Lodging Daily News

Millennials–the generation focused on gaining experiences over material goods–are slowly but surely changing the stock market. Leisure and travel-related stocks, such as pubs and airlines, have been consistently topping retailers since recovery from the recession began. According to Bloomberg, this outperformance just reached its peak since 2011 this year. Studies show that as the younger generation emphasizes the importance of making memories over buying a car or designer handbag, they also put less money into savings accounts in favor of spending it on dining and traveling. To learn more, click here.

Since the new year, North American hoteliers have seen a sharp uptick in bookings, with 19 of the top 25 markets showing committed occupancy growth compared to December, according to TravelClick’s January 2016 North American Hospitality Review (NAHR). This is partially because there has been a significant increase in new group bookings during the month of January. The NAHR shows that for the next 12 months, group bookings are up 3.5 percent from this time last year. To see more data, click here.

The travel industry is facing growing concern over the mosquito-borne Zika virus as vacationers postpone or cancel trips to several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, where the virus is rapidly spreading. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned pregnant women against travel to nearly two dozen countries, such as Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Mexico, and Brazil, since the infection is potentially linked to birth defects. In light of the CDC travel alert, many travel companies are offering refunds or allowing pregnant women to change their itineraries without penalty. For more information, click here.

The U.S. Commerce Department released its first estimate of U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for Q4 2015 and it shows expansion slowing down to an annualized 0.7 percent, which is down sharply from the 2 percent growth of the prior quarter. This reflects how much the U.S. GDP is being impacted by the slowdown in global growth, with U.S. businesses hustling to reduce their inventory stockpiles while the strong dollar and tepid global demand drag down exports. All told, current estimates show that the economy grew 2.4 percent in 2015, which matches the pace from 2014. The bright side of the economic picture continues to be consumers, with unemployment numbers low, wages increasing, and cheap oil providing plenty of disposable income. This bodes well for hotels, with STR’s latest report projecting RevPAR to grow 5 percent in 2016, and supply growth still below the long-term average. But these numbers also show how much hotel owners and operators need to take advantage of the coming months to prepare for a potential growth slowdown in the years ahead. Read more here.

On Jan. 27, AccorHotels announced its plans to sell 85 hotels in Europe as part of its sale and franchise-back deal. The hotels included in the transaction will maintain the AccorHotels brand, and have been arranged to be sold to a newly created entity, which will be 30 percent owned by AccorHotels and 70 percent owned by French investment firm, Eurazo SA. To read more, click here.

Online travel agencies have more control over where guests’ travel than they realize. According to the Wall Street Journal, Expedia now uses customer ratings and complaints to order some hotel searches, thus punishing hotels that are entangled with Expedia customer issues. Other factors that sway search results include hotels paying larger commissions than others, and the quality of property images provided. Hotels are left weary by these subtle acts of favoritism. To read more, click here.