5 things to know: 13 March 2019
5 things to know: 13 March 2019
13 MARCH 2019 9:33 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • UK Parliament rejects May’s Brexit plan for second time
  • Developers looking to Austin despite barriers
  • Semer to step down as CEO of Kempinski Hotels
  • Nassetta talks brands, culture, sustainability at IHIF
  • Hoteliers talk with lawmakers on health of industry

U.K. Parliament rejects May’s Brexit plan for second time: The United Kingdom Parliament rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the European Union for the second time, BBC News reports.

The plan was defeated Tuesday by 149 votes. Before the vote, May said that she had gained important concessions from the EU in regards to the so-called Irish backstop, the mechanism that would not allow one part of the U.K., Northern Ireland, to have an open border with the EU while the rest of the country would if the U.K. leaves without a deal.

May lost the first vote in January by a larger margin, 230 votes. Another vote will take place Wednesday in which Parliament might make it illegal to leave the EU without a deal. The U.K.’s exit was originally slated for 29 March.

Many believe an economic slump could be in the cards, and it is widely believed the government will lose the next vote, too, with the U.K. government likely to ask the EU for an extension of the entire Brexit process.

Developers looking to Austin despite barriers: Even with high barriers to entry and costs, hotel developers are still interested in Austin, Texas, HNN contributor Alicia Hoisington writes.

“Austin is booming. It’s continuing to garner attention for both business and leisure travel, and for good reason,” said Brian De Lowe, president and co-founder of Proper Hospitality, which is developing the Austin Proper Hotel & Residences, set to open this June.

One big demand driver to the city is software giants such as Google and Facebook moving their headquarters downtown, he said.

Semer to step down as CEO of Kempinski Hotels: Markus Semer, chairman and CEO of Geneva-based Kempinski Hotels, has announced he is stepping down from his role once a replacement is found, according to a news release.

Semer began his role in March 2016 and has been on the board for 11 years. He joined the company 16 years ago, and since then, Kempinski’s portfolio has grown from 23 hotel to 78 hotels under development.

Nassetta talks brands, culture, sustainability at IHIF: Hilton President and CEO Chris Nassetta sat down with British journalist and television presenter Nick Ross at the recent International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin to discuss things his company is working on, such as molding brands and practicing sustainability, HNN’s Terence Baker writes.

Hilton is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and while the company has reached 3 billion customers, 10 million team members and a trillion dollars of financial impact, Nassetta said there is more to come.

“Blue-chip companies may only last 10 or 20 so years, but (Hilton is) not limping over the line. Objectively our brands are stronger than they’ve ever been, and we’re opening more than a hotel every day,” he said.

Hoteliers talk with lawmakers on health of industry: Hoteliers with the Asian American Hotel Owners Association met with lawmakers this week to go over the health of the industry at AAHOA’s 2019 Spring National Advocacy Conference, according to a news release.

During the conference, hoteliers discussed issues in the industry and the “economic impact their businesses have on communities across the United States.”

“With over 100 new office holders in Congress, this presents a great opportunity for hoteliers to give lawmakers a picture of where the hospitality industry stands and how we can work together to keep this vital sector of the American economy growing. We want our congressional leaders to know that they have a partner in America’s hoteliers when it comes to issues such as job creation, small business development and the fight against human trafficking,” said AAHOA Chairman Hitesh (HP) Patel in the release.

Compiled by Danielle Hess.

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