Far East Orchard likely to pull off "expansionary gambit": Maybank

Company well-positioned to support recent acquisition spree…
Here’s more from Maybank Kim Eng:
Overseas expansion. FEOR recently inked a non-binding MOU with Straits Trading Company (STC) to consider acquiring: (1) STC’s entire hospitality management business (including trademark rights to the “Rendezvous” and “Marque” brands); (2) 50% interest in three Australian hotels, namely Rendezvous Studio Hotel Perth Central, Rendezvous Grand Hotel Melbourne and Rendezvous Hotel Perth; (3) 50% interest in STC’s stake in Coastal Coffee Pty Ltd (café business); and (4) in return, STC will have the right to subscribe up to 20% of the share capital of the enlarged hospitality management company of FEOR.
Well-positioned for acquisitions. Depending on the final purchase consideration with STC (we estimate a deal size of SGD300-600m), we view FEOR’s expansionary gambit positively. If the proposed transactions are to proceed (definitive agreement signings expected only after 31 Dec 2012), FEOR’s expanded portfolio will consist of more than 30 hotels and service residences under five distinct brands (Village, Oasia, Quincy, Rendezvous, and Marque) and more than 6,000 rooms, with a regional footprint across Australia, New Zealand, China, Malaysia, and Singapore. FEOR has a strong cash position of SGD485.1m and a relatively low debt of SGD70.1m (D/E = 6.4%) as of 30 Sep 2012. Its strong balance sheet should place it in a good position to make acquisitions.
REIT fees to increase. Separately, Far East Hospitality Trust (FEHT) is also exploring the proposed acquisition of a leasehold interest in Rendezvous Grand Hotel Singapore and its retail component, Rendezvous Gallery Singapore from STC, which are valued at SGD284.65m as of 31 Dec 2011. Upon completion, FEHT will grant a Master Lease of the hotel component to the Far East Organisation, FEO (the Sponsor), as master lessee under a master lease agreement. We expect FEO to appoint FEOR as the hotel operator under the same terms as previous hospitality management agreements – basic fee of 2% GOR and incentive fee of 5% GOP. In addition, with a 33% stake in the REIT manager, FEOR will also benefit from the 1% acquisition fee and enlarged management fees.
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Singapore Hotel Deals – Save 50% Off Your 2nd Night at Any Far East Hospitality Hotel!

Singapore Holiday Hotel Deals 2012-

Enjoy 50% Off Your 2nd Night’s Stay!


Planning for your holiday in Singapore?  Book a minimum 2-nights and get
50% off your 2nd night’s stay. Your 2nd night can start from as low as SGD 80!
Whether you’re planning for shopping along Singapore’s bustling shopping belt- Orchard Road, or embarking on a cultural journey to discover the charming and quaint enclaves in Singapore, there will be a hotel that suit your needs.
What’s more, enjoy an additional 25% off your subsequent nights’ stay when you stay for 3 nights or more.
Booking period: 25 October – 30 November 2012
Stay period: 30 November 2012 – 03 March
You can’t miss this great deal for your holiday plans!
>> Click here to enjoy this promotion (you should select 2 nights minimum in your hotel booking)

Last Day – Visit Singapore and Save 40% On Your Hotel with StayFarEast.com

Far East Hospitality Launches New e-Commerce Website
Singapore’s largest hotel group Far East Hospitality has officially launched its new website StayFarEast.com to the world.
To celebrate its rollout, for a limited time Far East Hospitality will offer 40% off its BAR (best available rate) for online bookings made from August 28 to September 3, 2012 for stays from September 1, 2012 to March 3, . The first 100 bookings will also receive a complimentary double Sentosa Noon Play pass valued at SGD89.80.
You can view the offer here: http://www.stayfareast.com/esave40
This limited Singapore hotel deal will definitely benefit all travelers who are planning on a business trip, year-end holiday or even the long Chinese New Year period.
Some Highlighted Hotels:
Quincy Boutique Hotel Singapore
Having already won the Travellers’ Choice Award for two years running (2011 – 2012) from Tripadvisor, Quincy carves out its niche by catering to modern-day business and leisure travellers who seek a departure from your run-of-the-mill hotel accommodation.
Oasia Hotel
Oasia is Far East Hospitality’s newest hotel brand. Designed with business and leisure travellers in mind, the hotel is easily accessible to the Central Business District and shopping belts of the city and provides a luxurious escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Changi Village Hotel
Located just 10 minutes away from Changi International Airport and 30-minute car ride from the Orchard shopping district, Changi Village Hotel is immensely popular with business travellers attending trade shows at the Singapore Expo, which is just 15 minutes away. With its proximity to the airport, the hotel is also a hot favourite with transit passengers who have a one or two-day stopover in our island nation. It is part of the Village Hotels group bringing out the best experiences from Singapore’s enclaves of culture, tastes, sounds and sights. These elements permeate our building designs, decor and infuse our friendly, thoughtful service.
Far East Hospitality is under the umbrella of Singapore’s largest private property developer Far East Organization and is the largest owner-operator of hotels and serviced residences in Singapore, with seven hotels and 10 serviced residences.
“Be it for leisure, business, an offsite meeting or a stop-over destination, we have properties catering to various needs and price points” said Mr Arthur Kiong, CEO & Executive Director, Far East Hospitality.
With its vast portfolio of properties, Far East Hospitality’s hotels and serviced residences have warm attentive staff, quality chic designs at comparable rates guaranteed to suit savvy international travellers.
To learn more and enjoy the offer visit: http://www.stayfareast.com/esave40

Google buys Frommers, destination content in search just got a little bit more interesting

Google buys Frommers, destination content in search just got a little bit more interesting
Google has made another strategic acquisition in the travel space, snapping up guidebook and online destination content publisher Frommer’s for an undisclosed fee.
Sources within Frommer’s confirmed the deal after the Wall Street Journal got whiff of the acquisition earlier today.
Terms have not been disclosed, but the purchase ends a six-month search for a buyer for the company after its owner, Wiley, put the company up for sale.
Ironically, one of Google’s biggest critics around its desire to move in on the travel industry, Expedia, takes Frommer’s content for its Hotels.com brand and the main site.
It is worth remembering that this is not the first time Google has bought a travel content business. It purchased destination guide startup Ruba in May 2010, but closed it almost immediately.
Read more at http://www.tnooz.com/2012/08/13/news/google-buys-frommers-destination-content-in-search-just-got-a-little-bit-more-interesting/?fb_ref=wp#mY7FFOHoOIp1C1Ec.99

Social media and SEO created a mutant in travel – Introducing Fake Review Optimization

After a rough year of defending itself from its detractors, TripAdvisor now describes itself as the more modest “reviews and advice on hotels, resorts, flights, vacation rentals, vacation packages, travel guides, and lots more” or “over 50 million reviews & opinions by travelers.”
To be clear, TripAdvisor is not evil, and Kaufer remains one of the smartest and most insightful leaders of the travel industry.
If TripAdvisor’s information was largely inaccurate or untrustworthy, the site would lose its user base and competitors would rise up to replace it. That’s not happening – yet.
The problem is that the curation process for 50 million reviews sourced from 20 million members is problematic. This challenge is compounded by the global nature of the organization, now covering 1+ million businesses in 93,000 destinations.
It seems some of the 715,000 restaurants, 520,000 hotels and 155,000 attractions occasionally dispute the accuracy of some reviews.
Unlike Google, TripAdvisor does not merely surface and prioritize the most relevant links, a process that allows Google to retain full control over the signals and weighting factors driving its algorithm.
Instead, TripAdvisor publishes content created by a largely faceless community of individuals. But where anonymous reviews should surface the most frank and honest opinions, similar anonymity allows the ethically bereft a free hand in trying to manipulate rankings.
Read more at http://www.tnooz.com/2011/11/14/how-to/social-media-and-seo-created-a-mutant-in-travel-introducing-fake-review-optimization/#BoJf0lD7tJelxau3.99

How to Spot a Fake Online Hotel Review

Now that the Advertising Standards Authority has banned hotel recommendation site TripAdvisor from claiming its reviews as truthful, it’s going to be harder than ever to sift out the real from faked. We’re here to help. Following last week’s Amazon product review scandal, after a months-long scandal involving its faked accommodations assessments,TripAdvisor can no longer call its reviews genuine. As with laudatory Internet product reviews, faux hotel reviews — both pro and con — give themselves away.
Beware of too many verbs, adverbs and pronouns. This advice comes from Cornell University researchers, who discovered that genuine reviewers reference the actual hotel, whereas the fakers talked up external experiences and travel companions. For example…
Read more here: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/technology/2012/02/how-spot-fake-online-hotel-review/48139/

Google Just Changed the Game on Local Search

If Local Search Marketing was hot before last week it’s now smoking hot! We’re going to tell you what has changed in Local Search, What it means for your business and how you can leverage these changes to your advantage so keep reading.
By the way, we’ve previously blogged over at UntangleMyWeb.com on how to Optimise your Local Business for Search so you may want to check that out after this post to refresh your memory on how to optimise your free Local Search listing in Google Places.
Only couple of days ago, Google introduced a big change in its result page that is affecting Local search and Local search marketing.
Read more here: http://www.mywebschool.com/blog/seo/google-just-changed-the-game-on-local-search/

Should You Trust Online Reviews?

The Internet has fundamentally changed the way that buyers and sellers meet and interact in the marketplace. Online retailers make it cheap and easy to browse, comparison shop, and make purchases with the click of a mouse. The Web can also, in theory, make for better-informed purchases—both online and off—thanks to sites that offer crowdsourced reviews of everything from dog walkers to dentists.
In a Web-enabled world, it should be harder for careless or unscrupulous businesses to exploit consumers. Yet recent studies suggest that online reviewing is hardly a perfect consumer defense system. Researchers at Yale, Dartmouth, and USC have found evidence that hotel owners post fake reviews to boost their ratings on the site—and might even be posting negative reviews of nearby competitors.
Read more here: http://www.slate.com/articles/business/the_dismal_science/2012/08/tripadvisor_expedia_yelp_amazon_are_online_reviews_trustworthy_economists_weigh_in_.html

War on fake travel content intensifies – now it is time to rate the hotel review sites

In a bizarre twist in the battle to rid the industry of fraudulent reviews, reputation management firm Kwikchex has unveiled a star-rating system for review sites.
In January, following a complaint made by Kwikchex, the Advertising Standards Authority ruled against TripAdvisor saying the site should stop claiming reviews are real, honest or trusted.
Read more at http://www.tnooz.com/2012/04/27/news/war-on-fake-travel-content-intensifies-now-it-is-time-rate-the-hotel-review-sites/#iJaWfzOcw7zvYvCc.99