5 things to know: 23 February 2018
5 things to know: 23 February 2018
23 FEBRUARY 2018 10:11 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Chinese government seizes Anbang
  • Jobless claims hit a 45-year low
  • Hoteliers must react to new Facebook policies
  • Airbnb expanding platform, draws AHLA ire
  • AmericInn incorporated into Wyndham Rewards

Chinese government seizes Anbang: A Chinese regulatory crackdown reached new heights earlier today when the government seized control of Anbang Insurance Group, owner of the Waldorf Astoria, according to a report from Reuters. The government also confirmed they are prosecuting the conglomerate’s chairman Wu Xiaohui.

Reuters notes government officials will control the company for one year after they claimed the company broke laws in a way that “may seriously endanger the solvency of the company.”

Hilton President and CEO Chris Nassetta said during the company’s fourth-quarter/full-year 2017 earnings call with analysts that he expected business as usual at the Waldorf Astoria under Anbang ownership.

Jobless claims hit a 45-year low: The latest data from the U.S. Labor Department shows unemployment claims fell for the third time in four weeks, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal, reaching a 45-year low for the metric. Jobless claims have now been held below 300,000 for roughly three years, the longest streak since the 1970s.

“The unemployment rate has been parked for months at 4.1%, a 17-year low,” Reuters reports. “Economists expect healthy growth and a further decline in joblessness this year, supported by recent tax cuts.”

Hoteliers must react to new Facebook policies: Social media giant Facebook seems to be tightening its policies around what it calls “engagement bait,” which means hotel companies need to change the way they approach the platform, reports HNN contributor Alicia Hoisington.

“It’s the latest move Facebook has made in its battle against clickbait,” said Tim Johnson, LBA Hospitality’s corporate director of e-commerce. “Spam-like posts that try to attract likes, clicks and shares—such as, ‘Like this post if you’re committed to success in 2018,’ or, ‘Share this post to win a dream vacation’— will be relegated in Facebook users’ news feeds.”

Airbnb expanding platform, draws AHLA ire: Airbnb has formally announced plans to operate in a way similar to online travel agencies for hotel supply, according to CNBC. The New York Times also notes the company is expanding into a high-end tier for its home-sharing service.

CNBC notes the American Hotel & Lodging Association reacted negatively to the news.

“Whether it’s called Plus or Boutique program, Airbnb’s latest scheme is just further proof the company is trying to play in the hoteling space while evading industry regulations,” Troy Flanagan, a VP at AHLA, said. “If Airbnb wants to enter the hoteling business, then it needs to be regulated, taxed and subject to the same safety compliances and oversight that law-abiding hotel companies adhere to each and every day.”

AmericInn incorporated into Wyndham Rewards: Wyndham Hotel Group announced in a news release today that the AmericInn brand, acquired in October 2017, has been added to its loyalty program, Wyndham Rewards.

The move means that Wyndham Rewards members can “earn and redeem their points” at all of AmericInn’s more than 200 midscale hotels, the release states. AmericInn’s loyalty program, Easy Rewards, will end on 4 March, at which time any unused points by its members will be transferred to Wyndham Rewards “at a rate of 1,500 Wyndham Rewards points for every 1 Easy Rewards point,” according to the release.

Compiled by Sean McCracken.

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