5 things to know: 2 May 2017
5 things to know: 2 May 2017
02 MAY 2017 9:23 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Senators: Trump’s ties to hotel company troublesome
  • US consumer spending rose while prices fell in March
  • Q&A with Hyatt SVP on in-room streaming for guest convenience
  • State Department issues warning on US travel to Europe
  • EU skepticism of Brexit continues to grow

Senators: Trump’s ties to hotel company troublesome: Two U.S. senators allege President Donald Trump’s ties to a hotel management company might violate a constitutional clause against the president receiving additional payments from state governments outside of his salary, Reuters reports.

Public pension funds in at least seven states pay millions to an investment fund that owns the Trump SoHo Hotel and Condominium in New York and pays one of Trump’s companies to run it, the news agency reports.

While the president has handed off management of his companies to a trust controlled by his sons, he has not divested ownership. As a result, he still receives revenue from the hotel management company along with revenue from other business in the Trump Organization.

U.S. consumer spending rose while prices fell in March: In a sign of a possible rebound from a slower winter, U.S. consumer spending grew in March when accounting for inflation, The Wall Street Journal reports. Conversely, consumer prices fell at the same time, which is a sign of “an underlying weakness.”

Factoring in inflation and gains in Americans’ incomes, it is possible the first-quarter slowdown in the economy “may have been a blip,” the newspaper reports, and growth could accelerate during the spring. However, the drop in consumer prices might cause the Federal Reserve to give further consideration to its plans to increase interest rates.

“Spending is expected to pick up this spring due largely to rising incomes. Personal income—measuring wages, salaries, investment returns and government assistance—rose 0.2% in March from a month earlier. Real disposable income—or the money left over after inflation and taxes—grew 0.5%, the strongest gain since late 2015,” The Journal reported.

Q&A with Hyatt SVP on in-room streaming for guest convenience: Jeff Bzdawka, SVP of global hotel technology at Hyatt Hotels Corporation, spoke with HNN’s Sean McCracken about a new in-room streaming system that’s designed with guest convenience in mind.

“Streaming to a TV screen at home has become a very common experience,” Bzdawka said. “Sixty percent of homes have streaming subscriptions. Guests want to view their favorite content on a big screen at home as well as on the road. It also gets us out of being a curator of content. This allows them to stream whatever content they brand, and it’s really providing flexibility.”

U.S. State Department issues warning on US travel to Europe: The U.S. State Department has issued a new travel alert for Americans traveling to Europe this summer, citing concerns over potential terrorist attacks, The Washington Post reports. A previous travel warning was in effect from November 2016 until February 2017.

Though the alert did not give any indication that the state department believes an attack is imminent, it cited attacks in France, Russia, Sweden and the U.K. as causes for concern this summer, the newspaper reports.

“U.S. citizens should always be alert to the possibility that terrorist sympathizers or self-radicalized extremists may conduct attacks with little or no warning,” the alert states, according to The Post.

EU skepticism of Brexit continues to grow: With formal negotiations over Brexit scheduled to begin after the 8 June election in the United Kingdom, EU officials are less than convinced the U.K. understands the complexity of the matter, The Associated Press reports.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker met with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May for a working dinner. While both called the meeting constructive, Juncker was later quoted as saying he left the meeting “10 times more skeptical than I was before.” May dismissed that report and cited it as “Brussels gossip,” the AP reported.

Compiled by Bryan Wroten.

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