5 things to know: 1 July 2019
5 things to know: 1 July 2019
01 JULY 2019 9:18 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Lego buys UK’s Merlin Entertainments for £4.8b
  • Revenue-management challenges in select-service hotels
  • US-China trade talks resume at Osaka G20
  • UK’s Virgin Hotel debut delayed as site unearths artifacts
  • Private clubs to merge with, become more like hotels

Lego buys U.K.’s Merlin Entertainments for £4.8bn: Kirkbi Invest, the private owner of Danish company Lego, famed for its toy bricks, has bought United Kingdom’s Merlin Entertainments for £4.8 billion ($6.1 billion), according to the BBC.

Merlin owns such attractions as Madame Tussauds, Alton Towers Resort, Legoland Dubai and Chessington World of Adventure, with assets in 25 countries. Merlin’s hotels include three hotels at its Gardaland Resort and two at its Legoland California Resort, among several more. Kirkbi Invest already owned a third of the shares in Merlin Entertainment.

Revenue-management challenges in select-service hotels: The challenges of running select-service hotels might appear fewer than full-service ones, but sources at the recent 2019 HSMAI Revenue Optimization Conference in Minneapolis said that because the segment normally attracts staffing of reduced ability in areas such as revenue management, tasks that appear easy on paper in reality prove more difficult, writes Hotel News Now’s Sean McCracken.

Increased competition in the segment, though, requires the same level of sophistication, with McCracken adding that “a big part of the reason the work is becoming more complicated and more important is an increasing focus on profitability, whereas revenue management was traditionally really based on the top line.

“Managers say they’re wearing multiple hats. They don’t have the time to do all the things required by our discipline for x, y or z reason. So we need to be aware that time is the number one constraint in short supply in hotels,” said Monte Gardiner, senior director of revenue management at Best Western Hotels & Resorts

U.S.-China trade talks resume at Osaka G20: U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, shook hands at the recent G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, agreeing to resume what have been fractious, up-and-down trade talks, but The Wall Street Journal suggests that tougher tests to settling on an agreement will likely occur in each presidents’ own governments.

The last round of talks between the two presidents faltered in early May, with the WSJ saying that the U.S. had to back down from proposed tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods in order just to get the Chinese leader to meet Trump in Osaka.

U.K.’s Virgin Hotel debut delayed as site unearths artifacts: The debut of Virgin Hotels in the United Kingdom has been delayed when site workers and archaeologists unearthed artifacts supposedly dating back 1,000 years where the hotel is to be built in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, according to The Scotsman newspaper.

The newspaper said development to Richard Branson’s group’s 225-room property has taken more time than usual due to finds that are even older than the city’s castle and possibly might belong to the Bronze Age. Some of the finds will take pride of place in the hotel when it does open, with the delay now likely meaning a 2021 debut. Finds include drinking vessels, jewelry, a cannonball and the inevitable human skull.

Private clubs to merge with, become more like hotels: Private clubs, of which there are numerous examples in cities such as London and New York City, as well as in other destinations, will become more like traditional hotels as they set to enlarge and attract more members, according to hotel industry-employment consultancy AETHOS Consulting Group.

As the blur between private clubs and hotels increase, there will be a need for a cross-pollination of staff skill sets, AETHOS’ Managing Director Matt Peterson said, adding that the “private club space will continue to evolve and innovate, attracting more leadership from the traditional hospitality (hotel and resort) space. In addition to the ‘typical’ private city and country clubs, and, with the influx of cash from venture capital and private equity firms, we will see new and specialized clubs beginning to appear in the near future.”

Compiled by Terence Baker.

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