Thailand has welcomed 426,876 Indians from January through May 2015, indicating that arrivals in half yearly arrivals crossed the half a million mark, meaning that Thailand is on track to achieve projected 1 million arrivals by year-end 2015.The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has set a qualitative (measured by spend and length of stay rather than absolute numbers i.e. arrivals) growth strategy for going ahead but would nonetheless like to retain its leading position as India’s favourite tourist destination. The first five months of 2015 have displayed an encouraging 15.89% growth over 2014.TAT Mumbai is working with travel agents to ensure that the destination achieve both qualitative and quantitative growth. Soraya Homchuen, Director, TAT Mumbai shares that a quality tourism development initiative is coming soon. “We are planning the third edition of ‘A Luxury Showcase’, our roadshow with a focus on high end travel-packaging. It is slated for October 5 in Mumbai,” she said.The tourism board recently concluded agent-connect events in Coimbatore and Chennai in a bid to keep numbers upbeat from newer, non-metro markets even while it pursues new markets in its traditional metro markets.Consumer connect initiatives by TAT Mumbai have included special deals curated in collaboration with travel agents including Sunday Pure Holidays, Mercury and Veena World; a radio and social media contest targeted at newly-weds on Red FM and a food festival linked to a social media contest in partnership with JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar.
After a successful tie up with OTM Mumbai 2016, TravHQ has partnered with Travel and Tourism Fair (TTF) to bring the third initiative in the series of Travel Startup Knockdown with a new flare of +. This new level of battle invites companies at various stages of development, be it an early stage venture or an emerging travel start-up or an innovative product by a recognised enterprise. This association of TravHQ and TTF for StartupKnockdown+ will provide opportunities to the innovators in the travel industry to showcase their big ideas at India’s leading travel trade show and network with potential investors and buyers/sellers. Sanjiv Agarwal, Chairman at Fairfest Media Ltd (organisers of TTF and publisher of this journal) who is also a Chartered Member of the TiE, quoted, “Building on the successful debut of Travel Startup Knockdown alongside the TechForum at the OTM in Mumbai, we decided to launch the shows within the TTFs in several cities across the country. Apart from serving the travel industry in general by showcasing and deliberating on latest technologies in travel, it also acts as a very important platform for the Startup ecosystem to come together.”Commenting on the development, Sunny Jindal, Managing Partner, TravHQ, quoted, “We are very excited to partner with TTF and create a community platform for travel startups. The StartupKnockDown+ in second half of 2016 presents an exciting spectrum of opportunities for innovators in the travel-tech segment to showcase their offerings.” Beyond networking, all the travel startups registering for the battle have exciting offers from the leading partners of the event like 10,000 Start-ups, an initiative by NASSCOM, Calcutta Angels, Amadeus Next and Agnitio etc. In addition, The Startup Grooming Session and Investors Arcade are all crafted in the event to facilitate quality mentoring experience for participants and foster potential investor exchange sessions. The participants can register for StartupKnockDown+ event on the website startupknockdown.travhq.com.
Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts has launched another vertical Banyan Tree Lifestyle Services (BTLS) to cater to the growing demand of luxury products and services in the Indian market. BTLS encompasses the entire portfolio of hotels, resorts, residences and related services under the Banyan Tree Group.Currently, the Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts portfolio is grouped under four brands– Angsana, Banyan Tree, Cassia, Dhawa; and covers the different segment of evolved discerning travellers and thereby covers the A,B,C,D of segmented hotel portfolio.BTLS comes with several added advantages that is designed to augment the guest experience and strengthen the relationship with Banyan Tree hotel group. The three key offerings are Bespoke concierge service, Banyan Tree Private Collection, Banyan Tree Group Residences sales and owners club.Manas Sinha, Director- India Sales Associates (GSA-Banyan Tree & Angsana Hotels), said, “BTLS handling is a specialised function. We shall be conducting seminars and consumer connect events to educate the membership benefits and uniqueness to the potential consumers. It also entails visit and experience of various Banyan Tree locations so that the consumers can choose the right services and become a part of the growing Banyan Tree brands’ family.”
Aviareps, a global tourism, aviation and hospitality representation, has launched a new product called Aviacollect. It is an online payment solution which allows small to medium offline airlines, hospitality brands, including standalone hotels and resorts, Destination Management Companies (DMCs), and providers of travel services, such as visa application, ground transportation, airport lounge access, car hire, attractions, sightseeing and travel insurance, to economically and effectively extend their international consumer and travel agent sales networks around the world.Aviacollect has been launched in response to the business development needs of many small to mid-size tourism related companies to extend their sales distribution channels and presence internationally. It will continue to maintain their unique brand with cost effective solutions to ensure a return on investment via limited resources.The payment solution can be used as a white label solution for Aviareps clients, allowing them to accept payments in targeted countries with local bank connections and in local currencies. As an Aviareps product Aviacollect is supported with in-market on the ground proactive promotion and distribution management by Aviareps professionals to established consumer and travel trade networks.Aviacollect can also tailored to the needs of consumers and local travel agents who are seeking an online one-stop information and payment platform, as visitors to the site can book all types of services for travel around the world.Edgar Lacker, Chief Executive Officer, Aviareps said, “For over 20 years Aviareps has seen the great potential of many small to mid-size aviation and tourism entities to expand their services overseas, however, an economic solution for that was not always possible. Thanks to today’s technology and a great Aviareps innovation team, a solution is finally at hand!Through Aviacollect, and Aviareps’ global network of self-owned offices, our clients can now not only present their brands in a way that is directly relevant to the targeted markets, but comes with the in-market exper- tise and know-how of our sales and PR professionals on the ground to help spread the unique sales points of that brand.”
In order to diversify its portfolio of premium properties, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, a part of AccorHotels Group, has signed an agreement with Panorama Development Corporation to manage the brand’s first European mountain resort, the Mövenpick Resort Savognin. The hotel is set to open in 2021 and will be Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts’ seventh property in Switzerland, featuring 110 rooms and suites, four dining outlets, a children’s area, wellness facilities, several retail outlets including a sports and fashion boutique and easy access to the adjacent ski area.Situated in the heart of Savognin in the canton of Grisons, the 110-key Mövenpick Resort Savognin is set to become one of Switzerland’s leading ski resorts and will reinforce Savognin’s reputation as one of the country’s top family destinations.“Savognin, a playground for adventure-lovers, is undergoing infrastructure enhancements to meet growing visitor demand with Mövenpick Resort Savognin being the focal point of these developments as the destination looks to attract more families, leisure tourists and skiers,” explained Duncan O’Rourke, COO Accor Central Europe. “The partnership with Panorama Development Corporation is an important strategic step for Accor to further develop Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts as a premium brand and to enter the auspicious mountain resort segment. At the same time, it raises brand awareness in some of our target markets such as Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands.”Mövenpick Resort Savognin will be a modern yet family-oriented property spread across two connected wings. It features four dining venues: a specialty ‘Piste Terrace’ restaurant overlooking the slopes; an all-day dining outlet; the Mövenpick Coffee Wine Lounge, and a large living room-style lobby lounge.The resort, which will provide access to the main gondola lift system serving the mountain area, will also offer children’s recreation facilities, a spa and sauna, and several retail outlets including a sports and fashion boutique. Guests will also be able to purchase tickets for the mountain railway and gondola at the property.
in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Agents & Brokers Confidence Debt Crisis European Union Existing-Home Sales Fannie Mae First-Time Homebuyers Fixed-Rate Mortgage GDP Home Prices Home Sales Housing Affordability Lenders & Servicers Pending-Home Prices Processing Service Providers Unemployment 2012-01-13 Ryan Schuette Share Home Sales, Housing Markets Will Lift in 2012: Fannie Mae The economy will drift upward in 2012 as incremental changes take place in the housing market, with a divisive and uncertain policy environment the darkest cloud on the horizon, “”Fannie Mae””:http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/index.html said in an “”economic outlook””:http://www.fanniemae.com/resources/file/research/emma/pdf/Housing_Forecast_011312.pdf Friday.[IMAGE]””Doug Duncan””:http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/about-us/company-overview/leadership/duncan.html, VP and chief economist with Fannie Mae, offered up the outlook from the GSE’s Economics and Mortgage Analysis Group.””We’re entering 2012 with decent momentum, especially on the employment side, which is fostering positive household and consumer behavior,”” he said in a statement. “”Unfortunately, we expect this momentum to slow as we move through the first half of the year.””Speaking via podcast, Duncan said that shrinking unemployment figures and stronger retail sales created a “”decent”” lift for the economy by yearend 2011.[COLUMN_BREAK]The forecast signaled that real GDP finished last year with a 3.3-percent uptick, with the economy set to encounter approximately 2.3 percent in growth for the next two years.If the forecast holds true, the housing market may not fare so poorly this year, either, and will likely lend movement to a dragging economy.Fannie Mae said that total home sales could hit 4.7 million in 2012, reflecting a 3.5-percent boost from total sales, new and existing, last year. If trends continue, the forecast said that home sales could reach as many as 5 million come 2013.Home prices may have fallen 4.6 percent lower in 2011 than figures seen from the year earlier, and could dip by 1.1 percent for 2012, with median new purchases falling from $223,000 on average to $218,000. The mortgage origination channel varied by turns deep and southerly, with Fannie Mae saying that originations will likely plummet from $1.36 trillion to $1.01 trillion next year.Figures for home loan purchases may offset the other numbers, with predictions that these could climb from $464 billion last year to $471 billion this year.Duncan said during the podcast that fiscal policy will matter as much if not more than economic activity in 2012.””It’s going to be fiscal policy and other policy issues that will determine the degree of activity that businesses and consumers undertake”” as consumers take less concern with debt crises abroad, he said. January 13, 2012 443 Views
Share Ocwen Breaks Record for Revenue in First Quarter “”Ocwen Financial Corporation””:http://www.ocwen.com/ experienced a surge in net income for the first quarter, which more than doubled over a year, and reported record revenue. [IMAGE]In Q1 2013, Ocwen’s net income jumped to $45.1 million, or $0.31 per share, up from $19.3 million, or $0.14 per share, a year ago. Revenue for the Atlanta-based company also surged 147 percent year-over-year to $406.7 million in Q1 2013, while income from operations increased 108 percent to $163.1 million during the same time period. “”The Company’s string of record quarterly revenues will continue into the second quarter as we benefit from a full quarter of ResCap revenue and our recent acquisition of Ally Bank’s mortgage servicing rights,”” said Bill Erbey, Ocwen’s chairman. [COLUMN_BREAK]””Ocwen’s core earnings and cash-flow were strong in the first quarter, and we should see these trend higher as a percentage of revenue as we drive down costs and delinquencies on newly acquired business. Ocwen’s lower funding costs and improving pre-pay speeds on non-prime loans should also support better performance versus our original expectations,”” he added. This year, Ocwen has seen several of its acquisitions come to completion. In February, the Residential Capital, LLC acquisition added $269 billion of unpaid principal balance to the company’s servicing portfolio. In April, Ocwen closed deals with Ally Bank for $63.4 billion of Fannie Mae mortgage servicing rights (MSRs) and another $21.2 billion of Freddie Mac MSRs. In the same month, Ocwen “”completed””:https://themreport.com/articles/ocwen-completes-purchase-of-nations-biggest-reverse-mortgage-lender-2013-04-04 the purchase of Genworth Financial Home Equity Access, which was the number one reverse mortgage originator based on January 2013 industry data. The reverse mortgage business will be renamed Liberty Home Equity Solutions. In late 2012, Ocwen also purchased Homeward Residential, a Dallas-based servicer and originator. Ocwen reported Homeward’s lending operation originated about $2.4 billion of fundings with another $0.4 billion originated through partnerships, while total Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) volume reached $415 million. In the first quarter, the company completed 24,184 loan modifications, of which 34 percent were through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). in Secondary Market, Servicing Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Servicing Rights Ocwen Profits Quarterly Earnings Service Providers 2013-05-02 Esther Cho May 2, 2013 431 Views
Realty Pilot Adds to Crew “”Realty Pilot””:http://realtypilot.com/, an enterprise software development and data analytics company headquartered in Arizona, expanded its business development and support team with three additional members.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]Doug Williamson will serve the company as VP of business development. He is a veteran of the mortgage servicing and default industries, possessing experience spanning servicing operations, customer service, collections, foreclosure, bankruptcy, and REO asset management and disposition.Brandon Gallegos is Realty Pilot’s new director of client relations, focusing on enhancing the system for current clients and users. Gallegos is a long-time default industries professional with broad experience ranging from legal and senior asset manager positions to director roles for many of the top servicers and outsourcers.Finally, Leyla Alhosseini will put her focus on new clients and business development as an account executive. Alhosseini maintains a successful real estate brokerage in the San Francisco Bay area, and her prior career saw her working in technology in software engineer and support roles. Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2013-08-08 Tory Barringer in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing August 8, 2013 419 Views Share
July 24, 2014 454 Views The national housing market moved slightly farther away from stability in May as applications for home purchase mortgages remained subdued.Freddie Mac’s Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi) for the month slipped to a value of -2.64 in May, indicating a slightly weaker market than in April, when the index measured -2.59.The index tracks national and state-level market data to gauge how the single-family housing market is faring against its long-term stable range based on home purchase applications, payment-to-income ratios, proportion of on-time mortgage payments, and local employment. An index value between -2 and 2 is considered to be in the ideal range between a weak market and one that is overheating beyond sustainable levels.While the index has been relatively flat over the last few months, Freddie Mac notes yearly comparisons look more promising, with an increase of 0.86 points and improvement in most of the different indicators.”When we look at the other MiMi indicators outside of mortgage purchase applications, the news remains positive—unemployment rates are coming down, more borrowers are paying their mortgages on time, and mortgage rates remain low,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie Mac. “So we remain cautiously optimistic the housing recovery will continue, albeit slowly, until we see more tightening in the labor markets to give personal incomes a much needed jolt.”Also encouraging is the fact that more markets at the metro level are returning to their stable range of activity even as the country as a whole struggles to get out of “stall speed.”The standout market in May, said deputy chief economist Len Kiefer, was Salt Lake City, which saw three of its four MiMi indicators climb into a stable range.”In fact, on a yearly basis, the metro area find sits purchase applications are up,” Kiefer said. “The positive trend in home purchase applications reflects a strong local labor market, with employment growth in the Salt Lake City metro area about double the national average.”Also joining the list of stable areas in May were Los Angeles, Nashville, and Pittsburgh, bringing eight of the 50 surveyed metro markets up into their stable range.At the state level, 13 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia are now in their stable range, with Idaho and Utah joining the list. 2014-07-24 Tory Barringer in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Market Index Shows Continued Stall in Housing Share
June 9, 2015 410 Views in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News Today, in joint release the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) agencies issued a final interagency policy statement establishing joint standards for assessing the diversity policies and practices of the entities they regulate.According to the release, Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act) required these agencies to establish an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) at each agency to be responsible for all matters relating to diversity in management, employment, and business activities. The Dodd-Frank Act also required that each OMWI director to come up with standards for addressing the diversity policies and practices of the agencies’ regulated entities.“The final standards, which are generally similar to the proposed standards, provide a framework for regulated entities to create and strengthen their diversity policies and practices—including their organizational commitment to diversity, workforce and employment practices, procurement and business practices, and practices to promote transparency of organizational diversity and inclusion within the entities’ U.S. operations,” the agencies said.The newly proposed standards say that both employment and contracting entities should consider diversity in recruiting, hiring, retention, and promotion. Candidates, board members, senior management, and other senior leaders should be diverse and include women and minorities. The entities will also be required to provide regular progress reports to their boards and senior management and offer training and education on equal employment opportunities, diversity, and inclusion efforts.In order to develop the standards, the agencies held extensive discussions with depository institutions, holding companies, and industry trade groups, where the agencies gathered their views on appropriate standards and information about the successes and challenges of existing diversity policies.The agencies also reached out to financial professionals, consumer advocates, and community representatives to better understand the problems that minorities and women encounter in obtaining employment and business opportunities within the financial services industry, according to the release.The statement represents over 200 comments that were submitted for the proposed standards that were originally issued in 2013, the agencies noted. The final interagency policy statement is effective on publication in the Federal Register.The agencies also requested for public comments in the release regarding the information collection aspects of the final joint standards as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act. They are asking that the comments be made within 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. The effective date of the collection of information will be announced in the Federal Register following Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval.Click here to view the Final Interagency Policy Statement Joint Release. Share Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Diversity and Minorities Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Securities and Exchange Commission 2015-06-09 Staff Writer Fed Agencies Issue Final Standards for Diversity and Practices of Regulated Entities
TRID Rules in Full Effect…Sort of Share TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule compliance is finally here. The companies in the mortgage industry now have no choice but to accept it and comply with it. Pramod Karachur, project manager at IndiSoft, outlines how many, but not all, are adjusting to the new regulation and offers advice to those that are still working toward compliance.After delayed implementation, every lender has to be in compliance, ensure their business partners are in compliance, and that their technology is compliant as well. This is no short feat considering the number of lenders and vendors in the industry.There are some good signs that the industry is well on the way to embracing TRID. A survey conducted last month by the National Association of Realtors of its more than 1 million members found that 75 percent of the title companies are compliant and 65 percent of the lenders are compliant with TRID. While these numbers are promising, it is still not 100 percent. At least the remaining companies that are not yet compliant are almost compliant otherwise they would have to face hefty fines from CFPB.Pramod Karachur”Once the storm of implementation has passed, companies will become familiar with TRID as with any other rule and, it will become just another rule to follow.”Companies that are not yet complaint yet can breathe a little easier. CFPB’s Director Richard Cordray said in a House Committee on Financial Services hearing on September 29, 2015, companies that have put forth a good faith effort to implement the TRID regulations will have “some period of months” to work out any problems. The CFPB is aware that companies may not be completely compliant as of day one of the TRID rules. This is a big relief for all companies, those already compliant and those closes to it. However, CFPB has not clearly said as how long it will be lenient with companies in the process of becoming compliant.Like any new regulations, companies are somewhat overwhelmed in the effort to become completely TRID compliant by the deadline. This does not mean they are unwilling to comply, just bombarded with regulatory demands on top of the need to conduct business day to day to stay in business. Once the storm of implementation has passed, companies will become familiar with TRID as with any other rule and, it will become just another rule to follow.Click here to learn more about IndiSoft. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Economic Indicators Mortgage Industry TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule 2015-10-16 Staff Writer October 16, 2015 601 Views in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News, Technology
August 31, 2016 920 Views Single-family residential loan originations were down 4 percent over-the-year in Q2 (totaling about 1.87 million during the quarter), according to the Q2 2016 U.S. Residential Property Loan Origination Report from ATTOM Data Solutions, parent company of RealtyTrac.The over-the-year decline in residential originations was largely driven by a 12 percent decline in refinance originations during the quarter, the second consecutive quarter with an annual decrease.One particular segment of the originations market has enjoyed continued success for more than four years, however. Home Equity Line of Credit Originations (HELOC) originations rose by 5 percent over-the-year in Q2, which was the 17th straight quarter that HELOC originations have increased year-over-year.“Homeowners are increasingly tapping the home equity that many have built up during the last four years of rapidly rising home prices,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at RealtyTrac. “Meanwhile those rapidly rising prices are also locking some non-cash buyers out of red-hot but high-priced markets, resulting in weaker purchase loan originations in places like Denver, San Francisco, Portland and Dallas. On the other hand, more affordable markets such as Cleveland, Kansas City and Boise are posting double-digit increases in purchase loan originations.”The metros with the largest over-the-year increased in HELOC originations during Q2 (out of metros with a population of at least half a million and 5,000 total originations in Q2) were Dallas (36 percent increase), Birmingham (30 percent), Phoenix (28 percent), Sacramento (27 percent), and Seattle and Columbus with 25 percent each.Rounding out the top 10 markets with the largest year-over-year increases in HELOC originations for Q2 were Provo-Orem, Utah; Denver; and Orlando, each with a 24 percent increase; and Cleveland with a 23 percent hike.“The combination of rapidly rising home prices and historically low interest rates has resulted in a substantial increase in the number of homeowners taking out a home equity line of credit (HELOC) in the greater Seattle area,” said Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate, covering the Seattle market. “I believe the popularity of HELOCs compared to cash-out refinances is likely due to the fact that interest rates are traditionally lower for HELOCs. Additionally, if equity is withdrawn during a refinance, homeowners must begin paying back the funds immediately, whereas a HELOC allows you to use the funds as needed.”HELOC originations were not the only origination segment that has been experiencing increases. Purchase originations were up 1 percent over-the-year in Q2, which was the eighth straight quarter with a year-over-year increase.Click here to view the entire report. Tapping Home Equity: The Rise of HELOCs in Daily Dose, News, Origination HELOCs Originations Refinances 2016-08-31 Seth Welborn Share
in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Americans want to buy homes and they want to buy them as an investment option. According to a study on homebuyers by NerdWallet, a personal finance website, 75 percent Americans say that buying a home was a priority for them. NerdWallet analyzed data of more than 2,000 adults surveyed, the company’s mortgage calculator, data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and other sources to develop the study on current home buying sentiments, concerns, and outlook.The study found that most Americans considered buying a home as a good investment with 64 percent of the people surveyed citing this as a reason to buy a home. And it’s not only the older generation that feels this way. Around 56 percent millennials felt that they would rather own a home that appreciated in value than have more money in retirement savings, reflecting the sentiment of 52 percent of the overall people surveyed.Infact, according to the survey, 82 percent millennials said that buying a home was a priority compared with 75 percent of generation X and 69 percent of baby boomers. Millennials also aspired to buy more homes, on average throughout their lifetime and were most likely to say that they would like to buy a home to rent out for extra income.However, the costs for purchasing a home are a top concern for most Americans who rent. Though 91 percent of the people surveyed said that they would like to own at least one home in their lifetime, 88 percent of current renters had concerns about purchasing one due to the financial costs associated with. The survey also found 35 percent reported that they were currently renting their primary residence but only 17 percent said they preferred renting to owning regardless of their current living situation.Renters with home buying concerns also cited the mortgage application process as what kept them from buying a home with 28 percent saying they were concerned about this process. Loan servicing, payments, modification and collections were some of the pet peeves of homebuyers against mortgage lenders. According to the survey that analyzed data from CFPB, approximately 3,338 complaints filed with CFPB related specifically to the mortgage application or underwriting processes in 2017. However, thousands were directly related to getting a mortgage in the first place.When it came to down payment, the survey, using NerdWallet’s mortgage calculator data indicated potential buyers intending to put down approximately 20 percent towards the down payment of a home.To learn more about homebuyers’ sentiment click here. February 1, 2018 572 Views Share Americans Buying CFPB Home Buying Sentiments Homebuyers Investment Millennials mortgage NerdWallet Payments Rent Servicing 2018-02-01 Radhika Ojha Buying a Home is a Top Priority for Americans
Congratulations to the three lucky winners of Travel Monitor’s Keith Urban Competition!Heading to see Keith Urban at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne is Rhonda Smith from Executive Edge Travel; off to the Sydney show at the new ICC at Darling Harbour is Janelle Anderson from Moss Vale Cruise and Travel; and making her way to Brisbane Entertainment Centre is Rondell Herriot from Saizen Tours.Thank you to everyone who entered – we’ll have more fantastic competitions on the new-look Travel Monitor in 2017! CompetitionsFun Stuff
8Hotels has launched the world’s first astrology hotel in Sydney. The Ultimo Hotel in Haymarket features ‘everything star-struck travellers need’ and offers guests the chance to explore the city based on their sign.In partnership with leading astrologer Damian Rocks, The Ultimo has created unique experiences throughout the hotel to make guests feel aligned to their astrological sign, with city guides recommending the best ‘Gastrology’ (places to eat and drink) and ‘Experiology’ (things to see and do) destinations for each star sign. There are also zodiac appropriate ‘Do not Disturb’ signs, daily horoscopes, slippers in matching zodiac designs, as well as monthly updated horoscopes on the website.After a recent refurbishment, the boutique hotel features 95 rooms across seven categories, from cosy Ultimo Single to spacious Ultimo Courtyard. Stars Like You Astro Packages, complimentary Wi-Fi, a barista coffee station, Astrolo-tea specially selected to match guests’ zodiac signs and an astrology library round out the experience in the vibrant Chinatown neighbourhood.The Ultimo Hotel is offering 20% discount off its Astrology packages for the months of February and March. Email email@example.com for bookings.Images: Nikki To 8HotelsastrologyThe Ultimo Hotel
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Since completing his collegiate career at Arizona State in 2010, Kerry Taylor has worn a lot of different NFL uniforms.The former Hamilton High star has donned the jerseys of the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers and Minnesota Vikings. However, Taylor hasn’t been able to suit up most Sundays.Such is the plight of the practice squad player — a role Taylor has known all too well. After New England released him from the practice squad last September, Taylor hooked on with the Arizona Cardinals and even got the chance to dress for the season finale against the 49ers, although he didn’t play in the game. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Comments Share Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories – / 13 Taylor has looked good in training camp thus far, and notices something different with this camp as opposed to the others he’s participated in.“This is the first camp where I’ve been given a real opportunity,” Taylor said Tuesday. “The numbers have been in my favor this time around and I’ve just got to make the most of the opportunity. I feel really comfortable with the offense and I have a good opportunity here to make things happen.”The Cardinals released their first preseason depth chart Monday, and Taylor is listed as the fourth receiver behind veterans Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Roberts and second-year pro Michael Floyd. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the 24-year-old has been sidelined the last two days with a minor hamstring injury.As far as the depth chart, Taylor isn’t all that concerned about where he is on the coaching staff’s pecking order right now.“I don’t really worry about that stuff,” he said. “I just try to come out every day and work as hard as I can. Numbers change, people are going to be here, people aren’t going to be here, so hopefully I’ll still be in the same spot when camp ends.” The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo One way to ensure that he’ll make the final 53-man roster is to impress in the preseason games. Head coach Bruce Arians mentioned Taylor as a player who could possibly return in time for the Cardinals’ preseason opener Friday in Green Bay against the Packers.“It’s one of those things where if it was a regular game, it might be a little different. You never know what the training staff wants you to do,” he said. “I’m just trying to get back as fast as a I can, but making smart decisions at the same time.”
Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires TEMPE, Ariz. — The last time Sean Weatherspoon took the field for a regular season NFL game was Dec. 15, 2013. He made one tackle before leaving with a knee injury that cost him the remainder of the year, and then the following offseason he ruptured an Achilles tendon during an OTA practice.Needless to say, getting out on the field Sunday for the Arizona Cardinals’ Week 1 matchup with the New Orleans Saints carries some added significance for the former Atlanta Falcon. Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Arizona Cardinals’ Sean Weatherspoon (55) walks past Damond Smith (42) during an NFL football organized team activity Tuesday, June 9, 2015, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact “It’s fun,” Weatherspoon said. “I thought I’d be preparing for Drew Brees last year Week 1 and I wasn’t. So I’m just taking it one day at a time and coming out here getting from my coach and just continuing to work, get more reps in practice and just having fun with it.“I’m just going to be preparing to go out there and do whatever they ask me to do on defense. I’m just thankful.”Weatherspoon signed a one-year contract with the Cardinals with the idea that he could provide the team some impact play at a position of need while rehabilitating his image and reputation in the NFL. It’s not that he is viewed as an unproductive player — he has amassed 336 total tackles, eight sacks, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble in 47 games as a pro — but rather, he has understandably been seen as a guy who just could not stay healthy.He dealt with a hamstring injury for most of training camp, finally getting on the field and making his preseason debut last week against the Denver Broncos. He played into the third quarter of that game, finishing with three tackles.Weatherspoon said it felt great to play football again, and for the Cardinals, getting the former first-round pick healthy will add to a linebacker group that enters the season with some question marks. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Comments Share “It’s great, you see him running around starting to play, he’s getting his confidence back, getting his game legs going, got more and more snaps as the week went on,” defensive coordinator James Bettcher said of what it means to have ‘Spoon back on the field. “All that does is it just helps us in a rotation with guys. Helps with depth overall, and he’s going to have some packages. He’s going to be in there rolling and playing.”Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, in fact, said Weatherspoon is slated to be a backup in about six packages and a starter in another, meaning he will have a “major role” in the team’s effort Sunday against the Saints.Weatherspoon, though, is less concerned about how much he will be play than he is about just being able to. It’s been a while.“I’m ready for whatever,” he said. “That’s it.”
Top Stories Gallery could not load. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo “Never does it finish happily for him,” Reddick said of opposing QBs.He sprinted 10 yards in 1.64 seconds and pushed through 1,500 pounds of heavy bags in 1.36 seconds. The heavy bags time was the fastest that Sports Science had recorded in the last five combines, they said.The staffers also recorded Reddick producing 2,000 microvolts of electricity in his legs, so if you were hoping that the Cardinals would draft an electric player on defense, well, they did — literally.The “Sports Science” folks project the 6-foot-1, 237-pound linebacker’s ceiling to be similar to five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison. Reddick better hope he lives up to the hype, because he’s going to owe those television producers some money for a new crash test dummy.When asked whether he felt bad about hitting the dummy by Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, Reddick replied, “Not at all, not at all.” Comments Share Before the Cardinals selected Temple linebacker Haason Reddick in the NFL Draft on Thursday, he appeared on ESPN’s “Sports Science” and turned some heads.Or, in the case of a crash test dummy, he knocked a head loose from its body.The No. 13 overall draft selection told host John Brinkus that in Temple’s 14 games last year, the opposing starting quarterback finished the game only twice. Maybe that was partly because of Reddick’s explosive speed and power. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
9 Comments Share Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Arizona legend Kurt Warner gave his thoughts on the team’s quarterback situation during an interview on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Doug & Wolf.“It’s always more pressure when you’ve got a guy looking over your shoulder and you’ve got people clamoring for the young guy,” Warner said. “You’re in a situation where you know everybody wants to start the future. Now that doesn’t mean that they don’t want Sam (Bradford) to play right now and have a great season, it’s just that we know this guy is the future.”Related LinksGov. Doug Ducey talks Bradford-Rosen debate, stadiums and Arizona sportsQB Josh Rosen will play ‘when the time is right,’ Cardinals GM saysArizona Cardinals defense may have to trigger first win of seasonBradford faced two tough defenses to start the season with Washington and Los Angeles. Both teams finished top-four in passes defended last season and are headlined by star defensive backs Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters and Josh Norman. The Cardinals’ difficult schedule will continue on Sunday when they face a Chicago defense that leads the NFL in sacks through two games.Still, Bradford’s role with the Cardinals is threatened by the young gun waiting in the background. There’s no telling when Rosen’s professional journey will begin, but the window is opening for a sooner opportunity with Bradford struggling. Through Bradford’s first two starts, the Cardinals rank dead last in both first downs and third down conversions with 19 and 4 respectively. “[Rosen] is the guy that we expect to lead our franchise for the next decade or so, so when does that era start,” Warner said. “You’re caught between wanting to play great football but also knowing if you have one of those games where you’re trying to play confident and things just don’t go your direction. It could easily not be your fault, right? Now Sam’s in a tough spot to figure out how to play football now with the guys around him and the situation that he’s in so he can continue to play and do what this team needs him to do to win.”Rosen has yet to log any minutes for Arizona in the regular season, but he connected on 16-of-29 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown through two preseason games. Bradford will likely retain the starting position in the near future, but the team’s recent struggles may force head coach Steve Wilks’ into a change of direction moving forward. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner reacts after the NFL NFC championship football game against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals won 32-25. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo It’s been a rough start to the season for the Arizona Cardinals, who’ve dropped their first two games by an average margin of 26 points. In his first two games in Glendale, quarterback Sam Bradford has put up just 243 yards on a completion rate of 60.7 percent.Waiting in his shadow is rookie quarterback Josh Rosen, who was taken with the tenth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The UCLA phenom finished his senior campaign with 3756 passing yards on a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 26-to-10.
Go back to the e-newsletterBritish Airways is launching a new service to the French Alpine city of Chambery from Stansted and extending its Berlin service through the winter.The airline started flying from Stansted for the first time in May this year, adding a fourth London airport to its network. Summer-only flights to Berlin, Faro, Ibiza, Malaga and Palma were due to operate until the end of October. But Berlin will continue through the winter and services to Faro and Malaga will be extended until 20 November.The new twice-weekly service to Chambery will start on 16 December, complementing the British Airways service from London City Airport which operates three times a week increasing to a daily service over the Christmas and New Year period. Chambery is a gateway to many of the popular Alpine ski resorts in the area.Luke Hayhoe, British Airways’ General Manager Commercial and Customer said: “Our flights from Stansted have proved so popular with customers that we wanted to continue flying through the winter. The introduction of the new service to Chambery also gives skiers and winter sports enthusiasts a gateway to one of the best Alpine snow regions direct from their doorstep.”Mats Sigurdson, Stansted’s Aviation Director, said: “It’s fantastic news for passengers that British Airways will continue to offer flights during the winter season to Berlin plus launch an exciting new route to Chambery to serve the Alpine ski resorts of France. “The announcement is a real vote of confidence in Stansted and recognition of the strong demand that exists across the region and will provide passengers with even more opportunities to fly from their local airport this winter.”Go back to the e-newsletter