From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:
- Survey: Traveler happiness top priority for travel managers
- US spending, average income increase
- Change continues in universe of hotel distribution
- Gold Coast hotels deliver Commonwealth Games success
- Swedish furniture giant IKEA mulling US hotel
Survey: Traveler happiness top priority for travel managers: According to the results of a questionnaire following the InterContinental Hotels Group’s March expo in London, the greatest desire of travel managers is the hotel and travel satisfaction of employees taking part in their travel programs. Thirty percent of those polled said this would head up their strategy going forward, and 52% said this would include allowing employees to choose their hotel room and select in-room amenities.
Second and third, respectively, in the poll in terms of importance to planners were trust with brands (28%) and the safety and security of employees (19%). And apparently working with millennials is proving difficult, or tiresome, with 73% of those polled saying this was “due to millennials having different expectations from hospitality.”
U.S. spending, average income increase: Average income increases in the United States have been credited with a seasonally adjusted 0.4% rise in spending in March compared with numbers for February, which saw flat growth for the same metric, according to statistics released by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis and reported by The Wall Street Journal.
The WSJ adds “consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic output, making it a key driver of the economy.” March numbers also showed personal income rising by 0.3% and wages and salaries by 0.2%. Dividend income, meanwhile, jumped 0.9%.
Change continues in hotel distribution universe: The world of hotel distribution is almost unrecognizable today compared with that of 20 years ago, but expect more change to come, Hotel News Now’s Sean McCracken reports.
The changes happening are due as much to hotel and hotel brands’ aggressive pushes to take back market share from online travel agencies as they are from changes within those OTAs themselves, dominated by the “duopoly” of Expedia Group and Booking Holdings. Sources add that the rise in third-party players and metasearch makes it even more difficult for hotel revenue managers to keep track of where bookings originate.
Gold Coast hotels deliver Commonwealth Games success: Gold Coast, Australia, enjoyed a triple-digit performance boost during its hosting of the Commonwealth Games, which took place 4-15 April, according to STR, parent company of Hotel News Now.
STR reports that, largely driven by high rate premiums, average daily rate during the sporting event jumped 76.7% to AUD347.38 Australian dollars ($259.87) and revenue per available room “exceeded 100% most nights during the event, with the peak level occurring the night of the opening ceremony on 4 April,” when it rose 205.4% to AUD294.26 ($220.14).
Swedish furniture giant IKEA mulling U.S. hotel: IKEA, the Swedish furniture firm, is in talks with developers to open its first hotel outside of its home company, The Telegraph reports. IKEA has one hotel, in Sweden, a 2016 asset in IKEA’s headquarters of Älmhult.
According to the newspaper, IKEA wants to develop the Pirelli Tire Building, which it has owned since 2003, in New Haven, Connecticut. This follows the trend of retail companies looking at hospitality to extend their offerings.
Compiled by Terence Baker.