From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:
- US pension funds targeting riskier real estate
- Tech at the core of Accor’s reinvention
- Deadly California fire now ‘fully contained’
- US hotel metrics up for week before holiday
- GDSes face EU scrutiny
U.S. pension funds targeting riskier real estate: The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. public pension funds have an increasing appetite for real estate and are looking more and more at “some of the riskiest types of property investments” in an effort to address funding gaps.
A review of Boston College’s Public Plans Data shows real estate now represents 7% of assets held by public pension plans with more than 20,000 members as of 2017, up from 4% in 2006. The Journal notes a scarcity of cheap real estate has driven funds to riskier investments, including “new construction or ambitious overhauls.”
The newspaper reports funds managed by The Blackstone Group “aim to revamp or overhaul the structure of operations of hotels, resorts, apartment buildings and office space, then sell them.”
Tech at the core of Accor’s reinvention: AccorHotels has seen drastic changes of late with the sale of 55% of its ownership platform. Now executives with the company say they’re well into the process of reimagining what Accor is and what the company can accomplish, writes HNN’s Terence Baker. Tech is a key component going forward, said Thomas Dubaere, COO for Northern Europe, and Accor is now striving to stay ahead of the curve instead of playing catch up.
“Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Airbnb; to quote our CEO, we have missed the first three wagons, but we will not miss the next two: customer relationship management and mobile payments,” he said. “We will do that while still being fully focused on operations and franchisors. It is a learning curve.”
Deadly California fire now “fully contained”: The Camp Fire north of San Francisco, which is officially the deadliest wildfire in California history with a death toll of at least 85, has been officially contained as of Sunday, California fire officials told Reuters. The fire started on 8 November and burned nearly 154,000 acres, destroying almost 14,000 homes in the process.
The area is not completely in the clear yet, though, because the newfound lack of vegetation, combined with the risk of heavy rains this week, could create the conditions for flash floods and mudslides, according to weather forecasters.
U.S. hotel metrics up for week before holiday: Hoteliers in the U.S. enjoyed year-over-year growth in each of the three key performance metrics in the week ending 17 November, according to data from HNN’s parent company, STR.
Occupancy was up 0.6% for the week to 66.6%. Average daily rate climbed 2.5% to $127.53, while revenue per available room increased 3.1% to $84.99.
Boston lead the top 25 markets in RevPAR growth, which was up 21.5% to $188.52.
GDSes face EU scrutiny: European Union antitrust investigators are looking into the terms of contracts from global distribution systems Amadeus and Sabre, according to Reuters, claiming those deals “could prevent airlines and travel agents from switching” to competitors.
“We are concerned that such restrictions could create barriers to innovation and raise ticket distribution costs, ultimately raising ticket prices for travelers,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement, according to the news agency.
If investigators find the global distribution systems violated EU rules, the companies could face fines of up to 10% of their global revenues.
Compiled by Sean McCracken