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

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • US hotel industry supports more than 1 in 25 jobs
  • Preliminary August 2019 US lodging numbers
  • Hilton exec on what revenue managers should prioritize
  • Number of visitors to Hong Kong drops by 40%
  • TripAdvisor defends itself against fake review claims

U.S. hotel industry supports more than 1 in 25 jobs: The U.S. hotel industry employs 2.3 million people directly and supports, in total, 8.3 million as of 2018, according to a study by Oxford Economics that was sponsored by the American Hotel & Lodging Association. The industry has added 160,000 hotel jobs since 2015 and increased the total number of U.S. jobs it supports by 1.1 million during the same time period.

The study also found the U.S. hotel industry generated $1.2 trillion of business sales, which includes revenue as well as certain taxes. The 8.3 million jobs supported by the industry generated $395 billion in wages, salaries and other compensation. Its contribution to the country’s gross domestic product amounted to $659 billion.

“A representative hotel with 100 occupied rooms supports 241 total jobs, including 137 direct jobs and 104 indirect and induced jobs,” according to the study. “This impact includes 66 direct jobs at the hotel, with $2.8 million of wages, salaries and other labor income. This representative property supports $5.4 million of total tax revenue, including $1.9 million of direct taxes generated at the hotel.”

Preliminary August 2019 U.S. lodging numbers: STR, parent company of HNN, has released its preliminary numbers for August 2019. In a review of the total U.S. hotel industry, a year-over-year comparison shows occupancy changes ranging from -1% to 1% and both average daily rate and revenue per available room percent changes ranging from flat to 2%.

Looking at the chain scale segments, preliminary numbers indicate -1% to 1% changes for occupancy, ADR and RevPAR in the economy, midscale and upper-midscale segments. Changes in the upscale segment ranges from -2% to flat in occupancy, -1% to 1% in ADR and -2% to flat in RevPAR. Numbers for the upper-upscale segment show changes of -1% to 1% in occupancy and flat to 2% in both ADR and RevPAR. The luxury segment shows changes of -2% to flat in occupancy, flat to 2% in ADR and -1% to 1% in RevPAR.

Hilton exec on what revenue managers should prioritize: There’s both an art and a science to successful revenue management as the industry continues through its economic cycle, said Chris Wilroy, SVP and commercial director of the Americas at Hilton. Speaking with HNN’s Stephanie Ricca during a break at the 2019 Hotel Data Conference, Wilroy said it’s important for revenue managers to consider the perspective of their potential guests.

“All too often, revenue managers are heads down, setting rates and inventory controls, and not really thinking about … their pricing decisions, their rate structure, their inventory controls through the lens of the customer,” he said.

Number of visitors to Hong Kong drops by 40%: Hong Kong’s finance secretary reported that the city saw a 40% year-over-year drop in visitors in August after dipping 5% in July, Reuters reports. The finance secretary, Paul Chan, cited the ongoing protests as the reason for the drop.

Some hotels are reporting occupancy levels have dropped to about half, Chan wrote in his blog, according to the article. Room rates have dropped 40% to 70%. Retail sales have also reportedly dropped by the largest amount since February 2016.

TripAdvisor defends itself against fake review claims: Which? Travel, a consumer group in the United Kingdom, has claimed up to 1 in 7 reviews on TripAdvisor are fake, CNN reports. TripAdvisor has denied this allegation, calling the consumer group’s analysis “flawed.”

According to the article, the consumer group looked at almost 250,000 reviews of the top-10 ranked hotels in 10 global destinations and alleged that 1 in 7 had “blatant hallmarks” of fake reviews. TripAdvisor said it has more sophisticated detection tools to find and remove fake reviews.

TripAdvisor said the analysis was “based on a flawed understanding of fake review patterns,” the article states, and “it is simply far too simplistic to assume all first-time reviewers are suspicious.”

Which? Travel previously reported what it considered to be the top 15 worst cases of hotels using fake reviews on TripAdvisor. As a result, TripAdvisor penalized six of those and added a “red badge warning,” notifying users about suspicions about fake reviews, to two hotels.

Compiled by Bryan Wroten.

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