5 things to know: 26 April 2019
5 things to know: 26 April 2019
26 APRIL 2019 9:11 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Hundreds reportedly laid off at MGM
  • US GDP growth beats expectations
  • Execs talk power of family at AAHOA
  • US hotels see big metric drops
  • More travel advisories issued for Sri Lanka

Hundreds reportedly laid off at MGM: The Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting 254 employees of MGM Resorts International have been notified they have lost their jobs, citing an internal note from CEO Jim Murren. The layoffs are apparently part of the company’s efforts to cut labor costs by $100 million.

The newspaper quotes Murren’s note as saying: “I know this day is going to be difficult for everyone. I also know that changes like this can be stressful and I regret the impacts on the individuals whose roles are being eliminated. We would not be taking these steps if we did not believe they were necessary to serve the long-term interests of the company.”

*According to information from MGM Resorts, the company will implement the cuts throughout its U.S. properties, not just in Las Vegas. The jobs in question are non-union jobs. The company will work with employees who were laid off on career transition services.

 U.S. GDP growth beats expectations: The U.S. gross domestic product grew by 3.2% in the first quarter of 2019, beating economists’ expectations of 2.3% growth, according to Bloomberg. The economy grew 2.2% in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Bloomberg notes the news for the U.S. economy wasn’t all good, however.

“But underlying demand was weaker than the headline number indicated,” Bloomberg reported. “Consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, rose a slightly-above-forecast 1.2%, while business investment cooled. A Federal Reserve-preferred inflation measure, the personal consumption expenditures price index excluding food and energy, slowed to 1.3%, well below policy makers’ 2% objective.”

Execs talk power of family at AAHOA: Several executives speaking during the 30th annual Asian American Hotel Owners Association convention spent time discussing the importance of company culture and leadership, and tied that in to lessons learned from coming up in family businesses, writes HNN’s Stephanie Ricca.

Mitch Patel, president and CEO of Vision Hospitality Group, said learning from his parents was a foundational piece of establishing his company’s culture.

“They came to this great country, settled here and took a huge risk with nothing in their pockets for a better life for the next generation,” he said. “My parents gave me an incredible foundation. We learn so much from hard work, honesty and integrity—those are the fundamentals of hospitality.”

U.S. hotels see big metric drops: Revenue per available room fell 8% year over year to $84.63 for U.S. hotels for the week ending 20 April, according to data from HNN’s parent company STR.

The drop was the combined result of a 6.2% decrease in occupancy to 65.7% and a 1.9% decline in average daily rate to $128.79.

The top performer among the top 25 U.S. markets was Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Virginia, which was a 24.9% increase in RevPAR to $78.39.

More travel advisories issued for Sri Lanka: In the not-too-distant past, Sri Lanka was viewed as one of the top destinations for adventurous global travelers, anointed Lonely Planet’s 2019 top country to travel to. Now more and more countries are issuing travel advisories following a terrorist attack that killed hundreds, with more attacks viewed as highly possible, according to various news outlets.

Reuters reports The British Foreign Office has issued a warning to avoid the country noting “future attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.” The Jerusalem Post reports Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau issued a similar warning Thursday, noting there is a “high and concrete” chance of more attacks. Several countries, such as the U.S. and Australia, have already issues travel advisories.

Compiled by Sean McCracken.

*Editor’s note 26 April 2019: This item has been updated to include new information from MGM Resorts International.

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