What’s New in the Industry?

AIR TRAVEL: Ever noticed when you travel that planes are full and the over-head bins are STUFFED with other peoples’ extra carry-on baggage?  Anything that doesn’t fit is left with the airline ground crew to sort out and somehow store as it’s flown through to your destination.  Some airlines are now considering extra fees for fees for oversize, extra carry-onsOthers, like Alaska, are beginning to enforce a policy already in place for several years.  Read the entire story at the Seattle Times.

HOTELS: Seattle is looking at getting its first new high-rise hotel since the onset of the Recession.  Also reported in today’s Seattle Times, two of the Sodo neighborhood’s biggest developers are teaming up to build the second phase of Stadium Place, the high-rise project in CenturyLink Field’s north parking lot.  They plan to break ground next summer.  The next phase will be a joint venture between Henry Liebman’s American Life (finance & build) and Daniels Real Estate (Stadium Place’s master developer).  The development will include a 23-story hotel, including 16,000 square feet of retail below, 376-stalls of parking garage and a health club.

REPURPOSED SPACE:  Hotels are test offering meeting rooms that can serve as temporary or long-term office space.  They’re finding that offering small, technology-equipped meeting rooms for private business gatherings or personal business use (by hotel guests OR non-hotel guests) can make a marginal space profitable (including the Marriott Redmond).  With names like “Hive” and “Workspring,” the spaces are designed to be in the hotels’ “public” areas and offer enough view to the outside world to pique passersbys’ curiosity.  However the space itself is created to allow singles or small groups to work together or separately, live or via Skype, on a variety of platforms, offering a wide expanse of technology and lots of available charging power.  Room rental runs around $50 per hour and may be considered a bit more posh than going to your corner Kinko’s.

MORE REPURPOSED SPACE & DINING:  Along similar lines, the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle is offering their own take on utilizing public space for more profitable private use.  “Next Level Dining” offers three restaurant-inspired private dining concepts for use in the hotel’s Ballroom and other meeting rooms with stunning views of Elliot Bay.  According to the hotel’s release: “The Next Level Dining idea takes one of the best venues in Seattle and elevates the private dining experience for corporate business dinners, group clients and social events ranging in size from 35-90 people.”  Gone are the pre-selected entrees and hard and fast numbers.  This idea allows formal event space to be used for less formal (but still private) gatherings, just like a private dining room at a fine dining establishment.

If you have questions about any of these topics, please feel free to contact any member of our Retail, Hotel & Restaurant team.