5 things to know: 3 December 2018
5 things to know: 3 December 2018
03 DECEMBER 2018 10:42 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • The legal implications of Marriott’s data breach
  • Post-acquisition, Pebblebrook sets plans for future
  • Fed vice chairman positive about economic outlook
  • Hotels at US-Mexico border see dips in occupancy
  • Schrager sees co-living spaces as next disruptor

The legal implications of Marriott’s data breach: Marriott International announced a data breach affecting up to 500 million guests of legacy brands under Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide on 30 November, which has led to questions about Marriott’s legal responsibilities, writes Hotel News Now’s Bryan Wroten.

Sandy Garfinkel, attorney at Eckert Seamans and chairman of the firm’s data security and privacy group, said incidents like these are not without precedent, but data breaches of hotel companies in the past haven’t been at the same scale as this one. Garfinkel added that Wyndham Worldwide’s breach of its central reservation system in 2008 and 2009 is an example of a smaller-scale breach.

Marriott’s data breach dating back to 2014 has also led to questions about compliance with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. HNN reached out to Marriott for a request for comment on the breach. The company said: “We believe we have complied with all applicable reporting obligations, including our obligations under GDPR.”

Post-acquisition, Pebblebrook sets plans for future: Pebblebrook Hotel Trust’s acquisition of LaSalle Hotel Properties closed on 30 November, which means the real estate investment trust known as LaSalle is once again under the leadership of Pebblebrook chairman, President and CEO Jon Bortz. Bortz and Pebblebrook EVP and CFO Ray Martz told Wroten about the future plans for the REIT.

Bortz said in an email interview that there’s a lot of work to be done to fine-tune the portfolio, maximize growth and form a unique portfolio. Part of this work will be the disposition of “another $650 million to $1.15 billion in assets,” Wroten writes. Legacy LaSalle hotels will see some operator and brand changes, Bortz said, and the company will start transformative renovations similar to what legacy Pebblebrook properties underwent.

“In addition, we will cross-pollinate our best practices among our two companies, and (integrate) the former LaSalle team into the culture and approach of the Pebblebrook family,” he said. “There is a lot of financial upside from putting these two companies together.”

Fed vice chairman positive about economic outlook: Richard Clarida, vice chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, said the economic outlook for the U.S. is solid, and right now, the Fed’s main goal is “to sustain maximum unemployment and low inflation for as long as possible,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

“Right now I think the U.S. economy is in good shape, and we can talk about risky scenarios, but I think the baseline outlook is very solid,” Clarida said during an interview on Bloomberg’s TV channel.

He added that the Fed is equally as concerned with inflation falling below its 2% goal as it is with “a so-called overshoot,” the news outlet reports.

Hotels at U.S.-Mexico border see dips in occupancy: Businesses along the U.S.-Mexico border are seeing drags on business around “news of growing tension surrounding the migrant crisis” and fears that border crossing shutdowns will continue, which has led to dips in occupancy for some nearby hotels, The Los Angeles Times reports.

Hugo Torres, owner of the Rosarito Beach Hotel in Baja California, Mexico, told the news outlet it has seen business at the property “plummet by 60%.”

“We’re sending word that everything is back to normal as far as crossing the border, but we cannot guarantee (a closure) won’t happen again,” Torres told the L.A. Times. “Mexicans are going across (to San Diego) like crazy for the specials at Macy’s and other stores, so for the businessmen in San Diego it’s back to normal 100%.

“But we are suffering. People are afraid to come over and get trapped going home.”

Schrager sees co-living spaces as next disruptor: Hotel Industry veteran Ian Schrager said at a recent Bloomberg conference that co-living spaces are the next disruptor for the industry, Bloomberg reports. Schrager said communal living “is blurring the distinction between residential and hotels.”

Evidence of this trend, Schrager said, can be found by looking at millennial buying statistics, “which has seen growth in so-called co-living, where residents buy into furnished, semi-serviced apartments, either by the unit or by the bedroom,” the news outlet reports.

Compiled by Danielle Hess.

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