5 things to know: 22 August 2019
5 things to know: 22 August 2019
22 AUGUST 2019 9:46 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Hong Kong hotel workers forced to take leave
  • EasyGroup founder loses control of hotel arm
  • Hoteliers anticipate growing distribution leverage
  • US, Canada weekly hotel performance
  • California hotel cook planned mass shooting

Hong Kong hotel workers forced to take leave: Some hotel workers in Hong Kong are beginning to feel the pinch of the ongoing anti-government protests, and many have been placed involuntarily on both paid and unpaid leave as occupancies plunge, the South China Morning Post reports.

Hotels that are forcing employees to take leave include the 492-room Mira Hong Kong and the 503-room InterContinental Hong Kong. Ten other hotels under the operation of tycoon Li Ka-shing’s CK Asset Holdings are also reportedly following suit.

Earlier this week he called for an end to the protests.

Bloomberg reports that Hong Kong stocks will be at their worst quarter since 2015, and analysts predict operating income will drop 19% this year.

EasyGroup founder loses control of hotel arm: In a battle with a Canadian pension fund and Luxembourg property investors, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the billionaire founder of EasyGroup, has lost control of the hotel arm of his business, Forbes reports.

The founder had battled for the ownership of EasyHotel against ICAMAP, the Luxembourg property fund manager. He accused them “of trying to steal the listed hotel group from under the noses of other investors,” the news outlet writes.

ICAMAP fund joined with the Canadian pension fund Ivanhoe Cambridge last week for a takeover bid that valued EasyHotel at $168 million. Haji-Ioannou’s team confirmed to Forbes the consortium has “hit the 50% need to take full control.”

“The consortium gained control of 50% of EasyHotel on Wednesday, thwarting Haji-Ioannou's attempts to block the takeover by increasing his stake in EasyHotel PLC from the current level of 27.5% to just under 30%,” Forbes writes.

Hoteliers anticipate growing distribution leverage: Hoteliers are beginning to see their efforts rewarded in the fight to win revenue through direct channels and bring more direct bookings, but challenges still remain on the horizon, writes Hotel News Now’s Terence Baker.

“(Online travel agencies) are an integral part of the mix, and it remains that we have to have an understanding of our businesses and levers. On the brand side, there have been great strides in the OTA relationship, with brands coming out well if not ahead,” said Kerry Mack, VP of revenue and distribution at Highgate Hotels.

U.S., Canada weekly hotel performance: During the week of 11-17 August, the U.S. hotel industry recorded mostly negative year-over-year results in the three key performance metrics. Occupancy dipped 1% to 71.7%, average daily rate was up 0.4% to $130.89 but revenue per available room declined 0.6% to $93.90, according to STR, the parent company of HNN.

Among the top 25 U.S. markets, Phoenix registered the largest rise in occupancy (+8% to 62.9%) and the only double-digit jump in RevPAR (+12.9% to $55.94).

During the same week, the Canadian hotel industry reported negative year-over-year results. Occupancy fell 2.7% to 80.1%, ADR dropped 1.1% to 182.70 Canadian dollars ($137.51) and RevPAR declined 3.8% to CA$146.38 ($110.18).

California hotel cook planned mass shooting: A hotel cook at a Marriott property in Long Beach, California, was reportedly “upset over human resources issues” and was arrested Wednesday for allegedly planning a mass shooting of his colleagues and guests, CNN reports.

Police officials said they seized firearms, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and tactical gear, which are all illegal to possess in California.

“Suspect (Rodolfo) Montoya had clear plans, intent and the means to carry out an act of violence that may have resulted in a mass-casualty incident," Chief of Police Robert Luna said at a news conference.

Compiled by Dana Miller.

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