5 things to know: 25 September 2018
5 things to know: 25 September 2018
25 SEPTEMBER 2018 9:28 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • NYC hotels record highest occupancy rates since 2000
  • French hoteliers to enjoy strong full-year performance
  • Brand execs outline growth plans in South America
  • Wyndham’s Wingate expanding globally
  • Will technology replace hotel workers?

NYC hotels record highest occupancy rates since 2000: According to a Wall Street Journal article citing data from STR, parent company of Hotel News Now, hotels in New York City are bouncing back amid a boom in construction and “are enjoying their highest occupancy rates since 2000 for the first eight months of the year.”

In addition to strong occupancy rates, the market is also experiencing the fastest pace in growth of revenue per available room since 2013. During the first eight months of 2018, room rates increased to 3.2% year over year, which helped boost a RevPAR increase of 4.6% to $207.41 year over year, STR data shows. That indicates New York is beginning to absorb supply.

“New York is one of these rare markets that ‘if you build it, they will come,’ it’s actually true,” Jan Freitag, SVP of lodging insights at STR, told the Journal.

French hoteliers to enjoy strong full-year performance: 2018 is shaping up to be a strong year for the French hotel sector, bolstered by high demand from foreign tourists, Reuters reports.

Hoteliers in Paris are anticipating average revenue growth of 10% to 20% year over year, research and accountancy firm KPMG told Reuters. Stéphane Botz of KPMG said hotels like The Ritz and Plaza Athénée in Paris could see occupancy rates increase to 60% to 65% this year compared to 55.8% in 2017.

After tourist numbers dropped due to a rash of deadly attacks in France in 2015 and 2016, “there was a rebound in 2017, but 2018 is shaping up as an exceptional year due to the strong weight of Paris,” Botz told the news outlet. Visits from foreign tourists, including a majority from Asia, were up 10% from last year in the first half of 2018.

Brand execs outline growth plans in South America: Hotel development and brand expansion in South America always is a tale of individual countries, regions and cities instead of a collective story, writes HNN’s Editor-in-Chief Stephanie Ricca, attending this week’s South American Hotel Investment Conference in Colombia. On day one of the conference, executives from Marriott International, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, InterContinental Hotels Group and Hilton shared where and how they are focusing their development strategies in the region.

Victor Vazquez, regional VP for Marriott, said the company’s select-service brands make up 37% of its portfolio in the Caribbean and Latin America region (CALA). Because of that, he said he sees Marriott’s “growth in select-service gaining more momentum.”

“We’ll open 22 new select-service properties in the CALA region in the coming five years, and we’ll have a great presence across all regions,” he added.

Wyndham’s Wingate expanding globally: Wyndham Hotels & Resorts’ midscale hotel brand Wingate by Wyndham is expanding in three countries with 14 hotels, including a debut in China, according to a company news release.

Its first foray in China with the Wingate by Wyndham Sanya Luhuitou brings the brand’s global presence to nearly 170 hotels, including properties across the U.S. and Canada. As of 30 June, the brand’s global pipeline included 74 hotels, about 60% of which were new construction.

“The global middle class, which is growing steadily at an estimated rate of 160 million people each year, continues to travel more and seek out great experiences and value,” Tom Barber, Wyndham’s chief development and strategy officer, said in the release. “Expanding Wingate in high-demand markets around the world exposes the brand to new circles of travelers, and doing so with established hotel developers sharing our passion for delivering consistent, guest-centric experiences will help propel continued growth and success.”

Will technology replace hotel workers?: In the midst of striking hotel employees in Waikiki, Boston, San Diego and Detroit, one of the issues raised by the union representing them, Unite Here, is that new technologies “and the innovations they spur” are allowing hotel brand companies to reduce staff, reports The New York Times.

“You are not going to stop technology,” D. Taylor, president of Unite Here, told the news outlet. “The question is whether workers will be partners in its deployment or bystanders that get run over by it.”

Maria Mendiola, a concierge at the San Jose Marriott, said she fears Amazon’s agreement to supply Echo devices in Marriott’s hotel rooms will cause her job to become “pointless” in the future.

Compiled by Dana Miller.

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