5 things to know: 21 February 2018
5 things to know: 21 February 2018
21 FEBRUARY 2018 10:33 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Airbnb experiences lagging expectations
  • Choice and AccorHotels discuss eventful Q4
  • UK jobless rate increases unexpectedly
  • Priceline announces new name
  • US hotels report 2.9% RevPAR growth in January

Airbnb experiences lagging expectations: Airbnb’s highly touted push into offering an experiences platform, which some prognosticators pointed to as a sign of the future of hospitality, might be not bearing fruit in the way company officials had hoped, according to information provided to The Wall Street Journal. But officials with the alternative accommodations platform claim such reports are inaccurate.

“One person familiar with the business estimates Airbnb has lost over $100 million on Experiences,” the newspaper reports. “Airbnb in a statement says that figure is inaccurate, without elaborating, and that Experiences is on pace to be profitable by the end of 2019.”

The company projects $200 million in gross annual sales for experiences by the end of the year.

Choice and AccorHotels discuss eventful Q4: In the latest round of fourth-quarter and full-year 2017 earnings reports, Choice Hotels International and AccorHotels shared insights into performance by their properties. 

Officials with Choice said they expect the purchase of WoodSpring Suites to be a key driver of growth in the extended-stay segment in 2018, HNN’s Danielle Hess writes.

“With the addition of the WoodSpring Suites brand, Choice nearly tripled the size of our footprint in extended stay, and now offers more than 350 properties,” President and CEO Pat Pacious said. “WoodSpring is a brand of tomorrow, still in the early growth stage of its brand life cycle, and joins our other new construction-focused brands, including Cambria, Sleep Inn, MainStay and Comfort, all of which have a robust pipeline.”

HNN’s Terence Baker notes that AccorHotels had a record year for operating profit growth (up 10.1% year over year), and performance was buoyed by what seems to be a rebound of its once-troubled home country of France.

“Looking at France and Switzerland, (revenue per available room) rose 4.2% over the year … very good momentum in France. This is a reflection on what’s happening in Paris, where RevPAR rose 9.2% in Q4,”
AccorHotels CFO Jean-Jacques Morin said.

U.K. jobless rate increases unexpectedly: The unemployment rate in the U.K. surprised some by rising to 4.4% for the three month period ending in December, marking the first increase since February 2016, according to The New York Times.

There was some other bad economic news for the country, with households losing spending power due to inflation and anemic wage growth, but the quarter did show a 0.8% increase in productivity. Combined with the 0.9% increase in the third quarter, it marked the strongest two quarters of productivity growth since the 2008-09 recession.

Priceline announces new name: OTA giant The Priceline Group has changed its name to Booking Holdings, according to a news release. The company will now trade under the symbol BKNG; it was previously PCLN on NASDAQ.

CEO Glenn Fogel noted the change is a signifier of the company’s growth in the two decades since the launch of priceline.com and recognition of the fact that Booking.com is now the company’s largest brand.

“We are at a defining moment in our company’s history—making his change to more accurately align our company name with our largest business, connect our collective brands to a name that reflects their shared capability to help customers book amazing experiences, as well as better reflect the truly global operation that we have become today,” he said in the release.

US hotels report 2.9% RevPAR growth in January: The U.S. hotel industry started 2018 off in a positive direction as occupancy rose 0.9% to 54.5% in January, while average daily rate increased 2% to $123.33 and revenue per available room rose 2.9% to $67.17 during the month. U.S. hotels have seen RevPAR increase for 95 consecutive months.

Super Bowl LII host Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota-Wisconsin reported ADR rose 10.5% to $117.25, which caused the market's RevPAR to jump 16.5% to $65.09.

Compiled by Sean McCracken.

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