From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:
- Hurricane Irma ravages Turks & Caicos, nears Miami
- Earthquake rattles Mexico; hotel ‘split in half’
- Wilson and Valor agree operations merger
- Labor biggest pain point at Southern Lodging Summit
- Singapore Sofitel debut to be Accor’s 800th in Asia
Hurricane Irma ravages Turks & Caicos, nears Miami: Hurricane Irma is continuing its devastating course after ravaging the Turks & Caicos Island. According to the BBC, 14 fatalities have been confirmed across the hurricane’s path and half a million people have been ordered to leave southern Florida. Wind speeds have reached 185 miles per hour, and though that velocity is predicted to drop to 165 over the weekend, Irma is still expected to be one of the strongest weather patterns to have hit the Americas. Evacuations are also underway in Cuba and The Bahamas.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Harvey still is affecting parts of Texas and Louisiana. Sad news came in Thursday confirming the death of Jill Renick, the director of spa services at the Omni Houston hotel, who had been missing since Sunday and found in the basement of the flooded hotel.
Earthquake rattles Mexico; hotel ‘split in half’: Unfortunately, hurricanes Harvey and Irma are not the only natural disasters affecting American destinations and hotels. Early this morning, an 8.1-magnitude earthquake, with an epicenter off the coast of Mexico, caused damage on the mainland, including a hotel, the Anel in Matías Romero, Oaxaca State, that was “split in half,” according to The Washington Post.
Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s president, said the earthquake is the most powerful to hit the country in a century. The Post reported. As of this morning, the death toll had risen to at least 16.
Wilson and Valor agree to operations merger: Wilson Hotel Management, a subsidiary of Kemmons Wilson Companies, has announced it will merge its hotel management operations with those of Valor Hospitality Partners and make a substantial investment in the combined entity, according to a news release.
The terms of the merger were not disclosed, but it was stated the combined group, which now consists of 41 assets in operation or pipeline, will be headquartered in Atlanta and London, England, while also keeping an office in Memphis, Tennesee.
Labor biggest pain point at Southern Lodging Summit: Hoteliers always have a list of woes to contend with, but according to attendees at the Southern Lodging Summit @ Memphis, labor is currently at the top of that list, writes Hotel News Now’s editorial director Jeff Higley.
With unemployment at a very low point, communicating with employees is essential for retention, as well as making them feel important, attendees remarked. “More than ever, employees want to know their thoughts, their contributions are adding to the overall goal of the company,” said Mark Shalala, VP of development/upscale brands for Choice Hotels International.
Singapore Sofitel debut to be Accor’s 800th in Asia: AccorHotels’ upcoming Sofitel Singapore City Centre property, which will open next month with 223 rooms, will be the French firm’s 800th hotel in Asia, according to a company news release.
Compiled by Terence Baker