5 things to know: 27 September 2017
5 things to know: 27 September 2017
27 SEPTEMBER 2017 9:23 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Houston sees hotel occupancy, rates jump since Harvey
  • Wanda Development to spend $112 million on parent company’s assets
  • Hotel sales in California show strength of market
  • Vote on new health care bill scrapped
  • IRS sets new per diem rates for business travelers

Houston sees hotel occupancy, rates jump since Harvey: Hotel occupancy rates stayed above 80%, sometimes 90%, from 1 September to 16 September following Hurricane Harvey, the Houston Chronicle reports, citing data by STR, parent company of Hotel News Now. Prior to the hurricane, Houston had an average occupancy of 62%.

“We’re now looking at 14 days in a row where occupancy is over 80 percent,” Jan Freitag, SVP of lodging insights at STR, told the Chronicle. “This is very, very strong occupancy performance. The demand spike is in the same range as a (city hosting the) Super Bowl, the Olympics or South by Southwest.”

Hotels are hosting residents displaced by flooding as well as out-of-town emergency responders, insurance adjusters and contractors, the newspaper reports.

For more on how the storm and its aftermath have affected hotel performance in Texas and across the U.S. Gulf Coast, read STR’s data analysis at HNN.

Wanda Development to spend $112 million on parent company’s assets: Wanda Hotel Development has announced plans to acquire Wanda Hotel Management for $112.4 million from a unit of its parent company, Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties, Reuters reports.

Last month, Wanda Hotel Development shared its plans to buy assets worth more than $1 billion from companies controlled by founder and Chairman Wang Jianlin, the news agency reports. That includes the entire equity interest in theme park operator Wanda Culture Travel Innovation Group and Wanda Hotel Management. The hotel development firm is in talks with Dalian Wanda Commercial to hammer out the structure and terms of the deal.

Hotel sales in California show strength of market: After California hotel sales slowed in 2016, the transaction market turned around this year, achieving $2.9 billion in hotel trading in the first eight months of the year and setting a new mid-year record for the number of assets sold, reports Hotel News Now’s Bryan Wroten.

“There was a robust push the first half of this year to get deals done and make things happen in 2017 after a quiet half in 2016,” said James Stockdale, EVP of Jones Lang LaSalle, which compiled data on hotel investment in the state.

Vote on new health care bill scrapped: Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate have said they will not bring the Graham-Cassidy health care bill up for a vote as part of the budget reconciliation process, effectively ending efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act for the year, The Wall Street Journal reports. Under the reconciliation process, which ends 30 September, the bill would only need to receive 51 votes to pass instead of the customary 60, but Republicans could not gain enough support from fellow party members.

“We haven’t given up on changing the American health-care system,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told the newspaper. “We’re not going to be able to do it this week.” But as of now, he said, “we plan to move forward on our next priority, which is reforming the American tax code in significant ways for the first time in 30 years.”

IRS sets new per diem rates for business travelers: The Internal Revenue Service has set the per diem rates for taxpayers traveling on business to go into effect starting 1 October, Forbes reports.

The rate for special meals and incidentals remains $63 for any location within the continental United States and $68 for anywhere outside of the U.S., according to the article. The rate for incidental expenses is $5 a day. The rate for travel expenses in high-cost localities in the U.S. is $284, while the rate for low-cost localities is $191. The rate for meals and incidental expenses is $68 for high-cost locations in the U.S. and $57 in lower-cost locations.

Compiled by Bryan Wroten. 

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