Overall, franchised businesses are not a major benefactor of Small Business Association lending. However, hotel franchisees appear to be an anomaly, according to Mike Rozman, co-president and chief strategy officer of BoeFly, an online marketplace that connects borrowers and lenders.
Just 9.6% of SBA loans by dollar amount were extended to franchised businesses. But in that 9.6%, franchised hotel properties received 47.3% of all hotel SBA loans, according to the franchise lending index.
“Within that industry, there’s been a meaningful amount of SBA exposure,” Rozman said of hotels.
Year over year, lending to franchise businesses overall grew by 3.18% as of March 2012, according to the most recent data available. Month to month, however, franchise lending edged down by 0.49%.
Rozman said, however, that financing appears to be loosening somewhat.
“We do see an improvement in the credit market,” Rozman said. “Lenders are gaining an appetite for more deals.”
Twenty Four Seven Hotels is looking to add new properties in the Western U.S., according to a HotelNewsNow.com video interview with Bill Swank, the company’s president of development and construction.
Twenty Four Seven Hotels has six properties in its portfolio and represents such brands as Holiday Inn, Residence Inn by Marriott and Four Points by Sheraton.
Swank said the company is willing to invest sliver equity into deals.
“We’ll gladly put in equity because we believe in what we are doing,” he said. The company’s preference, however, is to own properties outright.
Hotels.com took first place for overall customer experience in a study examining the business and technical effectiveness of hotel reservation websites conducted by Keynote Competitive Research.
In the “technical quality” portion of the study, Priceline.com scored first for reliability and Hilton.com took first for responsiveness (speed).
Overall, online travel agencies fared better across the board in key drivers of overall customer experience, but hotel sites are still seen as more trustworthy and reliable, according to the respondents.
Chairman David Webster has announced he will retire from his chairman position at InterContinental Hotels Group on 31 December.
Webster has been chairman of the group since January 2004 and a member of the Board since April 2003. Patrick Cescau will become chairman upon Webster’s departure. Cescau was group CEO of Unilever from 2005 to 2008.
The Department of Justice has issued a question-and-answer document regarding requirements for pool and spa entry under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
According to the document, the DOJ’s key goal is to emphasize the flexibility of the standards for existing swimming pools. The department issued three key points:
- In response to public comments, the compliance date has been extended until 31 January.
- Under the ADA, there is no need to provide access to existing pools if doing so is not “readily achievable.” Providing access is not readily achievable if it would involve significant difficulty or expense.
- The DOJ will not pursue enforcement of the fixed lift requirements against those who have purchased otherwise-compliant portable lifts, as long as they are kept in position for use at the pool and operational during all times the pool is open to guests.
“In general, the DOJ plans to work collaboratively and constructively with all businesses that have questions about the meaning of the 2010 regulations and standards, with respect for their particular challenges, needs, and concerns, including the needs of small businesses that may be unfamiliar with the ADA,” the document says.
Compiled by Jason Q. Freed.