Hotel industry experts say hiring is back on the rise after its recession-period low in 2009, writes HotelNewsNow.com contributor Brendan Manley. With the hospitality industry now three years into a recovery period, revenue increases are expected to offset the anticipated growth in labor costs as hotels replace staff positions that were cut in the downturn.
The number of man-hours worked at U.S. hotels in 2011 was up 3.1% over 2010, closely mirroring growth rates in rooms sold, according to research from PKF Hospitality Research. Hotels are re-hiring staff as business volume increases and reinstating services and amenities that were cut during the recession, said Robert Mandelbaum, director of research information services for PKF.
“The improvement’s gotten to the point where hotel managers can no longer operate with a limited staff, and they have to staff up,” Mandelbaum said. “The good news is that revenues are now starting to recover, so it covers the incremental labor increase costs. We think we’re entering that phase in the recovery where we’re going to start to see hotels ramp-up their staffing or give more hours to existing employees.”
Global visitors to the United States spent an estimated $14 billion traveling to and within the U.S. during April, $1.5 billion more (12%) than was spent during April 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.
The data reaffirms the importance of the Obama Administration’s efforts to increase travel and tourism in the U.S. and comes on the heels of the release of the National Travel and Tourism Strategy, according to a news release from the Commerce Department. The federal government has announced it expects the U.S. to welcome 100 million international visitors each year by the end of 2021, who would spend an estimated $250 billion per year.
The U.S. travel and tourism industry is on pace for a record-setting year—international visitors have spent an estimated $54.6 billion in 2012 so far, which is an increase of 13% when compared to the same four-month period last year.
For the next 19 years, approximately 11,000 baby boomers born in the U.S. between 1946 and 1964 will retire every day. With unprecedented disposable income, free time and a powerful desire for new experiences, they will represent one of the biggest customer niches in the history of the hotel industry, writes HotelNewsNow.com contributor John Buchanan.
“Everybody has known this market was there,” said Chris Letchinger, interim dean at Chicago-based Kendall College School of Hospitality Management, which has tracked the emerging phenomenon for almost a decade. “But it’s now really starting to impact the hospitality business. And if hoteliers ignore it, they are ignoring it at their peril.”
B.F. Saul Company Hospitality Group, an owner-operator of 19 U.S. properties across brands from Marriott International, InterContinental Hotels Group and Hilton Worldwide, recently identified the opportunity.
“We noticed it in the fall of last year by looking at our business mix around our Crowne Plaza Tysons Corner property in McLean, Virginia, and our AARP codes,” VP David Attardi said.
“We looked at some historical data and realized that those numbers were really spiking,” Attardi said. “So, we now realize this is an opportunity that is viable and that it’s a growing market segment. And since we realized that, our goal has been to try to organically target that segment.”
Barry Sternlicht and Starwood Capital Group plan to revive the dormant, eco-friendly luxury 1 brand, with the first property scheduled to break ground in Brooklyn park in the summer of 2013.
The New York Times cited sources Friday who said the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation is expected to vote on Tuesday to select Toll Brothers and Starwood Capital Group as the development team for the $295-million complex, which will include a 200-room hotel and 160-unit condominium complex. The report said the hotel complex is crucial to the city’s vision of how to pay for maintenance of the park.
Construction on the buildings would begin next summer, with completion expected in 2015.
As technology continues to evolve, it will become even more important for hoteliers to understand travelers’ expectations and match them to reality. This case is especially true in the Caribbean, according to panelists during the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s Caribbean Tourism Summit & Outlook Seminar.
The number of international travelers visiting the Caribbean and carrying a MasterCard decreased 2.1% from April 2012 to April 2011, which Andrew Mantis, senior VP and group head of information services for MasterCard Advisors, said is indicative of an overall decrease in travel to the islands. The good news for the region is that incoming spend increased by 7.5% within the same period.
“Declining accounts are coming in, but we do see growing accounts in the Indian Ocean,” Mantis said. “The message of globalization is coming in loud and clear as a real trend.”
The top three feeder markets to the Caribbean—the U.S., United Kingdom and Canada—account for 81% of incoming spend, which could be a sign hoteliers should invest more time trying to attract guests from other markets, Mantis said.