Last year was a boom time for California’s hotel industry, with the state setting records in terms of sales volume, price per room, and new construction. This era of increased development offers hoteliers strong performance metrics, but at the same time can present roadblocks in the form of more competition for both project dollars and guests. California added 34 new hotels with 4,395 rooms in 2015, and 98 hotels (15,833 rooms) were under construction as of the end of the year. Despite the rapid development growth, hoteliers are not yet concerned about oversupply, as they do not anticipate it to be significantly higher than the long-run average. In addition to high levels of development, total sales volume jumped 87 percent year-over-year to a record $9.5 billion. To read more, click here.
Following a series of attacks throughout Europe, including the March 22 attacks in Brussels declared by ISIL, the State Department has cautioned U.S. citizens of potential travel risks as terrorist groups persist with plans to attack throughout Europe, preying on sporting events, tourist sites, restaurants and transportation. The travel alert will expire on June 20. To read more, click here.
Even though Starwood Hotels & Resorts has accepted Marriott International’s sweetened $13.6 billion offer, some analysts believe Anbang Insurance Group may yet win out with a higher all-cash bid. Other media reports claim Chinese regulators could block Anbang’s bids for both Starwood and Strategic Hotels & Resorts. Read more here.
Europe’s travel and tourism industry is reeling again following the deadly terror attacks in Brussels yesterday. Three explosions, two which took place at the city’s main international airport and one at a subway station in central Brussels, left 31 people dead and another 270 injured. Belgium continues to mourn victims and the airport remains closed, but transport links in Brussels are up and running again as life begins to return to normal. Experience shows that countries can bounce back quickly from terrorist attacks, even if travel and tourism declines in the immediate aftermath, and business and consumer confidence suffers a temporary setback, writes CNN Money. Spain and the U.K. are proof that economic activity is fairly resilient to terrorist attacks. The number of tourists arriving in Spain recovered within weeks following the 2004 Madrid train bombings and there was no notable impact on arrivals to the U.K. after the 2005 London bombings, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. And with improved disaster planning and communication strategies, the hotel industry has also become more resilient to terrorism in recent years. That being said, travel firm Thomas Cook said its overall summer bookings to Europe are lower than this time last year. To read more, click here.
A new PiperJaffray report suggests that while Airbnb will make share gains in vacation rentals, its adverse impact on online travel agencies will be just 5.3 percent between 2016 and 2020. The report forecasts that Airbnb will not be successful in selling hotel rooms because, among other reasons, it does not have the resources to competitively market hotels against established OTAs. To read more, click here.
Priceline has become the first U.S. online travel company to strike a deal with the Cuban government. The terms of Cuba and Priceline’s agreement make it possible to book Cuban hotel rooms on Priceline’s subsidiary, Booking.com. This deal has been in the works since President Obama announced his intention to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba in December 2014. To read more, click here.