5 things to know: 7 February 2019
5 things to know: 7 February 2019
07 FEBRUARY 2019 10:05 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Hoteliers find value in dynamic pricing
  • Dip in US stock futures tied to Bank of England forecast
  • AI helps stop human trafficking in hotels
  • Weekly performance for US hotel industry
  • Hotel supply in Cape Town raises concerns

Hoteliers find value in dynamic pricing: Some in the hotel industry have found that it’s easier to adapt to changes in demand when taking a dynamic approach to room pricing, Hotel News Now’s Terence Baker reports.

One challenge of dynamic pricing is that improvements in technology have added transparency to pricing. “Guests believe this gives them more control over the rates they pay, but the complexity of the market actually makes it even more of a quagmire to wade through,” Baker writes.

But sources said dynamic pricing is not a shot against online travel agencies.

“As long as hotels are maintaining hotel rate parity, I don’t think that our hotels will have a chance of competing against OTAs as a search tool,” said Amy Jagenow, VP of revenue management at Yotel.

Dip in U.S. stock futures tied to Bank of England forecast: A dreary outlook from the Bank of England “raised fears of a marked slowdown across the European economy,” which led to a dip in United States stock futures on Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 fell 0.6% Wednesday, but “changes in futures don’t necessarily reflect moves after the opening bell,” the news outlet writes.

“Investors have had to grapple with conflicting signals about the durability of the global economic expansion this year, something that has kept enthusiasm for risk-taking contained even after markets rallied in January,” according to the Journal article.

Stocks rebounded in recent weeks in hopes that the U.S. and China would reach a trade deal. Data has shown weakness in the Eurozone and China, which raised the threat of regional economic malaise spreading around the world.

AI helps stop human trafficking in hotels: Artificial intelligence is being used to help law enforcement and non-profits locate hotels in which victims of human trafficking are being held by scanning databases for ad images taken by traffickers, The Register reports.

Researchers from George Washington State University, Temple University and Adobe “have built a large dataset containing over a million images from 50,000 hotels across different countries,” according to the tech-focused news outlet.

The group which put together the dataset hopes it will “help developers train neural networks that can spot where a victim may be in seconds, judging from the background of their online ad.” Curtains, bedspreads and other room décor visible in ads help to identify hotel chains and properties.

Weekly performance for the U.S. hotel industry: Hotels in the U.S. reported positive year-over-year results in the three key performance metrics for the week ending 2 February, according to data from STR, HNN’s parent company.

Occupancy increased 0.1% to 56.7%, average daily rate rose 2.3% to $124.95 and revenue per available room increased 2.4% to $70.83.

Among the top 25 markets, Atlanta, host of the Super Bowl on 3 February, reported the largest increased in ADR (+72.6% to $204.75) and RevPAR (+80% to $141.64).

Hotel supply in Cape Town raises concerns: Cape Town, South Africa, is experiencing a mini-boom in new hotel rooms at an inopportune time, Financial Mail reports. 

“At least five new hotels have opened in the Mother City over the past 18 months—a period that coincided with the worst drought in decades and a drop in the number of overseas tourists,” according to the news outlet. This has led to a drop of 6.5 percentage points in occupancies last year to 65%, according to data from STR. ADR at hotels in the capital also dropped 1.7% over the same period.

“Last year’s decline in Cape Town occupancies and revenues coincided with a number of new projects opening in the city, pushing the estimated number of hotel rooms in central Cape Town to just over 11,000,” Financial Mail reports.

Compiled by Danielle Hess.

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