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Recent news, gossip and comments from Bob and Mary Ann...and all members of Aimfair....
September 21, 2017Bulgari? St. Regis Hotels & Resorts? Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co.? Ritz-Carlton Reserve? All owned by Marriott International.
Chloe Riley of HOTELSMag.com interviewed Lisa Holladay, VP of Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis brands and uncovered a couple of interesting insights:
How Marriott is updating its luxury brands (Interview)By Chloe Riley on 9/20/2017 (http://www.hotelsmag.com/Industry/News/Details/75499)
Lisa Holladay drives the global brand marketing strategy for Marriott International's luxury brands, including Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co., Ritz-Carlton Reserve, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts and Bulgari. HOTELS spoke with her about steps the company’s taking to make luxury more accessible.
Marriott’s global brand leader and VP of Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis brands, Lisa Holladay:
HOTELS: What’s going on with Marriott’s upper luxury brands in terms of making a move towards casual luxury?
Lisa Holladay: Marriott has started this journey of making quite substantial changes in luxury. From major things like changing the brand identities, updating the logo and the color, to things that may seem smaller but actually have a huge impact, and that was around the grooming standards.
H: What kind of changes?
LH: Facial hair was one. And earrings, nail polish color, hosiery. Previously, women were required to wear hosiery even if they were working in Palms Springs and it was 100 degrees outside. The way their hair was cut, how long their hair could be – it really encompassed everything from hair to nails to clothing to shoes. We want to appeal not only for younger guests, have a more relaxed feel, but also it’s super important for the talent we’re attracting, the future ladies and gentlemen that we want to come work at the brand.
H: What’s hot and trending from a service and amenities perspective?
LH: We went through a small moment in time where there was almost a disconnect with the concierges because guests had so much information at their fingertips. What we see now is a complete swing the other way, that there’s so much information and they’re inundated with so much, they’re really looking for the individuals at the property to be the local experts.
For a while, I also felt like everything was so focused on what technology we’re bringing in and we see a swing in that, too. It’s not that customers don’t want it, but what we’ve found in luxury specifically is that ultimately technology doesn’t take the place of our staff.
H: Fashion and lifestyle partnerships – how are those evolving?
LH: We’re working with the designers from Marchesa, currently Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig. They’re just wonderful connoisseurs for their brand, definitely representative of our target guest.
It gave us the opportunity to not only talk about our connection and our design connection, but also to really highlight having weddings at a St. Regis. So we’re working with them right now on how we can evolve that strategy and maybe focus on honeymoons next.
There are a number of changes taking place in the Luxury accommodation space, and Marriott seems to be aggressively pursuing interesting strategies. For example, Bulgari, the Italian fashion brand and supposed supplier of body washes for the new Grand Luxxe brand before the units opened, is now owned by Marriott. We learned that Ritz Carlson is offering its own luxury cruises. In the above article, we learned that concierges did not have as much information as guests because of the use of technology. Now, it seems guests are turning toward experiences of concierges, which places more emphasis on staff members and their knowledge.
The luxury space is demanding and competitive. As members of the Grand Luxxe Residence Club, we hope management is aware of the rising standards being adopted by the industry's other luxury brands. We look forward to seeing the new season unfold.
August 22, 2017Imagine....you are on the fourth floor of Tower Two in Nuevo Vallarta, coffee has been served and the day is well on its way. As you leave your unit to enjoy your vacation doing what ever pleases you, you leave a card on the outside door handle of your unit. "Ready to be cleaned" is what the card says.
But, the card is unique. It has an electronic sensor that sends a message to Gita to join her human partner to clean the unit that just sent the notice. Gita and her partner receive a number of messages, indicating that all the units on a given floor are ready for cleaning.
Off they go. Gita follows her partner and memorizes the route. Gita's partner opens the first door, and both enter the unit. Towels are on the floor ready to be replaced by clean ones. The soiled towels are then given to Gita, who stores them in a hopper. The hopper is large enough for all the towels in the units on any floor.
When Gita is full, off she goes to the service area on the floor she's working on. When she arrives, she empties her cargo of soiled towels and heads back to pick up another load.
Well this scenario is speculation and distant at best. But, the concept of robotics in the hospitality industry may not be.
Just think how technology impacts all of our lives today. Do you remember what you were doing in July, 1976. That was only 41 years ago, and that was the first time an Apple computer was offered for sale for $666.66.
If you are interested in learning more, just tap the following link to HotelsMag.com: My new BFF is a robotic schlepper!
To bring us all to the same point, consider that Grupo Mayan Resorts began operations in 1975 with its first property called Pariso Mazatlan. You can read that post here: Mayan Palace
What fun...speculation, reflection and enjoying the ride....
August 17, 2017Aimfair members are located throughout the US and Canada, with some from Mexico and Great Britain as well. Wisconsin is a well represented state, and unfortunately, one Aimfair member's family is close to Abbey Conner, the young woman who tragically drowned at an Iberostar Resort in Cancun, Mexico. The case is still being investigated, but there does not appear to be much hope of knowing exactly what happened.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal has been closely following this case. Following is a list of related articles recently posted by the paper:
- 8/17/17 - Blackout Victims at Mexico Resorts Have Little Hope of Justice
- 8/12/17 - Mexican Authorities Crackdown and Seize Illicit Alcohol at Cancun Resorts
- 7/28/17 - Mexico Says It Will Take Action Against Tainted Alcohol
- 7/26/17 - State Department Issues Travel Warning - Tainted Alcohol in Mexico
- 7/20/17 - All-Inclusive Resorts in Mexico - Suspected of Drugging Tourists
- 7/12/17 - Wisconsin Family Questions Daughters Mysterious Drowning
- Definition 1: Trust means being able to predict what other people will do and what situations will occur. If we can surround ourselves with people we trust, then we can create a safe present and an even better future.
- Definition 2: Trust means making an exchange with someone when you do not have full knowledge about them, their intent and the things they are offering to you.
- Definition 3: Trust means giving something now with an expectation that it will be repaid, possibly in some unspecified way at some unspecified time in the future.
- Definition 4: Trust means enabling other people to take advantage of your vulnerabilities—but expecting that they will not do this.
How do we as individuals protect ourselves from illicit alcohol? By taking extra steps to validate the source and origin of a drink. Drink liquids that are capped, such as beer and wine. Be careful about drinking Tequila made in places you don't trust. Just be careful. Use common sense. Recognize when circumstances could become out of control and move on.
Bottom Line: Grand Luxxe facilities are AAA Five Diamond rated. Mexico is a beautiful place. Enjoy, and be careful!
July 20, 2017Timeshare's are usually used as homes, when it comes to meals. Owners like to stock up at the local Walmart, Mega Foods, or Costco because of the savings on refreshments and freshness of the food they cook and eat. Groups of family members descend on one unit and everyone pitches in to disseminate the meal duties.
It is true, however, that the cost of going off property to buy staples and other stuff is increasing, mainly because of the increasing cost of taxi rides. For example, in December, 2015 the cost of a round trip to Sam's or Mega Foods was $340 MxP (about $17 US). Then add the cost of the food and other items purchased. Finally add the time taken. All in all, going off property is an involved process, even though we love to do it every vacation.
The alternative is to truly enjoy your vacation by not worrying about preparing food each meal and cleaning up afterwards. The resort offers meal plans that appear to be very reasonable. Following is an image that explains the plan:
The current rate of MxP to USD is 17.48 to 1. Using this conversion rate, the average price of each coupon is $25.72 US. This includes 12 coupons: 6 for breakfast and 6 for lunches or dinners.
Taking everything into consideration, the price of the meal plan appears to be very reasonable. Check it out for yourselves. We all have a unique take on how to spend vacations and how much to spend as well.
Let us know your thoughts and experiences by posting your comments on Member Reviews. Tap here to be taken there. Cheers!
July 7, 2017Cirque du Soleil announced it has purchased Blue Man Productions. Blue Man wanted to expand and thought the creative venue provided by Cirque would provide a pathway to accomplish its expansion plans. Consider the following article seen on DIS:
Who knows, maybe some day we will be treated to a Blue Man show too.
Blue Man Group Has Been Purchased by Cirque du SoleilCharles Boda | July 6, 2017
Cirque du Soleil has announced today that they have acquired Blue Man Productions, the company behind the popular percussive performers Blue Man Group. The purchase occurred to help both companies serve their mutual goal of expansion.
Cirque du Soleil and Blue Man Group both currently have existing shows in the Orlando theme park area: Cirque’s Disney Springs show, La Nouba, will have its final performance on December 31st, 2017; and Universal CityWalk hosts a live Blue Man Group show. Exactly how this acquisition could affect the companies’ Orlando presence is unknown, but for the time being, it appears Cirque is more concerned with expansion than with merging their properties.
Daniel Lamarre, Cirque’s chief executive, stated, “The Blue Man Group will keep its autonomy. We’re not going to mix the Cirque du Soleil brand with the brand of the Blue Man Group.”
Blue Man Group’s brand of percussion, lighting, dancing, and nonverbal comedy has already stretched its reach to five permanent shows in the United States (Orlando, Chicago, New York, Boston, and Las Vegas), one international show in Berlin, and one world tour. Their performances are said to take in hundreds of millions of dollars per year. They have been operating for almost 30 years at this point, first performing in 1988 (officially forming in 1991), and have performed in front of over 35 million viewers.
Cirque du Soleil was created in 1984 by former fire-eater Guy Laliberte and initially cultivated street performers in Quebec. Since then, Cirque has gone from 20 performers to 1,300, employs 4,000 people, and operates in approximately 50 nations. Annually, Cirque’s performances draw 13 million people and bring in $1 billion in revenue.
Cirque strategy looks to be expanding Blue Man internationally. “We saw the potential for a marketing and distributing powerhouse like Cirque du Soleil to be able to distribute Blue Man Group and make their brand better known internationally,” Lamarre said.