Monthly Archives: February 2011

Berlin Convention Office Reports Record Numbers for 2010

9.1 million Participants / Sales Revenue up by Ten Percent

Berlin / Los Angeles, February 2011 – The tourism and convention destination Berlin reached record attendee and revenue numbers in 2010, and remains the front runner in the German convention industry.

This is the result of the 2010 convention statistics, published this week by the Berlin Convention Office of visitBerlin.

According to the statistics, 9.1 million visitors attended meetings and conferences in Berlin during the last year; a ten percent increase compared to 2009. The number of events rose by 4 percent to a total of 113,100. Berlin’s convention hotels contributed to this success, reporting 5.5 million room nights, which signifies a plus of 11 percent. Consequently, the economic clout of Berlin’s meeting and convention market continues to grow: total sales revenue increased by ten percent to EUR 1.65 billion.

“These results are remarkable compared to last year”, it was stressed by visitBerlin CEO Burkhard Kieker. “Berlin has proven to be a crisis-resistant leader and has been able to further expand its position as Germany’s most important meetings location. On an international level, we have been among the top 5 congress destinations in the world for many years. Nonetheless the German capital still offers enormous growth potential. The anticipated doubling of meeting capacities after the refurbishment of the ICC Berlin will surely contribute to this.”

The positive 2010 balance can in part be attributed to the city’s convention centers, such as the ICC Berlin, which hosted large-scale events attended by 1.2 million participants (30 percent more than in 2009).
Furthermore, a trend towards the staging of longer events became evident Berlin: At present, 35 percent of all meetings are multi-day events (+1%). The average duration of meetings and conventions rose by 0.2 percent to 1.9 days.

The complete results of the updated convention statistics can be downloaded at : http://convention.visitberlin.de/en/article/congress-statistics.

New IMEX Survey Reveals Women’s Meetings Industry Leadership Ambitions

As part of their research into those business performance skills that women feel they most need to develop in order to progress, Susan Sarfati, CEO of High Performance Strategies and Liz Jackson, President of Jackson Consulting Inc, recently conducted a survey of 140 women currently working in the meetings, events and incentive travel industry.
The resulting research and its detailed findings will be used to craft the content of their first ever Women’s Leadership Forum to be held at IMEX in Frankfurt, May 24-26 this year, as part of the award-winning trade show’s New Vision programme. The survey also gathered feedback from a small number of men.

The survey results show that many women still share concerns about how to achieve a sustainable work-life balance but they are also doing battle with other workplace issues which are specific to the 21st century. When asked “what is the major challenge you currently face in your leadership or management role?”, time management, especially in an age of ‘always-on’ social media, was highlighted by many respondents. Others expressed a desire to understand how to be assertive in the workplace without appearing dominant or aggressive, especially in a tougher economic climate.

Although some of the issues raised by the women polled can clearly be divided along male or female lines, others are fundamental to everyone working in the meetings industry. These include how to guide clients towards more ethical and fairer business behaviour; how best to manage and motivate Generation Y employees; staff retention issues and how to achieve board level support and understanding of the real value of meetings and events.

When it comes to developing specific skills and new areas of confidence and expertise, these women said their greatest need is for improved time management, better sales and marketing skills, superior financial management as well as presentation and communication skills. Many respondents also said they would like to improve their negotiation and conflict resolution skills.
When asked which subjects they would most like to discuss during the Women’s Leadership Forum, ‘dealing with conflict’ was the topic most requested by respondents, closely followed by ‘understanding the differences in male and female leadership types’ and ‘selling yourself and your ideas’. Other suggestions made by the respondents themselves included multi-tasking – and how to avoid losing focus by trying to do everything – and cross-cultural training. It is clear that working in or with partners in emerging markets presents unique challenges to women, many of whom are aware of cultural and religious differences but are unsure of their impact on working relationships.

Commenting on the findings, Susan Sarfati, CEO of High Performance Strategies and co-presenter of the IMEX Women’s Leadership Forum in May, says: “Now it is not so unusual to see women leading countries throughout the world. The meetings industry is reflecting the same dramatic change as it relates to key decision makers and a multitude of new opportunities. The 21st century is indeed the century for women to make a major impact and we need to maximise how we can take advantage of this to move ourselves forward, and the meetings industry overall.”

Looking ahead to the live Forum, Liz Jackson, President of Jackson Consulting Inc, who will also be presenting, states: “By demonstrating how women can overcome barriers and succeed in business – and in life – feel good about themselves and reach beyond their expectations, our new Forum will show that women often have more power and potential than they realise. These results make it clear we still have a way to go but they also demonstrate that women’s desire and readiness to improve their skills and remain focused on career development is an essential component of a healthy international meetings and events industry.”

140 women from a cross-section of buyers and suppliers answered the survey. They work in a variety of global markets and at different levels of seniority from event planners to CEOs. They also represent markets including Asia, North America, Europe and the Middle East.

Attendance at the Women’s Leadership Forum at IMEX in Frankfurt in May is completely free of charge, with no need to book. It will take place at 1600hrs on Wednesday May 25th with a second session also set to take place. All Forum sessions will be highly interactive.

Sarfati and Jackson are both accomplished meetings industry experts and achievers with many years’ experience of the specific challenges presented by the industry. Sarfati is best known for her years as CEO and an innovative leader and key spokesperson in the association management profession, whilst Jackson says her greatest career achievement is her success in senior management in the airline and hotel industry.
Their jointly presented Forum will feature recent case studies as well as practical tips. More information at
http://www.imex-frankfurt.com/women.html

The IMEX in Frankfurt New Vision programme is designed to challenge conventional industry thinking, stimulate new ideas and address key issues. There is no need to book for any of the 70 plus seminars, forums and other educational events, which are all provided free of charge.

To register as a visitor go to http://www.imex-frankfurt.com/register.php

Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) Acquires Hinton + Grusich

. . . Acquisition Merges Two of North America’s Largest & Longest Established Independent Hotel National Sales Organizations

WASHINGTON, DC – Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) announced that it has acquired Hinton + Grusich (H + G), which merges two of the largest and most respected independent National Sales Organizations in North America which specifically serve the meeting, incentive/recognition, convention, and exhibition marketplaces exclusively for their hotel and resort member portfolio. Fully effective January 1, 2011, the acquisition of Hinton + Grusich in its entirety will result in the significant expansion of ALHI’s National Sales team, in order to address the growing business demand being experienced from corporate and association meeting professionals, incentive/recognition specialists, product launch specialists, and business executives across North America. The merger effectively augments ALHI’s National Sales network in order to be even more far reaching and effective in serving its impressive membership portfolio of more than 130 Four- and Five-Diamond quality member hotels and resorts worldwide, with over 100,000 rooms, which focus on meetings and conventions. The terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

Expansion Timely In Order to Serve the Growing Demand

“After 25 years of each successfully and passionately serving the meetings and incentive industry with our National Sales responsibilities for our member hotels and resorts, it is a logical step for ALHI and the H + G teams to join forces,” said David Gabri, president and CEO of ALHI (www.alhi.com). “This is our Silver Anniversary, and we’re blessed to add the incredibly talented and well-respected Hinton + Grusich sales executives and leadership to our ALHI team. The timing couldn’t be better as our nation is recovering and we feel business is eagerly back in the business of business, including using meetings and conventions to effectively advance their goals and objectives. This merger enables ALHI to provide even more comprehensive National Sales services to our members, and will augment our busy staff to professionally address the needs of our expanding client base and the general growing business demand from planners across the U.S. and Canada.”

Gabri added, “We’re joining forces in order to build the most professional, formidable, and effective National Sales organization in North America that specifically serves the meetings marketplace. Both ALHI and Hinton + Grusich are highly-respected, with decades of experience, strong core values and character, top talent, longstanding relationships built on trust, and a strong desire to serve our clients. It is a logical ‘marriage,’ that will truly serve our clients and our members. The future is definitely very bright, and it is a great way to start our 25th year with this significant announcement.”

With the H + G acquisition, Kevin Hinton has been named Executive Vice President of ALHI; Bill Grusich, CMP, Senior Vice President; Kathy Kozminske, Vice President of ALHI; and the majority of the staff of H + G are being added to the ALHI national sales organization. Gabri remains president and CEO of ALHI, and while the ALHI family will be larger, he assures the core values, and commitment based upon personal sales relationships for serving accounts remains unchanged. ALHI will expand its ALHI Chicago office, while all others will remain integrated into the current regional NSO operations in their cities. Stacy Lucherini, Regional Vice President for ALHI Midwest and Canada, will remain in leadership of those regions. Chris Riccardi and Ashly Balding will be leading the ALHI West and Southeast regions, and ALHI’s senior executive team of Don Macumber and Mike Coutu remains unchanged.

“We’re very proud to be joining together with such an outstanding and respected organization as ALHI,” said Kevin Hinton. “Rather than compete for the same business, we are now able to combine efforts and work together to better serve the business community and the hotel and resort members of ALHI. This is simply a merging of two great companies to become an even stronger resource for the valued clients of today and tomorrow. Planners and our hotel members now have an even stronger National Sales team to meet and exceed their needs; as well as having consolidated NSO contacts, which will save them valuable time and resources. We are all excited.”

ALHI may selectively extend membership opportunities to some of the Four- and Five-Diamond quality hotel and resort members in the H + G portfolio, which address market demand.

With the addition of Hinton + Grusich, ALHI’s national sales professionals staff expands (to nearly 50) and its market presence for its members will grow even larger nationally, particularly with gains in the Midwest area (as Hinton + Grusich was headquartered in Chicago).

ALHI maintains its 16 professionally staffed National Sales Offices to serve the meetings marketplace, with locations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Louisville, New York City, North Carolina, Orange County (CA), Orlando, Philadelphia, Richmond, San Diego, and Toronto. ALHI is simply expanding its professional staffing levels. Go to www.alhi.com to identify the “ALHI Contacts” for sales professionals in your area.

“Like with ALHI, H + G has served the marketplace on a dues-based basis with a no cost to planners’ or executives’ organizations’ platform to utilize and benefit from the dedicated national sales services to research, identify, and to book specific program solutions. The members’ dues fund their and our National Sales services, making this merger even more compatible,” added Gabri.

100,000+ Reasons For Merger

With a worldwide portfolio of over 100,000 rooms and suites and more than 10 million square feet of meeting space, ALHI provides planners and their organizations experienced National Sales services with diverse options among its outstanding worldwide member hotels and resorts which specialize in meetings and incentive programs requiring from 10 to more than 6,500 rooms, with easy and professional one-call local access. Member hotels include extraordinary meeting and incentive resorts, incomparable city hotels, exclusive smaller hotels, golf resorts, historic and landmark properties, island destinations, resorts with spas, properties in international destinations, and hotels and resorts with world-class gaming and entertainment.

For a complete list of ALHI’s entire worldwide portfolio, visit www.alhi.com, and preview details of ALHI’s impressive portfolio, including easily useful information on several defined specialty segments within the ALHI portfolio to serve specific meeting, convention and incentive travel event requirements and desires. Included among these are: “ALHI Level 5 Collection,” for ALHI’s 18 hotels that have earned the highest and most distinctive recognitions including the prestigious AAA Five-Diamond rating, and/or the esteemed Forbes (Mobil) Five-Star rating; and the “ALHI Big Box 5-50 Solutions Collection,” featuring ALHI’s 27 member hotels and resorts that offer more than 500 rooms, feature over 50,000 square feet of meeting space each, and have at least one 20,000-square-foot ballroom or more.

Other specialty segments include: the “ALHI Historic Collection,” consisting of 36 legendary hotels and resorts with more than 50 years of heritage; the “Mountain Collection,” for planners desiring to conduct programs with inspiring mountain views; the “ALHI U-200 Gems Collection,” consisting of ALHI members with 200 rooms or under, which specialize in serving meeting and incentive programs; the “ALHI Golf Collection,” consisting of ALHI’s 42 Four- and Five-Diamond golf resorts that cater to the meetings and incentive marketplaces; and the “ALHI Beach & Island Collection,” featuring 33 Four- and Five-Diamond beach and/or island resorts and hotels with distinction which are designed to serve meetings and programs worldwide.

To make it easy for planners to access options within any of the specialty segments, there is an “ALHI Specialty Segments” quick reference button on the www.alhi.com Home Page. The button provides easy access for planners to preview the options available in each specialty segment, to be augmented by their ALHI national sales executive, also easily identifiable at www.alhi.com . On the site, planners can quickly see details of the properties’ meeting, accommodation, recreational and dining offerings, as well as destination information and “Luxury on Sale” value opportunities. A photo gallery, meeting floor plans and specs, and a location map for each property are also easily available.

For more information about ALHI, to inquire about a future meeting at any of the ALHI member properties, and/or to acquire a free copy of ALHI’s new “2010-2011 ALHI National Sales Guide To Meeting Facilities,” contact your nearest ALHI National Sales Office, call the “ALHI Group Desk” toll-free at 866-303-ALHI (2544), and visit www.alhi.com.

Landmark Research Details the Economic Significance of the Meetings and Events Industry to the U.S. Economy

Highlights Include 1.7M Jobs, $263B Spending, $106B Contribution to GDP

WASHINGTON—The Convention Industry Council today released a new study: The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy, revealing that the U.S. meetings industry directly supports 1.7 million jobs, a $106 billion contribution to GDP, $263 billion in spending, $60 billion in labor revenue, $14.3 billion in federal tax revenue and $11.3 billion in state and local tax revenue.

The study, conducted by PwC US, assisted by a team of industry researchers, spanned more than a year in research and analysis and is the first-ever study of the size and scope of its kind. The research quantifies the economic contributions made by the 1.8 million meetings, trade shows, conventions, congresses, incentive events and other meetings that take place across the country. Details on the study and the 14 leading membership organizations which formed the research alliance can be found at www.MeetingsMeanBusiness.com .

“As the nation grapples with effective ways to work its way out of a recession, the meetings industry plays a critical role in supporting jobs in communities across America, creating environments that foster innovation, consensus and business success,” said Karen Kotowski, Executive Director of the Convention Industry Council, the trade organization which unites the meetings sector and educates the public on its profound economic impact. “Two years ago, the value of meetings, one of America’s top economic and social engines, was misunderstood by governments and the public. This new research quantifies the economic significance of our sector for legislators, regulators and economists alike.”

Jobs, Spending, Tax Revenue and GDP
The 1.7 million jobs generated by the meetings industry is larger than many U.S. industries, including broadcasting and communications (1.3 million), truck and rail transportation industries (1.5 million) and computer and electronic product manufacturing (1.1 million). The industry’s 1.7 million jobs generate $60 billion in labor income and support another 4.6 million U.S. workers, including industry suppliers and those who rely on meeting output for sales and revenue.

Spending on goods and services resulting from meetings and events in the U.S. totals $263 billion. The majority of direct spending, $151 billion, is related to meeting planning and production, venue rental and other non-travel and tourism related commodities; $113 billion is spent each year on lodging, food service, transportation and other travel and tourism commodities. The meetings and events sector supports both jobs and spending in allied U.S.
industries, including professional meeting organizers and venues, food and beverage, accommodation, transportation, recreation/entertainment, retail, travel services and more.

The $263 billion in spending generated $14.3 billion in federal tax revenue and $11.3 billion in state and local tax revenue. And meetings’ $106 billion contribution to the U.S. GDP is greater than, for example, auto manufacturing ($78 billion), performing arts/spectator sports/museums ($71 billion) and information and data processing services ($76 billion).

“The results of our comprehensive research demonstrate the significance of the meetings industry as a major contributor to the U.S. economy,” said Robert Canton, director, convention & tourism practice, PwC US. “New and proven research standards, as well as definitions provided by the United Nations World Tourism Organization allowed for the measurement of U.S. economic activity resulting from face-to-face meetings.”

Classifications and Attendance
A total of 205 million people, representing domestic and international delegates, exhibitors and organizers attend the 1.8 million meetings. The meetings serve as vehicles for job training and education, generating sales revenue, linking domestic and foreign buyers and developing lasting relationships in personal environments that build trust and unity.

“Working side-by-side creates dynamic environments where handshakes convert to commerce, insight translates to innovation and knowledge sharing creates a better educated and more competitive workforce,” added Kotowski.

Of the 1.8 million meetings, 1.3 million are classified as corporate or business meetings, 270,000 are conventions, conferences or congresses, 11,000 are trade shows and 66,000 are incentive meetings. The vast majority of meetings (85 percent) were conducted at venues with lodging. Meetings generate 250 million overnight stays by 117 million Americans and 5 million international attendees.

Total Economic Output
Including direct, indirect and induced contributions, meetings activity provides $907 billion in total economic output to the U.S. economy. Total economic output also includes a $458 billion value-added contribution to GDP, 6.3 million full-time and part-time jobs, $271 billion in labor income including wages and salaries, benefits and proprietors’ income, $64 billion in federal tax revenue and $46 billion in state and local tax revenue.

“Meetings are how business gets done in virtually every state, city and town in America,” said Kotowski. They are the very definition of working together and are essential to help win our future.”

###
About the Study

The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy conducted by PwC US was spearheaded by an alliance of 14 organizations representing the collective meetings, travel, exhibitions and events industries in the U.S. brought together via the Convention Industry Council (www.conventionindustry.org ). Primary funding organizations include American Hotel & Lodging Association, ASAE, Convention Industry Council, Destination Marketing Association International/Destination & Travel Foundation, Meeting Professionals International Foundation, Professional Convention Management Association/Education Foundation and U.S. Travel Association. Other allied industry partners include Association of Destination Management Executives, Exhibition Industry Foundation/Center for Exhibition Industry Research, Financial and Insurance Conference Planners, International Association of Conference Centers, International Special Events Society, National Speakers Association and Site.

The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy was based on the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) definition of meetings, which provides guidelines for methodology to quantify meetings activity. For the purposes of this study and according to UNWTO, meetings are defined as a gathering of 10 or more participants for a minimum of four hours in a contracted venue. Meetings include conventions, conferences, congresses, trade shows and exhibitions, incentive events, corporate/business meetings and others that meet the aforementioned criteria. Meetings exclude social and recreational activities, certain educational and political activities and gatherings for sales of good/services such as consumer shows. The research effort involved two key areas (1) the collection of primary data through surveys and (2) research and analyses of industry, government and other secondary data. Data collected in early- to mid-2010 was for the most recent complete year (2009).

The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy builds on past research that has demonstrated the return on investment and value of face-to-face meetings. In 2009, leading global research firm Oxford Economics established the first clear link between business travel and business growth, proving that for every dollar invested in business travel, businesses experience an average $12.50 in increased revenue and $3.80 in new profits (http://www.ustravel.org/news/business-travel-roi). Also in 2009, a national survey of corporate and association meeting planners, plus in-depth personal interviews with the industry’s leading executives as well as focus groups consisting of corporate and association executives, business travelers and professional meeting planners demonstrated the irreplaceable benefits of human interaction that only can be realized through face-to-face meetings, among them are trust and relationship building, and more effective training and exchange of ideas (www.facetimematters.org ).

“PwC” and “PwC US” refer to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership, which is a member of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited, each member firm of which is a separate legal entity.

Global Acknowledgement for Fairfield Tours – DMC Portfolio Member of World Marketing Group, Ltd.

fairfield TOURS has cemented its standing as one of South Africa’s leading tour operators when it recently added two highly acclaimed international awards to its trophy cabinet. The Cape-based company received both the 2010 Platinum Technology Award for Quality & Best Trade Name as well as the 2010 BID Star Leadership in Quality Award. These accolades were preceded by the 2009 BID Gold Quality Summit Award for Excellence and Business Prestige.

The Platinum Technology Award for Quality & Best Trade Name is based on customer satisfaction, leadership, continuing education and trading, business results, total quality management and total quality customer satisfaction standards. A voting process is carried out by mail, internet or within companies to recognize corporate achievement in the fields of innovation, commitment to quality and service excellence.

The BID (Business Initiative Directions) Quality Award is an internationally recognised award that honors corporate achievements and celebrates quality and excellence. The award is bestowed by a jury formed by the leaders of previously awarded companies established by BID during the annual meetings in New York, London, Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt and Madrid.

According to fairfield Chief Executive Officer Johann Kleinhans, these awards are a validation of fairfield’s continued commitment to the highest levels of service delivery. “We strive towards service perfection and are committed to exceeding clients’ expectations. As a team, we are passionate about what we do. These awards are an extremely valuable acknowledgement of the daily efforts invested by each and every team member at fairfield. We are obviously delighted and the recognition is highly appreciated,” states Kleinhans.

Kleinhans explains further that these awards will deliver a significant boost to the company in this highly competitive industry. “The Platinum Trophy provides concrete testimony of our competence and this will significantly enhance business opportunities as it places us in a position of global trust and offers international brand recognition.” It is therefore with great pride that we’re introducing our new fairfield TOURS logo, which reflects the dynamic team dedicated to quality, values and service excellence.

Established in Cape Town in 1996, fairfield TOURS South Africa currently has a staff contingent of 56 under the directorship of Chief Executive Officers Johann Kleinhans and Johan Smal and a recently appointed key Executive Team. In addition to its permanent staff, fairfield also employs an array of part time language proficient SATOUR registered Guides, Drivers and Specialist Event Management Staff to ensure top quality service at all times. fairfield TOURS is wholly owned by the fairfield TOURS Trustees.

The company specializes in tailor-made travel products ranging from Guided Group Tours including Coach, Self-Drive and Day Tours as well as Transfers and Car Rental. The Corporate Travel Division, fairfield MEETINGS & INCENTIVES , offers Inbound Incentives, Meetings and Conferences. In addition, fairfield creates exclusive Golf Packages for the Inbound Golf market and has become well established in terms of Inbound and Outbound Sports Tours and Training Camps.

fairfield TOURS is an accredited member of Industry Associations, Private Sector Initiatives and Governing Bodies which reiterates the Company’s commitment to delivering Best Business Practices, exceptional Service Delivery and trusted Value-For-Money programmes.

fairfield TOURS strives to achieve Economic, Social and Environmental Development by adhering to positive Company Policies approved and compliant with Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa. fairfield TOURS supports and promotes Community Development and Sustainable Tourism Projects with the intention and commitment of building a Legacy in Southern Africa for the benefit of our future generations. fairfield TOURS South Africa operates efficient administration systems using advanced technology with multi-lingual services.

For more information, visit www.fairfieldtours.com or contact us at +27 (0)21 936 4600.

Morgans Hotel Group Announces the Opening of Mondrian SoHo

This new hotel is the third edition to the company’s renowned Mondrian brand

NEW YORK – Morgans Hotel Group Co. (NASDAQ: MHGC) (“Morgans”) and developer Cape Advisors, Inc. today announced the opening of Mondrian SoHo on March 1st, with an exclusive preview at the end of February. Fantasy meets sophisticated chic with Morgans Hotel Group’s unveiling of its third Mondrian, the renowned lifestyle brand known for its distinct style of hospitality, nightlife and entertainment, and the company’s downtown debut in Manhattan’s famed SoHo neighborhood at 9 Crosby Street.

Situated intimately in the midst of lower Manhattan’s coveted SoHo neighborhood, Mondrian takes its place amongst a-list residents, fashionable and picturesque streets, charm and energy. Mondrian joins a unique offering of retail, art and culinary innovators and adds to this renowned cultural destination in lower Manhattan. Boasting over 100 shops, 250 galleries, and nearly 200 restaurants, SoHo is the most talked about neighborhood in New York. Noteworthy destinations close to Mondrian include Jil Sander, Opening Ceremony, Saturday Surf Shop and the New Museum, amongst others. Nearby popular areas include Greenwich Village, Nolita, the Lower East Side, Tribeca and Chinatown.

“The addition of Mondrian SoHo to our portfolio marks a significant moment in the evolution of the Mondrian brand and solidifies our presence in a neighborhood that is beloved by our sophisticated clientele, both local and international,” said Marc Gordon, President of Morgans Hotel Group. “We are looking forward to adding our unique style of hospitality, nightlife and entertainment, innovative culinary concepts, design and impeccable service to the rich culture landscape of SoHo.”

Morgans Hotel Group selected Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz, the visionary behind the re-imagined Mondrian Los Angeles, to create Mondrian SoHo in collaboration with the company’s renowned in-house design team. By weaving in elements of the signature Mondrian brand ethos in subtle yet provocative design features throughout the property, Morgans Hotel Group has created a luxurious, yet approachable destination. The romantic design draws inspiration from Jean Coucteau’s 1946 French fantasy film “La Belle et la Bête”, an iconic romantic adaptation of two French fairy tales, awakening the imagination and inviting guests into a vibrant escape. All the while delivering the luxurious, chic and comfortable style for which the Mondrian brand is best known.

As guests enter Mondrian through a lush green garden topiary facade on Crosby Street, the story of “La Belle et la Bête” is unveiled in the lobby: a powdery French blue color palette unifies a series of seating vignettes over a pale oak floor. The casual and eclectic seating groups featuring custom furniture designed by Noriega, echo the whimsical environments of other signature properties within the Morgans Hotel Group portfolio.

At the highly anticipated Imperial No. 9, located just off the lobby, Chef Sam Talbot will introduce his sustainable seafood concept with a 150-seat restaurant. In keeping with Noriega’s dream-like theme, an opulent cluster of crystal chandeliers hangs over a large, mirror-topped communal table and anchors the main dining room. White washed oak floors and sandy-beige walls accented with antique mirrors embellish the airy atmosphere. A long bar clad in white-washed oak and cream colored stone serves as a casual imbibing spot with a selection of handcrafted cocktails that Morgans Hotel Group’s nightlife destinations are famous for. A play of sand colors and textures compliment subtle references to ocean motifs, giving the room a sense of refined elegance while maintaining the allure found throughout the hotel.

The garden building at Imperial No. 9 boasts a romantic setting complemented by an elegant crystal chandelier collection and accented with potted plants and natural ficus trees, all beneath the shelter of a dramatic glass roof. The centerpiece of the space is a delicate over-sized glass sculpture created by acclaimed artist Beth Lipman, and serving as a reference to Cocteau’s story in which seduction takes the form of an elaborate feast, prepared nightly. A zinc-topped, potting shed -style bar features wood shelving with potted plants, complimenting the elegant garden atmosphere. A Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz signature double-sided cottage swing completes the casual playfulness of the room and references the whimsy of the designer’s swing in the lobby of Mondrian Los Angeles.

Mondrian’s mesmerizing ambiance continues within the 270-room hotel, which includes four sprawling suites, each featuring a terrace, and a grand Penthouse on Mondrian’s 25th floor. Saturated blue corridors with custom carpet adorned with a rose vine design provide entryway to the elegant jewel-box rooms featuring large dramatic mirrors, a clever nod to the ubiquitous French tale. A number of rooms also feature a pristine marble foyer and bar area, sparkling chrome desks and classic translucent doors offering entry to the bathroom with custom-designed fixtures. Chrome night tables and sconces offset an angelic white bed, 10-foot ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows capture the essence of a true New York City loft while lending stunning views from within the SoHo neighborhood’s tallest building.

The 1,170 square-foot Penthouse is the perfect, exclusive events destination, featuring a 200 square foot north-facing terrace with dramatic views of the Empire State building and an additional 2,000 square foot south facing terrace with stunning panoramic views.

Mondrian is offering a preview rate of $229, including continental breakfast, from February 22nd, leading up to the opening of Imperial No. 9 on March 1st. As of March 1st, rates begin at $259, based on availability. Reserve at www.mondriansoho.com using promo code SPINTR upon booking or call 800 606 6090 within the United States or, 00 800 4969 17700 Internationally.

About Morgans Hotel Group

Morgans Hotel Group Co. (NASDAQ: MHGC) is widely credited as the creator of the first “boutique” hotel and a continuing leader of the hotel industry’s boutique sector. Morgans Hotel Group operates and owns, or has an ownership interest in, Morgans, Royalton and Hudson in New York, Delano and Shore Club in South Beach, Mondrian in Los Angeles and South Beach, Clift in San Francisco, Ames in Boston, and Sanderson and St Martins Lane in London. Morgans Hotel Group and an equity partner also own the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and related assets. Morgans Hotel Group also manages hotels in Isla Verde, Puerto Rico and Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Morgans Hotel Group has other property transactions in various stages of completion in various locations around the world. For more information please visit www.morganshotelgroup.com.

RCMA’s 39th World Conference & Expo Scores a Success in Tampa

TAMPA, Fl. — More than 1,000 attendees gathered in Tampa, Fla., January 25-28 for
Religious Conference Management Association’s 39th World Conference & Expo.

“Despite all the gloom and doom one hears about the impact of the economy,
we had the highest meeting planner turnout in three years,” said RCMA’s CEO and
Executive Director Dr. DeWayne Woodring. “This is a testament to the strength of
RCMA and to Tampa as a meetings destination.”

RCMA is the world’s largest association of religious conference professionals.
Its membership represents 789 different religious organizations in more than 20
countries. “In a world of so many divisions,” Dr. Woodring added, “RCMA brings
together those of many different faiths to learn and enjoy fellowship.”

Themed “New Vision,” the conference kicked off with a lively evening
reception at the Tampa Convention Center and a breakfast session the following
morning that featured inspirational speaker Gary Guller, a one-armed mountain
climber who led a physically challenged group on a Mount Everest climb. “Anything
is possible, I believe, when we treat each other fairly and with compassion,” he told
the rapt audience.

Other presenters at the conference included Toastmaster award-winner
Karen McCullough, who offered a refreshing and humorous perspective on the pros
and cons of various generational differences and how conference organizers can tap
those differences to produce more meaningful events.

Entertainer Billy Riggs used a unique blend of comedy, music, and illusion to
convey his uplifting message, while radio personality Suzie Humphreys brought
tears and laughter with a brilliant comic riff about her zany life story as a movie, TV,
and radio performer who found herself a petrified, expectant mother at 40.

“The very best things in my life have come in the form of some kind of
devastation—getting fired, being broke, giving up my lizard heels for motherhood,”
she told the hushed crowd at the final day breakfast. “The real gifts in life don’t come
in a Tiffany box but in a brown paper sack.”

The core of RCMA’s mission is meeting planner education, and the annual
conference’s tutorial sessions are critical to achieving that mission. More than a
dozen expert-led sessions this year included workshops on negotiating strategies,
how to reach different audiences with social media, tips for addressing security
issues at meetings, and how to add pizzazz to events without breaking the bank,
plus a two-part boot camp on legal issues.

A signature RCMA educational offering, unique to meeting industry
organizations, is its Behind-the-Scenes program, which offers hands-on learning
opportunities for meeting planners in several different areas. According to
evaluations from the Tampa conference, this year’s on-site activities earned some of
the highest ratings since the association started this program in 1993.

More than 225 planners participated in Behind-the-Scenes Experiences,
which included: learning convention center operations at the Tampa Convention
Center; picking up tips for marketing meetings at a major Tampa
advertising/marketing company; understanding hotel operations at three different
Tampa hotels; exploring creativity with a local production company; and gaining an
insider’s look at how theme parks handle group business at Busch Gardens.

Entertainment at the conference included a show-stopping performance at
the final night’s banquet by nine-year-old piano-playing sensation Ethan Bortnick.
The child prodigy, who is as much an entertainer as he is a musical genius, had the
crowd laughing, clapping, and dancing on stage at the end of his performance.

Attendees also enjoyed a private night at Busch Gardens, including an
exclusive performance of the theme park’s adaption of the Broadway hit Cirque
Dreams Jungle Fantasy, featuring music, dance, and amazing acrobatics and
contortionists.

Other conference highlights:

• Daniel Carr, senior national sales manager with GES, received the 2011 President’s
Award. The prestigious honor is given annually to a member demonstrating
leadership in both professional and personal realms.
• Four new members of RCMA’s board of directors were inducted and began serving
a three-year term. The new members are: Hugh W. Hill, Awana; Debra K. Mardis,
The Salvation Army; Jim Nirmaier, Visit Fort Wayne; and Michelle Penner, Canadian
Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches.
• For the sixth consecutive year, the association capped its conference with the
announcement of a $100,000 donation to feed the world’s hungry children.
• Sacramento, Calif., was chosen as the location of RCMA’s 2014 World Conference
& Expo.

RCMA is a professional nonprofit, multi-faith organization of men and
women who have responsibility for planning and/or managing meetings for
religious organizations, as well as those who provide service within this specialized
field. Founded in 1972, RCMA is dedicated to enhancing the professionalism of its
members and to improving the experience of religious meeting attendees
throughout the world.

For more information on RCMA or the religious meeting market, contact:
RCMA, 7702 Woodland Drive, Suite 120, Indianapolis, IN 46278; phone (317)632-
1888; fax (317)632-7909; e-mail: rcma@rcmaweb.org; website:
www.rcmaweb.org

National Trust for Historic Preservation Selects Colorado Springs, Colorado, as one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2011

Public Encouraged to Vote for Fan Favorite Destination

Washington, D.C. —Today, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Colorado Springs, Colo., one of its 2011 Dozen Distinctive Destinations. Colorado Springs, nominated by the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau, was selected for its walkable historic areas, its commitment to sustainability, and its natural attractions and ample recreational opportunities in the nearby Rocky Mountains. From February 15 to March 15, Colorado Springs will be participating in a public online voting contest to select the 2011 Dozen Distinctive Destinations Fan Favorite.

For 12 years the National Trust for Historic Preservation has annually selected communities across America that offer cultural and recreational experiences different from those found at the typical vacation destination. From dynamic downtowns and stunning architecture to cultural diversity and a commitment to historic preservation, sustainability and revitalization, the selected destinations boast a richness of character and exude an authentic sense of place.

“Few vacation destinations provide such an extraordinary range of tourism opportunities in a single location,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “From the vibrant and walkable downtown to the thriving local businesses to the ample recreational opportunities afforded by the nearby Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs retains the distinctive charm that has attracted generations of visitors.”

Nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains, visitors to Colorado Springs can enjoy commanding views of Pikes Peak from just about any part of town. The multiple recreational opportunities afforded by the nearby mountains include everything from hiking to taking in the breathtaking geological wonders at Garden of the Gods Park, Cave of the Winds and the Paint Mines Interpretive Park.

Home to Colorado College and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, the town has a thriving arts and cultural scene–including the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, which interprets the early history of the area. Visitors looking to spend the night in Colorado Springs have several top-notch options available, from the historic Broadmoor Hotel to the Cliff House at nearby Pike’s Peak.

Highlights:

• The Broadmoor Hotel, a member of the Historic Hotels of America program, is the longest running five-star resort in the United States.
• Cliff House, at Pike’s Peak, has been a hotel longer than Colorado has been a state and has hosted such luminaries as Clark Gable, Theodore Roosevelt and Buffalo Bill Cody.
• North End historic district, a charming and highly walkable local historic district located near the campus of Colorado College.
• Nearby highlights include Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods and the Air Force Academy, where the Cadet Chapel is considered a masterpiece of Modernist architecture.

The public is invited to vote online to help determine which of the 12 destinations will be the 2011 Fan Favorite. From February 15 to March 15, any legal resident of the U.S., 18 years of age or older, can vote once per day for his or her favorite city or town on this year’s list. The winner of the popular vote will be announced on March 16, 2011. Voters are automatically entered to win a complimentary two night stay at any Historic Hotel of America. No purchase necessary. Offer void where prohibited. Visit www.PreservationNation.org/ddd for official rules, information about Historic Hotels of America, to learn more about this year’s destinations, and to begin voting!

To download high resolution images and video of this year’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations, visit www.PreservationNation.org/press.

The 2011 list of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations includes:

Alexandria, Va. – Located across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., Alexandria is one of the most culturally rich destinations in the country – and not just because it was home to the nation’s founding father, George Washington. An extraordinary blend of early America and modern chic, the city offers an eclectic mix of neighborhoods, historic sites, dining and shopping.

Chapel Hill, N.C. – From its well-preserved historic districts to its quiet winding streets and its bustling downtown area, Chapel Hill certainly lives up to its nickname as the ‘Southern Part of Heaven.’

Colorado Springs, Colo. – Nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains, visitors to Colorado Springs can enjoy commanding views of Pikes Peak from just about any part of this vibrant, historic town.

Dandridge, Tenn. – With its idyllic natural setting in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, a welcoming small town spirit and a charming historic downtown, Dandridge epitomizes the quintessential Southern Appalachian town.

Eureka, Calif. – Located on the Northern California coast, Eureka is a beautifully preserved Victorian seaport that features a lively Old Town, the Carson Mansion – one of the most photographed homes in America – and nearby forests of majestic old growth redwoods.

Muskogee, Okla. – Once the unofficial capital of Indian Territory, Muskogee’s storied past and Native American, African American and Euro American influences are well-preserved and the vibrant town has many unique festivals, museums, restaurants and more.

New Bedford, Mass. – Once one of the world’s largest whaling ports, New Bedford is awash in maritime history, as well as scenic beaches, abundant architectural and historical riches, diverse neighborhoods and a burgeoning arts community.

Paducah, Ky. – The heart of Kentucky’s Four Rivers region, visitors to Paducah will find thriving historic districts filled with turn of the century architecture and one-of-a-kind shops and eateries as well as a community that creatively celebrates its cultural and artistic heritage.

San Angelo, Texas – A frontier city with a rich past, San Angelo offers visitors an authentic Old West experience, a bustling downtown historic district and vibrant cultural offerings.

Saint Paul, Minn. – Known for some of Minnesota’s most famous historic buildings—including the Cass Gilbert-designed State Capitol and the home of F. Scott Fitzgerald—visitors to St. Paul can browse the quaint shops of Grand Avenue, dine in the strikingly restored warehouse district, or be awed by the stately mansions along Summit Avenue.

Sheridan, Wyo. – Set in “the shadow of the Big Horns,” Sheridan offers a vibrant Main Street commercial district, abundant recreational opportunities, and an authentic Western experience.

Sonoma, Calif. – Dating back to the early 19th and set amidst winding country roads and family-owned vineyards, Sonoma offers all the perks of being in the heart of wine country, with the added benefit of a laid back vibe that complements the award-winning wine and food.

2011 marks the twelfth announcement of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations annual list. To date, there are 144 Distinctive Destinations located in 46 states throughout the country. To see a complete list and to vote for the 2011 Fan Favorite Destination, visit www.PreservationNation.org/ddd. The title of Distinctive Destination is presented to cities and towns that offer an authentic visitor experience by combining dynamic downtowns, cultural diversity, attractive architecture, cultural landscapes and a strong commitment to historic preservation, sustainability and revitalization. In each community, residents have taken forceful action to protect their town’s character and sense of place.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation (www.PreservationNation.org) is a non-profit membership organization bringing people together to protect, enhance and enjoy the places that matter to them. By saving the places where great moments from history – and the important moments of everyday life – took place, the National Trust for Historic Preservation helps revitalize neighborhoods and communities, spark economic development and promote environmental sustainability. With headquarters in Washington, DC, eight regional and field offices, 29 historic sites, and partner organizations in 50 states, territories, and the District of Columbia, the National Trust for Historic Preservation provides leadership, education, advocacy and resources to a national network of people, organizations and local communities committed to saving places, connecting us to our history and collectively shaping the future of America’s stories.

Experience Colorado Springs is the leading marketing organization for group travel and tourism to Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region. We are dedicated to a strong national and international presence so that tourism is a primary contributor to a thriving local economy. We maintain a visible presence as a community leader so that our industry members grow and prosper.

Delta Adding New ‘Economy Comfort’ Section on Long-Haul International Flights

Investment builds on plans to install full flat-bed seats in BusinessElite, enhanced in-flight entertainment on all international widebody aircraft

ATLANTA, Feb. — Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) announced a major investment in its international fleet with plans to introduce a premium economy section – “Economy Comfort” – on all long-haul international flights in summer 2011. The new seats will feature up to four additional inches of legroom and 50 percent more recline than Delta’s standard international Economy class seats.

A photo of the new product is available at http://news.delta.com/file.php/1295/economy-comfort.jpg

The product, which is similar to upgraded Economy services currently available on flights operated by Delta’s joint venture partners Air France-KLM and Alitalia, will be installed in the first few rows of the Economy cabin on more than 160 Boeing 747, 757, 767, 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft by this summer.

Customers who have purchased an international Economy ticket on Delta will be able to choose Economy Comfort seats for an additional fee of $80-$160 one-way through delta.com, kiosks and Delta reservations beginning in May for travel this summer. Complimentary access to Economy Comfort seats will be available to all SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum Medallions; up to eight companions traveling in the same reservation with Diamond and Platinum Medallions; and customers purchasing full-fare Economy class tickets. Gold and Silver Medallions will enjoy 50 and 25 percent discounts on the Economy Comfort seat fees, respectively.

“Just as Delta is investing in BusinessElite, which is among the industry’s most competitive premium products, it makes sense to offer enhancements to our Economy Class service that provide additional comfort,” said Glen Hauenstein, Delta’s executive vice president – Network Planning, Revenue Management and Marketing. “Economy Comfort is one of many elements Delta is committed to delivering to our customers as part of a more than $2 billion investment we are making in the air and on the ground to improve the customer experience and position Delta as a leader in customer service.”

In addition to more leg room and recline, customers seated in Economy Comfort will board early and enjoy complimentary spirits throughout the flight. These benefits are in addition to Delta’s standard international Economy class amenities, including complimentary meals, beer, wine, entertainment, blankets and pillows. In-seat power will also be available on aircraft equipped with personal entertainment systems which come with free HBO programming and other for-fee content(1). The seats will be designated with a specially designed seat cover.

Full flat-bed seats on all international widebodies by 2013

In addition to investing in the international Economy cabin, Delta today announced it now plans to install 34 horizontal flat-bed BusinessElite seats with direct aisle access in each of its 32 Airbus A330 aircraft by 2013. With this announcement, Delta now plans to offer full flat-bed seating in BusinessElite on all international widebody flights, or more than 150 aircraft, by 2013.

The new A330 seat, manufactured by Weber Aircraft LLC, will be 81.7 inches in length and 20.5 inches wide, similar to the flat-bed product currently offered on Delta’s 777 fleet. It also will feature a 120-volt universal power outlet, USB port, personal LED reading lamp and a 15.4 inch personal video monitor with instant access to 250 new and classic movies, premium programming from HBO and Showtime, other television programming, video games and more than 4,000 digital music tracks.

Today’s announcements are the latest in Delta’s previously announced plan to invest more than $2 billion in enhanced global products, services and airport facilities through 2013. In addition to adding the Economy Comfort product and offering full-flat bed seats on its entire international widebody fleet, Delta is upgrading its domestic fleet with more First Class seats and in-seat entertainment; adding personal, in-seat entertainment for both BusinessElite and Economy class customers on all long-haul international flights; adding in-flight Wi-Fi service to all domestic aircraft with a First and Economy class cabin; and building new terminal facilities for international customers at its two largest global gateways – Atlanta and New York-JFK.

SOURCE Delta Air Lines
For further information: Delta Corporate Communications, +1-404-715-2554

Harold Rapoza Named General Manager of Hilton Anatole Hotel

DALLAS, Texas – Harold Rapoza has been appointed to the position of General Manager of the landmark Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas. The 27-story, 1,606-room property is operated by Hilton Worldwide and has recently completed a $125 million renovation.

“Harold is a dynamic and experienced hotelier that will bring a new level of energy to one of the most prominent convention hotels in the country,” said Tim Benolken, senior vice president, operations, Western U.S., Hilton Worldwide. “We are confident under Harold’s leadership he will inspire the talented team of this award-winning hotel to provide a superior experience to our business, convention and leisure guests that is commensurate with a Four Diamond property.”

Rapoza previously served as General Manager of the 1,527-room Hilton Anaheim hotel, the largest property in Anaheim, California. An active civic leader and volunteer, Rapoza was recently distinguished by the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce as a top business leader in 2010. Prior to his executive position at the Hilton Anaheim hotel, Rapoza held management positions with the Doubletree Guest Suites Doheny Beach in Dana Point, Calif., and Hilton Portland in Portland, Ore.

In late 2010, the Hilton Anatole Hotel completed a multiple-phase transformation of guest rooms and public spaces with an Asian-inspired theme. Those renovations include:

• The launch of Media Grill + Bar, a fully interactive restaurant experience featuring contemporary American bistro cuisine, deluxe bar, dancing and the latest in technology, including the largest commercial flat screen television available in the country and an interactive bar, one of two in the U.S.

• Addition of the Counter Offer Gourmet Market and Wine Gallery, which offers “grab-and-go” breakfast and lunch options during the day and then transforms into a wine bar after 4pm, featuring wine flights and charcuterie meats and cheeses

• Opening of the Gossip Bar lounge

• Addition of a luxurious spa with seven treatment rooms, including a couple’s suite

• Updated Verandah Club, an 80,000-square foot, state-of-the-art fitness facility

• Opening of the 25th Floor Executive Lounge with breathtaking panoramic views of the Dallas skyline

• Remodeling of the hotel’s 500,000 square feet of meeting space, which included updates to the pre-function areas in the Tower, breakout rooms and the ballroom, accented by contemporary colors and fixtures as well as modern touches on furniture and artwork

• A commissioned art piece created by world-renown artist Reuben Margolin. The 10,000-lb. “Nebula” is made of 10 miles of aircraft cable, 1,780 pulleys and over 4,500 amber crystals – floating above in a wavelike dance. It is a dramatic, slowly moving kinetic structure, organized in a multi-tiered, geometric pattern and fans out almost 100 feet long and 50 feet wide

About Hilton Anatole Hotel
Located within a 45-acre campus the Hilton Anatole Hotel features two high-rise atriums; a 27-story tower; and 1,606 luxuriously appointed guestrooms with first-class in room amenities and Internet access. Additionally, the hotel offers guests more than 500,000 sq. ft. of event space as well as a variety of recreational activities, including viewing the Art Collection, one of the largest and most intriguing private assemblies in the world; an 80,000 sq. ft. fitness center, tennis courts, one of the finest lap pools in the region, an indoor jogging track; gift and sundry boutiques; V Spa, the hotel’s newest luxury spa oasis; and 5 unique restaurants and bars for dining and entertainment, including the new high-tech Media Grill + Bar, award-winning five-star Nana and chic Gossip Bar.

About Hilton Hotels & Resorts
Hilton Hotels & Resorts is the stylish, forward-thinking global leader of hospitality that welcomes guests in more countries than any other full-service hotel brand. The Hilton brand currently includes more than 530 hotels and resorts in 76 countries, and plans to serve travelers in 80 countries by the end of 2011. By offering innovative products, services and amenities, Hilton Hotels & Resorts enables travelers to be at their best 24/7, whether traveling for business or leisure. Start your journey at www.hilton.com. Hilton Hotels & Resorts is one of Hilton Worldwide’s ten market-leading brands.

About Hilton Worldwide
Hilton Worldwide is the leading global hospitality company, spanning the lodging sector from luxurious full-service hotels and resorts to extended-stay suites and mid-priced hotels. For 92 years, Hilton Worldwide has been offering business and leisure travelers the finest in accommodations, service, amenities and value. The company is dedicated to continuing its tradition of providing exceptional guest experiences across its global brands. Its brands are comprised of more than 3,600 hotels and 600,000 rooms in 82 countries and include Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Hotels, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages the world-class guest reward program Hilton HHonors®. For more information about the company, visit www.hiltonworldwide.com.