From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:
- Boston hotel workers authorize strike
- Thursday marks first day of hurricane’s three-day onslaught
- AHLA, AAHOA head to Capitol Hill
- Hurricane comparisons push down US performance metrics
- Pebblebrook and LaSalle take pitch to investors
Boston hotel workers authorize strike: Union workers at a set of eight Marriott-branded hotels in Boston have authorized a strike with 96% of union members voting in favor, according to a report from the Boston Globe. The newspaper notes that Unite Here Local 26 “has been in negotiations with (Marriott) for months and is focused on how technology and environmental programs will affect workers.”
Similar strike authorizations have been approved in several other markets where Marriott and Unite Here are engaged in negotiations, including Honolulu, San Francisco and Seattle. Strike authorizations don’t guarantee a strike will actually happen, though, just that the union has given itself power to call a strike at any time.
A Marriott spokesperson told the Globe the company has “always taken the negotiation process seriously and reached agreement (with Local 26). We have no reason to believe that this negotiation will be any different.”
Thursday marks first day of hurricane’s three-day onslaught: Hurricane Florence is expected to hit the Southeast United States today and it will linger over the region Friday and Saturday as well, with forecasters and governmental officials warning the storm could result in extensive damage in the region, CNN reports. The storm has been downgraded to a Category 2, but officials say it continues to pose a serious risk.
“Don’t be fooled by the fact that Florence has weakened slightly to a Category 2 hurricane,” the news agency reports. “Categories only denote the speed of sustained winds. What makes this hurricane extremely dangerous are the deadly storm surges, mammoth coastal flooding and historic rainfall expected far inland.”
The storm is expected to hover over the Carolinas, dropping as much as 10 trillion gallons of rainfall on North Carolina.
AHLA, AAHOA head to Capitol Hill: Labor, immigration and driving international inbound tourism are at the top of the wish list as officials from the American Hotel & Lodging Association and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association head to meetings with members of Congress today, reports HNN senior reporter Bryan Wroten from those organizations’ Legislative Action Summit in Washington, D.C.
One of the speakers at the summit was U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, who promised his department is “tearing down unnecessary regulatory barriers” that keep businesses from filling jobs.
A recent ruling that allows businesses to offer fully insured association health plans through organizations like AHLA or AAHOA is one example of that line of thinking, Acosta said.
“When someone starts a small business, they want to focus on their business,” he said. “Far too often, they are forced to focus on things like health care for employees. … We’re hearing from small businesses and employees, and this is something that is in demand.”
Hurricane comparisons push down U.S. performance metrics: The latest data from Hotel News Now’s parent company STR shows a dip in revenue per available room for U.S. hotels, with analysts saying that drop is fueled by year-over-year comparisons with the period after hurricanes Harvey and Irma in 2017.
For the week ending 8 September, occupancy fell 3.5% to 61.7%, average daily rate grew 1% to $121.95, and RevPAR fell 2.4% to $75.25.
Miami/Hialeah, Florida, saw the best performance increases among the top 25 markets, with occupancy up 35.6% to 60.6%, ADR up 7.7% to $138.94 and RevPAR up 46% to $84.15.
Pebblebrook and LaSalle take pitch to investors: Officials with Pebblebrook Hotel Trust and LaSalle Hotel Properties are holding a call this morning to make the case for their pending merger to investors.
According to a slide deck already uploaded to Pebblebrook’s investor relations site, Pebblebrook officials say the combined company would be the “third-largest lodging REIT as measured by enterprise value and the largest owner of independent and lifestyle hotels, providing greater access to capital markets.”
Compiled by Sean McCracken.