Sen. Claire McCaskill has introduced a bill to the U.S. Senate that would require hotels and online booking sites to divulge any fees during the primary booking process that would otherwise be charged at the end of a stay. AH&LA President Katherine Lugar believes the legislation would empower online travel agencies to hide their service fees, potentially give third-party online booking sites an opportunity to conceal their own fees, and promote confusion among consumers and local governments. To read more, click here.
An unusually slow recovery and unpredictable financial markets may be driving up recession worries, but it’s not all doom and gloom for the U.S. economy. The American stock market may be headed for a comeback, according to CNN Money. Two weeks ago, the market was in a tizzy over the crash in oil prices and depressing global growth. Although it closed lower on Friday, the Dow was up 1,100 points since its lowest point on Feb. 11, the article states. The S&P 500 also rose 4.7 percent over the prior two weeks. It’s certainly been a wild ride for investors. According to Bespoke Investment Group, 2016 has been the third-most chaotic start to a year in the history of the S&P 500. March may be the best chance for a stock market rally, a Raymond James analyst report reveals. The first five days of March have all posted annualized returns going back to 1950, the report shows. Historical data also suggests that markets tend to rally in the week following a Super Tuesday, in which a clear front-runner is chosen by the the political parties. To read more, click here.
A subject of controversy for American businesses, the H-2B visa program—which is used in mostly the landscaping, forestry, amusement, tourism, and construction industries—allows low-skilled seasonal workers into the United States. While some would argue that H-2B negatively impacts native American workers, federal delays regarding the visa program are currently putting businesses that depend on it for seasonal labor in a tight spot. To read more, click here.
Even though customers “unsurprisingly hated” Hilton Worldwide’s experimental guest cancellation fees, the company will continue to test and implement new fees and pricing throughout the year, Skift reports. In November, Hilton started testing a $50 charge for canceling a room any time after booking, in a small set of hotels. Travelers have been trained to wait for better pricing by booking closer to the day of their arrival as hotels are caught in a discounting trap, says Pebblebrook Hotel Trust CFO Raymond D. Martz. To read more, click here.
While the hotel industry has recently amplified its rivalry with Airbnb, it is not yet apparent whether hotel operators are concerned that Airbnb is an actual threat to their business. According to information received by investors, most companies agree that while it is possible Airbnb is disturbing their ability to increase prices at times of peak demand in markets, they’re not sweating over it just yet. Read more here.
The results of STR’s study of Airbnb’s impact on the New York City hotel market during holidays and events are mixed. The data reveals that hotels gained significant occupancy and rates during some events, but experienced slight declines during others. The study says that Airbnb is likely taking some of the demand, but is also adding demand to the market, particularly in New York boroughs with a smaller hotel presence. According to the data, the largest increases in Airbnb supply and demand occurred between Christmas and the New Year in 2014. Hotel occupancy was around 1 percent higher than Airbnb on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. The second largest spike was over Thanksgiving weekend. In 2015, STR found hotel occupancy was down 2 percent, while Airbnb occupancy growth was up 25 percent. For more findings, click here.