5 things to know: 25 September 2017
5 things to know: 25 September 2017
25 SEPTEMBER 2017 9:37 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • President Trump adds three countries to travel ban
  • Renewed push for health care bill hits more obstacles
  • Ideal hotel repairs rooted in scheduling, communication
  • More non-resort hotels including resort fees
  • Hurricane Maria further hurts Puerto Rico’s struggling economy

President Trump adds three countries to travel ban: President Donald Trump issued a new order effective 18 October that indefinitely bans incoming travel from seven countries, including most of those covered by the first ban and adding Chad, North Korea and Venezuela, The New York Times reports.

Officials called the new executive order a “more targeted effort” than the previous ban, according to the newspaper. Each country in the new ban has its individual set of travel restrictions, but, in most cases, “citizens of the countries will be unable to immigrate to the United States permanently and most will be barred from coming to work, study or vacation in America,” The Times reports.

Renewed push for health care bill hits more obstacles: Republican Senators are struggling to round up enough support for the Graham-Cassidy bill, which would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, The Wall Street Journal reports. The senators pushing for this bill are trying to pass it before 30 September as part of the budget process, because that would require a simple majority vote rather than the normal 60 votes most bills need to receive Senate approval.

The bill, drafted by Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy, creates block grants of federal health care funding for each state, the newspaper reports, and it gives each state the authority to make changes required under the Affordable Care Act without having to seek a previously required waiver.

Sen. John McCain has already stated he will not vote for the bill, and Sen. Susan Collins has also indicated she will not vote for the bill. With no Democratic senators on board, one more defection by a Republican senator would be enough to kill the bill.

Ideal hotel repairs rooted in scheduling, communication: Hotel engineering staffs face the ongoing challenge of implementing a preventive-maintenance schedule while making sure they do not disrupt guests’ stay at their respective hotels, Hotel News Now’s Dana Miller reports.

Chris Steele, GM of the Courtyard by Marriott Jacksonville Flagler Center in Jacksonville, Florida, said it’s common for his staff to do something called “flipping the house.”

“(With) probably 90 check-outs and 30 arrivals (in a day) … we are able to get in the morning during check-out and have the vast majority of our hotel open to us to (conduct maintenance). And it’s all a relatively quick process,” he said.

More non-resort hotels including resort fees: More and more non-resort hotels are including resort fees, The Wall Street Journal reports, and that’s confusing and upsetting guests who are wondering why they’re being charged this fee when they didn’t choose to stay at a resort.

While guests have grown used to resort fees at hotels in places such as Hawaii and Florida, resort fees are appearing in big cities and “even less-glitzy locales” such as Spokane, Washington, and Rapid City, South Dakota, the newspaper reports.

In 2012 and 2013, the Federal Trade Commission sent warning letters to more than 40 hotel operators and travel sites because they were not showing the resort fee as part of the total cost for a room, The Journal reports. However, the FTC has not taken any action regarding resort fees since sending out the letters.

Hurricane Maria further hurts Puerto Rico’s struggling economy: Hurricane Maria, which made landfall on Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane, knocked out most of the country’s power and communications, Reuters reports. Governor Ricardo Rosselló said the country’s power grid sustained so much damage, it could take months before all customers have electricity again.

Small businesses account for 80% of all private sector workers, the news agency reports, so restoring power to them, manufacturers and hotels, along with other commercial operations, “will be crucial for the island’s ability to bounce back.”

The country has been working through a bankruptcy process to manage its $72 billion in debt, Reuters reports. Estimates of the amount of damage caused by the hurricane come to about $30 billion—$20 billion in physical damage and $10 billion for the economic impact.

For more on the impact of the storm on the hotel industry and companies with properties in the affected region, see Hotel News Now’s continuing coverage.

Compiled by Bryan Wroten. 

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