5 things to know: 30 December 2020
5 things to know: 30 December 2020
30 DECEMBER 2020 10:38 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Chinese New Year’s travel will be shorter distances
  • How independent hotels have weathered the storm
  • EU to impose travel restrictions on UK
  • Profitability worsened in November
  • McConnell blocks efforts for expanded stimulus

Chinese New Year’s travel will be shorter distances: With fears of COVID-19 renewed by recent cases in the country, Chinese tourists are expected to limit their New Year’s holiday travel this year, often staying within their home provinces, Reuters reports.

There is a significant amount of travel still happening, albeit over shorter distances, with hotel bookings almost double the level seen at this point in 2019.

Travel platform Qunar.com noted the trend is for short train travel over air travel. The most popular train trips are between Chengdu and Chongqing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, and Shanghai and Hangzhou.

How independent hotels have weathered the storm: HNN’s Dana Miller spoke with independent hoteliers to discuss how they’ve survived and what they’ve learned from a uniquely challenging year without the support of brands and their distribution platforms.

Sarah Eustis, CEO of Main Street Hospitality, said small companies like hers have had to be careful about where and how they spend money in an era of low demand.

“We had to pump the brakes hard … negotiating and figuring out how to spend every penny because every penny is critical. When you’re part of a big brand network, there are sometimes more leverage than perhaps independents with the vendors,” she said.

EU to impose travel restrictions on U.K.: The European Union is soon expected to lump travelers from the United Kingdom in with those from the U.S., Canada and other countries they deemed to have not contained COVID-19 and restrict their flow into the EU after the U.K.’s exit, Bloomberg reports.

The only countries the EU currently recommends member states to allow travelers from without constraints are: Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.

Profitability worsened in November: U.S. hotels saw profits going the wrong direction in November, falling to levels seen in the first months of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the latest data from HNN’s parent company STR. Gross operating profit per available room fell to the lowest levels since June, when it was at -$5.89

Here’s how the key profitability metrics were trending compared to November 2019:

  • GOPPAR (gross operating profit per available room): -97.5% to $2.13
  • TRevPAR (total revenue per available room): -73.5% to $60.92
  • EBITDA PAR: -120.2% to $-12.30
  • LPAR (Labor Costs): -61.4% to $31.32

McConnell blocks efforts for expanded stimulus: A push to boost direct payments from $600 to $2,000 has stalled in the Senate, despite widespread support among Congressional Democrats and growing support among Republicans—including President Donald Trump—due to resistance from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, The New York Times reports.

“Instead, (McConnell) provided vague assurances that the Senate would ‘begin the process’ of discussing $2,000 checks and two other issues that (Trump) has demanded lawmakers address: election security and removing legal protections for social media platforms,” the newspaper reports.

Compiled by Sean McCracken.

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