The Marriott-Starwood merger was one of the biggest hospitality stories of 2015. However, most people don’t know the long and winding road it took to get to that point. Marriott was one of 30 contenders who expressed interest in Starwood after the company announced it was for sale in April. And, even though Marriott met with Starwood early on, the company was hesitant to move forward, even withdrawing from the process in August. It wasn’t until about two weeks before the final sale that Marriott jumped back into the game before closing the deal on Nov. 16. To learn more about this story, click here.
Franchise employment growth finished strong in December, adding the second most jobs of any month in 2015. According to the ADP National Franchise Report, U.S. private-sector franchise jobs increased by 48,600. Restaurants had their second biggest month of the year and accounted for two-thirds of the jobs added in December. The accommodations sector increased by 0.5 percent. Private sector small business employment also experienced a bump, increasing by 95,000 jobs from November to December, the ADP Small Business Report reveals.
By all indications, the dollar will remain strong for the foreseeable future, which means that it will continue to create headwinds for foreign visitors interested in coming to the United States. International travelers often stay longer and spend more than American tourists, so their business is much needed in gateway cities. Of 56.5 million visitors to New York last year, about 1 in 5 came from abroad. At the end of last year, the strong dollar hadn’t reduced the number of visitors coming from abroad, but it did put a dent in spending per traveler. But with so many foreign travelers now booking their trips farther in advance, the impact of the strong dollar along with the ongoing weakness in overseas economies could finally make a noticeable impact on guest bookings from overseas. Read more here.
Goldman Sachs has invested 4.4 billion rupees ($66 million) for a significant minority stake in Indian hotel investment and development firm Samhi Hotels, the companies said in a statement on Tuesday. Samhi, which operates 10 hotels and is developing 16 more, will use the money to grow its portfolio to about 30 to 35 properties, the company’s CEO Ashish Jakhanwala told Reuters. Samhi’s hotel properties are operated by major global hotel companies such as Marriott, Accor, Hyatt, and Starwood under their brand names. A gradual recovery in India is boosting demand for hotel rooms. To read more, click here.
Stock markets around the world are recovering today with Asian stocks closing slightly down, and European and New York markets opening higher. This was after a day in which stocks plummeted in China due to bad manufacturing news and worries about the Chinese currency, which led to a European stock sell-off and turned into a stock rout in the U.S. As far as new years go, the Dow drop of 276.09, or 1.58 percent, was the ninth worst first day in Wall Street history. Hotel stocks on the whole remained down, following a trend that started at the end of last year. Beyond China concerns, investors increasingly have concerns that the growing tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran could lead to higher oil prices. To read more, click here.
Last month, the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade as the unemployment rate continues to decline. While the move demonstrated a vote of confidence in the U.S. economy, Americans are still feeling the effects of the Great Recession, says Politico Magazine. With global economic risks ranging from China’s slowing growth to terrorism threats in the Middle East and beyond, some of the country’s leading economic thinkers share their predictions as to whether the economy could tank in 2016. One of the greatest challenges facing the U.S. is a lower trend economic growth rate, one expert says. To find out what else to expect in the U.S. and global markets this year, click here.