5 things to know: 23 December 2020
5 things to know: 23 December 2020
23 DECEMBER 2020 10:53 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Weekly US jobless claims lower than expected
  • Trump requests lawmakers increase stimulus direct payments
  • Predictions for US hotel KPIs, group business in 2021
  • $430b in commercial, multifamily real estate debt to mature
  • Emerging hotel design trends

Weekly U.S. jobless claims lower than expected: Jobless claims recorded by the U.S. Department of Labor for the week ending 19 December increased less than economists expected as “employers weighed a wintertime spike in COVID-19 cases against expected relief from a pending $900-billion stimulus package,” CNBC reports.

The number of first-time filers for unemployment benefits was 803,000 last week, the article states. Economists polled by Dow Jones had predicted initial jobless claims would rise to 888,000. Initial claims for the prior week were “revised higher by 7,000 to 892,000,” the news outlet writes.

Trump requests lawmakers increase stimulus direct payments: Following both houses of Congress reaching a deal on the second U.S. COVID-19 pandemic relief package late Monday night as part of an omnibus spending bill, President Donald Trump is now demanding Congress increase the second direct stimulus check from $600 per person to $2,000 per person, CNBC reports.

Top Democrats in Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said they would support Trump’s call for bigger checks. However, “the legislation passed both houses of Congress with veto-proof majorities, meaning Trump is powerless to raise direct payments from $600,” the news outlet writes.

Predictions for U.S. hotel KPIs, group business in 2021: From the rebound of key hotel performance indicators to the potential return of group and international business, the U.S. hotel industry could take its first steps on a road to recovery in the new year, writes Jan Freitag, SVP of lodging insights at STR and national director for hospitality market analytics at CoStar. STR is the parent company of HHN and a division of CoStar Group.

Among Freitag’s predictions is that revenue-per-available-room growth “will be the strongest ever recorded.”

“After a stronger-than-expected summer season, what has been missing in the weeks after Labor Day was any real sign of corporate group or transient demand returning. The coming vaccines make that demand rebound much more likely a little later in 2021. So, STR predicts that room demand will be a quarter higher than it was in 2020 and that RevPAR will grow by over 30%, the single strongest RevPAR growth year ever recorded by STR (the prior peak was +8.6% in 2005).”

$430b in commercial, multifamily real estate debt to mature: Lenders in the U.S. have granted months of forbearance to commercial and multifamily building owners struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic this year, but those debts are nearing their maturity date, Bloomberg reports.

In the new year, several building owners will be forced to put more money into their assets, sell at a discounted price or give banks possession of the keys as roughly $430 billion in commercial real estate debt is set to mature in 2021, “forcing lenders and borrowers to come to terms about what buildings are worth in a world the pandemic reshaped,” the article states. Delinquency rates have grown sharply for both hotels and retail with commercial mortgage-backed securities loans, 20% and 14% respectively.

Emerging hotel design trends: Hospitality architecture and design firms have been challenged to create designs that enable the well-being of guests and staff as the industry adjusts, which means some new trends could emerge, Forbes writes.

“While well-being has been top of mind for the hospitality industry, we will continue to see designers explore new ways to bring wellness into hospitality spaces,” Clay Markham, SVP of CallisonRTKL, told Forbes. “Means like contactless tech allow guests and staff alike to meet the highest level of sanitation from the properties they choose to patronize. For example, guests will be able to check into their rooms from a universal app on their phone, and back-of-house staff will be able to know where to clean using similar tech. Additionally, hotels in the future will forgo carpeting and bedspreads for the ultimate in clean.”

Compiled by Dana Miller.

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