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CFOs Should Partner with Chief Procurement Officers

CFO Magazine - 14 September 2017
For most companies, supplier spending is their single largest cost — about 50% of revenue for manufacturing and 30% for services. And yet, this major contributor to profit and loss is often buried as many companies have poor visibility into their procurement costs.

Hoteliers see opportunities in overtime ruling

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles - 14 September 2017
A federal judge struck down the U.S. Department of Labor’s overtime-threshold increase, and hoteliers are hoping the labor department takes a more moderate approach to the next proposed increase. A federal judge’s ruling that the U.S. Department of Labor overreached its authority in setting a new overtime-salary threshold for salaried employees has hoteliers breathing much easier now. The hotel industry joins other U.S. employers in waiting to see what the labor department will do next given the amount of public support for an increase of some degree to the threshold, which has sat at $23,660 since 2004. The rule would have increased the threshold set in 2004 to $47,476 starting 1 December 2016. What the ruling meansU.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant III ruled the labor department overreached its authority in setting the new overtime threshold for salaried employees. Mazzant previously issued an injunction against the rule one week before it was supposed to go into effect.

Recent spate of hotel refinancings contributes to flat sales volume

Hotel Management - 14 September 2017
The number of hotel transactions in the U.S. so far in 2017 is holding steady, albeit flat (as predicted), and a wave of hotel refinancings is playing a big role in keeping the number on an even keel. “Hotel sales transaction volume in the major metro markets, which declined by 29 percent in [the first half of 2017], was offset by a significant increase in activity in the tertiary markets,” said Suzanne Mellen, senior managing director and practice leader at HVS. Ed James, managing principal at Mumford Company, said his company is seeing a steady transactions stream, which has leveled off from 2016. “Midway through 2017, we continue to see roughly the same relatively strong transaction volume in mid-market and economy hotels that we have realized over the past 24 months or so,” he said. “Sales prices have leveled off from the high-water mark achieved in early 2016 but are still in the attractive range for sellers.”

GDPR is coming, and many U.S. ad tech firms aren't ready

hotelmarketing.com - 14 September 2017
From an American perspective, GDPR is difficult to fully comprehend: sweeping regulations that have 99 articles and 173 recitals. Some are betting that the sheer scope of GDPR means EU regulators will struggle to enforce it. Businesses outside of Europe aren’t necessarily reluctant to adapt for the GDPR. The reasons they’re delaying preparations have more to do with procrastination, not reading the fine print and, most importantly, not fully processing the GDPR’s implications, said Shane Minte, U.S. head of supply at mobile data platform Ogury. “It’s one of those things that, due to the geography, might feel like a distant problem, yet it is going to affect us all,” he said. “Having just a single user in the European Union for which [a company is] not GDPR-compliant means 2-4 percent of their global revenues are at risk.”
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orderTalk, Inc. Files for a Patent for a Universal Artificial Intelligence Plug and Play POS Integration

Hospitality Technology Magazine - 14 September 2017
orderTalk, Inc., a provider of online ordering software and service solutions to the restaurant industry, said it has developed patent-pending technology that will change the way restaurants receive third-party delivery orders in a revolutionary way. The new software solution will facilitate order input, without the need for employee intervention, from an artificial intelligence (AI) adapter that will work on any modern restaurant point of sale (POS) system.
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What Will Happen to Corporate Travel Prices in 2018?

Business Travel News (BTN) - 13 September 2017
Growing demand and rising crude oil prices will cause average worldwide corporate negotiated airfare to increase in 2018, according to Carlson Wagonlit Travel's 2018 Global Travel Forecast. That's despite an anticipated 6 percent jump in capacity. Meanwhile, fare segmentation will put downward force on base fares. For hotel rates, the 3.7 percent increase in the global average daily rate belies bigger bumps coming in Europe. However, the upcoming RFP season also is the first in which the recent wave of hotel mergers will have an impact. CWT Solutions Group Americas senior director Katie Raddatz filled BTN in on more of CWT's forecast:
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Closing the Confidence Gap in Sustainability Data

CFO Magazine - 13 September 2017
Investors, financial analysts, and rating agencies around the world are increasingly seeking relevant and trustworthy reports on sustainability performance to help guide their assessments of a company’s value-creation capacity and capability. Therefore, companies that utilize effective internal controls around nonfinancial data will earn greater confidence from key stakeholders and likely earn a value premium relative to their peers.
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U.S. Cities Reporting Least Optimism about Finances Since 2012

National Real Estate Investor (NREI) - 13 September 2017
The financial gains for U.S. cities are showing signs of slowing, with the number reporting improvement dropping to a five-year low as revenue growth slows and they face pressure to spend more on infrastructure, according to a National League of Cities’ annual survey. City general-fund revenues are projected to increase by just 0.9 percent this year, compared with 2.6 percent in 2016, as property-tax growth slows and sales and income-tax collections drop, the report said. The share of cities reporting that they’re more able to meet their financial obligations than they were a year ago slipped to 69 percent, the least since 2012, when many were still contending with some of the fiscal aftermath of the housing crash and recession.
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The Legalities of Multi-Use Development

Lodging Magazine - 13 September 2017
In markets where real estate is limited or cost prohibitive, multi-use or mixed-use developments offer an attractive solution. The asset-light option can look like a winning strategy to both hotel developers and investors, and the ability to sell off portions of the space creates an opportunity to earn back large sums of money from an investment quickly. Sharing operations and maintenance costs allows for a sustainable model that can benefit a hotel’s bottom line. And with proper planning, the prime space can be well positioned for a smooth sale in the future.
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B2B payments can be awesome [video]

Tnooz - 13 September 2017
“Travel sellers and suppliers can improve not only the traveller experience but also employee satisfaction by automating their B2B payment processes”, according to Anthony Hynes, managing director of eNett International. In an interview with tnooz, Hynes explains some of the points raised in eNett’s recently published white paper, “Experience Counts – An Untapped Opportunity to Drive Business Performance”.

Swiss price watchdog has reservations about Booking.com

hotelmarketing.com - 13 September 2017
The Swiss price watchdog has initiated proceedings against Booking.com, the online travel fare aggregator, after finding signs of “price abuse” concerning commissions that hoteliers have to pay in Switzerland. Stefan Meierhans, the federal price watchdogexternal link, said on Tuesday that attempts to reach an amicable solution had failed since Booking.com had “no interest in holding talks”. He said he had therefore been left no choice than to instigate proceedings.

Owners, developers work around challenging locations

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles - 12 September 2017
Every hotel project comes with its own set of issues, but hotels on islands, in national forests or otherwise geographically isolated areas can be particularly challenging for owners and developers. Hotel construction and renovation projects are enough of a challenge on their own for owners and developers trying to meet deadlines and control costs, but some locations complicate matters by sitting in far off locations and requiring extra planning and greater expense. Hotel News Now reached out to owners and developers of hotel projects in Hawaii, Alaska and Yellowstone National Park to see how they’ve worked through the challenges presented by their isolated locations. Weather conditionsAffinity Hospitality recently developed the Hilton Home2 Suites Midtown Anchorage, and the Marriott Courtyard Midtown Anchorage is fully approved and should break ground this fall. The company is also planning a yet-to-be-flagged full-service hotel and an economy extended-stay property, among other hotel construction projects, founder and Principal Richard Marko said.
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Malaysia's Tourism Tax: Finally enforced, but still faces long road to smooth implementation

Web In Travel (WIT) - 12 September 2017
On September 1 Malaysia implemented the controversial Tourism Tax (TTx) for foreign tourists, a RM10 (US$2.40) daily levy on hotel accommodation, much to the chagrin of the industry given that many questions remain unanswered. There is no clarity yet on how the tax should be collected even though hotels have been made responsible for the collection and budget hotels, whose rates are already low, are worried the levy will turn away guests.
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Bank Loans Still Available for Apartment Construction, but Caveats Abound

National Real Estate Investor (NREI) - 12 September 2017
Even after a flood of new construction, it is still possible to get a construction loan to build new apartment projects. “Everything is financeable at some level and cost,” says Mark Fisher, senior vice president for CBRE Capital Markets. Developers will open more new rental apartments in 2017 than during any year since 2007. All of this new construction has made many lenders cautious as they consider loans on new apartment projects. In addition, banks are still contending with regulations that have taken effect over the past year that cut into their ability to lend. As a result, construction loans are often smaller compared to the cost of development, and lenders have become more cautious when they consider loans on certain types of projects.
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Travelport Hotel Booking Tool Launches Consolidated, Tax-Compliant Invoicing

Business Travel News (BTN) - 12 September 2017
Online hotel booking tool Travelport Hotelzon has introduced a consolidated payment and invoicing service to guarantee hotel acceptance of virtual cards and provide monthly tax-compliant statements for corporate clients. Hotelzon's Payment Consolidation Service debuted in the U.K. at the beginning of September and will roll out to other European markets over the next few months, Travelport said.
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Value Drivers

CFO Magazine - 11 September 2017
Choosing the top finance chiefs for the third annual installment of CFOs to Watch was tricky. We wanted to honor a CFO’s past performance but, like stock-pickers, also wanted to select candidates with an eye toward what they might do in the next 12 months. Consequently, the 20 finance chiefs named on the list really satisfy two requirements: they’ve made sizable contributions to their companies’ past successes, and, at the same time, the current disruptive forces buffeting their organizations may vault these CFOs into even greater prominence.
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Getting Over Hurdle Rates

CFO Magazine - 11 September 2017
As upbeat as CFOs may feel about the growth prospects for their own companies and the broader economy, they have yet to loosen the criteria they use for making investment decisions. In the second-quarter Duke University/CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey, which collected responses from 750 senior finance executives, respondents revealed that they have maintained unusually high — even unrealistic — hurdle rates, or the minimum return they expect from any project they opt to invest in.
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Career Census

CFO Magazine - 11 September 2017
When it comes to schooling and experience, there’s no such thing as a “typical” CFO, except that they tend to be well-educated and, still today, a majority are men. How much do you know about the backgrounds and careers of the top finance executives at the 250 largest publicly held U.S. companies? Take our quiz to find out.

Google Sues to Block EU Antitrust Fine as Travel Probe Could Be on the Agenda

skift.com - Digital - 11 September 2017
Google took its fight over a record European Union antitrust fine to the EU courts, starting a legal challenge that could take years to conclude. The owner of the world’s largest search engine said it filed its appeal on Monday at the EU’s General Court, based in Luxembourg. The tribunal’s press service said Google hadn’t asked the court to suspend an EU order for it to change how it displays shopping-search services before it rules on the challenge.
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Airbnb celebrating partial win over housing law change in Berlin

hotelmarketing.com - 11 September 2017
While there has been no formal law change, as yet, the latest development blows in a favorable direction for Airbnb. It pertains to a legal challenge brought by a private individual living in the Berlin district of Pankow against the State of Berlin in the Berlin Administrative Court after he was rejected a permit to rent his own home - a measure city authorities have been using to essentially control the use of home-sharing platforms like Airbnb.
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Dubai Hotel Owner Sues Viceroy Alleging Mismanagement and Fraud

skift.com - Hotels - 8 September 2017
The owner of a $1 billion luxury hotel in Dubai claims the management company it fired just three months after opening is still scaring off visitors. Described as a fusion of California cool and Dubai spectacle, the beachfront resort with views of the Arabian Sea offers 477 rooms and suites, plus 10 restaurants and nightlife spots.
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CFOs Should Help Lead Workforce Transformation

CFO Magazine - 8 September 2017
A host of trends are pressuring many organizations to rethink their workforce models — and not just function by function or business by business, but enterprise-wide. Such trends include competition for digital and analytical skills, millennials’ expectations for progression and development, workforce trends such as the gig economy, and the adoption of robotic process automation (RPA) and other technologies.

Hospitality group says 'catastrophic' plan to end free movement will cost jobs

eHotelier.com - 8 September 2017
The British Hospitality Association (BHA) have labelled as “catastrophic” plans by the government to end the freedom of movement of people immediately after Brexit. The representative body has issued an urgent response to the proposal, which was leaked this week, saying skilled migrants were needed to support the hospitality industry. Under the government’s proposal, low-skilled EU migrants would be offered two-year work permits, while high-skilled workers would receive three to five-year visas.

Hotel Business Plan Development 2018: Getting Ready for 2018 Budgeting

Hotel Online - 7 September 2017
Before we complete our business plans for 2018, a review of macroeconomic data is in order. China’s growth might be slowing but we anticipate a fairly steady U.S. economy in 2018. We will likely slow to about a 2 percent GDP growth rate over the next year as this economic recovery reaches the 100 month mark next year. Unemployment is low, consumer confidence is solid and household spending is strong. Interest rates remain low, business confidence is strong and nothing to derail the economy is imminent. Oil prices have been unusually flat notwithstanding the speed bump caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Albania plans tax exemption for five-star hotels until 2027

Hospitality On (by MKG Hospitality)·Requires Registration - 5 September 2017
The country's Prime minister, Edi Rama, has announced this exceptional measure in order to encourage the qualitative growth of the tourism sector. As in other Adriatic countries, increasing the scale of the offer is crucial for tourism. Albania intends to make headlines far and wide. The announcement of the tax exemption for the management of a five-star hotel specifically targets "30 international brands", according to the Prime Minister. It was at a press conference that Edi Rama talked about his project for the temporary tax exemption of upscale properties.

Google proposals 'in right direction,' EU anti-trust chief says

hotelmarketing.com - 5 September 2017
Europe's anti-trust chief Margrethe Vestager on Monday said Google's proposals to comply with an EU order to modify its shopping service pointed in the "right direction". "It is less than a week since we got the letter so we have to go a bit more in depth before we can say anything," Vestager told AFP just months after slapping Google with a record 2.4-billion-euro ($2.8-billion) fine over the issue.

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