HOTELS & RESORTS
Continued from Page 26
hallways to 24-hour concierge services promising
whatever you want, whenever you want it.
The development of franchising was a
defining moment not only because it triggered
the growth of brands and the development of
consistent standards but because it spurred the
evolution of hotel management as a separate
business from ownership.
The rise in global brands brought service enhancements that mirrored the rise in consumer
expectations. The typical hotel guest in 1958 expected little more than a bed and a bathroom
and maybe a television. They are considerably
more demanding in the 21st century.
In-room coffee was introduced in the mid-
1950s. The 1960s brought the first minibar
and 24-hour room service. The next decade
brought free movies and cable television,
while the ’80s and ’90s introduced no-smok- Kemmons Wilson, founder of Holiday Inn in 1952, is
ing rooms, better telephones and voicemail and often recognized as having created the modern-day
more in-room amenities. hospitality industry.
The late ’80s brought a severe financial downturn in what has always been a cyclical industry. When hotels started breaking even in 1992 after six consecutive years of losses, hote-
liers began looking at ways to break
free of the pack and overcome a
sense of sameness that characterized the 1980s, when many top
brands seemed to have remarkably
similar exteriors, similar lobbies,
Product differentiation began
with the bedding wars and continues today with everything from signature coffee to spa amenities and
Hoteliers also found new ways
to segment the market, developing extended-stay, all-suite, ultra-luxury and limited-service hotels
to appeal to market segments that
a previous generation of innkeepers didn’t know existed.
The ’90s saw the emergence of
the boutique hotel, which gave the
industry a new direction and hote-
The 21-story atrium tower lobby of the Hyatt Regency Atlanta was a liers a new goal beyond consistency,
dramatic departure from traditional hotel architecture and changed beyond high standards: to create
the course of the lodging industry. The hotel celebrated its 40th experiences.
anniversary last year. Although the recession that fol-
lowed Sept. 11, 2001, temporarily
slowed the growth of designer brands, a record pace of global expansion has followed, sparking a record number of new brands. Many aspire to boutique status, appealing to guests not
on the basis of location, demographics or market segment, but lifestyle.
A focus on “the experience” is a hallmark of hospitality going forward, as even the most
economical chains undergo transformations that include the latest in flat-screen TVs, wireless
Internet, spa amenities and signature bedding.
Today’s vanilla hotel room would no doubt seem palatial to the traveler of 1958.
Will the next 50 years take us that far? — Jeri Clausing
The IceHotel in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden, was the world’s first.
LAS VEGAS MILESTONES
Nobody builds — or implodes! — hotels the way Vegas does hotels. Here are some
high spots, beginning with our favorite year, 1958:
PHO TOS B Y LAS VEGAS NE WS BUREAU
The Stardust Resort & Casino opens with 1,000
rooms. Above, the hotel in 1958. At right,
the hotel is imploded. The 2007 event, heralded by
fireworks, demolished one of the last remaining
relics of Vegas’ glory years.
The Aladdin and Caesars Palace open with 335 rooms and 700 rooms, respectively.
Circus Circus Hotel and Casino Resort opens with 400 rooms.
MGM Grand Hotel opens with 2,100 rooms, claims bragging
rights to being the world’s largest.
The Mirage opens with 3,039 rooms.
Excalibur opens as the world’s largest resort with 4,032 rooms.
The Dunes Hotel is sold to Steve Wynn, who stages a dramatic implosion of the
north tower, beginning a trend of staging hotel implosions as entertainment events.
Five year later, the Bellagio will rise on the site as the world’s most
expensive hotel, at $1.7 billion.
The Sands Hotel, after 44 years of continuous operation, is closed and imploded.
The Aladdin Hotel is imploded.
Mandalay Bay Resort, Four Seasons Hotel and Paris Las Vegas Casino Resort open.