5 things to know: 14 March 2019
5 things to know: 14 March 2019
14 MARCH 2019 9:36 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Brexit extension possible as UK government loses again
  • Bomb cyclone moving through central US
  • Weekly results for the US hotel industry
  • Louisiana looks to impose taxes on Airbnb rentals
  • Basketball tournament brings business to Memphis

Brexit extension possible as U.K. government loses again: The United Kingdom government lost another vote in dramatic circumstances in Parliament, with members voting down the possibility of leaving the European Union—still due on 29 March—without a deal being agreed by the two sides, HNN’s Terence Baker writes.

The next vote will take place Thursday and focus on whether Parliament wishes to ask the EU for a time extension for Brexit negotiations, which some commentators say could take until 30 June or even up to two years, according to Reuters. Several ministers voted against its own government, which in normal circumstance would likely be followed by resignations.

Baker writes that an extension of Brexit negotiations likely will fuel more indecision for hoteliers.

“(The U.K. government) might ask for more time to get all the ducks in a row. If they cannot do that deal, we could still crash out with no deal, which some (MPs) think remains the right thing to do, but whatever is agreed must be acceptable to the EU and will come with conditions and financial considerations,” Russell Kett, chairman, HVS London, told Baker.

After U.K. lawmakers voted down a no-deal Brexit, the British pound rose the most it has since April 2017, up 2% against the dollar at $1.33, CNBC reports.

Bomb cyclone moving through central U.S.: A bomb cyclone, or a storm that drops 24 millibars (units of atmospheric pressure) in 24 hours or less, is moving through the central U.S. It started in eastern Colorado and Wyoming and is moving toward Nebraska, parts of the Dakotas and western Minnesota, NBC News reports. Millions are in the path of the storm.

Thousands of people in Colorado didn’t have power as of Thursday morning, which led to many people seeking shelter at hotels. The Denver Post reports that travelers who were stuck at the Denver International Airport due to flight cancellations were having trouble finding hotels in the area to stay at because most were completely booked.

“A manager at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites near the airport said the staff usually sends people to the downtown hotels when they get booked, but their shuttles haven’t been able to get people from the airport due to the road closures,” reports The Denver Post.

Weekly results for the U.S. hotel industry: Hotels in the U.S. saw mixed year-over-year results for the week ending 9 March, according to STR, parent company of HNN.

Occupancy decreased 2.4% to 66.8%, average daily rate increased 0.8% to $132.01 and revenue per available room dropped 1.7% to $88.15.

San Francisco/San Mateo, California, saw the largest rise in occupancy (3.3% to 80.7%) among the top 25 markets. It also recorded the only double-digit increases in ADR (45.3% to $305.91) and RevPAR (50.1% to $246.80).

Louisiana looks to impose taxes on Airbnb rentals: Central visitors bureaus in Louisiana are supporting the passage of a bill that would require Airbnb rentals and other short-term accommodations to pay the same local occupancy taxes as hotels, according to Baton Rouge Business Report.

Short-term rentals in the state currently pay state and local taxes, but they are not required to pay hotel occupancy taxes. The Louisiana Travel Association told the news outlet the goal of the proposed legislation is to level the playing field between hotels and short-term rentals.

“We’re looking for parity,” LTA President and CEO Jill Kidder told the news outlet. “The idea is to make it easier for our hotels and all those who offer accommodations to know that if you are renting a room to a transient guest you have to pay taxes on it.”

Basketball tournament brings business to Memphis: The American Athletic Conference men’s basketball tournament will take place in Memphis, Tennessee, this weekend, which will be the first exposure for many basketball fans to the city and could bring them back, Fox 13 reports.

The city last hosted the tournament in 2014, and since then, more hotels and other businesses have popped up in the Memphis area.

Kevin Kane, president and CEO of Memphis Tourism, told the news outlet the event this weekend is expected to bring in $4.5 to $6 million in economic impact, and he believes updates to the downtown area will bring visitors back for future trips.

Memphis will host the Elite Eight NCAA tournaments in 2021. Downtown Memphis is expected to have 1,500 hotel rooms by then.

Compiled by Danielle Hess.

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