5 things to know: 9 March 2017
5 things to know: 9 March 2017
09 MARCH 2017 10:45 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Hawaii sues to block US travel ban, citing harm to tourism
  • Survey says 67% of American investors to be net buyers in 2017
  • Hotel CEOs identify 5 key frontlines in fight with disruptors
  • Hotel restaurants hire big-name chefs, few of them women
  • Host acquires W Hollywood hotel in $219-million deal

Hawaii sues to block U.S. travel ban, citing harm to tourism: A new executive order by President Donald Trump, blocking travel to the U.S. from six predominately Muslim countries, is facing its first court challenge, reports The New York Times.

A lawsuit filed by Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin claims that the executive order would “damage the state’s lucrative tourism industry,” the article states. Chin cited other concerns in his legal filing, including damage to Hawaii’s educational institutions and private businesses, and discrimination against families with relatives overseas.

“This order brings back memories for a lot of people here,” Chin told The Times, recalling past federal policies that targeted Asian-Americans for discrimination, from the Chinese Exclusion Act to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. “Any time you have an executive order or some government decision that’s calling out people by their nation of origin or religion, we’ve got to be a check against that.”

In other tourism-related news, a study by Bournemouth University and travel search site Travelzoo finds that tourists’ top concern when choosing a destination is security. According to the study, 97% of those surveyed listed personal safety as the main consideration in making their holiday plans, and “the majority feel significantly more concerned now than they did in 2014,” Reuters reports.

Survey says 67% of American investors to be net buyers in 2017: U.S. investment activity in 2017 is expected to involve more acquisitions than dispositions, according to The CBRE Americas Investor Intentions Survey 2017, which was released this week.

According to the report, “investors remain actively engaged in real estate investment,” with 67% of investors in the Americas expecting to be net buyers this year.

“Specifically, 83% of investors intend to maintain or increase their purchasing activity this year,” the report states. “The largest share of investors (43%) anticipates that 2017 acquisitions volume will be approximately the same as last year. The next largest share (40%) intends to increase their purchasing activity in 2017 compared with last year.”

That percentage is down from 49% in 2015, the report states. Hotels will make up 4% of the new investment in 2017, up from 3% in 2016, according to the research.

Hotel CEOs identify 5 key frontlines in fight with disruptors: To continue to compete with online travel agencies for bookings, and other disruptors, hotel CEOs say the industry must focus on five factors most of all: differentiation, quality, talent, more-professional food-and-beverage operations and expanding loyalty programs.

The CEOs of five hotel firms—Puneet Chhatwal of Deutsche Hospitality, David Kong of Best Western Hotels & Resorts, Stefan Leser of Jumeirah Resorts & Hotels, Simon Naudi of Corinthia Hotels, and Pierre-Frédéric Roulot of Louvre Hotels Group—spoke during a general-session panel at the International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin.

For more from the conference, stay tuned to coverage from HNN’s Jeff Higley and Terence Baker.

Hotel restaurants hire big-name chefs, few of them women: Signing on a well-known chef for the hotel restaurant “allows the hotel instant recognition,” Chef Mario Batali wrote to Pete Wells, restaurant critic for The New York Times, for a story on trends in hotel dining.

Big-name chefs who have run hotel restaurants include Batali, “Top Chef” host Tom Colicchio and British chef April Bloomfield, who also has two high-profile New York restaurants (The Spotted Pig and The Breslin Bar & Dining Room).

In New York, unlike Las Vegas or Miami for example, hotel restaurants tend to hire locally, rather than import chefs—a trend the Times critic said has something to do with the boom in the boutique segment, which emphasizes local flavor.

But one trend, at least at New York hotel restaurants, is not so appetizing, Wells writes. That’s the lack of diversity.

“Almost none of New York’s female chefs have been admitted to the party; Ms. Bloomfield, who runs four of them … is an exception,” he writes.

The lack of women in visible roles is a problem for the hotel industry as a whole, writes HNN Editor-in-Chief Stephanie Ricca in her blog. And it’s only one of the important issues facing women in the industry.

Host acquires W Hollywood hotel in $219-million deal: Host Hotels & Resorts’ $219-million purchase of the 305-room W Hollywood hotel includes 10,800 square feet of retail space and seven prominent supergraphic billboard signs, according to a news release.

The hotel, which opened in 2010, is centrally located in the growing submarket of Hollywood, California, and now ranks in Host’s “top-five in both (revenue per available room) and (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization),” according to Host President and CEO James F. Risoleo.

Compiled by Robert McCune.

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