From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:
- Trump signs bill rolling back banking rules
- US websites going dark in Europe as GDPR goes into effect
- Group demand shows signs it might be returning
- Mall owners looking to hotels to replace empty stores
- US jobless claims climb to 234,000
Trump signs bill rolling back banking rules: United States President Donald Trump signed a bill that weakens banking regulations from Dodd-Frank but leaves the central structure of rules put in place following the financial crisis, the Washington Post reports. The law creates exceptions for some small and regional banks from tougher regulations, but it also eases some of the rules “aimed at protecting the biggest banks from sudden collapse.”
The president criticized the previous regulations, saying “one size fits all—those rules just don’t work.”
He also stated his interest in loosening oversight regulations for the biggest banks, arguing they’ve been put at a disadvantage in making loans.
U.S. websites going dark in Europe as GDPR goes into effect: The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation went into effect today, and some websites based in the U.S. have gone dark in the EU as they work to come into compliance with the law, the Wall Street Journal reports. Tronc Inc., which publishes the Los Angeles Times, among other papers, and regional newspaper owner Lee Enterprises, are among those who are blocking European readers from their websites.
The regulation has been in effect only today and Google and Facebook have both been accused of breaking the law by forcing users to take a “take it or leave it approach” for targeted advertising, the BBC reports. Critics have filed complaints saying users must consent to having their personal data collected, shared and used for targeted advertising. The complaint states that while the GDPR allows data processing that is necessary for the service, users under the law should opt-in to having their data used for targeted advertising.
Group demand shows signs it might be returning: There was talk of group business and how it’s showing promising signs of return during hotel companies’ first-quarter earnings calls, writes HNN’s Bryan Wroten, and hotel executives confirmed that while it’s not fully back, there’s reason to be optimistic.
“Group occupancy is fairly flat for us on the whole with rate being up slightly,” said Cory Chambers, VP and chief revenue officer at Hospitality Ventures Management Group. “It is market by market. Some are certainly experiencing more upside than others.”
However, he said demand is up as a whole, but new supply is coming in and keeps occupancy rates flat.
Mall owners looking to hotels to replace empty stores: Malls hit their peak in the U.S. years ago and have since struggled against the rise in online shopping, so owners are looking for other ways to attract shoppers, CNBC reports. Mall owners see hotels as a way to replace department store chains.
Mall owner Simon Property Group has plans to open five Marriott International hotels at its properties in the coming years, CNBC reports. Similarly, Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust will add as many as 7,000 residential units and 3,000 hotel units at its properties as well.
"The sky is the limit for what you can do," said Greg Maloney, president and CEO of JLL’s Americas retail business. "You don't have to fill retail with retail anymore."
U.S. jobless claims climb to 234,000: The U.S. Department of Labor reported applications for unemployment benefits rose by 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 234,000 for the week ending 19 May, The Wall Street Journal reports. Though it is the second consecutive week of growth for jobless claims, the total unemployment figure remains near historical lows.
Jobless claims can rise and fall week to week, the article states, and there could be one-off factors affecting the data. Ford Motor Co. will temporarily lay off thousands of workers after a supplier’s factory in Michigan caught fire in May, leading to a parts shortage. Flooding in Kentucky likely led to rising claims in the state as well. The labor department is also processing claims in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which are still recovering from the hurricanes last summer.
Compiled by Bryan Wroten.