5 things to know: 5 July 2018
5 things to know: 5 July 2018
05 JULY 2018 9:48 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • HNA Group chairman dies unexpectedly in France
  • Fattal sells Munich hotel to Invesco, intends to buy Apollo Hotels
  • AccorHotels’ Novotel reaches 500-asset mark
  • The importance of communications, planning during hotel crises
  • China warns US over tariffs due to start on Friday

HNA Group chairman dies unexpectedly in France: The co-chairman of Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, Wang Jian, died in France on 3 July in what local police have called “an accidental fall from a wall while posing for a photograph,” Reuters reports. The Guardian reported authorities are not treating the death as suspicious.

According to the Reuters report, “Wang fell 15 meters off a wall in the village of Bonnieux, near Avignon, a picturesque area popular with tourists.” Reuters added Wang’s death “complicates the troubled conglomerate’s efforts to restructure and pay off borrowings and could increase pressure on HNA to reveal more about its oft-criticized opaque ownership.”

Fattal sells Munich hotel to Invesco, intends to buy Apollo Hotels: Israeli hotel firm Fattal Hotels has sold the 424-room Leonardo Royal Munich Olympiapark in a sale-and-leaseback deal to U.S. white-label management company Invesco for €157 million ($183 million), according to website Property Week.

On 28 June, Fattal agreed to buy Dutch hotel owner European Hotel Management B.V., which owns Apollo Hotels, with 13 assets in its portfolio, for an undisclosed price. The deal is due to be completed in the third quarter of 2018.

AccorHotels’ Novotel reaches 500-asset mark: AccorHotels’ Novotel brand opened its 500th hotel Wednesday, the Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences in Seoul, South Korea.

The asset has 331 hotel rooms and 192 residences. The opening is also notable because the very first hotel AccorHotels opened in 1967 also was a Novotel, when AccorHotels’ founders Paul Dubrule and Gérard Pélisson opened the property in Lille, France.

The importance of communications, planning during hotel crises: Hoteliers must have a stringent communications and planning strategy in place to both get through a crisis and to come out unscathed and ready for the future, writes Hotel News Now’s Danielle Hess.

Andy Burch, regional VP of operations at Concord Hospitality Enterprises, said the company’s three hotels in the Houston area started preparing for Hurricane Harvey three days before the storm hit, which led to the success of making it through the disaster.

“So starting on Wednesday (before the storm), we really took a proactive effort to make sure that we lined up staff, we lined up all of our business needs, food suppliers, things like that to make sure that we could continue operations through the storm and beyond,” he said. “We controlled inventory for the purposes of being able to help first responders get into the area to really be able to take care of (people) and get back online so we didn’t have a lot of hotels and things out of order.”

China warns U.S. over tariffs due to start on Friday: Planned U.S. tariffs on imports from China and other countries, due to go into operation at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on 6 July, are likely to backfire and adversely affect U.S. companies, according to Chinese statements reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Gao Feng, a spokesperson for China’s Commerce Ministry, told the WSJ that “the U.S. is firing shots to the world, including to itself.” China has not stated what any reply to U.S. tariffs might be, with the U.S. government’s position being that China permits unfair practices that have led to a trade imbalance.

Compiled by Terence Baker.

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