From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:
- Hotels in Australian markets see double-digit dips due to bushfires
- UK inflation falls to lowest rate in three years
- US, China set to sign ‘Phase 1’ trade deal
- £100m-plus Premier Inn planned for London Docklands
- UK bans credit-card use in casinos, betting shops
Hotels in Australian markets see double-digit dips due to bushfires: The terrifying continuation of bushfires in southeast Australia has caused loss of life, property and wildlife. They have also affected hotel performance, according to data from STR, the parent company of Hotel News Now, which reports that submarket Sydney Drive Regional, an area within a two-hour-drive radius of Greater Sydney, has seen a year-over-year decline in revenue per available room of 30.3%.
Other hotel performance metrics, not surprisingly, have suffered, too. Matthew Burke, STR’s regional manager, Pacific, said that while the bushfires are causing devastation, “the physical impact … has been predominantly across the Great Dividing Range of New South Wales and Victoria, (and) we’ve not yet seen significant demand decreases in the major city areas of Australia.”
U.K. inflation falls to lowest rate in three years: The inflation rate in the United Kingdom dropped to its lowest rate in three years, placing new pressure on the Bank of England, which is contemplating an interest-rate reduction, according to the BBC.
The U.K. government’s official statistician, the Office for National Statistics, said that in December the Consumer Prices Index rate dropped to 1.3%, a decline from the 1.5% posted the previous month, and said that the “largest downward contributions to the change … came from accommodation services and clothing.”
U.S., China set to sign ‘Phase 1’ trade deal: The United States and China are expected today to sign an 86-page trade deal that “caps 18 months of tariff conflict between the world’s two largest economies that has hit hundreds of billions of dollars in goods, roiling financial markets, uprooting supply chains and slowing global growth,” Reuters reports.
The news agency reports the central piece of the deal is a “pledge” by the Chinese government to buy an additional $200 billion worth of U.S. goods over two years to cut the U.S. trade deficit that has long been the call from U.S. government officials.
£100m-plus Premier Inn planned for London Docklands: Developer Rockwell and investment firm Aviva have signed a £106-million ($138-million) deal to build a 400-room Premier Inn in London’s Docklands district, reports Property News.
In additional Premier Inn news, parent company Whitbread PLC, which releases its third-quarter 2019 results on 16 January, said the City of London Corporation has sold its Snow Hill Police Station building on a 151-year lease to the hotel firm. No price has been announced.
U.K. to ban credit-card use in casinos, betting shops: The United Kingdom government announced today it will introduce legislation on 14 April to ban the use of credit cards in gambling outlets and online to address problem gambling, according to the BBC. Although not as widespread as in the U.S. and other markets, some U.K. hotels do have casinos, and the rules would be equally applicable, even though commentators state the real worry is about “hidden” online addiction.
According to the Gambling Commission, which classifies 22% of gamblers using credit cards to gamble as “problem gamblers,” approximately £14.5 billion ($18.9 billion) was spent in the U.K. on gambling between October 2017 and September 2018, although that does also include the National Lottery, for which the new rules will not apply in all cases.
Compiled by Terence Baker.