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HOSPITALITY NEWS BRIEFS  FROM THE DESK OF STEPHANIE FILDMORE

Hoteliers can learn from early flat-screen TV adopters
The early adopters of digital flat panel televisions in hotels encountered a number of problems, such as poor picture quality, but, as technology has evolved, the industry has learned from its mistakes and some of those setbacks can now be avoided. Among tips for successfully installing flat panel televisions is making sure to provide digital video signals and higher-resolution video formats to digital and HDTVs.   Hospitality Upgrade

Lavish Emirates Palace Hotel a techie's dream come true
The $3 billion Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi is as spectacular for its state-of-the-art technology as for its over-the-top, 60-acre lavish design. Guests receive a handheld computer to interact with everything from the TV and stereo to the maid service, and the hotel's 17-person technology staff includes a full-time security officer who monitors 16 firewalls.   USA TODAY/Associated Press

World's highest-priced hotels draw guests with highest standards
A Forbes.com list of the world's most expensive hotels includes such high-priced properties as the Mansion at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the Wakaya Club in Fiji and Little Palm Island in Florida. Well-heeled guests who can afford the four-figure-per-night rooms can be some of the toughest to please, however, as guests expect over-the-top service that matches the high price.   MSNBC/Forbes

Hotel phones on the way out?
Statistics show phone use in hotel rooms has dropped significantly as guests balk at high phone charges and increasingly carry their own cell phones. Some speculate the high use of cell phones will lead to the extinction of in-room phone units altogether, but hotels will need to stay on top of what other technological amenities the public will demand.   Hotel News Resource

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Travel increases with start of Passover
More vacation spots than ever are offering special packages -- such as daily Jewish study sessions -- and meals as the weeklong Jewish holiday of Passover begins. According to a Manhattan-based research firm, about 50,000 Americans will spend $175 million on Passover-related travel in 2005.   The Wall Street Journal

Wyndham launches English language skills program
Wyndham International has announced a new program, said to be the first of its kind, to improve the English skills of its Hispanic employees. The program, called Sed de Saber, or Thirst for Knowledge, includes a self-guided curriculum that helps employees with language skills to be used on-the-job and on the personal level.   Successful Meetings

Analysis: Rise of business travel prompts fall in room discounts
As business travelers get back on the road in droves, hotel room discounts are becoming fewer and farther-between, according to MSNBC. Hotel rates are up at least 7% on a year-over-year basis, an analyst says, and the chances of finding discounts on last-minute weeknight reservations are much slimmer than they used to be.   MSNBC

loisirs64World's highest-priced hotels draw guests with highest standards
A Forbes.com list of the world's most expensive hotels includes such high-priced properties as the Mansion at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the Wakaya Club in Fiji and Little Palm Island in Florida. Well-heeled guests who can afford the four-figure-per-night rooms can be some of the toughest to please, however, as guests expect over-the-top service that matches the high price

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