Hotel panic buttons, mini-bar upgrades & revenue, Trump in D.C., healthy room service and a smoke-free casino

In other hotel industry news last week…

  • Many New York City hotels plan to provide their housekeepers, waiters and mini-bar attendants with ‘panic buttons’ in the near future. Not necessarily stemming from the recent accusations against French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the devices have been included as a new requirement in a seven-year deal between the Hotel Association of New York and its unions.
  • Some hotels are upgrading the amenities included in their mini-bars to include items that add to “ the mystique and experience” of the particular property. Examples include: a $25 bottled water at the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago (no thanks), locally made juices and other drinks at the Delamar Greenwich Harbor Resort in Connecticut, and signed copies of American Eve or a box of candy cigarettes at New York’s The Chatwal.
  • Here’s a random statistic: Annual mini-bar revenue per available room dropped from $392 to $368 from 2009 to 2010. According to the research firm that released the results, “guests complained that they could get the same items for less at nearby grocery stores.” I honestly haven’t touched a mini-bar item in years and also avoid lobby “convenience stores” for the exact same reason. Who pays $9 for a tiny bag of cashews?
  • The U.S. government selected the Trump Organization to convert the Old Post Office Pavilion in Washington D.C. into a 250-room luxury hotel. The new property will include the typical Trump accoutrements, including a spa, library, museum, exhibition gallery and indoor/outdoor gardens. Hilton also bid for the property, but lost out.
  • Health consciousness is expanding to the hotel industry where several properties are now catering to special diets. Among them include the Kimpton Hotel Palomar in San Francisco who this month began gluten-free items, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts with Lifestyle Cuisine Plus Menus, and Omni Hotels & Resorts with gluten-free breakfast buffet sections.
  • A new $2.4 billion mega-resort will soon open in Atlantic City, NJ, earlier than expected. It will be the first smoke-free casino resort in the city and features 1,898 rooms, 14 restaurants, clubs and a pool that starts indoors and flows outside.



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