From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:
- RLHC might be close to acquiring brands
- Hoteliers hope lower taxes will bring in meetings
- Smart rooms raise security concerns in hotels
- A look at pricey travel destinations in the US
- Virgin Islands hotel rebuilds after hurricanes
RLHC might be close to acquiring brands: At the recent Hunter Hotel Conference, Roger Bloss, EVP and president of development at RLH Corporation, mentioned during a conversation with HNN’s Sean McCracken that the company is actively looking for brands to acquire.
“I think that you’re going to see now that we have this tremendous platform of technology and resources and people, I think you’re going to see there are more acquisitions on the forefront for us,” he said. “We’d like to expand our portfolio.”
In September 2016, RLHC announced an acquisition of Vantage Hospitality for $23 million and 690,000 shares of RLHC common stock. The deal was finalized less than a month later.
Hoteliers hope lower taxes will bring in meetings: Hosting corporate meetings and conferences has been a struggle for many hotels in recent years, but hoteliers hope lower corporate taxes will boost meetings-and-conference business, The New York Times reports.
“The corporate and groups market has been sluggish and hasn’t responded as well to the economic growth,” said Lorraine Sileo, SVP of research at Phocuswright, in the Times article. “There’s definitely a lot of optimism that this is just a segment that’s waiting to improve and that gains are expected.”
The tax bill was signed in December, and executives from Marriott International and Hilton said on fourth-quarter earnings calls that there were indications that companies would spend more at hotels with the corporate tax cut.
Smart rooms raise security concerns in hotels: Hotel companies such as Marriott International are working to make their guestrooms more tech-savvy with voice commands and other types of tech, but cybersecurity experts worry that efforts to improve customer service could be violations of privacy, CBS New York reports.
Everything in these guestrooms is wired and allows for the guest to save temperature preferences, upload personal photos and more, and all of that information can be saved for personal use, according to the news outlet.
“When you have these smart hotels they have a token on your phone where they know where you go, they know what type of coffee you order, they know what you order in the restaurant,” said Eric Cole, cybersecurity expert and former security adviser to Barack Obama. “The idea is now it can improve customer service. The problem is … huge violation of personal privacy.”
A look at pricey travel destinations in the U.S.: USA Today ranked the most expensive travel destinations in the United States, looking at the cost of meals, drinks, hotel stays and airfare for each city.
Napa Valley, California, was found to be the most expensive U.S. destination, with a trip costing approximately $2,448.90. A three-night hotel stay in Napa costs around $1,267.
Washington, D.C., was ranked as the second-most expensive destination. A three-night hotel stay came out to $664, and a total trip costs $1,977.64.
Virgin Islands hotel rebuilds after hurricanes: Many hotels in the Virgin Islands faced challenges to get up and running again after Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, but the Caravelle Hotel and Casino in the U.S. Virgin Islands is renovating and expanding, The Virgin Islands Daily News reports.
The hotel is renovating after damage sustained from the hurricanes, and also expanding to play a part in the revitalization of Christiansted, St. Croix, where the hotel is located.
“Our biggest challenge was that part of the roof came off, and when you lose the roof, there’s water everywhere,” said hotel manager Jason Harhen. “Getting materials after the storm was a big challenge for everybody. The whole environment was just really strange. For instance, we had to stop our renovations, everything ground to a halt, because we couldn’t get sand we needed for repairs. On an island in the Caribbean.”
Compiled by Danielle Hess.