short-term rentals in residential family neighborhoods. With a revolving door of strangers coming and going from short-term rental properties, tools like sex offender lists are becoming obsolete as there is no safeguard in place to stop a child predator from renting an Airbnb property next door. Now, parents need to consider the added stress of worrying that their children may be filmed and exploited while staying inside an Airbnb on vacation,” stated Rumenap.
Stop Child Predators urges government leaders, especially in states and localities with major tourism destinations, to step in and protect traveling families whose privacy and safety should be safeguarded while vacationing in their jurisdiction.”
“Airbnb’s inability to manage the users, and abusers, of their platform is unacceptable. It’s time for government leaders to step in to protect our children,” stated Rumenap.
A report released on behalf of the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) calls on state and local government leaders to reject Airbnb’s future pursuit of voluntary collection agreements (VCAs) and look to the Wayfair decision as a pathway to cancel current VCA agreements and bring Airbnb up to code with current industry tax standards and regulations.
AHLA released a new report on National Tax Day, conducted by former Director of the Montana Revenue Department Dan Bucks, which clearly demonstrates why the Supreme Court’s Wayfair vs. South Dakota decision last year eliminates the need for state and localities to enter into “voluntary collection agreements” (VCAs) with Airbnb and provides the legal framework and incentive to tax Airbnb like every other U.S. online business now.
“Airbnb no longer qualifies—if it ever did—for privileged treatment by tax agencies as a ‘voluntary collector,’” states Bucks in the report. “This treatment gives Airbnb an unfair advantage in the marketplace by creating a tax and regulatory haven for Airbnb lodging operators. Post-Wayfair, Airbnb’s “voluntary agreements” are now a relic of a past legal premise that no longer exists.”
Bucks urges government leaders to begin the process of terminating existing “voluntary” tax agreements with Airbnb in coordination with state adoption of “general marketplace provider” legislation. Bucks went on to say that disparities between the tax treatment of Airbnb and other online businesses pose a legal risk to states and localities.
“Airbnb has been making back-room deals and strong-arming state and local jurisdictions into ‘voluntary’ tax deals with no transparency, oversight or auditing capability for years,” stated Chip Rogers, President and CEO at AHLA. “Airbnb, and other short term rental platforms need to abide by the same rules as all other law-abiding, tax-paying businesses in the industry.”
AHLA urges state and local government leaders to terminate Airbnb’s voluntary tax deals and instead institute a tax policy that will collect taxes from Airbnb and its operators to ensure an even playing field and transparency for taxpayers. In San Francisco, home of Airbnb’s corporate headquarters, the company agreed to pay back taxes and collect city taxes from its hosts. AHLA urges other states and localities to follow suit.
“Airbnb’s secret tax agreements are hurting communities across America by shortchanging their schools, infrastructure, and other public services” stated Rogers. “Airbnb’s special treatment needs to end.”
The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) is the singular voice representing every segment of the hotel industry including major chains, independent hotels, management companies, REIT’s, bed and breakfasts, industry partners and more.
Despite Brexit uncertainty, Heathrow remains a bright light for the UK, with the role we play in keeping people and products moving evident. Our new domestic connections will be pivotal in linking more regions and nations to global opportunities, benefiting all corners of this great country and we look forward to announcing many more of these as part of the expansion programme,” Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said:
Genting Cruise Lines welcomed the third member of its Dream Cruises’ fleet with the christening and inaugural homeport deployment of Explorer Dream in Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal. Explorer Dream is the first newly-launched cruise ship of the post-recalibration period in the Chinese cruise industry and her arrival also marks Dream Cruises’ debut in Eastern China, with the cruise liner purposely-built and recently renovated for the Asian and Chinese luxury market. Leveraging on the deployment of Explorer Dream, Dream Cruises’ first 200,000-tonne Global Class ship, set to debut in 2021, will also celebrate her inaugural deployment in Shanghai as the largest cruise ship to homeport in the Asia-Pacific.
Honorable guests Mr. Su Ping, Vice Magistrate of Shanghai Baoshan District Government and Mr. Hui Lim, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of Genting Hong Kong were joined by management executives and over 500 guests at the ceremonial launch event. The christening ceremony featured Ms. Grace Chen, the godmother of Explorer Dream and one of the most influential fashion innovators in China. The innovative christening was activated by her magic wand of dreams and aspirations and the spirit of exploration was symbolised by a majestic unicorn that led the iconic Dream Cruises’ mermaid out of the ocean and into a new realm, where she will embark on the quest to discover new horizons across the seas. With the traditional breaking of the champagne bottle against the bow of the ship, Explorer Dream officially begins her journey with Dream Cruises.
“Dream Cruises is the most recognized cruise brand in Southern China due to World Dream being positioned in the dual homeports of Guangzhou and Hong Kong. However, as we all know, the Eastern and North Chinese market is five times larger than the south and Dream Cruises will be building two 204,000 gross ton “Global Class” ships to be launched starting early 2021 in Shanghai and Tianjin to accommodate this market. These two ships, being built in our own shipyards Germany, are also designed to be the most advanced and intelligent cruise ships ever to be constructed,” said Mr. Hui Lim, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of Genting Hong Kong. said, “In order to prepare the foundations and increase Dream Cruises’ brand awareness in East and North China, we are pleased today to welcome “Explorer Dream” in Shanghai as the third ship in our Dream Cruises fleet.”
Explorer Dream is the second cruise ship of Genting Cruise Lines to homeport in Shanghai, made possible by the tremendous support of the Shanghai Baoshan District Government. Mr. Su Ping, Vice Magistrate of Shanghai Baoshan District Government said, “In July 2017, Genting Cruise Lines launched the Golden Sea Route 7-night itinerary in Shanghai, which garnered the Best Itinerary Award during the Shanghai Cruise Tourism Festival. In October 2018, a strategic Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Baoshan District Government and Genting Cruise Lines to forge a new partnership. Now, the inaugural arrival of Explorer Dream, the newest member of Dream Cruises in Shanghai, will bring forth distinctive and premium cruise travel products to propel the optimal development of the cruise industry in China.”
After the inaugural ceremony, Grace Chen presented a spectacular fashion show at sea aboard the ship. Eighteen models showcased her Voyage collection and walked the runway on the Palace Pool Deck, where guests enjoyed a visual feast inspired by the spirit of exploration and discovery, both of which are the brand essence of Dream Cruises.
Since its launch two years ago, Dream Cruises has garnered numerous accolades for its two cruise ships, Genting Dream which debuted in 2016 and World Dream in 2017, including Star Performer Top Ten Ratings in the Large Resort Category, “Most Popular Family Cruise Brand in China 2018” by Global Times, Top 5 Cruise Lines in the Large/Medium sized cruise ship category by Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List and more.
Built with German craftsmanship, Explorer Dream measures 268 meters in length and 32 meters in width. She has a total gross tonnage of 75,338 tons, 928 cabins and lower berth capacity of 1,856 passengers. The signature, luxury “ship within a ship” enclave of Dream Cruises – The Palace, provides an unprecedented “True Asian Luxury” experience to discerning travelers in China and Asia, boasting an industry leading staff to guest ratio, a majority of its suites at over 40 square meters, as well as Proprietary Butler Training endorsed by affiliated company Crystal Cruises – The World’s Most Awarded Luxury Cruise Line.
A generous variety of culinary options will also be available to cater for every taste – from inspired Asian flavours to exquisite Western delicacies. Acclaimed Australian Chef Mark Best will extend his influence on to Explorer Dream with his Seafood Grill by Mark Best serving up the ocean’s bounty in a spectacular al fresco setting. Signature Dream dining favorites will also take pride of place on the new ship including Umi Uma for Japanese delights, Silk Road for traditional Chinese fare, Blue Lagoon for Southeast Asian comfort food and Palm Court for informal refreshments and breath-taking views. For adventurous foodies, the all new Mozzarella Ristorante e Pizzeria will tantalize with a modern fusion of classic Italian dishes and pizzas with a Japanese twist.
Guests of Explorer Dream can also enjoy thematic programs on their journeys at sea including “The Connoisseurs Circle” bespoke enrichment program, featuring inspirational talks and events that are especially curated for guests of The Palace, such as a fashion talk by Grace Chen, the godmother of Explorer Dream.
As the fastest cruise ship in Asia, Explorer Dream offers a great variety of itineraries and flexibility. Sailings from Shanghai homeport will take guests on cruises to popular destinations in Japan that range from 3-night to 6-night itineraries, such as the 3-night cruises to Kyoto, Osaka or Kobe, or the 2-night round-trip cruise to Okinawa. In the month of April, when cherry blossoms in Japan are in bloom, guests can enjoy the dazzling floral display on shore, complemented by authentic Japanese experiences on the cruise, such as specialty dishes featuring Japanese Wagyu beef and pork, tuna cutting performances, Yukata trials, poolside festivals and more.
Starting from 1 July, Explorer Dream will begin her homeport deployment in Tianjin with more summer cruise options for family travelers, who will enjoy the renowned stage productions of Kaixin Mahua at sea. Taking the first step to evolve Dream Cruises into “Asia’s Global Cruise Line” by sailing outside Asian waters, in October 2019, Explorer Dream will homeport in Sydney and Auckland where she will embark on a variety of seven-night weekly itineraries to “Down Under” destinations.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced a pilot program to help prepare people with disabilities for careers in air traffic operations.
A key focus for the FAA’s Office of Civil Rights is to identify specific opportunities for people with targeted disabilities, empower them and facilitate their entry into a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
The FAA will enroll up to 20 people in the Aviation Development Program. They will train for up to one year at 10 Air Route Traffic Control Centers throughout the U.S. The following facilities will participate in the pilot: Minneapolis, Minn., Cleveland, Ohio, Boston, Mass., Denver, Colo., Fort Worth, Texas, Jacksonville, Fla., Seattle, Wash., Memphis, Tenn., Kansas City, Kan., and Salt Lake City, Utah.
The candidates in this program will receive the same rigorous consideration in terms of aptitude, medical and security qualifications as those individuals considered for a standard public opening for air traffic controller jobs. The training will prepare them for an opportunity to be appointed to a temporary air traffic control specialist position at the FAA Academy.
Candidates for the Aviation Development Program must meet the following criteria:
• United States citizenship
• The qualification for Schedule A Direct Hiring Authority (PDF)
• Meet Office of Personnel Management ATC qualification standards
• Pass Air Traffic Skills Assessment (AT-SA) Aptitude test
• No more than 30 years of age
• Pass a medical/security review
• Be proficient in English
• Education and/or work experience:
– three years of progressively responsible work experience or,
– a bachelor’s degree or
– a combination of post-secondary education and work experience that totals three years.
Chief Executive magazine announced today that Arne M. Sorenson, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Marriott International, has been named 2019 Chief Executive of the Year by his peer CEOs.
“He’s a global leader, a man with a conscience, a person who connects with his people,” said Fred Hassan, the former Chairman of Bausch & Lomb and Partner at Warburg Pincus, and a member of this year’s selection committee.
“I have tremendous respect for Arne Sorenson, for his global leadership and for his outstanding track record amid a very challenging marketplace,” said Marillyn A. Hewson, the Chairman, President and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation and 2018 CEO of the Year, who also served on the selection committee.
Mr. Sorenson joined Marriott in 1996 and held a number of positions before serving as President and Chief Operating Officer. He became Chief Executive Officer in 2012, the first person to hold the post without the Marriott family name.
Since becoming CEO, Mr. Sorenson has led a vast expansion of the business, including the acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide in 2016. The company now has more than 7,000 properties across 130 countries and territories and 30 brands. An outspoken corporate leader, he has advocated for environmental sustainability, a more open, safe and inclusive workplace, and a welcoming culture around the world.
“I am deeply honored by this tremendous recognition, and I thank my peer CEOs for the nomination,” said Mr. Sorenson. “I stand on the shoulders of an icon, Bill Marriott, and the 730,000 people around the world who wear a Marriott name badge. Together, we work each day to uphold a legacy of creating opportunities—for our guests, our associates and the local neighborhoods where we operate.”
The selection committee cited Sorenson’s outstanding performance running one of the most complex, global businesses in the world in the face of daunting cultural and technological change.
“There are few people who have driven innovation in the way that Arne has and…been able to lead such a large organization, and to be able to keep them focused on excellent execution and also the responsibilities that they have for each other, the environment and on social issues,” said Neal Keating, President and CEO, Kaman.
Over the past 33 years, Chief Executive of the Year winners have been a who’s who of American business leadership, including Bill Gates, Jack Welch, Michael Dell, A.G. Lafley, John Chambers, Bob Iger, Anne Mulcahy, Larry Bossidy, Andy Grove and Herb Kelleher, among others.
The Chief Executive of the Year was selected by a committee of distinguished peer CEOs in a meeting held in March at the Nasdaq MarketSite. The 2019 committee consists of Marillyn A. Hewson (Chairman, President and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation), Dan Glaser (President and CEO, Marsh & McLennan), Neal Keating (President and CEO, Kaman), Fred Hassan (former Chairman, Bausch & Lomb; Partner, Warburg Pincus), Tamara Lundgren (President and CEO, Schnitzer Steel), Max H. Mitchell (President and CEO, Crane Co.), Bob Nardelli (CEO, XLR-8), Tom Quinlan III (Chairman, President and CEO, LSC Communications), Jeffrey Sonnenfeld (CEO, The Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute) and Mark Weinberger (Global Chairman and CEO, EY Global). Ted Bililies, Ph.D., Chief Talent Officer, Managing Director, AlixPartners, is the exclusive advisor to the 2019 Selection Committee.
Sorenson’s selection as 2019 CEO of the Year will be celebrated at an invitation-only event hosted by Chief Executive Group at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York in late July.