5 things to know: 1 November 2016
5 things to know: 1 November 2016
01 NOVEMBER 2016 9:24 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Marriott to lay off 163 Starwood employees
  • What hoteliers should know as new overtime rule nears
  • Americans set record for international travel
  • World Series Game 6 causes rise in Cleveland hotel rates
  • Surge in gas prices after US pipeline explosion

Marriott to lay off 163 Starwood employees: In a letter to the state of Connecticut, Marriott International announced that it plans to lay off 163 employees at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide’s headquarters in Stamford by the end of the year, the Hartford Courant reports.

Thomas Madden, Stamford’s economic development director, told the newspaper that all of the layoffs are senior management positions. The letter to the state Department of Labor said Marriott will be posting jobs “in the coming weeks for which (those laid off) may apply.” Marriott closed on the deal to acquire Starwood on 23 September.

Marriott International President and CEO Arne Sorenson spoke with Hotel News Now about the company’s plans to incorporate Starwood staff and culture at the opening of the M Beta at Charlotte Marriott City Center in early October.

What hoteliers should know as new overtime rule nears: With the U.S. Department of Labor’s new overtime-exemption rule scheduled to go into effect next month, hoteliers should make sure they’re ready for the change, HNN’s Bryan Wroten reports.

A bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives to delay the rule and lawsuits filed by several states against the Department of Labor are not reasons to put off preparations, said Andria Ryan, partner at law firm Fisher & Phillips. “This is being implemented on Dec. 1,” she said. “We think it’s unlikely that is going to change. … If you haven’t already put pen to paper on this, you’re behind.”

Sources said there’s still time for employers, but there’s a lot of work to do over the next 30 days.

Americans set record for international travel: Terrorism, Zika and Ebola didn’t stop American travelers from traveling abroad in 2015, The Los Angeles Times reports.

Last year, 74 million U.S. residents traveled internationally. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, international travel was up 9% from 2014 in what was the fourth-straight year of increases.

Despite fears centered around Zika in South America and the Caribbean, and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, 33 million Americans traveled to overseas countries—an increase of 7% year over year.

Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Dominican Republic and France were the top five international destinations for U.S. travelers to visit last year.

World Series Game 6 causes Cleveland hotel rates to rise: Rooms are still available in downtown Cleveland for Game 6 of the World Series, but there’s a surge in hotel rates as a result of the game, Cleveland.com reports. 

Rooms at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown were available as of Monday afternoon for $649 a night; the Courtyard by Marriott University Circle was charging $799 a night; and the InterContinental Cleveland had rooms at $619 a night.

Data from STR, HNN’s parent company, cited in the news report shows that the average hotel rate on the first Tuesday in November last year was $129. Average daily rate during the Republican National Convention this summer was about $343.

“It’s basic supply and demand,” said Laurel Keller, VP of Hotel & Leisure Advisors. “These properties are assuming demand will be so high they’re going to sell out. They’ve taken their rates to the max so they won’t leave any money on the table.”

Surge in gas prices after US pipeline explosion: Gasoline in New York hit its highest since 2008, and premium crude oil prices rose 60% after an explosion in Alabama shut down “the largest fuel pipeline in the United States,” Bloomberg reports.

The explosion killed one person and hospitalized five others. Bloomberg reports that gasoline traders immediately started booking “extra tankers for replacement fuel supplies from Europe” in anticipation of possible shortages from the explosion.

Complied by Danielle Hess.

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