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Hotel Newswire Top Pick

A 25-Year Seattle Tradition: Building a Gingerbread Village
By John Armstrong, Executive Chef, Sheraton Seattle

Over the past 25 years, the Sheraton Seattle’s Gingerbread Village has become one of the most anticipated holiday attractions in Seattle, drawing more than 200,000 visitors each year while raising funds to help researchers end Type 1 diabetes. Since 1992, the Sheraton Seattle’s expert culinary team has partnered with acclaimed local architecture firms and the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties to design, bake and delight crowds with intricate, larger-than-life gingerbread designs. The event is free to the public, but donations to the Northwest Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation are encouraged. As a tribute to the city, this year’s theme embraces Seattle’s past and future, prompting us to look back at how Gingerbread Village grew from a modest event to a beloved Seattle tradition as well as a highly effective sales, marketing and public relations tool. Read more.

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Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.