5 things to know: 21 September 2018
5 things to know: 21 September 2018
21 SEPTEMBER 2018 9:02 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • UK prime minister says country at ‘impasse’ with EU
  • Union reaches deal with Marriott in Chicago
  • The Gant’s GM on blending condo, hotel services
  • Millennials ‘increasingly’ using travel agents
  • US hotel results for week ending 15 September

U.K. prime minister says country at ‘impasse’ with EU: In a news conference Friday morning, United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May said the U.K. has reached an impasse with the European Union during negotiations over Brexit, according to live coverage from Bloomberg. The pound sterling fell 1.44% against the U.S. dollar while she spoke.

During the news conference, May said the EU hasn’t made a counter proposal to the U.K.’s proposal on the Irish Sea border, according to Bloomberg, but the EU would argue that is has “softened its stance slightly” on the Irish border but cannot go further.

May said the British government will not overturn the referendum and that the country must prepare itself for “no deal,” Bloomberg reports.

“No deal is better than a bad deal,” May said.

Union reaches deal with Marriott in Chicago: Two weeks into the strike in Chicago, Unite Here Local 1 announced its members ratified a contract with the Hotel Blake and Marriott International, the Chicago Tribune reports. Marriott declined to comment for the story, and the union said there would be an official statement coming later.

Housekeepers, doormen, cooks and other employees at 26 hotels in Chicago went on strike starting 7 September, according to the article. They sought year-round health insurance and “other improvements to work conditions” during their negotiations.

The brands hold separate negotiations with their union employees, the article states, but unions attempt to get one of the employers to “establish a baseline agreement” that becomes a model for other employers to follow.

“The incentive (for the union) is to create a standard for the industry,” said Bob Bruno, labor professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “And the employers gain some value on that too.”

The Gant’s GM on blending condo, hotel services: The GM of The Gant, a Destination Hotels property in Aspen, Colorado, has found a way to blend condominium living with the operations of a hotel, writes HNN’s Danielle Hess.

The 143-room property has multiple owners, Hess writes, but it has everything guests would expect from a hotel: front-desk associates; a bellman; transportation; housekeeping; a conference center; and food-and-beverage offerings.

“It’s a condominium complex,” GM Donnie Lee said. “So we answer to a board of directors and the owners. We run the association or manage the association on behalf of (a condominium association), and then we also run the rental program on behalf of the owners.”

 Millennials ‘increasingly’ using travel agents: A new study by travel and hospitality firm MMGY Global found that 33% of millennials are looking to hire travel agents over the next two years, Vox reports. Data from the American Society of Travel Advisors also shows millennials are more likely than baby boomers or Gen Xers to say hiring a travel agent “was worth it.”

Travel agencies have updated themselves over the years, offering “sleek websites,” ready-to-purchase travel packages and one-on-one services. These agencies have found success courting millennials by pushing the narrative that “a vacation can change you,” according to the article.

U.S. hotel results for week ending 15 September: Data from STR, parent company of HNN, shows the U.S. hotel industry reported negative year-over-year results for the week ending 15 September.

Occupancy dropped 3.3% to 69.8% while average daily rate slipped by 0.3% to $131.03, resulting in revenue per available room decreasing by 3.7% to $91.47.

“There were a lot of different factors to parse in the week’s results,” said Jan Freitag, STR’s SVP of lodging insights. “Performance levels dropped in several major markets as Hurricane Florence moved up the Atlantic Seaboard. On top of that, an earlier Rosh Hashanah and the comparison with the 2017 post-hurricane demand period in Houston and Florida created significant fluctuations in year-over-year percentage changes—the latter will continue for the coming weeks.

“Additionally, performance at this time last year in New York City was lifted by the UN General Assembly, which made the comparable particularly difficult to match.”

Compiled by Bryan Wroten.

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