FelCor is selling Morgans Hotel NYC for $41 million in its merger with RLJ Lodging Trust. Once sold, the property will be used for residential purposes. The merger, announced late April, will focus on hotels that are full-service and in urban locations with the majority of revenue coming from guest rooms. Read more.
Even though U.S. workers took 5 percent more vacation days in 2016 vs. 2014, they still gave up a total of 662 million days, according to U.S. Travel’s Project: Time Off report. Taking those otherwise lost vacation days could mean an additional $128 billion in direct spending on hotels and other travel brands. Read more.
A new poll commissioned by the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) details the extent to which online booking scams are impacting consumers. Since 2015, the number of U.S. travelers who reported booking on what they believed was a hotel’s official website, but was really a fraudulent site, nearly quadrupled from 6 percent to 22 percent—translating to $3.9 billion in “bad” bookings. The poll found that 74 percent of travelers have less confidence booking with third party sites after learning more about the prevalence of scams and deceptive marketing tactics. Read more.
Branded full-service hotels in the U.S. recorded a 2.4-percent increase in gross operating profit per available room (GOPPAR) year-to-date April compared with the same period in 2016, according to HotStats—a monthly hotel profit-and-loss benchmarking service that has recently launched its platform in the United States.
Looking at trend data, GOP conversion has been flat since the 4th quarter of 2015 at around 37 percent, but below the 39 percent to 38 percent margins enjoyed in previous years. Increasing payroll costs continue to be the main profit threat with rolling 12-months to April 2017 levels at 33.7 percent of total revenue, a 0.4-percent increase in the same period in 2016 and 1.3-percent increase versus 2015.
Pablo Alonso, CEO of HotStats, said: “The headwinds of payroll, as well as rooms cost of sales, are putting profits under pressure. However, we believe that with better, comparable, and current data, revenue improvements and cost-saving opportunities can be identified to drive profitability and deliver enhanced value to owners and operators.”
The United Nations has named this the year of sustainable tourism. Hotels in particular have an enormous footprint when it comes to energy and water use. Responding to growing corporate peer pressure and their own long-term interests, more large chain hotels are adopting sustainable development practices. Read more.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor announced plans to roll back joint employer rules established during the Obama administration. Several industry organizations and hoteliers have expressed their support for the move, although some are skeptical that it will have any impact on current operations. Read more.