5 things to know: 8 December 2017
5 things to know: 8 December 2017
08 DECEMBER 2017 10:14 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • White Lodging looks to reposition portfolio after sale
  • Brexit negotiations move on to second phase
  • GM fosters guest, staff enthusiasm at DC Canopy
  • Hotel Stock Index up 5% in November
  • Nearly 100m Americans plan to travel for holidays, survey says

White Lodging looks to reposition portfolio after sale: Executives at Merrillville, Indiana-based White Lodging, which entered into a deal this week to sell the management contracts for 82 of its hotels to Interstate Hotels & Resorts, told the Northwest Indiana Times that it will direct proceeds from that sale to reposition its portfolio with reinvestment in “strategic select- and full-service assets.”

Following the sale of the management contracts, expected to close by the end of January 2018, White Lodging’s portfolio will include “100 hotels under 26 different brands, 40 restaurants and eight rooftop bars, once current projects get completed,” according to the newspaper. “The company has opened seven hotels this year and plans to have 18 more hotels and restaurant/bar concepts all across the country open within the next 24 months.”

White Lodging Chairman and Founder Bruce White told the newspaper: “This repositioning allows us to better focus on assets consistent with our market and development objectives while partnering with owners looking to grow with us.”

Brexit negotiations move on to second phase: British Prime Minister Theresa May announced in an early morning news conference Friday that negotiations for the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union have cleared a major hurdle and can now enter a second phase, reports CNN.

After a week of intense debate, the UK and EU reached agreement on the key issues of “Britain’s Brexit ‘divorce’ bill, the rights of EU citizens in the U.K. after Brexit and the Irish border,” according to CNN.

The next stage of negotiations is expected to center on “the potentially tougher issue of a future trading relationship between the U.K. and the EU,” the news agency reports.

GM fosters guest, staff enthusiasm at DC Canopy: Hotel News Now’s Danielle Hess goes behind the scenes at the Canopy by Hilton Washington DC The Wharf, the brand’s first property in North America, with GM Mike Anderson, whose official title is “chief enthusiast.”

Anderson’s title is in line with the mission of the hotel and the brand, which is to encourage its “enthusiasts,” or guests and associates, to feel comfortable in their own shoes, Hess writes.

“That’s what Canopy is all about,” Anderson said. “Being who you are and delivering an honest approach to service.”

Hotel Stock Index up 5% in November: The Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index outperformed the S&P 500 in November, growing 5% during the month compared to 2.8% growth for the S&P index, according to a news release. The Hotel Stock Index is up 27.8% through the first 11 months of 2017.

“In line with the previous month, preliminary November figures are coming in a bit stronger than expected, driven by a post-hurricane demand surge in Florida and Texas,” said Amanda Hite, president and CEO of STR, parent company of Hotel News Now. “Excluding these two states paints a more muted demand and ADR growth picture, and we expect the hurricane impact to dissipate during the first quarter of next year. What then becomes more evident is supply growth outpacing demand and tempering pricing expectations in quite a few markets. That said, construction activity declined year over year for the first time since 2010. We interpret that to be a positive sign for the health of the industry moving forward.”

Nearly 100m Americans plan to travel for holidays, survey says: A consumer travel survey by insurance firm Generali Global Assistance found that 40% of Americans (99.8 million people) plan to travel during the 2017 holiday season, led by millennials, 48% of whom have holiday travel plans.

Among other survey findings, 73% of respondents who are traveling to see family said they expect to spend less than $1,000, while more than half of those who are traveling for vacation expect to spend more than $1,000. Vacationers gave the Caribbean as their destination of choice for travel outside of the U.S., according to the survey.

Compiled by Robert McCune.

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