5 things to know: 25 July 2017
5 things to know: 25 July 2017
25 JULY 2017 9:38 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • China’s HNA Group reveals new ownership structure
  • US dollar sits at 13-month low
  • First day of HotelsWorld focuses on guest experience
  • Disney’s ‘Star Wars’ hotel could lead to further immersion
  • Congressman seeks to ban government use of Trump hotels

China’s HNA Group reveals new ownership structure: To quell doubts over who controls the company, HNA Group released a document listing 15 individuals and entities as its ultimate owners, The Wall Street Journal reports. U.S. investment banks, such as Citigroup, have avoided doing business with HNA Group over uncertainty of its ownership.

HNA’s international charitable foundation in New York is the company’s largest beneficial owner with a nearly 30% stake, according to the article. Combined with the domestic arm, the foundation entities own more than 50% of the group. HNA founders and board chairmen Chen Feng and Wang Jian each own almost 15%, the article states, and HNA CEO and Vice Chairman Adam Tan owns almost 3%.

HNA Group purchased a 25% stake in Hilton in late 2016, and its HNA Tourism Group acquired Carlson Hospitality Group earlier in the year.

U.S. dollar sits at 13-month low: Predictions that subdued U.S. inflation and trouble in Washington D.C. will hold back interest rate changes have resulted in the U.S. dollar remaining at its lowest value since June 2016, Reuters reports.

“We may see some consolidation here from the dollar but fundamentally our bearish view on it remains,” said UniCredit Global Head of FX Strategy Vasileios Gkionakis. “What the Fed says tomorrow is the million dollar question ... but the risk is that they sound a bit more cautious after the fourth consecutive downside surprise in inflation.”

First day of HotelsWorld focuses on guest experience: The “desire of guests to have unique experiences” continued to come up during Day One of the 2017 HotelsWorld conference in Sydney, HNN’s Jeff Higley writes.

“It’s a very nebulous concept,” Peter Israel, principal and managing director for Project Tourism International Architecture, said during the “Architecture world: Form follows function?” session. “Tourism is a pleasure business. People are wanting an experience that shocks the matter of their normal life.”

Disney’s “Star Wars” hotel could lead to further immersion: The recently announced Star Wars-themed hotel at Walt Disney World could lead to an expansion in similarly immersive experiences at hotels and vacations, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

While the concept of a themed-vacation isn’t new, sources in the article said Disney is “taking it up to a new level.”

“I think it’s a brilliant idea,” travel writer Dave Parfitt told the newspaper. “And I bet if Universal wasn’t already planning this for Harry Potter, they soon will be.”

Read HNN’s Sean McCracken’s take on what this could mean for the future of hotel experiences here.

Congressman seeks to ban government use of Trump hotels: U.S. Representative Don Beyer, a Democrat from Virginia, proposed legislation that would prohibit the U.S. government from renting rooms at hotels associated with the Trump Organization, Reuters reports. The congressman argued the president’s bank account should not benefit from the spending of U.S. tax dollars.

The ban is an amendment to a spending bill, the article states. Beyer said it’s necessary because of the president’s “unprecedented failure to divest from his business, and the ongoing entanglement between the Trump Organization and the White House.”

The White House did not provide a comment for the Reuters article.

Compiled by Bryan Wroten.

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