November 7, 2019

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PLAINFIELD, IL, OCTOBER 17, 2019 -- Following a decade of record growth, hotel franchisors are putting new focus on ensuring their brands’ flags are in tip-top condition. Tired, neglected properties with lower quality index scores are being issued property improvement plans (PIPS) to upgrade. Failing to comply with even the smallest PIP detail may put the hotel owner in jeopardy of having their flag pulled.
PIPS are an expensive proposition. Not unsurprisingly, few hotel owners welcome them. But because PIPs are part and parcel of hotel ownership, the challenge is how to make an older hotel thoroughly brand compliant, while keeping PIP cost reasonable.
According to Cicero's Development Corp., a general contractor specializing in hotel renovations, before signing off on a PIP agreement, hotel franchisees should pay close attention to avoid potentially costly mistakes. Although situations differ from brand to brand, terms are typically negotiable. Brands are especially receptive to negotiating PIPs with hotel owners who have existing relationships with the brand or who own or manage other franchised properties. 
If owners are careful about expenditures, they can save money during a PIP, reports Sam Cicero, president of Cicero's Development Corp., who offers the following Tips for PIPS.

  1. Painstakingly review PIP requirements with the PIP brand representative to quantify its content and to assist with judgment calls. It is not uncommon for franchisors to oversimplify PIP elements with words like “all” or “throughout the property,” which leaves contractors having to price in the most expensive scenarios.
  1. Identify other negotiable items in the PIP agreement such as the types of flooring tiles or wall finishes. These can vary widely in price. Ask your general contractor to break out the price of alternative items because they may be the first things to propose as "value engineering" points to the franchisor. 
  1. As a rule, any long-term maintenance items should be removed from the PIP. Yes, the hot-water heaters and roof will have to be replaced at some point, but if it’s not immediately necessary, wait.  
  1. Sometimes franchisors allow PIP work to be broken into several stages that coincide with the hotel’s cash flow. While this sounds good in theory, it usually increases the overall PIP cost because the contractor has to repeatedly restage. Don’t take the bait. A better approach is to devise a plan keeping the work to a single floor at a time, while other floors are left open for guests. Besides keeping revenues flowing into your operation, it isolates the work and will minimize guest inconvenience.
  1. It is not uncommon for time-consuming disruptions to occur in the course of implementing a PIP. Before getting started you will want to discuss the implications of disruptions with the franchisor as it effects deadline requirements and possible penalties.
  1. If you feel your property is being unfairly targeted for an extensive PIP, research if there is another property under the same flag that recently underwent a PIP but was not subjected to the same requirements. This knowledge may give you leverage during negotiations. 

Finally, once you have settled on the entire scope and details with your franchisor, be sure to select a team of contracting professionals who specialize in hospitality work. Choosing the wrong contractor can negate all the benefits made in steps one through six.
Like most elements of a business transaction, PIPs are negotiable in both their scope and timeframe. It is recommended that hotel owners negotiate as much as they can up-front before signing off on their PIP agreement, or before sharing the PIP with potential investors. Keep in mind that it is the end-goal of the franchisor to not only make the best deal, but to maintain the highest brand standards and the best appearance for your hotel. The key is to find a balanced cost solution that meets brand requirements and the hotel owner's budget.

For more information visit


Toronto – October 10, 2019 – As we enter not just a new year but a new decade, our travel needs, behaviours and wants continue to evolve. The world today, like the explorers themselves, does not sit still. With a mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world, predicts 2020 will be a year of travel exploration like never before, fueled by technology as well as a growing sense of responsibility and deeper connection with the people and places we visit. Drawing on its expertise as a leader in travel and technology coupled with research among more than 22,000 travellers across 29 markets and insights from over 180 million verified guest reviews, here are the travel trends we can expect to see come to life in the year ahead – and beyond.

  1. The rise of the ‘second city’ traveller

Second-city travel, meaning the exploration of lesser known destinations in a bid to reduce over-tourism and protect the environment, will take a leap forward in the year ahead. Over half (51%) of Canadian travellers want to play a part in reducing over-tourism, while 45% would swap their original destination for a lesser-known but similar alternative if they knew it would leave less of an environmental impact. To pique their interest, 56% of Canadian travellers would be keen to have access to a service (app/website) that recommends destinations where an increase in tourism would have a positive impact on the local community. Expect to see companies respond to this demand by introducing functions that make it easier for travellers to identify second-city/neighbourhood destinations through understanding traveller’s trip preferences and matching these with alternative or lesser known destinations in their chosen country or region. Likewise, increasing collaboration across the travel eco-system will see more awareness campaigns and infrastructure improvement drives to entice visitors to take the road less traveled.

  1. Tech-spect the unexpected

2020 will see travellers put key aspects of their decision-making process even more firmly in the hands of technology. It can be overwhelming to decide which corners of our incredible planet to visit or what excursions to choose, but the coming year will see inventive tech inspiring and enabling us to overcome this hurdle with ease. Smart, trusted tech-led recommendations will connect us to a myriad of new experiences that might not otherwise have crossed our path, while also saving time (as well as screen-time) and enabling us to max out every minute of ‘now’ while on vacation.

This will be music to the ears of over half (54%) people who say they want tech to offer them ‘wildcard’ and surprise options that would introduce them to something entirely new in the coming year. Additionally over a third (37%) of Canadian travellers state they will use an app that makes it fast and easy to explore and book activities in real time while travelling, and a similar number (39%) plan to use an app that allows them to pre-plan activities, so they always have the answers in one place. Meeting that demand, 2020 will see even more applications of Artificial Intelligence, offering tailored suggestions of destinations to visit, places to stay and things to do based on your current preferences, previous trips and key contextual factors, such as weather and popularity.

  1. Slo-Mo is the new #FOMO

Instead of experiencing the constant fear of missing out (FOMO) and trying to speed through as much as possible, travel in 2020 will be all about taking it slow. In 2020, almost half (47%) of travellers plan to take slower modes of transport to reduce their environmental impact and almost two-thirds (65%) would prefer to take a longer route to experience more of the journey itself. Types of transport that play into our desire to take the pace down a notch will also come into their own – from peddle bikes to trams, sleds and boats, as well as our own two feet. In fact, over half (56%) of travellers already don't mind spending more time travelling to reach their destination if they’re taking a unique mode of transport. Likewise, 69% would be interested in feeling as if they are going back in time by taking a historical train journey (e.g. Flying Scotsman, Orient Express). Look forward to a year of slow and special travel.

  1. Discovering the all-amusive escape


A fast-paced world means that most of us are often time poor – a notion that doesn’t start or stop with vacations. Travellers will want to be as time-efficient as possible on vacation, so instead of settling into one theme for the entire vacation, 2020 will see a rise in travellers exploring the ‘all-amusive’, by visiting destinations that offer an array of enriching experiences and attractions. Over half (57%) of Canadian travellers say they want to go on one long trip to a place that has all of their favourite activities and sights close together, and 68% agree that they would choose a destination that offers all of their favourite activities and sights near each other to save travel time.  Recognizing this, expect to see the industry continue to make it even easier for travellers by curating itineraries full of variety, deals and routes to allow them to get the most out of these all-amusive destinations.

When imagining a destination that has it all – from outstanding natural scenery that can be admired from the balcony of your villa, to historical sights, stunning parks and beaches to cool off and relax on after a day of exploring, followed by dinner at a fantastic local restaurant – travellers identified Montevideo (Uruguay), Ilhabela (Brazil) and Naha (Japan) as top destinations, amongst others, that offer these all-amusive experiences.

  1. Pets in the priority lane

With over half (59%) of Canadian pet owners saying their pet is as important to them as their child/ren, it’s no surprise that 2020 looks set to herald a new era in pet-centric vacations. We’ll see travellers putting the needs of their beloved pets well before their own when it comes to selecting where to go, where to stay and what to do.

34% of Canadian pet owners agree that in the coming year they would choose holiday destinations based on whether they can take their pets, and 40% would be willing to pay more to stay at an accommodation that's pet-friendly. Reflecting this trend, the number of pet-friendly properties continues to rise on, while savvy to this appetite, accommodations around the world will continue to look for innovative ways to up the ante when it comes to pet-tailored offerings and amenities, such as complementary dog day beds, pet spas, dedicated room service menus and even specially designed pet restaurants. Animals on vacation can definitely expect a five-star experience.

  1. Making great memories with ‘grand’ getaways

2020 will be the year of the ‘grand’ as more grandparents will take epic vacations with just their grandkids, leaving the middle generation behind. Almost three-quarters (72%) of grandparents agree that spending time with their grandkids keeps them feeling young and 81% believe that parents need alone time without their children. Pair that with the fact that today’s older generation is healthier, more adventurous and more keen to stay young and active than ever before, we’ll see ‘grand’ vacations that offer an array of active experiences for both generations to take part in becoming even more popular in the year ahead.

7. Race to the reservation

The coming year will see travellers put culinary ambitions at the forefront of their travel decision-making, with the race to snag that all important restaurant reservation truly on. For many, where and when they travel will start with – and depend on – whether they can reserve a table to enjoy highly coveted cuisine, in many cases at places whose waiting lists stretch months long. And with appetites whetted by an abundance of social media content and recommendations, it won’t just be the big-name restaurants at which travellers are desperate to nab a seat. Hidden gems – those places which have long been favourites amongst the locals and offer sought-after homegrown flavours, sometimes well off the beaten track – are the ones most likely to tickle the tastebuds of travellers looking for local gastronomic experiences, especially over two-thirds (69%) of Canadian travellers who say that eating locally sourced produce is important to them when on vacation. So get your calendars ready because next year’s travellers will pivot their holiday plans around these destination dining opportunities, looking to indulge before everyone else gets there first, or before the next must-book table appears on the scene.

8. Fast track to long-term travel

As retirement looks set to become less about reaching a certain age and leaving the workforce, and with increasing numbers actively planning to retire earlier, we’ll see this moment become surprisingly synonymous with ‘adventure travel planning’. Over one in ten (11%) of 18 to 25-year olds are planning to retire before they turn 55, and what they plan to do is also changing. 2020 will see travellers shift their mindset and start to plan big for their future golden years, with nearly two-thirds (65%) of Canadian travellers seeing travel as the perfect way to spend that free time.

Nearly half (47%) of Canadian travellers plan to be more adventurous in their travel choices once they’ve retired, and over a fifth (22%) of those who are already retired are planning a gap year – making time to travel for several months without interruption, something that over half (55%) of all travellers agree that you can do at any age. With retirement and travelling going hand-in-hand for so many different age groups, expect to see products that help travellers kick-start the planning process through ‘retirement travel’ saving pots, allowing travellers to put money aside that will go towards the longest vacation of their lives.

Arjan Dijk, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at comments: “As we enter a new decade, we’ll see the travel industry respond to a more sustainable, inquisitive and technologically-advanced traveller through the development of products, services and functions that make it easier for everyone to experience the world. From identifying second cities to help combat over-tourism, to providing ever-more tailored travel recommendations and ensuring the most diverse selection of places to stay for customers across the globe, we want to ensure travellers are prepared, supported and excited by the prospect of travel into 2020 and far beyond.”

To delve deeper into’s travel trends for 2020, visit


MCLEAN, Va.--()--To mark Global Handwashing Day, Hilton (NYSE:HLT) announced the expansion of its soap recycling program, totaling 5,300 properties in more than 70 countries and territories around the globe. Hilton’s decade-long soap recycling program, which is already the largest in the hospitality industry, helps fight the hygiene epidemic plaguing underserved communities where tens of thousands of children die needlessly due to lack of access to basic sanitation. The initiative also contributes to reducing Hilton’s overall environmental impact, which the company has set a goal to cut in half by 2030.

Hilton also announced the successful completion of its 2019 Clean the World Challenge to collect enough soap by Global Handwashing Day to be sterilized and recycled into 2 million new bars of soap for communities in need. During the last 10 years, Hilton properties have diverted 4 million pounds of waste from landfills. Working with NGO partners such as Clean the World, the industry-leader is now setting the bar even higher.

“In a world where too many children die of hygiene-related illnesses, Hilton and its soap recycling partners are turning guest room waste into life-saving treasure,” said Katie Fallon, Hilton’s Global Head of Corporate Affairs. “We are now expanding our industry-leading, global soap recycling program to all of our brands as part of our commitment to send zero soap to landfill.”

Hilton has a network of soap recycling partners around the world that support these efforts, the largest of which is Clean the World. Through these partnerships, Hilton hotels have contributed to the donation of more than 11 million new bars of recycled soap to communities in need. In 2016, Embassy Suites by HiltonHomewood Suites by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton’s 750 hotels were the first in the industry to make soap recycling a brand requirement. In January of 2019, Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton by Hilton joined the initiative.

Hilton is expanding its commitment by making this a brand standard effective January 1, 2020 for Waldorf Astoria Hotels & ResortsLXR Hotels & ResortsConrad Hotels & ResortsCanopy by HiltonSignia HiltonHilton Hotels & ResortsCurio Collection by HiltonDoubleTree by HiltonTapestry Collection by HiltonMotto by Hilton and Hilton Grand VacationsTru by Hilton uses bulk amenities.

“A spirit of service has always been at the heart of Hilton Grand Vacations through our CSR platform – HGV Serves,” said Hilton Grand Vacations Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer, Stan Soroka. “We are thrilled to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our fellow Hilton brands to amplify what has already been done and catapult this program further.”

Driving Global Adoption of Soap Recycling:
The new brand standards, which will be applicable across the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, the Dominican Republic, United Kingdom and Continental Europe, will significantly expand Hilton’s impact, as well as its partnership with Clean the World. Hilton’s soap recycling efforts in Europe will be supported by a new Clean the World facility which opened in Amsterdam last year. In addition, Hilton will continue its existing strong soap recycling partnerships in its Asia Pacific region, working with partners including Diversey’s Soap for Hope™, Soap Aid, Soap Cycling, and Sundara India.

The World’s Most Valuable Collection at the Soap Museum:
To bring awareness to the vital role soap plays in reducing the risk of hygiene-related illnesses, Hilton is opening the doors to an art exhibit in New York City. Open to the public on Global Handwashing Day (October 15), “The World’s Most Valuable Collection at the Soap Museum” showcases 10, 18-inch sculptures carved from soap by world champion carving artist Daniele Barresi. The sculptures all depict items that are typically regarded as having significant value to illustrate and make the connection to the true value of soap as a life-saving resource that is often taken for granted.

During the interactive experience, which will be open through October 16, attendees will also learn about the importance of handwashing and soap recycling, and how everyone can help fight the epidemic of preventable hygiene-related illnesses. The experience will continue internationally when it makes its way to London as well as the Asia Pacific region. All the materials used for the museum will be recycled upon closing.

Starting October 15, the education will continue on the Hilton Online Newsroom and social media channels where visitors and followers can track the “Journey of a Bar of Soap,” and watch episodes of the Clean the World Soap Opera video series, which highlights the impact soap recycling has had domestically, internationally, on Hilton team members, and much more.

Hilton’s Sustainability Journey
Hilton’s soap recycling efforts are a part of the company’s wider commitment to redefine sustainable travel through its Travel with Purpose corporate responsibility strategy. By 2030, the hospitality company commits to cutting its environmental footprint in half and doubling its social impact investment to drive positive change in communities. Hilton was the first major hotel brand to set science-based targets to reduce carbon emissions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement, and the first hotel company to commit to send zero soap to landfill.

Most recently, Hilton was named the global industry leader in sustainability on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI), the most prestigious index for corporate responsibility and sustainability performance. Hilton is also currently the only hospitality company on Fortune’s Change the World List, a recognition it has received for a second year in a row.

In early 2019, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton launched the Clean the World Challenge. The challenge asked hotel owners and team members to collect bars of soap left behind by guests to be recycled into 2 million bars of new soap by Global Handwashing Day to, ultimately, be distributed to communities in need. To-date, the brands have surpassed that goal, generating more than 2,358,200 new bars of soap.

In its collaboration with Clean the World and other soap recycling partners, Hilton’s discarded soap is crushed, sanitized and cut into new soap bars. The new soap bar is used in hygiene kits, which Clean the World provides to those in need. These kits ultimately aid in preventing diseases and reducing mortality rates around the world.

To learn more about Hilton’s Travel with Purpose corporate responsibility strategy and 2030 goals, please visit Accompanying b-roll package and photos can be found here.


WASHINGTON (October 4, 2019) The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) released new research that reveals online booking scams and dishonest marketing practices by fraudulent and misleading travel websites continue to deceive and confuse consumers. In fact, 23 percent of consumers report being misled by third-party traveler resellers on the phone or online, which amounted to $5.7 billion in fraudulent and misleading hotel booking transactions in 2018 alone.

“The numbers we saw in this research are completely unacceptable. Consumers are being robbed of billions of dollars every year by bad actors,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “In addition to third-party websites that mimic hotel websites and call centers, but are not actually affiliated with a hotel, costing consumers time and money, this new research shows just how big of a problem deceptive advertising is on some online travel agency websites.”

According to the research:

  • When booking a hotel reservation through a third party, 1 out of 4 consumers experienced a problem with their reservation
  • Over 40% of consumers were upset to learn that when they comparison shop among these “digital middle men” – Trivago, Kayak, Expedia, Orbitz,, Travelocity,, and others – they’re usually just comparing the same two companies: Expedia and Priceline, which together control 95 percent of the online travel market.
  • Consumers almost universally (94%) believe they should know who they are doing business with online when booking a hotel room.
  • An overwhelming majority (77%) of consumers agree the government should make it a higher priority to enforce consumer protection laws against third party hotel resellers.

AHLA encourages consumers to Search Smarter, a campaign aimed at helping travelers avoid lost reservations, additional fees, and potentially ruined vacations. The transparency campaign encourages consumers to book smart by booking directly with hotels or trusted travel agents.

“Given the continued fraudulent issues we’re seeing, AHLA reminds consumers to Search Smarter, a campaign to educate consumers about these problems and encourage consumers to slow down when booking a hotel and not be pressured by misleading advertising or deceived by fraudulent websites. Our focus in the hospitality industry is to make sure guests have a smooth, stress-free experience, from booking the room to checking out after their stay. We recommend consumers look before they book, take advantage of loyalty programs and book directly with the hotel or a trusted travel agent” continued Rogers.

With so many ways to book a reservation, it’s more important than ever to make sure consumers understand how to search smarter and make the best decisions throughout the hotel booking process. AHLA will continue to provide travel booking tips as well as advocate for Congressional passage of the Stop Online Booking Scams Act. Together, both efforts will heighten consumer protection and ensure guest satisfaction.

To learn more about the campaign and how you can Book Smart, Book Direct, visit


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