Delta's MLT to drop United Vacations
MLT Vacations will only market and manage the United Vacations brand for another year, MLT and parent company Delta Air Lines said Jan. 17. MLT did not say who would be taking over operations of United Vacations, which MLT starting managing on Jan. 1, 2011. Prior to that, United Vacations had been operated by Milwaukee-based Mark Travel Corp. for 20 years.
Air China to serve Houston hub
Air China picked United's Houston hub as its first new U.S. gateway in three decades, slating July 11 as the launch date for roundtrip Houston-Beijing service on 777-300 ER aircraft, operating four times weekly, subject to government approval. Houston will be the first Gulf Coast hub for Air China, a Star Alliance member that serves New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver.
Virgin America adds Vegas route
Virgin America plans to add Los Angeles-Las Vegas service on April 22 with three daily roundtrips, which went on sale last week. The service supplements the carrier's existing Vegas routes from New York and San Francisco and will be timed to enhance connections at Los Angeles with its partner lines.
Royal Caribbean renews Sabre deal
Royal Caribbean signed a multi-year full-content agreement with Sabre, making all Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity and Azamara fares and schedules available in the system and expanding the agreement to include travel agents in Mexico.
Marriott buys land for Edition hotel
Marriott acquired a West Hollywood, Calif., property for $31.5 million and plans to work with boutique hotelier Ian Schrager to develop a 190-room Edition hotel on the site. Marriott and Schrager launched the brand in 2007 but have only one property, a 74-room hotel in Istanbul. Edition hotels are slated to open in London and Miami Beach later this year and in New York by 2015.
Convention hotel dons Omni brand
Omni Hotels rebranded the former Westin in Providence, R.I., as the Omni Providence, after acquiring the property late last year. The 564-room hotel is connected to the Rhode Island Convention Center and will join Omni's Convention Collection of hotels, which includes properties in Atlanta, Dallas, San Diego, Washington and, later this year, Nashville.
Hyatt Regency opens China resort
Hyatt opened the 439-room Hyatt Regency Qingdao in China's Shandong province, a beachfront property billed as the first upscale urban resort in northern China. The hotel offers nearly 20,000 square feet of function space for weddings and other events.
Wyndham, Choice reflag 102 hotels
The 102 former Jameson Inn properties acquired by Colony Capital and managed by Aimbridge Hospitality have been reflagged, with 56 donning Wyndham's Baymont, Days Inn or Howard Johnson brands. The remaining 46 converted to Choice Hotel's Quality, Comfort and Econo Lodge brands.
Friends & Colleagues
Ensemble has named Georganne Shirk its vice president of marketing. Shirk comes to the travel industry after more than a decade of experience managing brands including Skippy peanut butter, Slim-Fast, L'Oreal skin care and hair care products, Aqua Velva and Dixie Cups. In her new position, Shirk will work on creating a North America marketing strategy that includes print, email and Web. • • • Cristian Sariego is the new senior vice president and general manager of the Cove Atlantis and the Reef Atlantis resorts in the Bahamas. Sariego has more than 20 years of experience in luxury hospitality. Most recently, he was the general manager at the Ritz-Carlton in Santiago, Chile, and prior to that was general manager of the Ritz-Carlton in the Cayman Islands. • • • Travelport named Tina Iglio vice president of U.S. sales. She had previously been vice president of global marketing for Travelport. Since joining Travelport in 2009, Iglio has been leading Travelport's global marketing functions and has been responsible for its brand, customer research and customer marketing programs. • • • Viceroy Anguilla named Judy Whidden as director of travel industry sales. Prior to joining Viceroy, Whidden spent 10 years with Ritz-Carlton overseeing leisure sales for the Caribbean and Mexico properties. • • • The Somerset on Grace Bay Beach in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos appointed Bob Fett as director of sales and marketing. Fett formerly was president of Momentum Event Network, which serves the trade show and meetings industry. Prior to that, he was vice president of sales and marketing for Oak Brook Hotels.