Filed under: Hotels

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New contract covers 3,000 Chicago hotel workers

Chicago Sun-Times | Employees of Starwood Hotels in Chicago have ratified a contract that raises wages for the next two years. The deal covers 1,200 workers at the Sheraton, Westin Michigan Avenue, Westin River North, W Lakeshore, W City Center and Tremont hotels and another 2,000 at hotels whose contracts pattern the Sheraton’s. The employees, represented by Unite Here Local 1, have been working without a contract since August 2009.

Hyatt swung tide for Spurlock’s new movie

From USA Today | When documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock first began asking big brands such as Nike, Volkswagen and Seven-Eleven to help bankroll “Pom Wonderful Presents The World’s Greatest Movie Ever Sold” — his take on the ubiquity of branded content and the age-old practice of product placement — he had a hard time.

Ban Deodorant eventually signed on, but Spurlock said that higher-profile companies only joined in after Chciago-based Hyatt Hotels Corp. said yes. Hyatt, he said recently at a screening in Washington, was the first “blue chip” brand that he landed, which “made a difference” when they approached other companies. Get the full story>>

Marriott guidance drags down Hyatt, others

Marriott ($35.76, down 5.05 percent) said it has had robust demand internationally, but North American growth has been lower than expected during the first quarter.

The company expects first-quarter worldwide systemwide revenue per available room a key industry metric to increase 7 percent, at the low end of its 7 to 9 percent guidance. Get the full story »

Travel social network Gogobot partners with Orbitz

Gogobot, a Menlo Park, Calif,-based startup that culls travel recommendations from users’ online social networks, said Thursday it has integrated its service with Chicago-based Orbitz and four other booking sites. Get the full story »

Sahara, ‘Rat Pack’ haunt on Vegas Strip, to close

The Sahara hotel-casino, a Rat Pack-era jewel of the Las Vegas Strip that age and a prolonged recession had tarnished, will close in May, owner SBE Entertainment announced Friday.

Chief Executive Sam Nazarian, the Los Angeles nightclub impresario who bought the Moroccan-themed casino in 2007 and vowed to restore its hipness, said in a statement that running the property was “no longer economically viable.” Get the full story »

Union approves deal with local Hilton hotels

After 18 months without a labor contract, Hilton workers in Chicago have voted to settle on a four-year contract that maintains benefits at current levels and offers modest raises.

Hilton is the first major hotel chain in Chicago to settle with the union in the heated negotiation process which has brought months of picketing, temporary strikes, demonstrations and boycotts to some of the largest hotels in Chicago. Get the full story »

Hyatt: Let employees vote on whether to unionize

Four Hyatt hotels in California and Indiana are petitioning the National Labor Relations Board to allow employees to vote by secret ballot on whether to unionize, a move that goes against the wishes of Unite Here, the hotel workers union.

The union has been pushing for a “card check” vote, in which employees sign cards stating that they wish to be represented by a union. Hyatt has opposed the method, citing concerns that employees could be pressured into pledging support. Get the full story »

Hyatt swings to profit

Hyatt Hotels Corp. reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as the recovering economy boosted demand at its international and mid-market properties. The hotel owner and operator on Thursday reported fourth-quarter earnings of $6 million, or 3 cents per share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $12 million, or 7 cents per share. Get the full story »

Strategic acquires two Four Seasons hotels

Strategic Hotels & Resorts is using $95 million in stock to buy two Four Seasons hotels from the Woodbridge Company, which will become its largest investor.

The heavily-leveraged Strategic needs ways to retain and grow its 16-hotel portfolio of luxury properties without taking on more debt, said FBR Capital Markets analyst Patrick Scholes. Get the full story »

Deal brings Starbucks to hotel rooms

Starbucks announced Tuesday that it will partner with St. Louis-based Courtesy Products to provide its ground coffee in 500,000 hotel rooms in the U.S. and promised that more single-serve news to come.

The announcement follows rampant speculation as to which partner the Seattle-based coffee giant would select for its push into the single-serve coffee market, following a Chicago Tribune report on Sunday. Get the full story »

Orbitz, other sites sue North Carolina over taxes

From The Triangle Business Journal | Chicago-based online travel agency Orbitz and four other online travel sites have filed suit against recent changes in North Carolina law designed to close a loophole that has allowed such companies to avoid paying millions in hotel occupancy taxes.

Blackstone Hotel, others helped by poverty tax aid

From The New York Times’ DealBook | Chicago’s posh Blackstone Hotel, which charges visitors up to $699 per night, benefited from federal aid that targets poor communities, Bloomberg Markets reports in its March issue. Renovations for the hotel were financed by Prudential Financial, which received a $15.6 million tax credit from the New Markets Tax Credits program, a $10.1 billion incentive for companies to develop poor neighborhoods and towns.

Pritzkers prepare sale of shipping-container unit

One of America’s wealthiest clans, the Pritzker family, is continuing to shed assets with the expected sale of Triton Container International Ltd. to private equity firms Warburg Pincus and Vestar Capital, people familiar with the matter said.

The buyout shops are close to a deal to acquire the shipping-container leasing company owned by Chicago’s Pritzker family for about $1 billion, these people said.

The Pritzkers, which took the Hyatt Hotels Corp. hotel chain public in 2009, are among the wealthiest U.S. families, controlling a business empire founded by Nicholas J. Pritzker more than a century ago. Get the full story »

Leisure travel is recovering, very leisurely

Leisure travel is recovering from the recession, but at a slower pace than business travel, according to a company that makes reservations for travel agents and Web sites.

Monthly revenue from leisure travel hotel reservations through June will rise an average of 14 percent from a year earlier on average, according to Pegasus Solutions Inc. Get the full story »

Luxury hotel planned for former IBM headquarters

From Globe St. | Langham Hotels and Resorts has partnered with Oxford Capital Group LLC to open a luxury hotel in 330 N. Wabash, the Mies van der Rohe-designed riverfront building that previously housed IBM’s Midwest headquarters. The new Langham Chicago Hotel, expected to open in 2012, will occupy floors two through 13 of the 52-story building. Get the full story>>