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Buyer sought for W Fort Lauderdale Hotel & Residences – Sun

The W Fort Lauderdale Hotel Residences is for sale, three years after the $430 million condominium-hotel was built.

Real estate firm CBRE has emailed brokers a flyer marketing the two-building property on Fort Lauderdale beach. It features 346 hotel rooms and 171 condo-hotels, only 23 of which have sold since the project opened in 2009.

The hotel and condos are being sold separately or as a package. The project is owned by a South Florida group headed by John Yanopoulos. He could not be reached for comment this week.

While the region’s condo market is recuperating, the condo-hotel sector has cooled after peaking toward the end of the housing boom in 2005, analysts say.

Last December, MMD Realty announced that it was selling the condo-hotels at the W Fort Lauderdale, with prices ranging from about $500,000 to more than $1 million. Former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino, an MMD investor, attended a launch party at the site.

But MMD founder Michelle Farber Ross said this week her firm no longer is selling at the W Fort Lauderdale.

The project probably wouldn’t be for sale in bulk if there was a better market for condo-hotels, said Peter Zalewski, a principal at CondoVultures, a consulting firm.

“This is the time to double down,” Zalewski said, noting the upcoming tourist season and the general optimism for real estate. “Condo-hotels are the exception to the overall improving South Florida condo market.” 

Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc. To Market Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole

— /PRNewswire/ — Strategic Hotels Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: BEE) announced today that it has hired Hodges Ward Elliott, a leading hotel brokerage and investment firm, to advise the Company on the marketing and sale of its Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole property.

“As we have shown, we will selectively consider both acquisition and disposition opportunities that strengthen our Company for the long-term,” said Laurence Geller, President and Chief Executive Officer of Strategic Hotels Resorts, Inc. “This property is unique in that it is unencumbered by debt, is in pristine condition, and has benefitted from our value enhancing asset management programs. Assuming we do achieve an outcome that meets our criteria, the sale proceeds would be used to further de-lever our balance sheet.”

The Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole opened in 2003 and was acquired by Strategic Hotels in 2011. It includes 124 guestrooms, 45 private residences, of which 32 are included in the hotel’s guest room supply, and 12 fractional units. In addition, the resort’s 8,000 square feet of indoor conference and banquet space is enhanced by almost 4,000 square feet of outdoor terrace and lawn space. Designed with an undeniably-Western mountain style, the Resort boasts ski-in/ski-out accommodations, an award-winning luxury spa, and is in close proximity to other attractive destinations such as Yellowstone and Teton National Parks.

Recently, the Resort was recognized as the “Best Performer in the Luxury Segment” category by Smith Travel Research (STR). In addition, it was again recognized as a Five Diamond Hotel from AAA and received the 2011 Forbes Five-Star Award for its fourth consecutive year. The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole received the 2011 Forbes Four-Star Award, earning it a status shared by only 108 spas globally, and was recognized as being among the top 100 spa resorts in the US by Conde Nast’s 2012 reader poll.

About Strategic Hotels Resorts Strategic Hotels Resorts, Inc. is a real estate investment trust (REIT) which owns and provides value-enhancing asset management of high-end hotels and resorts in the United States, Mexico and Europe. The Company currently has ownership interests in 18 properties with an aggregate of 8,271 rooms and 851,600 square feet of multi-purpose meeting and banqueting space. For a list of current properties and for further information, please visit the Company’s website at

About Hodges Ward Elliott HWE is the leading hotel brokerage and investment-banking firm in the country providing total capital solutions, including hotel sales, recapitalizations and debt placement for our clients. Per Real Estate Alert, between 2006 and 2011, HWE sold more large hotels ($25 million or greater) than any other brokerage firm in the US.  In 2011, HWE sold and financed over 200 hotels for a total transaction volume of more than $4.1 billion.  Year-to-date 2012, HWE has sold or financed more than $1.4 billion of hotel assets.

This press release contains forward-looking statements about Strategic Hotels Resorts, Inc. (the “Company”). Except for historical information, the matters discussed in this press release are forward-looking statements subject to certain risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from the Company’s projections. Factors that may contribute to these differences include, but are not limited to the following: ability to obtain, refinance or restructure debt or comply with covenants contained in our debt facilities; volatility in equity or debt markets; availability of capital; rising interest rates and operating costs; rising insurance premiums; cash available for capital expenditures; competition; demand for hotel rooms in our current and proposed market areas; economic conditions generally and in the real estate market specifically, including deterioration of economic conditions and the extent of its effect on business and leisure travel and the lodging industry; ability to dispose of existing properties in a manner consistent with our disposition strategy; delays in construction and development; demand for hotel condominiums; the failure of closing conditions to be satisfied; risks related to natural disasters; the effect of threats of terrorism and increased security precautions on travel patterns and hotel bookings; the outbreak of hostilities and international political instability; legislative or regulatory changes, including changes to laws governing the taxation of REITs; and changes in generally accepted accounting principles, policies and guidelines applicable to REITs.

Additional risks are discussed in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including those appearing under the heading “Item 1A. Risk Factors” in the Company’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K and subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. Although the Company believes the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurance that its expectations will be attained. The forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this press release, and we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

SOURCE Strategic Hotels Resorts, Inc.

Pierpont purchase caps hotel investment spree

By Dana Olsen on September 21, 2012.

A Los Angeles County-based hotel management firm is betting more than $30 million on the Ventura County hotel market, with its purchase of the Pierpont Inn Spa last week bringing the company’s total number of properties in the region to six.

Brighton Management, a real estate firm headquartered in Diamond Bar, purchased the historic Pierpont Inn for $6.5 million at an auction held Sept. 14. The acquisition comes two months after the company said it was in the process of buying two troubled Marriott properties in Oxnard out of foreclosure. Brighton bought the Courtyard by Marriott Oxnard on East Esplanade Drive for $11.4 million in a deal that closed on Aug. 1, and it’s part of a group that’s purchasing the Residence Inn by Marriott on Vineyard Avenue.

“We love Ventura,” Michael Schaefer, senior vice president of full service hotels at Brighton, told the Business Times. “We’ve been very successful in the area, so we want to keep our eye on the winning formula.”

The real estate company also owns Country Inn Suites — soon to be rebranded as a Holiday Inn Express — in Port Hueneme, which was lender-owned when Brighton bought the hotel in July. That hotel had an estimated value for tax purposes of $9.2 million in 2011, according to county property records. Brighton has owned Four Points by Sheraton in Ventura Harbor and Holiday Inn Express in Ventura for the past six years.

With half a dozen Ventura County properties under its belt, Brighton is focused on marketing the region as a tourism destination. “We like the county, and we also like business opportunities,” Schaefer said. The hotel management company is branding the coastal county between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles as “the real California,” he said.

Schaefer said Brighton has had its eye on the Pierpont Inn, a 77-room hotel set on 6.2 acres on Sanjon Road, for the past six years. The hotel went on the market in January for $8.5 million, an asking price that was two million dollars more than it fetched at auction nine months later. “We think we got a great deal,” Schaefer said. “The Pierpont is one of the treasures of Ventura. With a little TLC, there’s opportunity to bring life back to the hotel.”

There’s no word yet on whether Brighton will replace the hotel’s management staff, he said.

Historic hotel

It’s been more than 100 years since Josephine Pierpont commissioned an architect to design the hotel bearing her name. Since the Pierpont Inn was built in 1910, it’s had a storied history.
While the coastal Craftsman-style hotel was once a favorite getaway for presidents and movie stars, it has struggled to recapture its identity in the twenty-first century. Brighton’s purchase marks the fourth time the Pierpont Inn has changed hands since 1998.

Most recently, the Patel and Panchal families sold the Pierpont Inn for an estimated $12.8 million in 2009 to a family trust involving Grace Ahn. At that time, the hotel was listed for as much as $16.5 million, $10  million more than Brighton paid for it three years later.

According to court documents acquired by the Business Times in 2011, the Pierpont started to struggle when the Ahn family took over ownership. Starting in January 2010, 11 lawsuits were filed against Pierpont Group LLC in Ventura County Superior Court. Most of them involved payment disputes with suppliers and employees.

In July 2011, the Garrett Family Trust — which public documents indicate had retained a substantial second trust deed to the property at the time — filed a notice of default against the Ahn family because they had failed to repay one of the loans used to buy the hotel. According to court documents, the Garrett Family Trust had the right to sell the property in a court proceeding if the hotel’s owner didn’t repay the loan within three months.

The hotel officially went up for sale for $8.5 million in January 2012, two months after the Ahn Family Trust and trustee Grace Ahn filed for bankruptcy protection. It was initially listed on the commercial real estate market until the Los Angeles Bankruptcy Court ordered it to go on the auction block.

The auction was originally set to take place in June, but was rescheduled several times. Marcus Millichap, a national commercial real estate brokerage firm, handled the auction.

Jim Luttjohann, former executive director of the Ventura Visitors Convention Bureau, said in 2009 that the Pierpont still has the potential to be an attractive destination. “It should be one of our highest-demand hotels in the city because of its very special and unique character. It needs to be managed and marketed with that philosophy,” he told the Business Times then.

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Aurnhammer Forms Hotel Marketing Division, Leveraging Industry Success with …

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PR Web

New York, NY (PRWEB) September 20, 2012

Mobile strategy firm Aurnhammer announced today that it has formed a hotel industry services division in its New York office to support the firm’s expanding client base as hotels, motels and restaurants jump into the branded mobile apps bandwagon.

“Branded mobile apps developed for marketing purposes extend our clients’ hotel services and features beyond the front desk, and beyond their websites – right onto a mobile device, iPhone or iPad,” said Bill Aurnhammer, CEO. Since hotel guests are always on the go, whether for business or pleasure, what better access is there than getting one’s hotel info right on their smartphone?”

According to Aurnhammer, however, it’s important to distinguish between apps that offer utility, entertainment value and “stickiness” vs. basic apps that provide the same catalog of services found on the hotel’s corporate website.”

“We have barely scratched the surface on how mobile will transform the hospitality and tourism industry,” said Donn Gobin, General Manger. “Clients such as Foxwoods Resort Casino, who were early adopters in the space, have taken advantage of the power of mobile and continue to explore new opportunities to enhanced guest engagement, improved customer satisfaction, promote and sell goods and services, and streamline loyalty and rewards programs.”

About Aurnhammer LLC

Aurnhammer LLC, headquartered in New York City, is a creative media, custom design and development company specializing in branded applications for mobile. Aurnhammer has provided creative solutions for clients such as: Sony Music Entertainment, Showtime Networks, Kohler, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Lumber Liquidators, Bass Pro Shops, Mass Mutual, Bowers Wilkins, Extra Innings, Stanley Hand Tools, Russian Standard Vodka, Century 21 Real Estate, and Planet Fitness. Besides technological skill in coding and programming, the Aurnhammer team brings collective experience in the fields of film and television production, digital arts, and graphic design. At the company’s core is a solid team of strategists, designers and programmers who work in a variety technologies and platforms to flawlessly bring these ideas to life. Visit and “Follow” @AurnhammerLLC on Twitter.

Read the full story at





Hotel AG Closes Property Portfolio

MetLife Snatches Treat Towers For Reported $130M

WALNUT CREEK, CA-The firm acquires the two-building, 10-story office complex from an Equity Office Properties joint venture; the property comprises 378,000 square feet.

AH&LA Partners with The Sieb Organization on Lodging Initiative

— The Sieb Organization, a Phoenix-based global marketing and supply chain management firm, today announced a national partnership with the American Hotel Lodging Association (AHLA) and its Hotel Cuisine Lifestyle (HCL) initiative. Targeted to the U.S. lodging channel, the HCL initiative offers participating hotel members competitive foodservice procurement, distribution, and marketing offerings.

The HCL initiative was developed by The Sieb Organization in partnership with Sysco Corporation. Launched in 2009, HCL currently serves over 750 hotel members including: independent/franchised hotels, hotel management companies, and national chains. “Over the past 15 years Sieb and Sysco have worked closely with lodging businesses to lower their procurement and distribution costs, upgrade product quality levels, and drive revenue enhancement,” states Eric Sieb, CEO Principal.

Eligible and compliant AHLA members can save on their food and non-food purchases through contract pricing and rebate incentive programs. In addition, Sieb provides AHLA members with an integrated base of marketing and programming services designed to upgrade their positioning and drive incremental revenue in all hotel foodservice outlets and departments.

The AHLA will promote and market the HCL partnership in all national marketing and membership media, communications, and special events. Customized HCL/AHLA point-of-sale and collateral materials will be provided to the national organization and 40 state partners to distribute to existing and new members. Sieb and Sysco will work closely with AHLA and its membership to build HCL awareness and educational levels, as well as formalize participation in the initiative.

“The HCL initiative is dedicated to supporting the foodservice challenges and needs of our hotel members,” states Sieb, “and our partnership with AHLA opens the door to expanding this membership base through a shared vision and commitment to building an active and productive hotel foodservice community.”

About The Sieb Organization:

The Sieb Organization is a Phoenix-based global marketing and supply chain management firm specializing in developing and implementing revenue strategies for B2B and B2C companies targeting affluent U.S. markets and consumer segments. The firm has significant core competencies, special expertise and experience in the hospitality and real estate development industries. For more than 20 years, Sieb has been responsible for developing and managing marketing and supply chain initiatives for clients across the United States and several countries including Argentina, Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Scotland. For more information on Sieb visit the company’s website at

About Sysco:

Sysco is the global leader in selling, marketing and distributing food products to restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities, lodging establishments and other customers who prepare meals away from home. Its family of products also includes equipment and supplies for the foodservice and hospitality industries. The company operates 177 distribution facilities serving approximately 400,000 customers. For the fiscal year 2011 that ended July 2, 2011 the company generated record sales of more than $39 billion. For more information about Sysco, visit the company’s Internet home page at

About AHLA:

Serving the hospitality industry for more than a century, AHLA is the sole national association representing all sectors and stakeholders in the lodging industry, including individual hotel property members, hotel companies, student and faculty members, and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA provides members with national advocacy on Capitol Hill, public relations and image management, education, research and information, and other value-added services to provide bottom line savings and ensure a positive business climate for the lodging industry. Partner state associations provide local representation and additional cost-saving benefits to members.

Buy Real Marketing Cautions Clients on Dangers of Careless Sharing Amid …

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PR Web

Ottawa, ON (PRWEB) August 26, 2012

Print and online media are gobbling up Prince Harry’s social crisis of nude photos of him sharing his hotel suite with a bunch of friends including some stark-naked women. Buy Real Marketing, in an exclusive statement to clients, reiterates the dangers of ruining their personal and/or business brands due to careless sharing or simply not taking precautions on their social media activities and policies.

Sparking tweets of Prince Harry’s nude photos, jokes and sympathies for the royal have overflowed Buy Real Marketing’s crisis pickup boards, prompting the company to alert clients who have been purchasing the company’s Twitter, YouTube and other services for the purpose of initializing and maintaining popularity.

The company has been an advocate of healthy professionalism in the age of social media when freedom of speech, whether one likes it or not, has reached full circle. According to Buy Real Marketing, social sharing roused platforms where every individual opinion can be aired in the web and all the laundry, dirty or clean, can be exposed.

Inasmuch as publicity goes, the firm places heavy importance on the beneficial kind and aims to provide these to individuals and businesses through its services at However, since roadblocks cannot be avoided in the journey to fame or established branding, measures of prevention and crisis management should be in place.

A quick Google image search of Prince Harry returns unclad photos posted on the biggest American gossip website as well as tabloid headlines of those photos, eclipsing the more “wholesome” shots of him gallant and clothed. Buy Real Marketing stresses to its clients that their story need not be like that.

Social media crisis management, including relevant marketing guidance for enterprises and individuals looking to promote their products and services are available for everybody at the company’s official blog.


Buy Real Marketing is well-established internet marketing firm founded in 2010 by Jean-Patrick Bisson, Diana Quartin and Jonathan Kennedy. The company specializes in driving search marketing and social media traffic, social web app development and conversion optimization. Each product or service specifically helps small/medium website owners increase online visibility and improve online sales.

Read the full story at





Muslim hotel owner discriminated against Jewish group, jury finds

The event had been arranged through Platinum Events, a marketing firm that had organized other gatherings at the Shangri-La after the property underwent a $30-million renovation and reopened in mid-2009.

The jury heard deposition testimony of a former employee, Nathan Codrey, who said Adaya repeatedly used profanity as she insisted that the event stop. “If my [family finds] out there’s a Jewish event here, they’re going to pull money from me immediately,” she said, according to the testimony, which was read by a stand-in because Codrey was out of state and could not be subpoenaed.

“This is a home run for the plaintiffs,” said James Turken, their attorney.

John Levitt, an attorney for Adaya, declined to comment.

“I’m very proud to be part of a group who stood up for what is right and what is just,” said Ari Ryan, a plaintiff.

The jury found that Adaya and the hotel violated the Unruh Act and inflicted emotional distress. The panel awarded statutory damages of more than $1.2 million.

A hearing on punitive damages is scheduled for Thursday.


Jessica Simpson’s dad charged with two counts of DUI

Court employee leaked classified documents, FBI alleges

‘Big Bang Theory’ actress suffers hand injury in Hollywood crash

– Martha Groves

Sri Lanka luxury hotel rides internet market

Chief executive Sumith Adjihetty said the hotel has struck deals with online travel agencies such as Jetsetter, Impulseflyier and Exosphere.

“These valuable tie-ups have helped us market the hotel better in the run up to the peak season,” Adhihetty told shareholders in the annual report.

The firm said according to data from World Travel Monitor, online bookings are now half of global bookings, while travel agents had a third of the market.

The firm had also participated in key travel fairs including ITB 2011 in Berlin, Leisure 2011 in Moscow and World Travel Market 2011 in London and New York Travel Show 2012 in the USA.

Fortress said it had an average occupancy of 66 percent in 2011, with a spike to 95 percent in the second half of the financial year.

HeBS Digital Releases a Next-Generation Solution to Manage the Hotel’s Digital …

HeBS Digital Announces its New CMS Premium (Content Management System) to Manage the Desktop, Mobile and Tablet Website

New York, NY (May 22, 2012) – HeBS Digital, the leading digital marketing and direct online strategy firm for the hospitality industry, is excited to announce the release of its newest website Content Management System, the HeBS Digital CMS Premium, which addresses the growing industry need for a centralized “digital content depository”.

The explosion of the mobile channel and the emergence of the new tablet channel presented a major challenge to hotel and travel marketers: creating and managing digital content throughout three distinct distribution and marketing channels – desktop, mobile and tablet. There is an obvious need for a centralized digital library that services all three channels. HeBS Digital”s proprietary CMS Premium provides exactly this functionality and serves as the hotel”s digital content depository of textual and visual content.

The HeBS Digital CMS Premium was specifically engineered to provide hoteliers with the flexibility to customize their site on-the-go and refresh content immediately to accommodate the Google Panda and “Freshness” SEO updates. This solution also allows for automated content push to the hotel”s social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and the hotel’s mobile and tablet sites, enabling the hotel to maintain content freshness and accuracy across all marketing channels.

The HeBS Digital CMS Premium provides a wealth of possibilities for hoteliers. A hotel marketer can add and edit textual and visual content at any time, publish or un-publish new special offers, create packages and promotions, control the featured special promo tile on the Home Page, manage photos, and automatically push new specials and promotions to social media profiles and mobile websites.

The ability to update, add to and refresh a site is crucially important for several reasons. Hoteliers can avoid expensive third-party edits and revisions and save time by updating their own copy, specials and photo galleries. The power to easily refresh meta data and on-page copy allows hoteliers to respond immediately to Google Panda updates and maintain strong SEO performance.

“The value of the HeBS Digital CMS Premium is multi-dimensional,” said Max Starkov, President CEO of HeBS Digital. “In addition to saving hoteliers precious dollars in the form of website maintenance charges, the CMS Premium serves as the hotel”s main depository of textual and visual digital marketing content to be used across all three channels: desktop, tablet, and mobile. It transforms the property website from merely an online brochure to a fully equipped direct online sales tool. The HeBS Digital CMS Premium allows clients to build a multitude of new landing pages and fresh content over time, and a website with this solution typically has over 2,500 -4,500 pages of relevant and deep content indexed by the search engines. With the HeBS Digital CMS Premium, the hotelier has a firm grip on the reins of their site – no special content management skills or HTML knowledge required!”

The flexibility of the HeBS Digital CMS Premium allows hotel marketers to:

  • Build a centralized library of the hotel”s digital content: textual and visual
  • Create fresh, engaging and unique content on the fly
  • Add deep, relevant local content the search engines highly value
  • Incorporate micro-formats and Schema codes to indicate “freshness” of content to search engines
  • Push timely content such as special offers and promotions, as well as events and happenings to social media platforms
  • Sync with the hotel”s mobile and enhanced tablet site to automatically push content updates live to mobile and tablet users

The HeBS Digital CMS Premium serves as much more than a Content Management System. It acts as a digital marketing content solution, giving busy hoteliers a way to simply and successfully utilize their hotel website to generate bookings and boost revenues.

About HeBS Digital:

Founded in 2001, HeBS Digital is the industry”s leading full-service hotel digital marketing, website design and direct online channel strategy firm based in New York City (

HeBS Digital has pioneered many of the “best practices” in hotel digital marketing, social and mobile marketing, and direct online channel distribution. The firm has won over 190 prestigious industry awards for its digital marketing and website design services, including numerous Adrian Awards, Davey Awards, W3 Awards, WebAwards, Magellan Awards, Summit International Awards, Interactive Media Awards, and IAC Awards.

A diverse client portfolio of top tier major hotel brands, luxury and boutique hotel brands, resorts and casinos, hotel management companies, franchisees and independents, and CVBs are profiting from HeBS Digital”s hospitality digital marketing expertise. Contact HeBS Digital”s consultants at (212) 752-8186 or

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