5 things to know: 5 September 2018
5 things to know: 5 September 2018
05 SEPTEMBER 2018 9:21 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Hotel CEOs meet with Trump at the White House
  • RLJ sells St. Petersburg hotel for $188.5 million
  • Personalization, loyalty lead Accor’s digital strategy
  • Tropical Storm Gordon lands in Alabama
  • Hotel employee protests continue

Hotel CEOs meet with Trump at the White House: Marriott International’s Arne Sorenson, Hilton’s Chris Nassetta, Hyatt Hotels Corporation’s Mark Hoplamazian and other top hotel company CEOs met with President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday for a U.S. Travel CEO Roundtable, according to a news release from the U.S. Travel Association.

Trump and senior administration officials met with travel industry leaders to talk about contributions the travel industry has made to the U.S. economy and the creation of jobs, as well as “the importance of international inbound travel to trade deficit reduction.”

RLJ sells St. Petersburg hotel for $188.5 million: RLJ Lodging Trust announced that it has sold the 362-room Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club in Florida for $188.5 million, totaling $521,000 per key, according to a news release.

Leslie Hale, president and CEO of RLJ, said in the release the company is “very pleased with the highly accretive valuation this iconic hotel garnered, which further underscores our ability to maximize value from the sale of our non-core assets.”

RLJ has sold $600 million of assets “at an (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) multiple of approximately 16x” over the last year, according to the release.

Personalization, loyalty lead Accor’s digital strategy: Hotel News Now’s Terence Baker met up with AccorHotels’ Chief Digital Officer Maud Bailly to talk about six ways the French company is transforming its digital strategy.

Bailly said her company wants to transform the way hotel rooms are sold to guests, but it’s an ongoing challenge that won’t end soon.

“To ensure the change continues long into the future, any digital transformation must be accompanied by a cultural transformation, all supported by a culture of continuous investment and innovation, making the transformation a never-ending process,” she said. “As these technologically powerful competitors and intermediaries attack the value chain and the relationship between hoteliers and their guests, traditional hospitality has to adapt to thrive.”

Tropical Storm Gordon lands in Alabama: The National Hurricane Center has declared Tropical Storm Gordon as a “life-threatening” storm after it made landfall near the Alabama-Mississippi border on Wednesday with “near-hurricane level winds,” USA Today reports. 

Tornado warnings as a result of the storm have been issued in south Alabama and the Florida panhandle. While officials have warned the storm poses a serious threat, some travelers and locals are sticking it out, according to Fox News. 

“Although forecasters say it likely won't strengthen beyond Category 1 hurricane status, state leaders are urging locals and tourists not to take Gordon lightly—after the harrowing 2017 hurricane season,” according to the news outlet.

Reuters reported Wednesday that the National Hurricane Center said the storm weakened into a tropical depression but continued to hit the Gulf Coast with heavy rains.

Hotel employee protests continue: Hotel union workers protested for better wages in Boston on Labor Day, and so did hotel employees in Hawaii, according to a story from Hawaii News Now.

Hotel employees in Waikiki picketed the streets on 3 September asking for higher wages after Hawaii brought in a record $17 billion in tourism revenue last year.

“They're not taking the workers seriously. That's why we made a statement here today. They're making millions of money, and they're offering the workers cents," Unite Here Local 5 President Gemma Weinstein told the news outlet.

Compiled by Danielle Hess.

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