From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:
- OTAs move to increase short-term rental offerings
- US, UK growth projections downgraded
- Owners consider the benefits, costs of loyalty programs
- Questions remain as health care debate looms in Senate
- Dublin expects another 3,000 hotel rooms by 2020
OTAs move to increase short-term rental offerings: Online travel agencies such as Expedia and Priceline Group are moving in on the turf of Airbnb and other short-term rental companies, The Wall Street Journal reports. In an effort to keep up with the popularity of alternative accommodations, the OTAs are increasing the number of home-rental booking options on their websites.
Expedia purchased vacation rental site HomeAway in 2015. As a result, Expedia has the ability to list 1.4 million rental units through its various websites. Following its acquisition, HomeAway’s online vacation rental bookings increased 48% in the first quarter compared to the year before, The Journal reports.
Priceline’s Booking.com grew the number of listed vacation rentals by 50%, reaching 613,000 this past year, according to the article.
U.S., U.K. growth projections downgraded: The International Monetary Fund is predicting that the economies of the United States and United Kingdom will expand slower than previously forecast, the BBC reports. The U.S. economy is now predicted to grow by 2.1% rather than 2.3%, the article states, and the U.K.’s is expected to grow by 1.7%, not 2%.
The IMF reported the main factor behind its revision was “the assumption that fiscal policy will be less expansionary than previously assumed, given the uncertainty about the timing and nature of US fiscal policy changes. … Market expectations of fiscal stimulus have also receded.”
Owners consider the benefits, costs of loyalty programs: Hotel brands continue to increase the offerings through their loyalty programs to attract and retain more guests, HNN’s Robert McCune writes, and owners don’t mind so long as the new perks pay off.
“As an owner, the question is, ‘How much more money will it cost us to get our guests?’” asked Jay Litt, principal at and founder of The Litt Group. “As the brand increases what it’s giving the guest, that’s not just out of charity. The people paying for those gifts to guests is the owners. … What will the next bar be? … Whether brands themselves come up with a new program, something that is less costly for owners but more attention-grabbing for guests, remains to be seen.”
Questions remain as health care debate looms in Senate: The vote allowing the Senate to begin debating new health-care legislation could come as early as Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reports, but Senate Republicans are reportedly unsure which measure will be the subject of the vote.
One approach would include some version of a bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the article states, but another approach would repeal the ACA with a two-year expiration. Republican senators hope there’s enough support to open up debate on a bill, which would allow for amendments and other changes.
If the vote to start debate fails, The Wall Street Journal reports, “it would mark a defeat for President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans, and could end their current efforts to overhaul the ACA, also called Obamacare, a seven-year Republican campaign promise.”
Dublin expects another 3,000 hotel rooms by 2020: The Irish construction industry predicts another 3,000 hotel rooms for Dublin over the next three years, a development that could keep up with demand from tourists, The Irish Times reports. This represents a 15% increase in hotel rooms compared to current numbers.
The Dublin hotels will be built in the Docklands, near Dublin Airport and other areas around the city, the article states. Though the number of visitors from the U.K. has dropped since Brexit as a result of the decline in sterling, the article states, Irish hoteliers “have reported an increase in business in the first half of 2017.”
Compiled by Bryan Wroten.