5 things to know: 7 August 2017
5 things to know: 7 August 2017
07 AUGUST 2017 10:07 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Alibaba, Marriott team up on platform
  • Security breach identified by Integrated Clark Monroe
  • RLJ: Soft Q2, but outlook is good
  • IRS approves plan to replace 401(k) plan in hotel industry
  • Trump company showing activity in Macau

Alibaba, Marriott team up on platform: Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba Group Holding has announced a joint venture with Marriott International, which will allow Chinese consumers to book rooms in more than 6,200 hotel properties operated under Marriott, Courtyard, Ritz-Carlton and Sheraton through Alibaba’s online travel booking site and app, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Customers will also be able to use the Alipay smartphone platform for payment when staying at Marriott properties abroad.

This year, China’s online travel-sales market will be valued at 584 billion Chinese yuan ($86.9 billion), which is up more than 20% from last year, a researcher from Euromonitor International told The Journal.

 Security breach identified by Integrated Clark Monroe: Integrated Clark Monroe, the owner of the Hyatt Centric The Loop Chicago, along with its Interstate Management Company, reported and removed “suspicious software from the front-desk computer system,” which might have caused vulnerability to guest payment cards used at the hotel from 27 September 2016 to 28 April 2017, according to a news release.

The security incident did not affect Hyatt’s or Interstate’s systems, only the front-desk computer system at The Loop Chicago, the release states. Guests who stayed at the property during the time period are encouraged to review their statements and visit this website.

RLJ: Soft Q2, but outlook is good: Second-quarter 2017 performance for real estate investment trust RLJ Lodging Trust was soft, company executives acknowledged during an earnings call with investors, but they expect better results in the second half of the year, writes Hotel News Now’s Stephanie Ricca.

“Heading into 2017, we knew the first half of the year would be challenging,” said Ross Bierkan, RLJ’s president and CEO. “Some of our toughest comps are behind us now though. As a result, we expect our second half to be better than our first, and we expect our fourth quarter to be better than our third.” He also touted the company’s diversification strategy as a driver for its strong performance in the second quarter, stating eight of its 10 top markets showed positive demand growth—some exceeding overall industry demand.

In other Q2 earnings coverage, Ashford Hospitality Trust officials discussed plans to review options for the sale of a portfolio of “noncore” select-service hotels, reports HNN’s Sean McCracken.

IRS approves plan to replace 401(k) plan in hotel industry: A recent approval by the IRS permits the replacement of a 401(k) plan in the hotel industry to a “new type of traditional pension plan” called the variable defined benefit, Bloomberg BNA reports.

VDB will “provide a higher degree of employer contribution stability,” according to the plan’s enrolled actuary Richard Hudson. Participants can also accumulate more benefits based on “positive investment returns on plan assets.”

Brian Lang, president of Unite Here Local 26, said the new pension plan is a “smart move” for its sponsors and union members because it aims to attract high-skilled workers who want to stay in their jobs to the Boston area, where there is a shortage of hotel industry workers.

Trump company showing activity in Macau: DTTM Operations, the company that manages the Donald J. Trump brand, is mobilizing to protect the brand name in Macau, according to The New York Times. Macau is a region of China which has surpassed Las Vegas as the world’s biggest gambling market.

According to Macau government filings, the New York-based DTTM applied for rights to the Trump name within casinos, hotels, real estate and construction. There are already more than a dozen trademarks under DTTM in Macau. Trademark applications date back to 2006, the report states, for “Trump,” “Donald J. Trump,” “Trump Tower,” “Trump International Hotel and Tower” and a Cantonese version of Trump’s name, “Chun Pou.”

Compiled by Dana Miller.

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