5 things to know: 5 May 2017
5 things to know: 5 May 2017
05 MAY 2017 9:15 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • IHG CEO Richard Solomons to retire
  • Carlson Rezidor CEO Wolfgang Neumann resigns
  • US House passes newest version of health care bill
  • US adds 211,000 jobs in April, dropping unemployment to 4.4%
  • Bay Area a driver for California’s travel spend

IHG CEO Richard Solomons to retire: After 25 years with InterContinental Hotels Group, CEO Richard Solomons announced he will retire 30 June and all his company duties will end 30 August, writes HNN’s Terence Baker. 

During IHG’s first-quarter earnings call, Solomons said, “(IHG has) achieved a great deal since becoming a standalone company in 2003. … We launched new brands, enhanced others and began a substantial presence in China, building scale there and recently opening our 300th hotel.”

IHG Chief Commercial Officer Keith Barr will take Solomons’ place 1 July.

Carlson Rezidor CEO Wolfgang Neumann resigns: Carlson Hotels CEO Federico González Tejera will become CEO of Carlson Rezidor Hotels Group following the resignation of Wolfgang Neumann, writes HNN’s Terence Baker. Prior to becoming CEO of Carlson Hotels in January 2017, González Tejera served as CEO at NH Hotels.

There is speculation Neumann resigned following pressure from China’s HNA Tourism Group, which has financial interest in Carlson Rezidor and NH, Baker writes. The company also owns all of Carlson Hotels, which has a 51.3% ownership stake in Carlson Rezidor. Carlson Rezidor shareholders rejected an offer earlier this year by HNA to purchase the remaining shares.

NH Hotels shareholders have criticized HNA’s involvement in Carlson Rezidor, arguing it creates a conflict of interest.

Neumann will remain at the company serving as a non-executive director on the board.

U.S. House passes newest version of health care bill: The American Health Care Act passed in a narrow House vote of 217 to 213, The Washington Post reports. Last-minute changes to the bill persuaded enough Republican members of Congress to support it.

Though the bill passed the House, its fate is uncertain in the much-divided Senate, the newspaper reports. House Republicans voted on the bill before receiving an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office to determine its cost and impact on insurance coverage, according to the article, and several supporters admitted they had not read the bill yet.

Under the current version of the bill, states would have the ability to set health insurance rules and end the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies for people who buy plans through marketplaces created by the law. The bill would also end some taxes that have helped pay for the law. The bill also contains a provision allowing states to permit insurers to charge more for customers with pre-existing medical problems. The ACA prohibits that practice, the newspaper reports.

U.S. adds 211,000 jobs in April, dropping unemployment to 4.4%: The U.S. Department of Labor announced the unemployment rate has fallen to a near 10-year low at 4.4% as the U.S. added 211,000 jobs in April, Reuters reports. The monthly average for the U.S. this year has been 185,000.

The leisure and hospitality sector were responsible for the “surge in hiring” along with business and professional services, the news agency reports. A stronger jobs report is another indication the Federal Reserve might decide to raise interest rates again in June.

Bay Area a driver for California’s travel spend: California’s Bay Area is the state’s top travel spend destination, The Mercury News reports. However, travel spending overall in the state is expected to slow this year.

Visitors to the Bay Area spent $34.5 billion in 2016, more than a fourth of the $126 billion the state received from travelers, the newspaper reports. Travel spending in the Bay Area grew 3.4% year over year, according to the article, but statewide, spending only grew by 3.1%. While other areas saw faster rates of growth, the Bay Area’s sheer dollar volume put it on top.

Despite the strong growth numbers, a stronger U.S. dollar is expected to slow tourism in California in 2017. Forecasts show travel spending will grow roughly 2% this year, down from 3% growth in previous years.

Compiled by Bryan Wroten.

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