5 things to know: 10 January 2019
5 things to know: 10 January 2019
10 JANUARY 2019 10:28 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • How hoteliers can manage online reviews by employees
  • Looking to expand LXR brand, Hilton partners with M&C
  • Fed probably won’t raise rates in next few months
  • More hotel fees hitting different types of hotels
  • Blockchain center to open in New York City

How hoteliers can manage online reviews by employees: Maintaining a good workplace reputation at a hotel or hotel company is crucial, and looking at reviews on websites from current and former employees and responding to them can help companies improve their reputation, HNN’s Bryan Wroten writes.

“For hoteliers looking to hire and retain qualified, talented employees, monitoring these sites has become an exercise in reputation management, to ensure potential hires aren’t scared away by false, misleading or incomplete information,” Wroten writes.

Debra Cannon, director of the school of hospitality at Georgia State University, said employer review sites have turned into “Yelp for employees,” and hoteliers should form strategies on how to respond to comments on these sites.

Looking to expand LXR brand, Hilton partners with M&C: Hilton is in the process of expanding its LXR Hotels & Resorts brand, and will debut the brand in Europe with the 308-room The Biltmore, Mayfair, in London through a partnership with Millennium & Copthorne, HNN’s Terence Baker writes.

The growth of LXR is a priority for Hilton, and the “bar for the brand will be set particularly high,” Baker writes.

“In Europe, the concentration of independent hotels presents considerable opportunities for LXR. Whilst the stringent criteria for future LXR (assets) ultimately results in a much smaller pool of properties that are eligible for consideration, with limited availability comes a certain level of exclusivity and prestige that Hilton is proud to provide,” said Patrick Fitzgibbon, SVP of development, Europe, Middle East and Africa, at Hilton.

He added that Hilton is “in active discussion with owners around the world, and look forward to announcing new additions to the collection in due course.”

Fed probably won’t raise rates in next few months: Minutes released from the Federal Reserve’s 18-19 December meeting show that officials are “unlikely to raise interest rates for at least a few months while they assess the impact of recent market volatility on the U.S. economy,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

Slowing global growth and trade tensions were reasons for concern in the minutes, which made “the extent and timing of further policy firming less clear than earlier,” the news outlet reports.

Fed officials who were in support of the four interest rate increases that happened last year “signaled little urgency to lift them again soon,” according to the article.

More hotel fees hitting different types of hotels: A report from The Wall Street Journal looks into how fees normally found at resorts are creeping into big-city hotels.

“Many big-city hotels are adding mandatory facility fees or urban-destination fees to hotel bills, hiding the add-ons, which sometimes reach $50 a night, from advertised room rates,” the news outlet reports.

The U.S. Lodging Fees and Surcharges Forecast from Bjorn Hanson, clinical professor at the Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism at the New York University School of Professional studies, showed that fees were “expected to increase another record level of $2.93 billion in 2018, surpassing the $2.7-billion total in 2017,” HNN’s Dana Miller wrote in November. Hanson noted 2019 will also reach a new record level in total surcharges collected by hotels in the U.S.

The Boston Park Plaza adds on a fee of $22 per room night, and the St. Regis in New York charges a mandatory $50 destination fee to room rates that often reach more than $800 a night, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Blockchain center to open in New York City: A blockchain center is opening in New York City’s Silicon Alley through the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s partnership with affiliates of Future\Perfect Ventures and the Global Blockchain Business Council. The center will serve as a development center for different uses of the technology, as well as a center for coding classes, lectures for software developers and more, Bloomberg reports.

Blockchain is “a database of encrypted entries where each transaction is tracked as a common record to everyone on the network where no single entity is in control of the data,” Paul West, consultant with Hospitality Technical Services, said during a presentation HNN covered in August. 

Compiled by Danielle Hess.

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