Business Traveller: Marriott pumps in cash to draw a younger crowd
MARRIOTT is modernising, pouring money into a new youth-orientated brand in an attempt to attract younger customers.
The company has just launched the London version of 'Edition', its new boutique hotel chain planned for 100 cities, complete with in-house nightclubs and avant-garde art work.
The world's third biggest hotel company by number of rooms, a favourite of business travellers, estimates that "millennials" or globally minded people born roughly between 1980 and 2000 will account for one-third of business-related room nights in the US.
The problem is that Marriott, which operates 660,000 rooms under 16 brands, including Courtyard, Renaissance and Ritz-Carlton, has built its solid reputation among business travellers on an image of comfort, luxury and calm -- not the quality of its hotel's nightclubs.
Irish Marriott-run operations include The Shelbourne, the Dublin stalwart, which trades on its rich history and premium services, including three different types of butler.
London's 'Edition' hotel, pictured below, was designed by Ian Schrager, the co-founder of notorious New York nightclub Studio 54.
Analysts are undecided as to whether this will be enough to attract the type of young, vibrant traveller who frequents hipster-friendly hotels New York's W or the Standard. A Manhattan 'Edition' will open next year and nine other locations have also been announced.
DIRTY FINDING FOR AIRPORT ENVIRONS
DUBLIN Airport is clean enough to eat your dinner off of -- but the surrounding area needs a lot of work, research has found. A new study by Irish Businesses Against Litter (IBAL) found that while the airport itself was "spotless", the land leading in and out of the transport hub is so dirty that it may hurt tourism.
Its ranking of what it calls the "environs of Dublin Airport" slipped down to 37th out of the 42 areas surveyed in the study.
Dublin Airport declined to address or even mention this in its tweet on the matter. "The latest IBAL @litterspotter survey has found that the @DublinAirport grounds are 'spotless'" said the tweet, making no mention of the wider findings.
SPORTS EVENTS TO DRAW TRAVELLERS
FREQUENT flyers weighing up mixing business with pleasure this year will be starting to make plans for 2014 this week. Their destinations of choice, research has found, will centre around major sporting events. Snow sport resorts will see a surge in interest inspired by the Winter Olympics, according to travel group Orbitz, while New York and Brazil will both see a boom in visitor numbers as they host the Super Bowl and World Cup.
Lake Placid, New York, is nestled in the Adirondack Mountains and a two-time host of the Games. Offering both Alpine and Nordic skiing and home to one of only 16 bobsled runs in the Western Hemisphere, Lake Placid is a gem for winter sports enthusiasts. For those seeking something on the lower-intensity side, it also offers dogsled, gondola and sleigh rides.
Brazil has always allured travellers, and as the host for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, its popularity is only growing. The FIFA World Cup is considered the "biggest single-event sporting competition in the world" and will energise the South American continent with athletic match-ups for a month. As one of the most exotic locations in the world, Brazil has more than 2,000 beaches and over 1,000 islands for travellers to soak up the warm weather.
A smattering of separate events will similarly drive traffic to Brazil; the Carnival of Brazil (March 1-4) will showcase some of the most vibrant costumes and music in the world, while Sao Paolo plays host to the world's largest Pride Parade in June and Grand Prix Formula 1 on November 9.
"Brazil will be the place to be in 2014," said Yumi Nakayama, Brazil's market manager at Orbitz. Travellers will be welcomed by friendly locals and pristine weather to experience all it has to offer."