5 things to know: 13 October 2020
5 things to know: 13 October 2020
13 OCTOBER 2020 8:52 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • US leads in hotels opened during pandemic
  • Best Western’s Kong presses for US government stimulus
  • LatAm hotel owners react cautiously to industry shift
  • Some hotels serving as early voting sites
  • All-inclusive resorts offer groups free medical insurance during stay

U.S. leads in hotels opened during pandemic: Since the beginning of March, 521 hotels with 55,395 rooms have opened in the U.S., the most of any country during the pandemic, according to global pipeline data from STR, parent company of Hotel News Now.

Five other countries have opened more than 2,000 rooms over the seven months since the start of the pandemic, the data shows: China (23,470 rooms), Japan (16,304 rooms), Germany (9,027 rooms), Canada (2,748 rooms) and the United Kingdom (2,481 rooms).

Best Western’s Kong presses for U.S. government stimulus: In an interview on CNBC, David Kong, president and CEO of Best Western Hotels & Resorts, said the current state of the U.S. hotel industry is “not sustainable,” and without further government aid, two-third of the nation’s hotels could close permanently and millions of workers lose jobs in the next six months, Forbes reports.

“It’s really hard to say when a recovery is going to be. This situation we are in now, it’s not sustainable. It’s really bad,” said Kong, who recently spoke with both the White House and Congressional Democrats about stimulus funding, according to the article.

LatAm hotel owners react cautiously to industry shift: Hotel and travel demand in the Latin America and Caribbean region could be “permanently” altered by the pandemic, according to owners speaking on a panel during the online South American Hotel Investment Conference.

Hotel News Now’s Dana Miller writes that this major shift in the industry is being approached cautiously by companies with assets in the region, as owners keep an eye out for long-term opportunities that could emerge from it.

“We’re preparing for the worst and I feel that travel will permanently shift,” said Fernando Poma Kriete, VP and managing director of El Salvador-based Real Hotels & Resorts.

Some hotels serving as early voting sites: Hotels in California, Texas and Washington, D.C., are transforming spaces to accommodate socially distant early voting leading into the 3 November general election in the U.S., The Washington Post reports.

The Kimpton La Peer Hotel in West Hollywood will feature 15 voting booths on its rooftop, which is typically outdoor dining space, beginning on 30 October.

“I’m fairly confident we’re going to have the best view of any polling place on the West Coast,” GM Nick Rimedio said.

Among the many other hotels to serve as early-voting locations are the Omni Shoreham Hotel in D.C., which is temporarily closed to guests, and the Grand Tuscany Hotel in Houston.

All-inclusive resorts offer groups free medical insurance during stay: AIC Hotel Group is offering to cover medical costs related to COVID-19 for wedding and social groups at its all-inclusive resorts under the Hard Rock Hotels flag, in Mexico and the Caribbean, Travel Pulse reports.

The offer extends to new bookings made through 31 December 2020, and the basic plan provides insurance coverage of up to $10,000 in medical expenses from check-in to check-out for COVID-19 related illness, “sudden illness or accidents that occur inside or outside the hotel, services include ambulance transfers, hospitalization, telemedicine and prescribed extended stays for up to 10 days,” AIC Hotel Group said in a statement.

Guests also have the option to double that coverage by paying $20.

Compiled by Robert McCune.

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