Hyatt to acquire Peabody in Orlando


Hyatt Hotels agreed to buy the 1,641-room Peabody Orlando hotel from Belz Enterprises and Estein Associates USA for $717 million and will rebrand the hotel as the Hyatt Regency Orlando Convention Center. The hotel, which opened in 1985, recently underwent a $440 million renovation and expansion and features about 200,000 square feet of meetings space.

Expedia adds Hilton to payment program
Expedia, which last year debuted a program in which guests can book hotel rooms through the online travel agency but pay at the hotel desk, has added Hilton Worldwide to the program. The Expedia Traveler Preference program will include almost 4,000 Hilton hotels worldwide, Expedia said in a statement. Marriott International and Accor already have a combined 4,500 hotels within the program.

New Radius service enhances inventory
Radius on Oct. 1 will provide travel agency members access to "off-GDS" hotel, airline and car rental inventory. The RadiusGo service will encompass 35,000 such options that members can offer to corporate customers, augmenting content available through GDS channels. According to Radius, the new service will source inventory from Tourico Holidays, a travel distributor "that contracts directly with travel providers" and uses "a high-volume, wholesale model."

Royal to homeport 2nd ship in Tampa
Royal Caribbean International next year will sail two ships from the Port of Tampa for the first time in 12 years. Starting in November 2014, Vision of the Seas will do seven-day cruises, joining the Brilliance of the Seas, which already does four- and five-day itineraries. The Vision's Western Caribbean itinerary will include stops in Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Cozumel, Roatan or Belize.

Starwood to debut Iraq hotel in 2014
Starwood Hotels & Resorts will open its first Iraq hotel in two decades next year with the debut of the Sheraton Dohuk Hotel. The property, to be developed by Mase Co. LLC, will have 202 rooms as well as two restaurants and four lounges. The hotel will be the first of four Starwood hotels that will open in Iraq within the next two years. Dohuk is in northern Iraq, about 40 miles south of the Turkey border.

Fire takes a toll at Belize resort
A fire did extensive damage to Ramon's Village Resort in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, Belize, on Aug. 27. There were no fatalities, but 33 of the resort's 61 thatched-roof cabana units were destroyed as were the Pineapples Restaurant, the Purple Parrot bar, the gift shop and related facilities. All 22 guests at the resort at the time of the fire were evacuated. Ramon Nunez, general manager, said that Ramon's Village diver operation was open and would continue to offer dive trips with its fleet of six dive boats.

Friends & Colleagues
Former Costa Cruises President Gianni Onorato was named CEO of rival MSC Cruises, effective Sept. 2. The announcement had been widely expected since Onorato stepped down at Costa in June. MSC said its current CEO, Pierfrancesco Vago, will become executive chairman of MSC, with responsibility for all companies of the MSC Group that have strategic relevance to tourism. • • • Washington veteran Vanessa Sinders has been named senior vice president of governmental affairs for the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA). In her new role, Sinders will oversee the association's advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill. Sinders comes to AH&LA from her previous position as chief of staff for the Campaign to Fix the Debt, a nominally bipartisan organization advocating for a solution to the nation's long-term debt problems. She has also served as chief of staff for former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown and as an analyst for the Senate Budget Committee. • • • Accor tapped former Colony Capital executive Sebastien Bazin as CEO and chairman. Bazin joined Colony Capital in 1997 and headed European operations for the Santa Monica, Calif.-based company. He replaces Yann Caillere. • • • The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort in the Riviera Nayarit on Mexico's Pacific coast appointed Carolyn Hemmerich as director of sales. Hemmerich formerly was associate director of sales at Las Ventanas al Paraiso, a Rosewood Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico.

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