5 things to know: 29 September 2017
5 things to know: 29 September 2017
29 SEPTEMBER 2017 9:24 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • US hotels on track to pull in record $2.7b in fees this year
  • Letters of intent for stake in AccorHotels property unit coming due
  • Global influence of Chinese travelers, companies grows
  • Marriott to introduce new apps, services to take on Airbnb
  • Scottish hotel requests removal of Michelin star

U.S. hotels on track to pull in record $2.7b in fees this year: Research by Bjorn Hanson, clinical professor at the New York University School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism, shows U.S. hotels will collect a record $2.7 billion in fees in 2017, The New York Times reports. The hotel industry pulled in $2.45 billion two years ago.

The amount collected increased because of higher occupancy, more fee categories and higher fees, the newspaper reports. There are new and/or higher fees for holding onto guests’ luggage, parking, early departure, early arrival and having a room with a safe. One fee that has decreased is the cost for high-speed internet access, mainly because of customer demand, according to the Times article.

“This one fee and surcharge gets more complaints than any other,” Hanson told The New York Times.

Letters of intent for stake in AccorHotels property unit coming due: Companies planning to acquire at least 51% of AccorHotels’ property unit have until October to submit their letters of intent, Reuters reports. AccorHotels CEO Sébastien Bazin previously told shareholders his group was in talks with potential investors and hoped to have a deal in place for the property unit by autumn or the end of the year.

AccorHotels shareholders in June approved turning the HotelInvest property business into a separate company known as AccorInvest, Reuters reports. Bazin has said he believes the new company, with 960 hotels in 26 countries, has the potential long-term value of €10 billion ($11.8 billion).

Global influence of Chinese travelers, companies grows: Chinese hotel companies continue to reshape the hotel industry, Hotel News Now’s Jeff Higley reports from the International Society of Hospitality Consultants conference, and international companies are working to meet the demands of the growing number of Chinese travelers.

“(Numbers) one through five (of the) most important trends are China,” said Mark Edleson, president of Two Roads Hospitality Asia. “The outbound story, the domestic travel within China that didn’t happen 10 years ago, the outbound investment from China—all of those stories are transforming the industry globally.”

Marriott to introduce new apps, services to take on Airbnb: Marriott International plans to launch new apps and services that “aim to make the guest experience seamless and more personalized,” Business Insider reports. These include concierge robots and a data-driven app that suggests restaurants and activities it determines guests might enjoy.

Marriott will create a Marriott Rewards extension for messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, Slack and China’s WeChat, Business Insider reports. This will allow members to search for hotels, learn about their destination and connect with their hotel’s concierge before and during their stay.

The company also invested in a search engine for travel experiences, tours and attractions in 800 locations across 117 countries, the article states, which gives guests a curated list of potential activities based on their interests and past reservations. This investment is similar to Airbnb’s new feature, Trips, which allows users to sign up for local experiences during their stays.

Scottish hotel requests removal of Michelin star: The Boath House in Scotland has asked the Michelin Guide to remove the star-rating it has held for 10 years because the hotel’s owners want to “move Boath House in a new direction,” the BBC reports. The owners told the BBC they’re proud of the rating they earned, but their hotel restaurant has always lost money.

“We believe that the expectations from Michelin are at odds with achievable profit margins and put an enormous stress on a small family-run business like ours,” said Wendy Matheson, one of the owners. “The feedback we are hearing time and time again from our customers is that they want an experience that is more informal and relaxed and this extends to the restaurant, the food and even how it is served.”

The owners plan to renovate their hotel’s restaurant, giving it a “warm comfortable touch of contemporary luxury combined with homely charm.” They believe using local artisanal suppliers that provide a Highland experience “without undue formality” is where the hotel and dining market is going.

Compiled by Bryan Wroten. 

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