5 things to know: 8 October 2020
5 things to know: 8 October 2020
08 OCTOBER 2020 9:39 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Hurricane Delta strengthens to Category 2 ahead of landfall
  • IHG’s Barr predicts a transformed industry in 5 years
  • Weekly US jobless claims remain above 800,000
  • US hotel results for week ending 3 October
  • Survey shows perception of travel safety improving

Hurricane Delta strengthens to Category 2 ahead of landfall: Hurricane Delta is now back at Category 2 strength as it moves over the Gulf of Mexico toward the coasts of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, the Weather Channel reports. Predictions show the hurricane will make landfall on Friday.

The hurricane is expected to cause storm surge flooding and rainfall flooding along with damaging winds.

“Residents near the immediate coast and adjacent bays should rush preparations to completion on Thursday and follow any evacuation orders from local emergency managers,” the article states.

IHG’s Barr predicts a transformed industry in 5 years: Speaking at the Annual Hotel Conference in Manchester, United Kingdom, InterContinental Hotel Group CEO Keith Barr said the industry is on a path to recovery, but it still has a long way to go, reports HNN’s Terence Baker. The industry benefited from summer leisure business overall, but now growth is muted.

Hoteliers could expect to see an increase in demand as businesses scale back on renting office spaces, Barr said.

“People will be meeting in hotels more as they go to offices less. Shrinking office space, but also leisure will come into play as (staff has) learned to work remotely,” he said, adding safety will be paramount to this trend.

“Without question, safety is at the very top of guests’ needs. Safety was never on that list until the pandemic, and we had such questionnaires every week. Last week we conducted a webinar with 1,500 business-travel and procurement individuals, and they went point by point through our hygiene measures. That never happened before,” he said.

Weekly U.S. jobless claims remain above 800,000: Data from the U.S. Department of Labor shows that for the week ending 3 October, the seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims totaled 840,000, The Wall Street Journal reports. These claims have ranged between 800,000 and 900,000 for more than a month.

While a decline in continuing claims is an indication people are returning to work, it also represents those who have reached the end of their state programs and are now receiving federal assistance through a 13-week program, the newspaper reports. There were about 2 million people receiving this aid for the week ending 19 September.

“Large corporations announced job cuts last week, including American Airlines Group Inc., United Airlines Holdings Inc., and Walt Disney Co.,” the article states. “Many of those workers will likely seek unemployment benefits in the coming weeks but aren’t yet reflected in the most recent claims data.”

U.S. hotel results for week ending 3 October: U.S. hotels reported further negative year-over-year performance along with occupancy declining slightly compared to the previous week, according to data from STR, parent company of HNN. Occupancy dropped 29.6% year over year to 47.9% while average daily rate fell 26.3% to $95.63, resulting in revenue per available room decreasing by 48.1% to $45.80.

“Year-over-year declines were less pronounced compared with previous weeks due to the Rosh Hashanah impact on the hotel calendar in 2019,” the release states. “Most of the markets with the highest occupancy levels were once again those in areas with displaced residents from natural disasters. Amid continued wildfires, California South/Central saw the highest occupancy level at 78.4%. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sally, Mobile, Alabama, reported the next highest occupancy level (73.6%).”

Survey shows perception of travel safety improving: New research from MMGY Global found that among U.S. travelers, confidence is growing in the safety of domestic and international travel.

Since the start of the pandemic in March, MMGY Global’s Domestic Travel Safety Barometer rose to 52, the first time it has scored above a 50 on a scale of 0 (extremely unsafe) to 100 (extremely safe). Similarly, on the international barometer, the score rose to 38 in October. The Business Travel Safety Barometer grew to 41, a 12-point increase since May.

Compiled by Bryan Wroten.

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