5 things to know: 22 February 2019
5 things to know: 22 February 2019
22 FEBRUARY 2019 10:18 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • China stops millions from traveling over social offenses
  • Iowa considers bill on human trafficking training at hotels
  • Insights into how Chinese travelers book, spend
  • US business investment fell again at end of 2018
  • NYC subpoenas Airbnb for data on 20,000 listings

China stops millions from traveling over social offenses: Through its “social credit” system to improve public behavior, the Chinese government has blocked millions of Chinese citizens from buying airline and train tickets, the Associated Press reports. Citizens can lose points for breaking the law, including such minor offenses as walking a dog without a leash.

The government stopped people from buying airline tickets 17.5 million times last year, according to the article. It also blocked about 5.5 million from buying train tickets. Nearly 130 people were not allowed to leave China because they were behind on paying their taxes.

Iowa considers bill on human trafficking training at hotels: The Iowa state legislature will consider a bill that would require hotel staff to undergo training on human trafficking in order to receive business from government agencies, KCRG-TV9 reports.

If passed, the bill would give hotels until 1 January 2022 to receive certification for the training, according to the article. The bill would prohibit the use of public funds at any hotels that have not received certification.

Insights into how Chinese travelers book, spend: As the number of Chinese travelers continues to grow, hoteliers are trying to figure out how to best appeal to them in order to capture their bookings, reports HNN’s Terence Baker from the Gulf & Indian Ocean Hotel Investors’ Summit. That means learning their travel patterns and booking windows.

One of the main points panelists shared during the session on Chinese trends is that social media plays a large part in their lives, and one of the main platforms they use is WeChat.

“(Hoteliers) must master it, and (WeChat) is Instagram, Facebook, Twitter all in one,” said Stefan Leser, CEO of Langham Hospitality Group. “Know who are the influencers and that it is a 24/7 activity, because without this insight it is impossible to do a campaign.”

U.S. business investment fell again at end of 2018: Data from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows a measure of business investment fell for the fourth time in five months at the end of last year. The Wall Street Journal reports. The decline is a signal that “firms are feeling less confident in light of domestic and global economic uncertainty.”

While orders for durable goods and manufactured products that are intended to last for at least three years increased by 1.2% in December from November, most of that was for commercial aircraft and vehicles and their respective parts, according to the article. Without transportation, the orders grew by 0.1%. New orders for nondefense capital goods (not including aircraft) fell by 0.7%.

“I view the softness in business investment as a response to policy-related uncertainties, starting last summer with the imposition of tariffs on China, which raised the prospect of a trade war,” Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities, said in a note to clients. “Those uncertainties were certainly greatly exacerbated by the federal government shutdown in December and January.”

NYC subpoenas Airbnb for data on 20,000 listings: New York City subpoenaed Airbnb for the data it has for about 20,000 listings to see if hosts are in compliance with laws on short-term rentals, CNN reports. The city issued a similar subpoena to HomeAway.

The subpoenas are seeking details on hosts’ addresses, names, contact information, volume of bookings and the amount of money they have earned through hosting. It is illegal in the city to list entire apartments and similar accommodations for periods of fewer than 30 days.

Compiled by Bryan Wroten.

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