5 things to know: 18 April 2018
5 things to know: 18 April 2018
18 APRIL 2018 9:16 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Investors want cash to offset volatility
  • China now Australia’s top feeder market
  • Asset managers share industry outlook, cost-saving tips
  • A look at March hotel performance
  • HNA faces government roadblocks outside of China

Investors want cash to offset volatility: A new report from The Wall Street Journal notes investors are putting an increasing emphasis on dividends and share buybacks to feel more comfortable in an environment of “rising interest rates, resurgent stock volatility and creeping political risk.”

The newspaper reports that between 71% and 83% of large listed companies in the United States and Europe are expected to increase their dividends in 2018, and dividends per share are expected to grow at their fastest pace since early 2016.

China now Australia’s top feeder market: New Zealand has long been the top source market for travelers to Australia, but that country has been dethroned as Chinese travelers hit a record high for the 12-month period ending in February, according to Reuters. Roughly 1.39 million Chinese travelers visited Australia during that period, a year-over-year increase of 13.2%, and surpassing the 1.36 million from New Zealand.

The news agency notes Australia set a new record for tourist arrivals during that period with 8.9 million visitors. Tourism-related spending reached 41.3 billion Australian dollars ($32 billion).

Asset managers share industry outlook, cost-saving tips: The consensus among members of the Hospitality Asset Managers Association seems to be that labor and Airbnb are the largest threats to the hotel industry at the moment, according to a series of video interviews held at the organization’s recent spring meeting.

Asset managers also shared some tips on how hoteliers can cut costs on property to preserve profit margins, including leveraging technology to more inexpensively offer amenities and services and working with employees to improve efficiency.

A look at March hotel performance: Revenue per available room was up 3.9% year over year (to $90.17) for U.S. hotels in March, according to the latest data from HNN’s parent company, STR. That strong RevPAR performance was largely driven by a 3% increase in average daily rate, which was up to $131.56 for the month and marked the largest ADR increase since January 2017. Occupancy was up 0.9% to 68.5% for the month.

Miami/Hialeah, Florida, was the highest-performing market among the top 25 in March, with RevPAR up 18.2% to $235.70 and ADR up 15.2% to $268.22.

HNA faces government roadblocks outside of China: HNA Group is one of several large Chinese companies that have faced well-publicized scrutiny from the government in their home country, but HNA is now facing regulatory pressure from at least one other government. Reuters reports New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office has stopped a planned $460-million purchase of the country’s largest non-bank lender over concerns about HNA’s financial health and ownership structure.

HNA is the owner of Radisson Hotel Group and has recently sold or announced plans to sell stakes in several other hotel companies, including Hilton and Park Hotels & Resorts. Reuters reports HNA has been involved in more than $50 billion in acquisitions in the past two years.

Compiled by Sean McCracken.

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