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5 things to know: 30 September 2011
September 30 2011

• HVS says Germany hotels are leading Europe’s recovery;
• PhoCusWright: new Chinese traveler trending toward OTAs;
• Blog: Are you fit for a hotel makeover reality show?;
• U.S. consumer spending slowed in August; and
• U.S. initial weekly unemployment claims fall by 37,000.

Hotels in Germany are experiencing one of the fastest recoveries compared with those in other European countries and have proved to be the star performers in terms of revenue-per-available-room growth, according to a report by HVS London.

After the Storm-Germany in the Spotlight, reports the German hotel markets owe their recovery to the strong growth in the country’s manufacturing industry and demand for exports. This has made Germany the engine for economic growth in Europe and boosted domestic demand for hotel accommodation. Hotel trading in most of Germany’s cities is now back to, or exceeding, pre-crisis 2008 revenue per available room levels.

With online travel bookings in China projected to spike during the next several years, the competition to attract consumers will intensify – both within and across travel categories, according to a new report from PhoCusWright. The report says online travel agencies are drawing more Chinese travelers to their websites than suppliers and other sites.

PhoCusWright's China Online Travel Traffic Report says nearly 30% of visitors to a travel category website in China visit an OTA site, compared to just 5% that visit an airline site, for instance. However, offline booking channels remain critical, even for China’s online travel leaders.

"China is home to one of Asia's larger online travel markets, and yet only 14% of the country's Internet population has visited a travel category website," said Douglas Quinby, senior director, research at PhoCusWright. 

Default Ad Will Appear Here’s self-proclaimed “reality TV addict” Stephanie Wharton is intrigued by two hotel-centered reality TV shows that are casting.

Chef Gordon Ramsay is known for his role as the unrelenting critic on several reality cooking shows, and now he’s chosen to put the spotlight on the hotel industry. “Hotel Hell” is the working title of Ramsay’s new show that will be modeled after his restaurant makeover program, “Kitchen Nightmares.”

An undisclosed cable network and casting company is casting for another hotel makeover program, too. The call for hoteliers has been circulating around the Web this past week.

• Read Wharton’s blog to see how your hotel can be featured on “Hotel Hell” or the cable network hotel makeover show.

Consumer spending in the U.S. slowed in August as incomes unexpectedly dropped for the first time in almost two years, forcing households to use up savings, according to a Bloomberg report.

Purchases rose 0.2% after a 0.7% increase the prior month, Commerce Department figures showed. A 0.2% advance in prices wiped out the gain in so-called nominal, or unadjusted, spending. Incomes decreased 0.1%, the first decline since October 2009.

The advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial U.S. unemployment claims fell by 37,000 to 391,000 for the week ending 24 September, according to the U.S. Department of Labor

The four-week moving average was 417,000, unchanged from the prior week’s revised rate.

Compiled by Jason Q. Freed and Patrick Mayock.

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