Etihad to offer onboard wireless

Abu Dhabi flag carrier Etihad Airways plans to offer onboard wireless internet on selected routes to Europe by the end of the year, the airline’s CEO James Hogan said Wednesday.

The state-backed airline said two planes would offer onboard internet access by December, a number that would rise to five aircraft by March 2012.
“Three of those five aircraft will be Airbus A330-300s, which will operate between Abu Dhabi and cities like Frankfurt, Geneva, London, Munich and Paris,” Hogan said in an emailed statement. “And we are right at the point now of settling on a fleet-wide connectivity solution for the years to come.”
Etihad said in August it had seen softening in passenger numbers since Europe’s debt crisis and US economic problems hit global markets and expected to break even this year.

The airline, whose multibillion-dollar order book features 57 wide-body planes, including 10 A380s, 25 Airbus A350s and 35 Boeing 787s, said traffic out of Europe remained strong, despite the region’s looming sovereign debt crisis.

“We have not seen a slowdown,” Hogan said on a visit to Sydney. “Our European traffic is strong … our traffic out of markets like the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia coming up the Gulf is very strong as is our North American business.”
Etihad said in August it expected a planned European Union scheme to cap carbon dioxide emissions from airlines to cost it up to €500m ($719m) over the next eight years.
From next year, carriers landing in the EU will have their emissions capped at 97 percent of their average 2004-06 levels and 95 percent in 2013. Airlines will face fines of up to €100 for every tonne of carbon dioxide they emit above the limit.
In a speech in New York last week, Hogan described the scheme as a dressed up means for EU governments to net revenues.
“It is a revenue-generating tax, plain and simple,” he said. We cannot support legislation that unfairly penalises the industry. The aviation industry should not be the whipping boy when it comes to the environment.”

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Dubai hotels resilient in 2011 despite supply glut

Jan 15, 2012
Dubai was the star performer in the Middle East tourism market in 2011, according to Ernst & Young

Dubai was the star performer in the Middle East tourism market in 2011, according to Ernst & Young

Dubai hotels have been able to maintain revenues during 2011 despite a large increase in the number of rooms coming online, Ernst & Young has said.

In a new report on the hotel industry in the Middle East and North Africa, it said the emirate had proved its “magnetic attraction as a tourist attraction”.

Yousef Wahbah, MENA head of Transaction Real Estate, Ernst & Young, said: “Dubai has been successful in attracting a larger share of the GCC tourism market as well as penetrating the US and China markets more effectively as it is considered a stable and open market, boosting overall performance figures.

“Despite the large increase in the number of available rooms in Dubai in 2011, overall RevPar has not been affected which proves Dubai’s magnetic attraction as a tourist destination.”

Dubai was the sole tourist destination in the region that has shown a rise in both occupancy (4 percent) and revenue per available room (revPAR) (4.5 percent) with a very slight decline in room rates (down 0.2 percent).

In Abu Dhabi, occupancy rates for January to November 2011 were up two percent on the same period of 2010 while average room rates fell by 8.6 percent.

The UAE capital also saw a 6.2 percent drop in revPAR, the data showed.

Ernst & Young’s latest statistics showed that Cairo and Bahrain have been worst hit by the political upheavals that hit the region last year.

Cairo’s hotel occupancy has slumped by 36 percent in the year from January to November while Bahrain’s rate fell by 29 percent.

According to Ernst & Young, average room rates in Bahrain to November 2011 were 11.9 percent down on the same period the previous year.

In both market, revenue per available room, one of the key indicators for the hotel market, were affected “considerably”, Wahbah said.

Elsewhere in the Gulf region, Ernst & Young data showed that Kuwait hotels saw a one percent drop in occupancy rates for the first 11 months of 2011 compared to 2010, while average room rates were up by 5.8 percent.

In Qatar, occupancy for January to November last year rose by one percent while average room rates fell by 5.8 percent.

Hotels in Muscat, Oman saw occupancy rates drop by two percent while average room rates rose by 3.2 percent.

In Saudi Arabia, Riyadh was the best performer for occupancy rates with a three percent rise year-on-year while the holy city of Madinah fared best for average room rates, showing a 5.1 percent rise for the first 11 months of the year.

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Hotel websites generated 68% of the room nights booked via electronic channels in 2010; up from 62% in 2009, according to Middle East and Africa data from Micros-Fidelio partners. By Louise Oakley

Rotana corporate vice president front office, Dominic Carr.

Rotana corporate vice president front office, Dominic Carr.

Over the same period, GDS decreased from 36% to 27%.

“Looking at the countries we represent in the Middle East, the strongest channel is now the hotel’s own website, followed by the GDS and the OTAs,” said Micros-Fidelio regional vice president services and business development, Oliver Menzel.

To capitalise on this trend, there have been a number of hotel website relaunches in recent months.

Since a new direct booking engine was introduced on in late 2010, the company has seen bookings more than double, reported Rotana corporate vice president front office, Dominic Carr.

Similarly, Al Diar Siji Hotel general manager Fouad Melhem said he expected the recent launch of to increase online bookings from 15% to 40% by the end of the year.

“Without a doubt, direct online bookings are the most cost-effective reservation channel,” said Carr.

This is because they sidestep the commissions charged by OTAs and GDS, which typically range between 15% and 30%.

“They also bring in the highest ADR on electronic channels and usually bring in more revenues through selling add-on services and discounted standby upgrades. They also encourage loyalty and repeat bookings through the promotion of our loyalty programme,” added Carr.

Menzel commented: “The weakest opportunity is still the OTA scenario, but with and entering the market with a local language site, the picture may be about to change again”.

While direct bookings make financial sense, Travelport hospitality business development manager Assita Kone pointed out that they did still require significant investment by the hotels.

“Although hotels do not need to pay commissions on reservations made direct, they do bear all the costs associated with maintaining their websites and driving traffic, whilst the GDS has built-in infrastructure that provides access to an established network of loyal travel agency users around the world,” said Kone.

Rotana’s Carr acknowledged that “we still need OTAs and GDS,

“They are very important to us as they provide excellent international exposure that we would not achieve on our own,” he said.

This was especially important for smaller hotel chains and independent properties.

Arabian Park Hotel revenue and reservations manager Imelda Ramos said: “For non-branded hotel properties like us, our own website does not have the reach that other hotel brands have.

“We are therefore more reliant on OTAs to expose our properties to a much wider audience and drive room night production into them,” explained Ramos.

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Six hotel giants launch new Roomkey search engine, an innovative new hotel search engine, has been launched via the Room Key venture founded by six of the world’s leading hotel companies. aims to make the hotel booking experience simpler and more transparent for consumers. aims to make the hotel booking experience simpler and more transparent for consumers

Established by Choice Hotels International, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott International Inc. and Wyndham Hotel Group, the online service provides users with a search and book experience which includes hotel information from the source, and hotel bookings directly through the hotel.

Room Key plans to add independent reviews and the ability to plan and share with friends and family in the near future.

Roomkey CEO John F. Davies said: “Finding the right hotel is complex and, unlike booking a flight or reserving a car, it is a personal decision process — one which no one understands better than hoteliers.

“We believe will provide consumers with an innovative resource that will give them unprecedented confidence in their booking decisions by fulfilling their hotel search needs with comprehensive and trusted content, and over time, through additional features such as the ability to connect and share their plans with family and friends — all provided through a simple and flexible site experience.”

John Wallis, global head of marketing and brand strategy, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, said: “With an experienced management team in place and a compelling search tool unique to the market today, Room Key is well positioned for success and will quickly become a large scale marketplace offering highly qualified hotel booking leads to our owners and franchisees. We welcome and encourage additional hospitality companies to become commercial partners with Room Key.”

 Initially, launched exclusively in the USA but is expected to expand to English-speaking regions outside the country shortly.

The company acquired its technology platform from hotelicopter in an asset deal that closed last year.

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Hoteliers follow Facebook with booking engines.

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Top 10 Hollywood movies most ordered in hotel rooms in 2011 –

Top 10 Hollywood movies most ordered in hotel rooms in 2011 –

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Dubai’s answer to London Eye scrapped

Dubai’s answer to London Eye scrapped |

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The 7 steps of hotel innovation

The 7 steps of hotel innovation.

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Have a look at this funny looser!!!

Let us wish you all a happy new year and success for 2012.


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Paul ‘The Mixxa’ Martin

Paul 'The Mixxa'  Martin

Paul ‘The Mixxa’ Martin

Paul is a multi-award-winning and twice world record holding cocktail mixologist. He is also an author and presenter and is recognised as one of the most sought after trainers within the drinks industry today.

His career has spanned an impressive 25 years and has covered the role of cocktail mixologist, consultant, trainer, host/entertainer and bar owner. In recent years, he has focussed on the delivery of top class training courses within the drinks industry, which has resulted in the launch of the groundbreaking Bartender Evolution courses.

He is twice Guinness world record holder for 1-hour cocktail speed mix. Author of 4 best-selling cocktail books. Winner of numerous global cocktail awards. Host & presenter of a variety of cocktail themed DVDs. Creative & promotional consultant to the drinks industry. Creator & host of national and international cocktail competitions and shows. Host of bartender/cocktail training courses and master-classes. Host of the ultimate in interactive corporate entertainment and Inventor of the Freepour juice pourer.

Paul’s current project is the release of his ‘Signed Cocktail of The Month’ which has just launched on

Paul can be seen combining his mixology and presentation skills with his ability to communicate in British Sign Language. Make sure you take a look at the first of these unique videos:

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