5 things to know: 27 June 2018
5 things to know: 27 June 2018
27 JUNE 2018 9:30 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Trump adjusting China trade strategy
  • Ashford Trust buys hotel, announces new funding program
  • Revenue field evolving, experts say
  • Premier Inn strong as Whitbread works on split
  • Travel sites targeted by hackers

Trump adjusting China trade strategy: In a shift from earlier talk on the subject, the administration of President Donald Trump has decided to use only existing law in its effort to restrict Chinese trade as opposed to “invoking executive authority to impose a much tougher crackdown on Chinese investment,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

The now-tense trade relationship between the United States and China has been the catalyst for some market volatility of late. White House officials say they’re now working with Congress to update the 1980s-era law that created the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S.

Ashford Trust buys hotel, announces new funding program: Officials with Ashford Hospitality Trust have announced the $111-million acquisition of the 252-room Hilton Alexandria Old Town in Alexandria, Virginia, and 10% of the transaction will be funded through a new Enhanced Return Funding Program with Ashford Inc., according to a news release.

Officials with the two entities believe the real estate investment trust can achieve a higher rate of return for shareholders through the program with its external manager. Ashford Inc. has committed to funding up to $50 million through the program, capped at 10% of the cost of an Ashford Trust acquisition.

Revenue field evolving, experts say: A panel of experts speaking with Hotel News Now during the recent HSMAI Revenue Optimization Conference said revenue management might be an outdated term as those in the position are dealing less and less with the day-to-day setting of rates and more with applying strategy and analyzing data for stakeholders, writes Hotel News Now’s Sean McCracken.

“Instead of revenue managers, there should be revenue strategists or strategic leaders of revenue optimization,” said Kathleen Cullen, SVP of revenue and distribution for Two Roads Hospitality. “More and more companies understand that.”

Tim Wiersma, VP of revenue management at Westmont Hospitality and Red Roof, agreed.

“It’s gone from them being more inventory managers to bringing information to the table and interpreting that data to come up with strong suggestions,” he said.

Premier Inn strong as Whitbread works on split: Performance for Whitbread’s hotel division has remained strong even as the company puts its focus on a years-long plan to split off the Premier Inn-branded hotels from Costa Coffee, writes Hotel News Now’s Terence Baker. Speaking during a first-quarter 2018 earnings call, CEO Alison Brittain noted the company’s hotels have continued to grow share.

“Premier Inn in the (United Kingdom) has continued to gain market share with total accommodations sales growth of 4.3% in the quarter, delivered by ongoing investment in attractive new hotels and extensions, which we expect to mature to levels of returns in line with the current estate,” Brittain said.

Travel sites targeted by hackers: ZDnet reports that sites for hotels, airlines, cruises and other parts of the travel industry have been regularly targeted by bot attacks from hackers looking to use “fake or stolen account details to try to access accounts.”

The news site notes that researchers with Akamai analyzed 3.9 billion “malicious login attempts” and found the largest points of origin for the attacks are Russia and China. Hotel and travel sites are targets in part because of the types of data they house.

"By their nature, companies in the hospitality sector often hosts a lot of personal information," Bernd Koenig, director of security products at Akamai Technologies said to ZDNet.

Compiled by Sean McCracken.

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