5 things to know: 9 March 2018
5 things to know: 9 March 2018
09 MARCH 2018 10:28 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Labor Department: US added 313,000 jobs in February
  • Luxury, economy segments lead February US hotel performance
  • Plants enliven public spaces in hotels
  • Wynn Resorts to pay $2.6 billion to settle lawsuit
  • HNA Group continues to unload assets

Labor Department: U.S. added 313,000 jobs in February: The latest jobs report by the U.S. Labor Department shows that 313,000 jobs were added last month, beating economists’ expectations that the gains would be about 200,000, according to The New York Times.

However, the report states, U.S. unemployment remained flat at 4.1%, the same rate as January.

An independent report by U.S. payroll provider ADP shows that businesses added 235,000 jobs in February, “led by solid gains in construction, hotels and restaurants, and education and health care,” according to The Associated Press.

But “the risks of an overheating economy are rising,” which over time could slow growth, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, which helped to compile the data for the ADP report.

Luxury, economy segments lead February U.S. hotel performance: Preliminary data from Hotel News Now’s parent company STR shows U.S. hotel industry revenue per available room and average daily rate both grew 2% to 4% year over year, despite occupancy being flat to up 2%.

By chain scale, the luxury segment saw the greatest RevPAR growth (+5% to +7%), followed by economy hotels (+4% to +6% RevPAR), which also reported the highest ADR increase (+3% to +5%). Upper upscale hotels reported flat to 2% growth in RevPAR and ADR, due in part to occupancy that was down 1% to up 1% over February 2017.

Plants enliven public spaces in hotels: Hoteliers that rely on living plant walls and spaces inside their properties talked with HNN’s Danielle Hess about the benefits and maintenance requirements of doing so.

“Because of our proximity to Central Park, it was only natural we would create a similar lush, green environment inside of the hotel—not only in our public spaces but also in the guest room corridors and inside our rooms and suites,” said Hans Schaepman, GM at 1 Hotel Central Park.

“After two-and-a-half years of operating, we have found a good rhythm of maintaining all the plants both inside and outside of the hotel, and we receive numerous positive comments about what it does to the overall guest experience,” he said.

Wynn Resorts to pay $2.6 billion to settle lawsuit: Ending a six-year dispute that pitted its former CEO against his former associate, Wynn Resorts has agreed to pay $2.6 billion to settle a lawsuit brought by Japan’s Universal Entertainment Corporation, Reuters reports.

The lawsuit was filed in 2012 over Wynn Resorts’ forced redemption of a stake held by Universal subsidiary Aruze USA at a 30% discount after an FBI investigation accused Universal’s founder and chairman, Kazuo Okada, of U.S. anti-corruption laws.

Okada was an early investor and once executive at Wynn Resorts. His former associate, Steve Wynn stepped down as CEO of the company last month after allegations surfaced of sexual harassment against female employees.

HNA Group continues to unload assets: In the same week China’s HNA Group offered up for sale its entire 25% stake in Park Hotels & Resorts, the conglomerate announced plans to sell a parcel of land in Hong Kong for $811.1 million in “the latest in a string of global asset disposals to ease its liquidity crunch,” Reuters reports.

The buyer of the residential site is Hong Kong developer Wheelock and Co, which is looking to expand its development portfolio in the Kai Tak region of Hong Kong.

Compiled by Robert McCune.

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