News Briefs, Week of Sept. 8, 2014

Delano opens within Mandalay Bay


MGM Resorts International opened the 1,110-room Delano Las Vegas at the site of what was previously TheHotel inside its Mandalay Bay resort complex on the Las Vegas Strip. The all-suites hotel, which doesn't have any gaming, operates under a licensing agreement with Morgans Hotel Group, which operates the Delano South Beach in Florida. The hotel will include a restaurant helmed by celebrity chef Alain Ducasse next year.

MSC rolls out prices with included bundles
MSC Cruises introduced a pricing structure called Inclusive Experiences that bundles certain onboard amenities, such as dining options and drink and spa packages, into the price, depending on the cabin category. All four categories (Bella, Fantastica, Aurea and MSC Yacht Club) are commissionable. Earlier this year, the line began offering 5% on amenities booked in advance, such as transfers and shore excursions, a policy that is unchanged. The bundled packages will be available for booking Sept. 23 for cruises beginning Oct. 18.

Major airport project set for Mexico City
Mexico plans to invest $9.2 billion in a new international airport for Mexico City that would quadruple the capacity of the capital's Benito Juarez Airport. The new facility, with six runways, would be built on some 18 square miles of federal land adjacent to the existing airport. President Enrique Pena Nieto described the project in his recent state-of-the-nation address, calling it "Mexico's gateway to the world." British architect Norman Foster, who designed Terminal 3 at Beijing Capital Airport, and Mexican architect Fernando Romero were named as the project's designers.

United to stretch out with new Dreamliner
United took delivery of its first stretched Dreamliner, the 787-9, whose 8,550-mile range will enable the airline to launch Los Angeles-Melbourne nonstops next month, said to be the longest Dreamliner route in the world. United's aircraft, the first of 26 on order, will come equipped with built-in WiFi and will be configured for 252 seats--48 in BusinessFirst, 88 in Economy Plus and 116 in Economy.

Uniworld to introduce Ganges River cruises
Uniworld is planning to launch a 56-passenger vessel on India's Ganges River in January 2016. River cruise specialist Haimark Ltd. is building the all-suite vessel, which will be called the Ganges Voyager II. Staterooms will have French balconies, sitting areas and flat-screen TVs. Uniworld will deploy the ship on seven-night Ganges River cruises as part of a 12-night itinerary from Delhi to Kolkata. Uniworld's India program will open for bookings on Oct. 15.

Starwood lures trade with loyalty points
Starwood will debut a loyalty program specifically for travel professionals and meetings planners next month and will pitch the B2B program with a $30 million marketing campaign. The hotelier said participating travel professionals will earn Starpoints in the Starwood Preferred Guest program for eligible bookings, beginning in October. Agents can enroll or link their existing Preferred Guest accounts at www.spg.com/pro. At its Starwood Global Rendezvous customer event in Boston, Starwood also said it will give members of its SPG customer-loyalty program points for booking meetings and group stays.

Park Hyatt in works for Brazil's Iguazu Falls
Hyatt plans to open a hotel near Iguazu Falls in Brazil in 2017. The Park Hyatt Foz do Iguacu is to be part of a mixed-use development on a 98-acre site on the Iguazu River, six miles from Iguazu National Park, a world heritage site bordering Paraguay and Argentina. The 170-room hotel will include some 16,000 square feet of meetings space plus 30 Park Hyatt-branded two- and three-bedroom homes, residential building sites and a 25-acre protected nature reserve.

Friends & Colleagues
Nico Zenner has been named CEO of Rockville Centre, N.Y.-based DH Enterprise & Associates, the privately owned parent company of Sceptre Tours, Aer Lingus Vacation Store, GreatValueVacations and Global Consolidated Services. Zenner succeeds Bert Accomando, who has become chairman of DH Enterprise's board of directors. Chris Accomando remains president of Sceptre Tours. Zenner most recently served as president of Brendan Vacations. He has also held senior management roles at Travel Bound and GTA North America Wholesale, Rail Europe Group, the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Sabena Airlines. • • • Delta Air Lines has promoted Michelle Lee to sales director of the Southwest region. She will lead corporate and agency portfolios, including the entertainment industry in Southern California and the technology industry in Silicon Valley. Lee has 25 years of experience with Delta, Carlson Wagonlit and National Car Rental. • • • Spafinder Wellness, a spa and wellness media and marketing company, has chosen longtime board member Missy Godfrey to be its new CEO. Godfrey, who has over two decades of experience as a senior executive in commerce, media, technology and finance, replaces Pete Ellis, who served as the company's chief executive since 2002 and will continue as chairman of the board of directors. Most recently, Godfrey was CEO of SocialFlow, a software company for social media marketing. • • • InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) named Jolyon Bulley COO, Americas, based at IHG's regional headquarters in Atlanta. Bulley previously served as IHG's COO for the Greater China region. • • • Celebrity Cruises has named Scott Clifton assistant vice president of strategic markets, U.S., in charge of the premium brand's nine focus cities. In addition, Michelle Homoky becomes director of field sales for the Eastern U.S., and Tammy Egger was named director of field sales for the Western U.S.

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