Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Extra, Extra!: Convene Newsstand

Welcome back to "Extra, Extra!", Convene's weekly news supplement to PCMA's ThisWeek@PCMA newsletter. Let's get right to it, shall we?

It goes without saying that, in the decade since 9/11, many things have changed — especially for the airlines, as Joe Sharkey discusses in this New York Times article.  He writes:
Airlines in the United States lost $55 billion and shed 160,000 jobs during that decade. But the industry has worked through the economic tumult. A decade later, the system is smaller in terms of capacity, but it’s still in good working order. Last year, for example, 720.4 million people boarded airplanes in the United States, slightly higher even than the 719.1 million passengers in 2000.
Another thing that may be changing over the next decade — in this case, for U.S. hotels — is something you may have seen already in Asia or certain parts of Europe: Namely, large, refillable toiletry bottles in hotel bathrooms. USA Today's Hotel Check-in blog reports that hotels may begin moving toward this system to be green — apparently it's not any cheaper to refill big bottles than it is to provide individual bottles to each guest; but obviously the refill system produces far less waste.

How would you feel about that? I, for one, would welcome it, as it's that much less trash being sent to the landfill — although I admit that I would A) miss being able to snag those nice little unusued Aveda and L'Occitane soaps for my home and B) be pretty grossed-out if the refillable bottles were anything but hyper-clean and fresh-looking.  Of course everyone knows that countless other hotel guests have stayed in the room one is occupying — but no one wants to be reminded of it while in the shower.

In other lodging news, it looks like — according to a study conducted by New York University's Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management, and reported by the Los Angeles Times — that spending on improvements by the U.S. lodging industry is expected to reverse its two-year decline this year, rising by 30 percent compared to 2010, for a total of $3.5 billion in investment.

Another cool piece of hotel news is that the only surviving hotel designed by American architectural icon Frank Lloyd Wright reopened a little more than a week ago in Mason City, Iowa, reports the Des Moines Register. The 27-room Park Inn Hotel got an $18-million renovation before reopening, and apparently now looks amazing — check out the interesting Register story for photos and more history. Perhaps this is the perfect place — it's got an 8,000-square-foot conference center — for your next (small) architects' association meeting?

Last but not least: Quick, what's the worst thing about airport security lines?

For some, I imagine that it is having to remove one's shoes while simultaneously juggling luggage, removing keys and cell phones from pockets, taking off belts and other metal bits, sliding your laptop out of its sleeve, and more, all while shuffling through a moving line.

Well, good news: According to Bloomberg, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said last week at a forum that in the future, travelers would be able to keep their kicks on. She did not, however, specify when the installation of shoe-scanning devices would take place. GE is one company that has sought government approval for its shoe-scanning machines — but no luck yet. So, for now, off with your shoes!

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