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AHLA Stars of the Industry

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is now accepting nominations for its 2019 Stars of the Industry Awards, which will take place on January 27, 2019 in Los Angeles. The program is accepting nominations until September 28, 2018. All AHLA member companies, properties, and employees are eligible to submit an entry.

The Stars of the Industry program honors the nation’s top hospitality employees and properties for outstanding accomplishments, service, and leadership. The awards program has five categories: the North Star Award for Lodging Employee of the Year; General Manager of the Year for Small Properties (250 rooms or less); General Manager of the Year for Large Properties (250 rooms or more); the Stevan Porter Emerging Hospitality Leader of the Year; and the Paving the Way Award for Women in Lodging.

Read about the 2017 Stars of the Industry award winners here.

A recent report published by Swyft Filings studied newly created businesses by industry type between 2016 and 2017 and the variables impacting the rate of new business growth in those industries. The accommodations industry saw 33.9 percent more growth in new businesses formed in 2017 than in 2016. In comparison to the other U.S. industries studied, it ranked last in overall volume of new businesses formed last year.

The State of Swyft Industry Report underlined two major trends currently driving change and strategy moving into 2018—empowered consumers and technology shifts. The 2017 trends highlight the importance of curating and individualizing services to better meet the growing demand of the informed consumer, the report says. While more businesses in the accommodations industry are adopting technology like mobile apps for reservations, the report says that the industry hasn’t seen major growth.

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.

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