5 things to know: 24 July 2019
5 things to know: 24 July 2019
24 JULY 2019 9:10 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Tornado rips roof off Cape Cod hotel with guests inside
  • Protests in Hong Kong expected to hit hotel occupancy
  • Hotels offer guests incentives to unplug from phones
  • Hilton sets tone for Q2 earnings season
  • Europe hotels report positive Q2

Tornado rips roof off Cape Cod hotel with guests inside: A rare tornado that hit Cape Cod, Massachusetts, at the height of tourist season on Tuesday tore the roof off the east wing of the Cape Sands Inn shortly after check-out, sending guests in three occupied rooms scrambling for safety, the Boston Globe reports.

Hotel owner Bobby Khan told the newspaper that some guests had “made adjustments” to their stays Monday night after the weather service declared tornado warnings, and others already had checked out when the roof was lifted at about 11:30 a.m.

But Jason Couse and his family, who occupied a room on the second floor of the hotel’s east wing, told the Globe that they took cover in the bathtub before being escorted downstairs by a hotel worker.

“The roof was just lifted up … like a blanket,” Couse said. “The scariest thing I’ve ever been through.”

The tornado “caused a line of destruction that is significant” in Yarmouth on Cape Cod, according to Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, but no injuries were reported in the town.

Protests in Hong Kong expected to hit hotel occupancy: A Hong Kong hotel owners association expects a 3% to 4% drop in hotel occupancy for July as a result of ongoing protests to extradition legislation introduced, and since suspended, by city government, the South China Morning Post reports.

The government’s push for an extradition model that would “transfer fugitives to any jurisdiction Hong Kong lacks a formal agreement with, including mainland China,” was ruled dead on 9 July, but protests continue over a refusal by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s to fully withdraw the legislation, the newspaper reports.

“There were a lot of major protests in July and this will affect the desire of tourists from short-haul locations—such as Japan, South Korea and Thailand—to come to Hong Kong,” said Michael Li Hon-shing, executive director of the Federation of Hotel Owners.

Protests in districts such as Causeway Bay, Admiralty, Wan Chai and Central have blocked roads to hotels and shut down shops temporarily.

Hotels offer guests incentives to unplug from phones: Guests who volunteer to leave their smartphones at the front desk for 24 hours over a two-night stay at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino in Aruba are rewarded with 5,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. The hotel’s “Digital Detox” program is among several similar initiatives aimed at getting guests to “unplug” and enjoy their surroundings at properties in unique locations, writes Hotel News Now’s Danielle Hess.

“The amount of points given will depend on how long the guest was able to last without their phone,” said Carolina Voullieme León, director of sales and marketing at the Aruba Marriott, noting that a 72-hour commitment over a five- or six-night stay nets the guest 6,000 points in Marriott’s loyalty program.

Hilton sets tone for Q2 earnings season: The first of the big brand hotel companies to report earnings for the second quarter of 2019, Hilton touted net income and adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization that exceeded its expectations for the quarter, according to a company news release.

Hilton reported Q2 net income of $261 million for the quarter, up 20% from the same period in 2018, and adjusted EBITDA of $618 million (+11%), both of which “exceeded the high end of guidance,” according to the company.

Europe hotels report positive Q2: Two events hosted in Paris—the biennial Paris Air Show and the FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer tournament, of which seven games were played at Paris’s Parc des Princes stadium—lifted revenue per available room for Europe hotels by 4.1% in the second quarter, according to data from STR, parent company of Hotel News Now.

RevPAR was driven primarily by an increase in average daily rate (+3.4%), as occupancy grew by 0.7% to 75.6%, the data shows.

Compiled by Robert McCune.

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