5 things to know: 24 September 2020
5 things to know: 24 September 2020
24 SEPTEMBER 2020 9:33 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • UK government announces new job support program
  • Room2 founder sees opportunities amid pandemic
  • Staff service important, JD Power study shows
  • Weekly performance results for US hotels
  • Trump bans Americans from staying at some Cuban hotels

U.K. government announced new job support program: With the furlough scheme expiring in October, U.K. Finance Minister Rishi Sunak has announced a new emergency package called the Job Support Scheme to contain unemployment, CNBC reports.

“The Job Support Scheme will directly top up the wages of employees working fewer hours due to suppressed business demand, enabling workers to keep their jobs on shorter hours rather than being made redundant. It will run for six months from November,” the news outlet writes.

Employees working one-third of their normal hours and being paid for that work as normal will receive an increase in wages from the government to cover two-thirds of the pay. The program will apply to small- and medium-sized businesses in the country.

Room2 founder sees opportunities amid pandemic: Room2 founder Robert Godwin believes 2020 is the right time to expand his brand, or “home-tels” as he calls them, HNN’s Terence Baker reports.

Room2 is at the high end of the budget space, and Godwin said he is introducing a product called Room2 Lite.

“He added that Room2 could even be a solution for properties that have until November to decide whether to stick with Travelodge (U.K.), following that brand’s recent reorganization and a court-mandated decision that its company voluntary arrangement triggers landlord’s break clauses,” Baker writes.

“The last six months we have really pushed this,” Godwin said. “We are going quite hard to capture some Travelodge assets, as well as having discussions with other landlords, going head to head with the big hotel brands. Our main limitation is a lack of open sites.

Staff service important, J.D. Power study shows: The J.D. Power 2020 Third-Party Hotel Management Guest Satisfaction Benchmark study shows that staff service is important to guests, “even in the age of digitally enabled, contactless hotel bookings and hand-sanitized check-ins,” according to a news release.

Crestline Hotels & Resorts ranked the highest in overall guest satisfaction and performed well in service upon guest arrival and departure and for facilities such as safety and security, grounds and exterior maintenance.

Atrium Hospitality and Pyramid Hotel Group tied for second place in the guest satisfaction rankings.

Weekly performance results for U.S. hotels: For the week ending 19 September, U.S. hotels saw nearly flat occupancy from the previous week, data from STR, HNN’s parent company, shows.

Occupancy decreased 31.9% to 48.6%, average daily rate decreased 28.9% to $95.84 and revenue per available room dropped 51.6% to $46.54.

“Demand rose slightly (+0.3%), and the highest occupancy markets were once again those housing displaced residents from Hurricane Laura and western wildfires, with California South/Central showing the highest level in the metric (74.7%). The Louisiana South (72.8%) and Louisiana North (72.3%) markets were also among the top five highest occupancy levels for the week,” the release states.

Trump bans Americans from staying at some Cuban hotels: As part of an effort from President Donald Trump to tighten restrictions on the Cuban government, Americans visiting Cuba will be barred from staying at 433 hotels believed to be owned or controlled by the Cuban government, USA Today reports.

The State Department said profits from the banned hotels "disproportionately benefit the Cuban government, all at the expense of the Cuban people, who continue to face repression at the hands of the regime,” the news outlet writes.

With a limited list of accommodations for Americans, the move could cause airlines to cut flight schedules to Cuba.

Compiled by Danielle Hess.

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