From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:
- Democrats sue for Trump Hotel records
- Jerome Powell nominated as next Fed chairman
- CEOs say brand scale, new tech can also have downsides
- US, Canada hotel results for week ending 28 October
- US job growth accelerates while wages stay flat
Democrats sue for Trump Hotel records: Democrats on the House Oversight Committee have sued the General Services Administration to release the lease documents for the Trump International Hotel, The New York Times reports. There is little legal precedent for a lawsuit of this kind, the article states, but the Democrats do not have control of the committee and do not have subpoena power in either the House or the Senate.
If successful, the GSA would be compelled to provide access to documents related to the hotel’s operations and lease, which they believe will reveal information about “its finances, possible foreign payments to the hotel and the GSA’s ruling that the hotel did not violate the terms of its lease when President (Donald) Trump took office,” the Times reports.
Jerome Powell nominated as next Fed chairman: President Trump has nominated Jerome Powell as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve, breaking the precedent of reappointing sitting Fed chairs, The New York Times reports. Powell currently serves on the Fed’s board of governors.
Powell is expected to follow through with the Fed’s current approach to monetary policy as long as the economy continues to grow, the article states, but it’s unclear what direction he would turn if the economy begins to decline. Though he has supported Chairwoman Janet Yellen’s efforts while on the board, he “has expressed skepticism in the past about the unconventional measures the Fed took after the recession,” according to The Times article.
CEOs say brand scale, new tech can also have downsides: CEOs speaking during the “A view from the top” general session at The Lodging Conference said that while having scale and implementing new technology are necessary to compete, they don’t come without risks, HNN’s Danielle Hess writes.
LaSalle Hotel Properties President and CEO Mike Barnello told attendees that not everyone benefits from the proliferation of brands and the scale of hotel companies.
“We have both. We have a lot of independent hotels; we have pretty much every brand,” he said. “So when we look at those, it’s not (as easy as saying) we’ve got another hotel around the corner, (but) it’s got a different name, (so) there’s no impact at all. There is impact. I don’t know that two years ago there were billions of consumers that were just waiting for (Hilton’s Tapestry) brand to be created. I find that hard to believe.”
A company that introduces a new brand could end up stealing away guests already loyal to one of its existing brands, he said.
U.S., Canada hotel results for week ending 28 October: The U.S. hotel industry reported positive year-over-year performance for the week of 22-28 October 2017, according to data from STR, HNN’s parent company. Occupancy grew 4% to 69.8%, and average daily rate grew 2.6% to $129.44, combining for an increase in revenue per available room of 6.7% to $90.32.
Post-Hurricane Harvey demand led to Houston reporting the largest year-over-year increase in occupancy (+34.9% to 85.9%), ADR (+14% to $120.89) and RevPAR (+53.8% to $103.82) among the top 25 markets.
Canada also reported positive year-over-year results. Occupancy grew 7.7% to 69.5%, and ADR increased 6% to 150.74 Canadian dollars ($118.29), lifting RevPAR 14.1% to CA$104.84 ($82.27).
Nova Scotia saw the largest increase in RevPAR among the provinces and territories, growing 32.7% to CA$116.69 ($91.57) because of the week’s largest increase in ADR of 14.7% to CA$148.35 ($116.41).
U.S. job growth accelerates while wages stay flat: Data from the U.S. Department of Labor shows job growth sped up in October, with nonfarm payrolls growing by 261,000 jobs during the month as 106,000 leisure and hospitality employees returned to work, Reuters reports. It marks the biggest increase since July 2016, but still felt short of economists’ expectations of 310,000 new jobs.
Hourly earnings fell by 1 cent, keeping the percentage flat, mainly because those returning to the job market were lower-paying industry workers, the article states. The year-over-year increase came to 2.4% in October, the smallest increase since February 2016, while wages grew 0.5% in September, which was a year-over-year increase of 2.9% for that month.
Compiled by Bryan Wroten.