5 things to know: 9 January 2017
5 things to know: 9 January 2017
09 JANUARY 2017 10:00 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • AccorHotels announces new structure for lifestyle brands
  • The pound drops once again
  • What millennial employees want
  • US preliminary December data shows occupancy declines
  • What was cutting edge in 1917

AccorHotels announces new structure for lifestyle brands: AccorHotels has been engaged in an aggressive spat of M&A and other expansion in the lifestyle space, and the company is now creating a new division to oversee some of its newest brands, according to a news release.

The company’s lifestyles division will include new hotel/hostel hybrid brand Jo & Joe, along with the Mama Shelter and 25h Hotels brands. The division will be overseen by Cédric Gobilliard, who will report directly to Chairman and CEO Sébastien Bazin.

The new structure goes into effect on 1 February.

The pound drops once again: In what seems to be a recurring theme for the U.K., the pound dropped to a 10-week low over the weekend amid political concerns related to Brexit, according to Bloomberg. The pound sterling dropped 0.9% against the dollar, and suffered similarly compared to all other major currencies, following Prime Minister Theresa May’s most recent comments on the plans to leave the European Union.

Worries about how the move will impact immigration seemed in particular to have a negative impact.

May “signaled once again that the aim of controlling immigration was a red line she would not be willing to cross,” Esther Reichelt, a currency strategist at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, told Bloomberg.

The strength of the pound, or the relative lack thereof, has been a source of speculation for its impact on the hotel industry, with some saying it could lead to a short-term boost to U.K. tourism as more international travelers view the country as a bargain.

What millennial employees want: Several hoteliers shared tips on what millennials are looking for in the workplace with Hotel News Now’s Danielle Hess. These tips include the fact that millennials are looking for a company that is worth making an emotional investment in.

“Employees want to feel that the company cares about their wellbeing and career; they want to feel part of a caring and productive community and work; and they want to feel proud about the company’s role in society,” David Rodriguez, EVP and global chief human resources officer at Marriott International, said. “While these are important to everyone, millennials are much more demanding of this from a company.”

Mike DeFrino, CEO of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, noted that, much like when luring millennial guests, hoteliers have to be on top of maintaining their online reputations to convince young people to work for them. This means companies should keep an eye on career review sites and respond to concerns that pop up on them.

“Millennials love their research and crowd-sourcing,” he said. “We’ve noted that a lack of presence on review boards and social sites can actually hurt more than negative company reviews.”

U.S. preliminary December data shows occupancy declines: Total U.S. hotel occupancy for December 2016 saw a change of between -1% and 1%, according to preliminary data from STR, parent company of Hotel News Now.

The upscale and upper upscale chain scale segments were hit the hardest, with occupancy declining by as much as 3%, the early data shows. Midscale hotels fared the best, with occupancy between flat performance and 2% growth for the month.

Despite lower occupancy, total U.S. revenue per available room and average daily rate were up between 1% and 3% for the month. The luxury segment saw RevPAR change between 2% and 4%, and ADR increased by 1% to 3%; meanwhile, upscale and upper upscale hotels saw RevPAR decline by as much as 2%.

What was cutting edge in 1917: By unearthing a century-old tourist guide from the historic St. Charles Hotel, The New Orleans Times-Picayune recently took a look at the past of the hotel industry. The booklet, titled “Souvenir of New Orleans,” showcases some of the tourist attractions of the city along with highlights and history from the property itself, including photos of the music room, restaurants, billiards room and the grand Italian Garden, said to accommodate 1,200 people.

“The hotel, the booklet said, was the convention center of its day, hosting organizations such as the American Bankers Association, the Cotton Conference of Southern Governors, the Western Fruit Jobbers Association and Southern Hardware Jobbers Association,” according to the newspaper.

Compiled by Sean McCracken.

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