5 things to know: 6 December 2017
5 things to know: 6 December 2017
06 DECEMBER 2017 10:33 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Interstate Hotels reaches deal to manage 82 hotels
  • Post-hurricanes, Caribbean hotels face crucial winter season
  • US hotels prepare for influx of Chinese guests
  • REITs among winners in Trump tax plan
  • Brexit secretary: No assessment done on economic impact

Interstate Hotels reaches deal to manage 82 hotels: Arlington, Virginia-based Interstate Hotels & Resorts announced in a news release that it has entered into an agreement with Indiana-based White Lodging to take over management of 82 select- and full-service hotels, and one restaurant. The deal is expected to close by the end of January 2018, according to the release.

“The 82 hotels, of which 78 are select-service, are located in eight states and aggregate to 10,188 rooms under top-quality lodging brands including Marriott, Hyatt and Hilton,” the release states. “Upon completion of the transaction, Interstate will be operating approximately 540 properties in 12 countries inclusive of committed pipeline.”

Post-hurricanes, Caribbean hotels face crucial winter season: At a time when traffic to the islands is typically heavier as tourists from North America and Europe flee cold weather, some resorts in the Caribbean will be left on the sidelines as they continue to recover from devastating storms this fall, reports The Wall Street Journal. Other hotels in the region are scrambling to take advantage of the good luck of being relatively unscathed by the bad weather; for them, the biggest struggle might be convincing tourists of that.

“Our biggest damage was people misunderstanding the degree to which we were hit,” said Stan Hartling, chief executive of the Hartling Group, which owns three resorts on the Turks and Caicos Islands that were open for business about two weeks after the hurricanes. “People broad brush and say ‘the Caribbean in general is devastated.’”

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association estimates about 25% of the hotel stock in the region was affected by the hurricanes, according to The Journal.

Meanwhile, investors are being lured back to the storm-rattled Caribbean “by the short-term prospect of low prices and the long-term possibility that disaster aid could spark an economic boom in the region,” The Journal reports.

Andrew Dickey, a senior broker with real estate services firm JLL, told The Wall Street Journal that in the wake of Hurricane Maria, he fielded a call from an investor looking to buy a hotel in the Caribbean.

“That was a shock,” he said. “It was pretty quick. You get the call that says: ‘I hope I’m not insensitive, but … .”

U.S. hotels prepare for influx of Chinese guests: With annual arrivals from China expected to reach nearly 97 million globally by 2023, some hotel companies in the U.S. are going the extra mile to make Chinese guests comfortable at their properties, Laura Koss-Feder writes for Hotel News Now.

Amenities, from food and beverage to mobile payment solutions, are being tailored to Chinese guests at hotels in key destinations, Koss-Feder writes.

“Hotels need to be thinking of how they can give Chinese guests a better experience, or they will be left behind in attracting this important group of travelers,” said Jon Scofield, senior director of strategy and program management for Hilton.

REITs among winners in Trump tax plan: Under both the House and Senate versions of the Trump administration’s tax overhaul legislation, real estate investment trusts are expected to come out ahead, according to a report in The New York Times.

REITs stand to gain from a provision in the plans that would reduce the tax rate for pass-through income. The Senate bill passed Saturday would reduce that rate from as high as 39.6% to 29.6%. The House bill, passed in mid-November, would lower that rate even more, to 25%, The New York Times reports.

According to the newspaper, “REITs are favored in other ways. Individuals who borrow money to invest in a REIT will be able to deduct the interest they pay on the loan at the top individual rate. When it comes to paying taxes on the interest income they earn from that REIT investment, however, the new, lower pass-through rate would apply.”

Brexit secretary: No assessment done on economic impact: Testifying to a Brexit committee this morning, the United Kingdom’s Brexit Secretary David Davis admitted that the government had not conducted a formal assessment on the potential impact of exiting the European Union on different sectors of the economy, The Times reports.

Davis told the committee that exiting the EU would result in a “paradigm change” proportionate to the 2008 financial crisis, which renders any assessment of the impact on the 58 sectors of the economy moot.

“You don’t need a formal impact assessment to understand that if there is a regulatory hurdle between your producers and a market, there will be an impact,” he said. “It will have an effect, the assessment of that effect is not as straightforward as people imagine.”

Compiled by Robert McCune.

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