5 things to know: 11 October 2018
5 things to know: 11 October 2018
11 OCTOBER 2018 9:25 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Hurricane Michael hits Florida, moves toward Carolinas
  • AHC Day One speakers key in on innovation, quality of service
  • Hotel strikes continue in Hawaii
  • Weekly performance results for US hotels
  • Disney cancels plans for luxury Anaheim resort

Hurricane Michael hits Florida, moves toward Carolinas: Hurricane Michael swept through the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday, leaving 350,000 residents without power and destroying neighborhoods in its path, and is now on its way toward areas of the Carolinas that are still recovering from flooding from Hurricane Florence, CNN reports.

Various news organizations reported that hotels in different parts of Georgia are housing evacuees and emergency responders. Hotels in Valdosta, Georgia, have some evacuees, but many trade workers such as electricians have booked rooms in the area, the Valdosta Daily Times reports.

“There’s a lot of people that are going to be affected, and (the companies) are trying to prevent any back up in services,” Olivia Kavouklis, sales manager for Williams Investment Group, told the news outlet.

AHC Day One speakers key in on innovation, quality of service: Speakers at the 15th Annual Hotel Conference in Manchester, England, focused on differentiation and loyalty at Day One of the event, HNN’s Terence Baker writes.

During the “Points of view: Direct from the consumer” panel, Nicholas Northam, managing director of the U.K. for Interstate Hotels & Resorts, said hotel companies can achieve differentiation in the way they provide service. This can’t be achieved by investing trillions in gizmos and electronics, he said.

“Guest-facing technology should be way down the list in terms of technology spend,” Northam said.

Hotel strikes continue in Hawaii: Hotel employees with the Local 5 union have been on strike in Hawaii for days, and the 2,700 employees on strike without a contract in Waikiki and Maui could hurt the island’s tourism industry, KITV Island News reports.

Employees currently on strike are from hotels under the Marriott International umbrella, but it is meant to send a message to other hotel properties and other hotel chains, according to the article. Contracts for 10,000 Local 5 hotel employees ended at all major resorts in July.

Tourists told the news outlet that hearing chants and cheers from the people on strike has disrupted their vacation.

Weekly performance results for U.S. hotels: Hotels in the U.S. reported mixed year-over-year results in the three key performance metrics for the week ending 6 October, according to data from STR, parent company of HNN.

Occupancy for the week was down by 0.9% to 70.9%, average daily rate was up 2.4% to $134.03 and revenue per available room increased 1.5% to $95.05.

New Orleans saw the largest increases in performance across the three key metrics among the top 25 markets: occupancy (+25.9% to 73.5%), ADR (+25.4% to $168.75) and RevPAR (+57.8% to $123.99).

Houston saw the largest declines in occupancy (-26.7% to 62.8%) and RevPAR (-31.5% to $67.08).

“Houston’s hotel performance was lifted in the weeks and months that followed Hurricane Harvey in 2017 as properties filled with displaced residents, relief workers, insurance adjustors, media members, etc.,” according to the release.

Disney cancels plans for luxury Anaheim resort: The Walt Disney Company stopped its plans for a 700-room luxury hotel in Downtown Disney, a retail district near Disney’s two theme parks in Anaheim, California, The Los Angeles Times reports. The reason for the cancellation was the loss of a tax rebate agreement with the city that would have saved Disney $267 million over 20 years.

The hotel would have been the fourth at the theme park. City officials told the news outlet that “Disney was to blame for ending the agreement by changing the location of the proposed hotel after the deal was struck and the economic impact studies were completed.” But Disney objected, saying the new site was not far from the first site proposed.

Disney representatives told the newspaper the company hasn’t decided what to do with the site of the proposed hotel, where it closed several restaurants and shops ahead of the new construction project.

Compiled by Danielle Hess.

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