Posts in the category "Hotels":

Survey of hotel habits – good and bad

Wolcott Hotel Elevator Buttons

Expedia just released the results of its 2015 Hotel Etiquette Study, which asked 1,022 Americans to share tidbits about their behavior at hotels and to evaluate the behavior of other hotel guests.

67 percent said parents who let their kids run wild are the most aggravating hotel guests, 64 percent said “Hallway Hellraisers” were the most irritating, while 54 percent of Americans complained about guests who berate hotel staff over minor inconveniences.

Survey respondents were also asked about some of the things they did in hotel rooms, such as hoarding toiletries, smoking, sneaking in extra guests and taking home hotel property, but I was most intrigued by the section on tipping.

According to the survey, 51 percent of Americans tip the hotel housekeeper, but 27 percent do not tip hotel employees at all.

Crowdfunding comes to hotels

I’ve been keeping an eye on Yotel ever since my short stay inside one of the hotel brand’s tiny short-stay “cabins” at London’s Heathrow Airport.

So I was especially interested in working on this story for CNBC about how crowdfunding is being incorporated into the fundraising plan for a Yotel to be built in San Francisco:

Yotel Room mockup, June 2010Designed by Rockwell group, NY

The online money-raising craze that made possible both the Pebble smartwatch and the Oculus Rift virtual reality system is now becoming a trend in the hotel hospitality industry.

Crowdfunding is being used to help raise funds to transform a historic building in San Francisco’s gentrifying Mid-Market neighborhood into a hip, high-tech YOTEL-branded hotel.

In a joint venture with a Kuwaiti real estate company named AQARAT, New York-based real estate investment firm, Synapse Development Group is spearheading the redevelopment of 1095 Market Street.

If all goes according to plan, the antiquated office building will soon become a 203-room hotel. It will be the city’s first hotel partly financed via crowdfunding and will be located just blocks from the headquarters of tech heavyweights Uber and Twitter.

“We thought crowdfunding a small portion [10 to 15 percent] of the equity on this deal would fit with the ethos of the neighborhood, given the demographic of the young, millennial, tech-heavy crowd that is there day-to-day,” said Justin Palmer, Synapse’s CEO.

“It’s a good way to encourage local buy-in on the project,” said Palmer. “These people can reap investment benefits as owners and also actually visit the property, go to the restaurant, the roof top bar and get owners’ discounts on room rates.”

Synapse isn’t the first company to crowdfund a hotel, however. In 2014, the Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs used the platform to raise $1.5 million to help refinance and renovate the property. For a minimum investment of $10,000, individuals became equity owners and received a package of VIP guest perks.

Real estate crowdfunding site RealCrowd is hosting the YOTEL San Francisco offering, which is open to accredited investors. In addition to equity ownership, investors are being offered Kickstarter-type perks, such as t-shirts, annual parties and personalized perks at investment tiers starting at a minimum of $25,000.

“They’re trying to marry the concepts from the last generation of crowdfunding, when you were just a supporter to being also an owner,” said Mitch Roschelle, partner and real estate advisory leader at PwC, “but there are a lot of complicated security laws you need to deal with.”

A lot of those security laws are still quite new, dating back to the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which was signed into law in April 2012. That eased some fundraising and advertising restrictions for small companies.

With real estate crowdfunding growing globally, from $1 billion in 2014 to a projected $2.5 billion in 2015, Roschelle thinks it’s a growing trend — and one that makes sense for hotels.

“A lot of crowdfunding has been in the intellectual property space, for movies and start-up businesses,” said Roschelle. “It was inevitable that crowdfunding would make its way to properties where investors could visit or even stay at the very place they funded.”

According to Crowdnetic, which tracks crowd financing, since September 2013 there have been over 300 securities-based crowdfunded real estate development and investments offerings out of 6,260. Twelve of those have been for hotel properties.

Of that number, “10 … have been successful, and I would not be surprised if the early successful hotel offerings spurred other hotel and lodging properties to come on board with this still-new capital-formation tool,” said Janet Rosenblum, Crowdnetic’s director of research.

Synapse’s YOTEL underscores how the real estate industry is grappling with major changes in how to build and finance projects.

“With technology and the regulatory changes, there’s been a transformational shift in how people manage their money,” said Adam Hooper, co-founder and CEO of RealCrowd, “We’re still building a stadium and I don’t even know if the game has started yet.”

A new LaGuardia Airport? It will happen.

LGA Airport

On Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the long-awaited plan for the promised makeover of LaGuardia Airport, which U.S. vice-president Joe Biden likened to one found in “some Third World country.”

The make-over of the airport will be massive: it will cost at least $4 billion and include one unified terminal building “designed so passengers intuitively understand the airport’s layout,” an automated tram, business and conference center capabilities, better roadways and public transportation to and from the airport, better taxiways for the airplanes, a cell phone lot, a consolidated rental car center, a boutique hotel and the services, dining and shopping options now offered by first-class airports elsewhere.

A tall order? Sure, you betcha’. But something has to be done.

Here’s a video that details the design that just might make you believe it will happen.

And here’s a link to the full report.

No mention of bringing back the Observation Deck or the Sky Bar.



Red Lion’s new Baltimore hotel helping city’s homeless

Homeless Baltimore Project Wake Up Call

Most hotels lead up to a grand opening with press releases about the glitz and glamor and amenity-rich aspects of their new property.

But as it readies for the August 1 opening of the Hotel RL Baltimore Inner Harbor – the first hotel in the new upscale Hotel RL brand – RLHC (Red Lion Hotels Corporation) is promoting a social responsibility project to help the homeless.

RLCH has partnered with Baltimore’s Health Care for the Homeless and created a fundraising campaign called Project Wake Up Call: Baltimore Uncovered.

In advance of the hotel opening in Baltimore, RLCH asked photographer Ian Tong to  go out into the city and make portraits of homeless people and their living situations.

Project Wake-Up Call

“Homelessness is an issue that affects every city in the country,” said RLHC President & CEO Greg Mount, “We’re in the shelter business, so working to combat homelessness is as an organic extension of who we are as a company and as caring, hospitable individuals.”

You can see a gallery of the photos here – and you can join the hotel in supporting Health Care for the Homeless, a Baltimore nonprofit health clinic, by donating on this site.

Donations of $100 or more will be acknowledged with a one-night stay at the hotel between August 1, 2015 – October 31, 2015.

RLHC plans to repeat the Project Wake Up Call fundraising partnership program in other cities where it plans new Hotel RL properties.

(Photos by Ian Tong; courtesy RLHC)

YO! Sushi at Copenhagen Airport

yo sushi copenhagen

What’s better than really fresh and really tasty sushi at the airport?

Sushi that comes to you on a conveyor belt.

YO! Sushi, the ‘running’ sushi restaurant that started in London and now has 74 restaurants worldwide, just opened a branch at Copenhagen Airport. There, the sushi moves along a 230-foot-long conveyor belt at just over 3 inches per minute – giving diners time to peruse the offerings, make a decision and pick up a dish – or wait a few seconds for something tastier-looking to come along.

Sound like fun? This entertaining dining option is also available at Edinburgh Airport and and Heathrow Airport T2 and T3.

yo sushi

The people who invented Yo! Sushi didn’t stop with restaurants. They’re also the folks behind the Yotel – the hotels located at Heathrow, Gatwick and Amerstardam airports that offer cabin-like rooms where you can relax and refresh before, after or between flights. The concept has been so popular that there’s now a Yotel in New York City and plans to open additional Yotels at Singapore Changi and Paris Charles DeGaulle Airport and addiitional off-airport Yotels on Orchard Street in Singapore, in Brooklyn, NY, San Francisco, and Miami within the next two or three years.

Recent Tweets

  • Subscribe to Posts Via Email or RSS

    Subscribe Via Email
    Subscribe Via RSS
  • My USAToday Airport Guides

    • See all airport guides »

  • Posts by Category

  • Browse posts on the site by category:

  • See all categories »

  • Advertisers