The American Hotel & Lodging Association released a new study today that reveals a growing number of commercial landlords are using Airbnb to run unregulated hotels in major cities. The study, which was conducted by researchers at Penn State University’s School of Hospitality Management, shows that nearly 30 percent of Airbnb’s revenue in 12 major U.S. markets comes from full-time operators, who have rentals available 360 days a year. The number of hosts renting out multiple properties on Airbnb is also rapidly growing, driving an increasingly large share of revenue. To view the full study, click here.
Lodging has pushed past air to become the largest segment of the U.S. travel market at $144 billion, according to a new report from Phocuswright. Lodging revenue increased 8 percent in 2015 following a 9 percent rise the year prior, and is predicted to hit $163.3 billion in 2017, the study shows. As a whole, the U.S. travel market grew 5 percent in 2015 to reach a total of $341 billion, marking the fourth straight year for growth. For more findings, click here.
Hotel real estate investment trust Ashford Hospitality Prime is embroiled in a proxy fight for control of its board with shareholder Sessa Capital, which owns about 8.2 percent of the trust. Sessa representatives have been vocal regarding their disapproval of Ashford Prime’s relationship with its advisory company, Ashford Inc., over governance and conflicts of interest. Ashford Prime and Ashford Inc. share much of their management, including chairman and CEO Monty Bennet. To read more, click here.
The Chinese markets might be all over the place, but the country’s GDP is still forecast to grow about 7 percent, which is on track with Beijing’s target of 6.5 percent GDP growth through 2020. While China’s full GDP report will be released at 9 p.m. today, a sure bright spot will be the tourism sector, which saw a 42 percent increase in investment (for a total of $152 billion in 2015) over the previous year, according to China’s National Tourism Administration. It estimates that tourism investment in China will surpass $455 billion in the next three years. This is good news for hotels since, according to China’s Tourism Administration, Chinese citizens made over 4 billion domestic trips and 120 million trips overseas. A new GfK study revealed that China produced 109 million outbound tourists last year, and they spent $229 billion. According to GfK, half of China’s outbound travelers are ages 15-29 years old while 37 percent fall into the 30-44 age group and 10 percent are 45-59. Read more here.
The famed Ahwahnee Hotel and other Yosemite National Park landmarks will be renamed amid a legal dispute between the National Park Service and Yosemite’s outgoing concessionaire, DNC Parks & Resorts, the Los Angeles Times reports. DNC seeks more than $50 million for the rights to the original names, the article states. In response, the National Park Service will rename several buildings and facilities within the park to eliminate potential trademark infringement issues for Aramark, which will take over operations on March 1. To read more, click here.
Through most of the economic recovery, wage growth has hovered around 2 percent annually. But in the last few months, it has started to tick up. It hit 2.5 percent in December, thanks largely to the 5 percent unemployment rate (on average 284,000 jobs were added to U.S. payrolls in the last three months of 2015). While the external factor that will continue to have the greatest influence on labor costs this year is the continuing decline in the national unemployment rate, the lodging industry for one has slowed down turnover rates and retained good labor by providing significant opportunities for upward mobility, according to a new WageWatch study published in partnership with AH&LA. The study found that people who started their careers in the lodging industry tend to stay, finding new opportunities and high job satisfaction. According to the report, half or more of corporate executives began their hotel career in hourly entry-level positions and more than half of hotel general managers did the same. Click here to read more.