From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:
- Franchisors now lobbying Trump administration
- A new corporate identity for Montage
- No bumps for Starwood owners in Marriott transition
- Playa partners with Panama Jack for resort brand
- Park announces first dividend
Franchisors now lobbying Trump administration: A new administration has energized business-friendly lobbyists, and The Wall Street Journal reports one of the top targets of franchising companies’ lobbying efforts could be the National Labor Relations Board’s 2015 decision redefining joint-employer status. The International Franchise Association is leading the charge to overturn the decision, which had seemed significantly less likely under the Obama administration.
“It’s a whole new opportunity to go on offense in a way that we had not expected,” said Matthew Haller, SVP of the association.
Andrew Puzder, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of Labor, recently served on the board of the International Franchise Association but resigned following his nomination.
The Journal specifically calls out Choice Hotels International as one of the companies leading the charge against the recent ruling.
A new corporate identity for Montage: Officials with Montage Hotels & Resorts have announced their company is no longer Montage Hotels & Resorts. Instead, the company has adopted Montage International as the branding for the parent company of the Montage Hotels & Resorts, Pendry Hotels and Montage Residences brands, according to a news release. Founder, chairman and CEO Alan J. Fuerstman will keep his position with the rebranded company.
Company officials believe the move will “help streamline communications and development activities around their growing family of brands.”
No bumps for Starwood owners in Marriott transition: There is still much work to be done as Marriott International works to fully integrate Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide properties, but Hotel News Now’s Bryan Wroten writes that many owners are reporting an organized and smooth process thus far.
Wroten spoke to operators of Starwood properties that signed on before the Marriott deal. Sources said the transition has gone well to this point, but they are still waiting on information on pending changes.
Donna Candreva, GM of the Aloft Miami Dadeland, said she expects to see some big changes in 2017, but isn’t sure what they will be just yet.
“We have not been told to prepare or be ready for ‘XYZ’ change,” she said.
Playa partners with Panama Jack for resort brand: Consumer brand Panama Jack has announced a partnership with Playa Hotels & Resorts for a new all-inclusive brand called Panama Jack Resorts, according to a news release. The first properties, the Panama Jack Gran Porto in Playa del Carmen and Panama Jack Gran Caribe in Cancun, will be conversions of existing properties in Mexico.
Renovations at those properties will begin early this year with a scheduled reopening for late 2017.
Kim Manna, CEO of Panama Jack, called the partnership “the natural evolution of our brand, confirming its preeminence in the casual lifestyle market.”
Park announces first dividend: Park Hotels & Resorts has announced the company’s first dividend following the recent spinoff from Hilton Worldwide Holdings, according to a news release. The real estate investment trust announced a $2.79-per-share special E&P dividend, which is required to be treated as a REIT.
That dividend represents $551 million in cash and shares, which is payable to stockholders of record as of 19 January and could be paid out as soon as 9 March.
Compiled by Sean McCracken.