5 things to know: 12 June 2019
5 things to know: 12 June 2019
12 JUNE 2019 9:25 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • CEOs answer burning questions on brands, tech
  • Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index dropped 4.9% in May
  • Hyatt files lawsuit against Unite Here Local 1
  • New Jersey first state to require hotel panic buttons
  • Albuquerque hotels booked for senior games

CEOs answer burning questions on brands, tech: CEOs at the recent NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference discussed topics that are top of mind in the industry, such as brand proliferation and technology investments, HNN’s Robert McCune writes.

Speaking on brands, Marriott International President and CEO Arne Sorenson said his company has 30 brands, but really, they fall under one large umbrella brand, which is Marriott Bonvoy.

The key is “providing choice broad enough to keep them (guests) with us,” he said, “as opposed to going to an (online travel agency), Google and being an intermediary customer.”

Ken Greene, president, Americas, at Radisson Hotel Group, said “tech is critical to our business.”

“We could probably operate a hotel today with very little human activity, but that’s not the experience you want. You want to make your team on property more efficient so they can engage with the guest,” he said.

Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index dropped 4.9% in May: The Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index decreased 4.9% in May to 4,645, according to a news release from STR, parent company of Hotel News Now. The index was up 14.1% year to date for the first five months of the year.

“We had been seeing positive investor sentiment despite lackluster industry performance, so it is not surprising to see this negative shift,” said Amanda Hite, STR’s president and CEO. “We downgraded our forecast released last week at the NYU Conference, but we continue to project growth even if it is coming in at a below-average rate. We’re aligned with industry stakeholders with concern over trade wars, labor costs and inbound tourism, but indicators remains in place for positive performance moving forward, especially during the busy summer months.”

“May performance of the Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index was better than the S&P 500 (-6.6%) but fell below the MSCI US REIT Index (flat),” the release states.

Hyatt files lawsuit against Unite Here Local 1: The Hyatt Regency Chicago has filed a lawsuit against Unite Here Local 1, a union that represents housekeeper, doormen and cooks at Chicago hotels, in an attempt to “resolve conflicting rulings over how much latitude chefs can have in preparing and plating dishes served at the hotel,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

In a 2018 dispute, an arbitrator “sided with the hotel in 53 of 61 incidents, noting specifically that ‘chefs have been performing cooking and food prep duties for many years as a normal part of their job description,’” the news outlet reports.

However, in another arbitration decision, the arbitrator found more than 200 incidences in which management performed an employee’s task, including when a hotel chef took quiche out of an oven, which is a job usually performed by union cooks, to prevent them from burning.

Hyatt said in the lawsuit that the “inconsistency” between the arbitration rulings makes it difficult to outline the scope of what the chefs’ job responsibilities are.

New Jersey first state to require hotel panic buttons: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill requiring hotels to give workers wearable panic buttons, the Associated Press reports. The governor said the state is the first to mandate the buttons.

States such as Illinois, Florida and Washington are considering the implementation of panic buttons in hotels, and Marriott and Hilton “have announced plans to provide the devices to their workers without being forced to by government,” AP reports.

The law in New Jersey will take effect in January, and will apply to hotels with 100 rooms or more.

Albuquerque hotels booked for senior games: Hotels are booking up quickly in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the National Senior Games, KOAT Action News reports.

The city will host 14,000 athletes and is expecting to host 25,000 people total for the event, the article states. The event is expected to be one of the biggest events in the city, “second to Balloon Fiesta,” according to the news outlet.

“The last I heard, from our partners over at Visit ABQ, is that about 12,000 rooms are already booked, so that's a huge amount of people coming into town,” Alicia Manzano, mayor liaison for strategic partnerships, told the news outlet. “Airbnb is about 60% occupied now too, so I'm sure that number is climbing by the day.”

Compiled by Danielle Hess.

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