According to a recent Sentinel newspaper report, federal investigators have recovered more than $868,000 in back wages for more than a thousand workers at Central Florida Investments, the Orlando timeshare operator that does business as Westgate Resorts. The US Department of Labor had determined that 1,065 company employees who scheduled tours, officially called “off property consultants” were not paid at least the federal minimum wage for all the hours they worked. The agency also said that workers premium pay did not include commissions, and that overtime was incorrectly computed. The report also indicated that Westgate failed to keep accurate time-card records. According to a Westgate representative, there was no finding by the government of intentional wrongdoing, noting that management of commissioned-based sales people is complex.
Archive for September, 2010
LaTour Hotels and Resorts, which offers personalized luxury hospitality management services for four and five-star properties worldwide, has announced it will manage Los Veneros Resort and Residences, located on the prestigious Punta de Mita peninsula along the northern coast of the Bay of Banderas on the Riviera Nayarit, Mexico. LaTour Hotels and Resorts will offer management of the Homeowners Association, concierge services, extensive residential services for owners, and a rental program and exchange opportunities. Los Veneros is an oceanfront resort and residential community currently comprised of 91 luxury residences in three buildings spread across 37 acres. The resort is scheduled to open in December 2010. Among the property features is a chic Beach Club with bar and grill, an oceanfront pool, recreational water sports and spa and health club facilities. The community also features a large reception and Discovery Center, lush gardens and walking trails.
Hotel traffic and occupation is up considerably in the Orlando area according to Smith Travel Research. The increase is much attributed to the draw of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter located in Universal Orlando. The increase is especially notable in the Universal Orlando attraction area. The most recent statistics indicate that hotels in the local Orlando market filled 72% of their rooms in July, a 6% improvement from the same month a year ago. The average room rate was also up 3.6% a night to $85.89 a night. The only exception to increased occupancy in the Orlando area was the north Orlando submarket, which caters to business travelers.
This latest edition to the Bonnet Creek resort has added 300 units to Wyndham’s flagship resort property. The resort is situated on actual Walt Disney World Resort property and now boasts approximately 1,150 units sprawled across 58 acres. “When we broke ground on this project in 2002 we knew we were taking a calculated risk since Orlando was one of the most heavily saturated timeshare markets in the country,” said Franz Hanning, president and chief executive officer of Wyndham Vacation Ownership. “The fact that we continued to expand this site in spite of the current marketplace is a testament to the popularity of both the resort and our points product. We originally intended to build 744 units, but we had to keep on building because we kept on selling.”
W Hotels Worldwide brings style to Wall Street with the opening of W New York Downtown Hotel & Residences. The First New W Hotel in New York City in more than eight years will add to New York’s bustling and historic Financial District. Located on the corner of Washington and Albany Streets, W New York Downtown features 58 floors of modern design and stylish amenities in Manhattan’s fastest growing residential destination. Developed by the Moinian Group, W New York Downtown is W Hotels’ first residential development in Manhattan, offering a world-class contemporary lifestyle experience for guests and residents alike. W Hotels was born in New York City more than 10 years ago with the opening of W New York on Lexington Avenue and 49th Street. After aggressive international expansion, W continues to grow globally with the opening new hotels and retreats in destinations around the world, from Hong Kong to Seoul, South Beach to Hollywood, Santiago to Mexico City, Barcelona to Istanbul, Vieques Island to the Maldives and beyond.
Wyndham Vacation Ownership has announced a fee-for-service timeshare sales model at Reunion Resort in Orlando. Wyndham Vacation Ownership, the world’s largest vacation ownership company and a member of the Wyndham Worldwide family of companies, has announced it has entered into an exclusive sales and marketing agreement at Reunion Resort. Under this agreement, the company will become the exclusive sales and marketing agent for the sale of vacation ownership interests in up to 256 condominium-style units at Reunion Resort. All units will be marketed as Wyndham Vacation Resorts Reunion at Orlando. Reunion is a 2,300-acre resort located within six miles of Disney World. In addition to three signature world-class golf courses, Reunion offers a selection of outstanding amenities, including the Annika Academy, the 5-acre Reunion Water Park with a lazy river and interactive pool, a daily activities program with events for all ages, bicycling and six lighted tennis courts.
Westgate Resorts says it workforce has had a net gain of 800 people since the start of 2010. The Orlando based timeshare company is still far behind its peak employment period, which once employed over 11,000 people in the Orlando area. Early in 2009, Westgate Resorts had reduced its workforce to about 7,000. According to Westgate Resorts Chief Operating Officer, the company now employs 5,200 people. Westgate Resorts maintains eight properties alone in the Orlando area.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has had a dramatic impact on Universal Orlando attendance and spending. According to a recent Orlando Sentinel story, in the most recent Third Quarter reporting period, Universal Orlando’s attendance rose 2%, which is the first quarterly attendance gain for Universal in more than two years. Disney World in the same recent quarter actually fell by 2%. Though there are some statistical anomalies in comparing to two theme park resorts, it is the first time Universal has outgained Disney World since 2008. Also of note, per capita guest spending jumped 14% at Universal thanks to the sales of Harry Potter themed snacks and souvenirs. Disney World’s per-capita guest spending only rose 3% in comparison.
Wyndham Garden Hotel Baronne Plaza is now part of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts’ Expansion in LouisianaSaturday, September 11th, 2010
The Wyndham Garden Hotel Baronne Plaza is now part of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts’ expansion in Louisiana. The Wyndham Garden Hotel Baronne Plaza was a 79-year old building recently renovated and launched as a premier hotel. Nestled at 201 Baronne Street in the city’s National Historic Lower Central Business District, the 170-room hotel still features the building’s original Art Deco stone and granite facade. It is located only one block from the famous French Quarter, and the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, historic Jackson Square and the French Market District, are just a short walk or drive from the hotel. The interior of the hotel boasts a spacious lobby with original marble floors, splendid columns, stained-glass skylights, and imperial sitting areas, including a library lounge that hearkens back to 1930s New Orleans. The spacious rooms feature pillow-topped mattresses with goose down bedding; 32-inch, high-definition flat screen televisions; complimentary, high-speed wireless Internet access; ergonomic chairs and spacious work desks. Bathrooms are furnished with granite countertops, massaging showerheads and Bath and Body Works True Blue Spa amenities.
Holiday Inn Club Vacations At Orange Lake Resort has been recognized as one of the Orlando Sentinel’s “Top 100 companies for working families.” The resort and Holiday Inn Vacations is proud to be considered a family-friendly workplace. The Sentinel newspaper presented the 17th annual awards at a special ceremony on August 6th. Each year, the Orlando Sentinel invites companies who promote family-friendly workplaces to submit their application for consideration as one of the “Top 100.” Employers are recognized in two categories: 250 employees and above and 249 employees and below. A series of questions help judges score core benefits, family-related benefits, work environment, communication and training. Orange Lake is one of the largest vacation ownership properties in the Orlando area and spans 1,450 acres with a location adjacent to Disney. Guests have access to four resort villages featuring seven pools, a 1,200 foot lazy river, an 80 acre lake with beach and watersports, four golf courses, four stores, seven restaurants, two mini golf courses, three fitness centers, basketball, tennis, racquetball courts and more.