5 things to know: 9 May 2017
5 things to know: 9 May 2017
09 MAY 2017 8:29 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • US economy perks up on jobless fall
  • Red Lion realigns brands
  • RLJ Lodging Trust sees slight ADR increase
  • Morocco tourism arrivals up, but not revenue
  • Northstar acquires Burba hotel event portfolio

U.S. economy perks up on jobless fall: According to April figures released by the Labor Department, the unemployment rate in the U.S. dropped by 0.1% to 4.4%, which, according to The Wall Street Journal, matches “the low point reached in the last economic expansion in May 2007 and bodes well for an economic uptick.”

The Labor Department reported U.S. businesses added “211,000 jobs in April, after adding just 79,000 jobs the month before” and that output grew at an annual rate of just 0.7% in the first quarter.

Red Lion realigns brands: Following its September 2016 acquisition of Vantage Hospitality’s hotel franchising business, Red Lion Hotels Corporation has announced a strategy to realign its brand portfolio, focusing on the following brands: the upscale boutique Hotel RL; midscale Red Lion Hotels and Red Lion Inn & Suites; the midscale extended stay Settle Inn; the “affordable boutique” Signature Inn; the upper economy GuestHouse; and the economy Americas Best Value Inn, Canadas Best Value Inn and Country Hearth Inn & Suites.

“Our company has undergone a significant transformation over the last six months,” said RLHC President and CEO Greg Mount. “Through our brand realignment, we have ensured that each brand has a unique position in the market, while providing owners with the freedom to move between brands as their business needs and/or market change.”

RLJ Lodging Trust sees slight ADR increase: In its first-quarter earnings report, RLJ Lodging Trust announced a 0.6% decline in pro-forma revenue per available room compared with the same period in 2016 and a 0.1% increase in average daily rate.

Net income for the three months ending March 31, 2017, decreased $3.6 million to $21.8 million, a 14.1% decrease over the comparable period in 2016, according to a company news release. RLJ President and CEO Ross H. Bierkan, however, said the results were better than the company’s initial expectations.

RLJ executives did not discuss the company’s definitive agreement and plan to merge with FelCor Lodging Trust, though they did reiterate in the news release that the transaction is expected to close by the end of 2017 and is subject to customary closing conditions.

  • For more on the first-quarter performance of top hotel and real estate investment trust companies, see HNN’s special report on Q1 2017.

Morocco tourism arrivals up, but not revenue: Morocco’s distance from more politically sensitive Arabian and North African leisure destinations has helped its tourism numbers rise by 3.7% in latest figures, according to Tourism-Review.com, although resultant revenue dropped by 5.6%.

The largest increase in March 2017 travelers, compared with March 2017, came from the United States (+24%), while visitors from France, which has colonial and cultural roots with Morocco, rose by 6%. The number of overnight stays during that same period increased 18%. Morocco’s traditional tourist destinations of Fes, Marrakech and Casablanca benefitted the most from the increased tourism, according to the report.

Northstar acquires Burba hotel event portfolio: Secaucus, New Jersey-based Northstar Travel Group has acquired Burba Hotel Network’s portfolio of hotel investment events, according to a news release.

The portfolio’s 10 hospitality investment events and conferences include those in Los Angeles, Miami, Hong Kong, Singapore, London and Mumbai. Tom Kemp, chairman and CEO of Northstar, said the deal was the largest acquisition ever made by Northstar, owner of brands including Travel Weekly, Meetings & Conventions and travel industry research-focused Phocuswright.

Compiled by Terence Baker.

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