5 things to know: 31 July 2017
5 things to know: 31 July 2017
31 JULY 2017 9:47 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Could Anbang be forced to sell hotels?
  • Brexit already hurting UK workforce
  • Barriers to entry shape California development landscape
  • Eclipse-related cancellations come under scrutiny
  • Fines not enough to slow Airbnb’s growth in NYC

Could Anbang be forced to sell hotels?: A new report from Bloomberg citing anonymous sources claims the Chinese government is pushing Anbang Insurance Group to sell off its assets outside of China, including its billions in owned hotels. Anbang officials have denied the report, claiming “at present (Anbang) has no plans to sell its overseas assets.”

Anbang, which engaged in a public bidding war with Marriott International for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide before abruptly pulling out of that contest without explanation, bought the Waldorf Astoria in 2014 for just shy of $2 billion and purchased Strategic Hotels & Resorts’ portfolio of hotels in 2016.

According to Bloomberg, the Chinese government’s concerns seem to be founded on a desire to “limit capital outflows and clamp down on pricey, debt-funded deals” made by Chinese companies. Fosun International, HNA Group and Dalian Wanda Group also seem to have fallen under the crosshairs of Chinese regulators.

Brexit already hurting U.K. workforce: Worries that the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union might fuel labor shortages seem to already be materializing as a reality for English employers, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper points out the country has long been reliant on European workers, and indicators of people migrating to the U.K. for work purposes seem to have taken a nosedive lately.

The country’s Office for National Statistics claims that net migration from eight countries that joined the EU in 2004 dropped from 46,000 in 2015 to 5,000 in 2016; and the number of EU nationals receiving national insurance, a requirement for work in the UK and to claim benefits, was 6% lower for the 12-month period ending in March compared to the year prior.

Barriers to entry shape California development landscape: Developers and experts on California’s hotel markets told Hotel News Now’s Bryan Wroten that concerns over supply in the state are gaining some ground, but the high barriers to entry continue to contribute to a sunny outlook for demand.

The latest California Hotel Development Survey from Atlas Hospitality Group shows the number of hotel openings for the state has jumped 53% year over year during the first half, and there is currently 15% more hotels and 6% more rooms under construction.

Corry Oakes, CEO and founder of OTO Development, said his company continues to build in California, but said the state could suffer more than other regions in the case of a downturn.

“If you can handle the violent swings, it’s great business,” Oakes said. “If you happen to time the swings wrong or your balance sheet can’t handle the stress of missing performance projections pretty significantly, it can be a tough situation.”

Eclipse-related cancellations come under scrutiny: A report from an Oregon-based newspaper, The Albany Democrat-Herald, claims cancellations at hotels in the state around the 21 August solar eclipse are receiving some criticism from both consumers and potentially the state government. The report further states the Oregon Department of Justice has received multiple consumer complaints of hotels canceling relatively low-cost reservations for the eclipse date and telling them to rebook at significantly higher rates.

One would-be guest quoted in the report claimed he initially booked a room for less than $100, at what is now the Econo Lodge Inn & Suites in Albany, Oregon, then was told his reservation was cancelled, the property was sold out, and he could pay $700 to stay at a different hotel 40 miles away.

Hotel News Now’s Robert McCune recently shared some tips from hoteliers on how to make the most of the eclipse, and other natural phenomena.

Fines not enough to slow Airbnb’s growth in NYC: Those thinking New York’s harder-line stance on Airbnb and other short-term rentals would help curb their growing supply numbers will be disappointed to hear that listings on the site are still trending up, according to a report from The Real Deal. The news site claims there were just over 30,000 active listings as of July, a 4.7% increase over February, based on InsideAirbnb data.

In other Airbnb news in New York, The New York Daily News reports New York City’s hotel industry is rolling out a new anti-Airbnb ad campaign, paid for by the Hotel Association of New York City along with a hotel workers union, linking the site and its services to security concerns and pointing out that an attacker in the recent Manchester bombing was utilizing a short-term rental.

Compiled by Sean McCracken.

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