5 things to know: 7 August 2019
5 things to know: 7 August 2019
07 AUGUST 2019 9:08 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Malaysia launches ‘Muslim Friendly’ hotels register
  • Marriott CEO introduces new platforms amid strong Q2 growth
  • Choice nears end of Comfort brand transformation
  • RLHC reports Q2 EBITDA decline
  • Hoteliers feeling impact from Hong Kong protests

Malaysia launches “Muslim Friendly” hotels register: The Malaysia government has launched an initiative called the Muslim Friendly Accommodations Register, which it claims is the first of its kind and will recognize hotels that are sharia-compliant, that is owned and operated in compliance with the tenets of the Islamic religion.

According to Malaysian media website Star2.com, Malaysia’s tourism Minister Mohamaddin Ketapi said the initiative is a “bid to further tap into the growing market of halal tourism in the country … (and) the implementation of the recognition will provide opportunities to not only set the standards, but further tap into the Muslim and non-Muslim markets.”

Marriott CEO introduces new platforms amid strong Q2 growth: Marriott International has reported a global year-over-year revenue per available room rise of 1.2% global in its earnings for the second quarter of 2019, writes Hotel News Now’s Bryan Wroten. RevPAR for North America increased by 0.7%, while outside of the continent, RevPAR increased 2.8%. In addition to Q2 results, Marriott also hyped the launch of its all-inclusive platform for its existing brands.

On the call, President and CEO Arne Sorenson said Marriott has signed five management agreements for new-build, all-inclusive projects in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

“The all-inclusive market is growing rapidly, and our Marriott Bonvoy members would like to see us in this space,” he said. “We expect to expand our all-inclusive portfolio in popular leisure destinations in the Americas, Europe and Southeast Asia with both new-build projects and property conversions. We’ll be leveraging our well-established full-service and luxury brands.”

Choice nears end of Comfort brand transformation: Choice Hotels said it has entered the final stages of its $2.5 billion transformation of its flagship Comfort brand, with the final third of that brand’s hotels either under renovation or due to begin by the end of the year, and the company expects to see headwinds from the transformation turn into tailwinds, writes HNN’s Danielle Hess.

“Consumer confidence is at a record high, unemployment is at a record low,” Pat Pacious, president and CEO, said on the call. “We look at the broader occupancy and demand trends, (and) we expect them to hold up for the remainder of the year. We’ve got that baked into our RevPAR guidance. We do expect our rate to actually accelerate given those headwinds that the ‘Move to Modern’ renovations have created in the first half of the year (and) expect that will turn into a tailwind.”

RLHC reports Q2 EBITDA decline: In its second-quarter results, RLH Corporation posted an earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization total of $3.7 million, down approximately 44% over the same period in 2018, according to a company news release. While revenue per available room has decreased for the second time this cycle, Greg Mount, president and CEO, said he isn’t worried, writes HNN’s Dana Miller.

“Quite frankly, the good organizations with the right cost base, which we believe we have built into what we’re offering owners, really tend do better during a turn,” he said on the company’s second-quarter earnings call.

Hoteliers feeling impact from Hong Kong protests: Hoteliers are beginning to feel the effects of ongoing political demonstrations in Hong Kong, Reuters reports. Clement Kwok, CEO of Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, which owns Hong Kong’s Peninsula Hong Kong hotel, said “we are concerned about the effect this political uncertainty may have on our results, especially given the proportion of our income which is earned in Hong Kong.”

Hong Kong’s flagship airline, Cathay Pacific, stated protests have reduced inbound passenger numbers in July and “were weighing on forward bookings.” On 6 August, the Chinese government warned protestors that they should not “underestimate the firm resolve of the central government” and that if they “play with fire, (that) will only backfire,” according to the BBC.

Compiled by Terence Baker.

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