5 things to know: 24 January 2018
5 things to know: 24 January 2018
24 JANUARY 2018 9:46 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Dollar on downward slide
  • Labor a top topic during ALIS Day Two
  • Russia cracking down on World Cup rate spikes
  • STR reports full-year 2017 data for global regions
  • Hilton claims record growth in 2017

Dollar on downward slide: The U.S. dollar has been growing weaker recently, and that trend seems to have been spurred even further by recent comments made by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“A weaker dollar is good for trade. In the longer term, a stronger dollar is a reflection of the strength of the U.S. economy,” Mnuchin said.

A prolonged period of having a strong dollar has been a regularly cited as a reason for the country’s disappointing inbound international travel numbers lately. The Visit U.S. Coalition, a group of travel and business focused organizations, was recently formed with the goal of reversing that trend and boosting the country’s share of international travel.

Labor a top topic during ALIS Day Two: The tone during the second day of the Americas Lodging Investment Summit seems to be generally positive, but Hotel News Now’s team at the event points out that there are still issues that raise red flags. Chief among them right now is a shortage of labor, both for regular staffing and construction.

Speaking at a panel about development challenges, Billy Brown, chairman and CEO of LodgeCap, noted labor is a huge concern at the moment.

“I’m of the opinion that we’re going to hit a wall in this industry,” he said. “We’re getting ready to hit a wall where, with the cost of development, you can’t justify the projects. … When you talk about 10% to 25% a year inflation in construction costs … we’re seeing delays and we’re seeing shortages, not as much in materials, but critical shortages in labor. I think we’re ready to hit a wall that, for the first time, isn’t caused by a crash, but caused by (the industry) meandering along at 2% to 3% RevPAR growth.”

Russia cracking down on World Cup rate spikes: The Russian government is publicly criticizing dozens of hotels it claims is gouging prices in the run up to the 2018 World Cup, which will be held in the country. The Russian Federal Agency for Tourism published a list of 41 hotels it said boosted prices as much as 5,000% in connection with the World Cup, according to a report from Reuters.

A total of 11 cities in the country will host World Cup games between 14 June and 15 July. Sources at some hotels cited in the report, including the Agora in Kaliningrad and the Kempinsky Grand Hotel in the resort city of Gelendzhik, told Reuters that technical malfunctions led to the hike in prices.

STR reports full-year 2017 data for global regions: Hotel News Now’s parent company STR has released full-year 2017 data for regions around the globe. Here’s a look at how they performed:

Europe: Occupancy grew 2.4% year over year to 71.9%, while average daily rate was up 3.1% to €110.51 ($136.80), and revenue per available room was up 5.6% to €79.46 ($98.36).

Asia/Pacific: Occupancy increased 2.6% to 70.9%. ADR was up 0.9% to $100.57, and RevPAR increased 3.6% to $71.31.

Middle East and Africa: Middle Eastern hoteliers saw occupancy fall 1.1% to 65% as ADR dropped 4.5% to $164.33, combining for a 5.6% decline in RevPAR to $106.89. African hoteliers enjoyed positive performance, though, with occupancy up 5.6% to 58%, ADR up 7.4% to $104.15 and RevPAR up 13.4% to $60.43.

Central/South America: Occupancy was up 2.2% to 56.5% as ADR rose 0.7% to $105.24 and RevPAR increased 2.8% to $59.45.

Hilton claims record growth in 2017: It seems like 2017 was a year to remember for Hilton, as company officials are touting “record-setting growth” for the year in a recent news release. The company added 399 properties to surpass 5,200 across the globe, adding a projected 23,000 jobs. The combination of existing properties and Hilton’s pipeline amounts to more than 1.2 million rooms.

“After achieving record numbers across all development metrics, we look forward to driving even greater momentum as we charge toward Hilton’s centennial anniversary in 2019,” President and CEO Chris Nassetta said in the release.

Compiled by Sean McCracken.

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