5 things to know: 21 January 2020
5 things to know: 21 January 2020
21 JANUARY 2020 10:23 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Chinese inbound travel to take hit from virus outbreak
  • Japan hotel market revs up for 2020 Olympics
  • US hotels break performance records in 2019
  • Hotels ordered to stay closed as Philippine volcano ‘recharges’
  • Europe’s top court rules Airbnb not real estate broker

Chinese inbound travel to take hit from virus outbreak: A viral outbreak that has hit the central China city of Wuhan the hardest is prompting travel booking firms to offer free cancellations to travelers to the region, Reuters reports.

“As of Tuesday, nearly 300 people had been diagnosed globally, with all but a handful in China, and most of them in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people. This has sent jitters among travelers as hundreds of millions of Chinese are prepare to travel for the Lunar New Year holiday this week,” according to the news agency.

Japan hotel market revs up for 2020 Olympics: The 2020 Summer Olympics, to be hosted in Tokyo starting 24 July, and other major events across the continent are generating excitement among Japan’s hoteliers, reports HNN’s Terence Baker.

However, sources said, investing in Japan requires patience, as return on investment is generally slower to materialize.

“In Japan, everything done there is done impeccably, but it takes more time and expense, two or three times what it could be in another place,” said Isabelle Miaja, managing director of Singapore-based Miaja Design Group, which has designed such Japanese hotels as the Club Med Sahoro Hokkaido.

U.S. hotels break performance records in 2019: The U.S. hotel industry recorded its highest-ever absolute metrics for average daily rate and revenue per available room for full-year 2019, according to data from STR, parent company of Hotel News Now.

The industry also set records for supply, adding more than 1.9 billion available room nights, and demand, with approximately 1.3 billion room nights sold.

However, the growth rate in RevPAR was its lowest since 2010, the data shows.

“RevPAR growth came in lower than any year since the recession and well below the long-term historical average of 3.2%. With supply and demand growing in equilibrium, ADR is the sole driver of RevPAR gains. Unfortunately, with ADR rising below the rate of inflation, revenue growth is not keeping up with rising costs, such as increases in wages. That is a concern for owners and operators alike,” STR President Amanda Hite said.

STR data shows the hotel industry ended 2019 on a high note, with December’s 2.6% RevPAR growth rate tied with February for the strongest of the year.

Hotels ordered to stay closed as Philippines volcano ‘recharges’: High risk of an eruption from a currently restive volcano in the Philippines capital of Manila has prompted government officials to order resorts to remain closed in the area and to discourage tourists, Reuters reports.

The Taal volcano has erupted more than 30 times in the past 500 years, most recently in 1977. Signs that it is recharging include an ash eruption on 12 January, which sent more than 100,000 people fleeing from homes in the vicinity.

Europe’s top court rules Airbnb not real estate broker: The Court of Justice of the European Union has declared that alternative-accommodations provider Airbnb is not a real estate broker, but a sharing platform, in a ruling that might stop other actions from being raised in the continent against the U.S. firm, the BBC reports.

The French legal action sought to insist that Airbnb gain the relevant licensing that all real estate brokers require, but the court said it was an “information society service,” not a property broker and “drew a distinction between Airbnb and Uber on the basis of how much control the property-booking app had over transactions on its service,” the BBC reports.

Compiled by Robert McCune.

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