5 things to know: 28 August 2018
5 things to know: 28 August 2018
28 AUGUST 2018 9:07 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Fed could be rethinking interest rate plans
  • Pebblebrook responds to LaSalle’s interest
  • How one Caribbean hotel adapted from hurricane damage
  • College markets heat up for hotel development
  • US hotels might lack terrorist liability protections

Fed could be rethinking interest rate plans: Bloomberg reports that the Federal Reserve could be rethinking its plans to raise U.S. interest rates two more times in 2018. Just last week, Fed officials reaffirmed plans to raise interest rates in September and December, but Bloomberg notes “external uncertainty” could make a December increase more difficult.

Economic concerns are both domestic and international. Overseas issues include growing uncertainty in Europe and China and economic hardship in Turkey. Domestic issues include “wage and productivity behavior, technological innovations, the international trade regime and the impact of changing demographics and fiscal impulses.”

Pebblebrook responds to LaSalle’s interest: Pebblebrook Hotel Trust officials got what was likely the best sign yet for their ongoing pursuit of LaSalle Hotel Properties Monday. That was when LaSalle’s board of trustees acknowledged Pebblebrook’s latest offer to buy the company could be viewed as superior to the existing deal with Blackstone Real Estate Partners VIII.

Pebblebrook officials responded later in the day by saying they hope this is just the first step in what ultimately turns into a finalized deal.

“We continue to believe our offer is superior to the Blackstone proposal,” Pebblebrook Chairman, President and CEO Jon Bortz said in a news release. “And we look forward to engaging with LaSalle’s board to quickly reach an agreement to merge our two companies and allow shareholders to maximize immediate and long term value.”

How one Caribbean hotel adapted from hurricane damage: Hotel News Now reporter Danielle Hess recently checked in with Michael Crosby, principal at Dallas-based design firm Wilson Associates, on how his company had to change designs at the Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Puerto Rico, following Hurricane Maria.

Crosby said there are several factors to consider when designing a property that must both weather serious storms and provide guests a high-end luxury experience. He said that includes making practical design tweaks to things like daybeds next to rooftop pools in suites.

“After seeing what should have really been is, we (specified) this round, a low wood platform enables the water to drain out of the bottom of that mattress … so that eliminates the mold. You kind of realize OK, we don’t need this or we do need that,” he said.

College markets heat up for hotel development: The Wall Street Journal reports that college markets are increasingly popular destinations for hotel development dollars. The newspaper notes the trend has grown so strong that it has flipped the dynamic for how college hotels get built.

“It used to be universities sending out customer proposals, but that’s almost disappeared as a phenomenon. Now it’s real-estate developers and hotel brands seeking out universities,” Bjorn Hanson, clinical professor at the New York University’s center for hospitality and tourism, told The Journal.

U.S. hotels might lack terrorist liability protections: As MGM Resorts International is fighting a court battle to limit its liability related to a mass shooting, Fox News reports that U.S. hotels don’t seem to have the same protections against liability in terrorist attacks as things like stadiums and corporate buildings.

“Las Vegas' world-famous casino-resorts have long been known to be of interest to terrorists, but the constant flow of people may pose a challenge to earning liability protections under a little-known federal law,” the news agency reports.

Compiled by Sean McCracken.

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