5 things to know: 29 August 2017
 
5 things to know: 29 August 2017
29 AUGUST 2017 9:37 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Harvey takes toll on hurting Houston hotel market
  • Qatar faces credit downgrade again
  • Hotel deal-makers dismiss usual cycle chatter
  • Trump attorney reveals past hotel project in Russia
  • UK companies to publish pay ratios

Harvey takes toll on hurting Houston hotel market: Houston’s hotel market, which according to Bloomberg is already the “worst-performing in the U.S.,” is expected to take more hits once the damage from Hurricane Harvey is fully assessed.

To relieve storm victims, Texas Governor Greg Abbott put a temporary 14-day suspension on state and local hotel and motel occupancy tax, and some hotels have been offering discounted rates, Bloomberg reports. While the hotels might be full now, long-term impact for occupancy is expected to be negative, Carter Wilson, VP of consulting and analytics at STR, told the news agency. (STR is the parent company of Hotel News Now.)

In other hotel-hurricane related news, Xenia Hotels & Resorts released a statement that its four hotels in the Houston and Austin area have gone through “preliminary physical inspections” and remain open, with no significant damage.


Qatar faces credit downgrade again: With concerns that the “economic blockade imposed by Arab neighbors” is unlikely to be lifted, Qatar took another hit towards its credit as Fitch Ratings downgraded the country’s debt to AA- from the previous AA, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The downgrade indicates worries from credit rating firms that a “diplomatic dispute between Doha and a Saudi Arabia-led bloc of countries has taken a toll” on the Persian Gulf nation’s economy and could continue to worsen, according to The Journal article.


Hotel deal-makers dismiss usual cycle chatter: A recent roundtable of hotel deal-makers agreed that even as cycles end, the hotel industry still finds “a way to make good out of it,” Hotel News Now’s Robert McCune reports.

Bill Stadler, chief investment officer of Aimbridge Hospitality, said factors outside of the hotel industry’s control could cause a shift in the cycle one way or the other.

“Things like if tax laws change—that might get people more motivated to travel and spend more in our industry,” he said. “I mean, look at the price of oil and gas. When that dropped, that gave people almost an overnight raise. … Airfare is still reasonably inexpensive. … As long as those kinds of things maintain, I think we’re in pretty good shape.”


Trump attorney reveals past hotel project in Russia: President Donald Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, acknowledged this week that Trump’s company pursued development of a luxury hotel and condominium project in Moscow during the early stages of the U.S. presidential race, The Los Angeles Times reports. That business pursuit also reportedly included requesting “help from an aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin,” according to The Times article.

Cohen revealed that he partnered with a Russian-born businessman in New York, who has worked on previous deals with the company, for this deal for five months after Trump had announced his presidential candidacy.

However, Cohen denied any relation to Trump’s presidency and the Moscow-based project, which Cohen said he abandoned in January 2016. But a Manhattan real-estate developer said he exchanged emails with Cohen in which the project was touted as something that could help Trump win the election, The Times reports.


U.K. companies to publish pay ratios: The British government announced on Tuesday that publicly listed companies will be required to publish the pay ratio “between their top executives and the average worker” as a method to crack down on income inequality and promote greater corporate responsibility, Fortune reports.

But, Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans to bind shareholder votes on executive pay and require representation of workers on company boards was eliminated from the code, according to the news article. A survey conducted in March revealed that top-level employees of the 100 largest British companies made more than 400 times the minimum wage.


Compiled by Dana Miller.

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