Saturday, June 21, 2008

HITEC 2008 Remains Center of Hospitality Technology Discussion

AUSTIN, TX--The 2008 Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®) was attended by over 5,200 hospitality professionals from around the world.

Held June 16-19 at the Austin Convention Center (above photo) in Austin, Texas, the exposition and conference had 300+ exhibiting companies, 40+ education sessions, special exhibits and recognition for several hospitality industry professionals.

“Where else but HITEC do you have the chance to see representatives from multiple technology vendors in one place at one time, plus sit in on a variety of sessions talking about timely topics?” said Ron Strecker, (top left photo) CHTP, CHAE, CFO of Al J. Schneider Co.

Several industry professionals were honored during the general session. First, CHTP of the Year Ian Cole, CHTP, vice president of strategic technology for Starwood Vacation Ownership (SVO), was presented a plaque for earning the highest score for the Certified Hospitality Technology Professional (CHTP) exam within the last year.

Then Fraser Hickox (top right photo) was inducted into the HFTP International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame. At the forefront of guest room technology for over 20 years, Hickox was honored for his leading-edge approach to technology in the hospitality industry.

“This is our third HITEC and we've found that this is the show to capture high-level IT professionals,” said Denis Lesak, director of digital signage services, Hotel Services Division for PSAV, a HITEC 2008 exhibitor.

“SoftBrands is proud to be a sponsor of HITEC 2008, and we have had a tremendous response and traffic at our booth,” said David Gandrud, director of global marketing for SoftBrands, a HITEC 2008 exhibitor. “Once again, HFTP has exceeded our expectations by providing a venue that brings together not only buyers and sellers, but partners and customers in an environment that allows us to share our story and learn where the industry is going. Specifically for SoftBrands, we have had a very positive experience, and expect to see a very positive return.”

“HITEC is a great social interaction with other end-users that are sharing similar pitfalls. The conference provides great access to find solutions together to overcome these issues,” said Thomas J. Bilbrey Jr., network administrator for Bay Creek Resort & Club.

“As a first-time attendee, the conference was a great chance for education and relationship building. I look forward to attending next year,” said Brian Beck, director of technology for BearingPoint Hospitality.

For those who were unable to attend HITEC 2008, visit to review information on HITEC 2008 exhibitors, pictures and information on the technologies featured in GUESTROOM 2010. If you didn't make it this year, start making plans to attend next year's HITEC at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. June22-25, 2009.

Katy Walterscheid, Communications Specialist, Phone: (512) 249-5333 (Ext 27). Hospitality Financial Technology Professionals (HFTP), 11709 Boulder Ln., Suite 110, USA - Austin, TX 78726. Toll free: (800) 856-4242. Phone: (512) 249-5333. Fax: (512) 249-1533

SchenkelShultz Celebrates 50 Years of Design Excellence

ORLANDO, FL – SchenkelShultz Architecture, one of Florida’s leading green designers, is celebrating 50 years of design excellence.

Consistently ranked as one of the nation’s top design firms, SchenkelShultz is a full-service architectural firm specializing in education, justice, aviation and commercial facilities design.

With nine offices nationally (six in Florida) and over 50 LEED® Accredited Professionals, SchenkelShultz is a recognized industry leader which has long been committed to designing sustainable concepts into every project.

The Orlando office of SchenkelShultz is located at 200 East Robinson Street, Suite 300, Orlando, FL, phone 407-872-3322.

Also commemorating 25 years in Florida under the leadership of J. Thomas Chandler, (top right photo) AIA, President and COO, the firm established its Orlando office in 1983 and subsequently expanded with five additional offices in Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Naples, Tampa and West Palm Beach.

“At SchenkelShultz,” said Chandler, “our focus is on architecture but our passion transcends excellent design. Our firm,” he added, “is continuously evolving to anticipate and adapt to ever-changing market trends, and is dedicated to building positive, successful relationships with our valued clients, employees and communities.”

For more information, visit

Kenneth H. Cristol, President, Cristol Marketing Company, 237 Hunt Club Blvd., Suite 102, Longwood, FL 32779 USA. PH 407-774-2515. FX 407-774-6647. Strategic Marketing, Brand Management, Publicity and Advertising, and Corporate Communications

Interstate Hotels & Resorts and The John Buck Company Open First U.S. aloft Hotel

aloft Ontario-Rancho Cucamonga Developed in Joint Venture Partnership, First in a Series of aloft Hotels JV Will Build

ARLINGTON, VA—Interstate Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: IHR), a leading hotel real estate investor and the nation’s largest independent operator of full- and select-service hotels, announces it opened and will operate the first aloftsm hotel in the U.S., in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., near Ontario. (interior lobby photo above)

The 136-room, newly built hotel is owned by a joint venture in which Interstate and The John Buck Company (TJBC) of Chicago, Ill., a real estate development firm, are partners.

It is the first in a series of aloft hotels slated for development by the partnership over the next several years, with the second scheduled to open in suburban Nashville this September. TJBC oversees development of the hotels for the partnership.

aloft is Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ new premium, select-service hotel brand designed to appeal to a new generation of business and leisure travelers, featuring high design at an affordable price point, accessible technology, style and a social atmosphere.

“The aloft Ontario-Rancho Cucamonga is part of our growth strategy to develop hotels through joint ventures, which creates significant embedded growth as we ramp them up,” said Thomas F. Hewitt, (top right photo) Interstate’s chief executive officer.

“As the world’s largest third-party management company, we are honored to be opening the first aloft in the United States and to add this exciting new brand to our management/joint ventures portfolio. We’re confident that we can deliver the same kind of superior service and memorable guest experience that have earned us consistently superior guest satisfaction scores and RevPAR results.”

Located off Highway 10, at the northwest corner of 4th Avenue and Haven, the 136-room aloft is part of a $60 million master-planned, mixed-use development called HavenPark, near Ontario Airport and the Ontario Convention Center.

The just completed development features 150,000 square feet of Class A office space, 22,000 square feet of retail space, a free-standing, full-service restaurant and the aloft hotel.


Julie Tullbane, Daly Gray Public Relations, T 703-435-6293. F 703-435-6297

Carrie McIntyre, SVP, Treasurer, Interstate, (703) 387-3320

Paul Novak, Managing Director, The John Buck Company

Tilt-Con completes Miami-Dade County Public Schools' Vineland Elementary K-8 Conversion

MIAMI, FL – Orlando-based Tilt-Con Corporation completed Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ two-building, 38,533-square-foot Vineland Elementary K-8 conversion located at 8455 SW 119th Street in Miami, FL, under its contract with James B. Pirtle Construction, Miami.

Selected for its unrivaled performance and speed of execution, Tilt-Con utilized its economical multi-story system for tilt-up concrete walls.

Ranked as Florida’s largest tilt-up concrete constructor by Engineering News-Record magazine, Tilt-Con’s scope of work included foundations, slab-on-grade and tilt-up concrete wall panels. The project was designed by Spillis Candela DMJM, Coral Gables, FL. Tilt-Con’s South Florida office is located at 10601 State Street, Suite 10, Tamarac, FL 33321, phone 1-800-446-8458.

Kenneth H. Cristol, President, Cristol Marketing Company, 237 Hunt Club Blvd., Suite 102, Longwood, FL 32779 USA. PH 407-774-2515. FX 407-774-6647. Strategic Marketing, Brand Management, Publicity and Advertising, and Corporate Communications

Westin Hotels & Resorts Blooms With Celebrated Floral Designer Jane Packer

WHITE PLAINS, NY--Just in time for summer, Westin Hotels & Resorts announces an industry-first partnership with celebrated floral designer Jane Packer (top left photo).

Starting this month, all Westin Hotels & Resorts worldwide will debut original arrangements designed by Packer—who is recognized as one of the most influential florists across the globe and whose 13 books have made her the best-selling floral author across the world.

Having challenged the traditional view of floristry with her fresh and innovative approach, Packer championed the idea that flowers are as exciting as fashion and interior design, yet entirely more accessible.

Packer has guided Westin—a similarly innovative brand that has gained recognition for bringing a sense of personal renewal to guests—by creating a style guide that will be used by each hotel’s florist and that illustrates the materials and techniques needed to create the new signature Westin Hotels botanicals.

CONTACT: Hwee Peng, Hwee-Peng Yeo, Director, Corporate Communications, Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels & Resorts Ltd., 9 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City Tower 2, #24-02, Singapore 038989

Tel : +65 6335 4837; Cell : +65 9768 6087; +65 9248 0424. Fax : +65 6335 4820;

Despite Economic Downturn, Single-Tenant Investors Target Top-Tier Retail Assets Nationwide

Location and necessity-based retail properties will drive investment demand.

ENCINO, CA — The outlook for single-tenant retail properties should improve through the remainder of 2008, as the economy is expected to gain some momentum in the second half, according to a Single-Tenant Retail Research Report for the second half of 2008 by Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, the nation’s largest real estate investment services firm.

Well-located, necessity-based retail properties, such as drugstores and gas stations, have continued to change hands while other assets are receiving few offers.

“The investment outlook for single-tenant properties is expected to be mixed throughout the rest of the year, with buyers becoming increasingly selective,” says Bernard J. Haddigan, (top right photo) managing director of the firm’s National Retail Group and its Net Leased Properties Group.

Following are some of the most significant aspects of the Single-Tenant Retail Research Report:

· Fast-food restaurants: In an effort to weather the recent slowdown in consumer spending, fast-food franchises are turning to innovation and mergers to ignite sales growth.

· Discounters/Big-Box stores: Sales velocity for discounters has remained fairly steady in recent months, although there is a wide disparity in pricing and cap rates depending on tenant quality. This trend is expected to continue as buyers remain focused on top-tier assets.

· Casual Dining: Casual dining restaurants continue to record solid performance in the past few months. Buyers continue to actively pursue casual dining restaurant properties, with current transaction velocity maintaining the pace recorded during the previous 12 months.

· Drugstores: Investors are coveting these assets, as evidenced by cap rates remaining in the mid-6 percent range during the past 12 months and the median sales price increasing 13.2 percent to $342 per square foot.

· Grocery stores: Supermarkets may be one of the few segments to register any strength in sales going forward as consumers change their spending habits and decide to prepare more meals at home.

For a copy of the complete Single-Tenant Retail Research Report, as well as reports on other markets nationwide, visit our website at

Press Contact: Stacey Corso
Communications Department
(925) 953-1716