5 things to know: 15 March 2019
5 things to know: 15 March 2019
15 MARCH 2019 9:03 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • 49 people killed in New Zealand mosque shootings
  • Implications of new overtime threshold proposal for US hoteliers
  • Economists expect Fed to put off rate increases
  • AHLA survey shows advancement in tech, sustainability
  • ‘Star Wars’ park opening to lead to more Orlando bookings

49 people killed in New Zealand mosque shootings: Shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, resulted in the deaths of 49 people, The New York Times reports.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the attack as “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence,” according to The Times.

A man in his late 20s has been charged with murder, and two explosive devices were found attached to a vehicle stopped by officials.

After a video of the shooting was posted on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter by a gunman, CNN reports that the social media outlets are “struggling to stop the spread” of the video. 

Implications of new overtime threshold proposal for U.S. hoteliers: The U.S. Department of Labor has proposed a new overtime exemption threshold that could go in effect by 2020, which should prompt hoteliers to assess what it means for their employees, HNN’s Bryan Wroten writes.

Andria Ryan, partner at Fisher Phillips, said the proposed threshold of $679 a week ($35,308 annually) is within the expected range following backlash over an Obama administration proposal that raised the threshold to $47,476 per year. She said the new proposal is “more palatable.”

“The expression I heard from some is they won’t have people dancing in the streets, but they won’t have pitchforks out either,” she said.

Economists expect Fed to put off rate increases: The Wall Street Journal surveyed economists on when they expect the Federal Reserve to next increase interest rates, and 57% of respondents said the increase would “come at the central bank’s September meeting or later.”

Of those who responded to the survey, 18% said they think the Fed’s next move will be to cut rates. That’s up from 10% who said the same thing in a February survey.

“Fed officials have said they see no reason to change interest rates for now, as they wait to see how the U.S. economy is affected by trade disputes, slowing growth in China and Europe, and Britain’s messy split from the European Union,” the news outlet reports.

AHLA survey shows advancement in tech, sustainability: A new survey from the American Hotel & Lodging Association indicates hotels are making advancements in amenities, guest services, sustainability and technology, according to a news release.

The survey reports hotels are catering to millennial travelers by focusing on “community and convenience” on-property. More hotels are also practicing sustainable initiatives, with Green Certification at hotels at 25% in 2018, up from 16% in 2016.

Hoteliers are also focusing on making mobile a priority, according to the survey. The use of mobile apps to access hotel services, roomkeys and mobile device check-in has grown in recent years.

‘Star Wars’ park opening to lead to more Orlando bookings: With the “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” attraction at Walt Disney World slated to open on 29 August, hoteliers in Orlando expect to see a surge in bookings, as they normally do around any new park openings, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Hoteliers in the area said it’s too early to determine how much of a jump they’ll see in business around the opening, but they are certain bookings will go up.

Compiled by Danielle Hess.

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