From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:
- Federal Reserve holds off on rate increase for now
- Katara Hospitality acquires Grosvenor House London
- Choice reports continued growth across brand family
- Wildfires spread through Ventura County in California
- Thanksgiving likely to set new record in air travel
Federal Reserve holds off on rate increase for now: The Federal Reserve decided not to raise short-term interest rates Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reports, but it stated another rate increase is likely before the end of the year. In its statement, the Fed highlighted the strength of the labor market and strong rate of economic activity in the U.S.
The economy grew at an annual rate of 3.5% during the third quarter and 4.2% in Q2, according to the article, which is a faster pace than the Fed believes can be sustained long term without a higher supply of workers or higher level of productivity.
While Fed officials unanimously voted to hold the rate steady this time, they are split over raising rates two, three or four times in 2019, the newspaper reports.
Katara Hospitality acquires Grosvenor House London: Katara Hospitality, the hotel unit for the Qatar Investment Authority, announced the acquisition of the 496-room JW Marriott Grosvenor House in London, according to a news release. The acquisition is part of Qatar’s £5 billion ($6.5 billion) investment plan.
“Katara Hospitality’s vision is to build a portfolio of leading hotels in key destinations around the world,” according to the release. “Grosvenor House is the ideal opportunity to expand the company’s footprint into the vibrant and exciting London market.”
Choice reports continued growth across brand family: Choice Hotels International executives highlighted the many ways their brands grew in the third quarter during the company’s recent earnings call, writes HNN’s Danielle Hess.
The company’s new brand extension, Clarion Pointe, launched in September and already has nearly 75 in the development pipeline, Hess writes. WoodSpring Suites, an acquisition from early 2018, has added new properties throughout the year with another 55 signed contracts as of 30 September.
The Cambria brand helps the company expand in the upper-upscale segment, Hess writes, while it also contributes significantly to Choice’s bottom line.
“In fact, an average Cambria hotel produces three times as much gross room revenue as our average upper-midscale Comfort Inn,” Choice President and CEO Pat Pacious said. “When you consider that we expect to have more than 50 Cambria hotels open next year, it’s easy to see what an important driver the brand is for Choice.”
Wildfires spread through Ventura County in California: Two large wildfires are spreading through Ventura County in California, causing more than 1,000 families to evacuate their homes, the Los Angeles Times reports. Authorities shut down the 101 Freeway at Camarillo Springs Road.
Fire officials believe the fire in the Hill Canyon area will burn all the way to the ocean, according to the article.
“These fires come less than a year after Ventura County was devastated by the Thomas fire, which burned homes from Ventura to Montecito,” the L.A. Times reports.
Thanksgiving likely to set new record in air travel: The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has projected a record-setting number of people flying for the Thanksgiving holiday, USA Today reports. The TSA screens about 2.1 million to 2.2 million passengers and crew each day, but they expect those numbers to increase by 25% or more on several of the days around the holiday.
The three busiest travel days for the holiday are the Friday before, the Wednesday before and the Sunday after, according to the article. The Sunday after is typically the busiest of all the days, while Thanksgiving itself is considered a light travel day.
Compiled by Bryan Wroten.