5 things to know: 11 September 2019
5 things to know: 11 September 2019
11 SEPTEMBER 2019 9:13 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Construction at SFO, full airport hotels stymieing travelers
  • Downtown Chicago hotels see revenue at five-year low
  • Hoteliers expect easing of Barcelona moratorium
  • Median US household income remained flat in 2018
  • Texas city sees restoration of hotel as key to revitalizing town

Construction at SFO, full airport hotels stymieing travelers: Construction at airports often causes delays or canceled flights, but travelers are usually able to find accommodations at nearby hotels. However, in San Francisco, airlines aren’t covering travelers’ overnight stays because of the construction, and the nearby hotels are already near capacity during the week, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

SFO is undergoing a three-week construction project to repair one runway’s crumbling pavement, the newspaper reports. The construction delayed more than 230 flights and canceled at least 100 more in one day alone.

“Anytime (anything) affects the airport, the airport properties get packed,” Rogers Macon, front-desk manager at El Rancho Inn, which is 3 miles from the airport, told the newspaper. Travelers, he said, are “going to be in trouble, because if we’re sold out, everyone’s sold out.”

Downtown Chicago hotels see revenue at five-year low: A combination of a tough start to the year, a much slower convention calendar and new supply has resulted in hotels in downtown Chicago seeing revenue per available room at its lowest since 2014, Crain’s Chicago Business reports. RevPAR through July was down 6.5% compared to the same time period in 2018.

This is certainly a challenging year, but many hoteliers are viewing it as an off year and not the norm, the article states. The convention calendar is not normally this slow, and demand remains strong as the city has had seven years of record-setting tourism.

“Everything is skewed because 2018 was so high,” said Stacey Nadolny, managing director and senior partner at HVS. “We're just still in the process of absorbing all the new supply that has hit over the last three years.”

Hoteliers expect easing of Barcelona moratorium: Hoteliers are seeing signs that Barcelona’s moratorium on new-build and renovations of hotels will begin to at least ease, reports HNN’s Terence Baker. The city’s moratorium has been in place for four years.

While a court found some of the existing regulations need to change, there’s still a need to protect the city from overtourism.

“The majority of the population, and that includes hoteliers and a lot of other stakeholders in tourism, agree that tourism needs to be better managed in Barcelona, and that means some kind of limitation to new supply,” said Pau Guardans i Cambó, chairman of tourism and hospitality organization Barcelona Global and owner of five-hotel firm Único Hotels. “This is only a part of an agenda to manage tourism that Barcelona has to implement to better balance demand and supply and make this important activity sustainable in the future.”

Median U.S. household income remained flat in 2018: U.S. Census Bureau data shows U.S. household income showed no statistically significant increase in 2018, The Wall Street Journal reports. While income grew by 0.9% to $63,179, that increase was negated when adjusted for inflation. The Census Bureau’s findings is a turn from three previous years of growth.

While the poverty rate in 2018 decreased half a percentage point from 2017 to 11.8%, the number of Americans without health insurance increased for the first time since 2009, rising from 7.9% in 2017 to 8.5% in 2018, according to the article.

Despite having a tight labor market and an unemployment rate that was at or below 4% in 2018, income didn’t increase as expected, the article states. Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist for Northern Trust, said employers have been able to hold down wages with new technology, consolidation in certain industries has held back growth and the share of workers who are union members continues to decline.

Texas city sees restoration of hotel as key to revitalizing town: Business leaders in Mineral Wells, Texas, hope their planned $65-million restoration of the historic Baker Hotel will help attract visitors once again to a town once famous for its “lithium-laced healing waters,” The New York Times reports. The Baker Hotel, which opened in 1929, closed in 1972 as the city faced economic troubles.

The Spanish Colonial Revival hotel had hosted celebrities such as Clark Gable, Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich and The Three Stooges, the article states. Even now, the hotel has a “cult-like following,” said Laird Fairchild, co-founder of Hunter Chase Capital Partners, as city officials and the Chamber of Commerce regularly field questions about the hotel, including about 100 requests a year to hold weddings there.

The ultimate goal is to return Mineral Wells into a leading tourist destination, but this time adding in more diverse demand drivers to expand the city’s economic base, according to the article.

Compiled by Bryan Wroten.

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