One of the most frightening things about FlyerTalkers from a journalist’s perspective is that you make us more or less redundant: I know I can’t possible grill travel industry executives better than a roomful of platinum elites from FT. Their inquisitiveness was once again on display this morning in the Atrium Lounge on the 8th Floor (the Club floor) of the Westin Times Square, where GM Terry Lewis, sales & marketing director Mary Beth O’Connor, and the hotel’s executive chef (I confess I missed his name) soothed the assembled Mega Doers with “superfoods” (not including the caviar) and talked a bit about the hotel — the first of four Starwood properties on this trip (along with Sheratons at FRA, IAH and in Seattle). Some highlights:
• Starwood Platinums are typically offered high floor and corner rooms when suites aren’t available;
• Club rooms are typically priced at just $60 more per night than standard rooms;
• The Times Square location is the only Westin to offer 17″ Apple iMacs in every rooms;
• ”Occupancy is back,” as Lewis put it, although European traffic is still a little off. But the percentage of international customers is rising again, as are prices — although they’re still softer than occupancy levels.
• There’s less cannibalization between Starwood brands in New York than you might think; geography matters to customers, and they stick to their brands.
The Westin NYC lounge had no idea we were coming. Then again, nobody ever expects the Spanish Inquisition, so maybe it was better that way.
About 30 of us suddenly descended on the Atrium Lounge on the 8th floor of the Westin NYC for drinks and snacks to celebrate StarMegaDo 2010. A significant number of the attendees are Starwood Platinum Elites so there were several bottles of arrival amenity wine on offer. After all, we’re not going to be checking them in for all the upcoming flights over the week. Plus, free wine is yummy. And getting to catch up with old friends and make new ones in a hotel lounge is a great way to spend a few hours.
Happy hour wrapped up right on time and many of the group trekked south, out of Times Square, to dinner at Le Zie. Dinner started with Prosecco and then on to red wine. And at some point in the middle there were shots of tequila and Fernet Branca. Shots during dinner is not a good idea, though I did manage to avoid dancing on the bar at the end of the night (which I was invited to do by the owner of the restaurant).
Definitely a great start to the week of crazy adventure.