5 things to know: 9 October 2019
5 things to know: 9 October 2019
09 OCTOBER 2019 9:55 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • US companies try to carefully dance around Chinese issues
  • Sorenson speaks about Marriott’s role as industry innovator
  • Supreme Court turns down Domino’s Pizza accessibility case
  • Power for California homes, businesses cut to prevent wildfires
  • New Beijing airport has in-terminal hotel

U.S. companies try to carefully dance around Chinese issues: U.S. companies are doing their best to navigate their business relationships with China, The New York Times reports. The National Basketball Association is the latest in hot water with the Chinese government after a tweet in support of the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

In past years, U.S. companies knew to avoid “the 3 Ts: Tibet, Taiwan and the Tiananmen Square crackdown,” the article reports. However, geopolitical tensions, growing nationalism and social media in China are making it more challenging for U.S. companies to do business in the country.

“You used to know what would get everyone fired up,” said James McGregor, chairman of the greater China region for the consulting firm APCO Worldwide. “And now you don’t know. You just wake up and discover something new.”

Sorenson speaks about Marriott’s role as industry innovator: In a video interview with HNN’s Stephanie Ricca during a break at the recent Lodging Conference, Marriott International President and CEO Arne Sorenson said the company sees the continued need to be an innovator within the hotel industry.

“Innovation is happening everywhere; it’s happening in our business model, it’s happening with these new ventures. … You look around and the pace of change has never been faster,” Sorenson said. “All of that is driving us toward a place where we say we’ve got to make sure the organization is turned on to be open-minded and to innovate, that people broadly in the company have the power to risk something.”

Supreme Court turns down Domino’s Pizza accessibility case: In a win for disability advocates, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a petition from Domino’s Pizza on whether its website is accessible enough for blind and visually impaired customers, USA Today reports. The decision not to hear the case maintains a January ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that Domino’s and other online retailers must make their services accessible.

Domino’s and the National Retail Federation and Retail Litigation Center worked together to argue the appeals court’s ruling “stretched the definition too far by deciding that websites and mobile applications must be judged as public accommodations rather than just considered as one of many ways in which a consumer might access a retailer’s offerings,” the article states. Domino’s stated customers can order a customized pizza in-store and by phone, text, social media and smart speakers.

Legal experts have advised for years that U.S. hotel companies review their websites to make sure they are accessible to the visually impaired to avoid complaints under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Power for California homes, businesses cut to prevent wildfires: In an effort to prevent wildfires, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has cut power to nearly 800,000 of homes and businesses in northern and central California, Reuters reports. State investigators found the utility’s power lines were responsible for 2018’s Camp Fire that killed 85 people.

Current conditions in those regions match those of last year before the Camp Fire, with low humidity and gale-force winds expected to last through midday 10 October, the article states. Once the power is off, the utility will not restore power until the winds have calmed.

The utility plans to open community centers in 30 locations in the power outage zones to provide restrooms, bottled water, battery charging and air-conditioned seating, the article states.

New Beijing airport has in-terminal hotel: Inside of the new Beijing Daxing International Airport is the 215-key Aerotel Beijing, an in-terminal hotel that allows travelers to rent a room in three-hour blocks, Yahoo Lifestyle reports. Guests can check in and check out at any time, allowing them to rent rooms to rest in before their next flight.

“We tailor services at each location to make our guests feel at home,” said Song Hoi See, the founder and CEO of Plaza Premium Group, which owns the hotel, in a statement. “The opening of Aerotel Beijing is for travelers seeking elevated and personalized experiences at Beijing Daxing International Airport. It will, for example, transform the experience for travelers journeying from Beijing and Tianjin that have early morning long haul flights.”

Compiled by Bryan Wroten.

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