5 things to know: 15 February 2019
5 things to know: 15 February 2019
15 FEBRUARY 2019 10:27 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Trump Organization halts hotel development plans
  • No trade deal yet between US, China
  • Hyatt’s market exposure expanded in ’18
  • Pebblebrook closes on $110m sale of Liaison Capitol Hill
  • Hotel companies rank in list of great workplaces

Trump Organization halts hotel development plans: On Thursday, the Trump Organization announced it would halt its growth plans for its two new hotel chains, Scion and American Idea, which the Trump Hotel Group launched in June 2017, according to the New York Times. A statement issued by the Trump Organization and attributed to EVP Eric Trump pointed to the political climate as the reason development plans were put on hold for the remainders of President Donald Trump’s tenure in office.

“We live in a climate where everything will be used against us, whether by the fake news or by Democrats who are only interested in presidential harassment and wasting everyone’s time, barraging us with nonsense letters,” Eric Trump said via the statement to the Times. “We already have the greatest properties in the world, and if we have to slow down our growth for the time being, we are happy to do it.”

As many as 30 deals were in the potential pipeline between the two brands, the Trump Organization had previously said. The first property that would have been built was a Scion in the Mississippi Delta. The Trump’s had planned to develop with brothers Dinesh and Suresh Chawla on the Scion and “as many as three American Idea hotels,” The New York Times writes.

No trade deal yet between U.S., China: The U.S. and China were in talks this week with the intent of securing a new deal prior to the deadline of 1 March when further U.S. tariffs are imposed, according the BBC; however, no deal was reached and China said “negotiations would now continue in the U.S. next week.”

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told the BBC, “We feel that we have to make headway on some very, very important and very difficult issues,” and was hopeful of progress. China’s President Xi Jinping said he hopes next week’s talks would “continue to work hard to promote a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement,” the news outlet writes.

If both sides do not strike a deal by 1 March, the U.S. said it “will increase tariff rates on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10% to 25%,” BBC writes.

Hyatt’s market exposure expanded in ’18: Several growth strategies during 2018 led to new market exposure for Hyatt Hotels Corporation and executives on the company’s fourth-quarter and full-year earnings call said much of that growth has boosted loyalty membership, writes Hotel News Now’s Sean McCracken.

President and CEO Mark Hoplamazian said the company’s World of Hyatt platform continued to see growth “in membership and spending as we continued to enhance the value of membership.”

So far, 110 Small Luxury Hotels of the World properties are present on Hyatt’s platform and more are expected to be added, Hoplamazian said, which will bring “access to six additional countries with destinations in Portugal and Finland.” And the acquisition of Two Roads in October for $480 million added 20 new markets.

Pebblebrook closes on $110m sale of Liaison Capitol Hill: Real estate investment trust Pebblebrook Hotel Trust announced on Thursday it closed on the sale of the 343-room Liaison Capitol Hill hotel in Washington, D.C., for $110 million, according to a press release.

Proceeds of the sale of the property will be used for “general business purposes which may include reducing the company’s outstanding debt,” the release states. Pebblebrook estimates its total net debt to trailing 12-month corporate earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization will be about 4.8 times by the end of the first quarter of 2019.

Hotel companies rank in list of great workplaces: In 2019’s Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For, Hilton topped the list as No. 1. Other hotel companies to make the list included Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants in the fifth spot, Marriott International at 31 and Hyatt Hotel Corporation at 32.

Compiled by Dana Miller.

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