5 things to know: 30 September 2019
5 things to know: 30 September 2019
30 SEPTEMBER 2019 9:28 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Marriott CEO sees plenty of reasons to be optimistic
  • Principal to sell 11 hotels for €545 million
  • 500 hotels in Spain to close after Thomas Cook collapse
  • RevPAR stays afloat in August
  • The importance of hotel bees

Marriott CEO sees plenty of reasons to be optimistic: Marriott International has had a challenging year, but there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic with tailwinds behind the company, Marriott President and CEO Arne Sorenson said during a conversation at The Lodging Conference, HNN’s Dana Miller writes.

On a personal note, Sorenson said he is feeling good and doctors are optimistic about his treatment for stage II pancreatic cancer, which he was diagnosed with in May.

His company and the industry are dealing with the effects of the U.S.-China trade war, which could lead to a decline in travelers from China to the U.S.

“When you look at the current pace, one of the frustrating things about this is … it’s hard to pull that real-time data. It is crystal clear that Chinese travelers are still travelling abroad, (but) they’re much less likely to come to the U.S. today than they were just a few years ago,” he said.

Principal to sell 11 hotels for €545 million: Principal Real Estate Europe announced that it has exchanged contracts with AXA IM – Real Assets for the sale of 11 hotels for €545 million ($594.7 million) through its first hotel real estate fund, according to a news release.

The sale marks the “disposal of the entire portfolio of Principal Europe’s first hotel real estate fund which first closed in 2012, acquired 16 hotels until 2016 and earlier started a disposal process including amongst other the sale of three hotels in Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Nuremberg in 2018,” the release states.

“After this very successful first Principal hotel fund, we will focus on investing over €400 million ($436.3 million) of capital available for new hotel investments of our existing second hotel fund focused on value-add hotel investments across Europe,” Jochen Schaefer Suren, CEO of Principal’s hotel and leisure division, said in the release.

500 hotels in Spain to close after Thomas Cook collapse: The head of the Spanish Federation said that 500 hotels in Spain will close immediately after British tour operator Thomas Cook entered into liquidation last week, France 24 reports.

The news outlet reports Juan Molas, head of Spain's Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation, told another news outlet that the “situation could get worse if the government doesn’t take immediate action.”

Molas said “the sum in unpaid bills left by the demise of the tour operator would be much higher than the initial estimate of €200 million ($218.2 million),” the news outlet reports.

RevPAR stays afloat in August: Data from STR, HNN’s parent company, shows that revenue-per-available-room gains remained positive in August, driven by a 0.9% increase in average daily rate, STR’s Jan Freitag writes.

While RevPAR growth has been positive for 112 months, which is the longest run ever, daily and weekly data since 1 June shows that overall, RevPAR growth has been decelerating and hovers at around 0%.

Freitag writes an ongoing slowing in RevPAR growth for leisure travel on Saturdays could point to two things: stagnant occupancy with supply and demand in equilibrium and a lack of pricing power.

The importance of hotel bees: There are many species of at-risk bees that are critical for pollination, and hotels have started beekeeping to protect these pollinators, The Washington Post reports.

Bees are critical in pollination of food crops such as almonds, avocados and coffee, but “some species of bees are facing issues due to habitat loss, pesticides, disease and climate change,” the news outlet reports.

Matt Sanchez, a licensed beekeeper who manages more than 30 hives at the Sawgrass Marriott in Florida, told the news outlet “bees are the ‘canary in the coal mine,’” adding that they are “stress beacons” for humans.

If pesticides are sprayed within a three-mile radius, the bees die, which alerts him of something wrong in the area, he said. “By keeping bees, you’re more aware of and connected to everything in your community,” he said.

Compiled by Danielle Hess.

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