From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:
- Companies pushing for H-2B expansion
- Park, ESA report earnings
- Why some brands are targeting Mexico
- RevPAR flat at US hotels
- Deals continue in Manhattan
Companies pushing for H-2B expansion: The Wall Street Journal reports employers are pushing the U.S. government to “lift limits on temporary H-2B visas, saying computer problems this year that thwarted many applications highlighted the need to raise the cap.” The visas are key for several businesses and industries reliant on seasonal workers, including hotels.
The Labor Department system crashed as many businesses simultaneously sought the 33,000 available first-come, first-served visa permits, which have all been claimed. The newspaper notes the cap can be lifted if the White House and Congress agree to do so. And Congress included a provision to increase the cap in recent border control legislation, but it still needs to be approved by the Department of Homeland Security and the Labor Department.
Park, ESA report earnings: Both Park Hotels & Resorts and Extended Stay America are reporting fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 earnings results today. Here’s a snapshot of how those companies are performing.
Park: The company saw a 2.9% year-over-year increase in revenue per available room for full-year 2018 compared to 2017 with net income of $477 million. Throughout the year, the company sold 12 hotels for gross proceeds of $379 million as well as raising $140 million by selling its joint venture interest in the Hilton Berlin.
ESA: RevPAR grew 0.9% in the fourth quarter and 2% for the full year. The company also continued its plan to sell down owned assets, selling 72 properties for roughly $322 million.
Why some brands are targeting Mexico: Mexico’s history, culture and food are all big contributors to why international hotel brands find establishing a presence in that market so compelling, write HNN’s Sean McCracken from the Mexico Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference.
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants is looking to make its entrance into the country, as the now IHG-owned brand begins a phase of international growth, said Tiffany Cooper, SVP of development for the Americas.
“Our brand is built on heartfelt hospitality, and that resonates in Mexico because of the spirit of hospitality, its people, culture and architecture,” she said. “All of these are tenets of our brand ethos, and we see that resonating strongly.”
RevPAR flat at U.S. hotels: A drop in occupancy was enough to wipe out any gains in rate to keep RevPAR flat year over year in U.S. hotels for the week ending 23 February, according to HNN’s parent company STR.
Occupancy was down 1.7% to 64.7%, while average daily rate was up 1.7% to $129.05. That combined for no change for RevPAR, which stayed at $83.43.
San Francisco/San Mateo, California lead the top 25 markets in RevPAR growth, up 14% to $168.54.
Deals continue in Manhattan: Manhattan saw six hotel transactions total roughly $741 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to PWC’s Manhattan Lodging Index.
The biggest deal of the quarter was the sale of the 934-room Park Central Hotel on 18 November. That property sold for $366.2 million, equating to $392,045 per key.
Compiled by Sean McCracken.