The first regulatory hurdle for the Marriott/Starwood merger was cleared on Monday when the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission did not challenge the deal under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976. Marriott and Starwood will vote on the merger in separate stockholder meetings at the end of the month. To learn more, click here.
According to a new whitepaper by hotel technology experts Dr. Peter O’Connor, SiteMinder, and Revinate, managed guest relationships, integrated technology systems, and improved data collection and security are hoteliers top needs when it comes to distribution and online marketing. The whitepaper, “Envisioning the Future of Online Distribution and Online Marketing,” found that hoteliers are very aware of how rapidly advancing technology can impact their business. To read more, click here.
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.