From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:
- Scope of IHG payment card breach expands
- Emirates to cut flights to US after Trump’s visa ban
- Travelodge: A history of how one brand became two
- South Florida hotel market sees improvement
- Nazarian speaks on LA hotel market, M&A
Scope of IHG payment card breach expands: Following reports that InterContinental Hotels Group franchises had hired a cyber security team to investigate unauthorized charges made on guests’ payments cards, the company now has expanded the list of properties that were affected, according to an article by USA Today. Initially, IHG reported that only a dozen properties were affected, but that list has now grown to more than 1,200.
Malware-infected cash registers reportedly stole customer debit and credit card data between 29 September 2016 and 29 December 2016 at IHG hotels; brands affected were Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites.
“The malware stole information read from the magnetic stripe of a payment card as it traveled through the affected hotel’s server. That information could have included the cardholder’s name in addition to card number, expiration date and internal verification code,” USA Today reported.
Emirates to cut flights to U.S. after Trump’s visa ban: The Middle East’s largest airline, Emirates, announced it will reduce the amount of flights offered to and from five of the 12 United States cities they serve, in response to President Donald Trump’s imposed travel ban, reports The Telegraph.
“In one of the strongest signs yet that President Trump is having a negative impact on U.S. tourism, the Middle Eastern airline said that next month it would cut the number of weekly flights it makes to the U.S. from 126 to 101. Twice daily flights to Los Angeles, Boston and Seattle will be reduced to one a day,” according to The Telegraph article.
Travelodge: A history of how one brand became two: Hotel News Now’s Bryan Wroten and Terence Baker take a look at how the Travelodge brand formed and split into two—one in the U.S. and the other in the United Kingdom—and what the future holds for both.
“The brands started as one, evolving from a building contractor’s vision of developing hotels along the West Coast of the U.S. to take advantage of the growing ownership of automobiles and Americans’ newfound love for travel,” Wroten writes.
Check out the landing page for links to retellings of the brands’ individual histories.
South Florida hotel market sees improvement: March may be light at the end of the tunnel for hotels in South Florida after months of declines, reports the Miami Herald.
In year-over-year comparisons from Hotel News Now’s parent company STR, approximately 7.1% more roomnights were sold in Miami-Dade County during March. Occupancy also increased 2% compared to March 2016—the first time in eight months that hotels in the market have reported occupancy growth.
Headwinds to overcome included “struggling economies in Latin America, the strength of the U.S. dollar, growth of the short-term rental industry and the lingering effects of Zika,” reports the Herald.
Nazarian speaks on LA hotel market, M&A: Sam Nazarian, founder and CEO of SBE Entertainment Group, said in an interview with The Real Deal that his company is “constantly reinvesting in L.A.,” despite huge barriers to entry in the market. SBE owns and manages properties in Los Angeles, including the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, the Redbury in Hollywood and the Mondrian in West Hollywood.
“It’s very difficult to build hotels in this market compared to other cities. The James Hotel is opening up right next to us at the Mondrian, which we’re doing the food-and-beverage for. That was really the first ground-up hotel on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood since 1968. That just shows you how difficult it is,” Nazarian said.
He also gave some insight into SBE’s recent mergers and acquisition activity, particularly its buy of Morgans Hotels Group last year. About the timing of the deal, he said, “We had to wait for it to become right. You had a very dynamic board that had a lot of different ideas. Ultimately, when they realized that they needed to be part of a bigger company to be successful, the deal happened very quickly, all cash, and we took it private.”
Compiled by Dana Miller.