Special Events

Hotels Adopt Heartening Stance

Our November issue is one of my favorites — it features fabulous hotels for special events.

Our cover story takes a look at hotels that have renovated their event space to make it a better space to stage events. Assistant editor Christine Landry takes you on a tour of properties from Thailand to Texas showing how these facelifts lift bookings.

These are heady days for the hotel business. As shown in our 6th annual hotel event study, 43 percent of our hotel/resort readers predict they will stage more special events this year than they did in 2006. Sixty percent say they will be even busier with events in 2008 than they are in 2007. Turn to page 24 to read the full story.

Hotel construction is on the upswing. Here in Los Angeles, a 124-room Ritz-Carlton Marriott is going in next to Staples Center downtown, and a 275-room Mandarin Oriental property, designed by famed architect Frank Gehry, will open in 2010 not far away. Industry analysts warn not to expect vacant rooms or reduced rates when the new hotels debut; even at the high end, pent-up demand will eat up the new room inventory.

Nearly 300 hotels are set to open in Europe in 2008, according to industry analysts Lodging Econometrics. The United Kingdom has the biggest number of projects in the pipeline, with nearly a third of new rooms opening in London, “which is experiencing its best operating performance since the '90s,” LE says.

Hoteliers are in such a sweet position that they could just sit back and tally up the guest tabs. But that isn't what's happening. The five-star world of fine linen and exquisite service is showing an admirable commitment to the world at large.

Toronto-based Fairmont Hotels & Resorts offers its “eco-meet” program, which helps planners conduct events that conserve water and energy, protect air quality and reduce waste.

This year, Fairmont is going further, committing wherever possible to offering locally grown, organic, sustainable products. How will Fairmont pull this off? Simple: They will spend more and work harder. But the hotel is unafraid of the challenge. Going “green” “is not a fad,” Fairmont vice president of food and beverage Serge Simard tells us in this month's “Guest Room.” “It's here to stay.”

The hotel industry will open plenty of new doors in the next year. It continues to open its heart.

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