5 things to know: 8 October 2019
5 things to know: 8 October 2019
08 OCTOBER 2019 9:23 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Summit Hotel Properties to buy portfolio for $249m
  • More than 5,000 US hotels have employee ‘panic buttons’
  • The risks and costs for modular hotel construction
  • Blacklisted companies, Hong Kong complicate trade talks
  • Caesars Entertainment to raise resort fees at Las Vegas hotels

Summit Hotel Properties to buy portfolio for $249m: Hotel real estate investment trust Summit Hotel Properties announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire four hotels on the West Coast for $249 million through its recently formed joint venture with GIC, according to a news release. The joint venture expects to invest about $23 million in capital across the four hotels over the first three years of ownership.

The hotels included in the deal are the 258-room Residence Inn by Marriott Portland Downtown/RiverPlace, the 169-room Hilton Garden Inn San Francisco Airport North, the 161-room Hilton Garden Inn San Jose/Milpitas and the 122-room Residence Inn by Marriott Portland Hillsboro, the news release states. The deal is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2019.

More than 5,000 U.S. hotels have employee ‘panic buttons’: A year after the American Hotel & Lodging Association launched its “Five-Star Promise” with the help of Marriott International, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, InterContinental Hotels Group, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and Hilton, more than 5,000 U.S. hotels and resorts have added employee security devices, or panic buttons, and introduced training to prevent sexual harassment, the Los Angeles Times reports. The number of hotel companies that committed to providing the devices and training has grown from 17 to 56.

Hotel employee labor unions have praised these efforts, saying that it’s a step in the right direction, “but they question whether the hotels will offer electronic panic buttons that worker can use in isolated areas of hotels or simply devices that emit loud noises, such as whistles,” the article states. Labor unions have pushed for electronic panic buttons for hotel employees across the U.S., successfully implementing these requirements in Seattle, Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C.

The risks and costs for modular hotel construction: Modular construction has created a new opportunity for hotel construction, but owners and developers need to be aware of the risks involved to create the right plans to attract lenders, writes HNN’s Dana Miller.

One of the aspects unique to modular construction is that there are a number of up-front costs that typically come later in traditional construction, such as deposits for furniture, fixtures and equipment.

“That requires a level of understanding in the financing. … This is in its infancy. As more people get familiar with the process and what the benefits are and what potentially the cost savings are, that’s when more lenders will get into the space,” said Sanat Patel, chief sales officer and managing partner at Avana Capital, on a panel at the recent Lodging Conference.

Blacklisted companies, Hong Kong complicate trade talks: The chances of a quick resolution to the trade war between the U.S. and China dimmed this week, Reuters reports. The U.S. Department of Commerce added 28 Chinese public security bureaus and companies to the Entity List, essentially blacklisting them, because they were “implicated in human rights violations and abuses” against Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim minority groups.

The announcement of the additions to the Entities List were reportedly not tied to the trade talks this week, the news agency reports. The Chinese government has opposed previous instances of the U.S. adding companies to the list, such as Huawei Technologies. Those on the list are not allowed to buy parts and components from U.S. suppliers without the U.S. government’s permission.

The Trump administration has voiced support for a peaceful resolution to the protests in Hong Kong, but the Chinese government sees any U.S. support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong “as interfering with its sovereignty,” the article states.

Caesars Entertainment to raise resort fees at Las Vegas hotels: Caesars Entertainment plans to increase the resort fees it charges at some of its Las Vegas properties starting 15 October, News3LV reports. Caesar’s Palace and the Nobu Hotel will have resort fees totaling $51.02 plus tax per night (a $7 increase), while the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino will charge $39.68 plus tax per night (a $3 increase).

The company explained the increase in resort fees brings the properties in line with competitors, the article states. The amenities and services covered by the resort fees include in-room Wi-Fi for two devices per day at 20 mbps, fitness center passes for two guests per day and all local calls.

Caesars Entertainment last increased resort fees in 2017.

Compiled by Bryan Wroten.

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