5 things to know: 2 August 2019
5 things to know: 2 August 2019
02 AUGUST 2019 9:27 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Delays in construction slow Hyatt’s expansion of Miraval
  • China promises countermeasures to future tariffs
  • US added 164,000 jobs in July
  • Guests unsure of hotel rooms without windows
  • US to continue losing overseas travel market share

Delays in construction slow Hyatt’s expansion of Miraval: Construction delays of the Miraval properties in Texas and Massachusetts have put Hyatt Hotels Corporation’s expansion plans for the wellness resorts two to three quarters behind, writes HNN’s Sean McCracken.

Hyatt President and CEO Mark Hoplamazian explained during the company’s second-quarter earnings call that despite the delays in the two projects, the company is still fully committed to the expansion because of what the Miraval property in Tucson, Arizona, can achieve.

“Occupancy in Tuscon is running over 70% year to date and (average daily rate) is over $530,” he said. “But maybe even more importantly than those statistics, you have to recognize that the commercial model for Miraval yields a business in which rooms revenue represents only about a third of the total revenue base for each resort.”

China promises countermeasures to future tariffs: After U.S. President Donald Trump said he would put an additional 10% tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese imports starting 1 September, the Chinese government said it would put its own countermeasures into effect, Reuters reports.

The additional tariffs Trump proposed on 1 August would extend “Trump’s trade tariffs to nearly all of the Chinese goods that the United States imports and marks an end to a truce in a year-long trade row that has slowed global growth and disrupted supply chains.”

U.S. added 164,000 jobs in July: The U.S. Department of Labor reported the U.S. economy added 164,000 jobs in July and wages grew by 3.2% year over year, according to The Wall Street Journal. The jobless rate remained at 3.7% during the month.

The overall job market remains healthy and the numbers fall in line with general expectations, the newspaper reports. The economy has added on average 165,000 jobs a month through the first seven months of the year. That is a decrease of an average of 223,000 a month in 2018.

“Friday’s report showed a slowdown in manufacturing activity overseas is weighing on the U.S.,” the newspaper reports. “Though manufacturers added to payrolls in July, employment growth in the sector has slowed sharply this year compared with last and hours are at their lowest level since 2011.”

Guests unsure of hotel rooms without windows: Hotel developers looking to make the most of the buildings they’re converting into hotels are trying something different: windowless hotel rooms, The Wall Street Journal reports. Hoteliers are doing what they can make windowless rooms “a first choice, not a last resort.”

“If your goal is to sleep, there’s nothing better than a room with no windows,” Standard International CEO Amar Lalvani said. “We have (guests) like musicians who may work during the night and actually want to pass out during the day.”

Hotel developers are doing what they can to max out their investments in hotels that weren’t originally built to be hotels, Stephani Robson, a senior lecturer at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, told the newspaper.

“That’s when you’re going to start to see some rooms that either don’t have windows or look into sort of strange spaces. That is strictly economics,” she said.

U.S. to continue losing overseas travel market share: The U.S. Travel Association has forecasted the U.S. will continue to lose overseas travel market share through 2022, according to a news release. Overseas travel market share has been on a four-year slide since its high of 13.7% in 2015, falling to 11.7% in 2018 and expected to dip below 11% in 2022.

The decline in market share since 2015 means a loss of 14 million international visitors, which amounts to $59 billion lost in international traveler spending and losses of 120,000 U.S. jobs, according to the news release. Having market share fall below 11% over the next several years equates to “a further economic hit of 41 million visitors, $180 billion in international traveler spending and 266,000 jobs.”

“Everyone is wondering how much longer the U.S. economic expansion can go on, and shoring up our international travel market share would be a great way to help it continue,” said Tori Barnes, EVP of public affairs and policy at the U.S. Travel Association. “There are some tools in the policy toolbox that will help fix it, and we’re not talking about huge taxpayer-funded spending outlays. Passing legislation to renew Brand USA is the most immediate move to help correct this problem, and we hope this shows Congress the urgency of getting that done this year.”

Compiled by Bryan Wroten.

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