5 things to know: 20 February 2020
5 things to know: 20 February 2020
20 FEBRUARY 2020 10:30 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • MGM Resorts reveals data breach from summer 2019
  • DHS to allow electronic applications for Real ID
  • Marilyn Carlson Nelson on making hotel industry safer, more diverse
  • US hotel performance for January 2020
  • Milwaukee council votes against area hotels’ 30-mile ban

MGM Resorts reveals data breach from last summer: MGM Resorts International acknowledged that personal data of 10.6 million guests posted to a hacker forum came from a data breach of its systems during the summer of 2019, ZDNet reports. The personal data includes full names, home addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and dates of birth for tourists, business travelers, tech CEOs, reporters, government officials and more.

MGM Resorts’ security team confirmed the data posted online was hacked from a cloud server containing “a limited amount of information for certain previous guests.” The company said it was confident the breach did not include financial, payment card or password data.

MGM Resorts told the publication it had notified all of the affected guests in accordance with applicable state laws. It has also hired two cybersecurity forensics firms to conduct an investigation of the breach.

DHS to allow electronic applications for Real ID: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has granted states authority to allow people to apply electronically for Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses and IDs to help meet the 1 October deadline, USA Today reports. Because of a 2005 federal law, anyone flying within the U.S. will need a Real ID-compliant ID to board a plane.

U.S. Travel Association EVP on Public Affairs and Policy Tori Barnes said in a statement provided to the newspaper this is a step forward, but “significant policy changes” are still needed.

“The challenge remains that tens of millions of Americans do not yet possess Real ID-compliant identification, and we won’t solve this issue by pushing people to the DMV,” she said.

Marilyn Carlson Nelson on making hotel industry safer, more diverse: In a video interview with Hotel News Now during the 2020 Americas Lodging Investment Summit, Marilyn Carlson Nelson, co-CEO of Carlson Holdings and former CEO of Carlson, spoke about her career in the hotel industry, her fight to end child trafficking and how the industry can better diversify leadership.

When she began her career, corporations were focused entirely on profit and left philanthropic efforts to separate foundations, but she said she pushed for them to become active in this space.

“It’s really corporate citizenship,” she said. “What it means is that we aren’t isolated from our communities. We’re totally part of them. We need to be integrated in them.”

U.S. hotel performance for January 2020: The U.S. hotel industry reported positive year-over-year results for January 2020, according to data from STR, parent company of HNN. Occupancy grew by 0.8% to 55.1% and average daily rate grew by 1.4% to $126.06, resulting in revenue per available room growth of 2.2% to $69.47.

“The industry opened 2020 with records across the key performance metrics and fairly substantial year-over-year growth when considering recent trends,” said Jan Freitag, SVP of lodging insights at STR. “The obvious concern is whether we will see coronavirus effects on U.S. performance that is already forecasted to be lackluster for 2020. To this point into February weekly data, there has not been a noticeable impact, but that is expected to change at some point amid a significant drop in Chinese arrivals, especially in gateway cities. As of right now, STR’s 2020 RevPAR forecast for the U.S. remains at zero percent.”

For more on the developing and potential impact from the coronavirus on hotel performance, follow Hotel News Now’s reporting here.

Milwaukee council votes against area hotels’ 30-mile ban: The Milwaukee Common Council voted unanimously to stop hotels in the city from banning residents living within 30 miles of the hotels from staying there, news station TMJ4 reports. Hotels that violate the new ordinance will risk losing their license.

In a statement provided to the news station, the Greater Milwaukee Hotel & Lodging Association wrote: “We are not aware of any state or national prohibition on geographical restrictions for the rental of lodging. All lodging property owners, independent hotel operators, and brands make these determinations individually and in compliance with the law.”

Compiled by Bryan Wroten.

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