5 things to know: 22 December 2020
5 things to know: 22 December 2020
22 DECEMBER 2020 10:40 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Congress passes COVID-19 aid bill; hoteliers react
  • Whitbread will pay half its rent to landlords
  • Another Brooklyn hotel files for bankruptcy
  • Roomnights booked in Spain fell 84% in November
  • Hotels across the globe offer Christmas meals

Congress passes COVID-19 aid bill; hoteliers react: Late Monday night Congress “overwhelmingly approved” a $900-billon aid package for families and businesses affected by the pandemic and to help the country endure the winter months, the Wall Street Journal reports. The bill is now waiting for U.S. President Donald Trump’s signature.

The senate voted 92-6, and it passed the House earlier in the night in a 359-53 vote.

“The 5,593-page package approves another round of direct checks of $600 per adult and $600 per child, adds $300 to weekly unemployment payments for 11 weeks and extends two other unemployment programs, supplies more than $300 billion in relief for small businesses, including a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program, and pours more than $50 billion into distributing coronavirus vaccines, as well as testing and tracing efforts,” the news outlet writes.

Hotel industry leaders are welcoming the passing of this bill but worry it isn’t enough, writes Hotel News Now’s Bryan Wroten. Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, said hoteliers are pleased, but there’s still more work for the industry to do.

Raymond Martz, EVP and CFO at Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, said via email that the stimulus bill “won't prevent the significant distress that many small and medium owners will experience over the next several months.”

“With winter starting and COVID cases rapidly on the rise, expect a tough period for the industry,” he said.

Whitbread will pay half its rent to landlords: Whitbread, United Kingdom-based hospitality group and owner of the Premier Inn budget hotel chain, has written to all of its landlords saying it will pay half its December quarter rent, writes Paul Norman, managing editor news for CoStar Group. CoStar Group is the parent company of STR, and HNN is a division of STR.

In a letter sent Monday to landlords, Mark Anderson, managing director, property & international at Whitbread, the listed owner of Premier Inn, said it is calling on its "landlords, who have been the only stakeholders not to have shared some of [the] pain to date, to provide a proportionate degree of temporary financial support.”

Another Brooklyn hotel files for bankruptcy: Owners of the under-construction 26-story tower at 159 Broadway, which includes apartments and a 235-room hotel in New York’s Williamsburg neighborhood, have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Bloomberg reports.

This is “the latest blow to New York’s struggling hospitality and commercial real estate sectors,” the article states. The project was expected to open in the second half of 2021, with Stonehill Taylor providing interior and architecture services.

The project owners are 159 Broadway Member LLC and WB Bridge Hotel LLC. In its petition, 159 Broadway Member LLC listed the owner of the recently bankrupt Tillary Hotel in Brooklyn as an affiliate, which “sought court protection from its creditors last week,” the news outlet writes.

Roomnights booked in Spain fell 84% in November: The number of hotel roomnights booked by tourists in Spanish hotels declined 84% year-over-year in November as COVID-19 restrictions continued to interfere with travel, Reuters reports, citing data from the INE national statistics office.

The November figures “show a slight deterioration from the 83% drop record in October,” Reuters writes.

Hotels across the globe offer Christmas meals: From beach barbeques to socially distant sit-down meals, hotels around the world are offering multi-course Christmas dinners.

The Joseph, A Luxury Collection Hotel in Nashville, will serve an eight-course Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, guests can dine on rabbit benedict, cacio e pepe, French toast and more.

Compiled by Dana Miller.

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