5 things to know: 6 October 2017
5 things to know: 6 October 2017
06 OCTOBER 2017 9:24 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • US jobs decline attributed to hurricanes in Florida, Texas
  • Experts assess hotel security in wake of Las Vegas shooting
  • Preliminary US lodging data for September
  • Strength seen in forecast for 2018 corporate rate negotiations
  • Hilton looks to add 100 hotels in Africa over five years

U.S. jobs decline attributed to hurricanes in Florida, Texas: The U.S. Labor Department’s September jobs report shows a loss of 33,000 nonfarm jobs in September, which it said “likely reflected the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey,” The Wall Street Journal reports. It marks the first decline in the U.S. labor market in seven years.

According to reporting by The Journal, the drop in payroll “is well below even the muted expectations for the month.” Despite that, the report shows that the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 4.2%, due to a rise in labor force participation, rather than people “dropping out of the workforce,” The Journal reports.

The Labor Department “reported that nearly 1.5 million Americans said that they had a job in September but weren’t working due to bad weather,” according to The Journal article.

For a closer look at the impact that natural disasters in August and September had on the hotel industry, see Hotel News Now’s complete coverage here.

Experts assess hotel security in wake of Las Vegas shooting: A shooting in Las Vegas this week is raising questions about hotel security and what could change to prevent it from happening again, writes HNN’s Bryan Wroten. Gunman Stephen Paddock fired down on a concert crowd Sunday night from a guestroom on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino; police later discovered a cache of guns in the room, where the shooter had killed himself.

Security experts told HNN that there are steps hoteliers could take to try to insulate their properties against incidents such as the one in Vegas, but many of those steps come with their own challenges.

The best thing hotels can do is to train their staffs to be vocal about anything they see which raises suspicions, said Paul Frederick, president of Hospitality Security Advisors and the former global head of security for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

“When anybody asks ‘how many security people do you have at a 500-room hotel?’ I would say 250 security people,” he said. “I say that because there are about 250 employees in that hotel. They’re the ones who are going to first see anything suspicious and then bring it to the attention of the security team.”

Preliminary U.S. lodging data for September: Weaker performance in the upscale to luxury chain scales was somewhat offset by stronger results across economy to upper midscale hotels in the U.S., according to preliminary September data from STR, parent company of Hotel News Now.

The deepest performance hits are projected for luxury hotels, with occupancy declining by 2% to 4%, and revenue per available room flat to down 2%, partially helped by average daily rate growth of 1% to 3%, the preliminary data shows.

Midscale hotels are expected to record the greatest gains, with 6% to 8% RevPAR growth, thanks to an increase in occupancy of 3% to 5% and ADR of 2% to 4%, according to the early data.

The economy chain scale is looking at RevPAR growth of 5% to 7%, boosted by increases of 1% to 3% in occupancy growth and 3% to 5% in ADR.

Strength seen in forecast for 2018 corporate rate negotiations: Both buyers and sellers will be operating from a position of strength as negotiations begin for corporate and contract rates at U.S. hotels for 2018, according to a trend analysis report by Bjorn Hanson at NYU’s Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism.

“The sellers’ position of strength is based on the highest occupancy percent for the U.S. since 198465.5% for 2017 (about the same as it was for 2016),” writes Hanson.

“The buyers’ position of strength is based on slowing U.S. hotel room rate growth (approximate 3.0% in 2016 and between 2.0% and 2.5% in 2017) and increased use of alternative lodging, specifically ‘sharing economy’ brands.”

Hilton looks to add 100 hotels in Africa over five years: The Hilton Africa Growth Initiative aims to increase Hilton’s footprint on the continent by about 100 hotels, and roughly 20,000 rooms, over the next five years, according to a company news release. The company has invested $50 million in the initiative.

The new Hilton-branded hotels are expected to come from the conversion of existing properties, and would fall under the flagship brand Hilton Hotels & Resorts, upscale brand DoubleTree by Hilton or the Curio Collection by Hilton.

“Hilton remains committed to growth in Africa having been present on the continent for more than 50 years. The model of converting existing hotels into Hilton branded properties has proved highly successful in a variety of markets and we expect to see great opportunities to convert hotels to Hilton brands through this initiative,” Patrick Fitzgibbon, Hilton’s SVP of Development for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said in the release.

Compiled by Robert McCune.

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