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Monday, March 27, 2017

What's the Deal With These New Hotel Brands and Their Quirky Names?

 Hotel brands are popping up out of the woodwork. In aiming to appeal to the Millennial generation, companies from Best Western to Radisson are developing novel brands with crazy names. Here's a link to the original CNN story.

(CNN)   Milan has Moxy, while much of Europe is painted BluJaz in the City is playing in Amsterdam come September. EVEN increases the odds of a good night's sleep, while Tune is in harmony with scaled-down budgets. And then there's the vibrant Vib and a new venue, Venu, soon arriving in Dubai. These statements begin to make sense once you realize that they're all the names of modern hotel brands.

Part of the lobby of the first Hotel RL,
which opened in Baltimore this summer.
According to Chekitan S. Dev, a professor at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, hotels traditionally have been named after an owner or a place.But more recently, he says, "the naming process has evolved from an off-the-cuff process into something far more systematic."

Millennials driving the trend

So what's behind this influx of idiosyncratic hotel names, replete with misspellings and unexpected word usages? Look to millennials and psychographics -- the study of personality, attitudes, interests and lifestyles. Psychologists say the millennial psychographic is made up of independent-minded, adventurous individuals in search of new experiences. Hospitality brands are crafting their marketing strategies accordingly.


"Hotel companies are lasering in on consumer needs by using psychographic data in a big way," says Matthew Von Ertfelda, Marriott's vice president for insight, strategy and innovation. 
Prototype of a Moxy Lobby
The explosion of social media also has a starring role in the name game.
Brands of the 21st century need to have handles that resonate in the global, online world, say the pros. "Thanks to social media, millennials are the first global generation," says Dr. Donna Quadri-Felitti, director of the School of Hospitality Management at Penn State University.  "And since this generation is so enamored with texting and tweeting, hotels really have to think how names will play in the new media world."

In need of spell check?

Vib -- short for Vibrant -- is Best Western's attempt at a hip new offering.
For social media purposes, the number of characters in a name counts. Spelling is often sacrificed in the quest for brevity.

But another reason for purposeful misspellings may be legal. Spelling is often set into an uncommon form to retain meaning while being trademarkable.

"The odder the name, the less likely someone has already captured it," says Cornell professor Dev. "That's important in terms of intellectual property protection."

It may explain why Venu and Vib are missing an "e." Venu is a just-announced lifestyle brand, launching its first property in Dubai in 2017. According to parent company Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, it's designed to give travelers "the freedom to write their own story, their own narrative, to build their own scene."

Best Western's new hotel entry, called Vib, is pronounced "vibe." "We tried to come up with names that celebrated individuality, while also connoting a vibrant spirit," says Dick Lew, a partner at Houston-based Acumen Design, a branding firm brought in to hone the name and the image. Hence Vib, which is derived from "vibrant." Color also plays a big part in hotel branding. "We incorporated a bright persimmon red in the design and the logo, in order to reflect the (Vib) brand's bold personality," says Lew.


A rendering of a vibrant Vib exterior
Moxy, the new Marriott partnership with IKEA, is going after "a sassy, determined, individualistic consumer," according to Marriott's Von Ertfelda. The first Moxy opened at Milan's Malpensa Airport in September and more are coming in Europe this year.
"Naming Moxy was a four-month process involving a great deal of brainstorming," says Von Ertfelda. "Once we came up with it, we knew we had a name with emotional resonance that hit a global sweet spot. "At the same time, though, our lawyers noted the name had to be 'ownable and trademarkable.'" The change of spelling from moxie to Moxy achieved that.

According to Von Ertfelda, senior creative director Maria Rezende-Heiston selected hot pink for the Moxy logo to "appeal to those who aren't afraid to express themselves" while using a "curved font to convey a sense of rhythm, fluidity and independence."

Blu and Red

Radisson Blu was introduced in 2009. Instead of using blue or bleu, the company opted for a trademarkable spelling.
Color is also key to hotel operator Carlson Rezidor, which is hueing (sic) toward Red and BluBlu came about in 2009, after airline SAS withdrew from a partnership with Radisson. After the split, Radisson SAS, a collection of European design hotels, needed a new name.

"We wanted to replace SAS with an equally short name," says Rose Anderson, vice president of branding for the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. "We liked using blue from the old SAS logo, because it brought in the heritage of the former brand. "At the same time, we were looking for a word with positive worldwide connotations ... and blue is the world's favorite color."

So blue or bleu became Blu, a trademarkable spelling. Carlson Rezidor recently announced a new Red brand that will, according to Anderson, "build on the Blu concept and further leverage Radisson's brand awareness."

Pick a noun, any noun

There's a good reason those four vertical bars are off-kilter.
New brands are also being dubbed with what may seem to be random nouns. But there's nothing random about them.

Last year, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) rolled out EVEN, a new brand cultivated for the growing wellness-minded audience, with two properties in the United States.EVEN expresses the desire for the balance travelers are seeking, says an IHG spokesperson.
In its logo, specific colors were chosen to represent elements of nature.

The four vertical bars of the logo are off-kilter, while the EVEN letters are composed on a flat horizontal line, representing the brand promise of helping guests stay in balance.

Malaysia-based Tune Hotels provides "five-star beds at a one-star price." The group has more than 40 properties worldwide, including five in London. Some in its management group were previously senior executives in the music business. It makes sense, then, that a travel company with a musical name would attempt to strike a global chord.

Adding to the medley of avant garde brands, Germany's Steigenberger Hotel Group's Amsterdam hotel Jaz in the City will open in September, with others scheduled to follow.
According to Steigenberger Hotel Group, coming Jaz in the City properties will be "hip and happening hotels" that "move to the rhythm of today's curious global traveler" who has a "desire to embrace authentic experiences in a city hotel."

The letter that started it all

You can't explore the hospitality industry's desire to appeal to the millennial mindset without nodding to W Hotels by Starwood. The brand now seems to have been ahead of its time with hotels that opened in pre-social media 1998.

"Starwood was the first hotel company to look directly at the customer as it evolved a new brand," says Paul James, global brand leader of W Hotels Worldwide, St. Regis and The Luxury Collection. W's target customer was a fashionable, high-energy individual -- someone who'd now likely be described as having a millennial psychographic. Starwood defined the brand by adding its "Whatever, Whenever" tagline to the simple W logo. Cornell's Dev says Starwood further imbued the brand with meaning by using words like witty, warm and welcoming in its advertising and marketing material. 

Original Publication Date: November, 2015


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Haute Couture Hotels in Europe

Boutique hotels have always incorporated an element of fashion. But noted European designers have been taking the concept to another level, patterning hotels with distinct touches of their luxury brands. Check out and into these couture lodgings:

Palazzo Versace: Australia
Widely considered the world’s first truly fashion-branded hotel, the 200 light-filled bedrooms and suites at the Palazzo are appointed with bespoke Versace Home furnishings and private Juliet balconies—very Italian indeed. The Versace Oz opened in 2000 and the brand has since expanded to Dubai.


Hotel du Petit Moulin: Paris
Christian Lacroix is the genius behind the flashy interiors of Hotel du Petit Moulin. The French designer created bespoke furniture, fabrics and bath products for the Marais residence located in a former 17th-century bakery.



Armani Hotel: Milan
The timeless elegance of the Armani brand is brought to bear in this Milano hotel (there’s also a property in Dubai). Coincidentally, both Armani hotels are in buildings shaped like a giant letter A.



Bulgari Hotel: London
The Bulgari Hotel London is a tribute to the brand’s silversmithing origins. Aside from the sleek silver architecture and the use of silver-patterned fabrics, there’s also a silver screen in the form of an intimate on-site cinema. Bulgari also has properties in Dubai and Bali.


Hotel Metropole: Monte Carlo
Karl Lagerfeld recently announced he’ll be starting his own hotel brand, with the first opening in Macau. The move follows on the footsteps of the Lagerfeld-designed outdoor swimming pool and restaurant area at the Hotel Metropole in Monte Carlo.

Gallery Hotel Art, Florence, Italy
Lungarno Collection: Florence and Rome
The Lungarno Collection, owned by descendants of Salvatore Ferragamo, is a group of chic properties located in Florence and Rome. The hotels each have their own distinct styles, yet traces of the well-heeled Ferragamo fashion heritage are always on display.



This article originally appeared on Orbitz Blog. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Where Women Rule in Washington, DC

Celebrating National Women's Day in Washington, DC? Take some time to visit sites dedicated to powerful women.
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While the proverbial White House glass ceiling is still intact (sigh), there are a few places around the nation’s capital where women rule the roost. Sadly, those places are not in the halls of power, still dominated by a (white) male majority. But if you want to focus on the history and accomplishments of women, Washington DC does offer several museums celebrating the fairer sex.

www.nps.org
It’s likely politic to start a tour of dynamic dames at the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument. The National Park Service added the Capitol Hill museum site to its roster in 2016. The historic building was once home to the National Woman’s Party (NWP), which led early movements for equality and the right of females to vote. When the party purchased the house in 1929, it evolved into a center for feminist education and social change.



Today, the museum honors the Suffrage Movement (it’s named for two early suffragettes--Alice Paul and Alva Belmont), along with the continuing fight for equal rights. Memorabilia includes Susan B. Anthony’s desk, Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s chair, a fine arts collection depicting famous women in American history and the wood blocks used to print suffragist literature. There is also a textile collection of banners, capes and costumes used by the NWP while picketing the White House or marching in parades and equality demonstrations between 1913 and 1970.
NMWA/Thomas H. Feld
Next, head to downtown DC to recognize creative women of another character. The National Museum of Women in the Arts calls itself the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to examining the work of a broad array of female artists. The institution has a permanent collection of 4,500 pieces, some of which date back to the 16th century. More than 1,000 artists working in a variety of mediums are represented, including Mary Cassatt, √Člisabeth Louise Vig√©e-Lebrun and Joana Vasconcelos. The museum regularly presents rotating special exhibitions featuring innovative female artists from around the world. The role of the female artist is also explored through film, cultural conversations and artist talks.  

NMWA/Dakota Fine

Statuesque Women

There are statues of Jefferson, Lincoln, Lafayette, Einstein and dozens of other statues around DC dedicated to dudes. Women are not as well-represented (imagine that), but there are some sculpted homages to the country’s fiercest females.

Eleanor Roosevelt statue
Eleanor Roosevelt statue |Flickr CC: Sean Hayford Oleary



Eleanor Roosevelt was likely the first First Lady to take the reins of power and run with them. Among other accomplishments, she was part of the first American delegation to the United Nations and chaired its first Commission on Human Rights. That’s why the life-size bronze of Eleanor stands in front of a UN logo at the sprawling FDR Memorial.
Photo courtesy of washington.org

Roosevelt was a big supporter of Mary McLeod Bethune, one of the country’s early civil rights activists. Bethune devoted her career to improving the lives of African Americans through education and political and economic empowerment. She founded a private school for African-American children, headed up the National Council of Negro Women, and was a special assistant to the secretary of war during World War II. Her memorial in Lincoln Park features the elderly Mrs. Bethune with two young children. Bethune is also celebrated at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.



Vietnam Womens Memoria-washington dc
Vietnam Women’s Memorial | Flickr CC: Jeff Kubina

One of the most touching sculptures on the National Mall may also be among the most overlooked. The Vietnam Women’s Memorial is located in a grove of trees near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The 2,000-pound bronze statue by female sculptor Glenna Goodacre depicts three servicewomen, one of whom is tending to the needs of a wounded soldier.

More ideas, including monuments and statues dedicated to strong women, can be found here.


Friday, March 3, 2017

Natural Spa Treatments With Good Vibrations

Here’s the rub: In these days of digital overload and high-tech impedimenta, spas are going back to nature in order to stand out from the crowd. Water, wood, sound waves, sand and even fish eggs and poultry are being incorporated into spa treatments around the globe. Here are a half-dozen spa treatments that provide a natural high:

Fowl Play in Santa Fe


A Silkie Chicken at Sunrise Springs Resort
Why did the chicken cross the road? Answer: To soothe a soul at Sunrise Springs Resort in New Mexico. The Santa Fe facility has two dozen purring Silkie chickens. Hold one and feel the sound vibrations throughout its body and yours. Aside from the good vibrations, hanging with the birds also allows opportunity to slow down and reflect upon the human pecking order and other eternal chicken and egg questions.

Mr. Sandman Hits the Big Apple  



How about a massage in the sand? A bit messy, right? Not at Spa Nalai at the Park Hyatt New York. Here, the “sand” is actually pebbles of quartz, placed on a special table, covered with sheets and heated from below. Once one hops on said table, the masseuse gently pelts the subject with heated poultices filled with warm quartz sand. It’s all designed to alleviate aches and pains and release muscular tension. The Spa at the Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida offers a similar treatment. 

Something's Fishy in Rome

What’s more natural than being schmeared with caviar? Okay, maybe not so natural (unless you are Vladimir Putin or an incarnation of a Russian czarina). Still, even members of the proletariat (if they can afford it) can enjoy the Caviar Body Treatment at the Spa at the Rome CavalieriWaldorf Astoria in the Eternal City. This nourishing and energizing total body massage is said to firm skin and leave clients “shimmering with renewed vitality, improved elasticity and an overall sense of well-being.” High “marx”, indeed.

Bamboo Botox North of the Border



Everything’s shipshape at Bota Bota Spa-Sur-L’Eau, a floating spa located in Montreal’s Old Port. Although listed as a facial, Bota Bota’s Kobido treatment is more of a massage for the face, as it dispenses with lotions and potions and focuses on the rub. The key to the treatment is the use of bamboo sticks to pinch and roll the skin, pushing out stress and rolling out wrinkles. It’s kind of like Botox without the needles.

Texas Tapping 


Take a beating at the Spa at Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, Texas. For a unique way to relax and invigorate the body, Manaka Tapping is an ancient Japanese treatment that has therapists rapping acupressure points with a wooden hammer and peg. If this sounds too painful, try a cuplift. Cupping is a time-honored Asian tradition (and more recently, a ritual embraced by one Michael Phelps) where heated vessels with mild suction are applied to the skin to stimulate circulation. Warning: post-treatment, it may look like a horse has been giving you hickeys.



Good Vibrations in Stowe, Vermont

The hills are alive with the sound of tuning forks in Stowe, Vermont,  best known as the American home of the Von Trapps.  The Spa at Stoweflake Mountain Resort uses sound therapy in several of its treatments. For a full body tune-up, the utensil of choice is a tuning fork. Tapping a tuning fork is said to alter the body’s biochemistry, bringing everything into harmonic balance. Warning: Do not try this at home with a kitchen fork.

The original version of this story appears here.https://www.orbitz.com/blog/2016/08/6-spa-treatments-that-offer-good-vibrations-and-natural-highs/