For week ending 16 March 2018
Velocity watch app
Velocity Frequent Flyer has a new Global Watch App, allowing users to manage their travel card accounts on their Apple watch. The app displays the cardholders’ balance in the local currency, but also features a currency calculator. It shows the user’s last 20 transactions and alerts users when transactions are made.
Sydney Airport rolls out auto check-in
Sydney Airport’s new automated check-in zone in Terminal 1 is now operational. Qantas will progressively roll-out use of the new facility from this week. Travellers can check themselves in via the kiosks and then use automated bag drop facilities, similar to those in Terminals 2 and 3.
IHG adds Regent
InterContinental Hotels Group is adding the luxurious Regent Hotels & Resorts brand to its portfolio of properties. Regent has hotels in Beijing, Chongqing, Taipei and Singapore in Asia as well as Berlin and Porto Montenegro in Europe. It also has three new properties in the works, with the Regent Jakarta opening later this year, Regent Harbin in China opening in 2019 and Regent Phu Quoc in Vietnam opening in 2020.
Frasers Hospitality boosts Middle East Portfolio
Frasers Hospitality is adding two new properties to its Middle East portfolio this year. Fraser Suites Riyadh in Saudi Arabia is already open and it will soon to be joined by Fraser Suites Muscat in Oman. The portfolio already includes two Fraser Suites properties in Bahrain, two in Doha and one in Dubai. Another three properties are planned for Dubai as well as one in Jeddah, one in Al Khobar and one in Kuwait, all of which will open in the next few years.
Choice Asia-Pacific expansion
Choice Hotels plans to add four new-build hotels to its Asia-Pacific portfolio over the next three years. They include the 214-room INGOT Hotel Perth, an Ascend Hotel Collection Member, the 100-room Quality Hotel Flemington and 80-room Quality Hotel Lakeside Bendigo in Victoria and the 42-room Clarion Suites Christchurch in New Zealand. They also have plans in the works for Quality Hotels in Chengdu, Shanghai/ Pudong Airport and Hangzhou.
Oman switches to e-visas
Effective from 21 March this year, visitors to Oman will be able to enter the country with e-visas.
The launch of the new e-visa system coincides with the opening of the new Muscat International Airport. Thoroughly tested, the new system will save visitors time on arrival at the airport. Australian applicants need to register as a user, then have the option of purchasing a single entry or multiple entry visa.
W Brisbane opening soon
Set to open on 1 June this year, the 312-room W Brisbane will be the city’s newest five-star hotel. The property features a choice of restaurants and bars, a 24-hour fitness centre, swimming pool and spa - complete with relaxation pods, vitality pools, experience showers and salt inhalation chambers - as well as 1,100sqm of event space and meeting rooms.
Ibis Brisbane offers budget-friendly conferencing
Ibis Brisbane has launched its new The Studio conferencing space. Targeting budget-conscious planners, the trendy space can be set up in range of different configurations, accommodating up to 100 guests theatre style or 30 guests boardroom style. Meeting planners can choose lunch menus that feature ibis favourites including Shimmy Shakes, Boomer Burgers and Hot Rockin' Wings.
Sheraton adds tenth hotel in Japan
Sheraton Hotels & Resorts has plans for a new-build hotel in Japan’s southernmost major city. The 223-room Sheraton Kagoshima will feature a choice of restaurants, a bar, fitness centre, swimming pool and spa as well as a club lounge and 953sqm of meeting and event space when it opens in 2022.
Fairmont Austin opens
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has opened its largest property in the US. Located in the city’s CBD, the 1,048-room Fairmont Austin in Texas features five restaurants and bars, a fitness centre and almost 13,000sqm of event space as well as offering direct access to the Austin Convention Centre.
Delta Sky Club for Phoenix
Delta Air Lines has announced it will open a new Delta Sky Club at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Set to open later this year, the lounge will be located on the new South Concourse in Terminal 3, and will feature a complimentary bar and WiFi access.
UA priority boarding fee
United Airlines is offering economy class travellers the option to pay an additional US$9 for priority boarding on US domestic flights. Factors such as date, time and day of the week may determine availability of the service.