Monthly Archives: September 2012

Damac Properties to showcase hotel apartment portfolio at Cityscape 2012

Burjside Boulevard, a 50-storey luxury tower in the Burj Area of Dubai, will begin handover to owners during mid-2013 providing the first taste to investors of the high-end managed services that the company will offer investors and tenants.

The landmark development offers three, two and one bedroom, fully furnished and serviced hotel apartments.

“Our serviced hotel apartments will offer the most luxurious services in the hotel apartments sector and provides an attractive rental pool programme to allow our clients to enter the booming Dubai hotel sector,” said Niall McLoughlin, Senior Vice President, Damac Properties. “The 4,000 units under development will make Damac one of the largest serviced hotel apartment companies in the region,” he added.

“Dubai currently has less than 200 serviced apartment buildings in the market according to the Dubai Department of Tourism, but the product is hugely popular with international tourists, especially from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We see this sector as an important driver in our business in the coming years,” concluded McLoughlin.

A recent report by Ernst and Young showed average room rates of Dubai hotels had grown by more than eight% during the first half of 2012 to Dhs922 ($251) with occupancy at a very healthy 84% compared to the same period last year. A Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing ‘DTCM’ report also says that in Q2 2012 hotel and apartment bookings in Dubai jumped to 170,452, from 154,180 for the same period in 2011, a 10% increase.

As Dubai’s hotel industry continues to go from strength to strength, serviced apartments are becoming an increasingly attractive investment proposition creating a link between private ownership of luxury living and the service offered by the best hotels in the world.

“Many of our clients visit Dubai for just two or three months a year. A Damac Properties serviced hotel apartment provides clients the opportunity to rent their luxury home while they are away, earning revenue and without the stress and complication of finding a tenant,” added McLoughlin.

The company offers bespoke services to owners and tenants including making restaurant reservations, arranging to charter yachts and planes and booking a limousine, in addition to all standard security and housekeeping services. The management can also arrange for a professional baby-sitter, a five star chef to cook in your apartment or a relaxing spa treatment in your room.

“Our clients make a lifestyle choice when investing in a Damac serviced hotel apartment and we will deliver that upscale, refined luxury service which they are used to when staying in hotels,” said McLoughlin.

Dubai tourism continues to grow at a strong pace, with Dubai International airport one of the busiest hubs in the world welcoming nearly 28 million passengers in the first six months of 2012 according to the Dubai Statistics Centre. It also reported nearly four million guests in Dubai hotels in the same six months.

Wouter Molman, Cityscape Global Exhibition Director, said, “Damac Properties has been a loyal supporter of Cityscape events for many years, not only during times of fast market growth but also in the more challenging recent years. As the Dubai real estate market is regaining positive momentum and many Dubai developers are strengthening their participation in the upcoming Cityscape Global exhibition, which is set to grow by more than 40% on last year’s event.”

Damac Properties is participating at Cityscape on stand C10, Hall 8, where potential clients will be able to meet with senior management and learn more about Damac Suites and Spa.

Slideshow: Lively debate over downtown Milwaukee hotel market

The Business Journal's Business of Growing Milwaukee event Friday drew more than 300 people.

The Business Journal’s Business of Growing Milwaukee event Friday drew more than 300 people.

Mark Kass
Editor- The Business Journal

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If you’ve been reading The Business Journal and our website over the last several months, you’ve read about the large number of hotels that have either been proposed or that are being built in downtown Milwaukee.

Just this week, reporter Sean Ryan broke the story about plans by the developers of the downtown Milwaukee Marriott to buy land in the Park East from Milwaukee County for another hotel.

Why is our downtown area all of a sudden become the hotbed for hotel developers? And is there a need for all the hotel rooms that have been proposed?

That depends who you ask, as was evident during The Business Journal’s Business of Growing Milwaukee event Friday at The Pfister, which was attended by over 300 local business executives.

Greg Marcus, CEO of The Marcus Corp., which owns several downtown hotels including the Pfister, made an impassioned plea that the market was overbuilt. He strongly opposed any new developments that received any form of government assistance.

“We are building too many hotel rooms, and even worse the ones we are building are in the wrong place,” Marcus said.

But Deno Yiankes, president and CEO of the investment and development division for White Lodging Services, which will operate the new Marriott hotel being built on North Milwaukee Street, argued the downtown hotel market had recovered from the economic downturn, with room rates and occupancy increasing in recent months. He said there was enough demand for the hotels.

For extensive coverage of the lively and interesting debate, including Marcus’ pointed remarks and Yiankes’ response, see the Oct. 5 issue of The Business Journal.

Those in the crowd Friday included Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett; Steve Costello, president of the Bradley Center; Paul Upchurch, president of Visit Milwaukee; Ron Walter, alternate governor of the Milwaukee Bucks; Paul Mathews, president of the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts; and Steve Marcus, chairman of the board for The Marcus Corp.

Check out a special slideshow from the event.

Mark Kass is the editor of The Business Journal. He can be reached at 414-278-7788 or

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Landmark hotel on the market

A LANDMARK inner-city Hobart hotel is on the market for between $16 and $20 million.

Hobart Macquarie Hotel is a 3.5 star hotel with 131 guest rooms and is operated by the Leisure Inn brand.

CBRE Hotels associate director Andrew Jackson is steering the marketing campaign and said it was difficult to estimate the sale price.

“The lack of supply and steadily increasing demand creates favourable conditions to drive rate and occupancy growth,” he said. “Over the past five years, overall room demand in Hobart has increased by circa 2.5 per cent annually.”

The hotel employs more than 40 staff and was built in 1968 and had a $6 million refurbishment between 2006 and 2010.

Leisure Inn Hotel regional manager Rodolphe Belin said the hotel had been performing strongly over the past two years, with the property boasting record figures since July 2010.

The current owner, Kurt Braune, bought the property in 2004.Mr Belbin said the owner of the hotel, Kurt Braune, bought the property in 2004.

“He is looking at exiting the property as he felt right time to sell due to currently a shortage in supply of mid-range properties around Australia and the demand is strong from Asian investors.”

Houston hotel market energized

Houston-area hoteliers are expected to fill more rooms and at higher rates in the coming years.

“Houston is getting ready to embark upon another real strong growth period,” PKF Consulting’s Randy McCaslin said in a state-of-the-market report Thursday to the Hotel Lodging Association of Greater Houston.

By the end of the year, hotel occupancies in such markets as downtown, the Galleria/Greenway, the Texas Medical Center and the Katy Freeway/Westchase are expected to have returned to their pre-recession levels.

Houston’s hotel industry is recovering much faster than the rest of the country, he said, thanks largely to oil and gas.

But besides energy, other sectors of the local economy, like the Texas Medical Center and the Port of Houston, will help fuel the anticipated growth. New office development for corporate expansions should also result in more demand.

The association’s event was held at the Embassy Suites at the Katy Freeway and Kirkwood. An office building is under construction next door to the hotel. And the property is being built on a speculative basis, meaning without a tenant lined up to occupy the building.

The new St. Luke’s maternity facility in the Texas Medical Center has helped fill rooms at the nearby Holiday Inn Suites Houston Medical Center.

General manager Tom Mathews said the hotel isn’t as affected by general economic conditions because 80 percent of its business comes from patients and their families.

Tourism is also expected to grow. In the coming years, the city will host such basketball events as the NBA All-Star game in 2013 and the NCAA Final Fourt in 2016.

The convention calendar, too, McCaslin added, “is one of strongest ever in 2013.”

The meetings segment of the business will grow even more as new hotels are built downtown.

This week, Rida Development Corp. was chosen to move forward in negotiations to build a 1,000-room convention center hotel.

Despite his optimism, McCaslin noted areas of concern: budget cuts at NASA, the planned closure of a Texas Instruments plant in Sugar Land and construction on U.S. 290.

“In the short run, that will be a challenge,” McCaslin said.

A stronger demand for rooms and fewer development projects in the pipeline should result in higher rates.

The average room in the Houston market is expected to be up 4.7 percent this year, to $95. PKF projects that rate to jump to $100.50 in 2013.

“We’re feeling the positive trend all over the city,” said Nick Massad Jr., president and CEO of American Liberty Hospitality.

The area’s hotel occupancy rate is expected to hit 69.4 percent by 2016. This year it is projected to end at 63.7 percent.

Developers have already begun expressing interest in building new properties.

“Anytime the market gets above 66 or 68 percent, there are usually new hotels,” McCaslin said. “So there is lots of interest.”

Carlson group to open new Davao hotel

CARLSON Rezidor Hotel Group, which operates the Radisson Blu hotels, will open another hotel in Davao by February next year.

The midscale brand hotel called Park Inn by Radisson Davao will be open in time for the MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibitions) Convention in March next year, said Ann Olalo, Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu director of sales and marketing recently.

SM Hotels and Conventions Corp. would still be a partner for the Park Inn project, which is Carlson group’s second hotel in the country.

Construction work is ongoing within SMX Davao.

Radisson Blu is one of the six hotel brands under the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. The group’s hotel brands are Radisson, Park Plaza, Park Inn, Country Inns and Suites and Hotel Missoni.

Olalo said the hotel group set up Park Inn in Davao because Davao is a hub especially among government agencies which need facilities for small meetings and mid-size conferences.

The hotel is the first under the brand that opened outside of Europe. It will have 204 rooms and small meeting rooms that will complement the bigger convention halls in SMX Convention Center.

“The property is also within the vicinity of the Francisco Bangoy International Airport and Davao City Center which makes it an ideal location for business and leisure travelers and even for transit passengers,” said Olalo.

The new Park Inn would complement the group’s thrust to grow its leisure market aside from their usual business traveler guests, said Olalo.

For Cebu hotel, Olalo said their biggest market remains domestic business travelers followed by Korean and Japanese tourists, which are feeder markets.

“We usually capture the corporate market and the growing MICE market segment in our present property. About 55 percent is from the domestic market,” said Olalo.

An uptrend was noticed in the leisure segment from Korean and other foreign individual travelers which include Australians and Canadian tourists.

“This is a segment that we’d like to grow. With our second hotel, we are looking at offering packages for the leisure market,” said Olalo.

The start of direct charter flights from Darwin, Australia in December presents opportunities.

“The Australian market is also very attractive. Most Australian guests that we have usually stay longer from three to five days.”

“Our Korean guests usually stay for two to three days and then proceed to other destinations like Bohol. Perhaps we can offer them a package from our new property as well,” she said.

Next year, the hotel will cater to Japanese group tours which feature Cebu’s culture and leisure./Reporter Aileen Garcia-Yap

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Box Office Predictions: ‘Hotel Transylvania’ Could Throw ‘Looper’ for a Loop

There are three films opening this weekend: Hotel Transylvania, Looper and Won’t Back Down. With the latter, I haven’t heard much chatter about it, but that’s partly because I’m in no way its target demographic, and neither are most people who read movie news websites. Selective and smart marketing could work for that film. Could.

The cinematic landscape is shifting very quickly, it feels, as something like Looper is something of a question mark, when you might think it could be an easy win. It’s an action movie with a science fiction setting, and with stars like Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon Levitt (who it’s hard not to refer to as JoGoLev), a decade ago this sort of property would have been money in the bank. But you can’t launch something like this in the middle of the summer, because there’s just too much competition, even if this is theoretically a summer-type movie. In the world now an audience needs to find this picture, though they need to find it right away.

And you can’t count on Bruce Willis to draw an audience in, at this point he’s done some direct to video titles, while Gordon-Levitt is coming off of Premium Rush, which failed to crack the top five when it came out even though he was coming off of The Dark Knight Rises. They don’t have Imax screens, and they don’t have 3D.

What they have is one of the best reviewed movies of the year, and what is supposedly a pretty great film. But can that win, and then what is the win? The film was done for $30 Million according to sources (again, never trust a budget), and should have international appeal because of its stars, and additional footage done specifically for the Chinese market (they get a different cut of the film), so the film should make money. But it feels like there’s a ceiling on it based on marketing and audience attention spans. Hopefully it will buck that.

Whereas something like Hotel Transylvania feels like easy math. Adam Sandler + animated material + 3D + a trailer and TV spots with a couple of good jokes = over $20 Million opening weekend. Yeah, That’s My Boy tanked hard, but its opening weekend numbers would have won most weekends this last month. And this seems to be the battle that cinema is fighting. The struggle of something that is interesting but doesn’t have the quickest sell versus something that has all the ingredients people like however artlessly thrown together. And of late craft has been losing.

As for Don’t Back Down, that title could be more generic, though you never know if adds on places like Ellen, etc. are effective. Perhaps they are, but they’re targeting an audience who doesn’t go to movies that much. And that also speaks to the system. The older people get, the less likely they are to go to movies, partly because of their lives, partly because of cost, and partly because of the movies themselves, which then are targeted at a younger audience. And with films having a three to four month window before they hit DVD/Blu-Ray/VOD, and with many homes having 1080p televisions, and good sound, why not wait, even if that is the problem in a nutshell. The more people decide it’s something they can watch at home, the less likely a system is going to make movies for that audience.

It’s something best represented in this video:

As for numbers:

Hotel Transylvania – $25 Million

Looper – $19.5 Million

End of Watch – $7.9 Million

Trouble with the Curve – $7.4 Million

Won’t Back Down – $5.8 Million

I went high on Looper, but I’m optimistic. We could also see Hotel go up higher. You never know. It looks like Pitch Perfect is doing some sneaks this weekend, and that could be a sleeper hit. We shall see.

What are you going to see this weekend?

Introduction of Revenue Enhancement Program Partnership Opportunities …

— /PRNewswire-iReach/ — Global Maximus Productions announces that it has entered into a partnership with Savvy Marketing Solutions, a marketing and media agency to secure and manage advertising campaigns and sponsorships of several Company products.


The agency is officially administrering sponsor management for GMP streaming promotions; Keys2Ca$h, Rock2Live Music Series, a scholastic fundraiser and Maximus Overdrive, the next generation of streaming media.  Savvy Marketing Solutions is a highly respected marketing and media advertising agency that specializes in managing niche programs that are targeted to guaranteed audiences. 

The agency will provide national marketers and retailers with program benefits, specialized sponsor partnership opportunities, hotel industry knowledge, and content they need to make the best possible business and sponsor partnership decisions in order to reach the massive consumer base of hotel travelers.

On behalf of Global Maximus Productions, LLC, Savvy Marketing Solutions is currently working with clients on features within Keys2Ca$h, Rock2Live and Maximus Overdrive. The sponsorships are targeted to national marketers who specialize in consumer package goods, automotive, health and beauty, beverage and pharmaceutical categories.  A description of each program is as follows:

Keys2Ca$h is a universal cutting edge instant rewards program which drives traffic and awareness through ongoing INSTANT rewards tied to retail promotions featuring highly visible entertainment personalities. It is designed to take back on-line room inventory driving reservations directly to the rewarding host, award the guests at check-in and offer marketers an effective way to showcase their discount coupon offerings in an isolated, captive uncluttered environment. This program is considered state-of-the-art, one of a kind program creating an environment in which everyone wins — the hotel, retail brands, sponsors, media partners and consumers.

Rock2Live Music Festival is a national celebrity and peer-to-peer movement promoting no-texting while driving among teens while raising funds for schools nationwide. These ‘live’ streaming music entertainment events will be promoted and marketed nationwide while students compete to attend and participate in live events. These are sponsored events ideal for national marketers who strongly support the cause and are interested in reaching a massive audience of teens and families. 

Maximus Overdrive is an on-demand entertainment suite which is set to launch in November 2012 and will feature a series of live music, sports and comedy acts streamed live in HD picture and sound, user friendly and fully interactive to millions of guests rooms and households in typical pay-per-use customized messaging environments.

The network will feature an assortment of niche high interactive programs and be available 7 days a week, 52 weeks per year for subscribers. Pay-per-view interactive programming will also be featured on the network offered at television level quality picture and sound streaming to all devices using advanced technologies rapidly reaching the global IP market.

National Marketers and Retailers can participate through customized sponsorships on a limited basis. For information, please contact Aleta M. Clardy at or 877-441-2199.

Media Contact: David Carter Global Maximus Productions, LLC, 615-268-1919, News distributed by PR Newswire iReach:

SOURCE Global Maximus Productions

Oberoi group to enter Dubai next year

The Oberoi group is set to enter Dubai with the opening of its first hotel here in the first quarter of next year, according to media reports.

The long-awaited debut of the Indian company in the UAE will feature 250 rooms and suites, as well as four food and beverage outlets. It will be located on Sheikh Zayed road and “add value to Dubai as a destination,” Oberoi Executive Assistant Manager Tapaan Piplani told Hotelier Middle East magazine.

Piplani said the hotel will help increase the tourist traffic from India and the luxury market from that country.

“We are a very strong brand based there with legendary hotels there that have been well covered and talked about,” he said.

On the number of new brands entering the country, Piplani said that the new competitors are a nice challenge.

“The big players have been here for a while but I personally believe bringing new brands like Oberoi and Four Seasons will only add value to Dubai as a destination,” he was quoted by the magazine as saying.

The company’s General Manager Karim Bizid said, “We could have built 300 plus but we decided to make them bigger and increase quality… the quality will be bets in the business, in terms of size and natural light coming in.”

A Lavish Hotel Project Unites Thailand’s Sukosol Family

Kamala Sukosol, the matriarch of the family business empire, at the new Siam Hotel with her sons, Kamol Sukosol Clapp (left) and rock star Krissada Sukosol Clapp, and her daughters, Daranee Sukosol Clapp (left) and Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi. / Credit: Peter Charlesworth/ for Forbes


After waiting tables as a student actor in New York, Krissada Sukosol Clapp ­returned home and became one of Thailand’s top rock singers. From sold-out stadium concerts, his show-biz charisma swept him to stardom in films and on television. So his career change may perplex some fans: Krissada has become a high-end Bangkok hotelier. The alternative rocker’s 39-room Siam Hotel—built at an enormous cost of nearly $1 million a room—is not only attracting acclaim as an ultraexclusive Chao Phraya River retreat but also puts him back in the embrace of the family business.

Krissada is the youngest of four children in the Sukosol dynasty’s third generation. Grandfather Kamol Sukosol built the family fortune as an early serial entrepreneur. He founded the Kamol Sukosol Co. in 1939 to sell General Electric radio sets (a dozen in the first transaction) and electric appliances. It later moved into manufacturing and car dealerships, acquiring the right to represent GE in Thailand and the franchise for Mazda.

Patriarch Kamol, who died in 1980, also invested in property. But it was his daughter Kamala Sukosol who used the real estate to transform the group into a hospitality pioneer in Pattaya. She launched the Siam Bayshore Resort Spa, one of Pattaya’s first beach resorts, in 1975, followed eight years later by the Siam Bayview Hotel.

Her two oldest children—daughters Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, 46, and Daranee Sukosol Clapp, 44—joined the family business after studies in the U.S. But two younger brothers, Kamol Sukosol Clapp, 42, and Krissada, 41, aspired to become full-time musicians. Kamol, whom everyone calls “Sukie,” played in Krissada’s band, Pru. Kamol also launched Bakery Music, formerly Thailand’s largest independent music label. (The father of the four, Terrence Clapp, is from the U.S. The parents were divorced decades ago. Clapp stayed in Thailand but is not involved in the business.)

Krissada pushed his mother and the rest of the family into backing the Siam Hotel, by far the Sukosols’ boldest gambit. It turned out to be just the right challenge to entice both sons to commit fully to the family business. Perhaps just as important, this small hotel has rejuvenated the family’s hospitality operation and the Sukosol brand.

The hotel, which opened in June, also marks a transition as the third generation increasingly takes over and charts new directions for the group. In February the Sukosol Group announced a rebranding of the Pattaya properties, along with its five-star Siam City Hotel in Bangkok. Instead of Siam, it now uses the Sukosol name. Marisa—who handles marketing, management and development as executive vice president—explains that Siam had become too generic a term in Thailand: “Ten to twenty years ago you didn’t really need to be a brand. Now you need to market, and the Sukosol name is dynamic. [In contrast,] the new Siam Hotel is unique enough to call itself Siam.”

The hotel is the start of a new generation of projects for the group. A flashy resort in Pattaya called the Wave is under construction, while Kamol is spearheading development of a rural retreat in Chonburi near the infamous “Bridge on the River Kwai.” He says it will be a luxury getaway with plantation gardens.

While the projects represent the aspirations of the family’s third wave, they make use of a land bank ­assembled by previous generations. Kamala, the ­matriarch, describes a river trip decades ago in ­Chonburi; mesmerized by the beauty, she bought property on the spot. And the Siam Hotel sits on prime Chao Phraya property purchased by her father 40 years ago. “He ­really bought it as a place to tie up his boat,” she chuckles.

For many years the Chao Phraya land was used by a restaurant. After the lease expired Krissada pitched his idea for a novel hotel. He envisioned a luxurious boutique inn recalling the Golden Age of Siam, when travelers came by boat and reveled in princely Thai hospitality. Every room would be outfitted with antiques. “The idea was in my mind since 2005,” says Krissada, surprisingly soft-spoken, a contrast to his energetic stage persona; some compare him with Sting. “I’d really never been part of the family business. I was always on my own, doing music, acting. I told my mother, let’s do a hotel, but a really special place on the river, like the big boys.”

Krissada had a hidden agenda, and a somewhat secret talent. An avid antiques hunter, he had been scouring markets, collecting furniture and odds and ends for years. He reckons he has 2,000 pieces. “My stuff was filling a warehouse. I really wanted to have somewhere to put ­everything.”

His dream was to create a kind of hotel cum museum, not only showcasing antiques in the public spaces but also different collections in each room. One room is decorated with tiny cards depicting vintage Thai celebrities that were giveaways in gum or cigarette packs. Other rooms are kitted out with a set of charcoal sketches or musical instruments.