5 things to know: 6 September 2018
5 things to know: 6 September 2018
06 SEPTEMBER 2018 9:28 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • LaSalle chooses Pebblebrook’s $5.2b offer
  • Thomas Cook finds high bacteria levels at hotel where couple died
  • Marcus & Millichap releases 2018 midyear industry outlook
  • Hotel GMs encourage guests to interact with them
  • Thanks to polar bears, Alaska village sees tourism boom

LaSalle chooses Pebblebrook’s $5.2b offer: The boards of LaSalle Hotel Properties and Pebblebrook Hotel Trust made a unanimous decision to approve a definitive merger agreement Thursday morning after Blackstone waived a four-day period in which it could have countered Pebblebrook’s latest offer, reports Hotel News Now’s Bryan Wroten and Sean McCracken.

The decision came quickly after LaSalle’s announcement that Pebblebrook’s offer to purchase the company was a “superior proposal” to a previous deal with Blackstone Real Estate Partners VIII.

Under the terms of the agreement, which is subject to customary closing conditions, Pebblebrook would acquire 100% of LaSalle’s outstanding common shares, according to a news release. The transaction is valued at $5.2 billion. Pebblebrook has offered to pay LaSalle shareholders $37.80 in cash or 0.92 shares in Pebblebrook for every LaSalle share.

“This outcome represents the culmination of a thorough strategic alternatives process, which from the beginning, has been focused on maximizing value for shareholders,” LaSalle’s President and CEO Michael Barnello said in the release.

Thomas Cook finds high bacteria levels at hotel where couple died: United Kingdom-based tour operator Thomas Cook found high levels of E. coli and staphylococcus at a resort in Egypt where a British couple was found dead in their hotel room in late August, Bloomberg reports.

Following the August incident at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, operator Thomas Cook reacted by removing all guests from the property.

“It is clear from these results that something went wrong in August at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada and that standards fell below what we expect from our hotel partners,” the company said in a prepared statement. Adding that the results are preliminary, the company said the presence of the bacteria would likely “explain the raised level of illness reported among guests at the hotel during this time.”

Thomas Cook is currently blocking reservations at the hotel and is “putting together compensation packages for people who stayed there in August and have declared they fell ill.”

Marcus & Millichap releases 2018 midyear industry outlook: According to Marcus & Millichap’s recent midyear 2018 hospitality outlook report, consumer and business confidence remain at record levels, which is supporting economic growth. Low unemployment rates along with rising wages also are helping hotels, the report states.

“Economic growth surpassed 4% in the second quarter, lifted by strengthened consumption and business investment,” the report states. “The new tax law has stimulated the economy by increasing after-tax earnings and pushing consumer and business confidence to near-record levels.”

Along with that, demand for hotel rooms continues to drive occupancy to new levels. June recorded a 30-year high, which is expected to continue throughout the full year.

Hotel GMs encourage guests to interact with them: Most hotel guests seek out the general manager when there’s an issue, but according to The New York Times, guests should befriend the GM as soon as they arrive.

Bettina Landt, GM of The White Elephant in Nantucket, Massachusetts and a GM for more than 20 years, said most guests don’t take advantage of what GMs can offer.

“Guests don’t rely on GMs as much as they should because they don’t know how to,” she told The New York Times. “We’re ambassadors for the destination and love giving advice on what to see and do.”

Thanks to polar bears, Alaska village sees boom in tourism: Kaktovik, a small village in northern Alaska, has been enjoying a boom in tourism over the past few years as polar bears are favoring more time on land than in the Arctic sea ice that’s disappearing, The Associated Press reports.

The small town welcomed more than 2,000 people last year who wanted to see the polar bears, and visitors spent several days in the village’s two small hotels. Average annual visitors to Kaktovik were less than 50 before 2011.

“Today we’re talking about hundreds and hundreds of visitors, many from around the world each year,” said Jennifer Reed of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Compiled by Dana Miller.

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