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On Friday, Congress passed an Omnibus Appropriations bill to fund the government through September of this year and the President signed it into law. This year’s spending bill includes two provisions supported by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) concern legal guest worker programs. The industry says that the provisions are critical to further helping hotels meet seasonal labor needs.

The bill authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to raise caps on the H-2B visa program up to 129,547 visas. In addition, funding for the J-1 Cultural Exchange Visa Program—$646 million—is the same as 2017 and greater than the President’s budget.

The industry says that these two steps will help provide relief to employers who rely on seasonal guest workers and help meet the needs of hotel guests.

Omni Hotels & Resorts has promoted Peter Strebel to president. In his tenure, Strebel served in positions for Omni including chief marketing officer and senior vice president of sales. In the president position, Strebel will align the company’s objectives and operational areas.

For more of this week’s notable hospitality comings and goings, click here.

Christine Sutton has been promoted to senior vice president of the U.S. division of STA Travel. Before joining the STA in 2015, Sutton served for 14 years at Austravel in various consultant and management positions.

For look at other notable comings and goings that happened this week, click here.

The total hotel construction pipeline in China has 2,471 projects and 548,628 rooms, up 6 percent by project year-over-year (YOY), according to Lodging Econometric’s recent China Construction Pipeline Trend Report.

The number of hotel projects under construction in China is up 4 percent YOY to 1,743 projects and 374,156 rooms. The number of projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months is up 28 percent YOY to 365 projects/80,216 rooms, while projects in early planning stages are down by 5 percent to 363 projects/94,256 rooms.

The hotel companies with the most projects in China’s construction pipeline are Hilton Worldwide with 327 projects/77,270 rooms, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) with 281 projects/69,893 rooms, and Marriott International with 268 projects/75,472 rooms. The largest brand in the pipeline for each of these companies is Hilton’s Hampton Inn & Suites with 145 projects/22,412 rooms, IHG’s Holiday Inn Express with 124 projects/24,285 rooms, and Marriott’s full-service hotel with 60 projects/18,671 rooms.

The cities in China with the biggest hotel construction pipelines are Shanghai with 132 projects/25,367 rooms, Guangzhou with 106 projects/25,015 rooms, Chengdu with 93 projects/20,788 rooms, Hangzhou with 79 projects/17,996 rooms, Suzhou with 75 projects/14,360 rooms, and Beijing with 72 projects/13,009 rooms.

Lodging Econometrics has released its Global Construction Pipeline Trend Report, which compiles the construction pipeline for every country and market in the world. Currently, the regions with the most hotel projects in the construction pipeline are North America with 6,226 projects/797,949 rooms, Asia Pacific with 4,231 projects/911,454 rooms, and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) with 2,174 projects/418,391 rooms.

The countries with the most hotel construction projects are the United States with 5,151 projects/623,695 rooms and China with 2,519 projects/560,664 rooms. The United States accounts for 41 percent of hotel projects in the global pipeline while China accounts for 20 percent, so that 61 percent of the global pipeline is concentrated in just two countries.

The cities with the largest hotel construction pipelines are: New York with 180 projects/30,699 rooms, Dallas with 149 projects/17,860 rooms, Houston with 146 projects/15,714 rooms, Dubai with 143 projects/40,631 rooms, and Shanghai 132 projects/25,367 rooms.

The total hotel construction pipeline in Canada currently has 244 projects totaling 32,170 rooms, up 17 percent by projects year-over-year (YOY), according to Lodging Econometrics.

The number of projects under construction in Canada is up 19 percent YOY, totaling 87 projects and 11,286 rooms Under Construction. Hotels scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months are up 15 percent at 91 projects/10,536 rooms. The number of hotel projects in early planning stages in Canada is up 18 percent YOY at 66 projects/10,348 rooms.

The hotel companies with the most projects in Canada’s construction pipeline are: Marriott with 54 projects/7,764 rooms, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) with 43 projects/4,436 rooms, and Hilton with 37 projects/4,218 rooms. The largest brands in the pipeline for each of these companies are: Courtyard by Marriott with 110 projects/1,597 rooms, IHG’s Holiday Inn Express with 30 projects/3,129 rooms, and Hilton’s Hampton Inn & Suites with 12 projects/1,231 rooms.

Cities in Canada with the largest hotel pipelines are: Toronto with 36 projects/5144 rooms, Calgary with 14 projects/2,221 rooms, and Edmonton with 12 projects/1,825 rooms.

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