Harkins Theatres – Oklahoma City

Harkins Theatres are a collection of theatres spread across Southwest United States, which offer a superior movie-going experience. Harkins Theatres have one theatre in the Oklahoma City metro area, in Bricktown. Featuring stadium seating and digital surround sound, the Harkins Movie Theatre in Oklahoma City, called the Harkins Bricktown Cinemas 16, is one of the most popular theatres in the city. The ticket rates are fixed at $9 for adults, $5 for children and $6 for seniors, while matinee tickets are offered at a 2% discount. The Cine Capri is the chief attraction of Harkins Bricktown. It boasts a giant 30′ tall by 70′ wide screen and seating for around 600 people.

The first of the Harkins Theatres was established by Dwight “Red” Harkins in 1933 at Tempe, Arizona. Since its establishment, the Harkins Theatres have employed and constantly upgraded state-of-the-art equipment to make the movie experience unparalleled for the audience. Harkins Bricktown Cinemas 16 was set up in 2004. Apart from technology, Harkins Theatres have unique features such as the Harkins PlayCenter day care center for parents to drop their kids while they catch up on a movie.

The Harkins online store is where you could get yourself VIP tickets, gift cards and gift packages. Harkins Theatres also involves itself in community relations, offering sponsorship for charitable organizations and public service announcement programs.

Residents and tourists who can’t wait to catch up on a blockbuster know just where to go to. Harkins Bricktown Cinemas 16 in Oklahoma City offers a truly spectacular experience you wouldn’t get off your mind soon. Its central location makes it easily accessible, with hotels in Oklahoma City offering convenient shuttle services.

Visiting Las Vegas And The Scenic Southwest On A Budget.

This article is based on years of traveling in and out of Las Vegas to visit some of the most beautiful places on earth. Las Vegas can be a very inexpensive place to fly into.

AdventureZoneTOURS, that’s what I should have named this article. That’s how I like to travel. I want to be comfortable, have great adventure, for a reasonable amount of money.

For our budget, our trip into the Vegas airport begins on a Sunday thru Wednesday. The focus and goal of our trip is to get into the great outdoors. But, we like to stay the first couple of nights in Vegas and then the last couple of nights too, with the middle of the trip spent touring awesome places in the great Mohave Desert.

As soon as you get off the plane you know you are in Vegas and are bombarded by visual entertainment. Everything is bright and flashing, it seems like daytime even at night. Huge screens preview the available shows and entertainment in town. As you leave the airport you will find all modes of transport available along the street including taxis, limos & shuttle buses.

There are a lot of hotels to choose from. Many times I have stayed on the strip at Tropicana Ave. Returning to the car rental lot at the airport is just minutes from this part of the strip. There are many choices for hotels. There are thousands of hotel rooms and more being built every day. There are hotels on Las Vegas Blvd, more just off the strip and some just blocks away from the strip in downtown Las Vegas. Fremont Street has been canopied by tens of thousands of lights. The hotel/casinos in this area have almost a neighborhood feel. At night The Fremont Street Experience comes alive with lights, and music. It’s feels almost like a block party.

Will you need a rental car? Many times your best deal on a rental is going to be for a weekly rental. Even if you rent for just 4 days, the weekly rental is normally a better deal. Normally, the car rentals work on a 24 hour period. For example if you pick up at 6 pm, your return would have to be by 6 pm of the day the car is suppose to be returned. Many times I will fly into Las Vegas and take one of the inexpensive shuttles to my hotel doorstep. Then the day I want to begin my weekly rental, I take a taxi to the rental location to pick up my car being careful to pick it up at the same time of day that I will be returning it the day of my departure. You can also consider renting your auto at one of the downtown off airport rental locations. This can save on the airport tax surcharges that are added on to your rental at the airport locations. As you choose your car rental, you might find that they have a location right at the hotel you choose to stay at.

Las Vegas has plenty of entertainment to enjoy, with shows that change from month to month. There are many free things to do as well. The water show at the Beligio is cool and interesting if seem by night from the Eiffel Tour. Everybody likes the free volcano at the Mirage, the lion’s habitat at the MGM, The show in front of TI, Mardi Gras style show in the Rio and on and on. This article is about getting out into the great outdoors, so I’ll leave the entertainment search up to you. There’s always plenty to see and do.

On to your AdventureZoneTOUR! Now, let’s find adventure!

The Valley of Fire
Zion National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon
Lake Powell
Antelope Canyon
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

One of the first things I do as I’m leaving town is to find a big grocery store or the local shopping mart. I buy a cooler and load up on water, fruit, soda, chips, snacks, napkins, plates, forks and deli items. Many times we’ll have an inexpensive breakfast or lunch along the way. We’ll have a great restaurant dinner.

There is where the Mojave, Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts are within striking distance of your entry point of Las Vegas. Some of these areas can be very hot in the summer, but if you plan well and hit the higher elevations, it can be very comfortable. Remember this area of the world can be wild and dangerous. Take all the precautions necessary. This is the Mohave Desert, you’ll need water. You do not want to get stuck in the sand, or have your auto break down in a remote area. There are places your cell phone will not work. If you hike into any remote areas, learn about them first and obtain necessary permits. There are a lot of slot canyons that are very beautiful. A slot is a narrow passageway thru cliff lined canyons. This was carved into the sandstone by water. Beware! If it is raining 100 miles away from you, you may not know it and the slot you could be in is where the water will run. I have heard several stories of people being carried away and drown because of lack of planning. When you are in a narrow canyon, there is no place to escape. Be smart and be careful. Take lots of pictures.

Heading north there is another great little casino city right at the border of Nevada called Mesquite, NV. I have found the hotel room rates to be down right cheap. Mesquite has everything that I need as a base of operations. The rooms are acceptable, the Casinos are modern and fun with pools and even arcades, bowling alleys and movie theatres, without lots of traffic. The town has lots of buffets, gas stations, golf, etc. If you are planning a visit to Zion, staying here is an easy drive up and back for a couple of day trips into the region. Many times I have gone with a group and we have to reserve quite a few rooms.

As you head north on I 15 you’ll see the Las Vegas Speedway home of NASCAR races as well as Nellis Air force base. You’ll probably see or hear air force jets flying around or landing as you travel past the base. The thunderbirds have a presence here, as well as some funky looking stealth and unmanned remotely piloted aircraft. Maybe this is where all the UFO Area 51 stuff comes from. If you’re interested in more information about the mystery lights in the sky, search for Groom Lake or Area 51.

The Valley of Fire State Park is up this way and located only six miles from Lake Mead, it’s 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas via Interstate 15 and on exit 75. Valley of Fire is Nevada’s oldest and largest state park, dedicated 1935. The valley derives its name from the red sandstone formations and the stark beauty of the Mojave Desert. There are some really awesome campsites nested within the red rock cliffs. This is a great place to stretch your legs and do a little rock scrambling. It’s about a 30 minute drive from the highway exit. The Moapa Indian Reservation runs a store right at this exit.This can be a nice stop for bathrooms; they sell fireworks, have a small casino, tax free cigarettes and liquor in their small convenience store.

If you continue north into Utah on highway I 15 from Las Vegas you can go to Zion National Park. It’s just a few hours north of Las Vegas and can make a great day trip. April thru Oct. the environmental friendly shuttle bus provides transportation in the park. Other month’s autos are allowed in. There is a highway Rt 9 that goes thru park of the park and is open to traffic all year. If you might be planning a hike into the Virgin River and upstream, talk to the rangers first. Our last trip the water levels were too high and not safe. After you tour of Zion, be sure to take RT. 9 through the tunnels, and the landscape totally changes after the tunnel. It’s like a different planet. The second day we visited the Zion Plateau where we found a resort and paid the all day pass to ride their ATV’s, use their pool, play paintball, climbing wall, etc.

From here you now need to plan out your trip based on how long you’ll be traveling for. You could head to Bryce Canyon Nation Park or you could go to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Lake Powell, even The Grand Canyon. I normally take Utah highway 89 if I am going to Lake Powell and on the return just to see even more scenery I return towards Las Vegas using Arizona ALT highway 89.

Heading south on Utah highway 89 from either Zion or Bryce you’ll see a turn off for Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. Here pinkish sand worn off the sandstone cliffs was deposited by the winds creating 3,000 acres of sand dunes. Continuing along highway 89 is the town of Kanab, Utah. One popular visit in the area is the Paria and Johnson Canyon Movie Set where over 300 movies and TV shows were filmed.

This area is called the Arizona Strip. We visited The Glen Canyon Dam which created Lake Powell. Lake Powell has 2000 miles of shoreline and canyons etc. We rented a speed boat for the day at the Marina. As you look for boat rentals, you need to decide if you want to rent at the marina where the boat is in the water or another rental where you may have to tow or arrange for the boat to be launched. You may choose to not have a hotel/condo and stay on a houseboat. The sun is strong and lots of sunscreen and sun block should be used. Many people visit Rainbow Bridge and it is the world’s largest natural bridge.

Antelope Canyon is a Page, Arizona photographer’s opportunity. This is the most spectacular slot canyon I have been to. You’ll find that all tours require a Navajo guide and there is an upper and lower canyon. The tours are separate. You can join a tour in Page, AZ or drive the few miles to the Navajo Nation. There is a cost for parking at the Navajo tour site, as well as for the tour itself. Our tour was in an open safari type vehicle for a few miles into the desert. As you get there you see just a dark crack in a huge cliff. It is an amazing slot canyon carved by water and wind over millions of years. The sandstone colors are awesome and many people are touched by this natural cathedral that the Navajo’s have treasured for years. When the sun is directly over head, beams of light can then shine into the canyon.

I like to return back towards Las Vegas using AZ alt 89 out of Page, AZ. Be sure you make the turn on alt 89 or you will continue south towards Flagstaff, AZ. Taking this route will bring you past the Vermilion Cliffs. As you continue on highway alt 89 you’ll get to Jacobs Lake, this is the turn off if you are interested in visiting the North Rim of The Grand Canyon. I timed my last trip so we could overnight at the Lodge. We showed up late afternoon, watched the sunset, stayed in a cabin right near the rim. We ate at the dining room with an awesome view. You’ll need reservations or you’ll be out of luck.

From here you’d just return back to highway 15 and your trip back to Las Vegas.

New Destination Wedding Trends Include Afterglow Parties And Fun Activities For Guests

Every year, thousands of couples head to JW Marriott, Renaissance, and Marriott Hotels & Resorts across the world to tie the knot with the help of experienced and certified onsite wedding planners.

Over the years the wedding planners have noticed a change in the trends of destination weddings as couples hold smaller ceremonies but add extra activities and parties to the special occasion.

Nedra Peterson, the Senior Catering Sales Executive at The Lodge at Sonoma, a Renaissance Resort & Spa in the U.S explained that the average destination wedding would have between 50 and 70 guests.

“We are finding that the typical destination wedding client is often a couple who has a connection to the destination and who want to incorporate that into the story of their wedding.” Ms Peterson said.

She added that couples often plan a special itinerary for their guests that includes activities such as bike riding, golf, spa treatments and excursions to local attractions.

One trend that has been identified across many hotels and resorts is the “afterglow party” that follows the wedding reception and is often held in a separate area, enabling guests to celebrate long into the night.

The Senior Catering Sales Executive at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, Natalie Hall, has noticed an increase in destination weddings booked on days other than a Saturday.

“Many brides are selecting a Friday, Sunday, and in some cases even a Thursday to reduce overall costs,” she explained. “Also heavy reception stations (action, carving, sushi) are becoming more popular versus your standard sit-down dinner.”

Approximately 90% of the weddings abroad held at the resort involve a non-denominational wedding and couples are choosing picturesque outdoor settings for a unique ceremony.

Many couples who are getting married abroad are opting to pay for all or most of the wedding reception and afterglow parties and they are looking for value for their money.

“One of the first things they will do away with is an open bar in favour of a cash bar. With 100 guests, that’s an estimated savings of $4, 000,” commented Alexis Castle, the Catering & Events Manager at the Hutchinson Island Marriott in Florida.

The Vow to Get Away at Marriott promotion is perfect for couples who are looking to save money on destination weddings. They can earn up to 150,000 Marriott Rewards ® points if they book their ceremony at participating hotels including JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Marriott Hotels & Resorts and Renaissance Hotels in the Caribbean, Mexico, Costa Rica, Florida, Hawaii, Arizona and California.

Wedding in the Caribbean are one of the most popular choices for couples planning destination weddings. The region offers plenty of picturesque settings to tie the knot, from beach weddings to tropical garden ceremonies, and the hot and sunny climate is an added bonus.

Antigua, St Lucia, Barbados and Jamaica are just a few of the favourite spots for romantic island weddings and brides and grooms can extend their stay to enjoy an intimate honeymoon once their guests have gone home.

Arizona Hotels For Sale

Arizona is known for diversity of geographic distributions and climates which makes it one the most favored of tourist attractions in the US. Arizona being strategically located within the Southwestern part of the US – the state is known as much for the tourism industry as for anything else! – This being not without reason considering that Arizona possesses diverse climatic conditions hallmarked by mild winters and hot summers!

Concurrently Arizona is known more for the desert landscape rather than the high country pine vegetations. The geographic diversity which encompasses mountains, plateaus and deserts alike undeniably makes Arizona amongst the most preferred of present day tourist destinations!

The Destination

The tourist destination in itself is unique for it can be credited with possessing the now famous Meteor Crater which is inarguably the largest and the best preserved of meteor impact crater sites which is a mile wide and close to six hundred feet deep!

Arizona is concurrently home to the Grand Canyon which needs no introduction and is one destination which no tourist can ignore or avoid! – considering that it is one of seven natural wonders of the world. It is scarcely surprising then that Arizona is a preferred destination for hotels for sale – regardless of as whether the procurement is for investment or otherwise!

Arizona Hotels For Sale

Arizona hotel industry is fast becoming the one stop and the hottest investment and not without reason – considering that travel and tourism is now one of the most powerful of all activities within Arizona. It is not without reason then that revenue generation from hotels and lodges is amongst the most lucrative of all returns on investment in the present day scenario!

The leisure and group travel activities within Arizona are on the rise and with no appreciable increase in room capacity – the room tariffs are scheduled to rise in the coming years – which would predictably make Arizona the no alternative option for the avid players seeking viable returns on investment!

The perceptible weakening of the American dollar has lead to an increase in the number of domestic travelers who would prefer to travel locally and vacation at Arizona in an endeavor to ensure that the purchasing power of the American dollar is higher.

The concept of selecting an Arizona hotel for sale would depend on multiple factors like location, category of hotel and most significantly the buying power of the potential customer.

The most significant of hidden and indirect expenses would variably be the cost of renovation considering that renovating cost is an inelastic cost which would need to be spent prior to the hotel becoming operational!

Conclusively the Arizona hotels for sale are numerous and the more discerning of potential buyers would invariably ensure that the most optimal of buys are ensured using multiple parameters within a scientific temper!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/514269

Hit the Road With Arizona Hotels & Sights the Whole Family Will Love

Arizona. It’s home to “The Valley of the Sun,” the Grand Canyon, world-class golf, spas and museums. And when it comes to road-tripping, there are plenty of Arizona hotels dotting the state’s cities and highways that make getting away from it all comfortable, convenient and affordable. So pile the kids into the car and hit the road – and discover all this oasis in the desert has to offer.

Route 66
Arizona is home to the longest original stretch of “The Mother Road” in America – and is filled with beautiful sights, kitschy shops, great diners and friendly faces.

Start your journey with an overnight stay in Williams. In the morning, drive up to Grand Canyon National Park, where you can hike one of America’s most iconic areas, study ancient petroglyphs and enjoy a picnic in the great outdoors. Afterward, head to Flagstaff for the night and unwind at an Arizona hotel surrounded by the scenic beauty of this mountainous university town.

The next day, visit the city’s Museum of Northern Arizona, where you can learn about the land and peoples of the Colorado Plateau. Afterward, grab a bite at the 50s-style Galaxy Diner and browse the shops along Route 66 and Flagstaff’s quaint downtown. In the evening, take a tour of Lowell Observatory and see the telescope used to spot Pluto.

After another overnight stay in Flagstaff, take to the road and visit the dusty towns of Holbrook and Joseph City – where you can stop at Rock Art Canyon Ranch, which is a working cattle ranch that offers tours of a spectacular rock art site in Chevelon Canyon. Afterward, it’s on to Winslow, Arizona, where you can stand on the corner the Eagles made famous.

The Valley of the Sun
For those who prefer sunny skies and an urban environment, book a few Arizona hotels in “the Valley” and soak up the sights and sounds of America’s fifth-largest city.

Beginning in the West Valley and traveling East, some of the must-see places on every tourist’s list include:

o Phoenix International Raceway. Snap up tickets to a NASCAR race and watch as your favorite drivers go head to head.
o Challenger Space Center. In Peoria, the whole family can enjoy some hands-on fun and activities designed around the NASA space program.
o Heard Museum. Located in Downtown Phoenix, this world-class museum are home to some of the finest Native American works of art, annual Native American festivals, seasonal markets and more.
o Taliesin West. At the foothills of Scottsdale’s McDowell Mountains, Taliesin West showcases Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural brilliance, as well as the breathtaking Sonoran desert that surrounds it.

For those in town for the Valley’s legendary shopping, golf and spas, you’ll find an array of Arizona hotels near some of the top locations, including Chandler Fashion Center & Scottsdale Fashion Square, as well as Troon North Golf Club, the Scottsdale TPC, and even accommodations just steps from the luxurious spa at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge.

Tucson-bound
Just 120 miles from Phoenix you’ll find Tucson – Southern Arizona’s largest city and the perfect place to serve as your home base for day trips around the region.

On your first day in town, simply check into your hotel and explore the city. Take a walk through the University of Arizona (and catch a Wildcats game if you can), meander streets of the historic El Encanto Estates and spend some time shopping at Old Town Artisans in downtown Tucson’s El Presidio Historic District, where you’ll find six adobe buildings filled with shops, galleries and cafes.

The next day, take a drive to the Tohono O’odham Nation’s Mission San Xavier del Bac and explore the intricate details that make this “White Dove of the Desert” one of the finest examples of Spanish Colonial architecture in the United States.

In the morning, head over to Sabino Canyon Recreation Area and take a tram ride through some of the most picturesque scenery in Southern Arizona, including enormous Saguaro cacti, rugged canyon walls and wildlife populations you won’t see anywhere else. With the tour over, head back toward your Tucson hotel and stop by the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, which showcases the Southwestern art of Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia. After lunch, make your way to the Pima Air & Space Museum, where more than 250 aircraft are on display, including a replica of the Wright flyer and the famous SR-71A Blackbird.

With so many Arizona hotels near one-of-a-kind destinations, all you really need to enjoy an unforgettable road trip is a thirst for adventure. So book your vacation time and plan to hit the open road!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2813665

First Group invests millions in refurbishing flagship properties

At a time when the luxury hospitality industry is enjoying a positive upturn, the First Group is boosting it’s growth with a total investment of R179 million including a massive refurbishment investment of R67 million over the past two years with a further R112 million in the pipeline for completion by 2018.
La Montagne refurbished lounge
La Montagne refurbished lounge
“We have put a great deal of effort into achieving our goals to not only enhance our portfolio, but at the same time to invest in the development of the luxury hospitality industry,” said Donald Lamont, First Group spokesman. “This is an ongoing comprehensive investment programme that will ensure that our properties and service offerings are unique and exciting and that we continue to deliver on our promise of ultimate guest experiences in the country’s most desired locations.”

Flagship properties earmarked for refurbishment

Eight of the Group’s flagship properties have been earmarked for refurbishment that ranges from extensive renovations to the updating of furnishings and fixtures to meet the latest modern design trends.

La Montagne in Ballito boasts an R8 million makeover with an additional R62 million budgeted for further investment over the next four years, giving this popular vacation destination on the KZN north coast a total R70 million upgrade by the year 2020. The recently re-launched Selborne Hotel on the KZN South Coast has also been restored to its former glory after a whopping R28 million luxury refurbishment.

Looking inland, Magalies Park at the Hartbeespoort Dam has received a R1.2 million renovation with another R28 million still to be rolled out over the next two years, which will make this total investment of R40 million, the second biggest in the Group’s portfolio after the La Montagne.

In the Cape, the Riviera Suites showcases a R9 million transformation and will see a total upgrade of R12.2 million by 2018.

The other four flagship properties are Midlands Saddle & Trout with a total investment of R16,7 million, The Palace in Durban with a total investment of R5 million, Bushmen’s Nek in the Underberg with a total investment of R4,6 million and Mount Sierra in Cape Town with a total investment of R6,2 million.

On the international portfolio, Brockwood Hall in Scotland received a £1 million refurbishment.

A bouquet of properties, an extensive range of services

The Group’s property bouquet of over 60 resorts internationally includes hotels, golf villas, resorts, apartments, chalets and all suite properties together presents an extensive range of services. These range from premium leisure and business accommodation, the finest wedding venues, state-of-the-art conferencing facilities, the finest dining experiences, and signature entertainment through to central reservations, property design and management, housekeeping services and holiday rentals among others.

Furthermore, the advantageous global footprint of the First Group brings an exciting interface between global and local leisure industry trends to our doorstep.

This significant investment and commitment to providing sought-after destinations have all the ingredients to being the major draw card that positions the First Group as a first choice destination.

Iconic Houw Hoek Hotel sold

After it has been on the market for two years, South Africa’s oldest hotel, the iconic Western Cape Houw Hoek Hotel has been sold to hoteliers Robert Haarburger and Drew Danford for R42 million. According to the new owners, the hotel became a ‘legitimate and attractive’ option after an independent valuation was completed by a specialist hospitality valuation company.

Houw Hoek Hotel
Houw Hoek Hotel

Hotel valuations are unlike commercial or private property valuations especially in the case of heritage sites such as the Houw Hoek Hotel. These valuations are a highly specialised form of appraisal and require not only the general principles of professional valuation but also an in-depth knowledge of hotel operations. Over and above valuing the property itself, calculations must include a myriad of elements such as assets, hotel occupancy, revenue and forecasts to be valued as a going concern.

Built in 1779 and famous for owning South Africa’s first liquor licence, the Houw Hoek Hotel required heritage valuation expertise as well, since the hotel has retained much of its original architecture, comprising 53 rooms with conferencing facilities for 120 people, an à la carte restaurant and the ‘Hitching Post’ pub. Other amenities include a squash court, two swimming pools, a tennis court, volleyball court, putt-putt course, three boreholes and a generator.

According to Gavin Commins of The Valuator Group, who offered the parties professional valuation services on terms of the successful sale, valuating hotels is not a cut-and-paste exercise. “We approached all parties explaining the importance of having an independent professional valuation which would give both the sellers and potential buyers peace of mind that the value was ‘fair value’ taking into consideration all the factors that need to be considered in a sale of this nature”.

Tony Collins, senior valuer for the group carried out the valuation. Once the valuation had been prepared, a fair market value was agreed with the sellers and a sale was concluded by Greeff Properties within six weeks.

Africa expansion drive by Latitude Hotels

The Latitude Hotels has announced the appointment of Roberto Pelliccia as the group commercial and operations director. Pelliccia, a seasoned hotel executive, whose career has spanned four continents over three decades, joins The Latitude Hotels to coincide with several other new development announcements for the group.
Roberto Pelliccia
Roberto Pelliccia
“We are delighted to have Roberto join us as we move from a small African start-up to something more scalable and mature. Roberto’s global experience, including a great deal in some of the world’s fastest developing markets, will be invaluable as we look to expand at pace across the continent,” said The Latitude Hotels’ CEO, Nick Brown.

Pelliccia has worked across Europe, The Americas, Asia, The Indian Ocean, The Caribbean and The Middle East in a multitude of strategic and operational management roles for large global hotel groups. These include IHG, Hilton, Kerzner International and Meritus Hotels & Resorts, as well as leading the development of new boutique hotel groups, such as Grace Hotels Group, across North, Central and South America, Europe and Asia.

“I’ve worked in a variety of countries across virtually all continents for the last three decades and having been part of the exciting growth of many hospitality markets around the world, I want to bring my skills and experience to bear on a continent that is now beginning to attract the world’s attention,” commented Pelliccia.

Pelliccia joins as The Latitude Hotels continues to expand its footprint across sub-Saharan Africa. The group recently launched its first private members’ club, The Other Side, adjacent to the Latitude 15° hotel in Lusaka; will re-launch Latitude 13° in Lilongwe, Malawi in late-November – including the addition of 20 long-stay apartments; and will add 20 more guest rooms to Latitude 15° in early 2017. “In order to be viable over the long-term we had to create something both unique and compelling to guests, and to roll it out with care, to ensure we offered something relevant to the markets in which we operate”, added Brown. “We are pioneering entirely new types of hotels and private members’ clubs and having witnessed a hugely positive response to both properties we’re now ready to expand our brand footprint more aggressively across Africa.”

The Latitude Hotels has recently broken ground on its next hotel, Latitude 0° in Kampala, Uganda, and is pursuing the acquisition of properties in Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Kigali, Maputo, Harare and Johannesburg.

ALE helps hospitality industry connect with the always-on consumer

Technological innovation has changed the hospitality industry significantly and continues to do so. Consumers are always switched on through their mobile devices and show a growing preference for using these devices to make bookings, arrange itineraries and interact with establishments. To ensure customers receive the highest level of service, hotels have had to change and improve their communications systems. To this end, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise recently showcased its latest technology for the hospitality industry. We spoke to Ravin Naidu, the regional director South Africa, ALE, to find out how they help establishments connect to their always-on customers.
Ravin Naidu
Ravin Naidu
BizcommunityHow has the always-on consumer pushed and influenced the hospitality industry to also adopt an ‘always on’ offering?

Ravin Naidu: The hospitality industry is one that requires even more connectivity to their customers. With a society that is always connected to their smartphones, establishments need to ensure they have the correct infrastructure to meet the needs of constantly connected guests. Today’s guests are always connected and deeply involved in social communities where they share their travel experiences.

BizcommunityAre there any requirements regarding communications technologies that are specific to the hospitality industry?

Naidu: The guest experience does not start and stop at the hotel door anymore. Hospitality environments need to adapt in order to not only offer a unique stay but also engage with each guest at every step of their journey – in both digital and real worlds. The hospitality industry requires robust communication technologies that enhance the guest experience. Hotel managers will require more advanced communications technologies such as unified communications on their mobile devices, advanced telephony applications such as call-by-name capabilities and video collaboration with property owners.

BizcommunityTell us about the communications devices and technologies that Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise have developed for the hospitality industry?

Naidu: ALE offers a variety of products designed specifically for the hospitality industry that reduces infrastructure costs, enriches the guest experience and improves hotel operations.

One of these products is the IP Desk Smartphone, a fully integrated telephony application that gives any device (computer, smartphone or tablet) the same features as a desk phone. This helps businesses to optimise their employees’ productivity and allows easy integration of remote and home workers.

The Alcatel-Lucent 8232 DECT Handset offers easy-to-use, cost-effective and reliable voice communication that addresses the mobility needs in evolving hospitality environments. This device also offers simple and efficient voice communication, enhanced usability and compatibility. The 8232 DECT Handset also provides all of the Alcatel-Lucent communication server’s value-added voice services,such as dial-by-name and multi-line management, that Alcatel-Lucent fixed desk phones support.

Our Mobile Guest Softphone offers guests a better way to interact with hotel services and facilities by taking advantage of the guests’ mobile connected devices. The Mobile Guest Softphone turns a guest’s own mobile device into an extension of their in-room phone. The guest downloads the free application from popular online app stores and then uses the app to scan a QR code. This procedure auto-configures the app on the guest’s device based on credentials input by the hotel reception desk with an easy-to-use web interface. The app allows guests to control their communications costs by allowing them to call hotel services or other guest rooms for free from their personal devices.

ALE helps hospitality industry connect with the always-on consumer
©Danil Roudenko via 123RF

BizcommunityAre these devices and technologies customisable and scalable to suit the size of hospitality establishments?

Naidu: The solutions are customisable depending on the needs of the hotel and its clients. The Smart Guest Applications comes with a base pack including Hotel Tour, Weather Forecast, Interactive Screen Saver and Languages. Additional features such as room automation can be added to the standard offering.

BizcommunityWhat are the benefits of ALE’s hospitality technology and what differentiates it from similar technology on the market?

Naidu: ALE’s hospitality offerings guarantee break through guest experiences by understanding that no matter where travellers are, they want to use the same technologies they have in their offices and homes, if not better. Even before booking a room, guests make sure that the establishment they are looking at is equipped to meet their technology needs.

We help hotels and properties worldwide make the shift to digital services. As a result, everything from room service to checkout can be available at the touch of a button or screen, using a new generation of devices, such as the Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise phones or the guests’ and smartphones. Unlike other providers of communication technologies, we provide guests with a fully connected experience that allow them to be in control of their travel and environment.

Hotels In Gilbert Town, Arizona Reviewed

Hotels in Gilbert Town, Arizona: Gilbert Town is one of the fastest growing communities in the US, this has led to a good, diverse, economy; but I hear you shout “What can you do there on holiday?” So here are some good ideas and great days out while you are here in Gilbert Town. If you and the family like to see birds then a must do has to be the Riparian Preserve; where you can see some 200 different bird types as well as walk the four mile trail. If you like to fish they have that here also; at the lake at Water Ranch. They offer you bird walks and the chance to learn more about the balance of nature and mankind. There is the Heritage District, which marks the original Gilbert Town and here you can find great restaurants, unique shops and shopping opportunities. More shopping can be found in the Gilbert Town Square but this is more your normal retail shopping. There is the local museum that is housed in the original school; this is called the Gilbert Historical Society Museum and tells you about the areas history. Freestone Park is going to be a great hit with the children as here they not only have playgrounds but Gilbert’s Skate Park as well as a train and sports courts. If you all like a good trail then here you have some great choices, as you can walk the canals or bike and multi-use trails, there is loads to see and do from horse trail to unmarked bike trails.

Hampton Inn and Suites Phoenix/ Gilbert 3265 South Market Street Gilbert Arizona, 85297 USA

This hotel offers the guest a complimentary beverage area as well as a good complimentary breakfast. There is an on-site gift shop for the guests to use as well as having a coin laundry. This hotel offers the guest local area transport and this can help you see and do more this holiday. Here there is a nice size outdoor pool as well as having space to sit, or lie, in the sun. There is also a spa near the pool. The guest can also use the fitness room in the hotel. The lobby has comfortable seating as well as the guest room seating. The rooms are clean and well decorated with great beds and lovely bedding. There is high speed internet access in all the rooms as well as a lap desk. The room has good in-room entertainment with HBO as well as the clock radio having MP3 compatible for your own music. There is movie channel availability in all rooms. There are restaurants nearby, so eating out is not a problem. At the hotel they do a good breakfast as well as great fresh cookies and coffee throughout the day.

Hyatt Place Phoenix/ Gilbert 3275 S. Market Street Gilbert AZ, 85297 USA

This hotel offers the guest a good free breakfast as well as having free Wi-Fi in the whole hotel. There is an outdoor pool for the guests to use as well as an e-room that has computers and printer. There is free parking on-site and this hotel is new so the decoration and furnishings are very good. The rooms have a good size and the beds are really comfortable, with great in room entertainment. You have all the normal items, like coffer makers as well as things like their oversized cozy corner sofa beds. The café offers the guests made to order meals and there is a Starbucks coffee house on-site as well. This hotel has a 24 hour guest kitchen. The whole hotel is very stylish and modern with luxury all around. This hotel has self service check in and check out kiosks.