5 things to know: 28 September 2018
5 things to know: 28 September 2018
28 SEPTEMBER 2018 9:30 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Marriott formally takes over Trump Panama hotel
  • Choice plans growth in Mexico
  • Lodging: Labor issues still keep execs up at night
  • Millennium & Copthorne Hotels CEO steps down
  • DC Council will vote on revised bill to limit rentals on Airbnb

Marriott formally takes over Trump Panama hotel: A 70-story luxury hotel and condominium tower in Panama City, which used to hold the Trump flag, has now formally been rebranded as a JW Marriott and will be operated by Marriott International, The Associated Press reports.

The Trump name was removed in March after a “hotly contested legal fight,” and the building, which has 369 hotel rooms, was briefly named the Bahia Grand Panama before Marriott showed interest. The struggle over the hotel “began late last year when (investor Orestes Fintiklis), who had acquired a majority of condominiums and was supported by residents, sought to fire (President Donald) Trump’s company, citing damage to the brand and management,” AP reports.

The Trump Organization at the time had refused to turn the property over and fought the termination.

Choice plans growth in Mexico: Choice Hotels International’s subsidiary, Choice Hotels Mexico, announced it has signed an exclusive multiunit agreement with Mexican private equity fund SI Operaciones to develop 20 new-build Sleep Inn hotels, about 2,000 rooms total, within the next five years, according to a news release.

Markets targeted through the agreement will include Mexico City and Guadalajara, and the objective will be to “more than triple the size of the brand’s footprint in the country,” the release states.

“There is tremendous opportunity for hotel development in Mexico, and we are thrilled to continue our collaboration with Choice Hotels to grow our portfolio,” Mario Cordova, chairman of the board of SI Operaciones, said in the release. “We’ve experienced great success with the Sleep Inn brand and know these new hotels will be a welcome addition for business and leisure travelers.”

Lodging: Labor issues still keep execs up at night: While the hotel industry seems unlikely to slow down anytime soon, executives on a panel at The Lodging Conference said there will still be bumps in the road, namely labor challenges, writes Hotel News Now’s Danielle Hess.

Dave Johnson, chairman and CEO of Aimbridge Hospitality, said labor is a worry that keeps him up at night.
“Labor, labor, labor. I think it could be the one thing that really hits us hard,” he said, adding that cost of labor was “up almost 2.9% in August—that’s the highest in a long, long time.” He said bipartisan support is needed from legislators “to do something, or we’re going to derail our economy.”

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels CEO steps down: London-based Millennium & Copthorne Hotels announced in a news release that Jennifer Fox, who was named group CEO and director of M&C in March replacing Aloysius Lee, has stepped down from her position.

Tan Kian Seng, the company’s current group chief of staff and former interim group CEO before Fox assumed the position, will resume the role of interim group CEO starting Friday.

D.C. Council will vote on revised bill to limit rentals on Airbnb: A revised bill will go before the D.C. Council on Tuesday, which will “bar property owners from using Airbnb or similar companies to rent out second homes,” The Washington Post reports.

If the new version of the legislation passes, it will also limit rental of a primary residence if the owner of the property is gone for 90 days. No limit would be imposed if the host is present while renting out space, such as an extra bedroom or basement.

“The bill would represent a victory for critics of short-term rentals including the hotel industry, hotel workers union and neighborhood associations,” the article states.

Compiled by Dana Miller.

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