Monday, November 06, 2006

Travolution@WTM - Vive La France

The first day of World Travel Market kicked off today with the usual storm of rum-punch stands, belly dancers, and marching bands.

Things were a bit more civilised at the Starwood-owned Louvre Hotels stand, which was serving champagne, not sparkling wine.

You can say what you want about the French, but there are far worse ways to wind down the first day of WTM than sipping properly chilled champagne.

Though it is doubtful the folks at Louvre Hotels were toasting their acquistion by an American company, they do have reason to celebrate. The company is launching two new, yet-to-be announced brands and new websites for its existing budget hotel brands., including Campanile, Premiere Classe Hotels and Kyriad.

The website for the Concorde Hotels & Resorts brand, a predominantly corporate chain serving the meetings and incentive market, will also receive a facelift

The new websites will speed up the reservations and booking process to “three to four clicks”, and will allow customers to book at any point during the reservation process.

The new sites will also feature 360-degree views of guest rooms, as well as local area maps and the hotels’ global location on
Google Earth.

Guillaume du Poy, director of marketing for Louvre Hotels, told Travolution he wants to drive 80% of bookings online. The company's budget brands currently get only 10% of thier bookings online. No matter. “If Travelodge can do it, we can do it,” said du Poy. Now that's the American, I mean French, spirit.

Tricia Holly Davis, freelance journalist

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