5 things to know: 11 January 2019
5 things to know: 11 January 2019
11 JANUARY 2019 10:11 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Brands refocus sustainability initiatives in 2019
  • Host closes on sale of Westin Grand Central
  • Weekly performance results for US hotels
  • Government shutdown could end job growth streak
  • Atlanta hotels being inspected before Super Bowl

Brands refocus sustainability initiatives in 2019: Many hotel companies made headlines in 2018 because of their efforts to do away with single-use plastic straws, and even with that spotlight fading a bit, brands continue to look for new ways to be more environmentally friendly, HNN’s Robert McCune writes.

Jeffery Smith, VP of sustainability at Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas said his company employs “a full-time sustainability manager at each of its hotels in Europe and the Asia/Pacific and Middle East/Africa regions,” McCune writes.

Evaluating a sustainability project is “about sizing up the challenge and measuring our positive impact to environments and communities, and seeing where we can get the best return on our efforts for issues that really matter,” Smith said.

Host closes on sale of Westin Grand Central: Host Hotels & Resorts announced that the company has closed on the sale of the Westin New York Grand Central for $302 million, which includes $20 million in funds for furniture, fixtures and equipment, according to a news release.

The sale of the property is part of an effort by the real estate investment trust to reduce exposure in New York City. The W New York – Union Square was sold for $171 million under the effort, and retail space at the New York Marriott Marquis was sold for $442 million during the third quarter of 2018.

"We have been pleased with our continued execution of further reducing our exposure to New York, a key initiative set early on in my tenure as CEO. With the completion of this sale, we have sold three assets and the retail, signage, and theater condo space at the New York Marriott Marquis for $1.1 billion at very attractive pricing. We continue to strengthen our investment grade balance sheet and enhance our ability to make strategic investments that ultimately drive long-term value creation for our stockholders whether it is investing in our portfolio, acquiring assets, or buying back our stock," James Risoleo, president and CEO at Host, said in the release.

Weekly performance results for U.S. hotels: Hotels in the U.S. reported mixed year-over-year results in the three key performance metrics for the week ending 5 January, according to data from STR, parent company of HNN.

Occupancy dipped 0.4% to 48.8%, average daily rate rose 5.6% to $130.69 and revenue per available room increased 5.2% to $63.79.

Phoenix, Arizona, reported the largest increase in RevPAR (+13.7% to US$67.06) among the Top 25 markets, “due primarily to the second-highest rise in occupancy (+8.6% to 57.8%),” the release states.

Government shutdown could end job growth streak: The partial shutdown of the U.S. government could end the 99-month stretch of continuous job growth, which is the longest run since 1939, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Ryan Sweet, an economist with Moody’s Analytics, told the news outlet that it is too soon to know if government workers who were laid off this week would be counted in January’s jobs report.

“A one-month decline in total payrolls shouldn’t be taken as a sign of a faltering economy, (Sweet) said. Most economists and investors will look beyond the headline number to see if private-sector firms continued to add jobs, as they have since early 2010,” the WSJ reports.

Atlanta hotels being inspected before Super Bowl: Many people will be visiting Atlanta and staying in hotels for Super Bowl LIII, and local health departments are going through and inspecting hotels to make sure they are clean for guests, CBS 46 reports.

Inspectors are going through to look for “pillow stains, moldy bathrooms and even bed bugs.”

“The health department said you should look for the health inspection score when you walk into the hotel lobby. It's usually posted behind the check-in counter. If the score is 90 points or better you’re in good shape, below that you should be cautious,” according to the news outlet.

Compiled by Danielle Hess.

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