5 things to know: 7 May 2019
5 things to know: 7 May 2019
07 MAY 2019 9:57 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • LIIC sees good times ahead, but labor as a concern
  • Hotel workers worried about industry future after Hawaii layoffs
  • How hoteliers optimize housekeeping, lower costs
  • US says China tried to renegotiate in trade talks
  • Irish hotel development hits post-recession high

LIIC sees good times ahead, but labor as a concern: The Lodging Industry Investment Council’s 2019 Top Ten survey results show that there are sunny days ahead for hotel real estate, but they are clouded by labor issues, according to a news release.

“An overwhelming 90% believe the limited pool of labor has directly impacted property level gross operating profit in the last 12 months,” the release states. “How can owners solve the labor problem? Sixty-seven percent advise investing more in current employees, 46% suggest targeting young high school talent, and 41% believe increased use of immigrants will help.”

Other topics addressed in the list include the increase of hotel property values, the 2019 hotel transaction calendar and markets where LIIC members would not want to buy a hotel.

Hotel workers worried about industry future after Hawaii layoffs: Around 30% of workers in roles such as housekeeping, banquets and valet were laid off from the Modern Honolulu last week, which could be a result of a timeshare company, Diamond Resorts, buying the hotel last year, Khon2 reports. Industry workers are now wondering what that means for the future of hotels in Hawaii.

Jack Krause, one of the employees who was laid off from the hotel, said Diamond Resorts is giving him and others 30 days until their positions are terminated and 15 days to consider switching to another department at the hotel.

The news outlet reports that a spokesperson from the timeshare company said, “We don’t take the decision to lay off any employee lightly, which is why we’re offering every one of these team members—full time, part time and casual—a severance package. We want to make sure they have support as they transition to new careers, and we will be here for them through that process as we convert the property into a vacation ownership resort.”

Data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority shows vacation rentals have increased 138% statewide in the last 10 years. Timeshare units in Hawaii have rose 43% over that period while hotel rooms rose just 3%.

Hotels work to optimize housekeeping, lower costs: Housekeeping is a necessary expense in the hotel industry, but hoteliers around the country are finding ways to optimize housekeeping costs and efficiencies to save some money, writes HNN contributor Brendan Manley.

With low unemployment rates and the move toward a higher minimum wage in many states, hoteliers are trying to improve housekeeping productivity “instead of trying to swim against the employment tide,” Manley writes.

“The concern over housekeeping costs continues to grow in most hotels, especially in specific markets over the cost of labor,” said Tom Waithe, regional VP of Kimpton Hotels for the Pacific Northwest and Mountain regions. “The largest labor force is always found in housekeeping, so hotels are working hard to be creative in how they can minimize these costs and where savings might be found. As the largest cost to a property, housekeeping labor will always be a focus to an operator, since minutes mean money.”

U.S. says China tried to renegotiate in trade talks: U.S. officials have “vowed to implement President Donald Trump’s threat to raise tariffs quickly on Chinese imports” after they accused Beijing of reneging on its promises, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“Over the course of the last week or so, we’ve seen an erosion in commitments by China, I would say retreating from commitments that have already been made, in our judgment,” he said, according to the news outlet.

U.S. stocks went down Monday morning as a result of Trump’s threats, but bounced back in the afternoon.

Irish hotel development hits post-recession high: Data from real estate agency Cushman and Wakefield shows that there were more than 4,000 hotel rooms under construction in the first quarter of 2019, which is a post-crash high in Ireland, The Irish Times reports.

Eighty-eight percent of new hotel rooms are being built in the capital, Dublin, with approximately 2,000 rooms to come online in the market this year and 1,143 next year.

Two hotels were completed in the first three months of 2019: The 202-room Aloft in Dublin and the 30-room Avalon House Hotel in Kilkenny, Ireland.

Compiled by Danielle Hess.

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