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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.

While the hotel industry is poised to face a number challenges in the future, analysts at Kroll Bond Rating Agency predict that shifting demographics may not be one of them. In fact, a growing middle class with spending power and more millennial travelers may ultimately benefit hotels in the coming years. Read more.

This August, certain areas of the U.S. will have a chance to glance a total solar eclipse—the first in a century for some states—creating a natural attraction that hoteliers are tapping into. The trend of capitalizing on natural phenomena is not uncommon—plenty of travelers trek to remote northern areas for no other reason than to witness the Aurora Borealis. However, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities like a total solar eclipse prompt hoteliers to set special, temporary rates and offer unique perks and amenities. Read more about the ways that hoteliers respond to natural phenomena in their areas here.

The Department of Labor has decided to rescind an Obama Administration rule that expanded the joint employer standard established under the National Labor Relations Board’s 2015 Browning-Ferris Industries of California decision, a move that the American Hotel & Lodging Association applauded. Read more.

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