5 things to know: 27 November 2019
5 things to know: 27 November 2019
27 NOVEMBER 2019 9:52 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • US hotel industry officially in a downturn, October data shows
  • Toll rises in Albania earthquakes
  • Hoteliers say safety top priority as more women travel for business
  • Fund selling eight Swiss hotels ‘at slight discount’
  • Hotelier Harris Rosen shares philanthropic philosophy

U.S. hotel industry officially in a downturn, October data shows: A second consecutive decline in revenue per available room for the U.S. hotel industry leaves little doubt that the upcycle, in the traditional view, has ended, STR’s Jan Freitag writes for Hotel News Now. STR is the parent company of HNN.

For October, U.S. RevPAR fell 1.2%, marking the largest decline so far in 2019 and fourth decline in the 116 months since the upcycle began.

“Is the upcycle over? Yes, it is. Two consecutive months of RevPAR decline are proof. But the other reality is this: annualized RevPAR will likely not decline at all in this cycle. So maybe, if you judge by year-end results, this cycle is not over at all,” Freitag writes.

Toll rises in Albania earthquakes: Two brothers from Kosovo who were staying at the Hotel Tropikal in the coastal Albania city of Durrës are among the at least 26 people killed in a magnitude-6.4 earthquake which struck Tuesday, the BBC reports.

When the tremors began, Shemsedin Abazi, 32, and his 29-year-old brother Isa phoned for help from the hotel, “but by the time rescuers pulled them out—some 15 hours later—they were already dead,” according to the article.

More than 40 people had been pulled from the rubble as rescue crews continued to search Wednesday.

Hoteliers say safety top priority as more women travel for business: As a larger share of corporate travel is being claimed by women, hoteliers are keen to the need to not discriminate, even favorably, while emphasizing safety at their properties, HNN Contributor Selena Oh reports from the ITB Asia conference in Singapore.

Speaking on a panel titled “What do women corporate travelers want?” Kim Liew, regional director of sales and marketing at Mandarin Oriental Group, said her company’s hotels do “not provide a specific gender experience.”

“What we like to provide is the ‘soft product.’ Our front desk usually conducts intimate conversations upon check-in in order to find out our guests’ preferences,” she said.

But Vicki Parris, senior director of customer experience, Asia, at FCM Travel Solutions, acknowledged: “Safety is a growing concern with the rapidly rising number of women traveling for business. Ensuring an arrival transfer is pre-arranged and the hotel is centrally located in a well-lit area are two ways to decrease the risk of issues women face while traveling abroad.”

Fund selling eight Swiss hotels ‘at slight discount’: The 216-room InterContinental hotel in Davos, Switzerland, built in 2013 at a cost of approximately $150 million and known as the “Golden Egg” for its distinct shape, is among eight hotels being acquired by Swiss hotel and operator Aevis Victoria from a Credit Suisse fund, Reuters reports.

The hotel portfolio totals 640 rooms. No purchase price was disclosed, but Aevis Victoria noted it was “set at a slight discount from the market value as at 31 December 2018.”

Hotelier Harris Rosen shares philanthropic philosophy: In an interview with news agency Reuters, Harris Rosen, president and COO of Orlando, Florida-based Rosen Hotels & Resorts, discussed his legacy of giving to charity projects and his generosity to his employees.

“I love the opportunity that I have had to offer a helping hand to so many people,” Rosen, 80, said.

Rosen spoke with Hotel News Now in 2017 about how his template for philanthropy can change the world, and about his start in the hotel industry.

Compiled by Robert McCune.

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